How happy are you with your music?

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  • @cblack  Dec 31

    I'm currently listening to the first song I've ever been happy enough with to put on an album, Before now, I've never been that happy with my music. Even when some of my songs got a lot of love last FAWM...

    So I'm curious. Where do you place your current songwriting abilities? Are you generally unhappy but improving? At the top of your game? Somewhere in-between? Is this all for fun, or are you taking this very seriously?

    I'd love to know!

  • @ianuarius  Dec 31

    I'm probably at the top of my game. It's downhill from here.

    I'm mostly happy with my crap. I'd make a real album if I had the energy. Sometimes when I listen to something a real master made, I get a bit depressed and want to achieve something better. It happened this week when I started to think the John William's original Star Wars end music. It's just great.

  • @ustaknow Dec 31

    Great question @cblack --I feel as though I am only just now starting. I've engaged music since 6 yo, and writing like "this", circa 2005.

    ======
    Actually I've felt great in the past, folks stunned by the music, but, --it was all the people together that made "that". A great partner or three that you create with, are a different "you" than you-solo. It's why I keep coming back, --the NEW people arriving each time in my life. That makes the solo-me, better each year. The solo-me may be of more use too, down the road, --one can hope anyway.

    For me, music is relational, without them, relationships, it's hard to really know "where" you are and it not be incorrect self deprecation, or false ego-mania. For me, being able to Frame that out accurately, proves to me where I am and how I feel. You asking that authentic question as you do, reveals many great things about where you are too.

    -- Yes, a very good question. Made me stop this morning and think. A surface answer reveals much, as well as an introspective authentic one. Glad you posted that now, priming for February. If one does not like their own work, all their instruments get buried in the closet.

  • @cblack  Dec 31

    @ianuarius Oh, I hear you on listening to the masters! I'm always comparing myself to the greats, and I don't think that's really a healthy way of looking at things. By comparison, I heard a song an old friend made and put on YouTube, and you know what? I *am* better than that. I'm ahead of that guy, for the most part. So yeah - I think comparing yourself to your peers rather than the greats is definitely a better idea. πŸ˜€

    @ustaknow Ah, yes, how could I forget playing with others? Probably because I've never been in a band... But I think there's something in that. Like, if you can be a valuable member of a band, but not as great on your own, that this is still a perfectly acceptable place to be. And there definitely is something magical about jamming with others. While I've never been in a band, I recall one night where me and 2 friends were sitting outside, drunk, and started hitting jars on a table with some glowsticks. The 3 of us together actually made a great piece of music, with

  • @cblack  Dec 31

    just glowsticks and jars. I'd love to have that again, but I don't know any local musicians.

  • @barrygoldman  Jan 1

    I'm still improving.

    My attitude is to improve with every album, I make a lot of songs as it's my way of getting better from quality. I sometimes am happy with my albums but want to destroy them and make me look bad with my next ones. I would say my latest album is the only one I'm just about happy with, but I try to never settle, and I always think I can do better then what I do.

    I listen to my music often to find all the problems, and sometimes it makes me feel good also to note my improvement. I just want to make good stuff you know!

  • @cblack  Jan 1

    @barrygoldman Mmm, I think I know where you're coming from. The next one should always be better than the last one, yeah?

  • @unkept Jan 1

    Although I always find their flaws, I genuinely enjoy listening to my own music. I suppose it's that I do write music I would enjoy. I still want to improve all the time, and I am currently unsure if I will ever really like my singing voice... but that is something I want to improve on as well. πŸ˜€

    Thanks for the question, it's good to ask yourself these kind of things.

  • @cblack  Jan 1

    @unkept Yes! I definitely spot the flaws in my songs, even the ones I enjoy. I guess the age-old wisdom holds true: "A song is never finished. You just stop editing it and release it into the world."

    Meanwhile, I made 2 electronica tracks today. The first one I wasn't that happy with, but saved the file anyway. Then worked on the second. And when I came back and relistened to that first one? It was actually pretty awesome! Amazing what a few hours' distance can do for perspective. πŸ˜€

  • @brrrse  Jan 1

    I don't know if I'll ever be "happy" with my music. My music is my art - paintings for your ears - I'm not writing things to sound good or sell. My entire musical journey will be one big experiment from start to finish. Some songs are thrown down in a few minutes and then I never feel the need to touch them again, some I polish as much as I can with what I have - but I get to a point with each one of them where I'd love to produce "studio-quality" stuff and spend days on choosing just which compressor to use on the bass drum that only hits every 17 measures but that's not me - it's not my style. I could care less about compressors. I hear stuff in my head, I make it sound that way in the real world as best I can - then I let it go. To me, there are no "good songs" or "bad songs" - my own or anyone elses. Consider we're all authors - Some write in English, some write in other languages. I write in Music. So - I guess I'm always happy with my songs. But then again, I write what I want to listen to.

  • @cblack  Jan 1

    @brrrse Fair enough. Personally, I struggle to write what I want to listen to. I have these grand ideas, and then what comes out doesn't match what I'm hearing in my head...

  • @tootoobee  Jan 1

    (Generally) I am very happy with my music because I am so happy to be able to express myself creating music AT ALL πŸ˜€ (level 1)

    I am happy (enough) with my music to share it with the FAMWmily and some selected good friends. (level 2)

    I am not happy enough to share my music with everybody I know because my music can't be compared with professional music. (level 3)

    I will probably never be totally happy with my music because I know it's flaws, am too ambitious, keep comparing with the pro music I love, and can't improve enough to reach that level ... (level 4)

    So, I usually stick with levels 1 and 2, don't really care about level 3 and level 4 keeps me pushing forward.

  • @brrrse  Jan 1

    @cblack I am sure that is why Vincent cut his ear off and Mozart drank to extremes - trying to quell the frustration and pain from not being able to realize outwardly the music they felt inwardly.

