There was a rehearsal mixup for a recording project in February (more details soon) and so I had the evening to get all the things done. In theory.
Did I get it all done? Regrettably, no, but ticked off a few boxes on the ol’ Habitica app. I could beat myself up about how I only do things if I gamify them, or I could accept that that’s how I work and run with it, and not waste time berating myself. Work in progress.
(Disclaimer: I don’t have any affiliation with Habitica, and it’s free. I think it’s useful to share what works for me. It would be nice if I ever got paid to promote anything but I will disclose if that ever becomes the case.)
So, I mentioned how I got frustrated with how I throw notes down at random. Something that happens frequently when I don’t know what I’m doing. Standard pattern of try, get frustrated, not know enough to correct, drop it. Project goes stale and clogs up your computer.
Back up. Back up more. Step away from the computer.
Get a pad of paper and a marker. Or pen. Whatever is comfortable.
Make a broad strokes plan. Sections. Wireframe it out.
If you need to, rip up that page and do another. Thrash it out until it flows.
If you don’t know enough about a program, you can work with what you already know. If all you know is how to put down an overall structure on paper, do that. If you can’t do that, look at examples on the internet.
Similar to sculpture, you don’t start with your intended rock. You start small with wax or clay and work out all the kinks there. Same principle can apply.
The other reason I have to do this is I have one laptop with a 13-inch monitor. There isn’t a lot of visual space to work with and I like to have the work open next to me. I have a miniature easel which I prop the manuscript book on, then I can scan it while I work. It helps.
On a practical note, I’m still on MIDI. I did connect up my little iRig keys to the system, which has honestly been the most useful little add-on to writing music. It’s small, it’s lightweight and has a few nice little options for working things out quickly. Working out the chords for what I want takes a bit of trial and error and changing around the chord structure has more of an impact on what actually sounds good than the original theme.
For tutorials, I’ve been following Michael New and Marks Piano – PGN Piano. Both very clear, concise and worth a follow if you’re either trying to learn or refresh your memory.
I’ve also been trying to practice the first book of the Mikrokosmos by Bartók (download link to the book). Despite what people seem to think, I never learned piano. I couldn’t generate interest in it, partially because my father teaches it. Now that I am trying to play what is in my head, suddenly I have much more drive to get it right. So I leave these tutorials on even in the background while I’m doing other stuff, and then try to rewatch them where possible. Some of it is sinking in.
(Writing note: not sure I’ve figured out any consistent style and am currently just rolling with a diary format. After the beast of yesterday, probably best to keep this one snappy.)