Guitar Lessons Part 52

May 2: D to Fmaj7

I need to practise D to Fmaj7. And G to D. Just D in general, I think.

My throat feels like it’s all scratched up, so I should probably take an allergy pill today.

I played my songs. I played mountain king.

It’s been ten months since I started learning guitar. I’m not a beginner anymore, but I certainly don’t feel like I’m at the intermediate level yet.

May 3: Same thing

I feel like I say the same thing over and over again.

I guess that’s what practise is, right?

Mountain king will not defeat me. I will get this song.

I played my three songs. I got a little too enthusiastic regarding the third song, and now my arm hurts quite a bit. Ibuprofen is my friend.

May 4: Missed

No post was written on this day :'(

May 5: Challenge

There was a new challenge song today: “La Llorona.”

My daughter recognized it as one of the songs from Coco, which made me happy, both because we haven’t watched that in a while and because it was recognizable enough.

Then I played sugar plum fairy and mountain king, passably well.

I only played “Get to Know You” of my songs because my shoulder was starting to hurt.

Husband bought me a pretty awesome mother’s day gift that will hopefully help with that. I can’t wait to try it out. Pictures will be taken.

In other news, Thank you to those who already voted for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers on the Goodreads lists! I can already see our cover on several of the banners (which means that it’s within the top five on those lists!) It would be really cool if we could get it onto all the banners!

https://www.goodreads.com/list/book/60868742

P.S. You can only vote on a computer! But you can add our book to your “want to read” lists on mobile! 🙂

May 6: Short

I didn’t play much today. My shoulder hurts now.

I did mountain king. Not very well, though.

I played “Get to Know You” twice and the wedding song once. My middle finger’s callus split a bit and it was hurting to play, so I stopped at that point.

Also, please vote for Assassins! in the Goodreads lists! Thank you!

May 7: Stressful

The kids were, I’ll use the phrase “high-spirited,” today.

Which meant I was rather stressed.

My husband suggested I try practising guitar to calm down.

Yeah, that didn’t particularly help.

I played mountain king. It actually went fairly well, considering I’d forgotten to turn on the volume on my phone so I couldn’t hear the song through the app.

I also played “Get to Know You” twice.

Let’s hope tomorrow is better.

I love my kids I love my kids I love my kids

May 8: Pretty good day

I had a lovely day so far. The kids played nicely together and we brought up some of their big toys from the basement (a ball pit, tunnel, tent combo that they love but is too big to be out all the time, and a giant Yoshi that is, well, giant). They had fun with those.

I was hoping the new thing would be in today (it’s out for delivery) before I played guitar, but it didn’t make it here in time unfortunately.

Mountain king went better than usual today.

I played “Get to Know You” twice, pausing in the middle to change a dirty diaper (not mine, just to be clear 🤣). Then I played the wedding song.

I definitely play the ballad the least, mostly because it’s the most strenuous on my shoulder, but partially because I play them in the order I wrote them. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Reminder to please vote for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers in the Goodreads lists: https://www.goodreads.com/list/book/60868742

Please and thank you!!

Guitar Lessons Part 51

April 26: Sing-along

Mountain king went much better today. Not a high score, but better than yesterday. (Not a high bar, tbh)

I only played two of my songs today, Get to Know You and the ballad. My son sang along with me for the first (I knew he knows the words because it’s one of his bedtime songs) and my daughter sang along with me for the second.

I didn’t realize she knew so many of the words? Like, the chorus is easy. That’s the whole point of the song, that the chorus is easy and gets stuck in your head. But she knew some of the verses.

So that was pretty cool.

April 27: Rhythm

When I was first learning an instrument in grade 7, the teacher evaluated our rhythm, if we wanted to play drums.

I didn’t want to play drums, thankfully, as my rhythm was atrocious.

It has gotten a lot better. I paid attention to it during my 3 songs and I was able to keep the rhythm throughout, much to my delight.

I played Cody Simpson’s La Da Dee for the first time in a long time and it made me so happy.

The kids danced and sang the entire time I played today. My son even pulled out the xylophone.

I love the atmosphere we’ve created of positive music influences. It’s great.

