Do you have a CLEAR vision of what you want to be musically

chess, basketball etc are quite a bit different. They are competitive sports. Huge difference.

I have played a ton of sports and also competitive chess. (yes, USCF tourneys).

Music is a bit different. Its subjective. Its not “graded”. no one keeps score.

and the biggie. Its not really time or age dependent. In general if you want to be a pro tennis player or olympic swimmer it means you had better be started off correctly by about age 5 with lots of advantages your way already (insane parents for one)

Music isnt like that. Lets say I decide I want to sing like Coverdale. Cool. If it takes me 2 years who cares. isnt this a lifelong pursuit?

Thats why im a little taken back by people who say “I cant”. Like…“I cant play keyboards” or “I cant sing” or “I cant sing high notes” etc. I mean, if they are on their death bed I understand. But otherwise, why cant you??? You mean you cant do it THIS INSTANT? yeah I get that but whatever happened to learning and self improvement. I guess the day that stuff disappeared I wasnt paying attention lol

I agree that results in music are subjective…unlike a checkmate, stalemate, or draw by threefold. What I was saying is that our musical limitations are still subject to our human physiology.

Ok…you’re a tournament chess player. Everyone knows the mechanics of how pins, enpassants, forks, odd position, and waiting moves work. Everyone knows their opening lines and their variants. And everyone also understand the concepts behind the opening lines (ie… the Caro Kahn is a closed game where black beats white by killing him with boredom and waits for the endgame to take advantage of a hopefully better pawn structure). Everyone knows that stuff. Where the experts, masters, and GM’s differ from each other is their mid-game positional play. Right? That’s the part that really tests a players strategic thinking, their instincts, their visualization skills, and their creativity.

My point again, is not all people, even exceptionally smart people, are not equally capable of playing the game at that level. Because some peoples minds are not built with the ability to calculate and adapt to risk, anticipate counter attacks, and out think their opponents. Its the same way with music. Peoples inherent ability to conceptualize and create musical content is not the least bit equal. Its not like we’re all born with the same blank slate and we can draw whatever we want to on it. Some people are born with more crayons and a hell of a lot bigger drawing board than others.

Thats where music and chess differ from sports. But music and chess DO differ from each other in that regard. Sort of like poker. A 9 yr old can beat a 30 yr old in his physical prime (as age dependent physical traits are completely irrelevant to poker) or a 70 yr old chess player (as age dependent physical traits are also completely irrelevant to chess). It doesn’t matter. But where music (in respect to age advantage) differs slightly from chess and poker is that music is inherently more physical than either chess or poker. Brass players will lose their embouchure and diaphragm over time. Pianist and guitar players reflexes will gradually degrade as our forearm muscles deteriorate. And again, there are muscle movements that some pianists can make because of natural speed and dexterity that others do not and never will have the physical ability to perform.

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And one more thing on that. Everyone is capable of winning an occasional hand at poker by luck of the draw. Not everyone is equally capable of playing professionally. Because that profession has a HELL OF A LOT to do with how well you can read human behavior. Once again, at the competitive level, there are huge differences in peoples natural born genetic abilities.

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well for starters, chess is about a million times harder than singing lol. In any town there are thousands who sing and dozens who play chess. 300 churches in my hometown…avg choir size 10-20. Thats 3000-6000 people singing every weekend. Local chess club might get 15 on a good night

I just think people make out singing to be way more mystical and unapproachable than it is. To me its more akin to juggling. Its somewhat physical but more of a coordination thing

You keep mentioning Liszt. Dude, you may as well mention olympic weighlifting. No one is talking about mastering Liszt or Chopin. I dont think Coverdale or Rob Halford are going to be quite that hard.

Most of the best rock/metal singers of my generation…were self taught lol. Dio, Halford, Dickinson, Plant. No lessons. They dont read music etc etc etc. Geoff Tate had like 4-6 lessons. Wow. I find it hard to picture those guys actually having any sort of disciplined routine lol. Thats a huge difference from someone trying to play Baroque stuff etc.

Yeah, but most of those singers with the exception of Dickinson have blown their voices out now. It helps to have a technique and training so you can sound much better later on.

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totally agree, but it doesnt change the conversation any.

Robert Plant is best (worst) example. Dude had a great gift of a voice. Smoked, drank, drugged. Didnt warm up etc. Just walked out on stage and used 'Rock and Roll" or “Immigrant Song” as a 'warm up" lol.

How long was that going to last??? About 2 albums worth then it was downhill

Dio never had a lesson and kept his voice until he died. HE did play trumpet which gives a clue…he developed a strong air pressure support system etc

I would say it lasted until after IV, they tried to hide it on Houses of the Holy by speeding it up and on Physical Graffiti by including old songs. Presence sounds all right, but he sounds atrocious on In Through the Out Door. Yes, Dio did keep it up until he died, couldn’t quite hit the high notes anymore, but for the most part he was still spectacular. Same with Kevin DuBrow. Never had a lesson but sounded great when he died. Technique is important though, but not the only factor. I think loving what you do is a huge part of it. Guys like Dio felt metal in their blood, they were the music.

