May. 26th, 2017 11:52 pm
forgotten_aria: (casio sb)
I just payed for another 2 years of TKD with no reservations.

I'm doing Winchester Town Day again. A friend basically invites people to come practice performing. She asked me what other instruments I have to perform on (last year I did harp and hand pan) but to be honest I don't have that many solo performance level instruments. What I am doing is I'm playing a flute piece which was an audition piece for honor's band in middle school. It's been a lot of fun to revisit it after becoming a much more mature musician. I am playing handpan again, because well, anything sounds pretty good on that. Lastly I'm doing a cover of "Come together" using my harp as a bass (I tried to learn it on bass, but couldn't get it clean enough) and using my new looper pedal to let me program in some drums and things. I'm still a little shaky on it (memorizing the lyrics to that song is a pain, since they're borderline nonsense) but it is starting to sound decent.

That is barring the fact that I've had a cough for a few weeks, so my voice sounds super crackly.
forgotten_aria: (harp)
A friend of mine found me a low pressure solo harp gig so I could practice playing a solo performance. It went ok, better than I feared (which isn't to say I didn't mess up, but I did so without completely choking and making things worse with panic. We played taiko after my set, and it's always amazing just to see how taiko blows people away. There is something about taiko that really speaks to people in a way most other music I perform in doesn't.

video )
forgotten_aria: (hole)
Brief update.

I bought a super expensive lawn mower. I also bought a "better" gas can (which isn't here yet.)

I have successfully failed at quiting taiko (more to come later on that.) Though part of it is I will be playing Black Ships again. Time will also tell on what that actually means.

I've started the doodles back up again (should be an update soon.)

I switched to soprano sax in school of honk (skipped last week, though) and got the sax repaired (the guy was supposed to give me a quote, but just did the work, so I spent more than I wanted.) I'm still struggling with the sax some. I will be selling my marching quints, which is sad. If they could only be lighter!

I made a "musical doodle" which was also an experiment in making a track and then syncing the video to the track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e3hNYKFhvw

I reinstalled my laptop from 32-bit to 64-bit so I can run the android studio. I wanted to treat myself to a slick new laptop, but couldn't find any indication if ubuntu would work on it or not.

I ran out of steam for experimenting with dairy free ice cream flavors. This may mean that "empty pasture" flavor may never come to be.

In early June I had a very bad (and first) koto gig that made me reevaluate the difference between what I want and what I can get. I am waffling on selling my harp.

And for no reason, here is a video of a bird screaming into a cup. (it's cuter than it sounds.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRsfOGJ5lZg
forgotten_aria: (chun li kick)
I feel I should post an update, because it's been a while an many things have been happening.

My mother finally went home after her 2-weeks-turning-into-9?-months visit ended. She spent the last week with me. When she got here it was still warm enough to kayak on the pond.

TKD turns out to be very good for me. It gives me several of the things I was hoping it would. It seems to be a better workout than taiko ever was and my body is feeling BETTER for it, which isn't usually the case with me and exercise. In specific, my knees are stronger (though still have to be careful), my back is more flexible and my neck is a lot happier. My mother bought me, after much waffling on my part, a water weighted kicking bag. So now I can kick things at home. My 6 months of searching for a school and my 10 years of taiko seem to have prepared me fairly well. So far I have been ready for every available belt test, though I'm definitely less prepared for this belt test than I have been for others. I'm still only doing simple forms, too. There's a blackbelt form that I've already fallen in love with and is the first real desire to get a black belt, just so I can do that poomsae. My Korean sucks, however, so that's been the most difficult part.

I'm still fairly involved in taiko despite having "quit." I've decided to add myself to the group as a "Guest artist" playing shinbue (Japanese flute.) I'm doing most of their non-YA gigs. Which is a great compromise for me, since I still get to perform, without all the stress of being in the group and trying to rebuild it to what I wanted it to be and the physical and hearing stress of drumming. Their building where they practice had some roof damage from the snow, so they've been practicing in a basement for the past few months and classes were suspended. They're back in the building (which has been shored up, but not fixed,) so I hope they get classes going again soon. I came back and guest taught the advance class because they were having some trouble with a line from the song I had last taught. Sadly every time I do drum for one reason or another (YA fill in, teaching) my neck and shoulder already kind of warn that, yes, this is a bad thing.

