Three years ago, on Christmas Day, I set up a keyboard in my living room, handed my brother my camera, and told him to hit record.
Somehow, I had convinced him to bare with me for several takes and, half an hour later, I did something that would change my life forever.
I made a YouTube Channel.
Now, how (you are probably wondering) could making a YouTube channel possibly change your life? It starts with less than 100 views and maybe a handful of comments. It takes one stranger to thank you for sharing your work, and another who promises to watch anything else you publish.
So you make another video, just to see what happens. You post a song that means a lot to you; a song you wrote that has your soul tucked away between the lyrics. A song you wrote at the piano in your living room, presuming you'd never have the opportunity to share it with anyone.
You upload it, watch as the views slowly crawl upwards, and you imagine all the people who sat through your song and then hit the like button. It's enough to blow your mind.
So, that's how it starts.
See, if you're in Grade 10 and can't catch a ride to perform at gigs around downtown every week, YouTube is the perfect performance outlet.
You can stay at home, rehearse, and perform your music without having to carry a guitar halfway across the city.
Social networking makes it easy to share it with your friends, and for them to share it with their friends. And no one has to pay a dime for tickets or gas.
Ninety views turns into 300 which triples into 1,000, and some tiny little voice in your head starts whispering that maybe you can do this.
So I kept it up.
I graduated from high school last summer and temporarily considered wiping the slate clean and deleting my YouTube account.
By I couldn't quite bring myself to do it. I had a few hundred subscribers and it felt unjust to just disappear.
I had developed somewhat of an addiction to uploading material, and looking back on the videos I had posted was like turning the pages of a personal portfolio.
Then, several months ago, stuff started to happen.
I started meeting people who had seen my videos. Connections were made with individuals I never would have met had it not been for my channel: musicians, actors, producers, and cinematographers.
Some of them were students, who found they could release their creative energy and build experience by publishing their work on that platform, others were professionals who were simply looking for other artists, passionate about what they did.
Back in December, I wrote a discouraged article about being tempted to abandon my hope of one day becoming a musician.
But I think YouTube just may be the way to balance both a practical reality and a passionate musicality.
Anna Toth is a student at UBC, and a YouTube musician @musicdoodles from Richmond.
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