Guitar Lessons Part 7

Aug 8: Very Good Day

I passed the melody I was working on yesterday, after several attempts.

Then I moved on to a pinky finger exercise. It was fun and easy.

And then!!

I got to play a song I recognized!

Ode to Joy!

Omg you have no idea how excited I was too not only get to play this, but I got to hear myself play it properly!? I passed it on the second try and then I played it two more times just because I could. So cool!

I played my song too, again without listening to the recording first. My daughter sang along with me. Super cool that she knows most of the lyrics to a song that I wrote.

I got the F chord today! Slowly on the changes, but I got it!

Aug 9: Melody Challenge

I played Ode to Joy again, just because I could. I did well on it, although not as well as after 4x yesterday.

Then I moved on to the next melody. It has FIVE parts! I passed according to the app, but I have not gotten 3 stars on all 5 parts yet, so I’m going to keep going with it tomorrow.

I played my song again. The chord changes are getting faster, which is very encouraging!

I’m still feeling weird about the timing on the verses. I might have to do a video call with my music mentor again this weekend.

Aug 10: Gah

The lesson through the app went really well. I passed the song I was working on yesterday on the first try and then again on the second.

The next song was difficult at first, but I’m feeling confident I’ll get it tomorrow.

Then I played my song. It sounded okay, but I could hear the dull notes, so I tried to play each chord individually.

Apparently I cannot play the F chord today. Like, at all. 4th string, fine. 3rd string, fine. 2nd and 1st? Dull, no matter how I move my hand.

I am incredibly frustrated today.

I stopped playing because I felt like smashing something and I thought it would be smart to just leave it alone for now.

Aug 11: Not Bad

I passed the melody I was working on yesterday. It took several tries, but I managed it.

The next melody has barely any pauses in it. If I mess up, I have a really hard time finding the notes again. I passed it once before my time ran out for the day.

My song went well. I added an E chord, for “colour” as my music mentor says. I’m not sure if I’ll keep it, but I liked how it sounded today.

And that F chord… I managed it correctly about a quarter of the time, if I’m being generous.

Aug 12: That F-ing Chord

I completed the melody lessons for level 3 in my app. I only needed to play that one melody from yesterday once more to pass it.

Then I learned a new chord! D chord. I’ve been practicing it with the other chords for about a month, so I was able to get it right away. There was another chord challenge where I had to play as many chords as possible in a set time frame. I did that a bunch of times and managed to get 19 chords to give me three gold stars. Woo!

The first chord song in the app ended up required down strumming AND up strumming. I haven’t been practicing the up strumming, so I didn’t do very well. Something to work on for tomorrow.

Then I played my song.

That F-ing F chord. I couldn’t get it even once. Not even outside the song. I’m seriously considering transposing the entire song so that I don’t have to play the F chord.

So frustrated today.

Aug 13: Chords

The app I use is EXTREMELY picky (pun not intended) about chords. It’s exhausting.

I passed the chord song I was working on yesterday… Barely. I wouldn’t really say I passed, but I was tired of playing it. It kept not hearing me properly.

So I skipped on to the next one. I only played it once, but it didn’t hear a single C chord. Very frustrating.

I told my music mentor about my frustrations yesterday, and he suggested I play Fmaj7 instead of F. Omg what a difference! I’m very happy with the switch. I know I’ll have to learn F someday, but that day is not this day.

I played my song several times. It’s coming along well, I think.

Oh, and we ordered a soprano ukelele that came in today. Our daughter is EXTREMELY excited about it.

Our little soprano ukulele!

So it looks like I’ll be learning uke as well as guitar.

Guitar Lessons Part 6

Aug 2: Scales!

I finished this set of chord lessons. I think I’m getting the hang of up strumming. Sort of.

The next set of lessons is knowledge stuff. So I’m learning how to do scales! They’re starting off with a simple scales with no sharps or flats. They didn’t give it a name, but I start on an open E, so I guess it’s an E major?

I guess the guitar isn’t in the same key as a flute, because E major for a flute has flats, if I’m remembering correctly from twenty years ago. (??)

Oh, and big news for my song! I sent the recording I made (and the lyrics) to a very talented guitarist friend of mine and he sent me back some chords!!

