First New Year’s Resolution: stop referencing the Beatles so much (nah, I’ll never be able to stick to that).
I don’t really go in for New Year’s Resolutions, I think it’s a way to set yourself up to fail; which is odd, seeing that it was through a NYR that I managed to finally give up smoking – three years now and counting! But I don’t normally do them. This year however (and off the back of some of the retrospective thinking I indulged in last post), I’ve set myself some Musical New Year’s Resolutions.
And here they are:
1) Be more productive!
Easier said than done. But there have been factors holding back my productivity in 2012 that hopefully won’t be as pronounced going forward. And some of my other resolutions (if I can stick to them!) will help. The over arching challenge is to successfully tread the line between perfectionism and the limits of my own abilities i.e. not produce stuff I think is crap, but not bang my head against the wall striving for perfection and not produce anything at all. Crap is worse than nothing; nothing is perfect. Somewhere between perfection and nothing is where I want to be.
In real terms: Last year I produced a song every 3-4 months: three songs. This year I aim to produce a song every 2 months: six songs.
Release dates: January, March, May, July, September, November.
I’ve got the songs. This is the year to make them happen!
2) Piano Lessons
I’m not a good musician, never claimed to be, and I part play/part program what I create, the split being 30/70 I think. Which would be fine if all I was writing electronic, programmable stuff. But there’s almost always a part to a song that calls for actual playing, and my lack of skill slows down the recording of these parts, not to mention disheartens me and makes me feel fraudulent. So it’s time to pick up the lessons again: I got a teach-yourself-DVD for Christmas, so I’m going to start there, but later in the year I’m going to take lessons. Not exactly the behaviour of an ÄUTODIDACT – maybe I’ll have to change my moniker :-)
In real terms: Teach myself till April; then start taking lessons.
3) No new equipment for 6 months
Buying music equipment is addictive. I never once in my wildest dreams thought I’d get excited about buying a good quality MIDI cable, but there you go. There are so many cool gadgets and synths out there; I love walking around a shop like Dawsons, noodling on a keyboard, or peering into a display cabinet. That’s part of the fun of making music for me. But it comes at a price: with every new piece you get, it’s a new piece you have to work out how to use, manuals to read, online forums to browse through, YouTube videos to watch, and hours and hours just experimenting. Which is all good fun in itself, but is anathema to production. This hit me particularly hard last year, when I was building my studio from scratch. But now I’ve got what I need, if not everything I’d like, I can hold fire on new acquisitions and concentrate on getting the most out of what I have. (I’m not including samples/phone apps as part of this embargo though, just actual, physical equipment. Gotta scratch that itch with something.)
In real terms: January, March, and May’s songs to be recorded with what I have. By June I should have identified what my next purchase will be (and I’ll be choking for it!). The smart money is on a Kaoss Pad 3
4) Publish a blog post every week.
I’m not exactly consistent in my posting, and maybe I could broaden the scope a little bit. The blog is about creating music, and about my travails in creating music, and that will always be the focus, but there are lots of ancillary topics. I enjoyed writing my review of Bat for Lashes, and writing about the Beatles and Ravi Shankar. So I might try to write around the subject a little more.
In real terms: Post a new blog entry once a week.
5) Read More, Listen More!
Lots of blogs out there to read; lots of music out there to listen to. I don’t do enough of either, particularly when it comes to the latter. I keep meaning to, but I never seem to get around to it – sounds like a NYR to me! Time to start spreading the love a little bit more.
In real terms: Follow someone new on WordPress each week/reblog a post. Follow someone new on Soundcloud each week/post a track to my blog.
Well, there they are. My 5 MNYRs. Five is a doable number. Time will tell. But #1 is most important. Time to get on it!