I begin this musical update with one of my recent solo piano songs named “Misunderstood.” It wasn’t on my radar to work on earlier, but it has some of the most beautiful melodic passages of any of my songs.
I recently commented to a friend that I am always in love with whatever I am currently working on (and that applies to my paintings, too). Her observation was that this was an incredibly mindful approach – of being “in the moment.” I like that!
I don’t understand how I can love a song so much, and then a week later I’ve moved on and am in love with my next song. Two weeks ago, it was “Alabaster Seashell.” Then it was “More Than You Know.”
And right at this moment, it is “Misunderstood!”
More about this song: MISUNDERSTOOD.
There was a brief period of my life when I studied classical guitar. I even took a piano class, but I don’t remember any of it.
I’m a guitarist. I’m a passionate singer/songwriter. I’m a musician healer. I’m an Insight Timer teacher. I’m a meditation music creator. These are all ways I’ve described myself and pianist is not one of them.
I often mention during my live performances that I’m not a trained musician. To be honest, I’m ambivalent about it. More musical training might have been nice and certainly helpful. Yet part of me revels in the fact that I am self-taught and perhaps a little unconventional.
The most important part of creating music for me is to keep it magical. Magical is such an inspiring word. Alternate meanings are: enchanted, mysterious, and fairytale-like. When I am in love with the music I’m working on, that’s exactly what infuses my life.
And working on music is work. Not in the sense that I’m slaving over it or even getting paid. It just requires many hours of time and concentration.
That leads me to talk about “magical piano” and the solo piano tracks I am creating for many of my songs. I have gone down a rabbit hole of editing complex piano compositions. That actually doesn’t seem negative to me if I’m conjuring up Alice in Wonderland.
I work with computer files that are midi. With midi, every note can be completely adjusted in a myriad of ways. The tempo, key, attack, sustain – every part of my song is affected by my editing decisions.
This is an example of something I was working on recently. The gray track in the center shows sustain areas. I adjust them for most every chord change.
I started creating solo clips of songs when I created my first course on Insight Timer named “Healing Grief Through Music.” I continued with my second course “Songs of Healing and Hope.”
Every one of my lessons was named for a song and would end with a short piano solo. I appreciated how the simplicity of piano captured my song’s chords and melody in such a sweet way. But I also like hearing the creative versions of my songs. Those creative clips worked well for dramatic moments behind my spoken audio.
At first, I worked with a wonderful pianist named Bobby, but during the pandemic he wasn’t available to me.
I turned to another musician, Devin Farney, who has added lovely piano to my many of my guitar tracks. Solo piano songs with him didn’t work well remotely, and after a few tries I gave up. But then a few months ago, we decided to try using Zoom. It was fantastic!
Now every week, Devin and I have a routine. I send him a song with chords, vocal and guitar tracks. He transcribes it and prepares for our session.
At our live sessions, Devin plays my song as many times as I need him to. He gives me many choices and I can directly share feedback in real time. Later on, I stitch everything together on Pro-tools, which requires a lot of patience.
Devin occasionally lets loose on the creative versions – he can get very jazzy. Sometimes I chuckle when he goes a bit far. Recently as a joke he started playing a Disney song for the ending of one of my songs. My chords were just too reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast!
I have been working on ten songs for a third course, which I plan to name “Door to My Heart.” Last week, he and I finished the tenth song. Even though my course hasn’t been recorded yet, I have released several medleys of those ten songs on Insight Timer. There is a solo guitar medley, guitar and piano medley, and now there is a “Magical Piano” medley.
Click on this image to hear the track on Insight Timer.
I have tried to keep organized links for all of my Insight Timer medleys, which can be accessed using that menu on top. The piano clips for all ten songs can be listened to separately at this link: DOOR TO MY HEART – MAGICAL PIANO MEDLEY
It seems to me that the intricate piano work Devin and I are collaborating on has added a lot of magic to my life. I thought I was going to stop with the ten songs for my next course, but I’ve decided to forge ahead and do all of my songs. I might even revisit some of the overly simple piano songs created when I first started this process.
Week by week, I move forward with a new piano song. It does seem a bit funny because I’m a guitarist, but it’s all part of the magic that music adds to my life.
A recent portrait, courtesy of my amazing daughter.