Are you going to Scarborough Fair…?

Well, are you? This song… Rhythm Path Level 5, Mission: Broken Chords… has been quite the hype in the last couple of weeks in the Yousician Facebook group. It seems to be some kind of rite of passage into the “real stuff” – and people celebrate their gold-starring it and are being highly praised when they do. It’s the club of the priviledged for those who have mastered it…

…so imagine how my  heart skipped a beat when this song came up next on my list, and how my palms became instantly sweaty. And that’s all without listening to it or looking at it even once – the power of the community and expectations! Ha!

Anyway… well… ouch.

Doesn’t look so hard at first glance… and I silver starred everything on first try. But that’s all I got out of this song, thus far. Damn. That Dm! That change from Dm to F! Impossible. For me, anyway. And then I actually hurt my fingers of my fretting hand from pressing too hard. Damn!

What a bitch! At least for today, there is nothing else I can do about it… and I am not even sure I will ever actually gold star even a single section of it.

Speaking of hurting my fingers:

To the left you can see the results of roughly one month of almost daily practicing.

Cool, huh? They are actual, real-life callouses. Going to have to lay low just a tiny bit now, I don’t want the skin to actually break.


LEAD | Start The Lead Guitar Path (51/51) | Fret Master (45/45) > Level 2 > Fretting Positions (39/39) | Fretboard Workout (39/39) > Level 3 > Four Fingers (42/42) > Pinky Challenge (57/57) > Level 4 > Picking Down & Up (51/51) > Picking Control (48/48) > Level 5 > Hammer & Pull (60/60) > Legato Lead (49/54) > Level 6 > Slides  (in progress)

KNOWLEDGE | Start The Knowledge Path (24/24) | Ear Puzzles: Up & Down > Level 2 > The Musical Alphabet (30/30) > Ear Puzzles: Smaller Steps > Level 3 > Sharps & Flats (27/27) > Ear Puzzles: Melodies > Level 4 > Know Your Fretboard > Ear Puzzles: Half Steps > Level 5 > Keys & Grooves (in progress)

RHYTHM | Start The Rhythm Guitar Path (48/48) | Cowboy Chords 1: E, Em, Am (30/30) > Level 2 > Cowboy Chords 2: C (51/51) | Cowboy Chords 3: G (36/36) > Level 3 > Power Chords (57/57) > Cowboy Chords 4: D & A (117/117) > Level 4 > Moveable Power Chords (69/69) | Cowboy Chords: F & Dm (63/63) > Level 5 > Broken Chords (in progress)

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A little break

Not much to blog about today… I’ve picked up the White Lady again after a couple of days downtime, which was due mostly to my annoyance with the fact that I the previously installed wall mounts had to be taken down again, because the bass proved to be too heavy. (Nothing happened – I took it down when I saw one of the screws that had come loose!)

So with the guitars currently not hanging where they are supposed to (- a fact that will be fixed soon!), I found them quite a bit less accessible… and as a result didn’t reach for the guitar quite as often.

Also, my callouses are giving me a bit of grief, as some skin is starting to now come off my fingertips, and even though I am not picking at it, I notice that it’s a problem while I play, especially with the pull-offs. Painful and annoying.

That said, I did gold-star some of the stuff that has been giving me grief before, and that makes me feel accomplished. 🙂


LEAD | Start The Lead Guitar Path (51/51) | Fret Master (45/45) > Level 2 > Fretting Positions (39/39) | Fretboard Workout (39/39) > Level 3 > Four Fingers (42/42) > Pinky Challenge (57/57) > Level 4 > Picking Down & Up (51/51) > Picking Control (48/48) > Level 5 > Hammer & Pull (60/60) > Legato Lead (48/54) > Level 6 > Slides  (in progress)

KNOWLEDGE | Start The Knowledge Path (24/24) | Ear Puzzles: Up & Down > Level 2 > The Musical Alphabet (30/30) > Ear Puzzles: Smaller Steps > Level 3 > Sharps & Flats (27/27) > Ear Puzzles: Melodies > Level 4 > Know Your Fretboard > Ear Puzzles: Half Steps > Level 5 > Keys & Grooves (in progress)

RHYTHM | Start The Rhythm Guitar Path (48/48) | Cowboy Chords 1: E, Em, Am (30/30) > Level 2 > Cowboy Chords 2: C (51/51) | Cowboy Chords 3: G (36/36) > Level 3 > Power Chords (57/57) > Cowboy Chords 4: D & A (117/117) > Level 4 > Moveable Power Chords (69/69) | Cowboy Chords: F & Dm (63/63) > Level 5 > Broken Chords (in progress)

Video

“Andantino in G Major” by Ferdinando Carulli

I recorded this one yesterday… I found these old sheet notes inside the case of my nylon string guitar and practiced them a bit. Really enjoyable process.

