Ariana Piknjac was born and raised in Australia with her musical story starting when she was 3 years old – with the piano. She is currently on the Masters program for Music Theory and Education and on her last year of her Bachelor’s degree for flute studies (studying with prof. Sakib Lačević) at the Music Academy in Sarajevo. Ariana is honoured to be an International Trevor James Flutes Artist since 2017, a flute teacher on Play With A Pro since 2015 and a piano and flute teacher at Mali Mozart since 2015.
How many years have you been active on Instagram?
What was your inspiration to film your videos?
I have been actively sharing my music on Instagram since 2016. Starting my Instagram story of sharing music was very spontaneous. It was not planned as in “I am going to create a profile on Instagram with a goal to become a flute blogger”, it was more just my genuine love for sharing music and not being afraid to step outside of my comfort zone. Looking back at my childhood, I was always very open and I loved to perform. I can see that through my many public speaking competitions, debates, drama performances and even some videos I used to film when I was very young (I even posted two guitar tutorials on YouTube! *so embarrassing* haha)
How has Instagram affected your flute life and personal brand?
Instagram has really helped me evolve in many ways- as a person, as a musician in general and as a flautist. Instagram is such an amazing platform that offers many opportunities to meet new people. Exploring and finding out about other musicians through the explore, search, repost etc. options is such an easy way to meet other musicians, collaborate and even become friends! I think of Instagram (and social media in general) as literally another world, where we all live whilst on our laptops and mobile phones. It really is like another dimension when you think about it!
Instagram has made me feel also very grateful – being able to inspire other people must be one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. Also, Instagram is a source of inspiration for myself too. On a daily basis I watch such amazing videos of beautiful playing by other musicians that inspire me to practice even harder. Also, being active on social media has helped me to meet and collaborate with amazing companies, be invited to national TV for many interviews, gained some new online students and so on.. This is just the beginning and I am very excited for what awaits in the future!
How has Instagram evolved? Can one still gain viewers organically?
Instagram is growing massively day by day with many influencers from different branches. I remember when I started my flute account in 2016 there were much less flute influencers than there are now. I am so happy that the flute community is growing! Talking about gaining viewers, you can most certainly gain them organically (the only way I know of!). Due to the constant changes with the Instagram algorithm, posts can perform VERY well with a perfect combination of engagement, correct use of hashtags, posting time, general content material and so on. Although, sometimes you can do your best to get everything perfect and your post might not perform as well as you supposed it would; also, it can turn out to be the opposite (presuming your video will get average engagement but then turns out to be a “hit!"). I always follow my inner gut feeling and post what I enjoyed filming, playing, and practicing without high expectations of the video to perform “very well." I am here to share the music I enjoy playing and some fun and creative ideas that I feel like sharing with my audience without hesitating to post it because of an eventual fear that it might not “perform well”. Don’t be afraid to post what you feel like posting!😊
Any advice for flutists who are just starting their Instagram accounts? In your opinion, has it gotten harder through the years?
Keep it relaxed and fun! People love positive, fun, kind and humble people/musicians! Don’t be afraid to share your progress, maybe even an imperfect performance, a video inspired by a creative idea that came to you during the day, flute photography posts and so on, literally ANYTHING YOU FEEL LIKE POSTING! The worst thing you could do is compare yourself to anyone. I believe that it is not healthy to constantly compare yourself to anyone in life let alone on social media. Like real life, social media is the same- full of different and unique individuals who are putting themselves out there with the intention of sharing what they feel like sharing with the rest of the world. I run my Instagram account with the intention of spreading fun and love through my flute, very often posting videos of music from different genres, different ways of playing and so on. Since I am at my peak of my classical training (4th year of flute studies, and very excited for my Masters studies ahead), I practice a lot of technique, tone exercises, and classical flute repertoire constantly. I choose to share some of my classical journey but sometimes I find myself feeling creative to film something “new” or perhaps create my own classically inspired improvised solo to a famous pop song with the intention of bringing the flute as an instrument closer to the general public! The way I do this is (mostly) through other genres and fun and creative ways!
How about 3 pivotal moments that were essential to creating the artist that you've become?