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Yes, I can’t be anything else… I came to terms with this fact about 25 years ago…

I am the culmination of my influences and experiences filtered through my abilities and limitations.

No matter what, it always ends up sounding like me… & I’m happy with that, because anything else would be disingenuous.


Gotcha. I see what you’re saying.

What was your rating?

Play sometime??? :smiley:

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haha. I played like maybe 6 tourneys in my late 40s after not playing for years and I got to like 1862 and just sort of lost interest. The amount of study and headache isnt worth it lol. Me and this young dude used to go at it at starbux playing 5 minute clock games and it would get crazy intense. Lots of ego and trash talking. Id feel like I was going to have a stroke and he said the same lol

I just want to get my head out of my ass and record a few of the songs I’ve written. I don’t care to be tied to a specific genre or anything like that. I know I’m never going to be a multiplatinum artist so I’m not even going to try to fit into anyone else’s mold.


You can’t completely blame me, you’re still too afraid to type out my full username.

That’s understandable, your recordings probably sound murky when you listen like that. I’d like to hear your stuff BigAl, our minds work in a similar fashion I believe.

I’ve spent the last 20 years plodding along with the same band, simply putting together bass lines. I’ve never written a song, but have assisted in producing songs with my fellow bandmates. To be honest, on reflection, I wish I had got into home recording, and this is where my vision is somewhat foggy! I lack the balls to take this venture forward!

Just out of curiosity, have you ever played in a band, or have you always been the one-man band? Maybe if I hadn’t joined a band I would have gone down the home recording route? Unfinished songs? You must meet our guitarist… He’s a master at creating them!

Yes, I am in your fuzzy club! Overall sound? I thought we’d cracked that one until a couple of our songs were bashed on here!

Keep up the good work Jon-Jon

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Yes, a big +1 to this from me.

I’ll add that there was a period where I hated things sounding too “normal” but railing against that is in itself contrived and a cliché, so I’ve come to terms with that aspect.


You’ve gotta find new ways to push up against the mainstream. Most people try to attack it, maybe try passively resisting it? Don’t write weird material to be edgy, do it for the love of being odd.


I like it!

I think that I come up with slightly odd stuff anyway - I suppose what I’m saying is that I’m not forcing it.
If something arises that’s a bit conventional or whatever - so be it.


I’ve never had a clear vision of my musical self… once upon a time I wanted to be famous and then I totally went off that idea :roll_eyes:
Now I just follow my nose and see where my random creativity takes me…


yeah, im pretty fuzzy at this point.

guitarwise I sort of know more or less what im about but after 30 years of playing it can still be a pretty wide area. generally “blues-rock” (VHalen, Led Zep etc) but also some grunge and metal leanings and I could easily be into a fusion type of thing which I do keep in mind as I try to be disciplined about getting better and better at electric lead guitar playing

but singing and overall songwriting? thats another story. it shows in the fact that when I start with a drum track I might have one idea in mind. Then I lay down some guitars and now it might be away from whatever I was thinking when I put down the drum tracks.

Then I start to lay down vocals and who knows what will happen then lol. I think with me its sort of common sense that I have played guitar for almost 30 years but been considering myself a singer for less than 2. So obviously the singing is really hit or miss and im as surprised as anyone about what might come out. Also I have no final idea about how good my singing might get. Will I be able to do any legit power metal type stuff or soul styles etc? dunno yet

I havent written THAT many songs. Im talking with lyrics/melody etc. I suppose the best goal right now for me would be to get 50 original songs under my belt while continuing to work on the craft of singing and guitar playing

Of course I also just got my new Novation SL MK2 keyboard so that in itself can add completely different dimensions (if I ever unbox it and get it hooked up and mapped out lol)

My headset deal is working out nicely. I wrote a full song yesterday. Very casual and in very loose demo form. Only took maybe an hour.

What do ya’ll think: Should I just try to write as many songs as possible for the next 2 months maybe, not worrying too much about recording quality etc, and then go back and pick the best few and redo them with my best effort?

I think that would help a good bit. I need as much work on the actual PROCESS of writing vocal lines as I need on anything. I have written hundreds of guitar only “songs” and its 2nd nature now so I suppose I need to get my vocal writing ability up to that point as well. Might be cooking with gas if I reach that point.


It’s worth a try. That has occurred to me many times, but I found it hard to keep cranking stuff out. If something sounds good, then it begs for more work, but then at some point that illusion dissipates and it may not get finished anyway. If you can discipline yourself to follow that program I do think it could help with writing and arrangement, and vocal honing. As you say, when there is a catalog of material you may have a new perspective on your writing and singing style, and can be in a position to pick and choose the winners to continue to work on.


yeah, im pretty convinced that there is an undervalued aspect to people like Prince, Paul McCartney etc. yeah, we know they are super talented…but they are also WORKAHOLICS! Being super creative is nice but there has to be a lot of elbow grease thrown in to get stuff finished.

Then there has to be at least some sort of vision pulling one forward…which is what this thread is about I guess. Problem being, once you are a grown adult with a full time job etc, its almost impossible to see what productive thing can be done with the music AFTER the creativity and elbow grease. Its hard to have that Prince/Paul McCartney level of drive etc if u dont see how people would ever really hear the final product lol

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