Friday, August 28, 2009


My early posts to YouTube were just filmed using the built-in camera on my laptop. Nothing at all special. No editing. No enhancements. They barely had titles. And yet, my recording of "If My Nose Was Running Money" now has 801 views as of this writing. Hardly viral, but a pretty simple little piece. I know a few people who used it to learn the song -- But I think I just looked incredibly silly...

As I gave more thought to the potential of YouTube and the ukulele, I felt there were were two main purposes I could use the website for better then just trying to perform in front of a stationary camera:

1) Documenting events
2) Teaching beginner ukulele

To document, I mixed audio recording, still pictures, and limited video off my digital camera. The results were kinda fun, and were able (I hope) to capture the feelings of the event. The key, for me, was being able to use very talented artists who were attending and performing at the events. For Uke of the Irish, I was very fortunate to record some very good audio.

For teaching newcomers, my editing skill is an ongoing work in progress! But I have been able to put up a few tunes specifically to support our beginner workshops. Here are three, the simplest of them first...

And now we come to the big production number. Or should I say, Big Production Number! I think for many this is the fun of You Tube: To get on their and do something fun, silly, and entertaining to just about everyone who watches it.

Our Dallas Ukulele Headquarters video for Yankee Doodle Dandy is a case in point. My original concept was just to use the sheer mass of ukulele players I had at this party to show an ever increasing group. That might have been a pretty nice little video right there. however, the grand finale of the little two minute video was completely unexpected. I didn't know I'd have it available when the party began, and it was perfect because I think none of the viewers out there expect it either! Here's the video:

We were going to attempt to do a video for Chicken Dance yesterday, but we didn't have time. At the Brats, Beer and Beginner's Workshop, there was a lot of interest in our new projection system, and in fact we were going to use it as a giant teleprompter for the video. But when it came right down to it, our main purpose in gathering was to play, and that's what we did. And ate. The German food was wonderful. And drank.

Sweetie, Can you pour me a little more wine?

To finish out this blog, I received an interesting call from a local Senior Living Center, and they found us on YouTube. I haven't really thought about the full uses of this medium for Outreach to performance venues and to reach out to new members -- I've put the website in many of these videos, perhaps with the idea that new players would flock to us. But I've never had a venue find us this way.

Do you think the video that inspired the call was "If My Nose Was Running Money"?

(Thank you for reading Uke Plucks! My goal is to continually provide something interesting and of value to uke fans, uke players and uke group organizers.

Please see our official website, for more information, and DO sign up even if you are out of the area. That way you can see first hand what Dallas Ukulele Headquarters is doing.

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1 comment:

  1. Great blog, Mark! I hope your piece encourages uke players to try the video/YouTube experience for themselves. I found it to be a great learning tool, to see how I look and sound to others. It's also helpful to watch the videos of total strangers, to identify their strengths and weaknesses, to help us be better performers.