Why Do We Do This?
Bonus Round clue (see below!): Airborne AND toxic….
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This week I want to say thank you to all new subscribers and offer some insight into how to use this SubStack. As people subscribe they see where we are, but as I’ve sorta built on previous posts, and as we’re coming up on a year of Michael Acoustic, it might be time to index some of of the topics we’ve covered so those just joining can see some of the foundations we’ve laid. I tend to write “series” - a few weeks on a given topic as a basis, then include those concepts in future series. So each week I’ll include “pointers”to a previous series of posts (note the archive has all of the previous posts beginning last August, but the “series” aspect may not be clear). Also, I’m noticing there is not a great deal of interest in the links I post (low open rates). I may be doing that wrong, so I’ll try this approach for awhile: fewer links in each post, but with a short paragraph introducing the link and why I think it might be valuable. I’ll also try include a brief quote from the article (probably just the introductory paragraph or some portion that outlines the main theme well) and that may help decide if it’s something that interesting to you. I get it - I read a number of other SubStack writers each week and there just isn’t time to follow a number of links that may or may not be useful.
I also get it’s summertime and in the Upper Left Corner we’re happy summer looks like it might finally be here! Also, it’s a now busy time of year recovering from a long winter/cool spring as our friends are dealing with heat waves across a lot of the more southern states right now.
Before last week’s special interview with my guitar instructor (which I hope you found interesting and helpful!! - link here if you missed it):
we had talked about songwriting inspiration and copyrighting songs prior to release/publication that could lead to income.
That does lead to a questions though: Why do we do this? What goals do each of us have?
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that music is always good, and more music in the world is better. Just having some ability to make music makes our lives and our human condition better. If you choose the guitar and your voice alone, great!! Lessons, both instrument and vocal can make it easier to take next steps by building your confidence in your abilities. Then, if you choose to share with family and friends, just at home or around the fire pit or campfire, even better! If you choose to jam with friends, share on the Acapella app (or others like it), play in a church band or at open mic nights, or a coffee shop gig - you’re making the world a better place. At some point, you may want to take the next step to writing, performing, and recording and releasing your own music, or maybe covers of other artist’s music. And here’s the point where you have to consider your next steps with care. As I’ve said on here before, the music business is a fairly brutal world, and money is one of the things that make it that way - your money and other people’s money. When you start out, you’ll be giving more money than receiving, of course - lessons, studio time (if you’re not using your own studio, if you are, you’re already familiar with spending money!!), mixing and mastering, copyright if you’re writing your own music, publishing and releasing your recordings. All of this involves money, but well spent if you receive quality service in return.
At any of these points, you may find yourself with issues of self doubt, lack of self confidence in your playing ability, your vocals, criticism that’s not particularly constructive. You’re not alone, everyone who chooses to make the world better through music faces the same things to at least some extent. Listen to those who help, ignore the critics. Along those lines, one of my favorite lyrics in any song is from the late John Prine’s great song, “When I Get To Heaven” from his album “The Tree Of Forgiveness”:
“Why, I might even invite a few choice critics, those syphilitic parasitics,
Buy 'em a pint of Smithwick's and smother 'em with my charm”
Swithwick’s is a brand of beer - I had to look that up!!
Note the background noises - apparently Mr. Prine recorded at least a portion of the song in his living room, with family and grandkids running around in the background!!
Mr. Prine’s music made the world a better place - yours will too!!
Links: These are the first few posts from last year on Michael Acoustic - the very basic stuff of the guitar and starting out. If you’re new to the instrument or just thinking about it, here’s the place to begin:
Just a couple of links of interest:
I found this fascinating, if you’re a fan of the series “Stranger Things”, you may have been intrigued by one of the songs in the current season:
I had either never heard or certainly didn’t remember the song, but it fits with the time period the series is set in.
I’m currently knee deep in flatpicking lessons with Mr. Abeid at guitar lessons. If you haven’t tried out this important skill yet, this is a good primer, but definitely a skill to work with your local guitar instructor with as well:
From the link: “What is flatpicking on guitar? Despite the name, it’s more than simply playing with a pick. Flatpicking refers to the acoustic guitar style, heard primarily in the bluegrass and folk idioms, of playing individual notes with a pick to form melodies, solos, and fills. The approach characteristically has a crisp and snappy sound achieved by combining quick picking, open chord voicings, melodic lines, and concise licks.” Credit: Acoustic Guitar Magazine
Bonus Round: You’ll ask me why….
Cheers and keep playing!!