Friday, August 18, 2023

Time economics of drum videos

Taking a break from a whole lot of teaching, business related emails— there's a Seattle cymbal meet coming up, and a Germany trip in October— and whatnot. I get irritable when I don't get to practice and work on my own stuff, so I'm blowing off some steam* writing, with great hostility and in the most annoying style possible, a script for a 20 minute YouTube video, DECODING STICK CONTROL, that will be CRUCIAL to CHANGING YOUR LIFE, drumming and otherwise. 

...for the worse. Oh my God, greatly. I think what follows accurately conveys the average time:benefit ratio of >95% of drumming videos on YouTube. This is what it's like for me sitting through those things... if I have to suffer, so do you.  

* - UPDATE: Ehhhh I wrote this a little more EXPLICIT than I normally do on this site, I went back
and toned it down a bit. Sacrificing some primo comedy material to preserve the dignity(!) of the site. 


[user innocently types into his web browser, searches “how to practice stick control”, list of videos comes up, the following is at the top of the list, with 6 million views]

[title card, we see the words DECODING STICK CONTROL at a crooked angle, photo of presenter brandishing book STICK CONTROL by George L. Stone, with look of inane, inappropriate surprise]

[30 second intro graphic for production company of long suffering video team]

[90 second intro montage of guy apparently wailing on the drums, with elaborate facial expressions] 

HEY [edit for blown take] EVERYBODY!!! it's JJ, Jim Jackerson comin' atcha again, and [90 seconds of blather, introducing himself, his dog, and his Pontiac, which he calls “The Squealer”, etc] and working the camera today we've got Stevo, known as The Hairball, say hi to everybody Hairball! [camera view vigorously nods hello] 
So in today's lesson we're going to CRACK THE CODE [makes Rubik's cube-like gesture] of one of the GREATEST DRUM [edit for blown take] BOOKS OF ALL TIME, STICK CONTROL by George Lawrence Stone, which [2 minutes of superlatives]. Now, George Lawrence Stone was [2 minutes of superlatives]

[2 minutes of superlative blather about what brands of drums/cymbals/heads/sticks he's using]

SO LET'S GOOO here's the WORLD FAMOUS EXERCISE 1. [goofy montage of guy at a practice pad experiencing various stages of perplexity / frustration / exultation] 

Now the kinda notes you see here are called [edit for blown take] AYT-TH NOTES which you count ONE. AND. TWO. AND. THREE. AND. FOUR... AND.

[looks significantly at camera]

Now you may be saying [begin funny voice] HURR HOLD UP JJ, WHAT DO ALL THOSE Rs AND [edit for blown take] Ls DOWN THERE MEAN, [affects southern accent] AH'M CONFEWSED [end southern accent, end funny voice]

[well known drum teacher who spent the longest 50 minutes of his life with this guy] AND HE SAYS THE R MEANS RIGHT HAND [hits pad slowly with right hand] AND L MEANS— THAT'S RIGHT, YOU GOT IT, AHH, HAHAHAHAHA YOU'RE WAY AHEADA ME, I GOTTA WATCH YOU GUYS... LEFT HAND! 

[hits pad slowly with left hand]

SO TO PLAY THAT YOU GO: WWON [hits pad slowly with right hand] AND [edit for blown take] [hits pad slowly with left hand] TOOO [hits pad slowly with right hand] AND [hits pad slowly with left hand] THREEE [hits pad slowly with right hand] AND [hits pad slowly with left hand] FORRR [hits pad slowly with right hand] AND [hits pad slowly with left hand]

[90 seconds of superlatives about the myriad ways this is going to change your life, 2:1 ratio of words:edits for blown takes]

[two minutes of “critical” instructions on how to practice it in the wrongest / most mind-numbing way possible, emphasis on using “free stroke”]

ONCE YOU CAN DO THAT, IT'S TIME TO J**K IT [frenetic graphic text to that effect, with high speed background video of host jacking up his Pontiac, brandishing wrench at camera] and LEVEL UP TO JACKERSON LEVEL and do it... A LITTLE FASTER. [crazee montage of drumming mayhem, funny camera angles] SO YOU READY, HERE WE GO, JJJ-STYLE:

[plays exercise at a medium tempo]

NOW THE REST OF THE BOOK [riffles pages at camera] IS A LOT OF STUFF YOU PRAHHBLY DON'T NEED, I MEAN EVEN I HAVEN'T DONE IT. [flings book off-camera] 
BUT [90 seconds of earnest, near religious superlatives about how it has changed his life, opened the gates to a paradise of freedom of creativity going dooga-dooga on the drums.]

[3 minutes of entreaties to “like” video, ways to follow on social media, ways of contributing, etc etc] 

End scene


Unknown said...

Ugh! Unfortunately this crap is everywhere it's seems……


Anonymous said...

Lolz, and same as what Ted said. Nothing wrong with using the internet in and of itself though of course - it can be difficult to find decent educators, as well as costly (side note - hence the over representation of the middle and upper middle class in the culture industries), so its easy to see the appeal of the internet, but theres better online resources, like this site. Those youtubers are conning people.

Todd Bishop said...

Thanks-- I just put up things I would have been wanting to know as a student. I'm not chasing "engagement" the way those guys do, so I don't have to be that crass.

But mainly I have a problem with the whole video medium-- I don't control the time, I can't skim, I can't judge the content unless I take it in at the exact same speed as the target audience. It's massively time wasting.