This again

If you’ve wondered what happened to my blog…I quit guitar again.  Well, almost.

It’s been almost a year since I last “almost quit” and this time, I really thought I would go through with it.  Honestly, I felt like I was being forced to:

  • I’m working full-time
  • I’m tight on cash, so stopping lessons seems “responsible”
  • I’m still playing drums in a girl band
  • I have a another significant hobby in my life – rock climbing
  • I don’t use guitar the same way as I did in the past – it used to be an emotional outlet for me

But ya know what?  I want to quit on my on terms and I am not ready.  I want to push through my current (seemingly boring) material and first find out how it’ll benefit me before calling it quits.  I want to make sure it’s not the material scaring me off.

Looking back at my very first blog entry 1 year ago… I clearly had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Let’s see how February goes.

4 Reasons Why I Love Playing in Girl Bands

ID-10060301

Faye has been practicing regularly for 2 months now.  This past month we bumped up to 2 practices a week!  And because of that and our goal to play our first show in December (fingers crossed), I feel compelled to share my favorite things about being an all girl rock band.

1) Constant communication – This is a no brainer.  Men and women communicate differently.  As a group of female musicians, we are better listeners than our male counter-parts and are surprisingly more laid back than most men we know.  The only thing is… we tend to be “too nice” in fear of hurting one another’s feelings when sharing opinions.  Maybe that’ll fade away the longer we play together?

2) Absence of gender stereotypes -“She plays great for a girl.”
On more than one occasion I’ve over heard my guy friends and even male acquaintances discuss how there are “no good female guitarists” and girls only play Bass guitar because it’s “easiest.”  Playing with Faye has been a no-pressure, judgement-free zone allowing us to practice to the best of our abilities without being scrutinized as we play “like girls.”

3) Naturally organized – We enter the practice room with a goal in mind.
Enough said.

4) Simply saying I’m in a girl band – There’s just something empowering about it!  I wish there were more in Charlotte.

Well, that’s all (for now).  Happy Friday!  🙂

I’m up & writing!

I know someone’s thinking this and I absolutely agree: it’s ironic how I finally settled on the blog name, Arpeggio Vixen and my arpeggio playing has dissipated more than I’d like to admit.

The lady band I mean, Faye, has me feeling like a legitimate drummer these days.  I’m still going to my guitar lessons but there’s something about playing and collaborating with other musicians that greatly improves musical abilities faster.

I prefer to avoid writing incomplete thoughts but I simply wanted to let you know that my blog is very much alive.  I have some legitimate posts in the making and I’m excited to share them with you starting Friday, October 10th.

‘Til then…!

Fall apart only to fall back together again

ID-10026204

So, “how’s the lady band going?” you ask.  Well, thanks for asking!  It’s actually, um, not going…  It’s at a stand still I am afraid.

It all began with the typical excuses, “I’m traveling a lot this summer.”  But I mean, that’s normal because it is (or, “was”) summer after all.  Then a few weeks later, “I’m going to be late” and someone else is “in a bad mood.”  That’s why I truly lost hope in the ladies’ desire to make music and play shows.  But ya know, I’m giving it one more shot.  And you know why?

One, I really want to this to work.
Two, a member admitted she is unable to dedicate the time and effort into being a band.
Three, a 3 piece is (hopefully) more flexible than a 4 piece band.
And four, we finally have a fixed practice day.  Twice is ideal but a solid 1x a week is great for foundation… baby steps, y’all.

Now, mind you, I wrote that was 3 weeks ago and forgot to post it.

TODAY, I am thrilled to share that it’s finally coming together.  We still don’t have a band name but we are practicing regularly and have written 2 original songs.  I’m super duper excited for what’s to come because the 3 of us aim to play our first local show before the end of 2014.

More lady band updates to come 🙂

IMAGE COURTESY OF Salvatore Vuono / FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET

“Legendary” guitar solos

ID-10076828

I try my best not to download apps because I already waste enough of my precious time on trivial activities *ahem* Instagram and Facebook. But, I promise you, Spotify is different.

