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How to Become a YouTube Star

Albert Chang '14 and his musical magic hit it big in the world of online videos.

Albert Chang ’14 has drawn a devoted YouTube following with his pop song mash-ups, orchestral covers, and mix of music and magic. Posting under the moniker “Sleightly Musical,” the Pomona music major and amateur magician has more than 51,000 YouTube subscribers, with his videos logging about 3.8 million views (and climbing).

 changhowto1Start piano lessons at 5, violin lessons at 7. Hate practicing but like the stickers you get from parents for doing it. Choose the violin. Enter regional and state orchestra competitions in junior high. Join chamber music quartets in high school and learn you love making music.

Learn a few card tricks from an eighth-grade friend. Borrow his magic how-to DVDs and start practicing anytime and everywhere—even in the school bathroom. Make a video of card tricks and post it on YouTube under the name “Sleight Sensations.” Get 40,000 views.

Head for Pomona and plan to major in science. Follow your parents’ advice to follow your heart. Switch to music. Land a spot as the beat boxer for Midnight Echo, and a capella group. Borrow their mics and mixer for the summer. Invite your sponsor group to visit you at parents’ home in Fresno. Use your dad’s camcorder to record a mash-up of pop songs.

Buy a camera and teach yourself to edit. Combine magic and music with covers of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Coldplay’s “Fix You.” Draw a crowd of hikers on the Claremont Wilderness Trail while recording an instrumental version of Game of Thrones theme. Interact with fans through social media, drawing 1,000 new followers every week.

 Put on a fall show demonstrating your abilities as a “mentalist.” Wow the crowd with mindreading skills that combine psychology and trickery. Plan a senior thesis performance that uses magic and music to explore emotional reactions to music. Mull whether to go on to film school. Plan to keep performing and producing videos. Watch those YouTube numbers grow.