  • @mishykatz  Jan 1

    I am a clay artist (since 1979) and it is the same in that creative realm, the constant quest to create what is 'in your head'. As a late-comer to the world of songwriting and passionate about music and art in general, I find my songs to go through a definite growth period and also change with who plays them and my own personal changes in spirit. I love that you can continually recreate them and change the feel, without completely rewriting. Going back to them after not playing them for awhile is also refreshing. All in all I am pretty excited and motivated by all you guys, and feel like I am making some good progress, last year was amazing and I have been writing all this year although not at FAWM pace.

  • @sailingmagpie  Jan 1

    I'm very happy with my songs straight after I've written and recorded them. A while later I like them. Then I start to dislike them. Eventually I hate and am embarrassed by them. Rinse/repeat. The trick is spotting the ones that don't follow this cycle, as they're the keepers!

  • @cblack  Jan 2

    @tootoobee and @brrrse Yes, I totally understand!

    @mishykatz Yes! I'm also a writer, and there are a lot of similarities between writing and music, as far as the creative process goes, and how the creative person engages with the material.

    @sailingmagpie Hmm. That's an interesting idea, that the songs which don't follow the pattern are the keepers. πŸ˜€

  • @seanbrennan  Jan 2

    I always follow the same parabola: "I've finished! And it's... halfway listenable? I instantly love it now!" ... "It's been a day or two. Do I really sound like that? This is the worst thing that has been recorded in human history." ... "Cleaning out my hard drive... what's this? Oh, I'm glad I repressed the memories. Let's give it a spin... y'know what? This isn't terrible!"

    @brrrse That is a really healthy way to look at it. Somewhat utilitarian, but also giving credence to the fact that its inherent uniqueness gives it value. Rawk on!

  • @cblack  Jan 2

    @seanbrennan Here's hoping that our potential fans start off at "Hey, this is awesome!" and don't deviate from there too quickly. πŸ˜€ I mean, we as the creators of our music are likely to listen to our tracks more often than a fan, yeah?

  • @ampersandman  Jan 2

    I feel I've taken a huge step from five years ago when I first joined FAWM in quality and quantity. I'm thrilled to see what February brings, I've been playing a lot with my new bands but not writing much.

  • @andygetch  Jan 2

    While I feel like I am on a plateau right now, I am happy with my music and my personal self-psychotherapy aka songwriting. Sometimes, including lately, I get down on myself especially when comparing all my songs (including the worst sloppy FAWM one-take skirmishes) to the recordings of musicians who do this for a living (and only record their best songs with their best performance in a pro studio). I have to remember the progress I have made in writing, playing, recording, and performing. My seven, five and even three years ago selves would be amazed at what I can do now. My last year self however, is not impressed with me now.

  • @sheamiejay  Jan 2

    There are times when you live up to your full potential. You might even exceed it. That's when the magic happens. You spend a lot of hours writing a ton of crap to get you to these fleeting moments. Here's to many fleeting moments.

  • @kevinemmrich  Jan 2

    Every song I am currently working on is my all time favorite! I must be in the @seanbrennan camp of songwriting arcs. If you don't love the songs you are writing and recording then you need to rethink your attitudes. This has to be fun and rewarding considering all the time and effort that goes into it!

  • @cblack  Jan 3

    @ampersandman Yep, I also love the fact that doing FAWM helps speed up your learning and improvements. Even if it means realising what your weaknesses are (like what happened to me in 2017...).

    @andygetch Oh, yes, comparing your music to others is fraught with dangers. On the other hand, there's something to be said for doing something different to what is already out there... And if it still sounds good to you, then maybe you're onto something, yeah?

    @sheamiejay And here's hoping we have more of the fleeting moments than the less-good moments. πŸ˜€

    @kevinemmrich Effort, indeed! Honestly, making music is the only thing that I consistently enjoy. (Well, almost always, anyway.) It's why I want to be a professional musician - because I'm going to try to make music anyway, so why not get paid for it?

  • @chrishope  Jan 3

    I'm ok with it , I did the Album challenge which was another great fawm push, got some positive reaction so yeah, as with all of the above ..lets go, lets try ...and yes ..FUN would be good ...Hello

  • @kevinemmrich  Jan 3

    @cblack : As you probably already know, making enough money off of music to make a living is (and always has been) exceedingly difficult. What to do? Get a degree/job in computer science (musicians tend to be good with math) as a backup plan!!!

  • @johnstaples  Jan 3

    I must admit I really love my music. I write it mostly for me. In styles I love. And I listen to it. A lot. And when/if others like it too well that is just icing on the cake!

    When I review my stuff I have some I love right away and some that I consider unfinished. But I have very little I consider bad or without potential.

    So I would have to say I am quite happy with my music!

  • @zecoop  Jan 3

    I'm really happy with where my music is and also with how far my songwriting has come. Like @johnstaples, I write music for myself - whatever seems interesting at the time, without regard for what others might think. And since I have no intention of making money off my music, I don't have to worry about whether other people like it. It is always great when other people do, of course, don't get me wrong. And some of my songs are getting into the regular rotation for Treading Bleu shows, which is great too. Music is such a big part of my life, even though it is only a hobby. Our singer @kovbleu always says "Music is Air" and I agree!! πŸ˜€

  • @cblack  Jan 4

    @chrishope Yes! If you're not having fun, why do it at all?

    @kevinemmrich Ah, where were you 6 years ago? LOL. I have an honours degree in creative writing, which is about as useful in the job market as having a parrot. I am good with math, but decided to go a different direction. *sigh* And yeah, making a living from music is difficult. But in my opinion, if you're doing something you love, then who cares how much money you have?

