The first few weeks were special. I felt so free to work on projects that I never had time for before. I composed more music in March and April of 2020 than I have in my whole life. Since then I’ve been on a breakneck publishing, online concertizing and videoing adventure. (It might not sound breakneck to you after reading this, but trust me that there is more work behind the scenes than I ever expected.)
During quarantine I produced my first live stream concert on Facebook, and then a few months later, my first live stream concert on YouTube (click here to watch). Between those two events, I downloaded OBS (Open Broadcast Software) and started becoming acquainted with stream keys. (We are still just acquaintances, not friends.)
My weekly teaching schedule continued, for the most part, but moved online, via Facetime, Skype, and Zoom. By now I’ve rigged a complicated system of extension chords around the feet of my harps so that I can have my devices plugged in at all times, as well as my normal studio lights and music light.
My social life also moved online, via all the above-mentioned platforms as well as Google Meet and more frequent texting, calling, emailing and Facebook messaging, not to mention Instagram comments and messages! Yes, I joined Instagram, able to resist no longer. “Stories” on Instagram remain a mystery, but I’m settling in without too much trouble and happily feeding my current sewing and costuming enthusiasm.
Speaking of sewing, I recently trimmed my first-ever Regency bonnet, using ribbon and lace from my stash. I felt like I was connecting with my inner (and hopefully not very prominent) Lydia Bennet. I also drafted and sewed a Regency gown and foundation garments. Why start such a frivolous project in a time of such monetary uncertainty for musicians? Well, first of all, I did it without a pattern, so that saved several dollars right there, but also, it’s for the YouTube videos.
Yes, I am dipping deeper into the YouTube world. With all the extra time to arrange and practice (I’ve learned three Bach preludes since March (pieces that are so difficult and usually take so long to learn I don’t have time to work on them)) I’ve started publishing my harp arrangements on Sheet Music Plus. Because Sheet Music Plus’ search function is so horrible, the only way anyone will ever discover my work is if I make lovely YouTube videos of it.
So I’ve also been learning the ways of iPhone videography, including how to use a music stand as a tripod, how to make iMovie do what you want, how to use various mics to record audio in the studio and then sync with with the video, and how to manage all the very large files that are par for the course when making videos. In middle school I spent lots of time messing around with Apple software; now I’m gratified to actually use my Garage Band and iMovie knowledge for my career.
I have no aspirations to become a YouTuber, but I’m enjoying this chance to stretch myself and do something different. I also am happy to justify making all sorts of costuming and sewing projects by saying, “It’s for a YouTube video.” I’m hoping to keep it up even as regular work starts to trickle back in.
If you’re interested in checking out some of my other YouTube videos, visit my YouTube channel.
Twin-Cities harpist Stephanie Claussen invites audiences to explore new locales and eras through her music. Influenced by her love of fairy tales, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the world music section at her local library, she performs a unique mixture of Scottish tunes, J.S. Bach, and anything rich in medieval or French harmonies. Sign up for her e-mail newsletter to receive notifications of upcoming performances and other announcements.