April 28: New challenge

There was a new challenge in my app. I don’t always do the weekly challenges, but this one looked interesting. I actually did pretty well! Not amazing, but I’m happy.

Then I played sugar plum fairy and mountain king. I did decently on both of them.

I played all three of my songs and my shoulder started complaining at the end of the ballad. Sigh.

April 29: Tiktok premiere

I made a Tiktok video! My very first! And it’s the chorus of my ballad, so if you want to hear it, check it out!

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMLGdABTN/

Also, my husband asked me to explain the rhythms of my songs to him, so I need to figure out how to write those down.

April 30: Duet

Today was super fun and complicated.

My husband and I sat down together and played my songs together.

Please note, I don’t know how to properly write rhythms.

So I had to spend most of the time explaining my rhythms and counting strums because I don’t have them written down.

It was still a lot of fun to play songs that I wrote with someone else.

May 1: Had fun

I played a bunch of different songs today from my books. My son decided what to bring me for my practise session today, so it was mostly Disney stuff.

And then I made another Tiktok!

I introduced my guitar and my son, sorry, I mean the Doctor.

You can check it out here:

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMLGoWy7P/

Of course I also played my songs. I’m getting a weird buzzing when I play “Get to Know You,” so I’m going to have to figure that out.

Guitar Lessons Part 50

April 20: Too much

I was too enthusiastic during the ballad. My shoulder hurts a bit more today.

But my kids were dancing and singing along with me.

That’s a good excuse, right?

April 21: Do I know what I’m doing?

Spoiler: I don’t.

I did one of the app challenges this week. It was chords. I forget how exacting this app is for chords. My fingers hurt a bit.

Then I did Sugar Plum Fairy and Mountain King. I did… Alright.

Then I tried Get to Know You in a couple different ways. It’s starting to sound wrong and I don’t know what to do about it.

April 22: Changes

I mostly played Get to Know You today, trying to figure out the additional chords. I ended up removing most of them… They just didn’t sound right.

I practised mountain king through the app. Meh. Could have been better.

I played the wedding song and the ballad, trying to pay attention to dynamics. I should maybe consider writing those down…

April 23: Discordant

I had a lot of trouble with mountain king today. I played it twice, hoping that would help. It didn’t.

Then I played my songs, while my daughter accompanied me on the soprano ukulele.

I honestly thought she’d get bored after one song.

She didn’t. She played all 3 with me.

Which is great. I love that she’s so into music.

But she doesn’t play chords or anything… It’s just strumming.

So it ends up being cacophonous discordant accompaniment.

I consider it training my ear to not listen and sing what I know are the notes. I definitely need the practise.

April 24: Feeling better

Mountain king was as difficult as ever. So frustrating.

I played Get to Know You and the wedding song. They both sounded good.

My son requested Disney music after that and I played a bunch from one of my books.

I actually ended up playing for about half an hour and my arm didn’t hurt at all!

And then I tripped coming up the stairs and jarred my arm again… Hopefully I didn’t hurt it too much. I’ll know tomorrow.

April 25: Beginner vs intermediate

Mountain king didn’t go well today. I don’t know why. Lowest score in a while. Bleh.

I played all three of my songs today. I need an allergy pill. My voice was all over the place. It’s kinda hilarious.

I played Get to Know You multiple times; intermediate, beginner, intermediate again. The beginner sounds way too easy and a little weird now. It’s kinda funny.

Makes me glad that I decided to make a version that was a little more complex.

Oh, and yeah, my arm hurts again. Trust me, I’m annoyed with myself.

Guitar Lessons Part 49

April 14: Almost

I almost beat my high score on mountain king. I’m so close!

I played Get to Know You. There’s something off about the chords. I’m not sure what it is. I’ll figure it out eventually.

I then played The Rose. I love this song. It’s fairly easy to play and I know the tune really well, so even though I haven’t played it in months, it sounded great. IMHO.

Oh! And I have good news! I signed the contract for Crushing It to be published by Renaissance Press! Get to Know You will be out in the world in spring 2023!!!

April 15: Harumph

I played a very little bit today, not even bothering to set up my music stand.

