With the ever expanding web, it has become very important for musicians to stay with or ahead of the ‘technological curve.’ One semi-controversial element of this curve is the use of YouTube, or any other video hosting service, to promote your playing. The reason that I think this can become controversial is because there is a large debate about what you should post online, and when in your career you should post it. Many advocate posting things early in your career, to receive feedback, and make yourself more widely known. Others avoid posting their content online for fear of ridicule or over-exposing their weaknesses.

I happen to fall in the middle, and there are a few reasons why. First of all, I don’t think that everyone should post every video of every piece they have ever recorded, especially if it is a below par performance. If you have started to make headway in networking outside of your own school or locality, and people have a very positive impression of you as a player, then why leave a sour taste in their mouth when they go find a poor recording of “Yellow After the Rain” that you played as a Senior in High School? Shouldn’t we reserve this space for the work we are proudest of?

The way I view our internet presence is much like an online resumé. People who want to learn about you should be able to find you online, and they should get the most polished representation of you that you can present. This doesn’t mean dishonesty, it just means professional and polished. If someone requested a copy of your resumé, would you send them a crumpled piece of notebook paper with your most mediocre accomplishments listed? No. You would send a well thought out, clean document with all of the most important and impressive accomplishments listed.

Many people may disagree with me, but I think this is an issue that should be approached intentionally and delicately. In fact, in the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I must confess that I haven’t broken into this online space yet. I have decided to do so soon, but until now, I did not feel like it was a wise decision. I felt like my potential, my character, and my work ethic far outweighed what any single performance could portray in an online video, and I must admit, I was afraid of the professional ramifications and of ‘putting myself out there.’ I think it is time though.

How do you use YouTube? When did you start posting videos? What do you feel is the best way, especially for students, to use this online space?

Originally posted on DrumChattr on October 30, 2010 by Shane Griffin.

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The photo in this post is used under the Creative Commons License: Attribution – NonCommercial – No Derivs 2.0 by Esther Vargas on Flickr.com.

Dave Gerhart

Dave Gerhart

Dr. Dave Gerhart, Product Manager, Percussion for Yamaha Corporation of America and Lecturer of Percussion at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU, Long Beach, is a nationally recognized performer, composer, and educator. Dr. Gerhart, originally from Fairfield, California, holds a D.M.A. from the University of Southern California, M.M. in Percussion Performance and Instrumental Conducting and a B.M. in Music Education from California State University, Long Beach.
Dave Gerhart

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