    @johnstaples Excellent! I'll admit, I have some songs that I'm simply not happy with. So it seems like we have very different approaches to our own music.

    @zecoop Ah, I can relate. Like, the many years that it took for my guitar playing to go from "crap" to "good"... Those years were all about doing it because I enjoyed it, and who cares what anybody else thinks. Nowadays, I do want to make a living as a musician, but I'm desperately clinging to that mindset that so long as I enjoy myself, it doesn't matter what others think. πŸ˜€

  • @izaakalexander Jan 4

    Great thread all!

    I'm very happy with my music, and I listen to it a lot. I'm especially secure in this songwriting realm where I feel closest to my true self. In the classical/jazz/university music world I always feel a bit sub par, liking I'm just not good enough, like I'm forcing myself into a shape that doesn't quite fit... and in the traditional music world I always feel like I just haven't focused enough to learn the required standards, I'm too flaky to commit to the genre, so I'm faking my way through.

    The art of FAWM, however -- bringing a song into existence under extreme time constraints -- is something I feel very confident doing. I feel like it brings together all these diverse skills and abilities I've developed in the course of my life's journey thus far. I've wanted to make records since I was a kid, and I was lucky enough to live in the exact time when that went from impossible to possible for the common person.

  • @cblack  Jan 4

    @izaakalexander Ah, yes, feeling like your music doesn't quite fit what others are doing... I know that feeling well. Personally, I'm hoping that doing things slightly differently will help me stand out in a good way, rather than act as a detriment. Only time (and completed albums) will tell, I suppose...

  • @iveg Jan 5

    I usually start from an idea, lyric, or melody that I really like. When I try to record, I struggle. It's a combination of lack of practice, time and money constraints. This year I hope to have more completed demos.

  • @cblack  Jan 5

    @iveg Yes, money does pose a problem for me, too. If only I could afford a proper home studio with a drum kit and better amps and loads of guitars... I'd probably still be a little incompetent on instruments, LOL. But it's what I want, regardless, and money makes that impossible.

  • @chipwithrow  Jan 5

    Yes! I'm happy with my music, and I'm glad to see so many of you are too, but I can understand those who aren't satisfied. (I don't understand being totally unhappy with your music - then why would you do it?)
    I worked as a journalist and journalism/creative writing teacher for many years. I was a better editor of others' work than creator of my own - other than short reporting pieces, I was often unsatisfied. And with longer pieces, I would tweak and self-edit too much as I wrote, and then often give up.
    (One reason I like writing songs in short bursts is because my songs are often observations, and it feels like musical reporting to quickly capture what I've observed.)
    A few of you said you really like your songs as you're writing them and right afterward - that immediate rush of "This is the one!" I'm for sure that way, and I also like the feeling of re-discovering something I wrote and forgot about and thinking, "Hey, that's really good, and I wrote it!"

  • @cblack  Jan 5

    @chipwithrow You were a creative writing teacher? Awesome! I have an honours degree in creative writing, and have written a whole bunch of things over the years. And I totally understand being better at critiquing others' works than our own. It's so easy to go, "Ah, yes, this could be improved by doing X," with someone else's piece, whereas with my own I was always too close to it. I had a similar thing as with music - sometimes I was on fire and everything came out awesome, but then other times it just didn't work, with very little in between.

    Not being totally satisfied with my music, though... I mean, it's usually the case that some songs I like right from the start, and then others don't move me. There will always be room for improvement (even on professional songs by bands I absolutely love), so there definitely needs to be a cutoff point where you just call something done. But yeah - some songs just can't be saved, I think. But I don't mind not being totally happy with my music.

  • @cblack  Jan 5

    Essentially, not being 100% satisfied gives me the motivation to improve and make the next song even better, y'know?

  • @cblack  Jan 6

    Huh... Interesting. I've made 6 songs recently, and I was only happy with 3 of them. But I just listened to the 3 rejected ones, and I don't know why exactly, but they sounded a lot better this time. I don't know... Maybe it's because of my shifting moods, or maybe those songs just need to be left alone for longer between listens, or yeah... Not sure.

    In any event, I'm now thinking 5 of them (rather than 3) will wind up on my debut EP, and the 6th could possibly be a "bonus track". Like, something that I throw in for free (not increasing the cost of the album), in case people find it too dull.

    From reading this thread, though, I don't think this is all that unusual. πŸ˜€

  • @ruiguo Jan 6

    This is a good question. I don't think I'll ever be particularly happy with my songwriting. I'm aiming for competence and the ability to come up with songs for my band when the singer says, "Hey, Rui, what have you got?" I don't have to; the singer is the main songwriter. But he occasionally asks, or wants to collaborate. I was in the habit years ago of writing songs. They were OK, and I could produce three or four decent ones a day. Though not EVERY day. That was for a solo album, and I haven't written a song since then (back in 2009). So I guess I'd say that now I'm back to the beginning, or close enough to it.

  • @oldlostjohn  Jan 9

    When I consider a song finished and ready for release, it means I'm happy with it. The stuff I post on FAWM I consider drafts or works-in-progress; sometimes maybe three or four may not need much or any editing though most of them will eventually get shelved. I'm totally happy with my general sound, including my voice, though it took me several years to get there.

