'People tell me my blog now puts me at the heart of the UK classical community'

Frances Wilson is a London-based pianist, teacher, music reviewer and blogger on music and pianism as The Cross-Eyed Pianist.

In recent years, the blog (a truncation of the expression 'web log') has become a popular means of sharing information and opinions, and there are thousands of blogs across the web on the myriad aspects of music and music education.

I have always been interested in writing about music and my own blog, 'The Cross-Eyed Pianist', started initially as a place where I could record thoughts about the music I was playing and enjoying at concerts. I'd already had some experience of blogging through my food blog (Demon Cook) so the initial set up process was easy. In the four years since I established The Cross-Eyed Pianist, my readership has grown from a handful of hits each day to c15,000 per month, and the blog has provided other outlets for my writing too, including concert reviews and guest posts for a number of other classical music and music education sites. People tell me my blog now puts me at the heart of the UK classical music community: I am not sure this is true, but through it I have been fortunate enough to connect with many musicians, piano teachers, and other music professionals, journalists and bloggers around the world. All this feeds into my musical landscape, and my working life as a teacher and performer.

The key to a successful blog is an attractive accessible design which is easy to navigate and does not overload the reader with too much information. Try to develop a consistent online persona or "voice", and don't expect overnight success: it can take several years for an online profile to grow. Keep the content fresh and regularly updated: no one wants to read a blog which lies fallow for weeks or months. My own blog includes posts on piano repertoire and technique, teaching and performing, concert and CD reviews, previews of upcoming events, and more esoteric musings on music and the musician's life, as well as the 'Meet the Artist' series, a weekly interview slot now in its second year. I also accept guest posts which gives readers an opportunity to hear another voice apart from mine.

A musician's blog may take many forms: one of the best is by British pianist Stephen Hough who writes about the multi-faceted life of the international musician. There are blogs which offer concert and CD reviews; still more on teaching, technique and the practice of practising. 'Practising the Piano' by pianist and teacher Graham Fitch is an intelligent and practical blog which covers all aspects of piano playing (it was through our respective blogs that Graham and I met and have since become good friends and colleagues).

By linking your own blog to others, reading and commenting on other posts, and engaging in discussion with your readers, a blog can become a lively place for a stimulating exchange of ideas and online 'conversations', and alongside the personal website - the musician's 'calling card' of the 21st-century - the blog has become an integral part of the musician's online presence and an important and enjoyable means of communicating with one's audience and others across the international musical community.

Frances Wilson's recommended blogs:

Practising the Piano - practisingthepiano.com

Stephen Hough's blog - Telegraph.co.uk

Susan Tomes (blog of pianist, teacher and wrtier Susan Tomes) - susantomes.com

The Curious Piano Teacher (written by musician, educator & researcher Sally Cathcart) - thecuriouspianoteacher.org

Boulezian (independent music reviews) - boulezian.blogspot.com

On An Overgrown path - overgrownpath.com

Frances Wilson is a London-based pianist, teacher, music reviewer and blogger on music and pianism as The Cross-Eyed Pianist. A passionate advocate of amateur pianism, she is co-host with Lorraine Liyanage of the London Piano Meetup Group, which organises performance platforms, master-classes and social events for adult amateur pianists in and around London, and is artistic director of The South London Concert Series, an innovative concert concept which offers talented amateur pianists the opportunity to perform alongside young and emerging professional artists in the same formal concert setting.

www.crosseyedpianist.com

Listen to Frances Wilson's soundcloud at:https://soundcloud.com/cross-eyedpianist

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