About Active Melody
ActiveMelody was born in 2010 when I was working as a web designer for a large education company in the Chicago area. I was at my desk having a conversation with myself (as I often do), grumbling about how much I hated the corporate lifestyle. Offices, cubicles, meeting rooms, PowerPoint presentations, receptionist desks, blue shirts and khakis, politics, and the list goes on and on. It was a prison sentence to me. I was doing what I had to do, but not what I wanted to do. Every day I realized that I was helping others fulfill their dreams, while mine seemed to be slipping away from me. My dream was simple. I wanted to create music. That’s it. I discovered music at an early age and realized that it was the one thing that never got old to me, and one of the only things I felt I was good at.
So back to that conversation I was having with myself, I asked myself, “if I could do anything in the world that I wanted, what would I be doing?” I couldn’t even bring myself to saying, “play guitar” because it just seemed impossible. So instead I settled for the other thing that I enjoyed doing and that was creating online communities. I had the opportunity to do that at the education company I was working at and I always loved the challenge of bringing total strangers together into a single online platform. So I told myself, “I want to create an online community around something that I’m interested in”, and before I could finish that thought, it dawned on me that I could create an online community around the guitar. I knew how to play one, I knew a lot about them, and I knew that there were others that were just as obsessed with it as I was.
The concept of teaching others how to play guitar actually came later, I had never given a one-on-one guitar lesson and felt completely unqualified to do that. It hadn’t dawned on me that it was even a possibility. As I was struggling to figure out what this guitar community would consist of, I started looking at guitar lessons on YouTube and I realized that there were lots of others out there creating lesson content, some of it good, some of it bad, but I realized that there are no requirements or qualifications necessary, you simply have to be a good communicator and be able to breakdown the complicated and make it understandable. So I bought a $300 Sony Camcorder at Best Buy, hung a black sheet on the wall in my basement, and started recording some simple 10 minute videos and putting them on YouTube to see what the interest would be. I immediately started receiving feedback via comments on YouTube and realized that there was a huge interest from others that wanted to learn how to play guitar in the same style I played. All those years of obsessing over Freddie King, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, etc. and trying to sound like them were finally going to pay off.
I now had a reason to create the online community, a purpose for bringing people together, and it was around a topic that I had been obsessed with for years and knew very well. I realized that THIS was my dream and the thing I had been preparing for in the corporate years. I actually couldn’t have done it without those years, because I was fortunate enough to be a part of several start-ups within the company that I worked for and got to see what worked and what didn’t work in a business. I was also able to learn the art of marketing products and services online, and the value of good customer service. So the journey that I had been on started making sense, I was connecting the dots.
I wanted to create a website for this online community, but didn’t want to pigeonhole myself into ONLY being able to offer guitar lessons (this was another thing I learned from one of my corporate experiences). What if I wanted to offer bass lessons or piano at some point in the future? So, I bought the domain name activemelody.com one morning while sitting at a coffee shop. I figured that activemelody.com was easy to pronounce, easy to spell, hinted at music but didn’t reference any one instrument, and it happened to be available.
Fast-forward to today, the community at ActiveMelody continues to grow each day via new active members on the site, as well as over 480,000 YouTube subscribers, and over 200,000 Facebook follows. In early 2015 I was able to say goodbye to the corporate life and focus all of my time and energy on ActiveMelody. There are currently well over 500 full-length guitar lessons (which include MP3 jam tracks to practice with, tablature, and typically 45 minutes – 1 hour of video content per lesson), as well as 3 complete courses available (Essential Theory, The CAGED System, and Lead Guitar Course). This is only possible because of all the great support from the ActiveMelody community. Thank you for your continued support and for your friendship. You’ve helped make a dream come true.
If you ever have any questions about lessons, the site, or just want to say hi, you can contact me directly via brian *at* activemelody.com