  • @tsunamidaily Jan 10

    i moved home a couple of years ago, to help out my aging parents. i have my interface set up in my childhood bedroom, with all else i have. i am crowded beyond belief, so much i can hardly function. i have maybe half of my instruments up here with me, the rest in the basement. my 88-key weighted-action keyboard has no place to be, and it has stopped communicating with my reason program anyway, so the 25-key keyboard-action keyboard that i bought to do analog-type solos on is my only go-to, and reason does not respond to it either. my computer has stopped reading xhds, so my huge external bank of sounds is useless. so, i can't use keyboards for anything. i can still record my "real" instruments, and i have a sennheiser mic set up on my desktop for vocals. i'm trying desperately to find some people to get together and play with, but my lack of transportation is an issue. i've never been more on top of my game, lyrics-wise, but realizing demos is the bane of my existence.
    so, to quote dickens, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. i really hoped i would have overseas crates set up in the basement to get my music together in by now, but alas! life happened, and i have not. i would love to get drum patterns together on my e-drums, but have nowhere to set them up.
    so, in summary-- i feel great about my music, but woefully ill-prepared to realize it. i'm getting a book together of my catchiest stuff together to try and get some people together to play it out. i'm aiming for an americana sound, but would love to be able to stretch out into other stuff. god knows when that might finally come together.

  • @cblack  Jan 10

    @ruiguo Hopefully you can get back into the songwriting groove!

    @oldlostjohn That's interesting, actually, that you are totally happy with your output even if some songs get shelved. I'm too much of a perfectionist to deal with shelving songs... It always feels like a bit of a failure to me.

    @tsunamidaily Hopefully you can get your setup into better shape. For me, I always worry that my skills aren't up to snuff, even before considering my setup. So at least you're confident, even if the situation isn't ideal. πŸ˜€

  • @aesthetic72  Jan 10

    I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. It's all completely intuitive with me. But I'm strangely OK with that. I am addicted to the creative process. It's an endless adventure. I never know what I'm going to produce. It doesn't have to be good, because it's mine. Singing my own lyrics has been an incredibly powerful experience for me. Until I started FAWM two years ago, I'd never written a song in my life. I hear loads of mistakes. I wish I were better with composition. But right now, I'm really relishing the experience of writing lyrics, defining melodies, and singing harmonies with myself. So I'm happy. Because I'm with my music.

  • @timfatchen  Jan 10

    @ianuarius John Williams Star Wars? what you said. But...John Williams Harry Potter? Plagiariswed from Swan Lake. You and I can do better than that, believe it!

  • @cblack  Jan 10

    @aesthetic72 I was the same way last FAWM. Trying to come up with a bunch of songs by pure intuition. There were some small successes, but mostly I wasn't happy with them. Lately I've been a lot more confident, though, and I think this absolutely stems from having my intuitive play-by-feel sense so ingrained at this point that I've actually started learning the more specific stuff - mostly as a way of continuing to learn (which is one of my favourite parts of making music). πŸ˜€

  • @wacha  Jan 10

    I'm fairly happy with my music, I have recently starting working with a songwriter friend of mine to help me develop my songs more. I have a tendency to write a song and then not be able to see beyond what I have done to revise it.

    For the most part he has helped me arrange the songs a little better, slow them down, sing the melody a little different and change the chord structure a little.

    I continue to grow as a song writer and would never want to stop growing.

  • @ustaknow Jan 10

    Hey @wacha -- I did look in on your stuff from time to time, (during 5090 notice you were not there), -- saw some changes on-line at your site possibly, and ( wondered if you made it out to PA... anyway *meaning, being somewhat familiar with your work, maybe, -- when you say "chord structure", what do you mean --if you can expand that.
    -- If not, notta problem, skip it. πŸ˜€ no apologies necessary.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Jan 10

    Someone above said the same thing: my latest song is my best. πŸ˜€
    But truly, I just love writing music. I do sometimes fall into the comparison game and find it mostly unhealthy. What I DO do is listen to a song I really love and then try to get my song SONICALLY closer to that. I think THAT kind of comparison is not only healthy but really useful as a musician. To study the sounds you're hearing and learn how to get to that sound. In that aspect, comparison is good. But in most cases, comparison is the thief of joy. It can suck the life out of what we love doing.

  • @wacha  Jan 10

    @ustaknow I have no made it out to PA yet. I though t I was going to make it last summer but it fell through, we are hoping to get that in motion for 2018 if at all possible. I have considered doing 50/90 but I wasn't up for it this year and have so many songs written that I want to get recorded "properly" that I feel like it will just create even more of a backlog. I still haven't gotten stuff from 2016's FAWM recorded.

    I tend to write simple I IV V type stuff with the relative minor for the chorus to get the songs done but then because I played them that way for a while I have a hard time being able to change the chord progression. I have reworked 3 of my songs from last year but haven't gotten them recorded yet. "Dust off Your Riveters" saw the most drastic improvement. We changed that chord progression significantly and slowed it down. I did a quick youtube video of it but haven't gotten around to recording a "studio" version of it. We have also reworked "Jaguar" and "Come Together"

  • @kaylagonzalez120 Jan 10

    I am unhappy, but trying to improve. I feel like constructive criticism or just other input would help a lot. I’ve been writing all alone for 2-3 years.

  • @metalfoot  Jan 10

    I'm happy with my music because it gives me joy to make it and my kids like listening to it and making their own. Sonically, there's always stuff I can/should be working on but the songs themselves are fun.

  • @cblack  Jan 10

    @wacha Yes! That continual growth is very important. I lump that in with constant learning. πŸ˜€

    @stevenwesleyguiles Mmm, comparing yourself to others is indeed the bane of joy. But like you said, it has its uses. I find if I'm comparing myself to another band/song on pure merit, I wind up unhappy, but if I compare myself to another band/song on style or type of music, then I wind up learning a lot. An important distinction to make, I think. πŸ˜€

    @kaylagonzalez120 If you're looking for constructive criticism, I'd recommend specifically asking for it whenever you post a song. I know some people just want to say nice things, but I really appreciate it when someone has a suggestion for making something better. That's how I improve, yeah?

    @metalfoot A great attitude to have! I mean, if you're not enjoying it, why bother, yeah?

  • @ianuarius  Jan 13

    @timfatchen Come on, all music is plagiarism... mine at least. That being said, I don't like the Harry Potter music at all. Forgettable.

