It’s here! A rather impressive Silver YouTube Creator Award for reaching 100k subscribers has finally landed on my doorstep. My YouTube channel, musictheoryguy, passed the momentous metric a few weeks ago and since I received ‘the’ email from YouTube I haven’t been able to stop watching the delivery updates from FedEx. I can now relax. Never did I think that my YouTube channel would ever get the attention it recently has.
My channel started out of frustration.
Back in 2008 I was keen to teach Music Theory to students at the school I was then teaching at, Forest School. Each week I’d get a new student joining my lunchtime Music Theory club but with each new recruit came the timely process of showing them the theory ropes. I needed to find a quicker way to get them started and thus allow me to spend more time with those already enrolled.
I created an animated video which I uploaded to YouTube, a relatively new video platform back then. Students needed to have watched that video before they could join the club. Sneakily, the video contained various bits of fundamental knowledge and I could spot straight away if they said they had watched it when they hadn’t.
At first, and for many months, the hits on my sole video were pretty abysmal. I didn’t create it for the hits though, it was just for those who wanted to join my club. Later that year something unexpected happened, a random person put a link to my video on Wikipedia. To this day I still have no idea why but it stayed on the Circle of Fifths page for several years. The video has since been removed but the exposure quickly pushed my hits into hundreds, thousands and then hundreds of thousands.
Over the following few years I added more and more videos aiming to cover all of the key topics in the ABRSM Music Theory syllabus. I got messages from across the globe thanking me for my work and requests for the next topic that I should tackle. (I also got some quite offensive messages from people who didn’t like my voice, my animations, my explanations and, in one case, my sexuality. You can’t please everyone).
I set up the website musictheoryvideos.com which became a finalist in the 2014 Music Teacher Awards. All was going well until 2016 when my life was turned upside down; the birth of my first child. Overnight, the output of my videos stopped. Between 2016 and 2022 I’ve only created a handful of videos despite having created the graphics for new videos back in 2015. I never realised how much life would change with children. That said, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
It’s now 2022 and my hits and subscribers have continued to grow despite my periodic uploads to YouTube. It seems that my unique use of animation, clear voice and descriptions of Music Theory continue to be appreciated by musicians. Home learning during Covid, of course, helped push up my viewer stats but there’s something to be said for YouTube videos that are more about quality content rather than quirky personality.
The future? Hopefully more videos but I don’t expect to see the Gold YouTube Creator Award for 1m subscribers any time soon – I’ll leave that to the big players. The next significant milestone, however, is in late 2023 when I should hit 10m views according to Social Blade. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.