Although I struggled last week to get focused, I was able to finish two complete songs (intro to fine) with fully notated piano accompaniments that for better or worse are as complete as my skill allows. I finished the second song about two in the morning Sunday morning and before I went to church I printed out a copy of both songs so that I could get a little feedback. Thanks to my friend Mark J. who thinks like a pianist, I was able to go to my parents for Father's Day with edits in hand ready to write some more.
In an effort to stay focused I've decided to not try to do any scratch recordings of anything until after this little song writing boot camp is over. After all, this time is all about getting the songs in my head onto the paper and in a form that can be communicated with others. Learning how to record something decently is another whole skill I have to develop and it takes time I don't have. One thing at a time.
Yesterday was the first day of Week 2. I set about trying to write something but since I wasn't having any ideas I decided to work on notating a song that I wrote last summer but had not taken the time to notate because I thought it was too hard. Well, this summer is all about accomplishing what seems difficult. I didn't get the entire thing notated, but I got enough done that I now have an "in between" project to work on that I know I can finish.
The poor folks who took sight singing and ear training with me in college know that I STINK at rhythm dictation! The good news is that I'm getting better, but the bad news is that a song like I worked on yesterday is just difficult enough for me that it is just pure and unadulterated hard work. "Finale PrintMusic" is my friend because the playback feature allows me to hear what I just put in. The more I practice, the better I am getting at writing it the correct way the first time.
People talk all the time about musicians having to have talent.... the longer I am a musician the more I know that it is really all about practice...duh!
The big drama for yesterday was my unsuccessful attempts to convince my doctor and insurance company that they should meet in the middle in order to get my allergy testing paid for. Since neither one would budge I am pleased to say that I kept my calm while on the phone, but by the time I got off the phone I was just furious! I got over it, eventually but I must say that when I'm angry I can't think of pretty music..... Last night I got myself together and was blessed by the Single Adult VBS. Lizi Baily led worship and it was GREAT!
So today I woke up bright and early and started writing immediately. This morning I've started 3 different songs, two choral and one congregational, but none of them are feeling like they need finishing, so for now they'll go in the scrap pile and maybe one of these days I'll find a use for one of the scraps. The problem is that I like one of the songs that I wrote last week so much that I don't feel as if there is anything left to say......actually, there is a lot left to say, but how to say it? no se......
In any case, spending the morning weaving in and out of the psalms is a lovely way to spend a Tuesday whether any song comes of it or not.
Psalm 19 is the portion of scripture that is staying with me today....two of the song scraps I came up with were from fragments of this chapter. It's just great truth!
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.