So I have music for my song now! (Note to self, remember to credit him for the music!)

And he gave me chords I already know, which is so very sweet of him to think of. Thankfully I have a capo.

They’re very basic chords, which is perfect for a beginner like me: C, Am, and F (which I’m cheating on and only playing the bottom two strings).

Now I have to get used to singing the melody while I play a harmony. That’s going to take a lot of time and practice.

I tried it today and my voice automatically dropped into the harmony. Sigh.

Practice makes perfect, right?

Aug 3: What a difference!

I played the scale again today. It took a couple attempts, but I was able to play it.

Then I moved on to playing arpeggios. It took some time, but I got them today too. I think I’m a little lazy with my finger placement, not using the tips of my fingers. I’ll have to pay more attention to that tomorrow.

The last thing I did was a song with whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes. It had a couple string and finger changes that I struggled with in the first go-through and then my time was up for the day.

Then I got to play my song!

I decided to put the recording I had made on the Google mini while I played the chords to keep my voice on track and IT WORKED!! The chorus is so good I’m ridiculously excited about it. The verses need work, but I have a month to practice before I’m going to play for people.

Omg I’m so hyped from my practice session today!!

Aug 4: Challenges

I passed the knowledge section. I don’t really have anything more to say about that.

Now I’m on to level 3!!

It starts with melody lessons; adding the fourth finger! I did very well with the first two training songs. They were both on the bottom string (1st) only, so very simple.

The next song in the lesson was on the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings and used the first four frets.

Apparently I have no idea which string I’m on with either hand. I think this song is going to take more than a couple days to master.

It’s a good challenge.

My song. Omg my song.

I played my recording once, singing along with it. Then I played it twice more, singing and playing the chords. And then! I turned off the recording.

And I was able to sing it properly!

I’m still so in love with the chorus.

I think I really need to master the F chord because the cheat I’ve been using feels very unfinished. So I’m going to work on that.

I still awkward with the verses. I’ll get there.

And the bridge is slightly uncomfortable, but I think that’s because there are F chords in it, so hopefully it will get more comfortable as I get better with that chord.

A good day.

Aug 5: Well then

You know that melody I said was going to take days to master?

I passed it today. And passed it well. I played it four times, and got three stars on all of them except the first (only two stars). So yay?

However! This next melody is actually going to take me days. I’m playing it at 75% speed and barely managing a third of the notes. So yeah. DAYS. That’s ok. I feel like I’m learning.

I played my song again. Once with the recording, several times without. Still in love with the chorus. Still fighting with the F chord.

It’s ok. I’m getting there. It’s nice to make progress.

Aug 6: Accomplishments

I worked on the melody from yesterday today for the entire half hour. I played it at 80% speed several times, sped it up to 85%, sped it up to 90%, and then played it at full speed.

And you know what?

It wasn’t as difficult as it was yesterday.

It was still really hard, but I came really close to passing. (3,3,2,2 and then 2,3,3,2 stars on each part of the song – I have decided that I need 3 stars on each part of a song in order to consider it passed. According to the app, I have passed.)

I played my song again. I’m still having trouble with that pesky little F chord. (my nemesis!!)

Keep on practicing.

Aug 7: Playing with a Headache

I completed the melody I’ve been working on for the past couple days. I’m honestly kinda surprised. Even though it was very challenging for me to start with, I felt competent while playing it today.

Shows the value of practice, I guess!

Then I played a new melody. I got three stars on all three parts the second time I played it, but then every time I played afterwards, I got worse and worse! It was kinda funny, looking back on it, but very frustrating in the moment.

I played my song without listening to the recording first. It went very well! I’m very pleased with my vocal training. Making the recording was definitely the right thing for me to do.


F chord, you will not defeat me!!!

Guitar Lessons Part 5

July 26: Ugh

I passed the Am/C chord lesson once. I didn’t pass a second time, so I’ll be trying it again tomorrow.

The lines on my fingers from pressing on the strings were turning purple, so I stopped for the day.

Then I tried to play the melody line I had written out yesterday and it sounded all wrong.


I had (mostly) forgotten that I have an annoying little problem with my ear.

Any note I sing will change to the note I play.

This makes writing a melody incredibly difficult.

I tried to avoid this problem yesterday. Apparently it didn’t work.

