Still working hard, but still playing!

OK. I doubt there will ever be a point in my life where I am not working hard, but I am certainly keeping my playing up. My work with Ron Eschete continues and is going well. He continually inspires me and provides me with sources of fresh ideas. In fact, I was just noticing the other day how much my playing has altered, without really focusing on my playing (at least, from a mechanical, guitar playing perspective). Just wanted to post a quick update on what has been happening for me.

The shifts have been much more subtle. There has been a drastic difference in how I listen and how I approach my playing. At this point, I don’t really have a good way of describing what that is — but I can feel it! Much of how I approached the instrument before was so limited. I am surprised I got to develop as much as I really did! Now, with my focus on songs and arranging, I can both see and hear things that I never was able to before and I am really enjoying it.

The other thing that I am doing now, that I really never did before was work on singing. Why? Several reasons. First is that it’s not good to be a “one trick pony”. I don’t think I’m a great guitarist, so having another element to bring to performing seems worthwhile. [ NOTE: Before you kick my ass for being too hard on myself, please don’t. I’m not unhappy about where I am at. It’s all good! :-) ] Secondly, since I’ve started training my voice, I found that my ability to listen to music and hear/play lines has improved dramatically. Yes, that’s a fact. I am not kidding. [ NOTE: I am going to do another post on singing and soloing soon… maybe even with an example! ]

Third, Ron once made a comment to me about how many of the singers he has worked with over the years have gotten tunes wrong, because they really didn’t know them. I thought this was interesting, so I’ve started to look for tunes that have been recorded by many different people to research  (compare and contrast):

  • The individual vocal performance;
  • How faithful the artist is to the original/published melody;
  • As well as the different arrangements that have been done.

Finally, I find that I am enjoying doing it — I like singing.  All of these make up for good reasons why singing makes sense for me. For you? Well, that’s up to you. This is just why I do it. FYI, the guy that I trust for stuff related to singing is Roger Burnley. The guy is a monster and I own his “Singing Made Simple” program. It’s made all the difference for me and I have no reservations about recommending it. Additionally, I don’t get any royalties or kickbacks for this, so don’t go all conspiracy theory on me! LOL

I cannot overemphasize the point about learning songs. It’s been important. Especially working one song through all the areas on the neck (all the different positions). From a chord melody perspective, this has been absolutely essential. In many cases, I am not even thinking about why it turns out the way that it does, I am just listening to hear ways where I can get the minimum number of notes/fingers to move and still get the movement in the chords and the melody. It’s quite a lot of fun to just see how many actual variations there are, by getting down simple elements that form the “musical toolbox” that I have been investigating with Ron.

I have also been working on some more “pop songs” recently that have required me to both sing and play at the same time. This has been a good challenge for me, as I find that I am not very good at it! So, I think that devoting some time in this area will be worthwhile. It’ll both help me showcase my ability to perform AND let me work on both my playing and singing.

I have had people ask to hear me play and I intend to give them that opportunity! I am planning on doing some recording here shortly of a few tunes that I really like and I will post them here to the blog. Once I do, I will be interested to get feedback from folks on whether they like what I do or not.

Just to set some minimal expectations, let’s not be thinking here about professional, studio quality recordings. Think about me doing some direct-to-digital home recording with average consumer gear. It won’t be “bad”, but it won’t be really “good” either! LOL. In the end, I’ll let you guys vote on how well I do. Let me say this though, if I don’t like it — I won’t post it. So, we’ll see what happens. I’m looking forward to working on this and having everyone hear what comes from it.

February 26, 2011 · kengon · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Music

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.