The Story Of An Unlikely Dream
To Become A Musician
The Story Of An Unlikely Dream
To Become A Musician
Its so so hard at the moment but it's a great thing. I feel like I'm making some good progress at the moment especially on guitar & piano. Doing the covers is helping a lot because they're forcing me to practice new skills on all the instruments and they're teaching me about song structure. They are so very difficult and this latest one is really taking time but I'm loving it to bits.
My workload is now epic but this is they key to finally reaching that first step or platform that I want to be on. As always a big part of what's been pushing me is the amazing support I'm getting and what's the greatest is for the first time I'm just being me. I'm enjoying this so much right now I can't even explain.
My goal for the next few months is to work through this whole list so I can start a new one. That's going to take some very hard work but once I'm on the other side of it I'll have the skills to write simple songs in various genres. From there it's about building better songs, improving or learning additional skills and trying to create better songs.
Never stops amazing me all of this 😊
I think it's fair to say I'm Woking especially hard even for me! Yesterday I needed to have a bit of light relief so I let myself just have fun with a quick song. Me being me I still pushed and this time it was about going upbeat and using the piano in a more rhythmic way.
Even though the drums are classic me there is a extra kick which was actually quite hard to get right. I did all up strums on rhythm guitar on the off beats which you can't hear specifically but they emphasise that fun bouncy feel.
The other video is an update of the piano song I'm working on with the new intro and a conceptual idea of the structure for the rest. I'm loving this song to bits but still a long way to go.
I'm working really hard on my new cover. Each instrument is reasonably easy except for one or two parts which is really challenging me. This is going to be so good 😊.
I'm working really hard on the Zakk Wylde solo. And I'm doing lots of general practice too. So busy busy busy!
Its been a while since I wrote lyrics, I've been so busy writing music but th other day I was inspired and this came out. I wrote another today for my daughters school project (lyrics didn't get marked so I wasn't helping her cheat!!).
It feels nice to be writing lyrics again but I still need a lot of work before they're any good.
In the meantime my job list is growing. I have a fun new cover Tom is helping with and I have another I want to work on with Zak. Zaks one will take a LOT longer but I want to try. I'm actually practicing my shredding too 😆🤘😂. Seriously I am and I'm actually enjoying it, something I never thought I'd say but it won't become my style of playing. It would be great to incorporate into my songs from time to time though.
Other than that on drums I'm trying to keep a rhythm going on the kick drum while I add in things like double crashes or a little rhythm in the snare. It's harder than it sounds but it's great practice. And everything else I've recently updated on.
So it's lesson day *dances excitedly*, I'll be up till god knows when doing god knows what but it's allllll good 😊.
For the first time I actually feel focused, like I'm moving forward and I'm enjoying it all so much at the moment. Having somewhere to share my passion and ideas without any pressure is so nice. I probably still apply more pressure to myself than I should but that's just me.
Lesson day with Zak was yesterday and it was awesome as always. We're into the blues and I have a lot of homework plus we're going to learn a Zakk Wylde song which is very cool.
I've found yet another song idea that I'm playing with on piano but the other one is taking priority because I love it. Zak said it was his favourite of my piano songs so far so that's really nice. I'm enjoying building it for certain!
So many exercises, projects and all sorts going that even with the hours I practice it's not enough time 😆.
The best thing right now is I've taken some steps forward and I do feel closer to that minimum level I aspire to. I wouldn't say it's within my grasp but it's ebbing closer. And that feeling is giving me focus and fresh determination. I suspect at some point I will nose dive again, it's pretty much inevitable but it's less often & less painful now mainly because I know there are people who believe in me.
I'm writing a new piano song and this one I want to really work hard on because I think it's beautiful, or at least it would be if I could play like Tom but I'll have to do my best with what I've got. It's another of my mixed key songs but you can see the demo in the video. I've actually added a few more chords than you'll see including a Bdim which I love to bits.
I'm still working on "It's Never Easy" - I've redone the guitar verses and I'm happier with how they are going but I'm still frustrated at my crappy playing. But as I'm always saying better is one step closer - always.
