Tuesday, 26 April 2011

good vocal day today

Just did my first set of vocal exercises and though I took many long breaks in between, I think my voice did pretty well closer to the end. The last exercises I did was the "nay-nuh" sustain exercise, and for some reason, my vocal cords are giving me a lot of resistance today, which means I don't have to use too much air or energy to make a sound...and a loud and steady one at that. This hasn't happened in quite a while and so I'm really pleased about it. Hope that keeps up.

Okay...ROUND 2!

first vocal lesson in three weeks

My vocal teacher had finally returned from her training overseas last Sunday, and I had my first lesson with her in three weeks that afternoon. Having not done any vocal exercises or singing in front of anyone the past few weeks, having to do that again for her got me a little nervous, but all went okay I think.

Had to sing Michael Buble's Home over a karaoke track. That was the first song I've ever attempted without the performer's vocals to back me up. My pitching was all over the place. Need loads more practice...not to mention how uncomfortable it was to hear my singing...geez...that wasn't pleasant.

Well, I received a new song to work on for the week -- Howie Day's Collide, and maybe a Wang Lee Hong or Tao Zhe song.I'm sorta into Lee Hong's Everything now and am trying to sing. It's such a nice song...and it needed me to transition smoothly between my  chest and head voice, which I'm okay with.

Apparently I have a connected voice, despite my lack of vocal training before, so I'm actually happy about using my mix when approaching it from my lower register. It's the coming down from my mix to my chest voice that's a challenge, but I'm working on that.

Otherwise, vocal lesson that day was therapeutic as usual.:)

Saturday, 23 April 2011

strums between chord changes

One thing many online guitar lessons, and even my guitar teacher, never mention over the course of introducing the concept of chord switching and strumming, is the strums that happen between chord changes, when the fret fingers are either in the air, or in my case, fumbling for the strings of the next chord.

It's probably too obvious to be brought up or to even be in the minds of experienced guitarists, but for a beginner looking to really understand playing the guitar, I believe it's really important for the teacher to address every action a guitarist would make when he/she plays. Just so there wouldn't be gaps in knowledge as time passes.

I know I would appreciate the extra detail...;)

You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift (short guitar cover) [Guitar Recording...

I made a short recording of my playing for a friend, just to let him hear my progress on the guitar. It is the first guitar recording I've sent to anyone, so thought I'd mark it down on this blog along with the recording itself.

It's a verse, pre-chorus and chorus of Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me -- just the chords, with a little voicing at the end, which I was really surprised with. Wasn't expecting it to sound like the melody...I was just playing while having the song running in my head. Guess my pick found its way to getting that out somehow...

Think that's what musicians mean by putting your heart into your playing, while not being overly cautious about what comes out;)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

looking forward to the day...

I'm truly looking forward to the day I'd be able to do this, and sound that good. Always been my dream to be able to express and convey such emotion through my singing. Hopefully vocal lessons, along with (almost) daily vocal exercises, will help me get there.

minor chord progressions are so beautiful...

This is a bit too advanced for me theory-wise ( and a lot advanced for me on the guitar!), but really, the minor chord progression he was playing was no doubt simple, but undeniably beautiful:) Would definitely use them minor chord progressions to write songs in the future.

BTW, GuitarLessons365.com
is a site that offers free guitar lessons. The free information the guy offers is very useful in itself -- he creates and sells DVDs and subscriptions to his site as well, for those willing to support his site while learning more about the guitar from him.

The link I provided above isn't an affiliate link by the way, so I'm not earning anything by directing you to his site. I just think he offers some good info. and is actually pretty generous with it. Have fun!:)

Monday, 18 April 2011


Was messing around the other day and decided to check out my vocal range. Since my teacher has been overseas the past two weeks, I have only had one vocal lesson this month so far. Adding them up, I should have attended seven weekly half-an-hour lessons to date.

