Thoughts On: Live Streaming and Videos

A friend recently asked me about making videos and online streaming. Specifically about making guitar videos. I think the first question that I would ask is, why do you want to make videos? For me, I just like the process and the creativity side of it all. I tried the YouTuber thing. Now, I make videos from time to time because I like to. To make a form of art, instead of building a business and hopefully to glorify God in all things. Here are some thoughts on making classical guitar videos:

Teaching or Demonstrating

If you are teaching or demonstrating something in a video, it might be advantageous to speak on the video, especially if you are doing a live stream. Have you ever seen those demo videos where there is music, but no voice-over. Okay, honestly, those drive me crazy. Consider a couple of good examples:

Lighting

Lighting is extremely important in videos. If your on a budget, I would suggest natural sunlight bulbs in a desk lamp with some parchment page as being used to defuse the light a bit (hey, it works).  Here's a video on some other ideas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flc5iP0KwTg

Premiere Your Videos

If you have the capability (from your video platform) you can premiere your videos. Let your viewer know ahead of time that you are about to release a video or do a live stream. This give people the option to sign up to see the video (set themselves a reminder). It could lead to more streams on your video. Not all video platforms offer this option.... and yes, there are more video platforms out there than YouTube.

Other Video Platform Options

I have to admit. I like YouTube. I like the platform. I've learn a lot of stuff from YouTube. However, YouTube's direction is going downhill.... FAST! Everything is being politized and commercialized. YouTube will eventually die off. It's the way of things. That's sad, but there is good news (and even better news).  There are other video sites out there. I highly encourage you to branch out. There are other video sites out there. YouTube is not the only game in town. There's Rumble, Bitchute, Youmaker, Odysee (I think Odysee is owned by Google, but don't quote me on that), and a few others. The way things are going, these make be some sites you'll want to check out.

Live Streaming

I don't know of many people live streaming and playing their guitar on a regular basis. A downside to live streaming is that, while you can add reverb (and I assume EQ), you can't, to my knowledge, process your audio (normalizing the audio etc). I'm sure there's a way to make the guitar sound amazing without post processing. I think that quality of video is number one when doing a video. If you can bump up your quality in your live streams, I'd do that. Check out this page for video & audio tips:

Bonus Ideas

Banners and Avatars
Most of these video sites have banners and avatars on the profiles. My encouragement would be make these good, high quality images. Tell people what your page does and what you are promoting videos on. Be clear and concise. Be classically. 

Thumbnails
Thumbnails are huge on YouTube. It's the bait for people to click (and I don't mean click-bait). The better, classier, cleaner the thumbnail, the more likely you'll get a click (and possibly a subscriber).

Fill Out All the Information on Your Page
There can be a lot of information on you video page to fill out. The site's name, links to websites and social media, playlists, descriptions... etc. Look for videos that help you help you think about and use these options to the fullest. 

These are just a couple of thoughts off the top of my head to start with. This rabbit hole goes pretty deep, but it's not hard (could be time consuming until you get a workflow down). I hope this helps. 

Thoughts On: Completing Projects

coffee and notebook

Have you ever felt like completing projects is your nemesis? I don't know how many projects I have laying around the house. Those ideas that you come up with and are all the rage at the moment, but after you work on them for a bit, they get pushed to the side to make way for the next 10 exciting projects. Ever feel like that? I do. So, here are some thoughts on completing those wonderful pesky projects. 

Get Organized

The best thing you can do, if you haven't done it, is to get your projects in order. I like to write my projects down on a sheet off of a note pad. I tend to revise this every couple of days depending on the amount of progress that has been made. I like to list them in them in chronological order (i.e. in the order that the idea or project came up). Then of course list them in order of priority over that. This means that some of the more urgent projects will be moved to the front. At the time of this writing I have:

  1. An arrangement for Jesus, Your Mercy by Jordan Kauflin.
  2. Need to learn an arrangement for As the Deer by Martin J. Nystrom for our trio.
  3. Need to learn an arrangement for To God be the Glory by Fanny Crosby and tune by William Howard Doane for a piano and guitar duet
  4. Two orchestra pieces to finish, presently named by the date they were started only
  5. Two EP's to record (you see what has gotten put on the back burner, and I'm working on my first full album also.
Just a word of warning: this list can get very, very long. 

Stick to One Project at a Time

Yeah, I realize that's easier said then done. However, limiting yourself to one (or even two projects) tends to get those projects crossed off the list, because you know that they are lots more projects to do. If you get stuck on a project, then by all means, lay it to the side and let it marinate. If at all possible, stick to the one project until it's done.

