The Story Of An Unlikely Dream
To Become A Musician
The Story Of An Unlikely Dream
To Become A Musician
It's been a long time since I updated on this but I've been plugging away, bar by bar and OMG has it been hard. It's a case of learning the notes, learning to add them on to what I can already play then learning the timing of the notes which I always get wrong at first. Then learning the dynamics then going on. Then when I get to a point I listen to the timing on a piano only transcription I put into Staffpad and figuring out where my timing is still off. Even then it's so hard.
I'm very proud of this for that reason, when I first played it through much of it I didn't recognise but now I'm happy that most - not all - but most of it sounds pretty good. I think a few more months to learn the rest and probably a few more to really get it down and this will be one of my go to songs to play. And that's actually pretty cool!
Here you go the full vid of me playing up to where I can so far which is the end of the first chorus.
Another new big challenge - soloing with double stops!
WARNING - I'm sharing my progress, these audios contain some very bad soloing by me (awesome rhythm playing is not me you can enjoy that if I haven't spoiled it entirely!!). The second one is by far less offensive but both are very very poor - sorry! See told you guitar was my weak link! This is stage one - I intend to get better so that I can link this learning progression (that's the idea!!!).
Tom is the nicest strummer ever - that's him in the audio (with me attempting to play and totally ruining it!), I think he should just make a CD of that because I'd buy it!! But when it comes to soloing over it .... ARGHHHHHHHH! It's partly because I'm not used to his rhythmic structure and he's always throwing in curve balls to mix it up. But that's what I asked for, it's what I want so no point whinging I just need to figure this puzzle out like all the others.
One day I'll do a post and it will say "oh I learnt this and it was easy" shock horror. Probably not! That's not my way, even if it's easy I'll complicate the hell out of it because I want more and because I'm a pain in the backside!
What I have to do this week is use double stops with rhythm and some extra notes. It sounds easy, I'm sure to lots of people it is, but not to me (ohhh nooooo!). The first time we tried this a few months back it ended very very badly - poor Tom (and me, I was quite distraught, my fault not his!) but that was months ago and the work we've done together since means I feel so much more confident trying this now. I'm very proud of that because it's a big thing for me.
Anyway I did try Wednesday in the lesson, I really did, and to his credit Tom was very patient with me and gave me a lot of room just to try and find my feet (sadly I stayed firmly on my arse). But today I've put on some of his recordings and I've made a little progress over them especially this one. I'm feeling the rhythm of his strumming a bit more, when I'm not concentrating I can hear the chord changes but when I start soloing that goes to pot so it's something I want very hard to work on because it will help me unbelievably.
Anyway - I'm starting simple, I've found some areas that sound mostly nice over most of the chords and I've found alternative close intervals that work melodically so I can change it up a bit. I've got a few patterns I'm working with which is helping a lot. Wednesday I couldn't find anything that didn't sound offensive but I'm getting the idea now at least a little. I'm finding varying up the rhythms the hardest part, I think that's going to be the one thing that is going to take a lot of lessons and practice because it's not natural, I have to learn it, understand it, experiment with it and eventually much like the timing issue feel it more.
For now I need to knuckle down and play, play, play, play, play. I'm recording so I can listen back and hear when it's not right - ok when it's particularly not right!!! For instance the first couple of recordings I did my usual and put way too much in there. But I will figure it out at least to some degree, as long as I can give us something to work off next week that's good and I'm determined not to let him or myself down. I know Zak will be so grateful too when I finally sort out my rhythm and stop endlessly noodling haha!
One step at a time - try, rework, relearn, review (lots of words with re in them), research (see) and then the next step, push on one tiny bit at time. It's the best I can do with this but I am really really looking forward to making progress on this and that's a huge driving force.
I'm working like mad this week, so much to practice and so many things to learn and right now they all feel incredibly hard. On top of that I've decided to challenge myself to write another song, this time based around acoustic guitar but on a more stripped down level. I want to try to write something that will leave room in the drums for some of the dynamics I talked about yesterday and give me an opportunity to develop "conversation" between the instruments. It will also give me a bit of room to try and incorporate a little bit of slide guitar too. Do I feel nervous about that or what (they answer to that if you didn't guess is HELL YES), no lesson on how to do it just a quick 'this is roughly how you do it off you go' - this should be interesting!
My teacher Tom has a style of playing I love, eventually I want to mix his more rhythmic style with Zaks cool lead style to form my own blend. I have a very very rough idea of what I'm looking to achieve but I won't really know until I can do both and start to experiment. Looking forward to that though - that's where I shine, I take two things that people tell me won't go together and I not only make it work I make it really work but I need to good picture in my head first - if I can do that here it should be lots of fun.
So I'm mixing plucking chords, strumming and finger picking and trying to focus on a mixture of rhythm and melody mixed together to give me a foundation for the other instruments to play around. At least that's the initial idea, I really REALLY don't know where this one is going. I'm starting with some fun 7th and 9th chords and it's in the key of Em which is a new one on me but it's working nicely (so far) and creating a really strong mood and I have a cheerier 'walk down' style section I'm going to work in there which is nice.
I do know this one is going to take time, it's a style I've only played twice before when learning songs Tom gave me and I have no idea how he goes about writing so it will be a lot of trial and error but it will also give me a real challenge rather than throwing out another simple song. In the meantime another may happen anyway, they tend to just vomit out of my head without warning so we'll see!