  • @timfatchen  Jan 13

    @ianuarius Piffle to the plagiarism. I have an instrumental of yours from, oh, 2014? which is on moderate rotation on the stuff I listen to and if you plagiarised it, I've never come across the original. Mind you, I've thought about plagiarising it myself....

  • @cts  Jan 13

    I'm pretty satisfied with my music. I'll often go back and listen to songs I've recorded in grade school, cringe, and then listen to songs I've crafted during my college years. After more cringing, I'll listen to my FAWM work and yes, cringe some more. I see where I've improved and I'm happy with the progress through the years.

  • @cairobraga Jan 13

    @ianuarius @timfatchen we should do a FAWM-long chain-plagiarism challenge this year...

  • @cblack  Jan 13

    @cts Hey, forward momentum is still good. πŸ˜€

    @cairobraga I'm stealing that idea. It was my idea, damn it! You'll be hearing from my lawyers soon! 😝

  • @igg  Jan 14

    For me there is no fixed point from which to judge my music....
    It changes from infatuation to revulsion sometimes... and other times it stands the test of time and continues to satisfy....
    I, only now, am learning to ask the the right questions...a process that requires years of living and creating....and most of all learning to listen carefully to other artists' music that moves me ...teasing out the unique qualities of those pieces....Lots of false starts and erroneous conclusions as I have moved through that process.... Lyrics are much further along for me....I've learned to expose myself to the world and not get arrested....:>)

  • @cblack  Jan 14

    @igg Yep, I'd agree that simply by living, our perspectives change. For a long time, I was super focused on the "feel" of playing, even to the point of developing a personal philosophy about it. Now, though, now that I'm starting to delve into songwriting, suddenly I'm struggling to remember the finer points of that philosophy that seemed so important to me not that long ago...

    Every so often I'll have a moment, and the philosophy comes racing through my mind, but yeah, definitely in a different headspace now.

  • @cts  Jan 14

    @cblack ...and you this, maaaaaan!! πŸ˜ƒπŸ€£. Forward momentum all the way!

  • @cts  Jan 14

    Um...that should read, β€œknow this.”

  • @cblack  Jan 14

    @cts 😁

  • @alonetogether  Jan 14

    im pretty content where am at right now i think. i know ive got lots of flaws and bad habits, but i just really like making music and writing songs.

    i definitely could get better if i was trying harder, but *shrug* its probably not a great attitude toward self improvement but at least im still playing

  • @aflinner  Jan 15

    Very happy,but looking to polish...I generally like to listen to music that I write, and more and more I can listen back and be touched just as deeply as if one of my favorite artists had come up with the words instead of me. That's not ego, just being honest. But I've written a lot of music, and we're all always building on our own experience. Though, up until now I have officially "released" anything yet...I usually finish the song, throw together a quick demo that's 80% there, and move on to the next thing. This year, I want to either do quick acoustic takes to build on later, or spend just a wee bit more time and effort into making my demos more polished and tight.

  • @guatecoop  Jan 15

    I'm happy with my music. However, I would love to finally go back to all of the FAWM songs and re-record them. I mean, that would take an eternity, but I would like to have great recordings of the songs that I still like.

  • @cblack  Jan 15

    @alonetogether So long as you're happy with your current engagement with music, I don't see a problem. πŸ˜€

    @aflinner Perhaps set a number of songs you want to polish during FAWM? Like, of the set goal of 14 songs, 3 of them need to be polished to my satisfaction. That sort of thing, yeah?

    @guatecoop It probably wouldn't take as long as you think it will. I know in my experience that the songs you still love, they're embedded in your psyche somewhere, which should make recording polished versions a bit easier. That's the theory, anyway. 😁

  • @cblack  Jan 15

    Ahhhh! Just re-listened to the 6 songs I have in store for my debut EP, and damn, I'd forgotten how much I liked most of them. Need 1 more song to make it a decent length (most of them come in under 3 minutes), and then about $70 to publish the album. (That is, $20 DistroKid membership, $15 for stock cover art, and $20 for Promolta promotion, which comes in around $70 total after currency conversion.) This is happening soon, methinks! 😁

  • @stuartbenbow  Jan 15

    Depends a lot on the song. I write some stuff I'm truly proud of, some utter trash, and a fair bit in between. Outside of song challenge groups, the trash is seldom heard beyond my four walls, so I can at least pretend to be awesome. lol.

  • @cblack  Jan 15

    @stuartbenbow Here's hoping for more proud-of and less trash. 😁

  • @stuartbenbow  Jan 15

    @cblack lol, no doubt. Each year the ratio improves, but I'm sure I'll always have room for another stinker.

  • @cblack  Jan 15

    @stuartbenbow Yeah, last FAWM, the song I was least happy with happened to also be my only attempt at black metal so far... Which is a genre I particularly like. Going to try to get 1 metal song done this year, but I'm expecting another stinker...

  • @zxcvbnm  Jan 15

    Not happy but I enjoy it. I suspect that if I were as successful as (McCartney/Paxton/ Waites/Cohen/etc. etc (Insert your own hero)) I would still be wanting to improve. πŸ˜€ I think that's normal though)

  • @cblack  Jan 15

    @zxcvbnm Yep, continual learning is definitely a big plus. I think the key is to find a way to be happy with my current skill level while still improving regularly.

  • @cairobraga Jan 16

    @cblack oh honeeey, let's make plagiarised music, not court battles. S2

    but really, we shoud definetely do a chain-plagiarism challenge that lasts the whole month. we can think of the details and either of us can start the forum thread ahead of Februrary, yes?