I need to figure out a different way of doing this.

July 27: Not much

I didn’t play much today.

I completed the Am/C chord song, somehow.

Then I moved onto the next Am/C chord song. I got 3 stars on the first part of it, and then only 1 on the next two parts. Sigh.

I know that Am and C are super easy to switch between, but I’m looking forward to the difficulty of switching between chords that require me to move all my fingers around so that I’m not digging gauges in my fingers every time I play.

I tried out a new app to translate my song into guitar chords. It’s called MyChord. I’m not sure how pleased I am with it. It definitely records, and it definitely gives me chords (most of the time), but I feel like it picked the most complicated chords imaginable! I need to figure out how to transpose them to chords I can actually play, or maybe just cut out half of them.

It’s probably that my voice isn’t perfect. I know it isn’t. I have choral training from high school and that’s it, no private lessons.

Anyways, I’ll muddle along. At least this gives me something to start off with!

July 28: Ups and downs

I had a really hard time getting my fingers to cooperate holding down the strings today.

I gave up on the Am/C chord lesson after five attempts and practiced the chords I knew, plucking each string individually to make sure I had no dull notes.

Which I did.

On many chords.

Like I said, my fingers were not cooperating today.

Then I tried the lesson one last time.

And I passed with only one mistake!

I’m going to play it again tomorrow to make sure I do have it down, but yay for only one mistake!

I sang my song once.

I talked with a musician friend last night about guiding me on how to write the music. First step is to record me singing it. So I guess I’m doing that at some point this week.

Did you want to hear it?

Bear in mind, I’m not a professional singer by any stretch of the imagination and that this was “written by a 14yo boy” as his coming out love song to the guy he likes (I am not 14yo, gay, or a boy).

July 29: One Whole Month!

It has been a month since I officially picked up a guitar!

I am very happy with my progress, even though it feels slow at times.

I passed the Am/C chord song and moved on to learning G.

One of the major benefits of getting this Fender; the neck is narrower and G is easier to reach. The only trouble I’m having with it is switching in and out of it.

I passed the chord player, where the app gave me a series of chords that I had to play in a certain amount of time. I played 14 on the first try. I’ll probably play it again tomorrow.

Then I played the first G chord song.


This song had G/C/Em/Am!

My fingers are still feeling cramped from playing. It’ll get easier though.

I didn’t pass the lesson, but I’m really excited to be moving onto a more complicated song!

I tried to find a simple app that would tell me what notes I was singing for my song. All I learned is that my voice is wildly out of tune.


Maybe I shouldn’t try to write the song.

July 30: Fun!

I had a lot of fun playing today.

I played the G/C/Em/Am song multiple times. Haven’t passed it yet, but it felt really good to play something that required a lot of brain power.

I even played it for an audience! And the toddler didn’t attack the guitar!

I sang my song a few times.

I’m supposed to record it for my friend to help me and I keep putting it off because a) we’ve been busy, and b) I’m nervous.

July 31: Moving right along

I passed the G/C/Em/Am chord song twice today. I’m very proud of myself.

Then I moved on to the next song, Em/G/C chords. I passed it on the first attempt, and then had trouble the next two times.


I’ll get it tomorrow, I think.

I sang my song once and then I recorded it to send to my friend who’s guiding me.

Good day today!

Aug 1: Progress

I passed the Em/G/C chord song today.

Then I learned about up strumming. That was… Interesting.

Then I played a G/Em chord song that was all about switching between down and up strumming.

I did not pass it, but I feel pretty good about my progress on it.

I put on my recording of my song and sang along with it multiple times.

I need to work on my confidence.

Guitar Lessons Part 4

July 18: woo!

I used up all my practice time on the app today!

I started off by playing the melody from yesterday. I wasn’t satisfied by the first couple times, so I played it a third time and got four x three stars, two of which were gold.

Then I moved on to the next melody. This one had a variety of rhythms, switching strings and switching frets. It was hard.

I slowed down in practice mode and played it at 75%, 85%, and 95%. I didn’t get a chance to perform because my practice time was used up. (I get half an hour in the free app.)

Then I sang my song again, no guitar. I’m still liking it.

