Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Shifting Exercise

Was watching this beautiful video earlier & practicing this piece (which I taught myself from the video a while ago):

Anyway, between that & playing Prayer all the time, I was thinking that my upper register on the A string really sucks ... so I thought I'd do some practicing, which meant a combination of scales and arpeggios (which I found infinitely more challenging & useful) ...

"Scales" are basically practicing 2nds ... usually with alternating fingers

Shifting 2nds is fairly easy for me ... now shifting 3rds, and shifting 4ths a bit harder ...

Right now I was working on same finger shifting (ie 1-1 then 2/3/4) ... eventually, working on different finger shifting will be a thing ...

My favorite way to practice arpeggios is diatonically ... C Eb G  D F Ab  Eb G Bb  etc. taking time on each one to make sure I've gotten the shift

The challenge for me is getting a full sound out of the cello without excess tension & getting tired (and of course, accuracy of pitch, along with directness of shift) ... not sure I succeeded

One thing I did a decent job of though is shifting by feeling, rather than by sight ... I find this much more boring/challenging than watching ... but also, ultimately more useful...

Music is the sound between the notes...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tales From The Road #4 - NERFA Recap

This past weekend was a weekend FULL of awesomeness I have not experienced in a *long* time.

I was up at a folk convention called NERFA, with Eli August & The Abandoned Buildings.

It was like being a little kid in a room full of toys ...

Full of musicians jamming everywhere, showcases, cool people, DJs, promoters, great panels, great vendors ... it was just non-stop talking, jamming, etc.

I ran into some folks I knew from the NY scene - Allison Tartalia, Anna Dagmar, Carolann Solabello, and Laura Joy (who I met *years* ago at a random gig in Yonkers ... the same gig where I first met the guys from The Rose West who were then called Tryptic) ... I also ran into the folks from BOBTOWN, who I had met just a week ago & got to meet Madalyn Sklar of GoGirlsMusic ... Rob of EA & Rob of ilyAIMY had a bonding moment over Coheed & Cambria

I was playing mostly with Eli August, but also joined Allison Tartalia for an instrumental set, after she came down with laryngitis

There were also a ton of cellists up their with their respective bands ... think there were 10 of us in total!! (I did not meet everyone this year, but there is talk of a Collective Cello Jam/Showcase next year!! I *can't wait* for that!!)

Didn't take too many pictures at this (Mell of The Abandoned Buildings took some more...) but here's a few:
The Army of Basses!!

Sleeping Mell

Full band shot taken by ilyAIMY

The sign outside one of the showcases...

Playing some music in the Lobby

Late night Cello Jam - featuring Kristen Jones of ilyAIMY, and Katie Chambers of Victoria Vox

A moment of humor

Robare playing some guitar

General Thoughts/Reflections:
LOTS of people from Philly & NYC area
Met a few folks from Nova Scotia
HARP!! (though we didn't get to Jam)
The Sound in the Main showcase room was *amazing* ... the setup actually had depth to it & was *so clear*
Panels were rather cool
I need to learn more fiddle tunes
We stayed at a Dude Ranch

Cool or interesting Bands:
Rick Drost
Deni Bonet
Rorie Kelly
(Many More...)

Bands with Cello
Eli August & The Abandoned Buildings
Miles to Dayton
Putnam Heights
Victoria Vox
(There's more too...)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Writing Music

I was rewatching "A Year & A Half In the Life of Metallica" last night ...

It's so interesting watching things multiple times ... particularly now that I've had the experience of playing frequent gigs & writing songs & have a bit more maturity and self-awareness to go along with it.  I can watch the vids. with more understanding and less romanticisation (while still getting the inspiration from them) ... anyway, at one point Kirk & Lars & Jason are talking about the songwriting process & explaining riff tapes ... you know, when you're on tour you record riffs at 3 in the morning or whenever on whatever instrument ... (which we now do to cell phones half the time)... It got me thinking about my own writing process...

I tend to write acoustically a lot (usually more as a default than on purpose), and I sort of expect a song to just come out on the spot & be amazing a lot of the time... I end up rejecting a lot of ideas, a lot of riffs ... a lot of things that sound "whatever" acoustic sound worlds different & more exciting when you plug in and put some gain on, or fuck with the sound a little bit.  This sort of judgemental approach in early stage writing is really not a good thing ... guess how many songs I've written like this ... wait for it?  None.

What does work though is when I just jam & record & loop and get excited & don't necessarily expect perfection, but instead follow things where they go ... even then I get stuck at times, but that's how it's got to work ... you just flow first, and then you can be all cerebral and analytical after (at least that's how it goes for me) ...

On top of that, I tend to write best when I'm practicing 3 hours a day & watching vids & listening to cool music & messing around on different instruments ... in short, having fun (through working).

It's good to keep this all in mind ... On a not so positive note ... My hard drive just died, and I've probably lost everything I've written for the last year or two (most of it anyway) ... back to the chopping board!