In fact, I posted this video in the Yousician FB Group and got some nice feedback on this one as well, with one user then informing me about his uploaded collections of classical pieces for the app. So awesome! This will keep me busy for a while. He then even uploaded this piece into the app following my video. I absolutely love this community! So inspiring and motivating.

The Power of Music

Today hasn’t been what’s commonly known as a “good day”. The kids were both in a bad mood, and I was extremely irritable… and it all climaxed with my daughter having a hysteric fit over… joghurt.

Joghurt!

Additionally, she had some homework to do given to her by her flute teacher last week. She had to come up with a second voice for a song, and due to the unraveled state she was in, she just yelled at me that she JUST! CAN’T! EVEN! and then doors were slammed, and more stuff was screamed, and am I not the MOST! UNFAIR! MOTHER! OF! ALL! MOTHERS! It was wonderful.

Furious, I sent her downstairs to her room, but after calming myself down to the maximum amount possible at that time (- which wasn’t much, admittedly), I called her upstairs again and offered to do the homework together with her. It took some effort to convince her and to get through her upset stubbornness – but in the end I had her with her instrument and sheet notes right next to me. We sat down, I grabbed my classical guitar, and went to work. It was slow going at first, with her refusing to contribute or to even think about what she was supposed to do… which frustrated me all over again… but after a few bars she got the hang of it and started to enjoy the process… and suddenly we were sitting there, her with her flute, me with my guitar – which I later switched out for my tenor recorder – making music together. And then the smiles returned, and then the calmness. For both of us. Playing her homework together really set our upset minds at ease and restored the peace and in the end we felt accomplished and good for having spent quality time together. This goes to show how truly transformative musice can be, what an influence it can have on your general mood. I will definitely keep this in mind for the next spat we’re having.


KNOWLEDGE | Start The Knowledge Path (24/24) | Ear Puzzles: Up & Down > Level 2 > The Musical Alphabet (30/30) > Ear Puzzles: Smaller Steps > Level 3 > Sharps & Flats (27/27) > Ear Puzzles: Melodies > Level 4 > Know Your Fretboard > Ear Puzzles: Half Steps > Level 5 > Keys & Grooves (in progress)

RHYTHM | Start The Rhythm Guitar Path (48/48) | Cowboy Chords 1: E, Em, Am (30/30) > Level 2 > Cowboy Chords 2: C (51/51) | Cowboy Chords 3: G (36/36) > Level 3 > Power Chords (57/57) > Cowboy Chords 4: D & A (117/117) > Level 4 > Moveable Power Chords (69/69) | Cowboy Chords: F & Dm (62/63) > Level 5 > Broken Chords (in progress)

Video

Weekly Challenge Lead Level 6: Morning Mood (Edvard Grieg)

I have decided to put myself out there a bit, and take a video of myself playing every now and then. It’s a neat way for myself to monitor my progress – but it’s also fun to get feedback from the FB group, admittedly.

I ditched the White Lady for this, thinking my classical nylon string would be much better suited for this kind of music. Also, for some reason I can’t get my electric to sound good when I hook it up to the amp instead of running it through the iRig into my headphones… the strings keep on ringing, and overall it just sounds very sloppy. Anyway. I picked up my nylon string and started to finger-pick this, as I usually would on this instrument. And… failed. I guess I’ve gotten used to using a pick by now, which is weird considering how clumsy I always used to feel whenever I tried to use one before. And I don’t think I ever played anything on my nylon string with a pick before.

Well – looksie!

I got really nice feedback in the Yousician FB Group – even James chimed in… the guy who is narrating all the guitar lessons in the app. Can’t say that didn’t tickle me pink.

Of course it’s far from perfect, but it’s a nice start and I will probably do more recordings as the challenges come in!

I didn’t blog…

…but I did practice. Albeit little. On Saturday, my guitar was the first thing I reached for after I made it out of bed and had some coffee in my system – but then soon realized that practicing in the morning isn’t actually my cup of tea. I found that my fingers were extremly clumsy and sluggish, and I also couldn’t focus quite the way I should have – so I left it at that, and in the evening I had other plans. Didn’t make my daily goal.

On Sunday, though, I practiced quite a bit. Almost an hour in the afternoon… and it had that little extra awesomeness, because the sun was shining nicely, it was almost warm on my terrace. I took the White Lady outside, along with my headphones, and practiced under the blue sky and with the sun in my face. Really nice and relaxing. I also didn’t reach my daily goal that day, because all I did was try and gold-star a couple of Level 5 lead songs, which didn’t earn me any stars, because I kept on immediately terminating the song as soon as I made a mistake. (Of which I made plenty.)

So I also didn’t screenshot my progress.