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#02 Drew Alexander Forde — That Viola Kid

My guest on this episode is the classically trained violist, rapper and digital content producer Drew Alexander Forde.

You know it seems to me, that as a rule, people don’t pay a lot of attention to viola players. If I asked you today, there’s a fair chance you could name a couple of violinists and a cellist or two, but viola players rarely get noticed. Which is why, when I saw that an instagram account called That Viola Kid had 120,000 followers, I sat back and took notice. The thing is, not only is this guy a boss on instagram, the kid can play.

As a lapsed viola player myself, I was really curious to see what was going on with this account and the guy behind it. With a slew of engaging content on instagram and a thriving youtube channel as well, I reached out to That Viola Kid to see if we could talk. Neither being a classically trained musician or a big deal in social media is unusual on its own, but from the outside it seems an unlikely combination.

Join me as I dive deep into classical music, social media, story narratives and hip hop, with the best violist you know, That Viola Kid, aka Drew Alexander Forde.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Drew’s mum began cultivating a love for classical music in him from a very early age
  • How he chose his instrument: “I was always looking for a way to express myself melodically, which is ironic, because I play the viola.”
  • Training yourself to be patient and have long term goals if you wanted to have any longevity in the social media space
  • “My goal is not to be the greatest violist on Planet Earth. I want to be the best violist you know.”
  • Why chamber music is the entry point to invigorate a new audience for classical music
  • GroupMuse - host your own chamber music house party
  • When trying to discover a way to be noticed, Drew asked “How would I get somebody to come to my concert?” To answer his own question, he challenged himself to become the online “big brother” of a lot of younger kids who play music.
  • How Drew’s audience has grown up alongside him. “There’s a kinship and an attachment that we’ve created.”
  • Creating a network where people feel like they’re seen and heard.
  • Social media is Reality TV 2.0 - where people can take a voyeuristic look into what their life might have looked like.
  • Wisecrack - a youtube channel that covers the philosophy of modern media
  • How we’ve changed the way we think about classical music
  • Rethinking the way classical music is presented and consider the possibilities of educational, interactive performances
  • Leonard Bernstein and the Young People’s Concerts single-handedly engendered and created an incredible new audience for classical music
  • The art doesn’t have to change, but maybe the way we present it does.
  • Duality
  • How To Make Money as a Musician
  • “The best part of creating your own music (especially with lyrics) is that it allows people to have an intimate conversation with you, and you with them.”
  • Shape of You
  • The ways artists can invest in social media
    • Creating a story narrative
    • Engage your audience by asking them questions
    • Create content that you would want to see
      • Help somebody
      • Help them learn a new skill
      • Help them feel better
      • Answer questions & problems
    • Help people understand what you do
    • Don’t worry about going viral. Focus on spreading the largest foundation you can.
    • The more content you have out there, the more likely you are there to stay
    • Do it consistently, because you never know who may discover content and when
    • You’ve got to be in the long game
  • How to develop a story narrative
  • “Imagine yourself as a tv show that has (hopefully) 80 seasons.”
  • The similarities between a story narrative and music’s sonata form.
  • The importance of building community and #playhomieplay
  • Focussing on the depth of engagement with your followers can help you become platform-proof

Follow: Drew Alexander Forde instagram youtube patreon website