I believe being born into the family that I have was the most crucial moment for me. I was exposed to music whilst I was still in my mother’s womb with my father practicing for his Bachelor’s degree recital back in 1995, being exposed all throughout my childhood all up until this day where every member of my family is a musician. I am very grateful for my family as they have always been and are my greatest support. The second moment that was pivotal for my career was when my family moved back to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina where I enrolled the high school of music in Sarajevo and started to play the flute with prof. Ana Pokrlkić. She made me fall in love with the flute and I am certain that if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be playing the flute now. The third pivotal moment that was essential to creating the artist that I’ve become was perhaps never being afraid to put myself out there (in this case- social media).
Do you teach? What do you like best about teaching?
Yes! I absolutely LOVE to teach! I feel that being a teacher is on the most fulfilling and most humane jobs on Earth! Being able to spread your knowledge to other people, help them achieve their goals, unselfishly giving and giving and giving really makes me feel emotionally and spiritually fulfilled. I personally feel more proud and joyful after a student of mine performs well than I do when I perform 😊
What do you like best about performing?
I absolutely love the idea of being able to share my music (my interpretation of a certain piece) through the sound of my flute with the audience. This may sound very cliché but I always do my best to intend to “touch people’s hearts” with my playing!
What does your schedule look like for the next 6 months?
Very busy! I am currently preparing the repertoire for my Bachelor’s degree concert, another concerto for an audition to perform with the Philharmonic orchestra in March, preparing for various competitions I intend on participating in, writing my Masters thesis for Music Theory and Education, preparing for exams and working with my piano and flute students and helping them to prepare for their personal goals.
What are your goals personally? Professionally?
Some of my personal goals are to achieve certain fitness goals, eat as healthy as I can and learn another language. These are only some amongst many! Professionally, I aspire to educate myself as much as I can in both field of study (although primarily flute), participate in more competitions, seminars and masterclasses with different professors, perform worldwide, study abroad, perhaps even some day be appointed as principal flautist in a philharmonic orchestra 😊
What inspires you the most in life?
I find inspiration in many things, mostly in the joy and love of life itself which is visible in people, nature, music and so on. I always aim and strive to be a kind, loving, genuine, helpful, honest and humble person as best as I can and to never treat others the way I’d wouldn’t like to be treated. Finding inner peace and being at ease with yourself helps you open yourself to the purest forms of inspiration.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Most probably studying two fields of study since high school up until this day. It has always been difficult to perform and execute all the school and uni related duties I have had together with trying to practice flute as much as I can altogether with keeping up with your personal life. I am although very grateful for all of my experiences which have made the person I am today.
Can you give us 5 quirky, secret, fun, (don't think too much about this) hobbies or passions?
Writing songs, singing harmonies, sudoku, watching TED talks, cleaning my room.
What 3 things would you offer as advice for a young flutist?
Practice wisely and efficiently. Practice all the elements of flute technique daily and of course, find yourself a good teacher! Remember, it is such a wonderful feeling to be able to focus on the music whilst playing without any technical problems interfering with your music!
Always stay open-minded and open to critique that will help you evolve as a musician. I always say that you should be strict towards yourself in the practice room but at the same time compassionate throughout the process!
NEVER COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS! I strongly believe that every single one of us is unique, different and has something unique to bring to the world. Playing music is not just about playing super fast, perfectly in tune etc. Playing music and being a musician is not about competition and being the BEST, it is way more than that. After all, what does the best mean anyway? I only believe in being the best version of MYSELF and reaching my OWN unique and full potential. If any of you ever wonder if music is what you are supposed to do, believe that every little thing will turn out the way it is supposed to. I always say, do your best, give it your maximum, and then let the universe make things fall into place. Maybe you are destined to become a famous soloist that travels the world performing concerts every single day with different orchestras, maybe you are destined to become a teacher, or an orchestral musician, a freelancer, a studio musician, a jazz musician or perhaps even something non-music related! The possibilities are really endless and what is important is that every single one of these occupations is EQUALLY AMAZING. I strongly believe in just going with the flow, living each day to the maximum and giving it your best without any regrets. Life will unfold and show its beauty as it does every single day. Just trust the process! People who give it their all, don’t hurt people along the way, don’t hate on others for being different and just stay kind and positive will receive the best in life. I truly believe in that.