As an extra side note if you want to catch up on how "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" is going then head on over to my Instagram page. Still a long way to go but it's getting there. As always have a great day (or evening) depending when you read this!
Very rough and definatly not ready!
So! I did it folks, I actually had, for Thursday so on time, a rough draft of a fully recorded 5 1/2 minute blues song. When I say draft I mean draft - I shoved out of time drums down with out of time bass and added some out of time piano and noddled guitar. But the point was to take a genre I couldn't play in and push to get something down that wasn't pretty but resembled a structured song. I am so relieved I've got five years to improve on this (haha!).
I do plan to take this one further, I want to redo the drums to get them as clean as possible. Then the bass on top to make sure that foundation is strong for the other parts. The piano and guitar I want to be more interactive with one another so the main verses and chorus structure will be rewritten & reworked as will the intro/outro sections so they are more playful. The solo section will stay predominantly guitar but I will be throwing in some cheeky piano here and there where opportunity presents itself - or at least playing with the idea to see what happens.
Finally the guitar solo I will be completely redoing, the drums and bass will build throughout the 36 bars and the guitar will follow the chords more and build in tension. That's the plan.
And that's why I'm posting this very rough first draft (please feel free to giggle when you listen, I have no delusions about the quality of this but considering I totally pulled this one out of my unmentionable I think it's cool none the less!!!). It's going to be ages before I'm finished and can post an update but hey this is all very cool anyway - last week I couldn't play the blues at all 0% now I can play 3% (haha) but I also learnt more about structure, about recording and pushed myself. And that's what this is all about - it's not about being perfect, or pretty it's about learning, developing and growing.
And I learned to let go and relax, that I can achieve much more by just winging it, to not 'over think' because it can always be redone later. For someone who's obsessed with getting things "perfect" that's a big BIG step.
The song sounds like (and is) a real mess but to me it's still a huge leap forward and that was the point...... So learning, developing & growing via this project - Box ticked!
Yep I'm actually starting this post with a Star Wars quote (did you recognise it, if you did I'm proud of you!) as the title because 1) In my little head it's quite funny 😆 and 2) It's very relevant to today's subject.
It's easy to think that as a housewife my life is free and easy and I have all the time in the world. And maybe if I wasn't such a nut it would be but I've already said when I do something I go (pardon the expression) balls out. I'm under no illusion that this dream I'm aiming for is ridiculously hard, extreemly unlikely and that's if I wasn't trying to get there in just five years but add on the fact that I'm not going to college, I have little to no support structure and it's suddenly so crazy you might wonder why I'm even trying.
I might wonder why I'm even trying! I'm always telling Tom (my brilliant multi teacher) that he has a very unique set of skills and he certainly does but.... so do I. The way my life panned out has meant I needed to do things differently. I needed to push myself to breaking point and beyond, I had to learn to think 30 steps ahead, I had to learn how to do each step while I was thinking of it and I had to multitask like a octopus on steroids. So I do believe I have the skills required but I need one very important thing, something that in the past has eluded me and cost me time, money and sanity (queue dramatic music - this blog will be so much better when I can put a soundtrack to it don't you think?).
I need FOCUS. I can do a million (no I'm not being literal but I'm allowed to exaggerate now and again!) tasks at once but what I suffer badly with is two things, and I'll need to master both if I'm to have a chance in hell of reaching destination musician.
1). I need to pick my battles carefully. Picking the right song or practice technique can push me very quickly. The wrong ones will have me wasting time and effort - both are now precious commodities.
2) I need to organise these battles carefully. There is so much I can do, so much I need to do, that every week now becomes an opportunity to leap forward or a danger that I'll work my butt off to go absolutely nowhere. I've already learnt that I can get more through doing things I initally think are less important so it's going to be difficult to recognise opportunities if I'm not careful.
Am I panicked - yes.
Do I believe it's even possible - I think so.
Can I personally do it - 50/50 - with the right focus, hard work and a little luck - maybe.
Will I do it? I really don't know, having the skills to push doesn't guarantee me the talent I need and that's still where I fall down confidene wise but I'm going find out anyway - so to work we go!
Oh and I'm aware it didn't end too well for the poor freedom fighter in Star Wars but don't worry - I've got it covered!
I know it's two posts today but I've got a new challenge.
So this week is all about the blues (in more sense than one!), I love the blues but I can't play anything (except the blues scale which on it's own is a little dull!) on any instrument soooooo I'm diving in head first eek. The challenge I've set myself this week is to record one full blues song, intro, verses, chorus, outro etc and record it. Being as I'm doing this totally solo I'm feeling a little ........ ok a LOT
Aww - breaking into a side note - I have to tell you all what a wonderful man I married - I'm feeling really low today (I've suffered with depression since I was 12 and I have my good days and I have my really tough ones) and he's literally just text me and told me to go to my fav record shop. :) I may be a royal PITA but the simplest of things mean so much to me.
Anyway back on track .... This time I'm going simple simple simple to the extreme. I've already found several cool blues drum rhythms to play with and I've been playing over the top of some traditonal blues songs to get an idea of a few more. Then it's on to Bass Guitar because I will HAVE to keep that dead simple, then guitar and finally piano. It's going to be one hell of a week but I'm actually looking forward to it. I'll keep a note of any YouTubers, websites or books I find particularly helpful and I guess watch this space for the result.
I may be down but you can never count this girl out!!!!
Learning Time Log
How long I've been learning as at at the end of Dec 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!