Added More Sheet Music

Even though I’m not officially updating this blog anymore. I’m still adding sheet music when I release the songs. Just added two more, Bag of Tea and Christmas (At Our House). I’m re-doing Christmas later in the year, but decided to share it now.

Thanks for watching!!

It’s time to end this show!

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, even during self-isolation, I can’t seem to put the time together to keep this blog running. I’m not leaving music, far from it, but I will be stopping this blog completely.

It never took off, probably because I started it after the whole blog thing was cool, but that’s life. I’ve been making more videos on YouTube than anything else, so I’m going to stay there and leave this for anyone who want to read stuff by me.

If you like my stuff, here’s the YouTube Channel:

If you love Rocksmith and want to watch me, follow me on Twitch:

Thanks again to everyone! Have a great day! If I get inspired, maybe I’ll start this up again!

Learning To Read Music: Learning the notes on the Staff

I’ve started doing videos to help my friend Don learn how to read music. I’ve decided to add it to my website to allow people to read what I have talked about on the website (like a notebook for all of you). If you’d like to watch the video, it will be at the bottom of this post.

Finding C

The best way to start is to learn where ‘C’ is on both staffs. If you know this, then you have a way to either go up or down the scale to figure out what the note is. I’ve made this diagram to help:

All the locations for ‘C’ on the scale.

On the treble and bass clef, I put the one ‘C’ in blue because it is the same note which is called “Middle C’.

Once you know your C’s the next step is know which way to go along the scale.

When reading up the scale, the notes will be from C: D, E, F, G, A, B and then C.

When reading down the scale, the notes will be from C: B, A, G, F, E, D and then C.

Keeping these two things in mind will make it easy for you to go up and down the scale.

Added help, find the G’s at both ends

Another help is to know where G is on the upper and lower end of the staff. I chose G because it is pretty close to both ends. Let me show you:

‘G’ is at above the line at the top and on the line at the bottom.

I find this helpful as well because I can also use this as a reference point.

Best way to learn…

I know you don’t want to hear this, but the best way to learn is to find yourself an application on either your computer or phone that will work as flash cards and quiz you on note location. I have found the following ones for windows and android. I don’t have an apple device so if you find one and want to share, I will gladly add it to the post.

Windows: 1/4 Learn Sight Read Music Notes, this is the free limited version, you can pay for it if you are going to use it more. I found that this is a great application to practice reading and learning notes.

Android: Music Tutor (Sight Reading), this has a free and pay version. Works pretty much the same as the windows version. You are able to set up time limits to see how well you do, etc.

Now that you have a practice tool, use it 5 minutes a day. This will get you moving on getting better at sight reading.

Here’s the video from my YouTube channel:

Also, the PDF that I mentioned in the video:

I’ll post another tutorial in about 2 weeks to allow this to sink in.

"Only Musicians in Orchestras are real Musicians"

This past Christmas holiday, I’ve been taking my mother around to see family and friends. Many of these drives can be quite long and so I’ve been listening to the local classical FM station. My mom grew up on classical music, it was mandatory listening when she was in Germany. I fell out of listening to classical, which I did do a lot more of in my mid to early teens, but then I also listened to a lot of big band, rock and pop at the time. It has been since I’ve been recording a pianist and cellist. Also with all the other musical endeavors, I grown to appreciate a much broader spectrum of music.

My mom is 80 and isn’t a fan of rock music or anything that has been recorded since 1960 and onward. She said to me, “Wouldn’t you agree that only musicians who play this type of music [classical] are real musicians?”. My answer was “No.”. I know how hard it is to play and read any type of music. I know that hours that anyone who plays any instrument, including voice, puts into getting as close to perfection as possible. Even someone who is only playing for their own sheer enjoyment has spent countless hours working on a single song to be able to play it back.

I understand why she feels this way, I do feel this way about a lot of pop music that has come out since 2000. It has a plastic feel to it, it has been manipulated to be “perfect”. Along with videos it has given a rise to less-than-talented individuals who look good but really can sing / play any better that a person trying their had at an instrument for the first time. There are too many Ashley Simpsons in the industry and we need them to be shown for what they really are.

Now I’ve gone off topic a little bit, but I am paraphrasing my mother’s words. She feels that if a musician can’t read music then they aren’t a musician. She is showing bias because I know many musicians who don’t play for orchestras or play orchestral type music how can sight read better than some people who can read a book.

I know that a lot of the music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s was recorded by a handful of talented musicians who’s knowledge of music would surpass many of the great composers of yesteryear. Why is this? Because they had their work to reference.

Music is one thing that brings like minded people together and, if you are passionate enough, start arguments that can never be resolved. Like I said, I don’t like the “plastic” sound of music that is being made today. That is why I think I’m enjoying recording people who have talent, but don’t expect me to adjust their mistakes. It goes to show that we all have our opinions on music, but it is nice when we can discuss them as my mother and I did on our many drives this season.

Happy Holidays everyone!

— Mike

Happy New Year! Let's start making changes!

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you are doing well and looking forward to making changes in your life. I stopped doing resolutions years ago and started making a list of goals that I wanted to keep for the coming year. I find it works best for me when I write them down and stare with the world.

I want you to do something for me first!

I know that a lot of you are stuck in the recording rut where you have songs started, in the middle, mixed, finished and you are sitting on the fence to release them. This is the year, my friend! Release that song! Set a date, tell ME the date and release it on that date! Why? Because once you’ve set a deadline and told someone about it, you are more likely to commit.

Let me know when you are releasing your song! I want to know. If you want my comments on the song, send me an early copy and I’ll give it a listen.

