Tag: music-making

January 15, 2010
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I have acquired a nice tenor ukulele, and this month have been pretty much exclusively concentrating on that, music-wise. At first, my playing was a bit halting, but now I am finding I am reaching the chords quite well, and have had good fun working out what popular songs go well with the ukulele.

However, tonight I was trying some Joe Jackson, and one particular song that I thought would work well, just didn’t. However, I was enjoying myself with the song, so I put down the ukulele and picked up my old EKO, to try it on there.

January 8, 2010
November 7, 2009
July 4, 2009
July 4 rolls around again, and with it comes the 50 Songs in 90 Days Challenge.

The challenge runs from July 4 for 90 days, and the aim is to write 50 songs in that time. Originally a Yahoo! group, the challenge group moved over to FAWM a year or so ago, although it still has a presence at Yahoo!

May 8, 2009
Had another excellent evening at the George Hotel at Leadenham. I had to travel up for a meeting at Bridlington during the day, but popped in on Tim and Annie on the way back, and then went along to the George with them. Many thanks to Annie for feeding me at such short notice!

Less people were attending this month from previous months I have seen, but we still had a very good time of it.

March 13, 2009
Well, not so much a new toy, rather an new copy of an old one.

On my 21st birthday, oh so many years ago (OK, if you insist – 1980), my parents bought me a new guitar. I had been learning on a second-hand Yamaha classical (which I still have) but wanted a steel-string for the kind of stuff I was playing.

March 13, 2009
March 13, 2009
Just got back from a terrific folk circle at the George Hotel, Leadenham. Tim and Annie had mentioned it to me, and they were there, as well as Tim’s parents and his sister. A good turnout, about a dozen or so performers, and some listeners.

I only got the word earlier this week, so I hadn’t prepared anything folky for tonight. However, I thought there were some songs in my repertoire that I could get away with. Imagine my horror (and Annie’s amazement) when I managed to dry up on the words to “The Boy In The Room”, not once but twice! (I gave up in the end, and sang something else) Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one forgetting words, and it was a nice layback evening, with everbody having fun.

February 10, 2009
I haven’t spoken about this up to now, as I didn’t want to spoil any surprises.
At the end of November, last year, Mike Whitaker asked me if I would play drums for a live dramatic performance of the "Before The Dawn" song series (or, at least, a reasonable subset of the songs).

There were a few problems with this.Apart from several parodies I had written of the BTD songs, and one original non-canon song (that blew up the shared world that BTD takes place in), I had had nothing to do with BTD, and knew only a few of the more popular songs.My diary was already full, and I would not be available for rehearsals until January, just weeks before the performance.I hadn’t played drums in about 2 years, and knew that one of the other participants in the project was a professional-standard drummer.So I did what any sensible person would do – I said yes.

Although I had no free weekends in December, I did manage to get some private practice in at home, so when I turned up to the first weekend rehearsal in January, I was relatively confident that I could at least put the kit together. We had agreed that we would be using my Arbiter Flats kit, which is smaller and easier to transport than a full kit, and has less volume – great for a small venue, in fact.

In fact, I was quite happy – the three songs that Mike wanted me to play on – "War", "Only The Innocent", and "Midnight at the Tower" – were all songs I knew quite well. Similarly, I wasn’t concerned when Mike suggested I put some light drums over the song "Before The Dawn" itself. However, as the Saturday went on, the list of songs that I was playing on grew, until I was playing for almost all of the first Act, and much of the second. Some of this was my own fault – while sitting through the Sergeant’s comedy patter song, I toyed with a beat on high-hat which seemed to fit – luckily no-one except Mike really noticed. However, later when Tim (the drummer) lent me a woodblock, I tried it again, and it sounded perfect. At the end of the song, everyone turned and cheered, and another song had been added to my list.

Technique wise, there was nothing that demanding from me for most of the set – all that was required was a good steady beat. My biggest problem was my scanty knowledge of the material – before I could learn my cues, I had to actually get familiar with the songs involved.

However, there was one song that required a lot from my meager talents – "Excuse Me" is written in 7/4 with two sets of triple quaver beats,followed by a four beat. I managed to pick up the beat early on, and practiced it like crazy. But on the very last rehearsal, I lost it completely, so that was something that would worry me until the day of the performance.

Which came around on Sunday, with Act 1 before lunch and Act 2 afterwards. The whole thing went much better than I could have ever expected (both from a personal level, and for the production as a whole). I got through both Acts without too many fluffs (and those that I made were not show-stopping), and I managed to get the right beat for "Excuse Me".

So I survived to play another day, and I also managed to get through that couple of hours of elation after such performances without volunteering for something else.

From what I can gather, everyone – both in the cast, band, and audience – thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and that is what really matters the most.

January 6, 2009
Eating Well – A Diet Blog:
January 6, 2009 6:50 P.M. Weight: 359.6 lbs.

I’ve been asked to help out on percussion for some friends who are playing a gig in February. Thinking back, it has been over a year since I last played the drums. Anyway, the kit has been retrieved from the garage and is now set up in the lounge, and I need to build up with some practice every day.

Then it occurred to me – this is exercise, no? Doing a web search came up with various calorific values for drumming, but for now I am going to take a very conservative view and record it as 4 kcals per minute.

Every little helps.

August 6, 2008
A couple of years ago, I used to go to The Acoustic Sessions, a monthly acoustic music club in nearby Barnack. Unfortunately, not many other local folk I know seemed interested in going along, and after a while, you get fed up of going on your own.

Anyway, last month Mike Whitaker went along and found it a bit of a blast, so the two of us and Rika turned up there on Tuesday. Mike had said it was very quiet in July, which seemed rather strange. But this week it was full, with about a dozen performers.

Still, we all got a minimum of two songs – I played Cat Steven’s “Father and Son”, and then my own “Mind Such as Mine”.

Great fun, and hopefully we can turn it into a semi-regular thing.