This was mostly me experimenting with…I guess arpeggios?  I really need to try and focus enough to learn my lingo, but my understanding at the moment is that when you play a chord’s individual notes instead of strumming it, it’s called an arpeggio. If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone on the internet will correct me.

Try to ignore my squeaky chair. Honestly, as annoying as the squeak is, it’s also the least of my problems when I can be sitting there and suddenly lose 6 inches of height. I really need to fix that, but my relationship with the hardware store is much like my relationship with music lingo: I may have half an idea what I’m aiming at, but an underdeveloped ability to describe or define it. So, not knowing where everything is, and not having the ability to explain what I’m looking for, means that trips to the hardware store always manage to take forever, and I hate shopping.

Also, I am apparently currently only capable of switching single strings with bare fingers. With a pick, it all goes to hell pretty fast.

Anyway, this was something I was experimenting with for several reasons.

1. has to do with the poetry album. will explain more when I’ve decided wtf I’m doing.

2. Because I suck at plucking single strings. Or, more to say, I suck an epic amount at selecting a string I want to strike and striking it. I’m pretty sure if I had done any planning going into this and had a specific goal in mind of going from point A to point B, it would be a hot mess, but maybe just getting my fingers used to going from one string to the other with no goal in mind will help me make some headway on that front as long as I can get my fingers moving without crashing into other strings. It’s worth a shot, anyway.

3. Because, frankly, the day I was working with this, I needed to play something in all minor chords because I had had a really fricking depressing night and I needed to put myself to task on something different from the norm to distract myself.

Today, I spent several hours working on similar things on the uke. I’ve noticed I have a bad habit. I tend to grip chord shapes more firmly the more tired my hand gets. That wasn’t helped by me fuddling about with a bunch of chord shapes I’ve never tried before. I love the Ukulele Helper website for telling me what chords are named (most of the time, anyway) when I find something that sounds good by just poking at things.

Today’s noodling about also inadvertently taught me what “add” means in a chord name. I still don’t really properly understand what suspended (sus) chords are, even though I use a few. I think that pretty much exists in the language of music theory that I just really struggle with the attention span to learn (someday…), but “add” has a much more basic definition in that it appears to be just be a root chord that you’ve tacked an extra note onto. Of course, once you get into the numbers of it, I don’t quite wrap my head around it so well (I mean, everyone talks about thirds, fourths, and fifths, so even I have a rudimentary ‘have to stop and count on my fingers like a kindergartener’ grasp on that much, but once you go much beyond that I get lost.)  So, tonight I can say that I’ve learned Aadd9 on the ukulele and not be intimidated by all the extra letters in that chord name. But, I still can’t tell you what a 9th is.

Last night, for the first time in a while, I turned on Yousician again, and once it was done updated I discovered they finally got around to adding stuff into the knowledge path on guitar. When I first tried the program that was listed as “coming soon”. They clearly meant “coming eventually”. I haven’t dipped into this much, and it was about 2 in the morning, so I’m probably not in the best position to have a heck of a lot to say about it. The fact is, the earliest lessons are about learning the names of the strings and things I already know, and honestly the way they’re set up borders on ridiculous (imagine playing along to a ludicrous song about eddie eating dynamite, and you’ll get the gist of it). But, as silly as it is, it may actually be well suited to a more tactile learner if you can overlook how ludicrous it feels to deal with 10 second songs. It’s when you get past the first lesson or two that it seems there might be a hitch, because the program sings explanations at you as you play. This doesn’t seem hugely productive, because science: the human brain isn’t actually capable of multitasking. What it actually does is switch between tasks very quickly. So, if I’m focused on where to put my fingers, I’m absolutely not hearing a word of what’s being sung at me. There’s just not time enough for my brain to do both. I guess the way around that is to go back and do the same lesson multiple times, but honestly, these early lessons don’t really have enough depth to make that worthwhile for me.

Let’s see, what else…oh, yeah, I signed up for another Coursera course. I don’t expect that to go well, since I haven’t finished one yet, other than the music theory one, which, we see how well that went: I know jack about music theory even after taking it. I unenrolled from the songwriting course because it was really just…okay, there’s no way I can be nicer than “pompous blowhard” in this case. The others I just, I don’t know, got distracted. But, for whatever reason, I opened one of the coursera emails last week and decided to sign up for the ‘Fundamentals of Music and Audio Engineering’ course, because, I don’t know why. I doubt I’ll absorb much, since I don’t seem to be all that great at sticking to online lesson plans, and I suspect it’s going to start off above my level of understanding, but maybe I’ll glean something of interest. We’ll see.

I know I haven’t done a learning progress post for a while. I haven’t really done a lot of direct education process for a while. I’ve been focused on just writing songs and taking pictures and stuff and things and, you know, trees. But, it’s winter now (okay, not technically, but trust me, the past few days have been getting pretty fucking cold. Once I have to trade my hoodie for an actual coat, it’s winter, okay? Okay. Good that we’re clear.), and less time playing outside, depressing as that is, means more time finding distractions inside, which means I’m trying to get back to the more basic, educational stuff while I hibernate until Spring.

Today that educational stuff has mostly involved teaching myself a bunch of new-to-me ukulele chords that I’ll probably forget by tomorrow, and some fiddling around in audacity as I try to become a bit less clumsy with that program. Tomorrow, who knows?

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