On bass I'm still learning "Little Green Bag" - such a cool song! I'm really pushing hard on getting left hand independence on piano which is going to take FOREVER and is incredibly frustrating. I'm trying to work on drum rhythms over songs and get my foot working without me thinking - that's also going to take FOREVER. I'm trying to funk up more on bass - FOREVER and I'm working very very hard on soloing and of course that funky playing style on guitar.
One thing that has really helped is playing over a basic drum beat and either strumming or pick a barre chord for a bar and then noodle for a bar thinking about the chord I'm playing. I try to focus on using the whole fretboard and to think about rhythms and about connecting the last line to the next one. In doing that I'm working on my barres, my timing, my rhythm, soloing over chords, soloing within a particular scale, scale shapes and I'm sure many other things. What I love about exercises like this is that if you think about what you're doing it's never boring because you're improving so many areas as long as you focus on them. That's cool!
So many cool things about music! I'll try posting regularly again but it's tough with so much effort going into my Instagram posts and my practice is now insane. I do think I've had a few steps forward recently though so that makes me feel good. STILL not being able to play even simple versions of blues, rock or funk songs frustrates the hell out of me though. Only one solution - work..! I need to get my head down and figure out out.
I still have a long way to go but for a first weeks progress I'm happy and I love this new song. I'm still very confined to my "position" when I play but again it's improving and I'm still following my ear with regards to cooky chord progressions but that makes it fun.
I was really stuck how to add more in terms of bass, guitar or extra drums. Then I picked up my guitar and this recording was something like the second or third take, it just happened and I love it. The guitar brings out the piano and the other way too and the simple drums then really sound cool. At least I think so.
The ideas are coming faster and most are easier to put together but I still find it hard when one is done and I'm staring at the chasm that is the lull between one idea and the next.
I still want to do a couple of songs that move away a little from my melodic playing but that will come in time. I've got the ideas and the 'formula' will eventually make its way into my brain.
It's a new week and I'm excited to see where this one leads.
I've done my second cover song and this one has special meaning. When I met my hubby music was a big part of what made us tick and the band we both loved most was Depeche Mode. We've seen them at least 10 times, we own every album, box set you name it!
So to do a cover of Personal Jesus was a labour of love - and it was a labour, it was very hard. More than 20hrs work in total went into it but I'm so so happy with the results.
Then comes the crash! But luckily a few new ideas have already popped into my head and hands. During my lesson with Tom he said I had to start work on my left hand on piano and get it working well. It's hard and it's going to take me ages but it has to be done and I'll be grateful when it is. While practicing today a new quick song idea came out so I'm going to try and get that put together for tomorrow. It's nice, a bit jazzy but I think it will be good.
I'm also going to try and do Little Green Bag. You may remember (if you've been reading that long!) way back when I started this blog that it was the song that made me pick up the bass. I love bass so much now even I'm surprised that at one time it held zero appeal to me! This was the song that made me try and I'm now going to try and learn it to speed and clean. I'm getting there, there's a couple of tricky bits but I'm getting it. I'm not sure if it'll be a cover of just bass. Cover songs are huge effort and gain me no more reward than any other post. I will still do them after all the point of Instagram for me is to push myself and these do but I need to pick carefully.
Life is caaaaaaarrrrraaaaazzzzeeee! I've got so much on I don't know which way to turn but it's a good problem to have. So im learning the Blues so I have my homework from Zak.
I've got my fingerpicking to work on using bass notes with one finger and using the others to solo. I'm also trying to get confident strumming the going for a noodle somewhere on the fretboard then coming back for the next chord to start strumming again. Boy is that tricky.
I'm still working on the parts for my song with that awesome solo.
I've got a rock Instagram song I've begun & a new cover song that is going to do much fun once I get it together. I've still got a bundle of outstanding songs I need to finish and they are growing all the time.
I've got several bits of homework Toms given me I'm still working on too.
