The Best YouTube Channels For Musicians
By Justin Boden
When YouTube officially launched in early 2005, nearly 15 years ago, it was so far ahead of its time that it wasn’t yet clear just how much of an impact it would make on not just the internet in general, but how consumers intake content and media as well. Today, YouTube has become the defacto go to for video content creators, has launched careers in entertainment, and can stand as a solid resource to learning how to do virtually anything via video walkthroughs and lessons.
For musicians, YouTube has become a vital and essential tool. Want to learn how to play a particular song with your specific instrument? There are at least 20 different hopeful content creators vying for your click and hoping you watch their video to learn it. Never held a soldering iron and want to learn how to install your own pickups? No problem, you can be instantly learning how to solder on the fly with stellar results should the courage strike. Looking to expand your music theory knowledge, work on scales or hear how new instruments and gear sound before buying? It all can be readily found on YouTube.
According to YouTube’s early 2018 statistics, every minute more than 300 hours of new video content is uploaded. By those numbers, some 432,000 hours of new video content is uploaded to YouTube every single day. That’s a lot of content! The music niche is no exception with a plethora of channels, videos, and content mixed among those uploaded hours. So which ones are worth your time? Here’s the list of our favorite YouTube channels for musicians.
Music Is Win
Main Focus: Guitar
Tyler Larson launched his YouTube channel in 2015 and in just a few short years has amassed nearly 1 million subscribers and uploaded over 750 videos geared towards guitar and guitar players. Being born in 1989, it would seem easy to write Tyler off as too young to possess the vast wealth of knowledge he has attained, but a degree at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Guitar Performance and 15 plus years of thorough dedicated study and Tyler is well beyond his years in skill and teaching capabilities.
What really makes Music Is Win stand out among the thousands of guitar instruction videos though is Tyler’s personality. He is funny, uplifting, gracious and truly seems to enjoy teaching and spreading his love of guitar and guitar theory with the masses. It's so apparent that the guitar industry noticed landing him sponsors like Paul Reed Smith, Wampler Pedals, and Bugera among many more. If you’re looking to learn guitar but dread the monotonous instruction that can often come with some channels, Tyler Larson’s Music Is Win is a surefire way to enjoy the tedious part of learning.
Main Focus: Production
1.3 million subscribers and over 170 million views simply can’t be wrong, right? Andrew Huang knows how to make engaging videos surrounding music production and has even been able to hit the internet unicorn with a few viral videos that have spread like wildfire. Andrew's interesting techniques and ultra-original challenge videos where-in he attempts to make music in some of the most unique ways possible are his bread and butter and are like nothing else on YouTube. There’s the video where he recreates “99 Luft Balloons” using only red balloons, a video creating lo-fi hip hop beats using only water bottles and he even musters up an impressive beat using only a single sniff from that of current U.S. President Donald Trump.
Andrew's videos are less about restrictive theory and oft redundant lessons practice and far more about thinking outside the box when making music in general. Watching his videos will have you eager to try new things you never even dreamed of while also adding some notable teaching about microphones, midi controllers and DAW software for creating music. This makes sense when you consider that Andrew has already amassed 28 studio albums and several more projects. Not only is he consistently busy recording, making music and performing, but it’s so much that it’s no wonder he needs to really push the envelope and create unique challenges to keep it interesting. If you’re looking to extend the realm of production possibility beyond general midi files and routine instruments then Andrew Huang’s channel is absolutely one to subscribe to.
Main Focus: Drums
A former Universal Records recording artist with some serious groove chops, Stephen Taylor uses his drum focused channel to really introduce, teach and facilitate the learning and skill advancement within everything that is drums. His channel is so good that it was featured as a must watch by DRUMS! Magazine and has caught the attention of industry sponsors like Zildjian, Tama and Vic Firth.
If you’re looking to add more fundamentals to your drumming, pick up the sticks for the first time or just get a better understanding as to why Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham sounded the way he did, look no further than Stephen’s weekly lessons and advice. His channel really does have it all from fantastic drum hacks like how to fix warped drum heads, product reviews of some of the freshest gear in drumming and an entire series dedicated towards short yet effective drum lessons titled “30-Second Drum Lessons”. Stephen will have you in the groove before you know it and is a fantastic resource for those atop the throne.
