In need of a redesign since 2011.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Sing us a song

I definitely need to write songs.

I've been writing poetry since I discovered boys at the age of 15. Over the years, it's become a tried and tested means of expressing myself - the one thing in life that I could confidently say I was good at. Not great, maybe, but good. And songwriting is always something that's appealed to me.

The problem is that I can't play an instrument. Not one. I took piano lessons when I was younger, and they tried to teach me to play the recorder once. Over the years, I bought an ocarina, a harmonica, two penny whistles and a xylophone in the hopes that one of them would grant me magical musical powers. I even took drum lessons for a bit, and that was a lot of fun, but I didn't stick with it - something I still regret, as I suspect that hitting things with sticks would be a very healthy form of release for me!

Every time I walk past a music shop, or I'm dragged in by my (wonderfully talented) boyfriend, I gaze in awe at everything from the ukuleles to the clarinets, wondering if I'll ever find the instrument that's right for me. (In reality though, I know that's not how it works. How it really works is that you pick an instrument and slog your guts out until you're good at it. This is another reason why real life sucks.)

Over Christmas, I spent a bit of time in my home church, Bethany. It's the church I went to throughout my entire childhood, and I had a key to it for a year, so I feel completely comfortable and safe there. I was waiting for a friend, and had a couple of hours to kill, and I thought - y'know what would be fun? Playing on one of the pianos. And I mean 'playing' in the fun sense. Bethany has - let me think... at least four pianos and a keyboard, so I was spoiled for choice.

piano keys

I sat down in front of one of the pianos, and played a couple of chords, throwing in a few notes with my right hand. "Ooh, that sounds nice..." I played the only song I ever learned - 'give me oil in my lamp' - an easy one, because it's mostly on the black keys. I made dozens of mistakes, and nobody would have been fooled into thinking that I new what I was doing, but as I played and re-played tunes I knew, and invented a few as well, the mistakes got fewer and fewer and let me tell you - I was loving it!

Looking around my room now, at the plastic storage tubs that hold my possessions until I get proper furniture, it's slightly discouraging to know that I can't really find room for a piano in here (even assuming I could a) buy one, and b) get it up two flights of stairs in the first place). But it's reassuring that I'm not completely without hope. And that maybe the days will come when I can tinkle on the ivories, or even buy a budget keyboard, and get a few songs out into the world.

Interesting thing of the day: the timeline of internet memes.

ALSO, a reminder, please vote for Almost Daily Exploits! I'm narrowly ahead and would love for it to stay that way ;) Thanks so much to everyone who's voting and re-voting.


  1. Nah. :D I just stumbled by. Love the layout. <3

    But eh, piano? I only know how to play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and I still mess up.

    But I know how to play a recorder though! (Just a bit, really.) It's small and simple. ^^


  2. just get existing music and put a donk on it! Easy! start with this

  3. I own a keyboard but can't play it worth beans. I really should get around to selling that.

  4. Gav, take the night off from putting donks on things, yeah? ;)

    Hey Poppy, welcome, thanks for commenting! I'd have to hash my way through Twinkle the first few times as well. Ah well, I'll learn.

    MME, let me know if you put it online, I need to start looking I think!

  5. Hey. Having a go counts. I've tried playing a few instruments (and still continue trying - all the while knowing I'm not really *getting* *there*.) But it can still be fun.

    Then again. Maybe real life does suck (cause my fingers can't do strings *at* *all*!)

  6. i love playing the piano. I was never taught though. Just knew by playing by ear. I play the guitar that way too. In jr high i took clarinet lessons and i was really good but if someone handed me a clarinet now i wouldn't know what to do with it. playing any instrument is a good stress reliever.

  7. If you like music, you should go for it! Take lessons, learn theory.

    Maybe you could get ahold of a music writing program-thing, and write songs that way?

  8. Maybe, Avery, but I'd take a bullet before using Microsoft songsmith ;)

    I think you're right about going for it, maybe I'll get myself a keyboard after all.

  9. Believe it or not, I have been searching for a long time for something along the lines of that timeline of internet memes ;D <3 Danke.

  10. I played the piano when I was younger. I gave it up thought when I got in to 6th form and it wasn't 'cool' anymore. It's a real regret of mine.

    I also played the viola at school but never got very good because I didn't do that practice thing that you're supposed to do to actually get good at something.

    If only there was a way of improving without practice...

  11. Get a keyboard and a music theory book. Once you know your music theory (scales, arpeggios, chord construction and so on), the rest is just good old manual repetition.

    Now, if only I could follow my own advice..

  12. write the lyrics and let someone else write the music, it worked for paul and john. can we have a sample of your poetry, please? take good care, jc

  13. Ok, coincidentally just finished writing one, I'll post it up!

  14. Coincidentally I was thinking the same: I can sing, I can write poetry, I should write songs - but I can barely read music, let alone write it. Good luck, and I hope you find an instrument you get along with.

  15. Gave up piano ages ago.

  16. hi! you write poetry? so do i! check out my page.. i've posted some poems..

  17. Yay for music! I play guitar, I'm taking Music GCSE, and I write songs (lyrics). Just keep hashing along. It's what I do.


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