It is very difficult to play from the learning app with my phone on my knee. I didn’t do very well, but that was to be expected.

I know Get to Know You well enough to be able to play without my sheet music, even with the added chords.

I think the first verse is better without the added chords, and that bothers me, because it feels unfinished. (For the intermediate version. It’s fine for the beginner version.)

Bah. I don’t know.

April 16: Yeah no

We had family over for most of the day, plus a bbq shopping fiasco, so guitar playing was not done.

I completely forgot about it.

April 17: I played!!

I actually played today!

I did mountain king… I did okay.

I played Get to Know You, both the beginner and intermediate versions. I’m still undecided on the extra chords.

I even played the wedding song! (What?) My shoulder hurt a bit after that, but not too much, so I didn’t push it too far.

That one, I feel almost confident enough to record. But not the first one.

Maybe I’m overthinking it.

April 18: Shake it off

I played a little more than I should have, but Pegasus was jamming along with me and we were having fun.

I played Mountain King and did very well, score-wise, somehow.

Then I played Get to Know You and the ballad (at Pegasus’s request).

And then I played a bunch from the new guitar book.

My arm doesn’t hurt too badly now (although it did right after playing). I think that’s an improvement?

April 19: Fun

I played all my usual practice session today!

That means mountain king (which I got almost a high score on, somehow), my 3 songs, and the French song!

It was nice to play the full set again.

I may have pushed it a little far.

I don’t want to physically suffer for my art.

But my kids were both singing along with me and it’s hard to stop when that happens.

Guitar Lessons Part 48

Apr 8: Cacophony

I was on hold for work while I practised my guitar today.

So that was… Grating.

I played mountain king first. I got gold stars on the first part (again, but I haven’t been able to in a while). I also did better on the second two parts than I have in the past little while, so I feel very accomplished.

I tried the new chords on Get to Know You. I’m unsure about them still, partially because of the hold music. So I’ll try again tomorrow.

Then I played the wedding song. I definitely hold my shoulder stiffer on this song (not even mentioning the ballad) and I need to be more careful with that.

When I stopped playing, my shoulder hurt a lot, but it’s been almost two hours since then and it’s back to its low level of pain.

Apr 9: Feel the burn

I was perhaps a little ambitious.

I played sugar plum fairy and mountain king from the app. No high scores, but I’m very happy with how well I did.

I played Get to Know You a bunch of times, fiddling with the chords on the verse. I think I’m happy with what I’ve got. I’ll know better tomorrow.

I then tried to play the wedding song with a more relaxed arm. I mostly succeeded… It translated into playing it a little slower than I should’ve, so that’s frustrating.

And I played the ballad for the first time in a week or so. I did not succeed in keeping my arm relaxed. My muscles ache now. Hopefully it’ll feel better soon.

Apr 10: Accompaniment

I had enthusiastic accompaniment for my practising today.

Pegasus pulled out the xylophone and then Dragon requested permission to play the soprano ukulele. Both of them were very quiet while I tuned and did the app song challenge, which is better than I had expected while they had instruments in front of them.

Then they played and sang enthusiastically along with me throughout both Get to Know You and the wedding song.

I’m so glad they have a love of music.

I look forward to them being able to read it.

Apr 11: Ten minutes

I had a very short practice session today because we had a meeting with our publisher for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

So I didn’t play from my app. I didn’t set up my music stand.

I played Get to Know You from memory, including the chord additions.

It sounds pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Apr 12: Satisfied

I played for about half an hour today. My shoulder doesn’t hurt worse than before I started, so I’m taking that as a win…

I played mountain king. Not very well, though. Lots of mistakes.

I tried playing standing up for my first song.

Let me preface by saying that I’m falling apart; my back hurt more and my shoulder also hurt. Sooooo I’m not going to do that again for a while.

I replayed Get to Know You while sitting down. It worked much better! I even worked out the bonus chords. I think there’s two versions of this song, tbh. The one that Tommy plays initially, when he’s had no time to go over the chords and figure them out, and the one that he embellishes on when he’s older. Beginner and intermediate. I’ll make both.

