The boys are working on things.
We're immensely grateful for the support the boys receive from my readers. They're good kids, and level-headed, so they don't make the usual mistake aspiring musicians make: Going to the music store and buying expensive and superfluous things instead of practicing. But some problems are amenable to an application of money. An expensive guitar doesn't make you a good player. But you can buy more pixels and ram them into your videos for a few bucks.
What a lot of progress they can show since the first grainy and dark Flip-cam performance they made in our attic. The video above is remix of Take Five from two weeks ago. The Heir was able to get some software that could handle Hi-Def video. No computers in our house can handle the hi-def files, but the new software allows you to work on them in lo-def and then upload them to YouTube in up to 1080p goodness. We have a Roku box, and our TV only goes up to 720p, but it's as clear as a DVD on the screen now, and in widescreen, too, which they weren't able to do before using only Windows Movie Maker. The sound quality is higher, too. The two cameras we purchased a little while back were capable of recording in hi-def, and now they can make use of it. The Heir also has new monitor speakers on his computers that reproduce more of the full range of sound the two of them make. He told me that he used to mix the songs on his recorder by fiddling with them, then putting them on a thumb drive, bringing them downstairs, and then listening to them on my ancient XP computer because I had a subwoofer and it was the only way he could hear if the bass was recorded audibly enough. Then he'd go back upstairs and fiddle with it some more and try again. He did it like that for months without me knowing about it. He'd only go in my office when I wasn't there. Kids are inventive like that sometimes. It's the reason they're the only persons in your house that can work the child safety locks on all the cabinets when they're toddlers.
Dave, who dared the kids to play a Neon Trees song months ago and demanded I put up a tip jar for them, wrote in the comments the other day:
Sometimes when I feel sad I go to the Unorganized Hancock youtube channel and all my troubles seem to melt awayWhat a lovely sentiment. My wife and I do the same thing. The boys feel the enthusiasm for their efforts coming right through the Intertunnel, and it buoys their efforts. The Heir has also started taking music lessons over Skype from the best music teacher I've ever heard of, never mind met. He's my brother. He also taught me to play years ago, but we shouldn't hold that against him. It wasn't his fault I never applied myself. I learned just enough music to make my wife pay five bucks to meet me, and that was plenty for me. If the boys apply themselves, they might be able to charge their prospective mates twenty bucks to meet them some day.
The Roku box lets you watch YouTube videos on your TV if you know how to set it up, and we had fun watching related videos after watching our boys. There were many that were middle and high schoolers playing songs for captive audiences of parents, with songs obviously chosen by their teachers or by someone that doesn't like them very much. They all looked like beat dogs the whole time. I think our boys know already that music is not supposed to be entertaining for yourself, it's supposed to entertain the audience. It's fun and gratifying if you can pull it off, but you are not there to be amused by the audience. But it's not supposed to make you sad, for crissakes. In my past life, I termed it "Facing the Other Way." If you face the other way from the audience, you have certain duties and obligations, and occasionally, privileges. The boys seem clear on the concept already, which will hold them in good stead in the real world in the future.
The hi-def video files are huge. We're purchasing a stand-alone hard drive to hold them. The boys are almost done with their next numbah, and it'll put Take Five in the shade, I'm tellin' ya. They owe it all to you, my Interfriends.
[Update: Kathleen M. in CT's continuing support is a wonder. Many thanks!]