How many years have you been active on YouTube? Tell us about how you started your channel. What was your inspiration to film your videos?
In January of 2013, I uploaded my first video to the Bevani flute channel. This January will be my 5th year anniversary as a YouTube creator. I started my channel after watching Lindsey Stirling and David Garret perform on YouTube - I thought to myself, "wow, these guys are classically trained musicians playing popular songs and engaging with a worldwide audience - how cool is that?" It took some time for me to overcome my fear of what others would think of me and get the courage to post my video under my new stage name, 'Bevani', and of course I'm so glad I did. As for the vision for my videos, I knew I wanted to incorporate nature scenes as well as movement in my body while I was playing. Many musicians, myself included, were taught not to move while we played, and while I think this is important at times, adding the element of movement has helped me find more freedom and joy in my playing.
How did you find your videographer(s)? Do you edit your own videos?
I feel extremely lucky to have found my videographer, who has shot the majority of my videos on YouTube. He grew up playing sports with my younger brother and is now an accomplished videographer. Our first video we created very spontaneously and with very little planning. We showed up at our filming location in Index, Wa and it happened to be a gorgeous day in Seattle. After an hour of filming we packed it up and went home. When I saw the final product of our collaboration I was amazed at the quality of his work. I've loved everything we've done together ever since. After moving away from Seattle to be with my fiance, I knew I would have to figure out how to film some things on my own. I've had to learn my way around the video camera and editing programs and now have created a lot of videos on my own. Let's put it this way - you can easily tell which ones I've edited and which ones he has. I do think having the skill of editing is extremely important for musicians these days.
How has YouTube affected your flute life and personal brand?
Becoming a YouTube creator has been a great motivator for my music. After receiving my Masters degree in Music I knew I wanted to be a soloist and flute teacher. Without having the pressure to consistently create new content on YouTube, I think it would have been easy to lose motivation to practice and develop new music. YouTube has turned out to be a great tool for advertising my personal brand, which has lead to live gigs, studio work, online collaborations, and new students.
What can flute brands and musical instrument brands be doing better on YouTube in your opinion?
I'm under the impression that most flute brands or retailers know the value of advertising on YouTube but if they haven't started a channel yet, I'd highly recommend they do! Show off your product on YouTube to connect with a worldwide audience. Videos and beautiful images are the current way to communicate with your audience or potential customers.
Do you recommend starting an AdSense account? Or can one still gain viewers organically?
In my opinion starting an AdSense account is not worth the time and energy it takes to learn the program. YouTube is extremely saturated now and very few people actually make a living posting videos on YouTube (including myself). I look at YouTube as a tool for advertising my brand, showing people who I am, and connecting with other artists. The number of views or subscribers seem less important to me now compared to finding the viewer who loves my music, is interested in a flute lesson, or connecting with another artist who wants to collaborate.
What are some of your professional (and personal) goals?
After the birth of my daughter I've had to reassess my professional goals. Becoming a mother has been a full-time job and never ending learning process, as she keeps changing! I have found an immense amount of pleasure being a mom and have just started to find time to think about music again. While I'm not sure when I'll return to teaching, look out for a new, very simple music video coming this December!
Any advice for flutists who are just starting their YouTube channels? In your opinion, has it gotten harder through the years?
I'd say it's important for all musicians to start a YouTube channel. Think of it as part of your professional portfolio and a way for people to get to know who you are. Technology keeps changing so there is never one method for becoming 'successful'. I'd say keep creating, follow your passions, and be flexible.
River Flows in You (my very first video):
I'm a classically trained flutist who's broken free! Music continues to be a path of self-discovery and connection for me. www.Bevani.com