I practiced all the chords I know. I had fewer dull notes on the first strum, which was nice. Still having trouble with G. My fingers may be long, but wow by third and fourth finger do not like being separated that far.

On a positive note (pun intended), my fingers didn’t hurt until I started playing the chords!

July 19: Look at the pretty!

I didn’t think I was going to get to practice today (although I did play through yesterday’s song once through) because…

Dun dun dun!!

I bought a guitar!

(I just realized I’m wearing the same shirt as the last guitar pic. Oops. I swear I have more shirts!)

It’s a Fender ¾ and it’s red and it’s so pretty!

There’s going to be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the higher strings because my new guitar has metal strings and wow they’re thin! The highest is practically a garrote!

I’m looking forward to practicing on my new guitar tomorrow!

July 20: Chords really hurt

I passed the melody line that I’d been working on the past two days after playing it twice today. I ended up with 2x three gold stars and 2x three stars. I’m very pleased with that result.

Then I moved on to the C chord.

My new guitar has a much thinner neck than my dad’s, so the reach isn’t as painful. However! The metal strings (bronze) really hurt and I have to get right up on my fingertips so as to not touch the strings on either side.

So I had a lot of trouble getting past the chord review. E, Em Am, and C. I had to play 9 in a set amount of time. The best I did today was 7. And then 6. And then 5. And then my fingers hurt too much to continue.

I’ll get callouses eventually and then it won’t hurt anymore, right?

I practiced singing my song, no guitar.

July 21: Passed the chords!

I figured out that I had to strum more than once in order for the app to pick up the sound. So after I had done a few tries and only succeeded at getting 1-5 right, I figured out the strumming thing and I got 14 right! I only needed 9 to move on.

Rather than moving on with the chord lessons, I went back and re-did a whole bunch of the melody songs. I was very pleased at how well my fingers responded to them. I did a couple twice because I stumbled on them the first time.

My fingers hurt from the chords, but the melodies didn’t make them hurt worse, so I’m calling that a win.

I also was able to play through the entire half hour of free play time. Woo!

I am loving my new guitar. I’m definitely finding it easier to reach the chords like G (not that I’ve learned that one in the app yet).

I didn’t sing today during practice, but I promise I will later.

July 22: Bad day

Today was a difficult lesson day. I tried the next chord lesson, which was a song with C and Em chords, and it did not go well.

Just switching between them is hard enough, but I keep being slightly off the strings and that messes up the chord. So I didn’t pass the lesson at all. It was very disheartening. And my fingers hurt.

To try to cheer myself up, I tried to do one of the melodies, and I kept messing up on it, too.

I did sing my song though, so at least one thing went well in my music lesson today.

July 23: Boo

I still have not passed the C/Em chord lesson. I have a feeling I’ll be stuck here for a while.

Plus side?

I’m finding it easier to switch between them. I just need to be more precise with where I’m pressing on the strings so that I don’t make a dull note. Because this app? It picks up EVERYTHING.

I’m rather frustrated.

I did play 3 of the melodies from the previous set of lessons and did pretty well on them.

I sang my song again. Still happy with it. Still not ready to try to put music to it.

July 24: Success!

I passed the C/Em chord lesson!! I played it about ten times today, and finally got three stars in both sections (two times). I’m very proud of myself for sticking with this.

Then the next lesson was Em/C chords. I’m very proud to say that it only took me four tries to get three stars in all three sections (twice).

My fingers were very sore by the end of these two lessons, but I wanted to check out the next lesson, so I gave it a shot. It is Am/C, and I did not do very well, despite it being incredibly easy to switch between these two chords (only one finger needs to move). It’s probably because my fingers were tired.

I sang my song at the beginning of the lesson. I still love it.

I think I’ve figured out how to write out the music. I’m going to print out the song and figure out which notes belong with each syllable, writing them down with a pencil. Then I’ll figure out the chord progression from there.

We’ll see how that goes.

Anyways, positive lesson today, despite the fact that my fingers are still tingling.

July 25: Bruises or callouses?

Yesterday, I was all excited because I thought I was developing callouses.

Today, I realized they’re bruises.

It really hurt to play today.

I played the Am/C chord song a few times today. I did not pass. I kept making mistakes like shifting my fingers too far or not pressing hard enough on the string.

I printed out the song and wrote out the melody for the first line of the first verse.