This makes me sad, because I do miss the awesome community and I miss taiko and I miss traveling everywhere and sharing it with people. TKD does not give me the performing I crave and, even though the people at the dojang are quite nice, doesn't give me the community. That might get a little better once I can attend demo team practices, but from what I've seen from those practices, I'm not getting my hopes up.

So I'm still seeking a new community of people working together to create something. I think I have to abandon any serious attempt at light spinning, because the community sets my teeth a little on edge. The fact that they're insensitive to using the word poi incorrectly and the fact that the stereotype seems to be either crunchy granola or raver. I realize I'm being picky by going by stereotype, but I've already been burned by finding an amazing community and then finding out that I didn't really belong as much as I thought. And since I'm unwilling to spin fire, which seems to be what the "cool" kids do, then I don't think it's the right direction for me. That being said, image poi still rock my world, so I might get them and then maybe learn TKD staff or even use them as nuchaku if I get good enough that I won't risk damaging them. (My TKD school teaches nuchaku as the first weapon.)

I've also been thinking a lot about anti-fatshaming advocacy. There is this very frustrating narrative on the Internet that normal weight == healthy, overweight == not healthy. This makes arguments very frustrating because there is a large part of the population that just believe that your weight is the important thing and you simply cannot be healthy and overweight. It's impossible to discuss anything with them, because in their brain overweight IS a disease. I want to make youtube videos that explain some of my logic, the most important being that fat-shaming, no matter what you believe, doesn't help people get healthy or lose weight. But it's such a rats nest of belligerent people, I'm not sure if I'll find the courage, especially since when I think I have a nice solid argument, even among my friends, I often find out I wasn't as clear as I thought I was. My brain and language have a weird relationship.

I'm still working on my harp. I keep getting delayed by various things, but I want to work up enough material for an open mic.

P.S. My birthmonth was weird for a bunch of reasons, including that I am now older than my dad ever was, but the party surprised me. So many amazing people showed up and I felt very lucky. It was likely one of the best birthmonth parties I've had.
forgotten_aria: (harp)
I promised myself a harp update video after a year of having the harp (the official one year was the 11th.) As with most things, I made a lot of progress at the beginning, but it's been slow going since then. I am not a patient person.

I was happy on the first few takes, but after the string of mistakes a lot of bad memories came back, so I'm a little sour in the video. My technique is still horrible and I don't feel like I'm much better musically than I was for my Grandmother's video. The progress is so hard to see, but I know it's there in subtle ways. But it's still so long off before I can perform.

Sometimes I really don't know why I'm even kidding myself. I'm never going to be a musician again now that taiko is a closed door. Well, at least I got my chance on the stage for a little bit.

forgotten_aria: (taiko reimei)

My current trial for TKD is going very well. I'm extremely happy with how this school is balancing "it's ok to not be perfect" with "but if you want to be perfect, you need to fix that." The black belts are very knowledgeable, the school has a good energy, the master is good at the why of TKD, the fundamentals and the exercise aspects. Mondays he likes to make people sweat, but sometimes he runs out of time, so he lets anyone who can stay late and work out. It's Kian Taekwondo in Salem, NH. I'm in the 3rd week of my 4 week trial and I'm looking forward to handing over my 6 mo. check next week!

Some people like to say that people don't change, but entering into this, I know I've changed a lot. I'm still very in my head, but I can let go and just do things when I need to now. I know the difference between the practice mind set and the performance mind set and how you have to let go of the mistakes in order to perform.

