Goal for 2008: Pick up more instruments

A gentleman I know teaches fiddle, and plays fiddle & mandolin professionally. I asked him today to give me bi-weekly lessons in the New Year. We're going to start on the mandolin & then work on the fiddle. I can already play a couple of songs on the mandolin.

I am also going to take a class at the convervatory of music in the new year, in playing the Irish flute & penny whistle. I'll have to go and buy an Irish flute & a penny whistle. I used to play flute & piccolo in high school band.

I also have a friend who can teach me a little more on the guitar & harmonica, I'll start that when the woodwind class finishes. I want to get better at playing more rock style acoustic guitar. I'm too folky right now.

I just bought myself a Baroque recorder, I have to practice playing it. I want to be able to play some medieval style music.

On top of that, I have my voice coaching with soprano Barbara Livingston. The focus is keeping up with my opera training, but she doesn't mind if I bring in my original songs to sing for her. She's an excellent coach, I'm so glad I found her.

The other thing I would like to do is take some sort of a hand drumming class so I'm more aware of how percussion works.

That's kinda my goal for the New Year - get playing more instruments so that I have a better understanding of them, can add live instruments to songs/instrumentals, and can play more solos with my trio.

How about you?

How do you compose?

Q: "How do you compose?"

A: I compose in a variety of ways:

- sitting at the keyboard trying out riffs.... usually make some kind of notation so I can remember what I like

- playing the guitar trying out progressions... again, making a note of what I like

- improvising vocally, trying out different ideas - I tend to record this as I'll get to the point where I think... oh, what was that cool thing I did 5 minutes ago

- open my recording software and play with an industrial sound & once I've got it playing, improvise vocally something that seems to go along with it in my mind.... and then choose an instrument to play that riff and do the midi for it.

- start designing a groove... choose some drum sounds and industrial sounding clips and keep adding rythmatic elements til I have something I like... then I'll start designing/recording other tracks as the inspiration flows... I try to trust the muse

- write lyrics until I'm satisfied with them, and keep them by the computer or on my keyboard, looking at them and thinking about them until melody starts to come into my mind, and I sing what I have over and over until the next part comes... start finding the guitar chords... note them down as I figure them out

Often I just start by playing with an idea... or a title... or a sound.... or a groove... or a snippet of melody... and see where it takes me.