It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. I used to be able to do this sort of thing easily when I was in high school. Funny how skills vanish after twenty years of not using them. (Twenty?? 😱)

If I figure out one line a day, I’ll finish the song in 11 days (because the verses are practically the same and the chorus will only need a minor tweak at the very end of the third chorus because of a difference in syllable count). Fingers crossed?

Guitar Lessons Part 3

July 12: chord lesson blahs

I played the same lesson the entire lesson today; Em and Am. I need to get three stars on all three parts of the lesson in order to move on to the next lesson.

I have yet to succeed.

My fingers hurt.

Silver lining? I’m feeling a lot more confident switching between the two chords.

I guess that’s the whole point.

July 13: new chords

I have finally succeeded at the Em/Am lesson!!

Now I’ve moved on to E/Am.

I succeeded on the first attempt, but I like to play it twice because my fingers need the practice switching between chords. I don’t want to move on too quickly.

And then I couldn’t pass it again.


I appear to be on a downswing for my song too. It sounded all off today.

So now my fingers hurt and I’m not feeling great about how today’s lesson went at all.

Very disappointing.

July 14: moving forward

I beat the level!

Well, it’s not a video game, but it kinda feels like one.

So I completed the song with Am/E. Then I moved on to an Am/E/Em song. I completed it twice, passing both times.

I feel a lot better about my progress today.

That was the end of the chords lessons, and they moved on to basics about the guitar: the names of the strings, half steps and whole steps, and pitches.

I completed all of those easily.

I played my song again. Still not super happy with it today. That’s ok, though. I’ve got time to figure it out.

Yes, my fingers still hurt.

July 15: level 2

I completed the knowledge lessons. It’s nice to know that I haven’t forgotten things like how to count 4/4 time.

That meant that I got to move on to LEVEL TWO!

The first set of lessons are Melody 2. Single fingers, picking and not strumming. I completed the first few melodies with very little trouble (twice each, to make sure I had the lesson down properly).

The fourth melody really picked up the speed and switched from the 2/¾ frets to the ¾/5 frets and wow was that ever difficult! I completely failed (couldn’t even get to the end of the song) multiple times before I finally managed to pass. I only passed once though, so I’ll be playing it again tomorrow and hopefully succeeding.

As for my song…I seem to have stalled on it. I hope it’ll get easier to write the music for it as I learn more.

My fingers don’t hurt too much today. They sting a little.

July 16: slow down

Today I repeated the melody I was having trouble with yesterday and I only made one mistake. I was very satisfied and moved on to the next set of lessons; Melody 2.5.


That was a dramatic increase in complexity.

Changing frets AND strings and much faster than the previous songs.

So I took the time to run through the song on practice mode and slowed it down to 60% and tried again. Then I increased it to 75%. And then 85%. And then I tried again in perform mode. I wasn’t perfect by a long shot, but I got 3 stars (not gold stars) and I’m really thrilled with that.

I am not considering myself as “passed” though. I’ll try it again tomorrow and if I can get 3 stars again, then I’ll move on to the next lesson.

As for my song, I didn’t play it today.

However, I sang it. I think it’ll be easier to get the melody down on the guitar if I have it firmly in my head first.

We’ll see how that goes.

July 17: mostly positive

I started today’s lesson with the melody I was having trouble with yesterday. It took two tries, but I succeeded to my satisfaction.

Then I moved on to the next melody. The app told me I passed on the first try, which was, frankly, astonishing. The melody moved between the first 3 frets and the next 3 frets, switching between the bottom 3 strings. I don’t think it was quite as fast as the first melody I did today, but it was close. Then I tried it three more times before i finally passed it again on the fourth try.

I practiced the chords I know, both with a strum and finger picking each string to make sure I don’t have dull notes.

Again, I sang the song rather than play. I think I’m getting more consistent. I hope.

Guitar Lessons Part 2

July 7: Ouch

I played the riff I was having trouble with yesterday for the entire practice session today. I’m doing no better than I was when I started today.


I played the tabs I came up with for my song yesterday and while I still like them, I don’t feel like my singing went with them very well today.

I think I’m just feeling less productive overall today.

My fingers hurt.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

July 8: Melody

I succeeded at that last riff!! On my first try today! Big surge of adrenaline after that!