I also played the wedding song and the ballad. They both went well. I’m really happy with how they sound.

Apr 13: New music

I played a little more than I should have today.

I started off with mountain king. That was frustrating.

Then I played Get to Know You. I’m not happy with one of the chords. I’m not sure how to fix it right now. Hopefully something will occur to me tomorrow.

We ordered new music books the other day and they came in last night.

I’m not sure what they mean by “really easy” because there are numerous songs in this book that I cannot even hope to play. The chord choices suck in some cases. And it’s practically impossible to read.

I don’t recommend.

That being said, there were some songs that were super enjoyable to play. I especially liked “Can’t Stop This Feeling.”

Guitar Lessons Part 47

Apr 2: Nope

Too much pain in my shoulder today. I couldn’t lift my arm so I thought it was wise to not aggravate it further.

I did put a heat pack on it and that helped somewhat.

Apr 3: Short

I played for about fifteen minutes today.

My shoulder still hurts, but nothing like yesterday.

I played two songs from the learning app. I did okay on them.

Then I played my first two songs. I decided not to play the ballad because it’s got a LOT more strumming and I hold my shoulder with more tension than I really should.

Apr 4: Slow recovery

My shoulder is feeling better, but not even close to 100%.

So I played mountain king (with great success. Not a complete pass, but I’m very happy with my progress) and my first two songs.

Apr 5: Pretty

My shoulder still aches, so I did minimal practising today.

Mountain king did not go as well as yesterday. Very frustrating.

My songs sounded really pretty though.

I’m thinking of adding some chords to Get to Know You. Not the version that my character plays, obviously, since he’s making it up on the fly, but to the “professional” version. I find it very repetitive right now, with just C chords. So I’ll try mixing it up a bit and see what happens.

Oh, and irl news; last night I was poking about on the internet and I found the pre-order link for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers on Indigo!! (For those of you not in Canada, that’s our national bookstore chain.)

I’m not sharing the link here yet because there’s no cover on it, and no ebook version available yet, but it’s there!! In print!

I knew it would be exciting, but I didn’t expect it to feel quite this overwhelming.

I also found out, after talking to the publisher, that the cover reveal will be happening at the end of April*. There’ll be a virtual party. You’re all invited. 🎉

In light of how excited I am about seeing the pre-order, I’ll do another AMA about my book. So AMA! I want to talk about it!!

*Pre-launch party will be happening in August, not April. Details to come.

Apr 6: Another break

I’m sorry my posts are so boring this week. I’m trying really hard not to overwork my shoulder and yet it’s still hurting. 🙁

Apr 7: Back at it

I played for about ten minutes today and my shoulder is aching a bit.

I played mountain king first. I almost failed because my son grabbed the fretboard and that messed me up for way longer than it should have. I’m more annoyed with myself than him.

He knows that if he wants to play with my guitar, he needs to ask first. Two year olds. 🙄

Then I played Get to Know You. I messed about with the second verse, trying to figure out some different chords to insert into it. I pencilled some in. I’ll see what it sounds like when I play it tomorrow.

Then I thought I’d be okay to play the wedding song.

I probably shouldn’t have pushed it.

This is so frustrating.

Guitar Lessons Part 46

Mar 27: Almost

I almost didn’t play at all today.

1. My right arm hurts. A lot. And I can’t lift it over my guitar.

2. Sundays are always busy days for us.

But when we got back from my parent’s for dinner, I grabbed the tenor uke and played one song before we put the kids to bed.

And apparently I’m not holding ukuleles correctly with my left hand. I’m going to have to practise that.

Mar 28: Recovering

My arm and back still hurt a bit, so I didn’t play too long today.

I played my songs. It’s been two days since I played them. It was nice to get back to the routine.

Oh, and our publisher loved the theme for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers that we recorded. So that’s the first part of our book trailer done!

Mar 29: Still going slow

I only played mountain king (bleh, did not do well), my 3 songs, and the French song today.

My arm hurts.

The songs sounded great though.

Also, I got some awesome news today, but I can’t share yet. Just be excited for me. 🙂

Mar 30: Learning app

I was able to get that extra note in mountain king 2/4 times, but the notes that followed it… Less often. Very frustrating. I’ll get there. It’s just frustrating at the moment.