Marching Tenors

Inspired by Honk (and because of my ongoing addiction to buying musical instruments), I took a chance on an exceptionally cheap set of marching tenors (quints, toms). They're making me quite happy. Now I just need to translate taiko into marching drumming.

picture )


It's about a year since I officially decided I needed to quit taiko. I have three more weeks of teaching classes and I hope to still perform as a shinobue (flute) player over the coming year. In some ways I already miss it horribly. I LOVED being a gigging musician. I loved going all these different people and sharing taiko, which has a magic of its own and leaving the audience happy and thrilled. I loved the people and teamwork and loved moving and making big booming sounds. But on the other hand I am so much less stressed now. I was breaking, mentally and physically. My hearing is also still reminding me that it wasn't so happy with me either. We did a HUGE block of school shows in October (17 shows in 11 days for the whole group, I personally did 11 of those shows and had to get up at 7am, which for me is painful) which also reminded me of both what I love and what I can't really do any more.

So looking ahead... I so want to get back to taiko, but right now it's not looking like a good thing. The reasons I've quit still exist for the most part. The group is still reduced the amount of performances it does and my physical issues aren't great and I'm still not that resistant when it comes to stress. But every time I think "no, really, this can't be the end of that wonderful chapter in my life. I had so many of the things I've wanted for so long and still want."

I'm hoping that TKD can help with some of that. There are a few people at Kian who are as driven and passionate as I like to get about things. I just hope I can find healthy place there as I get good enough to contribute.


I'm still working on the harp. In some ways I love it, it feels very comfortable. I love noodling on it. In some ways I miss the amazing, in your face excitement of taiko. I guess I need to play with my effects pedal more and work on that "in your face" harp sound! I haven't had much chance to play with ableton. Someone asked me recently what I've been doing, and I couldn't quite answer. I haven't been sitting around, but I have been catching up on things that I had been putting off, like dental appointments* and alike.

I am going to enjoy the holidays as best I can. Part of the reason I quit taiko is that I was too stressed and depleted to be able to go up for Christmas last year. After the holidays, I'm going to see about starting to write some android apps and I might check out "The Real School of Music" for vocal lessons and maybe some chances to perform.


* I got a white filling in a molar and it has been months and it's still a bit cold sensitive. I didn't realize this was a draw back of white fillings. The dentist says as long as it's getting better... I also got my first dental cleaning in like 25 years. That's the kind of things I've been doing since quiting taiko.
forgotten_aria: (chun li kick)
I'm currently taking a trial at a TKD school that has everything I want (except being a short drive) on paper. The first few classes have not left my happy, however, because he's made me too much the focus of attention. And despite the fact I like performing, I don't like being the focus of attention (go figure.) It's a full month trial, so I have plenty of time for that to even out and feel like how it will really be before the trial ends. Here's hoping! They have a lot more room for me to grow, adult classes all 5 day of the week, the right balance of tradition and keeping up with the modern rule book and some awesome people in their community.

In other news, inspired by honk, I bought some SUPER cheap marching tenors/toms/quints. Now I'm trying to figure out how to learn some vocabulary for them. My hands of course keep doing taiko vocabulary. I'm also not sure I have them tightened enough yet, but since their super cheap, I'm being cautious.

I'm going to get through the holiday season and then likely start app writing next year. Harp continues, though, as expected, I have a long way to go before I can perform. I need to sit down and spend more time with ableton too.

My light spinning has slowed down a fair amount. I'm not even sure I'll get the image poi as my Christmas present to myself this year (I feel like I've been spending too much money on myself anyway.)

I'm still waffling on trying the "real school of rock" for voice lessons. I think the money issue might win out there. But I am yearning for more group music in my life, even if I have to pay for the privileged. I miss the good-old-days of taiko.
forgotten_aria: (WoW Haikili)
I've started to scratch the surface of the world of portable lighting. I've bought a RGB LED strip and EL wire. I'm thinking of splurging on the adressable LED strip once I get the battery pack working. I must say, I love the stuff, but I still don't have my wacky idea yet for it.

Originally I got it for my electric harp project. Here's what I've done with EL and my harp:

forgotten_aria: (harp)
I've had my harp now for about 4-5 months and I'm no prodigy, but I do find the harp "comfortable." I like to go over and just futz with it, focus on my form, just walk around the house playing nothing in particular.

The taiko busy season is coming up, but I'm looking forward to having the time to play with it with the stomp box and see what I can come up with. I was getting some interesting grooves last night without effects, but nothing I could sing to.