I remember the days when all I had to worry about was a few bars from a song! But all this stems from my progress so it's a great problem to have.
I did one of my noodles, this time with s very chilled backing track. Enjoy 😊
It was lesson day today *yahoo* and we started learning the Blues. As you know Blues & Funk are the two genres I most want to play closely followed by Rock & Folk(ish).
It's simple - (well it's not but you get the gist) - stuff to start but I still need to put that metronome on and play play play. I'm excited though because this will open up another set of ideas I can tap into. And you know me, give me one idea and I'll explore it a hundred ways.
He also gave me another tip for writing rock songs. I really want to put together a rock song or two to my Instagram account to mix up the melodic stuff. It involves some of the stuff I'm already working on which is cool because I can use it in multiple areas of my writing. I put together another song today too, this one was about the guitar & piano playing off of each other and finding a kind of harmony. I didn't nail the brief but it's much better than any previous attempt so again it's a step forward.
I'm getting so excited at the areas that are beginning to open up to me. The future is full of possibility and wonder and I can't wait.
ive done covers but only on one instrument but this time I did one for all of them. What I'm super proud of is that I learnt the guitar (relearnt I actually learnt it a year ago but never got it up to speed) in an hour. I also had to figure out the drums, bass and piano riff myself as there were no tabs for them. So that is two giant steps in one day.
It's simple (except the guitar which is not!) but none the less it sounds like their song and that's so so good for me.
The other thing I wanted to talk about is accountability. With the support I'm getting on Instagram I feel the push to make sure I get better, think more creatively and make sure my content is quality. That's a healthy thing because I think anyone posting for others on social media should care about their audience. Not about what will get them to watch but whether it holds genuine value.
That's an incredible motivator and I'm really feeling it. I'm honoured to be in this position so I'll take pride in doing what I can. We're not talking hundreds just a few but even one is enough because that person much like you guys is taking time out of their day to pay attention to me.
Not to mention the encouragement and support I've got for what I'm doing. All in all I'm humbled & honoured and incredibly touched. Nobody outside my closest has ever cared like that for me before.
I actually had my first instance of writing a song today that was very similar to one I've already done. It was remarkably better and yes it was different but it was too close for what I wanted so I changed it up. Technically I wrote two songs in one day haha but I'll count it as one. The piano is impro and what I tried to do was mix up the rhythm a bit more than usual, to phrase I guess a bit more and most of it I quite like. I can certainly feel what I was going for even if it's not all the way there.
The drums was about nailing the timing, getting nice clean kicks and hitting the rim on the snare and then there is that triplet on the snare at the end of every forth bar. That actually took a bit of practice to get really nice and clean and even so I'm proud of that. The bass is only single notes following the bass notes of the piano but I tried to add some flavour by "singing" along rather than repeating the same thing over. The slides played an important part in that but I wanted to use rhythm too. It was quick, timing is a bit better than normal but still wanting.
So on to guitar. During my lesson with Zak he gave me some tips on fingerstyle playing for my writing and I had a ding moment. Lots of the ground I've been covering with Tom suddenly connected. So I'm practicing playing bass notes then soloing over the other notes then bass note etc. I'm also thinking about runs and about double stops and about chords I can play, about finger picking options so I can harmonise as well as playing the single notes. About creating a bass line. So far it's difficult, all the aspects I need to practice loads before I get anywhere near to writing something but I'm very pleased that finally I know what I need to do. Well at least what I need to do to have a foundation to work from.
As a side note I'm really feeling timing so much better. I can now sit at the piano noodle out an idea and within a few minutes I've figured out the time signature & tempo and can record. I'm also finding my fingers working much stronger in piano to created melodies, rhythms etc. Still so so soooooooooooo far to go yet but a step is a step :) My guitar timing is improving too, I find it so hard still but I'll get there.
It took more than 20 hours of playing and over 1200 individual attempts but I have the guitar part done! Well mostly I still need to work on my technique in particular changinging between notes much faster and smoother but I'm thrilled.
