I wonder if I put a few words here?

Category: Music

Musings 6 (The Conclusion, but not the End)

While some people are undoubtedly having trouble practicing their instruments, my guitar is at home, which also happens to be the simplest place to practice for me. It is unfortunate that I find it more difficult to play than the guitars I can rent at UVic, but I have it nonetheless. I am currently quarantined and unemployed, with the rest of the world, which is unfortunate, but I have found the positivity in the situation. I have hardly had time to be creative at home, and music is one of my favourite outlets, but now I have much more time! Piano is my first instrument, so I have found myself playing the piano more often than the guitar as a creative release, but I have also been practicing the guitar more often than I was able to pre-quarantine. 

 

Post-video recording update:

To begin, I would like to acknowledge that practicing without the pressure of a camera and a grade feels much different, and I always forget how hard it is to record my songs. I also opted, again, to keep both songs in the key of G, since they were at a comfortable range for me.

I thought that after an entire semester, my fingers were finally starting to develop blisters, but unfortunately, not enough to make the filming process painless. If I am being honest, I spent about 5 hours trying to get a good recording of Hallelujah, when my other song  took less than an hour, and by the end my fingers could hardly press the strings down. I find that after about two hours, the mistakes come more often from hand and brain fatigue than simple mistakes. Compared to the difficulty of the other songs, I think Hallelujah was a bit ambitious. I am proud of myself for learning it, but I still have a ways to go until I can play it all the way through perfectly. The combination of the complex chord changes, the wordy lyrics, the lengthiness of the song, and the effort I was putting into each element was quite exhausting. It presented me with a terribly difficult challenge, and something to be desired in one of the categories each time. Finally, my mom came home and forced me to stop recording myself.

On a more positive note, I really enjoyed learning 8, and was able to master it, as well as record the song (which I thankfully did first) quite easily.

 

I can see myself using this skill often in the future, and I look forward to practicing during the summer, when I will have more time and creative freedom to practice all the songs I want. It will be nice to not have a grade attached to my practice, but it was necessary in the beginning for me to be pushed to take that first step. Overall, I really enjoyed this project, and am grateful that I had the task of learning an instrument, since I have always wanted to learn the guitar. 

 

Musings 5 (Unforeseen Circumstances)

The guitar practice is continuing to progress, however, the Coronavirus situation is ramping up quickly, and adding much stress regarding current and future plans. The university has just closed, which definitely makes practicing difficult for some people, so I am lucky that I do not need to use school facilities to complete this project. This would add a lot of extra hassle for me, and defeat the purpose of closing the university, which is to have less people on campus, and encourage self-isolation.

I mentioned in my previous post, however, that I enjoy practicing on the university guitars better than my own, since I am able to practice for much longer without discomfort. I am unsure if this will affect my practicing, as my fingers get sore much faster when using my own guitar, but just like everyone else in the world, I will have to make due with the circumstances. Regarding my song progress, I like to memorize the chords to the songs I am playing so that I can focus on my chord changes without wondering about the next chord, but one of my songs is quite difficult to memorize. Hallelujah has different chord sequences for each part of the song (verse, end of verse/pre-chorus, and chorus) and a fifth chord that comes around with each verse, B7, which is quite difficult. The quick change of fingering, combined with the fact that this chord involves all four available fingers makes it a tough chord change for me, which I did not think would take so long to master. I regret not making that chord change a priority sooner, since it will clearly be an obstacle for me. Since I am also singing, I will be memorizing the lyrics to the songs, which also presents a challenge. Hallelujah has quite a few verses, so I am working on remembering all the lyrics to the verses so that I don’t need to reference any materials while I am playing. To sing, play, struggle with that particular chord change, and also try to remember some confusing lyrics and chord patterns simultaneously will be a challenge. The other songs that I have endeavoured to learn for this class are not nearly as difficult, only having four repeating chords, and less complex lyrics. I suppose we will see how I fare with these challenges.

 

Musings 4 (the second level)

I have been on the ball practicing with my guitar and I am very excited about my progress. Since I am not working as much as I was at the beginning of the semester, I am looking forward to seeing the progress I will be able to make by the end of the semester. Something I noticed during the last few times I’ve practiced the guitar at school is that UVic’s guitars are much easier to hold your fingers on. I find that at home my fingers get sore much quicker, probably because of the strings being metal instead of plastic. This week (the first week of March) One of my classmates and I recorded a duet outside of the songs we must learn. This showcases our talents, as well as the result of the extra practice time we committed to this collaboration. Unfortunately, I discovered that extra marks may not be rewarded for this work.