Take Notes

As creative people, we are going to come up with more ideas than we can ever handle. Come up with a system of taking notes, jotting down ideas, to visit them at a later date. I usually use my phone's voice recorder to hum an idea and to record something I've improvised on the guitar. Then go back to your idea pool from time to time and see what, if anything, you'd like to work on.

5 Things You Need to Learn Classical & Fingerstyle Guitar, Part 1: the Guitar


When starting a project such as learning the classical guitar or furthering your guitar skills by taking up  fingerstyle, you will need a few things to get started down the right path. Number one on the list is a good classical guitar to learn on. Even the beginner needs a good reliable instrument to start on. Many times beginners may not a have the money to sink into an expensive, hand-made guitar. However, there are those who, after beginning lessons quit, having discover the immensely deep rabbit hole they just stumbled over and how much effort it will take to dig their way through it.

For these reasons: needing a reliable instrument, one that is affordable, and something that is not going to set you back thousands of dollars if you discover classical guitar is just not your thing, I highly recommend the Yamaha C40 II. The C40 sports a Spruce Top, Meranti Back and Sides, Nato Neck, and Rosewood Fingerboard. I’ve never heard of Meranti, but it turns out that is one of the easiest hard woods to work with and has little or no resistance to insects or decay. Which I would think would be good….um….wood. :) 

As far as price, the C40 clocks in at around $150 USD. Not bad for something to learn and jam on.

The sound of the C40 is that of the traditional classical guitar. Beginners and casual intermediate players will find that it’s all they need. You’re probably not going to be playing a grand concert on stage with the C40, but as far as learning the instrument, it’s a great place to start. You can pick up a C40 at Sweetwater or Amazon. 

Why I Left Social Media

I thought I would take a minute and say a few words about why I left "social media," and by social media, I mean Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and all the rest.

No Friends

For one, I understand that solo classical and fingerstyle guitar is not everyone's cup of tea. When you throw in the desire to play hymns and glorify God with your music, that field narrows even more. I literally had zero friends on Twitter. I even tried Gab and Parler at one point, but found it .... disappointing. Especially after the 2020 elections, it seemed to me that people just wanted to fight more. Well, let them fight over the sandbox and I'll continue on making music and honing my craft.

No One Following the Feeds 

As much work as I was doing on arrangements and videos, trying to produce "sonic artwork" if you will. When I would finish a project, very few of those who did follow me on Facebook and Instagram seemed interested in the final product. I'm not really one for adding gimmicks to get attention for my work. People like it or they don't. I finally came to the point where I'm okay with that. So, I decided that, instead of doing all the work to place these things on social media, I'd focus more on creating and less on promoting. I still have an online presence (obviously), but now I'm more focused on websites that I use in my craft (for instance YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify, MuseScore, etc.). 

Not Able to Get New Followers 

Even after paying for advertising there were no new followers. As I said before, I understand that there are very few people into what I do, but eventually you get to a point and ask yourself, "why am I doing this?" Why AM I doing this? 
  1. I play the music and record and shoot videos because I want to share the Gospel with as many people as I'm able. Part of this is doing that. 
  2. I love music. I think it's one of the most beautiful things God has given us on this planet. 
  3. I heard someone else say recently, don't look for numbers, look for what you can do to encourage others. I believe music is a form of encouragement. So...
Just in case you were wondering why there are no Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or any of the rest of "Social Media" on my site.... that's pretty much why.

7/27/21 Update. I totally forgot that I had a "Facebook" page and that my wife was an administrator. I've added it back to my social links, but please note, I rarely look at it. The only time we see it is when we post the blog article on it. Anyway, if you want to follow via Facebook, I'll leave up for now. 

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring | Classical & Fingerstyle Guitar

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is one of my favorite pieces. I thought I would give this a go with open triads. Some of the words are: "Jesus is the joy of man's desiring. Holy wisdom, love most bright, drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring, soar to uncreated light, Word of God our flesh that fashioned with the fire of life impassioned, striving still to truth unknown, soaring, dying, around Thy throne."

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Public Domain
Guitar arrangement by Paul Brooks Horn III
Copyright © 2020 Paul Brooks Horn III. All Rights Reserved.

This piece is my arrangement of public domain music. Sheet music is available at: https://musescore.com/paulbrookshorniii/jesu-joy-of-man-s-desiring-final