It's been painfully difficult but I've learnt so much from it, my technique and playing skill has improved. My ear is a bit better, using all the fretboard to solo is a 'bit' easier, my writing, timing, dynamics and rhythm have all improved a little. And s little for me is a big thing. That's all you can do when you're learning music is do your thing and practice and accept that time will do its thing.
There is still a mountain to climb with this song and at then I'll have an 'ok' song. The difference being I'll know it's filled with a tonne more skill across the board and that is what matters.
What's left to do?
I have to (I don't HAVE to I want to) learn my teachers solo, that's going to push me on again and even if he records the final version because my skill level isn't good enough it will still me a very good exercise for me. I learn most by doing and by analysing what I'm playing while I'm doing it I will understand much better than looking at a tabbed sheet.
I have to write the piano into guitar into piano into guitar into piano into ... well the bit I just wrote. To pull the whole thing together.
I need to figure out the chorus, most of the drums are coming out but it still needs something instead.
It needs a pad underneath to knit everything together - "oh Tom...!".
It needs a second part to play off of the solo where the two guitars come together and the piano needs to be more interactive too but subtle subtle subtle!
Other than that it's done 😆.
I'm also working on a new piano song which I'm excited about. Lots and lots and lots of work ahead on that one.
So back to work I go! Hope you enjoy my playing.
That guitar in my song is causing me so much stress. I feel like I'm going around and around in circles, the more it improves the more the bad bits get under my skin. With over 1000 recordings and at least 15-20 hours sat there at one stage or another you can see why.
Then tomorrow Zak will come in and just get it but he can't write it for me because I have to learn. Also because if he does the song is no longer mine and that's too far. So the poor sod has to find a way to get me to not be rubbish while not taking over my song and putting up with my epic levels of stress. And I have to find away to let go of the incredible amount of effort I've put in for small reward and look forward.
So as you can see I'm in my stressed, overwhelmed and firmly directing all my anger and frustrations inwards again. It's what I do, can't help it, I'll have a good drum later and that will help.
But I also decided that a good impro songwriting session might help. Just go with the flow, find the chords, noodle away and keep it fun, light & quick. It wasn't 100% smooth sailing I'll confess but an hour and a half later the post was on Instagram. I really like it too, it's definitely in need of work, it's s bit messy and there are big timing issues in places but.... I like it. I think pouring out my emotions is something I need to do more often.
I am so grateful for these things right now, between the bass, electric & acoustic guitars I'm spending hours every day doing the equivalent of running my fingers over cheese wire & sandpaper!
Thankfully though hundreds & hundreds of hours of practice have really toughened me up and it's causing me no grief what so ever. Well none to my fingers anyway!
The guitar section of my song is starting to take shape now, it's slow going and I have to keep playing it over and over trying to find the rhythms that connect it all together. The start and later sections I'm relatively happy with, the middle is getting there and I have firm idea about the end. There is just one bit in the middle that isn't quite right. And this is assuming Zak likes where I'm going which he may not.
I'll keep plugging away at it because it's worth it. This is one of those things that makes me realise how far I've come and slaps me down showing me how far I have to go. This time though I've got such a hunger for it I just want to move forward so I can play.
Guitar lesson has moved again this week so it feels like forever between lessons but I do have a lot to do. It'll be something yo look forward too 😊.
I've come such a long way since I started this blog back in November. If you're just starting or are trying to improve I hope this gives you hope, probably a bit of a reality check too but nothing is easy or free. I'm loving it so much, more each day. I truely believe music isn't something you choose to persue, it's something that chooses you and once it's got you on its hook it's will own you forever. I can live with that!
Learning Time Log
How long I've been learning as at at the end of Aug 2020.
What's This About?
One fateful day I decided to get guitar lessons. 5 years later I'm learning four instruments and trying to become a musician and songwriter. I've set a five year goal (Aug 2021) to create a very special song for my 25th wedding anniversary and this is a record of my crazy journey, weird thoughts, strange doodles and unapologetic music obsession! Enjoy!