I’m currently struggling with how I can improve my grade in this class since I already have extra tasks like singing in my growth plan. I feel as though the grading scheme is a bit ambiguous, since there is no concrete way I can intentionally raise my mark from a B+ apart from presenting an exceptional performance, which of course I am already striving for. I have been enjoying class and learning the guitar immensely, but I find myself slightly frustrated that, had I hidden some of my enthusiasm in my growth plan, I could have ended up with a higher mark. In “pass/fail” type classes where B+ is the given grade if assignments are completed, they have optional extension assignments, so it is discouraging to find that is not an option for those wishing to augment their learning in music. Despite this, I will continue to practice enthusiastically, and hope that I can surpass a benchmark that is left to the imagination…

Musings 3 (In the Thick of it)

I have tried to learn the F bar chord, but it is still a struggle for me, so I think I will need to change that on my music growth plan. If I had known it was a bar chord when I set the requirements I would have discluded it. I did find alternate chords for Hallelujah, so I will use these to learn instead

There is also the song “Fragile” by Cooper and Gatlin, that I have found myself practicing just because I like the song instead of my chosen songs. If it works as a replacement in my growth plan, I might enjoy learning this song instead of one of the others I chose.

As the semester progressed, and with a heavier workload outside of school requirements, I found myself falling behind with practice. I really enjoy this project, and practicing my instrument, but it becomes difficult when I don’t have much time at home. Guitar is not the most portable instrument when one’s primary form of transportation is public transit and walking. I actually had to drop a shift at work starting at the end of February because I became a bit overwhelmed, but I’m hoping that I will be able to catch up quickly. 

I am hopeful in my ability to learn guitar and sing, which is my main goal, but my chord transitions are not as clean as I would like them yet. Last class, I switched instruments with Sarah, which I really enjoyed, but I also learned the joys of a smaller fretboard. While my hands are not too small for a full sized guitar, I do not have the longest of fingers, and wouldn’t mind giving them a break by  playing a miniature gutar. 

(A note regarding my growth plan is that I did not put on the capo for Stand By Me, because the key worked better for me.)

 

Here is a video of me playing Stand By Me

And here is the pentatonic scale

Musings 2

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am learning to play the guitar. This is a daunting but exciting venture for me, as I have wanted to learn the instrument for quite some time, and have tried before (unsuccessfully). So far, it has not been as much of a learning curve as I thought it would be, thanks to my musical background. Because I love to play music, and learn songs on the piano, I am trying to do the same on the guitar, which is difficult since I am entering this project with no recollection of any guitar chords. I have, however, played ukulele, and remember the chords in the key of C.

An obstacle for me is that I am very busy with my other job, so there are three evenings a week where practicing is almost impossible. It is also difficult to keep my nails short, as I would normally chop them off and not worry too much, but I am doing some modelling this semester, so my nails need to look nice. This is probably the most difficult part of the process, as my nails grow very quickly.

Nonetheless, I intend to use this opportunity to its full potential. I am a very musical person, so I would like to be able to play and sing on guitar, and eventually perform from guitar (this is something I currently do from the keyboard). I unfortunately have not had the time lately, but I like to express myself through songwriting, which I would also love to do from the guitar.

I am currently learning chords in the keys of G, D, and A, and will soon start practicing the pentatonic scale. I may have to modify this goal, though, since I learned that F is a bar chord and I highly doubt I will be able to successfully play a bar chord during this term.

I hope that I start to build up some muscle memory, as well, so that I can play without looking at the fretboard. Everything considered, this venture is going well, and I hope to continue with my progress.

Musings (A Prequel)

Music is omnipresent in my life; it is woven into my everyday tasks, my work, my leisure, and my subconscious. In elementary school, I was eager to be involved in choir, auditioning every year for the solos at my school. I took a brief hiatus in seventh grade, giving art class a shot instead, but switched classes in the last two months of the year because the choir needed more voices. In high school, I dove into the performing arts, and they constituted a large part of my many creative outlets. I formed many meaningful relationships through performing arts and it helped me develop socially, emotionally, and beyond. I started leading the band at my church in high school, which I still do regularly and thoroughly enjoy. I lead from the keyboard and sing and organize the band and setlist with the help of my mother. 

Like most people, musical or not, I listen to music every day. However, unlike most people, I spontaneously break out into song and dance, and I am genuinely trying to figure out if it is acceptable in public spaces. I also love to express myself by writing songs, even though I’ve never played my songs publicly. This could be due to the combination of my songs being deeply personal, and music production being an entirely uncharted territory, but it is likely because I am a recovering perfectionist who struggles to finish projects. Because of this, I crave constructive criticism. 

This is an area that I wish to continue working on, but in the meantime, I will be learning to play the guitar for a music and education class. I currently am learning the chords in the keys of G and D, and working on my technique so that I learn correctly. I am also practicing playing while singing, which is something I would like to be able to do. I am glad to say that I am enjoying myself, and the learning is going well so far. I hope you will join me on this journey on because I look forward to sharing it with you.

Kiya

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