At a hundred subscribers, I gathered my resources and realised that I could go legit. So I watched a bunch of videos and did some courses. That’s the first thing that should be fleshed out – I did not reach this milestone by pure talent, or anything close. There was a need to figure out the nooks and crannies of Youtube, and so there was learning and research to be done. That learning still continues today.
Back then, the first lesson was to figure out a target audience. My target audience was small and exclusive – piano players of intermediate skill who wanted to play their favourite tracks. I thought it would be a nice little thoughtful community of people who believed in the value of little moments of passion.
Turns out the audience wasn’t that exclusive, and it was still a thoughtful community. In the last eight months I have done so much more than one video a week – I have found tiny projects to work on, people to guide, other channels to collaborate with, and above that, I’ve met a whole bunch of amazing friends.
So it’s been amazing. Some people say 750 is not a lot – perhaps it isn’t. But there’s no way I’m trading the viewers I have for anyone else. Viewers who believe in my vision, believe in my values, care for what’s going on in my life, when I can only return them a tiny bit of entertainment…it’s amazing. So if you’re reading this, and you’ve been on board since the early days, thank you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart 🙂
The vision has changed since I started out.
At first, putting it honestly, I just wanted to be the best VGM piano arranger on the internet. It was something worth aspiring towards – I just had to keep improving my skills and knowledge, and suddenly, somehow, I’d achieve something. I did my transcriptions with as much accuracy as possible, and showed off my abilities by doing the tracks that other arranged shyed away from. It didn’t really work – though I found the earliest and most earnest followers back then.
Turns out, I was neglecting the viewers who I really wanted to serve – the ones that just wanted to play for fun.
When I embarked on the Sun and Moon Easy Collection in November last year, the aim was to allow as many people as possible to get their hands on some of the best tracks in the collection. I remembered the feeling of being held back by technical barriers when I first wanted to play VGM arrangements, and I saw a lack of consideration with regards to playability in the community. The only arrangements that got played on a regular basis were the ones from slow, simple tracks. The faster and more complex ones were only handled by well-trained pianists who had decided to invest a decent amount of their time and energy into the arrangements.
Thus I took a different approach to my writing. To write with the mindset of simplicity, so more pianists can take a look at my sheets and instantly go, “Hey, this sounds good, and I can play it myself!”
That statement summarises it all. In my days as a struggling performer, I loved that feeling. I loved finding those sheets that just worked and could be played. And for the confused Youtuber trying to find his place, that feeling was everything I needed to remind myself what I wanted to do. So I changed my mindset entirely from the Sun and Moon Collection onwards.
Was the Sun and Moon Collection a success? Well, yes, definitely. But could it have been better? For sure.
To put it simply, some sheets didn’t come out “easy”. When I said I would write “easy” sheets, I meant I would write “as simple as possible, while staying close to the original”. There was more than a fine line to be drawn between that and the word “easy”, but I had to optimise my videos for searching. Even so, some of the sheets could have been easier.
The ultimate challenge was the Gladion Battle Theme, which was highly anticipated and highly requested. Now, looking back at the sheet, I find myself asking if it’s a sheet that I’d instantly consider picking up – well, the answer is no. Not really. But I’d tried my best and my time was limited. Now I look back on that as a tiny failure of mine – there was always room to release that without the misleading “easy” tag.
But okay, let’s move forward. I’m still trying to write easy, and I think I’m getting better as it goes. So now the vision has expanded: I want to write the most accessible, yet most accurate sheets on the internet. Finally, a balance is struck between playability and raw arranging technique.
I understand that some of my viewers don’t watch for the sheets, and there’s a whole dimension of interactions going on that I don’t understand yet. For them, I made compilations, and I made the effort to make every playback sound good by itself. The methods are nothing new – hide expression markings everywhere, so it sounds as real as possible through the digital piano sounds.
Nonetheless, to succeed for me would be to see more viewers try out my sheets for their own enjoyment. Every comment, every review, every recording I receive is golden. It gives me the fuel to go on writing accessible sheets, spreading the passion even further – a beautiful cycle.
At a thousand subscribers I will talk to a camera, and give you guys an update on how this new-ish idea of accessibility is turning out.
For now, for every reader and every viewer I have – thank you for the support. 🙂 The circumstances have made this pursuit very challenging at times, but the support has been never-ending. It’s been a humbling journey.
So thank you so much for your time, and have a great day ahead 🙂