Piano Magic Continues. . .

The magic of piano continues in my life. Since my last update, I’ve done another six songs and am in love with all of them

With so many lovely melodies, I am assembling a track that will be named “Healing Piano Melodies 2.” My first one has been very popular. Working on Zoom with my pianist arranger, Devin, has yielded many more intricate recordings. In the beginning, my piano solo songs averaged a minute and a half. Now they are twice that long.

Last week, I completed “Rainbow Through My Tears.” The melody just soars and brings me joy.

I share two other favorites here. It was fun to throw a little slideshow together for these songs. Both of them celebrate childhood and growth. One has my pics and the other has my childrens’ pictures.

I still have over a dozen songs left. I might even go back to those shorter piano songs and enhance them. So much to work on and I am loving every minute of it!

Feel free to check back, as I might add more videos here later on.

THE MAGIC OF PIANO

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.

Misunderstood Creative Piano Solo

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.

Misunderstood Piano Melody

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.

Magical Piano – Never Gone Away & With Me

I’ve continued to slowly write another course for Insight Timer. Just choosing the songs has been so sweet. There are many stories I could tell about every one of my songs!

I apologize for not sharing more about my music. Performing live sessions on Insight Timer has been really wonderful for me. I’ve been practicing all of my songs, which has been time consuming.

I’ve continued to slowly write another course for Insight Timer. Just choosing the songs has been so sweet. There are many stories I could tell about every one of my songs!

For this post, I am sharing two song lessons I’ve recently completed.

Both my songs “Never Gone Away” and “With Me”  have lovely melodies. My piano arranger did a great job with both of them. I share a clip for each song. They start with a creative ambient version that is followed by the more faithful melody.

To read my lessons, I am attaching the main song story links where there are also performances and older recordings.

WITH ME

NEVER GONE AWAY

Magical Piano – You Were There

Earlier this year, I updated my slideshow of “You Were There.” Just seeing the old pictures again moved me deeply. I share that slideshow at the end of this post.

I was choosing songs to write about for another course on Insight Timer and this was my first song choice. I wrote my lesson and contacted my piano arranger to create beautiful piano for “You Were There.” He did not disappoint. Above, are the melody and ambient versions of his work. I did considerable editing to bring the music into my heart.

Both the ambient clips, (which followed the chords and feeling of my song) and melody clips were so gorgeous – that I decided to release them as part of a meditation track on Insight Timer.

My course is underway and for this post I am sharing these two sweet piano clips, as well as my updated slideshow with a vocal.

To read my lesson, here is the main song link for “You Were There.” There are also many stories I wrote while composing my song, as well as recordings.

YOU WERE THERE

Magical Piano – Songs of Healing & Hope

This has been a challenging time for so many people, myself included. I am grateful for having healing music in my life. I picked the word magical because it evoked joy and lifted my spirits. I love sharing the music that soothes and comforts me.

Below are three of my most recent releases on Insight Timer. (The most recent one is a combination of melodies from both my courses on Insight Timer.) They can be accessed by clicking on the image:

HEALING PIANO MELODIES
MAGICAL PIANO – SONGS OF HEALING & HOPE PART 2
MAGICAL PIANO – SONGS OF HEALING & HOPE PART 1

My magical piano tracks are related to a new course that is not yet available on Insight Timer. It is named “Songs of Healing & Hope.” More about my course can be found on the second menu for “Courses” at the top of this site.

It is interesting for me how much I’ve enjoyed creating solo piano.  I am a guitarist and don’t even know how to play piano!

But I have found the world of editing piano to be magical. Every single midi note on the computer makes a difference – whether it’s sustained or it’s velocity is soothed.

I asked my talented piano arranger to give me two different types of piano styles for each of the 10 songs associated with my course. One was a melody clip, which had an intro, verse, chorus and tag. I planned to use that clip at the end of each song lesson for my course. The second, was a creative “ambient” version. I used those clips as sweet notes that floated in the background of my lessons.

Whenever I received my arranger’s rough recordings, I immediately immersed myself within the notes. For melody clips, I attempted to make them as faithful to my guitar version as possible. I’d sing the melody aloud, and when words caused notes to repeat, I would simplify it. I’d also change chords if they didn’t quite match the guitar notes I wanted.

Every melody clip I worked on quickly became my favorite. If I had to pick my top three, they would be: Music Saved Me, Angel in the Sky, and The Unknown. To hear those melodies, as well as clips from my first course, go to this link about my recent track release of “Healing Piano Melodies.”

The ambient/creative clips were incredibly unique. I fell in love with them, even though they weren’t always reminiscent of my song. But with careful listening I could usually find subtle chords and melodies hiding in them.

Piano editing was a lot like working on a jigsaw puzzle. I condensed 15 minutes of piano into five minutes or less. I listened to multiple motifs and excised sections that I liked. Connecting all the pieces required different tempos, ritards and great patience. Below are my three favorites for Take Me Away, My Dream and The Unknown.

Once my course was finished, I wanted to put the clips together to form a meditation track. There were 20 clips and I entertained different possibilities for combining them. I could have a track of only melodies and another one comprised of ambient clips. But after a lot of listening, I decided that I liked  a mixture. Many people appreciated longer tracks for meditation; all the clips together would have been over an hour. I decided instead, to create two tracks with five songs/10 clips each.

Being a professional illustrator has some advantages. I hardly paint anymore, and prefer playing around with Photoshop. Just for fun, I’ll share some of my cover designs I fooled around with.

 

Below is an earlier release of solo piano with the same format for my first Insight Timer Course: “Healing Grief Through Music.” Clicking on the image accesses the meditation track.

This has been a challenging time for so many people, myself included. I am grateful for having healing music in my life. I picked the word magical because it evoked joy and lifted my spirits. I love sharing the music that soothes and comforts me.

I loved these roses so much, that I had to stop and take a picture.
I hear those piano clips playing in my mind all the time. It elevates my life.