Ever since it’s been on my cell phone, I’ve forgotten Pandora even exists–yes, it’s that great. As of recently, I’ve been scrolling through pre-made playlists and came across some fantastic stuff.

Exhibit A: Blues Masters
Exhibit B: Legendary Guitar Solos
Exhibit C: What a minute, let’s go back to Exhibit B.

Now these “Legendary Guitar Solos” are classics but I think the list is lacking.

Here’s what the playlist entails:

  • Eruption – Van Halen
  • Stairway To Heaven – Led Zeppelin
  • Hotel California  – Eagles
  • Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
  • All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix
  • Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
  • Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynrd
  • Texas Flood – Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Layla – Derek & The Dominoes
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
  • Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers – Jeff Beck
  • November Rain – Guns N’ Roses
  • Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile) – Santana
  • Highway Star – Deep Purple
  • Reelin’ In The Years – Steely Dan
  • Stranglehold – Ted Nugent
  • Shock Me – Kiss
  • Stray Cat Strut – Stray Cats
  • Working Man – Rush
  • Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
  • Hitch A Ride – Boston
  • Aqualung – Jethro Tull
  • 25 Or 6 To 4 – Chicago

Now, I like pretty much all of these songs but I’m not going to lie… I’m surprised to see some of them on this list.  For example, “Reelin’ In the Years” by Steely Dan.  To be completely honest it is not a song that I immediate think, “wow, those are some sick solos.”

Out of curiosity, I just wanted to know if anyone thinks the list is lacking.  If so, what would you add or take away?

IMAGE COURTESY OF imagerymajestic / FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET

I deserve a gold star

ID-10084713

This past Thursday, Danny and I spent an entire hour working on the Simon & Garfunkel piece. Not because I didn’t practice. Not because it was difficult. But because he was delighted to see my progress and gave me page 3 and 4 for homework. Which means I’ve completed two-thirds of this fingerpicking song!

It felt really good–I mean, really, freakin’ good to have Danny proud of me. “Now, didn’t I tell you-you’d be great at fingerpicking if you just practiced?” he said in his twangy South Carolina accent.

Typically Danny’s lessons are complex due to his “pop quizzes” and ability to fly through an extensive amount of material but last week it was 100% fingerpicking. But even he said it was worth it.

Although, my performance was nearly a 180, there were a few errors Danny teased me about (that’s the kind of relationship we have). When reading music, I tend to skip measures when I get bored/zone out. And secondly, I often neglect my pinky. The latter is most difficult because I’d already learned how to play tricky finger patterns (my way) and now I have to relearn them by using my pinky. Oh well, it’s nothing a metronome and repetition can’t fix, right?

IMAGE COURTESY OF PIXTAWAN / FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET

Shame. Shame. Shame.

ID-10054806

Last week was embarrassing. I am ashamed of myself for walking into Danny’s studio full of false confidence. I knew good and well my fingers lacked the muscle memory needed to play Simon & Garfunkle, a 7 page arrangement I promised I’d learn.

I could blame it on my internship with the Symphony Orchestra. I could also blame it on my current romantic interest–the most social (or “busy body”) man I’ve dated in a long while. I could even blame it on the numerous U.S. states I’ve visited this summer. But no matter what my excuse is, it will never erase the shame I felt in Danny’s studio.

Well, that was then, and today is a positive now. I’m sitting at my MacBook after a long weekend in Georgia, thankful that I took my guitar along because I made major improvements in my fingerpicking. I may have already said this, but I did not expect this summer to be me fighting distractions–that’s exactly what it’s come down to.

I see Danny on Thursday and I am determined to blow him away. Seeing the disappointment in my guitar teacher’s eyes feels no different than disappointing my own father.

IMAGE COURTESY OF Stuart miles / FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET