May 19th, 2024

City percussion instructor’s beats becomes a hit on YouTube


By Dale Woodard on November 9, 2021.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard Local musician Joe Porter has over a million subscribers on YouTube.

For Joe Porter, the beat went on.
And on, and on.
Now, the result is downright toe-tapping.
Porter, a percussion instructor in the University of Lethbridge Conservatory, has been posting videos, percussion tutorials and performances to his YouTube channel since 2008.
But a video posted earlier this year has gone viral, soaring Porter past the one million YouTube subscriber mark and earning him over 300 million combined views, a number that continues to drum up more views each day.
On Friday, Porter’s family and friends surprised with a party as CASA to celebrate the percussive accomplishment.
“I didn’t expect any kind of celebration, so this was wonderful,” said Porter.
About four months ago Porter started to create a few fun, percussion videos.
“The first one I did that took off was about commercial jingles,” he said. “It was fun things like the ‘We Are Farmers’ song or the McDonalds song. I played it on a bunch of different instruments and I guess people liked it. Later on, my other videos took off. I didn’t expect anything, but it just kind of exploded.
“I hit a million subscribers on YouTube a week ago. (Thursday) I grew over 12,000 subscribers a day, so I have no idea where it’s going, but I’m here for the ride and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Porter started as a drummer when he was a teenager.
He decided to study music at the U of L and in doing so, became interested in other percussion instruments.
“Through that, I just started exploring and trying to learn everything I could,” said Porter. “I started playing all kinds of different instruments around the world and that was really fun because you learn about different cultures. You learn about African drumming, but you also learn about African culture. I grew really interested in different drums around the world, different cultures and what music meant to them.”
Though he had been making his videos casually since 2008, the COVID lockdown which shut down live musical performances gave Porter more time to focus on his videos.
“I wasn’t performing anymore, so I had a lot more time. I decided to make some fun videos, not really thinking anything of it. It just took off.”
Porter still teaches part team a the university, helping out with the global drum’s percussion ensemble.
“But I also teach a lot of music at CASA. So that’s through the University of Lethbridge Conservatory of Music and that’s basically for the community. So a lot of kids and teenagers, even adults who just want to get exposed to music or have a good time.”
Through the comments on his videos, Porter said he’s able to see how many young kids who are inspired to get involved in music after viewing his videos.
“So that comes up almost every day. I see a comment (such as) ‘I loved your video, so I decided to buy a drum set or take band at school.’ That’s really inspiring for me to keep seeing if I can help people in discovering music. That’s a big thing.”
With the views of his instructional videos increasing daily, Porter looks to keep the tempo up.
“I think I have more ideas than time right now,” he said. “But it’s really fun to think of an idea and make it happen.”

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