Reducing – ROW80 2019 R4-17

I’ve been really focused on reducing things in my life lately that aren’t bringing me joy. One of those things is formal piano lessons. I gave up on the formal lessons for now. I just don’t have the time and it’s turned something I enjoyed into something less fun. My teacher was awesome, but I need less on my to do list. I’m going to keep playing regularly at home though. I just felt like someone else would benefit from the time with her more and I’m sure someone out there wants lessons as a Christmas gift. With that said, I’m going to focus on learning music I like and using some songs I don’t to stretch my skills. I need to get into playing with a metronome, but I think I’m going to put it at a slower speed just to get comfortable with it. I think the money I’m going to save on lessons, I’ll put towards a Soundbrenner Pulse.

Also, tickets to concerts. I thought I had missed a band I really like. Then it came up in my Facebook notifications and even though it’s not until August, I got myself a ticket.

Another area is extra martial arts. I think I’m past the point of trying new arts or “collecting kata” as my Grand Sensei might call it. Not that I’m disinterested in learning new things, but I don’t want to commit to those new things the way I do with my other two arts. I decided this one in part while I was at a seminar this weekend. There was nothing bad about it, but while a friend was describing one of the kata at dinner, I could see he was really passionate about it. I didn’t feel that way at all about it. In the end, I just missed the arts I do practice.

Though it has been a short time, I like having less formal bookings on my schedule. I feel a little less stressed and like I have more time for the things I enjoy. I also like not having to leave home as much.

HEALTH & FITNESS

I’m working on getting my medical records transfered to my new doctor.

I also want to get back to skating regularly. I briefly thought about joining a gym, but realized I really just need to get back to skating. Skating, Martial Arts, and some home activities like my glider and Rushfit are more than enough for me to get back into shape. And the money I save can go toward a trip.

HOME

I haven’t done much on the declutter recently, but will get back to it soon. I have written a little plan to deal with the paper portion. I think that is going to be a huge deal once I get going on it. I think I’ll start this Saturday.

PIANO

I’m thinking about trying out the chord-based way of learning piano. It’s supposed to be a quick way to learn. I found an online course that is inexpensive and the bonus is that I won’t have to drive anywhere in bad weather or schedule around it.

  • Let It Be
  • Lean on Me
  • Jurassic Park

READING

I’m about two thirds of the way through Stephen King’s Thinner. I’m really enjoying it and wondering how it’s going to end.

  • 2/3

WRITING: GRIM TIES

I haven’t done more on this project yet.

  • 9,525/50,000

WRITING: SPARKS

I’ve been scaling back to be able to do more on this one.

  • 73,744/80,000

R~

Symphonic Saturday – The Languages of Music

music1I have a number of instruments, but none I can currently play well. Learning an instrument is much like learning a language.

Piano is the one I find most difficult because it is like learning more than one language at once. I’ve always struggled with bass clef and my head might explode if I tried to play pieces written in some of the less common clefs. When I look at the keys from a treble clef view, I almost always know where to put my fingers. Especially on the major keys. The keys don’t change, but when I see the notes on the bass line, I have to chant, “All Cows Eat Grass” or “Good Boys Do Fine Always” in order to have a hope of knowing where to put my fingers.

I’d probably be much further ahead had I stuck with piano lessons, but they were expensive and my teacher was trying to convince me to go to church with her. At that time, I wasn’t one for church. Today, I enjoy it. Life is like that some times.

The other instruments I attempt to play are all in treble clef. I enjoy electric guitar, but haven’t gotten anywhere near proficient. I yearn to be able to play blues on my guitar. The bonus with guitar is that there is a volume control, but I’m really talented at cutting my fingertips, which screws up any kind of practice schedule I try to put myself on.

I have a ukulele as well and its notes are different from guitar, so that is again like learning a different physical language in terms of where to place my fingers.

I still have my recorder from 25 years ago, but I’ve never enjoyed the sound of a recorder. Perhaps the sound memories of 30 or so kids in a room all trying to make music for the first time ever have traumatized my ears when it comes to recorders.

I enjoyed playing clarinet in high school, though I’ve never owned one. I think I may want one again some day though a saxophone might be more my style now. Probably a soprano sax despite them not being recommended for newbies. I have some experience with embouchure, so I’m not worried about it.

I’ve noticed that learning an instrument feels the same as trying to learn to speak a new language. There is that same frustration of desperately wanting to express myself, but being unable to do so. In language, it’s through words. In music, it’s through wanting to play my favourite songs or a particular genre.

Trumpet is my preferred instrument, but I needed to get a better mute that didn’t have a ton of back pressure, so I wouldn’t drive the other condo owners crazy. The Yamaha silent system I have just didn’t work for me. This morning, I ordered the Trumcor Stealth I’ve been eyeing for at least a year now. It’s expected to arrive in about a week and a half! I’m excited to get back to my main instrument. I can start doing some old exercises to get my embouchure back like lip buzzing while I’m waiting for it to arrive.

Music is a huge decompression tool for me and it’s important to have those outlets. Returning to my trumpet playing roots while also returning to my love of theatre and film is like putting myself back on the path I would’ve been on had I made some different choices in my youth.

Music is the language of my soul.

I’ve pushed the reset button on my life and I feel it’s likely the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~