Then I moved on to learning melody lines.

Apparently it’s a lot more pressing on strings because ouch my fingers hurt!

I did not pass the first melody.

Tomorrow is a new day.

I played my song (the first verse) and I’m in love with it again today. I need more practice to make sure I hit the right strings, but it’s coming along.

July 9: technical issues resolved

So I finally figured out why my phone wasn’t registering my notes properly… My sound was up too high. So it couldn’t hear my playing properly! And I thought that I wasn’t playing right!

So I ripped through 3-4 melody lessons and got 3 gold stars on almost every part today once I turned my phone’s sound down.

Then I listened to the first lesson on chords but couldn’t do the prescribed because I refuse to upgrade my account to get more practice time.

My fingers hurt, but I’m so exhilarated from doing well in today’s lesson that I don’t care.

Then I played my song. The first verse is sounding more natural, which makes me happy.

So I moved on to the second verse. The lines aren’t the same number of beats, so it’s going to need some adjusting. I can’t change the words too much because the character is supposed to have scribbled them down in half an hour and it’s supposed to be super rough, but I might have to modify them a bit if I can’t get the music to sound right.

Then I played the bridge and it sounds decent currently, so we’ll see how that goes.

I’m excited to start learning chords so I can put them to the chorus!

A note about me learning guitar

Something I haven’t really mentioned on here about when I go to practice the guitar…

I go to the basement.

Not to get away from the family, but because my son tries to tune the guitar while I’m playing it and refuses to listen to the word “no”.

He’s only 2. He’ll learn soon, right?

But every day, I encourage my daughter to come with me. (She’s always excited to join me… So far.) She’s almost 5. And she hates not being perfect at something on her first try.

So I’m not making a huge deal about it, but I talk out loud to myself. If I get something first try, I celebrate it. IfWhen I don’t get it, I say something like, “wow, that was hard! I’m going to need to practice that.”

And I talk to my husband about my feelings about my lessons in front of her, saying, “I feel like I should be further along because I used to play flute, and it’s frustrating to be going at such a slow pace. But I want to do this properly and I don’t want to skip steps.”

I’m hoping that she sees and hears that this is taking a lot of time, that I’m working really hard at it, and that I’m making a LOT of mistakes as I go.

Nobody’s perfect at something the first try. It takes a lot of time and effort to master an instrument (or reading, math, printing, drawing, colouring, etc).

If she refuses to listen when I tell her that, let her learn by example.

I hope.

July 10: I need to cut my fingernails again

I learned 3 chords today: Em, E, and Am.

My fingers hurt so much from pressing on the strings that I wasn’t able to do more than a ten minute lesson.

And my fingernails need trimming again because I’m not using the tips of my fingers, so it’s harder to put my fingers in the proper places.

When I tried learning guitar two decades ago, I bit my nails all the time, so I didn’t have this problem.

It’s kinda frustrating.

I played my song again and I fixed the notes for the bridge. I’m much happier with it now.

And I don’t think I need to change the lyrics to make the lines shorter, I just need to speed up the singing. (If that makes sense).

One good thing about writing the music for this is that I’m getting slightly more confident with singing. Hopefully I’ll be fully confident by the time I need to perform it.

I’m excited to see progress.

July 10 Part 2

I’ve started re-teaching myself scales so that chords make more sense to me.

A hand-drawn guitar with each fret labelled is on the left. On the right are several chord names with the fingering and corresponding music notes, along with the scale and the triad.

It’s really strange, because it’s been so long since I last thought about this stuff, that I’m starting from scratch. But I kinda remember it. But not really.

So. It’s strange.

Song update

I recorded the lyrics at my first attempt at setting down the melody line.

They are so far from perfect it’s not even funny.

Like, I messed up on the second line of the first verse and on the third line of the bridge. The third line of the bridge is my favourite!!

However, I feel like I have made a good start.

I’ll be recording the lyrics again after I listen to it a bunch of times.

Ugh, listening to myself.


But that’s how I learn a song the best… Listening to it over and over.

Hopefully I won’t ingrain the wrong tune in my head for those two lines!!

And then I get to try to figure out the guitar to go along with it…

That’ll be interesting.