Main Focus: Music Theory
Michael New’s channel isn’t just a typical set of music theory lessons. While possessing a Bachelor’s in Music Performance, Michael recognizes that often times the jargon and methods in how music theory is traditionally taught is not only boring, it can also cause confusion to those just becoming initiated with music. Michael focuses on nearly everything a budding musician could want to begin to learn and advance in, from relatively beginner lessons like chords and rhythm to more intermediate techniques and theories ranging from the circle of fifths, understanding time signatures and songwriting.
Since Michael finds traditional lessons boring, he finds interesting ways to make it as simple to understand as possible, while still retaining the main theories in question, something that is easier said than done, and which Michael pulls off with amazing skill. Anyone from the fresh beginner learning to dive into the world of why music works to those looking up to brush up on forgotten theories and applications will absolutely find something to enjoy in Michael’s channel.
Main Focus: Guitar
Look across nearly any online message board or forum devoted to learning how to play guitar and you will see one question that is beaten to death. “What is the best way to learn guitar online?” Without a doubt, you will see JustinGuitar at the top of pretty much every single list. His online lessons start from the very beginning of six-string understanding, teaching chords and how to put together your first progression, quickly introducing some songs that keep it entertaining yet are easy enough to be played with just a few simple chords.
JustinGuitar isn’t just the best resource for the beginning guitar player though, his lessons span up to advanced levels breaking down modes and learning how to effectively listen by ear to learn songs. The courses offered within Justing]Guitar are not just good, they’re superb and so it quickly makes sense why JustinGuitar has worked its way up the ladder of most recommended lessons channels for the guitar player that is just getting started.
The Recording Revolution
Main Focus: Production
Previously we mentioned a production channel that is all about thinking outside of the box. Well it turns out that when it comes to recording and music production the box is actually really deep and demands tens of thousands of hours to master. With that in mind and to fully round out our picks on the production side of music, we think that The Recording Revolution should certainly be granted credit for everything they bring to the table. Why compression and EQ matter in professional sound, how to use reverb for vocals and why mixing in mono is the key to a perfect mix are all answered in succinct and accurate videos that will inevitably have you spending less time learning how to record, mix and master and more time actually doing those things.
Your music will never sound better after spending time running through all of what The Recording Revolution has to offer. At 500 videos you’ll have your work cut out for you too, but before you know it you’ll be packing that dome with more home studio knowledge than any amount of studio how-to books could ever offer and that is why The Recording Revolution makes our list of the best YouTube channels for musicians.
Main Focus: Drums
Without a doubt, Drumeo is the world’s largest collection of drumming instruction and tutorial lesson videos. From improving hand and stick speed to learning what the differences between metal and reggae drumming, Drumeo makes sure that every single base is covered across the skins.
It’s no small feat to amass more than 150 Million video views, but it makes sense when you realize that Drumeo covers every subject with clear and in-depth lessons hosted by some of the industries tightest groove smashers ensuring that you’re not just getting drum lessons, but that you’re getting drum lessons from some of the best. When you’ve drilled through nearly 1,000 videos, and are still thirsty for content Drumeo even has that covered offering both free and premium paid drum lessons on their website. They even have a weekly podcast that keeps the grooves rolling in what is the most complete drum and percussion program available online.
With so many channel options and new ones spreading their wings every single day, we simply couldn’t recommend enough channels. There are so many good ones that this list could be easily tripled without even beginning to hit everyone’s favored channels. Despite that, we feel like checking out a few other channels is certainly worth your time as a musician so below are some of our other favorites that didn't quite make the main list.
What is your favorite channel? Did we miss one that you feel is an essential tool to you as a musician? Let us know in the comments! It never hurts to expand the wealth of content that is turning bedroom musicians into theory whizzes and clean playing, legitimate musicians without ever leaving a single room.