Musical Goals January Update

The first of (hopefully) monthly posts with updates on my musical goals for 2019. I cover achievements in January, and new goals for February.

A month ago I wrote about my musical goals for 2019, where I rounded off with my goals for January. I managed to put in 30-60 minutes practice almost every day, and felt that it was a pretty productive month. Here are those goals again:

  1. Complete Justin's Ear Training Grade 3 and improve on my 75% score for his Quickfire test
  2. Enquire at the local music shop about local people amenable to jamming / playing together
  3. Finish Justin's beginner consolidation modules
  4. Retire my current set list and pick some new songs to practice
  5. Record AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long"

I'm pleased to say that I managed to achieve all of them! Retiring my "set list" (i.e. the songs I currently was growing tired of) obviously didn't require much effort. Neither did finish Justin's consolidation modules and Ear Training test, but they were important milestones for me nonetheless. At my local music shop I learned Steve Morrison hosts a local beginners Jam every week, and I'm really excited to give this a try soon!

The standout item on the list was obviously recording myself playing. I did a "first steps with GarageBand" around the middle of the month, thinking I'd do another take at the end. In the end it took me so long to do that I decided to not record again even though I know I did lots of mistakes. (In particular the rhythm part during the start of the solo is all wrong.) The recording is only to be able to track my progress, after all. Nevertheless, I thought I'd share it.

As a bonus exercise I tried to transcribe the whole song. I used LilyPond, which is a Free Software music engraving program. I chose it because the input files are plain text, so I can edit them using Emacs. It can produce both traditional music notation and tabulature, and also Midi output! Since I cannot read music all that well, I used this to help me gauge whether I got the rhythm and notes right. It took me a lot of work (10+ hours) to get the rhythm part done, and I gave up adding the solo because of all the bends that I found LilyPond doesn't support well.

February Goals

I've had a think about goals for next moth, and so far I've come up with this:

  1. Jam with others at least once (scheduled for the 6th!)
  2. Complete Justin's Effective Practice Module
  3. Comfortably play the Note Finding Exercise for CGDAEBF @ 60bpm
  4. Play major scale pattern 1 in thirds at 160 bpm
  5. Learn, transcribe (rhythm part), and record Touch Too Much by AC/DC

Author: Stig Brautaset

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