Am I doing this backwards? Lyrics-learn guitar-learn how to write music-write music for guitar?

I mean, I suppose it could be MORE backwards!

July 11: chords are hard

Today’s lesson was all about switching between Em and Am. I did not do very well. I’m not sure if it was me missing the strings or me strumming poorly.

Probably a combination of both.

So today my fingers hurt and my wrist hurts (left hand).

I played my song. I think it’s going alright. I think I like A major for the initial chord for the chorus. I’m tempted to just use it all the way through, but I’m sure I’ll figure out a better progression than that!

I also think I should try a key change for the bridge and final chorus… We’ll see how things go.

Guitar Lessons Part 1

I wrote lyrics for a song in a novella in Stories! The Unexpected First Collection. Now I’m planning to write the music. Only one problem…

I don’t remember how to write music. Or play guitar. So I’ve asked my dad to reteach me guitar.

Let’s hope this goes well!

I’ve been journalling my progress on Tumblr, but since barely anybody I know has my Tumblr, I decided that it would make a good series of posts on our blog for the month of August.

I started on June 29th, when my dad let me borrow his guitar. I’ve been using an app called Yousician, not on premium (which means I get 30 minutes of practice time per day and limited song options. That really isn’t a problem for me.)

June 29

I had my first lesson today.

I forgot how much pressing on the strings hurts my fingers.

I’m starting from scratch because I was never really taught before; my dad showed me some of the chords and that was it. So I’m learning about tabs.

And how to tune!

The first lesson was tuning and playing the 6th string open (not touching the string). Then I learned about frets 1, 2, and 3 and how to play them with changing fingers.

My index finger is so sore.

I want to learn more!!!!!!!

June 30

I remembered to take a picture today!

I am wearing a pink shirt that reads “Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers” and holding a guitar. My daughter is next to me. Behind her is the guitar’s case.

Dragon has been learning how to read the tabs along with me and is talking about them properly.

I love it.

I need a lot of practice.

July 3

I learned what riffs are yesterday.

Today, my head was spinning because I got my second dose of Moderna yesterday, so I didn’t continue with lessons; instead, I tried to play Dust in the Wind by Kansas with chords. It’s a lot harder than I remember it being.

And my fingers still hurt from pressing on the strings.

But it was nice to play something that actually sounded a little bit like something.

July 4

I played two songs as riffs today. The second one, I only made one mistake!

I’m very proud of myself.

Then I tried playing Dust in the Wind by Kansas again. I had to completely relearn the chords, but they came quicker today, which was nice.

My fingers still hurt from pressing on the strings.

And the rest of my body hurts from holding it in an awkward position.

Hopefully I’ll get stronger, both in my back and in my fingers.

July 6: I’m darn proud of myself for today

I forgot to play yesterday. I had a pretty bad headache, so I was going to just do the left hand, but I completely forgot.

Today, I went back a couple lessons and tried to do the first couple songs again. I did better, but I still need practice.

Then I moved on and did two new riffs (twice each), and I did very well with them. The third riff was very hard and my fingers were very tired, so I did not do very well at all. It was kinda funny, actually. I’ll try it again tomorrow.

I’ve been paying more attention to the background music of the songs I like to listen to, and I’ve noticed that the music doesn’t always change notes/chords when the voice changes.

That’s probably not news to a lot of people.

But I played flute in band (a long time ago) and I’m a soprano (ish), so I’ve almost always had the melody line.

So I never really paid attention to what the background music was doing. I know about harmonies of course, but that’s not the same thing.

Anyways, my point is.

My point is…

I think I kinda know how to plan out the music part of the song I wrote.

At least, I wrote the tabs for the first verse today. I’m pretty happy with it. It’ll probably undergo changes as I learn more, but for now, I’m pretty thrilled with it.

And it doesn’t change on every note.

Now I just need to practice more and learn chords so that I can write the music for the chorus (because I want the chorus to be richer in sound than the verses and bridge… At least, that’s what I’m thinking right now.)

Also, I need to become more confident in my singing. I could barely hear myself over the guitar.

But today was the first day I felt like I was making progress.

I’m pretty darn proud of myself.

Oh, and my fingers don’t hurt as much today.