My Goals for 2020

I generally start formulating my goals around the middle of November. Some are start shortly after thinking of it and others I wait until the new year. This years goals are as follows:

Keep the blog and YouTube channel separate

I’m starting my 3rd year on the channel (Click Here) and started using the blog as a link page to the channel. I’m going to stop that now. Things might still cross but I want them to be separate. The blog will be used more for what is on my mind at the time and the channel will be for how-to’s, recordings and anything else that needs more of a visual aspect to it. I will still give updates on the channel here once in a while, but this will be more for conversations.

Get back to being a healthier person!

I’ve been off the healthy train for a good 2 or 3 years now. My replacement Fitbit died (Fitbit will give you another one if yours breaks, but only once) and so I stopped keeping track of what I was doing. I ended up buying a Versa 2 on Black Friday and I’m back on my two favourite apps, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit App. It started off well, but Christmas got in the way and so I’m going to start pushing myself again this year! I’m going to post about my progress here over the course of the year. I’d like to loose 20 pounds by my Birthday (May)

Be a better drummer

This one came up at Church when I was asked to play drums for Luis at one of his concerts in 2020. I haven’t been practicing drums steadily for about a year and a half now and even before I was asked, I had put it on my list of goals. This request from Luis will give me the push that I need to keep working at this.

Post once a week on the blog

Another item that has fallen behind by me is my posting on this blog. I’ve mainly focused on the YouTube Channel and now that I have an idea of what I want to do with the blog, I will be able to keep something going on here!

Thanks for reading!

Once again, have a great new year. Hopefully you’ve put together some goals to achieve. They don’t have to be huge, just enough of a change to make your life better.

— Mike

My Favourite Christmas Songs / Recordings

The season is upon us and so I decided to share my favourite Christmas songs and recordings. I say recordings because I have a bunch of comedy stuff that I also like to listen to around this time since it has a Christmas theme. I have put two stars beside the ones that would be in my top 10.

Here they are, not in any particular order:

  • Cheech and Chong – Santa Claus and His Old Lady**
  • Vince Guaraldi – O Tannenbaum**
  • Vince Guaraldi – What Child Is This?
  • Vince Guaraldi – Christmas Time Is Here [Instrumental]**
  • Vince Guaraldi – Skating
  • Vince Guaraldi – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  • Vince Guaraldi – The Christmas Song
  • Adam Sandlar – The Chanukah Song**
  • Allan Sherman – The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas**
  • Augie Rios – Donde Esta Santa Claus
  • Death Row Records Artists – Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto**
  • Badly Drawn Boy – Donna & Blitzen
  • Barry Gordon – Nuttin’ for Christmas
  • Boney M. – Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord**
  • The Chipmunks – The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)**
  • Chuck Berry – Run Rudolf Run
  • Dread Zeppelin – Blue Christmas
  • Ella Fitzgerald – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  • Ella Fitzgerald – Jingle Bells, Sleigh Ride
  • Ella Fitzgerald – Frosty the Snowman
  • Elmo & Patsy – Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
  • Elvis Presley – Take My Hand, Precious Lord
  • Southpark Cast – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  • Southpark Cast – O Holy Night, Carol of the Bells
  • Southpark Cast – I Saw Three Ships
  • Southpark Cast – O Tannenbaum
  • Southpark Cast – Christmas Time In Hell**
  • Southpark Cast – Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel**
  • Southpark Cast – The Most Offensive Song Ever
  • Southpark Cast – We Three Kings
  • Exultate Chamber Sings – Away In a Manger**
  • Exultate Chamber Sings – We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  • Exultate Chamber Sings – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  • Fats Domino – I’ll Be Home for Christmas**
  • Harry Connick Jr. – (It Must’ve Been Ol’)Santa Claus
  • Harry Connick Jr. – I Pray on Christmas
  • Kinks – Father Christmas**
  • Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song
  • Nat King Cole – Buon Natale (Means Merry Christmas to You)
  • Nat King Cole – I Saw Three Ships
  • The Pretenders – 2000 Miles
  • Ray Charles – The Little Drummer Boy
  • Ray Charles – Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  • Ray Charles – All I Want for Christmas**
  • Roy Clark – Christmas Time’s A Comin’**
  • RUN-D.M.C. – Christmas in Hollis**
  • Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody**
  • Stevie Wonder – What Christmas Means to Me**
  • Straight No Chaser – The 12 Days of Christmas[Live]**
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra – An Angel Came Down
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra – The Silent Nutcracker**
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra – The First Noel**
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Jazz[Instrumental]**
  • Unknown Choir – Carol of the Bells (From Christmas Around The World CD)
  • The Ventures – Sleigh Ride**

If you want more of an explanation on some of the songs in the list, please watch the video:

Now Available! Sheet music

As many of you know, I love to write out my songs and others in MuseScore. Earlier this month in a video, I said I was going to publish the scores for people to download.

I’ve started doing this and you can find it along the top menu under “Sheet Music”. It’s currently only two songs, but as I get more of them done, I will share them. My goal is by the middle of 2020 to have my current songs done in this format for all to enjoy and learn!

Taking it easy, it’s summer!

I’ve been taking it easy these past couple of weeks, sorry about that. I have been diligent on my YouTube site, here’s the latest in the videos. I actually did a live stream as well! Hope you enjoy them!

Published July 8th: Trying out the “Song 2 See” Video Game on the PC

Published July 11th: Adding Vocal Effects to Instruments

Published July 18th: Normalization: An Indepth Look

Published July 22nd: What I do Before Creating a Final Mixdown

Published July 25th: Gear Finds, Episode 13: Pyle PDMIC45

Published August 4th: Recording The Bass for “Fred Is Dead?

Published August 5th: I Cleaned and Re-Arranged My Studio

Published August 8th: Gear Finds, Episode 14: Boss Dr Rhythm DR 3 (QnA Session)

Streamed Live: August 2nd: Recording Drums tonight! Do it Live!

— Mike