I played my songs, including the theme at speed. I’m actually impressed with how much easier it is than I thought.

It’s like recording has taken the pressure off. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Mar 31: End of March

The end of March means I’ve been playing guitar for NINE months.

Seriously.

I think I’m in a pretty good place for nine months of playing. I wouldn’t say I’m advanced, but I definitely feel as though I’m beyond a beginner.

I just hope I haven’t picked up any bad habits. 😬

I did better at mountain king today. I’m getting there!

I played my songs. They make me happy.

Apr 1: Sore

I’m falling apart.

I don’t recommend growing older.

Lifting my arm to hold my guitar was very painful today.

I did not do well on mountain king. I failed it the first time.

I played my songs. They sounded the way I wanted them to. I’ve been focussing on volume control when using the pick, getting louder and softer depending on the mood. (Forte vs piano)

Guitar Lessons Part 45

Mar 23: It’s been a while

Think I’m getting worse for the learning app. I did not do well. Must be about to do a learning leap. I hope.

I had trouble with the theme today too. I got it eventually, but gah.

And my voice is all raspy still, thanks to allergies, so I took off the capo for my songs because I couldn’t hit the higher notes. And believe me, these songs are already on the lower end of my register, so this is ridiculous.

Maybe I should take my allergy pill with breakfast instead of lunch.

Then, because I had a long practice today, I pulled out one of my Disney books and played from that. It’s been… A while.

Apparently I don’t usually play G7. I got used to it eventually, but wow my fingers hurt from the stretch. A good hurt.

Mar 24: Uke app

I had another long practise today.

I definitely did worse on my learning app. Which is very frustrating.

I played my theme twice, both times with no mistakes. That was awesome.

I played my songs. I am happy with how they went.

Then, because I still had lots of time, I pulled out the tablet and opened up the uke app. I haven’t played these songs in a while. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how they sounded.

Mar 25: Maybe tomorrow?

Practise went well today. So well, that I think I might be able to record tomorrow! Meep!

I still struggled with the additional notes in the learning app, but I did better on all the rest of it.

My songs were fine. I keep forgetting to take an allergy pill with breakfast. It’s amazing how much my voice cracks.

The theme was good each time I played it. I think…I might be ready. Gulp.

Mar 26: Recording studio

Guess what I did today!?!?! (The title kinda gives it away)

Recording in our living room

We recorded our theme for the book trailer today!

The kids played quietly* upstairs for about an hour (!!) and we got this down.

I started by recording the melody and then tried listening to it while I recorded the harmony.

Lol!

Yeah, that didn’t go well at all.

I can’t keep a rhythm in my head if I’m listening to something else.

So instead, we recorded the harmony and then I listened to it through headphones and played the melody (faster than I’m used to). I made a couple little mistakes and had dull notes a few times, but I was so happy with how well I started and ended that I didn’t want to try recording it again.

Dragon watching Pegasus try on Papa’s noise cancelling headphones. They’re a little big on him.

Then my husband recorded the bass line to the harmony/melody.

Now I’m watching my husband play with levels and effects. It’s really cool.

Our TV showing our computer program

I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished today!

*most of the time. We were interrupted several times by the kids coming down for no reason, or shouting at each other, or thumping as they ran along the hall…

Guitar Lessons Part 44

Mar 17: Hmm

My half grown out fingernails keep catching on the strings when I do finger picking for the theme. This makes me think that I should wait to do the recording until they’re fully grown in. Probably (hopefully?) next week.

I made numerous mistakes today in my songs, but not as many as yesterday.

Mar 18: No pick

I tried to play without the pick today. It went pretty well, tbh.

I tried to add the notes in mountain king that I wasn’t able to add before. It didn’t go well. Hilariously bad, actually. That’s okay. I knew it would be hard to add them, that’s why I’ve been skipping them.

The theme went well. I made some tiny mistakes. My fingernails are growing in nicely. Hopefully I won’t damage them before I can record next week.

It was so nice to be able to play my songs without the pick. It sounds so much nicer without it, IMHO.

