Updates for the Week of Jan. 12th

bitmoji_goalsI’ve been quite busy, though I’m not as far along in some goals as I’d like, but I’m okay with it.

I finally finished my antibiotics. This is great for two reasons. One is that I’m tired of being awoken in the night because of the bad taste they put in my mouth. Two is that it’s just in time to celebrate a friend’s birthday tonight with Escape Room fun and drinking.

Goals Progress

French – I did a crazy thing and joined a free course on Coursera that is advanced. Right now, I’m in way over my head and it’s frustrating, but I’m hopeful I’ll understand more by the end of the course. It’s much like how I felt in Statistics in University, only I at least know a little bit of French. By the end of that course, I was able to get 80% on the final exam.

Career – I have an interview next week! If I get this job, I’ll be with the same company, but at a location closer to home, which means I’ll have a little more time for my goals and life. It’ll also mean a return to doing coordination, which is something I prefer doing.

Home – As far as following the official challenge, I’m doing horrible. But I have been making progress cleaning this place up, just not in the order they suggest in the challenge.

The Blood Waitress Club – I haven’t done anything on this in a bit. I really should get back to it and will this week. I kind of forgot about my 250 words a day plan…

Trumpet – I reached out to Adam Zinatelli of the Calgary Phillharmonic Orchestra. There was a story about him that a friend had shared. He had to take time off from playing after having surgery. I asked him if he could suggest a place for me to restart my playing. He got back to me the next day! He suggested I start with lip buzzing and not rush to pick the actual trumpet back up. Specifically, he suggested 5-10 minutes a day until I feel comfortable with the mouthpiece again.

Songwriting – I’m taking a course on this, which is really helpful in managing the frustration of the French course. There are a lot of familiar concepts. Also, homework is partly listening to music, which is awesome.

Lots to do before tonight with writing, homework, and cleaning. I hope you’re enjoying the weekend despite the cold weather.

R~

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Symphonic Saturday – Dulcet Tones

music1After finishing the writing of Act 1 of my feature film, I decided to squawk out a very poor rendition of Any Dream Will Do on my gunmetal trumpet I’ve dubbed Blunderbuss.

It was a little complicated for where I’m at currently, but fun. Oh, my Trumcor Super Stealth mute lets me play in the condo without torturing everyone else.

I’ve had Blunderbuss for quite some time. Since 2010 in fact. I got him when I visited Montreal in 2010. In Montreal, there is a Steve’s Music that is like an unending music store. One section leads to another and there was an entire brass section. I was in heaven. This Jupiter beauty wasn’t expensive, but it was quite the step up from the banged up one I got from e-Bay several years before.

Blunderbuss

I’m rusty on everything trumpet. I used to be fairly good back in high school. I was part of the brass ensemble. Our band leader wanted us to get into marching, but we didn’t want to go full band geek and refused. We did play at graduations, in the lobby at Christmas, and did some other things like played for the elementary school kids. A lot of what we played was Canadian Brass music and things like O’Canada for some games.

Anyway, I pretty much need to start from scratch. I remember some notes and I can get almost musically sounding noises to come out, but it’s really rough. I’d like to get better than I have ever been at it and see where that could lead.

I think the only way to get better at guitar right now without a budget for lessons is to play along with a song until I get it down path. Then slowly move to another song. Plus regularly practice scales and patterns, of course.

And that’s how the river of life flows today.
R~

Symphonic Saturday – Transposing for Fun

music1I started this day listening to the latest play list, Static, from Fringe Music Fix. I enjoyed it though I found there’s a large electronic component these days with drum machines and whatnot instead of a drummer with a kit. I prefer the real sound.

I’ve been checking blues out recently and I’m not sure it’s blues guitar I want to learn. I think it’s jazz that I want to play actually. That shouldn’t be that surprising given my fondness for the trumpet. I’m listening to some Andy Brown on YouTube today and that’s more the sound I want to learn.

I have a jazz book for trumpet and I could easily use for guitar by dropping the pitch by one step. I say easily, but it’s actually not. I have to transpose it and the fun comes when you have sharps and the like. It’s almost like math in a different language. I’m not sure I’m doing it correctly, but I think I have a circle of fifths somewhere around here to help me out. I guess I’m starting that goal of an hour of music theory per week early.

It was actually pretty strenuous on my mind, which is a good thing. I’m doing this while my clothes are in the wash. Changing them over to the dryer will give me that brief break before I come back and test the song out.

And that’s how the day flows.
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~