When you think of YouTube do you instinctively brace yourself for another cute kitten video or an unfortunate epic fail?
YouTube is not just for viral videos. It’s a powerful tool. In fact, YouTube is the world’s largest search engine. Tat’s right – it’s bigger than Bing or Yahoo or even Google which owns it. There are 5 billion video views each day on YouTube and every day people all over the world are uploading a total of 300 hours of videos each minute. And, no, they aren’t all about the latest celebrity scandal.
When it comes to music, YouTube gives you access to an astounding amount of variety and information. And if you are (or want to become) a savvy YouTube video consumer, you know some of the breakthrough ways that this 21st century resource can help you become a better musician, even if your favorite music was written hundreds of years ago.
1. Discover new repertoire and hear it played. Whether you’re doing a quick search for something specific or just clicking through YouTube’s suggestions, this method of looking for new music surely beats looking through the stacks of music in a store or online catalogs. It’s easy to explore other genres or styles of music.
2. Practice along with a video to learn and prepare orchestra parts or concerto parts or even your solo repertoire. YouTube can work for you like the old Music Minus One on steroids. Better than an audio recording, on a video you can see conductor’s beat or instrumentalist’s hands. And it’s simple to find the exact spot you wanted to hear over again, compared to dropping the needle on an old vinyl record.
3. Watch the masters play. You can virtually sit at the feet of the professionals to observe their technique up close the way you can’t from a seat in the audience. You can learn by listening to the their phrasing and compare interpretations of different performers.
4. Free instructional videos. You no longer need to leave your living room to get a musical education. From one video to another quality and advice will vary, but if you’re stuck it’s a great place to go for suggestions or help on a specific issue. You can learn just about any aspect of playing any instrument, and you can learn any music-related subject as well, like theory, history or aural skills.
5. Assess your progress and help you set goals. You’re learning a piece – how far have you come and how far do you still have to go? What should the piece really sound like? Are you at a good tempo? A video can give you a frame of reference to either reassure you that you’re on the right track or give you a nudge to work a little harder.
6. Study expressive techniques and other interpretations. The sheer number of videos means that you usually have dozens of choices for any given piece of music. This gives you the opportunity to study different ways of expressing the music and helps you increase your musical understanding. Then put your observations into your practice and expand your own repertoire of expressive tools.
7. Create a personal archive of your finished pieces. You don’t have to make your videos public. Just post them privately as your own reference library or gallery of your achievement to date. This way you will have a video record of your progress and growth and a reference if you want to go back and relearn a piece. This is also a great way to store videos that you may want for auditions. Create the videos as you go and send them off when you need to. Most of all though, this is a wonderful way to remind you of how far you have come along your musical journey.
YouTube – how did we ever make music without it??