  • @cblack  Jan 17

    @cairobraga To be honest, I'm not sure how a plagiarism chain would even work... I'm just a joiner. 😝

  • @stephenwordsmith  Jan 17

    I've been doing this for a while now, and am at a point where I can recognise when I'm doing better or worse than my baseline, but I fear I have become a bit comfortable in my approach.

    I think I need to solicit some harsh but honest criticism, and rise to the challenges presented therein.

  • @cblack  Jan 17

    @stephenwordsmith Important point, there. I always add in my liner notes that I'm looking for honest and constructive feedback, even if that feedback is negative. That's how we learn, yeah?

  • @cairobraga Jan 17

    @cblack I'm devising it and will be brave and propose it on the forums in time for Feb. I hope it doesn't flop! hehehe

  • @adforperu  Jan 17

    Never happy. If I ever was, I'd probably stop though, so...

  • @cblack  Jan 17

    @cairobraga I'm waiting patiently. πŸ˜€
    '
    @adforperu Interesting. What motivates you to keep playing, if not happiness with your music?

  • @nancihobson1  Jan 17

    Happy with my music. Hate my recordings. I want to try just singing and playing guitar plugged into my PA and recorded that way. No more spending three hours perfecting a drum track and losing the 'feel ' of the song.

  • @adforperu  Jan 17

    The nice comments I guess @cblack. Also, when I've finished a track I might think "yeah I'm really happy with that" but a few weeks later I lose interest in it. Isn't that natural though?

  • @cblack  Jan 18

    @nancihobson1 Sounds like you're overthinking things, same as me. There's definitely a lot to be said for just keeping things simple. πŸ˜€

    @adforperu For me, my enjoyment of my own music comes in waves. Sometimes I'm really happy with it, and sometimes I hate it. In waves, as I said. I guess it depends on what the moon is doing or something... 😝

  • @aflinner  Jan 18

    @cblack maybe....I really plan to just write as much as possible in February though...but then actually polish and use what I write the rest of the year. Plus continue to work regularly. I want this FAWM to give me a good head start and a lot of momentum for the rest of the year. πŸ˜€

  • @krayzie003  Jan 18

    I'm getting to be extremely happy with my writing and production skills. I would like to improve on recording and mixing vocals but otherwize verry happy right now.

  • @cblack  Jan 18

    @aflinner Yes! Hopefully FAWM will light a fire under my butt, so that I can be as productive as I know I can be for the rest of the year. πŸ˜€

    @krayzie003 Great to hear! And I think an interesting point is that we can be happy with our music even while we want to improve on certain aspects. πŸ˜€

  • @ianuarius  Jan 19

    @timfatchen Maybe not the whole thing, but I'm sure all the individual things are ripped off from somewhere.

    @cairobraga I plan on doing all plagiaritry this year. Just pick songs that I like and make my own versions of them. Ha!

  • @nuj4x Jan 19

    @cblack - Well, I just started making music in September of 2017. So far I'm happy with 90% of what I've done. Its hard to be happy with everything I make because I know when I make something that could truly be great and when I make something that is just ho hum or straight up sucks.

    Its hard to admit to yourself when something sucks, but its also very important to be able to admit it to yourself. Discipline and what not 😞 bleh!

  • @w1n  Jan 19

    Mostly happy, I often find it a bit hard to actually finish songs, easy enough to get them to 95% but that last little bit is often a struggle . But when I finally finish them, I'm usually quite satisfied with the results.

  • @alboe Jan 19

    Meh, I wish I was able to translate more of what I hear in my head to the recording I make. As a non native English speaker I'm having serious issues with writing lyrics, they take forever and are still not up to any standard.
    And then there is my voice, still don't like it.
    Having sad all that I am reasonably happy with my recording skills, satisfied with how I arrange the songs and I can in all modesty proclaim that I can play bass more than adequate .

  • @cblack  Jan 20

    @nuj4x Welcome to the madness! 😝 Seriously, though, I agree that you need to be able to be honest with yourself. That's why even though I got positive feedback on certain tracks last FAWM, I still think those tracks suck. Whether the other members were just being nice, or whether they saw something in those tracks that I didn't, I don't know. I just know that they weren't up to *my* standard (which really isn't that high). πŸ˜€

    @w1n I'm having a similar problem on a large scale. I have 6 tracks that I've already approved for my debut EP, but I want to put 1 more on there. And that's where I'm faltering - that final piece. I think the issue is that once it's done, bam, I've got to release the EP, and it might be a flop, even though I'm personally happy with it...

    @alboe Yep, definitely with you on not being able to outwardly make what I hear inside. *sigh* As for the English lyrics... Could you not simply write in your own language? Many people appreciate non-English lyrics. πŸ˜€

  • @zxcvbnm  Jan 20

    Sorry I clicked the report abuse by mistake! I did that once last year too,

  • @ronniedean Jan 21

    Cautiously giddish. πŸ˜‰

  • @fearlessflight2014  Jan 21

    I like most of my songs except the novelty ones that I get over quickly but then keep playing because its good to make an audience laugh. But I work with some really great songwriters that keep me humble about my own work. I realize that writing is mostly therapy for me. I haven’t graduated to awesome story teller yet. I long to do my own shows and make more of my own albums but I then compare my potential act to the acts that employ me and realize its mostly ego. But I still want to book more gigs under my own name this year.

  • @cblack  Jan 22

    @zxcvbnm No worries. πŸ˜€

    @ronniedean Sounds good to me. πŸ˜€

    @fearlessflight2014 I think this might be a case of being stronger in a group. Like, if you have 5 musicians in a band, you're more likely to come up with something amazing than if you're on your own. Yeah?

  • @fearlessflight2014  Jan 22

    @cblack It's a funny one, some people are stronger on their own without any compromise- look at Dylan for example but other people definitely make good teams.

