HELLO STAGE BLOG

Heike Matthiesen

This week we talked to Heike Matthiesen, a passionate classical music ambassador who happens to be very good with social media communication and full of useful tips! :)

We all know HELLO STAGE’s favorite color! What’s yours?

All kind of colours in the range from yellow to gold to orange, this is why I like the HELLO STAGE colours so much - and I love to play concerts in my golden dresses!

What was the best advice a teacher ever gave you?

Magic happens when you leave your comfort zone, do your homework and then on go on stage with full risk. There is no way of pretending, when you are at home, that you are on stage. You can fake it by recording yourself, but the only way to experience the magic of the energy that an audience gives you, like the air vibrating before you start to play and this moment when you "jump" because you just have this one attempt - how can you do that at home? So perform, perform, perform… A level can be reached where there is just the music left, and you become part of the audience, when you are listening together with them to the sounds your own fingers produce. This is where it begins; this is why we decide to become musicians (these are some thoughts I got from Pepe Romero).

How has your practice changed with time?

I created a mantra for good practicing: be jealous and be lazy! The meaning behind it: have a clear goal of what you want to achieve - for example, it's like when you hear somebody else doing something that you would love to be able to do yourself, and then take the shortest way to reach that, which means: don't waste time with senseless practicing, do exactly what is necessary. This might be a lot, but if you plan it well, you always see the goal before your eyes. One of the most important rules in practicing is: never mix up playing and practicing!
With all of the stress that a life of a travelling musician carries, sports should also be seen as a part of your practice routine. With every year that a musician gets older, it is more and more important to work in a healthy way, to be aware of your body and to move as much as possible to balance out all of the hours you spend sitting. I try to go to daily Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, Pilates, Bellydance - whatever fitness is available on that day and which is not a threat for my hands - or at least do a minimum of some stretching at home after putting the guitar to sleep. You are your own trainer, mental coach, cook etc., so try to take care of yourself like an olympic athlete in training would!

What do you think is the most important trait of a successful artist in today’s modern world?

You have to be authentic, open for communication and professional - no diva!

How much time do you spend every day on Facebook, Twitter, and which other ways do you use to promote yourself?

Ooooh, dangerous question, in the morning I allow myself to wake up slowly: I love to read, comment and post for a minimum of one hour with a coffee or tea in my hands. I know it could be done in a more efficient way, but I really love communication via social media! It is nice to have a beautiful homepage but nowadays your fans expect to meet you where they are, so for an indie-classical it is a "must" to find a way to use all of these opportunities. I also use much of the time when I’m taking a break from practicing (after 45min of work,I alwas take a 10-15 minute break) to have a quick look at the computer. This is why it seems like I am online the whole day! And these are the moments for espresso and chocolate... I have clear guidelines: don’t stopping practicing if any electronic device calls for my attention, no Facebook on my mobile, trying to keep the weekends free from office work, etc - otherwise you will drown! One more aspect: more and more presenters check how active an artist is!

Heike, you have quite a following on Google+ - when did you start and what do you post about?

I was there from day 3 (!) and for a long time one of the very few classical musicians there. I mainly post about music, especially classical guitar, also nerdy stuff, but almost never about myself. I post concert dates and all other necessary ego-spam on my page, not on the profile. I call Facebook "my little bar around the corner", Twitter "my newspaper" and Google+ "the fair", so I strictly try to be a classical music ambassador. Obviously I pop up in their recommendation list from time to time, right now I have 140 000 followers, that's unbeliavable for me too!
Musicians should not ignore Google+ : by using it you give your information to the biggest search engine there is, so please fill out your profiles in as much detail as possible!  (tip: you automatically have a Google+ that is connected to your Youtube channel).

You post new videos regularly - how important is video? Any special tips :)?

If I hear the name of a musician I don't know, I google him, preferably I go directly to Youtube. Then I want to see how he/she really plays, so please: no video-clip setting, no cut content, no expensive equipment, I want to see this musician in a concert situation  (in an ideal case no "acoustic photoshop" and no visible cuts). Everybody knows how a CD can be embellished, so Youtube shows the truth nowadays. Authentic videos can be much more important than any ‘super expensive’ recording which you have to pay for yourself (again, talking from the view of an indie-classical!).
As a ‘presenter‘ you see what you get,  as your ‘future audience‘ you see what you get, so in the long run this is the clever way to use Youtube! Okay; tutorials, masterclasses, or backstage videos are also really nice - but as an added bonus!).

So have the courage to show the truth and show where your heart is: by playing your favourite repertoire!

Keep with Heike Matthiesen on HELLO STAGE!
Author: Nina HELLO STAGE
Comments [1]
Bernhard Kerres - 2015-01-19 12:28
I love Heike's mantra: Be jealous and be lazy!
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