We’ve all searched out song tutorials and play-alongs on YouTube, looking for that perfect blend of a song that sounds good while using beginner-friendly chords. You may have come across Munson Summer’s channels of MunsonCovers and MunsonMusicLive in your quest. This article will give you a glimpse into the South Carolina native and YouTube sensation.]
One Song, Eight Ways
Munson records song covers in Strum Guitar, Fingerstyle Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Baritone or “Bariuke”, Ukulele, Bass, and Piano. He covers many genres, even including hymns and spiritual songs. “My process normally begins by picking the song out by ear and writing a chart for the song,” Munson says.
He uses simple triads for beginners and will sometimes use a capo to put the song in an easier key. When shooting videos for YouTube, he will often start with the strum guitar version. By the time he gets to the ukulele versions, he is well versed in the chord changes and vocal structure of the song. “Slow practice is where it’s at, to try and really get the parts together with the playing and the vocals,” he says.
Read more: Top 10 Easiest Ukulele Chords
Munson got his start with music early in life. “When I was a child, I used to make up songs for the trees in my backyard. My mom would play the piano and we’d run around it in the most fabulous game of singing and dancing. Later, I was in church choir, marching band, and performed in musicals in high school,” Munson explains. He opened his own music store in his hometown of Newberry, South Carolina after he graduated from the University of South Carolina.
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He earned his Performance Certificate in Classical Guitar and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. He gave private lessons in guitar at various music stores. After he opened his own store, he noticed more people were asking for ukulele lessons and felt he had enough background to teach students multiple instruments.”
The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020 forced Munson to change how he taught and engaged with students. His in-person lessons were moved online and he lost many students in the transition. This meant he had more time for YouTube videos and saw his channel grow during this time. He has since gone back to how things were before the pandemic. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to help this local community and a world musical community through the internet as well,” he explains. He has over 319,000 subscribers on MunsonCovers alone!
Best Part of Teaching
“I love seeing students progress and grow,” Munson says. “Music gives an opportunity to find yourself and grow in confidence. When those students from around the world share their links with me so I can see how they are progressing, or share their stories about how they are able to gain the confidence to play music for their friends and their community, it makes my day. For me, music has helped me through the difficult times life gives you and when I find I have helped people on their journey to a place where it helps them in a similar way, it’s the biggest reward as a teacher.” He goes on to say, “My grandmother used to say if you teach someone something, a piece of you lives in them. That’s how you become immortal. You pass it on. I am blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to pass that love on all over the world.”
Munson lives with his wife Kira and their three children in Newberry, South Carolina. He has been recognized with two Silver Play Buttons from YouTube for his channels, which one earns after surpassing 100,000 subscribers. In addition to music, he also enjoys camping, hiking, martial arts, and gaming. Munson’s videos are available on the YouTube channels MunsonGuitarSongs, MunsonMusicLive, and MunsonCovers. The next time you’re looking for a ukulele song to play along to, you will probably come across his videos in your searches! You can show off your new skills in the community here at Uke Like the Pros! For more information on how to become a member visit Uke Like the Pros.