  • @cblack  Jan 22

    @fearlessflight2014 I suppose one way of looking at it is that you need a certain number of things to make a good song. If someone can provide that all on their own, then they might find working in a group to be too much of a compromise. For someone else, they might only be able to bring a few things to the table, and need someone to work with to bring the rest.

  • @jonmeta  Jan 23

    This is a great thread. I'm answering partly so I can find it again.

    Me. Happy, yes.

    Although... each FAWM is a scary blank page. A voice says: You got lucky last time. Bet you can’t do it again!

    The problem is, it's not all craft, like whittling a stick into a spoon. It's also art, inspiration, lightning striking. It's making something out of nothing. I can't call it up, it just happens. What if it doesn't happen?

    Twenty years ago I had a β€œlone genius” concept of being a songwriter. I expected songs to just appear because I was special. (Tongue in cheek, you understand!) Sometimes they did. But usually, they had one cool riff that I flattered myself with, surrounded by mediocrity.

    The past few years I changed things. Started reading books, attending seminars, getting to know songwriters better than me, taking piano lessons again, teaching in a music school (including leading a songwriting workshop), and I joined FAWM.

    The essence of what I learned is: even though a good song is a lightning strike, I can make myself conductive by putting in the work.

    I've begun to take on board that songwriting isn't for lazy geniuses, but for someone willing to put in the time, effort and mental work that will prepare them to recognise the moment of inspiration, capture it when it comes, and polish it afterwards.

    Partly thanks to FAWM, I can sometimes do that now, instead of always being a self-absorbed, lazy genius. So I'm a lot happier with my songs.

  • @oddbod  Jan 23

    Am I happy with my music? – Well it depends on the song, of which there are 2 main elements – the music and the lyrics.

    For the music element, when I compose I envision in my head of how the song should sound. This is always an exciting and motivating moment. However, when it comes to recording/producing, I’m not always able to capture that vision. Either I lack the tools to achieve it or I don’t have the know-how or talent.
    There are certain areas where I fall short - vocals being one. I’m not saying I’m awful but I think my voice lacks character. Yes, there are some songs that for one reason or another suit my voice and I clinch a performance I’m happy with. Exactly what makes this happen, I can’t quite put my finger on – the key, the style of the song? Generally however, I plug away or experiment until I get something I’m okay with.

  • @oddbod  Jan 23

    ...Musical ideas (melodies, chords, etc ) come out very easily and naturally for me. I can sit down and come up with a decent tune pretty much at will. Lyrics however, are a different ball game altogether.
    I have to work hard at this, rewriting constantly. I enjoy it and get very enthusiastic when I latch on to an idea which I like, but it can also be frustrating sometimes. I never β€œblock” with music but I often do with lyrics. I feel I’ve got better and more fluent recently though.

    Although I occasional write on other themes, my lyrical subject matter (i.e. relationships) is on the whole rather narrow. For some reason the thoughts/words that naturally come out when I’m composing are on this topic. I’m okay with this as long as I avoid anything trite or too clichΓ©d but I should branch out more.

    Should you be happy with your music?
    I don’t think you should all the time as it keeps you hungry/on your toes.....

  • @oddbod  Jan 23

    ....Occasionally however, all the pieces come together and I create what I think is a gem and then I can say β€œToday, I am happy with my music”

    Phew,I didn't realise this post was that long πŸ˜‰

  • @bradbrubaker  Jan 24

    I recently spent the better part of a day working on music. (I have an EP of comedy songs coming out eventually.) At some point I decided to just play guitar with no particular goal. At that point I wondered who I was fooling. So, yeah, I fluctuate unhealthily between proud and ashamed.

  • @complexissimple Jan 24

    @cairobraga , @ianuarius , @timfatchen, @cblack "chain-plagiarism challenge"
    Did you mean. . . morph chains?
    You keep 50% of the previous person's material and change the other 50% to make your own song.

  • @mkd  Jan 24

    @cblack Re earning a living from music, there’s that great saying: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

  • @cblack  Jan 24

    It strikes me that many of you mention editing a song. Like, a song you're simply "happy with" can become something you love after editing it. For me, that doesn't work - I hate editing a song. Which is probably why I'm working on electronica, rather than metal - because once a song is "done" on my computer, bam, it's done. No editing required, really. Am I missing out on polishing a good song to become a great song? Probably. But I'm also getting loads of good songs in the first place, which I've never managed with recording.

    And for me, improvisation is king. Like, @bradbrubaker - for me, it's the complete opposite. I can work on music all day and not be happy, but when I get into that "Let's just play and see what happens", that's when I get inspired and play something awesome. (Not always, but often enough.) πŸ˜€

  • @cblack  Jan 24

    @mkd Yes! I honestly can't imagine being happy in a day job long-term, but if I can make enough money from music to keep living, I'll have made it, y'know? Never have to work a day in my life indeed. πŸ˜€

  • @chasingandromeda  Jan 25

    I continue to improve so I am good with it. My problem is that I write in so many genres that I have trouble focusing. But I am generally happy with what I turn out at the time I turn it out. Hoping for more of the same this Feb.

  • @cblack  Jan 25

    @chasingandromeda Yep, I'm currently facing the decision of, "Do I make a bunch of songs in different genres for different projects, or do I focus on 1 and get an album done?" So far the album approach is winning.

  • @cairobraga Jan 25

    @complexissimple I was not familiarized with the "morph chain" concept, but I think it is in fact very similar to what I was devising. oh well, happy it already exists, hehehe. will it be proposed by someone this FAWM?

  • @complexissimple Jan 26

    @cairobraga If it hasn't been already, you can propose it. Or whatever variant you come up with.

  • @oldlostjohn  Jan 29

    @cblack Well I sort of see my shelved songs as a resource. Every now and then I revisit some of the neglected material and maybe find I can use a line or two in a new context.

