Lang Lang provides value to his audience for something more than just his music.
Think about that for a second. He’s well-known for being a classical musician, and yet there is something greater about Lang Lang than just his music?
Let me explain here…
Lang Lang, who is Chinese in his heritage and from China himself, uses his music and influence as an opportunity to cross cultural barriers.
With the uniting power of music and his opportunity to play before audiences in both China and the US, Lang Lang is seen by millions upon millions as a status of a young man who is a significant cultural ambassador.
He also, frequently, is seen performing music written by Chinese composers for international audiences, and even collaborates with other Chinese musicians to create marvelous, well-publicized collaborations throughout the world.
So what does Lang Lang then stand for?
He, and thus his music, stands for positive international social relations for now and, because of his youthful age, for the future.
And this message resonates with musical audiences throughout the entire world! Tremendously.
Think about how important music is to the average person.
It’s important, obviously.
But also think about how important international social relations are to the entire world, especially with a country like China.
To be able to do something like that, bridge gaps between countries, that is astounding, unique, and a relatively rare ability.
The point to take away here is that of course Lang Lang is a virtuosic talent, and of course he is an excellent musician…
But his fame does not derive from his technique and musical expressivity alone.
It derives from his ability to create value for himself and standout in a marketplace from those who have not discovered and capitalized yet on what their special gift is to the world they can provide in complement to their music.
Now wait a second, before you try to think about how you can do the exact same thing as Lang Lang, hear this out…
You don’t have to draw upon your heritage to be a successful musician.
But, you do need to think about how you can provide value outside of just your playing, especially if you want to be a soloist, bandleader, or prominent chamber musician.
Just think about it! When people mention any well-known or famous musician in any era, do they speak to the finer details of their musical abilities first, or to their personalities/accomplishments?
Think about Mozart.
How many people, when Mozart is mentioned, immediately think about why his 20th piano concerto is a true deviation from the rest of his repertoire & how that relates to his infrequently-mentioned versatility in an era known for being rigid and “classical” in its ways. How many people think about how the sonata-allegro structure of his Jupiter Symphony is executed in a very compelling way that is unlike his previous symphonies?
The answer is nobody (except me! And if you’re like that too email me asap).
Most people who talk about Mozart immediately relate to him the following things: he was a genius, he was tortured, he liked to have immature fun, he died while writing a requiem (ironic!), women loved him, he passed away poor, and his detractors were utterly jealous.
True, many of the public perceptions made about Mozart are due to the film Amadeus, which may have or may not be historically accurate, but did you notice something interesting about the above list?
None of the things mentioned above immediately associated with Mozart are about the technical or expressive aspects of his music.
They are things that are associated with him, as a person.
He’s a genius you guys! He was really tortured! His student had to finish his final piece because he died while writing it!
These are important things to consider when trying to make a career with a public audience outside of your immediate social circles.
The combination of being a remarkable, gifted, expressive, and hard-working musician with providing value that entertains, unites, or even creates controversy for your audiences is the true key to wild success.
It is unquestionably the key to Lang Lang’s absurdly grandiloquent fame.
So, how can you provide value to your audience, now or in the future, outside of just your music? What kind of personality would you like to portray to people who invest into your music? What things would you like to accomplish with your music outside of simply performing for people?
It takes courage, but its the kind of courage that could pay for you endless dividends.
Featured Photo by Werner Tian Fischer Via Wikimedia Commons