Well, a little background -- I speak in a pretty low voice, and before I started lessons, I was convinced I was a bass-baritone. Middle C could have easily killed me two months ago. On top of that, being soft-spoken meant I don't talk a whole lot and I have probably only sung two songs on a karaoke machine in all my life so far.  That level of activity was bound to make my vocal cords super weak, which they were...and still are, I think.

Vocal lessons must have helped with that, because I managed to hit F#5 the other day! And was also able to hit a F1. No, I couldn't hit those notes with a pleasant singing voice -- well, I was straining with the highest note in fact, but I was still really surprised that sounds were able to escape my lips at such extreme pitches. This probably doesn't mean much to a singer or vocal teacher who knows what they're doing, since singing isn't only about range, but more about what you do with it. Nevertheless, that experience was a pleasant surprise.

Oh, I've been practising a simple version of Coldplay's Yellow my teacher recorded for me. He wanted me to transpose it in all 12 keys without actually having gone through with me the notes for each scale. Still, I already knew how to figure that out beforehand. I think his point was to make me figure out the scales by ear, on top of having me not look at my hands while I'm playing. It has been okay so far...not exceptionally hard, though with him playing mostly octaves for chords, my left wrist sorta hurts from playing them now.

It's no wonder though, he hasn't made me do much on my technique so far...ah well...ouch.

Friday, 15 April 2011

professional music becoming real

Watching artistes performing on stage, listening to songs on CDs performed by our favourite singers...it has always felt like professional musicians are aliens from a world completely separate from our own. Everything from them seem so perfect -- their music...their performances...That's probably why many of us are so critical with their music, and are actually surprised, even shocked, when they mess up on stage.

Being an active student of music has changed that for me though.

The more I find myself inching towards realising the dream of becoming a professional in the music industry, the more I'm seeing world-class artistes and musicians as humans, capable of mistakes. This change in perspective has left me being a whole lot more impressed with their work. Empathising with them has become a lot easier as well.

Once we imagine it is us, who are on stage, singing and running about for hours, we can't help but realise the exhaustion they must feel...learn how high the risk of them tripping or knocking something over on the stage is, not to mention the nerves they must feel being in front of thousands of people, while having cameras recording their every move. We still feel really impressed and proud of them for finishing the performances, even if they finish them while out of tune. The longer they are able to hold off mistakes on stage, the more amazing they become.

Same goes for their music. I know the audio engineers and producers would be there to make sure every song would turn out perfect, but it's still a feat for anyone to be able to create, mix and "express" pieces of music that's not only pleasing to the ear, but have the power to affect each of us listeners personally, sometimes even changing the moods we were feeling before.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

lingering tunes...

Were there ever times when random tunes just popped into your head -- and they go on and on, developing into a full-length song of sorts? It was always so annoying when that happened because there was no way I was able to record or pen them down -- I couldn't play an instrument, I couldn't sing...

That was one of my many reasons for wanting to pick up music at this weird stage of my life...and I'm loving it! It really hasn't been easy and actually still pisses me off at times, but I'd rather have music piss me off than anything else in the world;)

I'm 22 and am learning as much about contemporary music as I can, as quickly as I can, mostly to make up for all the years I've spent trying to deny any music within me to manifest. To date, I've had about 9 months of piano lessons, not including the 4-month break I took in the middle of it. I was teaching myself a lot of music theory and other music-ish stuff from the Internet, which if I might say, have helped me make sense of much of the music I'm learning at the moment.

I had also started acoustic guitar and vocal lessons about 2 months ago, and have thoroughly enjoyed them. My lessons are like the highlights of each week for me:)

I'll go into more detail about my lessons and experiences with time. Hopefully, I'd be able to share my love for anything music related on this blog. Having ALMOST no musical friends at the moment, I'm so very eager to share anything musical with whoever that stumbles onto this blog!

The piano...the guitar...the voice...the audio technology...the songwriting...the list goes on...and on~