  • @cblack  Jan 30

    @oldlostjohn That's great! Repurposing stuff is a good use of resources, really.

  • @aprilm  Jan 30

    I have to say I do like my song concepts, my sound, my lyrics. I struggle with my performance of my songs. Stage fright and self-criticism over my technique and skill. But I do think I write pretty good songs. I am always trying to stretch myself though.

  • @cblack  Feb 1

    @aprilm I understand! I also get stage fright, to the point where I've never, not once, recorded a guitar track that is as good as I know I can play. It's very frustrating! I want to be able to show my friends, "Hey, I recorded some music!" and not feel embarrassed because it's not my best work...

  • @sheilerk  Feb 1

    @aprim I'm working on that myself. I have friends who've heard my recordings who are pressing me to do the open mic. I get so nervous I lose my voice in front of people. No problem when I sing with a group, but on my own it's awful. I'm with you on trying to stretch myself. Maybe this summer that open mic will happen. For now I'm just going to worry about writing! Hope you have a great FAWM!!

  • @circle Feb 1

    I'm really happy when I'm writing a song. When I find a bit that complements what I have already, it's like magic. Putting the pieces together one after the other to make it sound better and better is the best part.

    After it's done, it depends. I am shit at mixing and I always compare my things to other things even though I know I shouldn't. I am pretty happy with my songs overall, but I always feel like they could be better.

    @aprilm As for performing live, I simply can't. I am too scared, plus my songs aren't usually something I can do on my own live. And I've heard my own voice enough times when recording to know that I really can't sing very well! Maybe if I have a mic with an autotune plugin running through it...

  • @sheilerk  Feb 1

    Since I write mostly lyrics I'm often writing them to someone else's music. I only write to music I really like, so I'm ahead on that from the start. When people write music to my lyrics I usually like that too. There have only been a couple of times when I just didn't think it worked, but most often I'm thrilled. So, yes, I almost always like/love my collaborations, and I listen to them quite a bit. There are defiitely favorites, but it's fun to discover one I haven't heard in awhile and go, hey, I remember you, and you're not half bad. πŸ˜‰

  • @mannon Feb 1

    I guess it's because I do this as mainly a theraputic hobby, but I tend to get excited when completing a song. It may be complete crap, but it's something that I made with my own hands so I like it just the same haha πŸ˜„

  • @aprilm  Feb 1

    @cblack @shellerk @circle I feel better when I know I am not the only one! I have done a few live performances this past year but I don't play or sing as well in front of an audience as I know I am capable of! I will keep trying. Maybe one day I will have enough comfort in that situation to share my music with others in that way, as I really would love to do that well! Have an amazing FAWM! Hope to check out your stuff once we get rolling tomorrow!

  • @cblack  Feb 1

    @aprilm Yes, it's good to know others struggle with stage-fright, too. Maybe that'll be enough to get me recording or playing live? I made plans in 2017 to be a busker. Bought the gear I needed and everything... But the stage-fright meant I couldn't even get my guitar out of its case in the city, let alone play... *sigh*

  • @aprilm  Feb 1

    @cblack I think you should try again. I find sometimes things that are scary just need that right moment to present itself to overcome them. I am not sure if the fear ever goes away, but maybe one time, you'll open the case, and maybe a tune or two will emerge...you never know. I'm going to sing in public again. And again. Until I am less terrified!

  • @sherrycanary  Feb 1

    Meh.
    I am happy with performing and working out arrangements with fellow musicians, but my writing has been uninspired. I had hoped that I could be more technologically advanced and experimental by now.

  • @cblack  Feb 1

    @sherrycanary We seem to be opposites. I'm fine with my songwriting, but performing confounds me.

    And @aprilm Yes, that's the plan. Keep trying 'til I can successfully busk. The job market down here is so shit that even with an honour's degree, I can't get a job. Busking would certainly solve that problem. (One busker I spoke to makes $50 an hour on average - $100 an hour on a good day. Certainly nothing to sniff at!)

  • @stickyfingers Feb 1

    @cblack I feel ya on the songwriting vs. performing thing. I find crafting songs to be more comfortable than actually playing them. Arrangement can be tricky too.

  • @cblack  Feb 1

    @stickyfingers Yeah, I think we're not alone in this. Big difference between "This is an awesome song idea!" and actually playing it. Not only does playing it require a different set of skills, but it seems (to me anyway) to put our hearts on the chopping block. Like, "Oh, you don't like my song? Fair enough." vs. "Oh, you didn't like my performance? What did I do wrong?! Oh no!!"

  • @tseaver  Feb 1

    I hate having written what I know is a good song, but beyond my playing chops. Discouraging.

  • @ickabodsane  Feb 2

    I think I first peaked in 2011 in my first FAWM. It coincided with a new found ability to "sing". Subsequent years have been less good, though I got good at guitar in 2013, I lost the "singing" though.

    Right now I'm at an interesting place musically as well as in my life. I'm connecting with a more emotional vibe. I really like my second song this year, though I can see it needs some producing skills that are currently beyond me. For me it's about creating something new.

    This year my ukulele skills are better than previous years. My singing is better, I'm still far from where I would like to be though.

  • @sbs2018 Feb 2

    I'm pretty new at writing songs - I enrolled in a songwriting class and my first song started out with,"If I were a songwriter, I'd write this song" and then I wrote a few more songs and realized I am a songwriter. But with so much to learn and being so new, I get completely overwhelmed and think about quitting. But when I listen to my earlier songs, I can hear that I've improved and am encouraged to keep going. Still, so much to learn!

  • @kissinginpublic  Feb 2

    I will never be happy! But I'm better at knowing when it's not complete rubbish (and when it is), so I've found peace with it. I'm also a little more comfortable with the idea that what comes out of me is a surprise to even myself - something FAWM taught me!

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