Mar 19: Allergies

I don’t notice when I’m having a bad allergy day most of the time.

Unless I sing.

And omg I was all over the place today. I couldn’t get on pitch. I felt like my guitar was drastically out of tune (I tune it before playing every day, so it obviously wasn’t out of tune).

So yeah, that’s how my songs went today. 🙄

My theme practice went alright. I still need practice.

Mar 20: Decisions

I have decided that the ballad will be played with a pick rather than my fingernails. It sounds better and doesn’t destroy my nails.

But the other two are definitely not going to be played with a pick. It just sounds better.

I’m not making much progress on the song in the learning app, but I am being patient.

The first time I tried the theme today, I made mistakes on each part. But the second time, I didn’t notice any mistakes!

Mar 21: Spring

Did you know it’s spring now?

I thought it was still mid-February.

Struggling with the learning app song still. I think I’m going to try only playing one of the additional notes rather than both. Work up to it. I’ll see how that goes tomorrow.

I managed to get the theme on the third try. Still practicing.

My songs went pretty well today. Still having trouble singing thanks to allergies.

Mar 22: Old school

I had a bit of extra time after I finished playing my usual practice routine.

I had a lot of trouble today. My throat felt raw, so singing was rough. I kept getting distracted and losing my place in my songs. It was very frustrating.

The theme practice went well.

Then I decided I’d pull out the guitar book on Kobo that I bought a couple months ago. It has a bunch of songs that only use 3 chords: G, C, and D. They’re all old school songs from the sixties and seventies. I have several issues with this book. One, it appears to be a scan of the music and it is not scalable, so I cannot make the font size bigger. Two, the music and lyrics are blurry.

But I found a couple songs I know well enough that those issues don’t matter; Rock Around the Clock and Surfin’ USA.

So that was kind of fun.

Guitar Lessons Part 43

Mar 11: Closer

Today’s practice went well. I’m definitely getting closer to recording the theme for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers and I’m trying not to get too excited about that.

My thumbnail being too short to use as of yet is very frustrating. It means that the skin of my thumb is sore and the sound isn’t quite right (dull instead of vibrant).

On the plus side, I have been getting more confident with the pick. I do still prefer the sound from just my fingernails, but this is an acceptable substitute.

Mar 12: Figuring out bass line

Today was a little different. I did not do my learning app, or my first two songs.

Instead, I spent the bulk of my practice time playing the ballad because my husband @ericdesmarais and I were trying to figure out the bass line for it, and by extension, the theme for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

I think we’ve got it, actually.

I couldn’t really hear it over the ballad, because if I don’t focus all my attention on what I’m doing, I mess up.

But when we switched to the theme, I could hear it.

It sounds great.

Of course, I can only hear the bass with the harmony or the bass with the melody because I can’t play the harmony and melody at the same time, but it sounded really nice with both of them.

I’m excited.

Oh, and my index fingernail needed to be cut super short, so at least now the finger picking sounds the same in both directions… I’m not too upset about that

Mar 14a: Belated. Oops

I forgot to write my post yesterday. I did play.

I did well.

I stood up to play my first two songs. Holding the pick and playing standing up is very different from sitting.

The theme gave me some trouble today.

Mar 14b: Preparing

I am feeling a little more prepared to record the theme.

Note to self: do not practice a lot before recording

Oh, and last night I got to see the cover for Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

I am so happy with it, you have no idea. I can’t wait to show you (although I do have to wait, I’m sorry).

Mar 15: Feeling good

I tried playing the theme immediately following the learning app songs. It went much better. My fingers weren’t as sore, so I wasn’t making as many mistakes.

I’ll keep this up for the next few days, and then I’ll be ready to record!

Meep!

I then played my songs. I’m very pleased with my rhythm progress. I’m sounding much more consistent, especially in the wedding song.

Mar 16: That did not go well

I don’t know what was up with me today. I missed so many notes in the learning app that I almost failed the song.

I struggled to get the finger picking for the theme.

I dropped the pick and messed up the rhythm so many times in my songs.

Bad day today. Hopefully tomorrow is better.