Can Bach Save the World if Yo Yo Ma Brings It to Us?

By Aimee Lauren Stern, Chief Bravery Officer, Brave Now PR

He is certainly giving it his best shot. The Bach Project, which Yo Yo Ma rolled out in August 2018, is a two year project in which the cellist commits to playing all of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Suites for Cello in 36 cities around the world. Yo Yo Ma discussed The Bach Project at the Atlantic Festival last week.

Alongside each concert is a Day of Action, which can be a series of conversations and collaborations that explore how culture can help us imagine and build a better future. Days of Action range from building 36 wooden tables in Pittsfied, Massachusetts, to discuss the concept of a resilient community to planting a community garden.

The Bach Project tour has reached, Chicago, New York City, Flint, Michigan, and Washington DC, among other cities, and is headed to Australia and Indonesia this fall. It will conclude in summer 2020.

When Yo Yo Ma first began playing the cello at the age of four the first song he played was Bach’s prelude to the first Cello Suite. He is still playing it. “Music can feel, inspire, create wonder,” Ma said.

Bach’s six Cello Suites are for unaccompanied cello and are either performed by Yo Yo Ma solo or with other musicians. y Johann Sebastian Bach. They are some of the most frequently performed and recognizable solo compositions ever written for cello.

Culture needs a seat at the table, says Ma. His point is that sharing what we love about art, music,  and telling each other our stories brings us together. The overriding message of the tour is that culture brings us together, and telling each other our stories turns other into us. bring all of us together as a species, through whatever art form we choose to inspire us. His is obviously music.

Aimee SternAbout the Author

Aimee Stern is the president of Brave Now PR and Content based in Washington DC. She specializes in helping senior executives find their industry voices, develop a platform and share it broadly.

11 Podcasting Tips for Ambitious Creators

By Aimee Stern, Brave Now PR

I went to a well-attended podcasting seminar at George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration recently. Sponsored by PRSA-NCC, speakers included journalists, GWU professors, production companies and other types of professional podcasters.

They discussed how to create a successful podcast and offered a multitude of tips for how to find your audience, improve marketing, audience engagement and other areas.  I sat in on two sessions: “Production Strategies and Post Production Tips,” with Molly Ruland, CEO and Founder, Heartcast Media and Ian Enright, CEO & Co-Founder, Goat Rodeo; and

“Launch Campaigns and Promotion” featuring Jenn Sherman, Founder and Chief Strategist, The Influencer Collective and Michael Hempen, of the Associated Press and the National Press Club. Tips are highlights from their talks.

My favorite tip?  If you want to learn about podcasting do not read stuff on the Internet. Go to your local music store and talk to them.  They know a lot more about sound and can tell you about the podcasts they listen to.

Find Your Audience                                                               

You are nothing without your audience. Building it quickly will help you get feedback and make continuous improvements.

  • Get their emails. You can ask for emails when a listener signs up or during the podcast. Experts say that if someone listens to your podcast for more than 20 seconds odds are they will give you their email.
  • Be a guest on other people’s podcasts that have big audiences. That way you can boost your audience through theirs.
  • Invite guests with large followings to be on your podcast and cross-promote their appearances with them.

Engage Your Audience

Some episodes will be more successful than others. Measure everything. Google Analytics can help.

  • Your friends and families will be your worst critics. Don’t take it personally.
  • Ask “Do I really have to be funny?” If you are trying too hard, chances are you should not. Engagement does not always mean humor. Tell a compelling story.
  • Determine what makes your podcast engaging to listeners and how to do more of it. A great way to figure this out? Ask.
  • Your audio needs to be good but not perfect. Since podcasts are listened to in so many different settings there will be interference with sound. If you are engaging you will keep your listeners.

Keep Your Audience

I was struck by how marketing-driven the podcasters and even the professors were. Marketing can help you find your audience and keep them.

  • Have an ask. If someone sits through your entire podcast you can ask them to share it and you should.
  • Brand your first group of shows as your first season. Many podcasts don’t make it after a couple of shows and saying its season one of yours sends the message that you plan to stick around.
  • Use Facebook Watch. Facebook has a rule that you cannot advertise a podcast while it is live. But you can preview your podcast and promote that – giving snippets of what is coming on your next how.

About the Author: Aimee Stern is a writer and PR consultant who loves learning. Her company, Brave Now PR, works with thought leaders to help them shape and share their great ideas.