Sunday, July 31, 2011

More Oregon/California trip pics: Redwoods

 My husband, Jon, takes most of the pictures. Once in a while we take one of him so we know he was there with us.

                                                         Our family tree, minus Jon

Bryce climbing up the inside of a tree
 Notice how he's straining to lift me? I think I put on a few pounds on our trip. All that good restaurant food.
                                                                The whole fam.
 I used to cut logs like this off the trail with a bow saw when I worked for the forest service in Washington. Well, maybe they weren't quite this big.
                                                               This one's taller than I am.
                                                     Zombie Jon
Zombie kids                                                                                Karissa
                                                                           The kids
                                                         Balancing on a limb
                                                                      Don't drop it!
                                                               Mom monkeying around
                                                    monkey see, monkey do
                                                   Kenzie and her bigfoot t-shirt

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Trip to Oregon/California

 My family and I spent ten days traveling along the Oregon coast, through the Redwoods, and to San Francisco in July.

                                                                           Oregon Coast

                                                               Tillamook Cheese Factory

                                                         Horse back riding on the beach

                                                          My three beach bums

                                                                        Beach Ballet

                                                            The fam @ a Beach in Oregon

Friday, July 15, 2011

17 ideas for finding songwriting inspiration

"Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." (Thomas Edison)

This is the motto I live by where my writing is concerned. I'm reading The Complete Singer Songwriter and learning not only more about writing songs, but also about performing and recording. Some ideas the book offers for getting inspiration to write songs are:

1. Babble—write music first, sing nonsense phrases, make sounds that fit the music and rhythm
2. Make mistakes—try alternate tunings, introduce a random element
3. Eaves drop/observe—find intriguing details to use as starting pints for characters/stories, be a detective, take good notes, look for specific words and precise images to use
4. Give yourself an assignment—write a song to a rhythm scheme, write a slow/fast song, write a ballad based on a story, use only two chords or no chords to start.
5. Get away from your instrument/loops
6. Expand your instrumental technique, try a new style
7. Try a different instrument
8. Switch media—poetry, novels, painting, sculpture. All art forms arise from the same basic impulses
eg: books—look at 4 ideas on how to use language and imagery to develop memorable characters
9. Learn other people's songs and come up with your own rendition. Rely on your hands and ear.
10. Listen to new music, other genres you don't know well, live music, festivals
11. Imagine an audience of a famous singer and write something for them.
12. Arrange and rearrange—work with existing material. Write lyrics to a favorite melody, or set lyrics or poetry to a new melody. Speed it up or slow it down. Transpose to a different key or instrument.
13. Use a ghost writer—imagine one of your favorite singer/songwriters writing your song and write it the way you think they would, in their style.
15. Collaborate with a cowriter
16. Join a songwriting group to get feedback, moral support, performing experience, writing assignments, connect with local music community, find a cowriter, bass player
17. Just do it—like a staff writer, develop a songwriting routine

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Song Writing Blues

I'm writing a new song called Sometimes and playing around with recording it on Garage Band. Usually I write happy songs, but I've been a little moody lately so it's sort of a sad song. It turns out happy in the end, though.

I'm learning to add drums and bass and piano to it. It's fun, but I don't know yet how to cut and paste when I make mistakes, so I have to sing and play it over and over again every time I make a mistake or don't like how it sounds.

I got a new book on song writing that's teaching me techniques for chords, formatting, lyrics, etc. I love the whole creative process, but it's draining and I get caught up in it and can't stop sometimes. Hours can pass without me even realizing it.
Brook White
Wish I could be that way with the housework and other stuff I need to do more. I'd get a lot done and maybe catch up on the laundry and dishes!

A couple weeks ago I attended a Sound Check Series and heard Brook White (American Idol) speak and sing a couple songs. It was great. I even got a hug from her when we almost bumped into each other. Maybe some of her talent will rub off on me!