learning to actually be a musician

Nigel Kersten nigel at 4trak.net
Tue Mar 3 00:48:46 CET 2015

I never learnt an instrument properly, and I've decided this year that it's
bloody ridiculous I spend so much time mucking around with sound and that
I'm so useless at playing anything in real time....

Anyway, this is partly confessional, and partly inspirational if any of you
are in the same position....

For the last week or two I've been making myself spend time not just in my
DAW, but learning to play on the kid's piano, and reading up enough on
music theory to actually be comfortable.

It's been incredibly revolutionary. My practice sessions each night are:

* 30 min simply doing major/minor scales
* 15-30 min taking a pop chord progression like I-V-vi-IV and working out
how to play it in various scales.

It's amazing the effect it's having on the actual songs I work on. Just
building that muscle memory facility to wander around a scale easily has
been amazing, and it's only been a week or two!

I'm also really enjoying scales. I find it incredibly meditative to be so
focused on a piano by itself, with no computing or knob-twiddling

I've also picked up the Android copy of Hook Theory
http://www.hooktheory.com/ which is a bunch of really useful songwriting
info that's exactly the sort of gap I had in my knowledge around chord
theory, melodys vs chords, etc.

It's probably that I've actually spent a lot of time thinking about music
without having a grounding in theory, but I'm soaking this stuff up so
quickly and feel like I'm having small epiphanies about melodic
constriction every single night.

I'm not deluded enough to think I'm likely to ever be a great real-time
musician in terms of performance, but if you're like me and came at music
from an interested amateur perspective, I'm blown away by how much I'm
getting out of a relatively small investment.

This actually sparked it all off:
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