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My ten tips for how to become a viral YouTube star – Valentina Lisitsa

By Tim Topham | Studio Business

Mar 21 2015

viral youtube

Like thousands of pianists and teachers out there, I’ve long been inspired by the remarkable talent and story that is Valentina Lisitsa.

Valentina is a Ukranian-born pianist who struggled for years to get any kind of performance gigs despite being prodigiously talented:

In 2007 the brilliant Ukrainian pianist found her career was floundering. The concert bookings weren’t coming in and she didn’t have any recordings to speak of. And then, she started uploading videos of her performances to YouTube…Now she can sell out concert halls, her recordings are best-sellers and she is indisputably one of the classical world’s biggest stars. She spoke to us exclusively and shared her tips for making it on YouTube – and beyond.

In this article, from the Classic FM website, Valentina shares her 10 tips for how to get noticed on YouTube.

Read the full article here: Valentina Lisitsa: My ten tips for how to become a viral YouTube star | Valentina Lisitsa – Classic FM

Why online marketing is so important

Her debut Royal Albert Hall concert (click to watch) was organised solely on the back of her YouTube stardom.

Unfortunately, these are exactly the kinds of marketing skills that aren’t taught to performance students at University level these days, but are so important in the 21st Century. The fact that she struggled for so long to get performance opportunities despite her immense talent reminds us that, up to a point, it doesn’t matter how talented you are: it’s about how well you can market yourself.

Consider Lang Lang. How many professional pianists and teachers would say that he’s the best pianist in the world today? Some may, but I think that while many would agree he is an excellent performer, the thing he has above all else is an ability to market himself.

In my opinion, effective marketing is what leads to performing careers in 2015 and why an article like this can be so helpful for advanced students considering a performance career.

Related: La Campanella On Steroids ? 🙂 Liszt Rondo Fantastique “El Contrabandista” Valentina Lisitsa – YouTube

Haven’t seen her in action?

Here are a few of my favourite Valentina videos:

And yes, this one of Fur Elise has 4.5 million views, and for good reason:

If you’re looking for more, here’s a playlist of 200 of her videos, including interviews, teaching videos, rehearsals and even her practice.

She is one of the very few professional performing pianists (the only one?) who shares uncut and unedited footage of practice and rehearsals.

Read the full article here: Valentina Lisitsa: My ten tips for how to become a viral YouTube star | Valentina Lisitsa – Classic FM


About the Author

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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