Classical musicians should take advantage of the “horrific” amount of time children spend on social media sites such as TikTok, an organist who has amassed more than half a million followers online has said.
Anna Lapwood, 28, Director of Music at Pembroke College, Cambridge, told BBC Music magazine that classical musicians should use social media platforms to reach a wider audience.
Ms Lapwood, who has become an unlikely TikTok star with 550,000 followers on the site after videos of her playing the organ went viral, said: “People in classical music are always asking how they can reach a wider audience. The bizarrely simple answer is social media. It genuinely works.”
She added: “I saw a statistic recently saying that young people are spending on average six hours a day on TikTok and other social media. That may seem horrific, but if it’s true we had better make sure they are seeing classical music there for at least some of the time. We need to make ourselves relevant.”
‘It sounds just like film music’
Ms Lapwood said younger people came to her shows after seeing her videos on the social media platform.
“They hear me play film music on TikTok, then they come to a recital and hear me play something more serious, such as the Four Sea Interludes from Britten’s Peter Grimes, and they enjoy it because, actually, it sounds just like film music.”
She added that recreating music from Disney films was also a way of acquiring more new fans.
“It’s something I used to do all the time as a kid: sit at the piano, basically working out how to play by ear film scores I’d just heard in the cinema”, she said.
“My thinking now is that playing something really familiar on the organ, like a Disney film score, is a great way to attract new audiences to the organ.”