The Story Of An Unlikely Dream
To Become A Musician
The Story Of An Unlikely Dream
To Become A Musician
Not as disastrous as I thought!
Important note - I got asked if I was using loops or samples, I'm not. All these are just me playing every note you hear, I used different sounds on my electric piano and put a couple of effects on top of tracks but the challenge was for me to basically be the whole band!
It's 7am and I'm up and recording, how's that for obsession (I mean commitment)! My challenge this week is to record 5 songs using all instruments, and being as I don't really play drums or bass yet to keep it simple!! Last night while fiddling around on guitar I came up with a chord progression and melody and my brain went ding I can work something out of this. This morning I recorded it roughly (actually I cheated and just did 4 bars of verse then copy pasted, then four of chorus and did the same but it's only a guide at this point) and now I'm going to attempt to lay down a drum beat over the top as my starting point.
I've been told keep it simple so that is precisely what I'm going to try and do. I plan to take the melody and use the bass notes as my very simple bass line, the rhythm will be spread out for guitar and I'll add block chords on piano and the rest of the melody on guitar. If that works- IF - I'll follow the rest of my instructions and try and build more on top, layer on layer till the song falls over. I don't hold much hope for this first try!
And here is the result!
It's 10.30am so 3 and half hours after I started recording - just to prove I'm behaving and not spending too much (any!) effort on these. I'm using Studio one and I have no idea how to work the effects so the "electric" guitar echo effect is a little OTT but it still sounds very cool!!! The levels are shockingly bad and it's very messy and it ends a little..... abruptly?! but for a first go I'm happy enough - you hear that Tom I'm actually happy with something I did!!
The only area I've failed in is layering till it burst, I couldn't face it and to be honest I really didn't know what to add so I chickened out. One down four to go - and I have no more ideas so I'm hoping for either a miracle or an epiphany!
Enjoy (as much as you can it's ROUGH!).
Number 2 - Gone Funk!
Spoke too soon, it's been a fun day. I laid down a drum ideas so I could try to do something upbeat for a change and was inspired by this fun number. I am so bad at strumming, still struggle with barre chord changes and really don't know how to do fast songs - I always end up writing sad melodies so I'm not claiming this is great but it has been so much fun unleashing my funky side!! I am very much looking forward to learning how to build on this.
Number 3 - DRAMA!!!!
It's day two, I'm so so sick but that can't stop me working! I've had so much fun building this one, it's got 13 tracks!! I'm very grateful for my Roland piano and all it's crazy sounds. It's not my most serious song but at least it's different, oh and excuse my dodgy drum fills - but it was just too much fun not to at least try them (haha).
Number 4 - Classical
You may recognise the solo from a previous post, I had the idea to try and build over a song I already semi built which I knew would be hard but OUCH - it was so so so hard. It's not great, none of these are they are just experiments after all, but I'm super proud of this one because I know the hurdles I had to overcome to make it work even this much. Hope you like it!
Number 5 - 80's Dance Off
OMG This one is too funny! I started playing around with different drum sounds and layering them up no idea where it was going and then went from there. It's messy as hell but it is fun!!
Challenge OVER with one day to spare - I guess it's on to the next mountain!
One particular area I've struggled in is timing, I know many of us have/do and it's been a really difficult journey to improve. I have a long long way to go yet (if you've listened to any of my recordings so far you'll already know that) but I have found that 3 things in particular have helped me a lot (I struggled with even 1/8 notes for ages).
1). The app ReadRhythm is amazing, it's simple but you can use it in so many ways to reinforce your learning. I use it to tap out the rhythms, I use it to pick them, practice alternate picking, to practice strumming patterns, funk strumming, I use it to practice over my scales and to build phrases/licks. I use it to practice drumming and on the piano (in similar ways to guitar).
2) Drumming without drums. My teacher had the great idea of getting all his students regardless of instrument to practice drum rudiments as a timing exercise using hands and knees and it really does help. Just make sure to tap the foot and to use a metronome.
3) This one I started doing because I needed to practice picking 16th notes and doing it over a drum beat or metronome was BORING. I simply put on a mix of songs (mixing genres is best) via Spotify, find the beat with my foot and pick 16th notes on a muted string. You can really feel when you lock in the timing perfectly and you get to listen to cool music at the same time. It has helped me with my strumming, it's helped with soloing because I can more confidently play 16th notes as well as swung rhythms and triplets, it has helped me with tempo because I'm really listening now, it's helped with time signatures because I'm trying to find the beat and it helped MASSIVELY with my foot tapping. My foot still acts a bit like a nervous tick and often does its own thing but it is a huge improvement in a small space of time. I say helped as there's a long way to go but his one I do every day because it's easy, fun and really really works.
I'm not claiming to be a teacher, expert or even a good musician and I'm still battling away with my own timing issues. But these ideas have really made a difference to me particularly 1 and 3. I'm sure I'll find more on this journey and as I do I'll make new posts. I hope they help you even a little especially if like me you have to work hard.
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!