One of our clients, Stuart Clifford, got in touch to tell us of his experience of the pandemic, and how it has helped open up a new world for him as he began to share his music by creating a YouTube channel and posting his music online. Here is Stuart's story....
Generally, lockdown for me and my wife Veronica was not as bad as for some. We have had good support from our family, particularly from our son Chris, who as part of our bubble did all our supermarket shopping.
We also live in a small cul-de-sac street with very friendly neighbours with a Whatsapp group for the whole street, with everyone looking out for everyone else.
But of course, the enemy was time and boredom, and I naturally gravitated to my passion for music. I’ve always loved music, at the age of seven asking my parents for piano lessons.
When I was ten my elder brother bought a guitar and I immediately fell in love with the instrument. When I was sixteen I joined the inevitable band (1964, the age of the Beatles!)
Now 63 years after I first learned to play, there are still very few days when I don’t pick up a guitar. There is nothing I enjoy more than finding a new song or tune and going through the learning process.
One day early in lockdown, my son Chris said, completely out of the blue, “You need your own YouTube channel”.
“Why on earth would I want to do that?” I replied.
“Because you sit in your little music room learning all these songs, and the only person who hears them is you!”
So we sat down together, opened up YouTube, and five minutes later I had my own Channel. (Chris works in IT so is completely confident with the technology, which I am not!)
My next challenge was developing the very crude method of balancing my mobile phone on my music stand and making selfie videos of myself.
No microphones, no expensive video cameras, no mixing desks or recording studios.
Marvellous technology. I was amazed at just how easy it was.
After I had uploaded a few songs, I had of course told some friends and relatives what I was doing, and I started to get views.
Then the viewings started to increase, and I received my first text reply. It was short but complementary, and was signed by “The Woodgies”.
At first, I confess I found it a little scary, sinister even because I have learned to be very wary of anyone on the Internet.
So I nervously googled The Woodgies and discovered they are two lovely young ladies who play guitars/keyboards and sing delightful harmonies. Plus they live in Switzerland!
My little music room had now expanded into Europe!
Since then I have uploaded more songs, get regular text replies, and have had many conversations with fellow enthusiasts.
One of my songs has just passed 1000 views, and I have just uploaded my first tutorial after a subscriber asked me to show them how I played a particular riff.
Another special experience concerned a beautiful song I uploaded very early on, called “Thanksgiving Eve” which I heard played by a guitar hero of mine called Isaac Guillory.
Isaac was an American, married to an English girl, living in England. He was a genius on the guitar and played in folk festivals and clubs where I saw him many times, and spoke to him on a few occasions. Sadly, Isaac passed away on New Year's Eve in the year 2000 aged just 49.
So this song has always been special to me, and when I play it I always think of him.
A few days after I uploaded it onto YouTube I had a reply from someone who was very complimentary and said it “moved him to tears”
as it reminded him of Isaac.
He said he was a member of the IG Appreciation Society who have a Facebook group, and that the members of the society would love to have my video on their Facebook page.
I was amazed to see this Facebook group – people still talking about Isaac 20 years after his death.
I joined and asked if I could post my video, and received many thumbs up, including from Isaac’s wife!
Shortly after I posted it there, one of the pleasant responses I received was from a man who said my video prompted him to post his own version of the song. It turned out he is an American, living in Chicago, and when he was young he was a friend of Isaac and was in his band in America at that time!
His video posting was a recording made some years ago when he was interviewed on American radio where he talked about Isaac and played his version of the song.
My little music room not only travels to Europe, but has also gone trans-Atlantic!
Thanks to Lockdown, my son Chris, YouTube, and the technology that we’ve all found ourselves using so much more, I am experiencing this very satisfying and rewarding adventure which is allowing me to share my music more than ever before.
If you'd like to listen to some of Stuart's music, you can find his music channel here, where you can subscribe and listen to new videos.
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