Amanda Riley is doing 1 thing including…

sing and play music collaboratively


 

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Amanda Riley has written 2 entries about this goal

Great progress for the first 15 days!!

So I’m feeling really good about my year in music so far. Unfortunately, tomorrow is the last day of my break from school, so it will be a challenge balancing my love for music with my academic responsibilities… but it is my last semester and I tried to plan for it to be easy on me, so let’s hope I have plenty of time and energy for music!

Anyway, I’ve been using Craigslist. Most people are weary of Craigslist, but I think it’s a great tool. I’ve been following the ads for a few weeks, and I’ve posted two of my own ads. I’ve been talking with a bunch of people that haven’t panned out, and had at least one bad experience… there was one guy who “didn’t want any egos” that I was talking to, and apparently I took too long to reply and because I asked if we could meet somewhere closer than 20 miles from me, where he lives, he decided I wasn’t “committed” to music, so he ignored my last email, and I saw that he had reposted his ad with some complaints about “people” that were clearly directed at me.

However, so far I have had two good experiences. The first is a group of kids around my age who started a band a year ago and had their female singer quit a while back. Their songs were pretty good and fit my voice well, so I am going to sing with them. So far I had two practices with them. The only complaint I have is that they are kind of set in with each other so I don’t think there is much room for actual collaboration with them, but just having musicians to sing with a few times a week is very helpful to me at this point. So far, I got to hear myself and I actually like my voice, but I realized that I need to work on my rhythm. I was having trouble figuring out where I was supposed to come in on the songs, I occasionally sped up or slowed down when I wasn’t supposed to, and it also wasn’t easy for me to pick up melodies and rhythms being taught to me. That surprised me because I spend so much of my time singing along to music, and I’ve always felt that I pick up songs quickly, but obviously it takes me longer than I thought and I need some more hands-on practice… though I did find that most of the rhythm problems were solved when I tapped my foot to the beat and stuff like that, now I see why singers/musicians do that, hah.

Then today I met one guy who was pretty cool and just wanted to play acoustic with people. It showed me how much work I need on guitar! All I could really do was play open chords to a boring rhythm while he improvised over them. I am definitely going to practice more and try to learn more interesting techniques.

Anyway, the important thing is that I keep playing on my own. And I have played guitar every day of the year so far I think! (I might have missed one day, I’m not sure.) I need to figure out what to practice to improve most, but at least I am keeping up my calluses. And I should give myself more credit, because I have actually learned a few new standard chord progressions, and I can fudge my way now through 3 or 4 songs that I couldn’t before. I am staying inspired by listening to lots of music and watching videos, which makes me try to play along with them. Also, I found that what inspires me surprisingly is watching people with low or intermediate skills play songs on YouTube. It reminds me that music is about passion, and you don’t have to be perfect to share your playing with others. Now let’s hope I work up the courage soon!



Inspiration

I went to Home for the Holidays from December 27-30, which consists of four shows in a row by the Bouncing Souls. It was amazing. They are my favorite band ever. They play really upbeat music that makes most people feel awesome (some people don’t like it, but I don’t know what’s wrong with those people :D). They always try to switch things up a bit because they know there are lots of fans who go to all four shows every year. This year they got a Bingo machine and supposedly filled it with ping pong balls with every one of their songs on them. Then they had their friend pick them out to create a set list, and he would write it on a white board often with a funny illustration. It made things even more fun.

But what really inspires me is the way that, unlike other musicians, the Bouncing Souls make you feel like you’re just like them. Like, we all love music, we all have the same optimistic outlook, and we all have the power to do what they do if we just try. I don’t know, maybe they don’t really think that, but it seems like they do. Even when they are signing autographs, they don’t seem condescending.

We all stayed in this hotel, and the singer was also staying there. One day, while my friends were talking and I had gone off to mess around with the lobby piano, he came over to me and wanted to know what I was playing. He was on his way out, but he spent a couple of minutes playing with me. It was really sweet and it made me feel good.

Anyway, I don’t know, being so immersed in music for a few days, and feeling so close to my favorite band, it really reinforced my wanting to play more music this year. I’m not trying to be exactly like them because I know I can’t be. But I want to follow my heart and write songs about it, the way they do. Let’s hope it lasts.



 

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