It will be slow, but I really hope that I can keep with it and do something cool with this instrument. I'm not amazingly passionate about it, but perhaps a strong comfort with it is better than a blazing passion since it might be more sustainable.

I don't think I'll be up to speed on the jigs and reels I was hoping to be ready for in June, but that's ok and I am getting faster every day.

I find myself wanting to buy gig clothes though and having to remind myself that I won't be gig worth for another year or two.
forgotten_aria: (harp)
If I have a birthmonth party, it will likely be the first week of April, which is not my birthmonth, but that's ok.

I talked myself up in my present to myself and got a very fancy guitar pedal (more because I liked the sound more than anything) and I got one used. I was little afraid when I got it because it had a repair slip on it saying that it would shut off randomly, but it seemed ok when I tested it (thought it took my a while to actually get it to do anything, thank goodness for the internet.) But it's going to take my a while to actually learn how to use it. It seems like it shouldn't be too bad once I understand the processing types. The presets are all WAY too weird though. Feedback on the harp (which has a mic, rather than real pick ups) wasn't too back on most of the effects, which I was also a little worried about.

Harp update

Mar. 4th, 2014 11:50 pm
forgotten_aria: (harp)
The harp has slowed down for me now that I'm trying to learn the basics well, I really love the books I'm working with (suzuki method mainly) and there are some really great youtube teachers who are showing me some good stuff.

Having it in the living room is very nice, since I'll just wander over and do some scales from time to time. I put a bit of effort into making a harp nook, which pleases me.
Read more... )

I'm quite glad I got the larger one. As it is I can't always play the lowest notes properly. I'm also working on some reels, but it will take quite a while to get up to speed.

I'm hoping to buy an effects pedal for my birth month and start playing with some of the rock harp ideas I have. I do want to get a solid foundation first, however.
and I babble on... )

harp update

Feb. 8th, 2014 06:59 pm
forgotten_aria: (harp)
I've had my harp about a month and G has let me leave it in the living room, which lets me pick it up and play it. So far I've only learned one song, but I've be happily doing exercises and playing a bunch of different bits of songs.

Not having easy accidentals is taking a lot to get used to. But I love that I'm finally learning an instrument that can chord and that I can, in theory, sing while playing. I'm also getting really used to wearing it.

As with everything I do, I'm all over the map with what I'm playing with, but I'm making an effort with this instrument to let myself just learn with it anyway I see fit. I've set myself some deadlines (which I'm not sure if I'll meet, and that's ok.) I also don't want to play this harp as a traditional harp. I want to think about how it can have a unique voice that suits it and me. Rock harp.

Anyway, here's a little sample of some of the things I've been playing with that I think already sound neat (though I can't play much beyond these samples.)

video )
forgotten_aria: (harp)
So I have a problem. I might be adicted to new musical instruments.

I also have another problem. I never get good at anything. I mean REALLY good at it. (These two things might be related.) So I decided that I should try to find a unique instrument that could be fun to watch even if I'm just ok at it. So I googled around and found out that there were electric harps! So I started to research and the harpsicle is an affordable, but decent sounding accoustic/electric harp.

I was going to hold off to save up for it for a few months, but I got some Christmas money. So I got it earlier.

BTW, while I was doing this I found out that Guitar Center now owns musician's friend, music123 and woodwood and brasswind and in fact, despite what you might find on line, many of the people in the call center work for more than one of the above companies.

But anyway, back to the harp! I decided to get the bigger grand harpsicle, I'm glad I did, since I like low notes. I'm pretty happy so far. I can play single note melodies fairly easily, but harmonies and my left hand dexterity might take a long while.

I got a used one and musician's friend forgot a few things (though they were also polite about replacing some of the missing items). The maker, Rees harps, however has been SUPER nice to me in making sure I have all the parts I need. Their customer service is superb!

Oh, and then I find out that one of the few notable electric harpists lives in Arlington! So I'm not even that unique, but that's ok because the harp is awesome and I wait to get good enough to start playing with distortion and effects.

People on facebook pursuaded me that I should dress up to take a photo shoot with the harp.

picture and a video )


forgotten_aria: (Default)

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