Music update, February 7, 2021

Overall progress

It’s been about 8 months, and playing music has definitely become a bedrock hobby. I’m practicing or playing every day; at least 5 minutes daily using Melodics, plus other time that I’m logging in Noko. Ideally, I want to get my practice times automatically logged into Noko, but that’s a programming job for later. 😜

I was taking music lessons for a few months, which culminated in this track on Bandcamp:

It’s part of a larger EP I’ve been working on, but more on that later. First, I want to outline my current studio setup, since I just redesigned my office to make it a proper studio!

New Studio Setup

A photo of my music studio in my office

I have to admit, it’s been exciting going from never playing to having a proper studio setup, especially in 8 months. I’m especially proud that I’ve taken my time to slowly build it out, and not blown through a pile of cash on stuff that I’ll end up not using. Every piece of equipment has a distinct purpose, and was only acquired after both deliberation and patience.

Clearly the purple gaffer tape helps everything sound better.

It’s small, but there’s a lot of utility packed in here. I’ll go through each item, and the purpose it serves




Current focuses and future goals

Now that I’ve setup a proper studio, I want to focus my efforts on practice and musicianship. I’ve got a few song books to help me learn how to read sheet music, and I’m going back to old Melodics lessons and trying to perfect my scores. After I’ve got a solid practice foundation, I’ll revisit the EP.

I focused on composition until January 2021 because the idea of planning music rather than performing was incredibly alluring as a beginner. “I can make interesting and beautiful music without knowing how to play? Sign me up!” However, I don’t think that’s a viable plan for me, for a few reasons.

Compositions are a plan, at best

One lesson I’ve learned while reading sheet music is that sheet music and compositions are only an idea of how something could be played. They’re not even a blueprint, more like a detailed sketch. There’s such a wide gap between a composition & its performance that focusing only on the compositional side will limit my vocabulary and ability to express my ideas.

Imagination limitations

I think composing is like any other form of writing: the more you experience and observe, the better your work will be. I kept hitting writer’s block when opening Dorico to work on my EP, because I didn’t have the vocabulary to even know what to say (or how to say it). Studying how to perform other people’s work should help me understand their ideas, and carry the lessons I want to use in my own compositions.

Mind + Body

Music is something I feel in my bones. Even if I like building layers and metaphors in my compositions, there’s a physicality that is essential. I performed every part of the demo I recorded on Bandcamp using my Instrument 1, and I think it shows. There’s a human quality that my other compositions have lacked, and I want to grow that.

Interesting links