Took two days off

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Taking time off while in lockdown is odd. I took two days off cause I was feeling a little frayed and poor work paid for it. Came back to 50+ emails. Poor boss that had to cover for me.

My days consist of watching Adrien while working and doing house stuff. On breaks, I’ll try to write or edit. It’s exhausting.

My two days off were pretty much a writing marathon trying to get chapter 15 of The Untitled Mystery Book Project finished. It was in my head and I needed to get it out.

Unfortunately, I also crashed physically. Full migraine, nausea, aches, and weakness. It’s like I just needed to get that chapter out and then my body said, “You’re not going to rest unless I force you.” So the weekend was painful. I hate migraines, I lost all peripheral vision on my left side for two days and every time the kids shrieked, I just saw red-ish static.

I’m feeling better today and the time off was restful, but taking time off with the kids home and lockdown going on is hard. At least I didn’t have a full social calendar.

It’s also why I forgot to prepare a post for today until just now.

All said and done, what you should take from this is that with me finishing chapter 15 and Jen finishing 16 we’re at 16/26, which is 2 chapters away from the end of the second act and that means we’re 2/3’s done. YAY.

Writing with Jen has been awesome, but that’s another post.

Be safe and be kind,


Covid-19 and Me

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been pretty silent about the state of the world the past few weeks. Part of that was being overwhelmed and part of that was being busy.

Ottawa called for people to start self-isolating and working from home starting March 16th. My first day of work after just over eight months of parental leave was the 18th of March. I work for the government in a communications area so I’m considered essential.

I’ve been dealing with going back to work (although I do enjoy working from home), a baby that is teething (AKA not sleeping well), the pandemic, and everything that entails.

My family is in a good place. We have a house, I have a job that will continue to pay me (barring some sort of pheonix crap), and we’re all pretty used to being at home. Our house is filled with movies, games, books, and comfy furniture.

The kids are still too young for school and like I said, I just finished ~8 months of parental leave so we’re all kind of used to being at home. I do miss having people over for D&D, movies, and to chat. I miss going to the cinema, and going for walks with the kids to Walmart or the park. My daughter and wife miss church and we all miss our conventions.

Those are minor inconveniences and I know we are extremely lucky.

My wife asked me to cut her hair. This was right before.

It’s still been hard. I’ve felt like I was on high alert for the past three weeks. I’ve felt terrified while shopping and I’m scared for my friends and family.

I’m starting to calm down but I’m still teary and worried.

This will become normal and when things get better we’ll have hopefully spared much death and heartache.

The implications of what this will change in our world are staggering and a little scary. But that’s another post all together.

Stay home and wash your hands!


Basic Update – July 14

The morning heat rushed to embrace me as I left the house. Its touch was warm and soothing to start but quickly it started to suffocate me. As I walked the short walk to the bus the heat threw a blanket of humidity over everything and made the world feel and look like it was under water, without the soothing liquid.

That’s not the start of a story, it’s just my morning commute… blarg. I hate heat. Fall is my favourite season. Give me 5-15 degrees Celsius and I’m happy. I realize it’s only been a few days of 30 degree weather but I’m not a fan.

Other than the heat my weeks are busy with multiple big projects at work, tweaking FADDS from player feedback, and trying to get some writing done. With the constant urgencies at work I’m starting to feel like I’m falling behind on my writing. I think it may be time to start writing at night again. (Yeah I know I was spoiled.)

FADDS is coming around really well. My two major blocks were Magical items and Villains. Last week in the shower I figured out magic items cost and creation.

Villains, Monsters, Fiends, Challenges, opponents, adversaries, bad guys, etc. whatever you want to call them they’re essential to role playing games. My biggest issue with most games is their lack of instructions for making a villain that isn’t a player class. Sometimes I like to have an insanely awesome rat fight my high level characters. Without making it really big or giving it class levels.
On the flip side as a game master I really don’t want to spend 1 hour or more making a monster that my players will ignore or kill in under 30 seconds.

So the challenge I have is creating a two tiered system, one for genuine big-bads and one for the challenging but quick monsters. All without players knowing the difference.

Building a game system is difficult but really exciting. I’ve spent so many hours in front of a screen that I can say with authority, get yourself computer glasses. I love the feeling I get when everyone is having fun and the game is moving forward. It’s great.