Why there was so little FAWM blogging this time, and how I’m doing

Both FAWM 2017 and FAWM 2018 had been FAWMs where I had pretty sparse results. Well, in 2017 I was busy getting (legally) married and moving in with my wife. In 2018, I hadn’t gotten my recording setup out yet and I was busy with (breadwinning) work.

This year, I was finally feeling more in balance. But my songwriting mojo was buried deep and I had to dig it back out. I have rarely felt so unable to judge the quality of what I was writing and so self-conscious and vulnerable.
Also, I could barely make the time to write anything at all, but feeling self-conscious and vulnerable was the main reason why I wasn’t sharing anything. Continue reading

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FAWM Songs Nr. 1: Soundscape I

OK, the orchestral piece I mentioned a few days ago is done.

It sounds like MIDI, because it basically is – just the Sibelius export. I couldn’t be bothered to fiddle with the mixing and balance beyond the standard settings – I wanted to get this out of the way, so I could move on to other ideas.

What I make for FAWM is not set in stone, though. It’s after the ideas, after all, not about perfectly produced things. I may revisit this later and find a way of balancing the instruments a little better.

FAWM! My first 3 days.

Now that my 30 Practice Prompts for Musicians are completed, what comes next? Well, as usual in February, I’m doing FAWM! You can follow my songwriting adventures on my FAWM profile.

As usual, I have the feeling everyone on my watchlist is cranking out songs and I’m the only one who has a hard time coming up with anything. This time it’s incorrect… I just went with an idea that turns out to be so much work. I am composing a thing for (romantic-era) symphony orchestra. Not quite as big as a Mahler or Shostakovich orchestra, but… it’s a lot of instruments. And a lot of details to pay attention to. But now that I have been at it for two days, things are getting easier. I start having an easier time coming up with complementary motives, writing things out and alternating between detail work and the big picture.
And btw, I’m going the all traditional route with this, writing it out in Sibelius. No MIDI at work here.

It’s pretty common for me to be a really slow worker, and it’s especially true with classical composition. I want to see this idea through and do it justice. I suppose it’s going to be worth it.

I want to do a few more songwriter-y things this year, too – when this one is done 🙂

Also, I’m turning an idea in my head for the next blogpost series. I want to share my knowledge about keeping your singing voice in shape. Even when you’re not a singing teacher or vocal coach, you can’t sing for most of your life and not pick up any useful knowledge about it 🙂
So if you have any questions about that – feel free to ask!

(And if you like my blog and want to throw something in my tip jar, you can do so over on my ko-fi page.)

Advice from a classical singer: My vocal warmup

[crossposted from this thread on the FAWM Forum – I just wanted to conserve my looong posts. I also changed the order a bit and changed some words.]
I’m a classical singer, and as such, I’m quite strict about vocal warm up.

I (tend to) do a full-blown warm up of at least 10 min. whenever I sing something that feels more challenging than the easiest children’s song I can imagine. I feel like I sing with better pitch, a more beautiful and more smooth and even timbre… and I don’t hurt my voice if I do something in my upper range.

Warming up, for me, is a time of checking in with my voice and my body, see where I’m at today and get a feel for how I best handle my voice today. Some minor problems (e.g. when my voice feels a little “stiff”, crampy, sluggish or inert, or the high notes don’t feel that easy) go away with a careful warm-up, for others I find a way to work around, or I just acknowledge where my limits are today. Warming up is also a good time to remember healthy singing habits and to get into a good muscle tonus.

So what do I do for warming up? Continue reading