8.02.2016

Put The Music On Hold, It's Summer

For the past three summers, I have abandoned any hope of being able to work on music in my makeshift home studio.

To be fair, the first of those three summers was after I got engaged and had just recently bought a house. So, there was the whole moving and "getting settled" into our new home, and planning and preparing for our late September wedding that just so happened to be at our newly acquired house. Fortunately, the house was a flip, so we didn't have a lot to do inside.

There was no "flip" on the outside, and we knew we wanted the ceremony to take place in the back yard. We basically gutted the back yard and created a clean slate to work with going forward. It did look nice with its new sod and openness. We could have spent money on venues, or we could use it to pay for home and yard improvements. Option two won easily. Everything went but the trees.

The next two summers had their own projects and activities. The nice weather just screams, "Get outside and do something!" And even if I don't get out for leisure much at all, I do like working in the garage or the yard and being able to feel like I've accomplished something. Even hiring somebody to do a job still feels like I've accomplished something. I've went through the process of making it happen, and now, it's done. Besides, I earned the money to pay for it doing what I'm a "professional" at and transferred that money to someone who has the equipment and know-how to get the job done safely and correctly and in a timely manner --a professional. And, this gives me the flexibility to do something else I'm better suited to do or more interested in doing.

So, for the past three summers, I've been working on projects and hiring out projects amongst family vacations, kids sports, the random things that seem to pop up, what I've mentioned earlier, and a bunch of other things I don't know how to categorize neatly with a pretty bow or care to list as that would get ridiculous. Basically, LIFE. I'm sure more of that will come out in future posts, but for now, I'll get back to music.

It's a lot easier to focus on the variety of activities I do in the studio when there aren't kids at home. They want to see what I'm doing, which is kind of cool, but that turns into them wanting to talk or play with stuff in the studio, never just sitting quietly, watching, and listening. Those things aren't inherently horrible. It's not easy to accomplish why I'm down there, however.

It's also not easy when I'm trying to record something with a microphone. Every noise in the house gets picked up. If the air moving out of the vents is being picked up loudly because of how sensitive a microphone is, then I'm sure to hear the kids somewhere in house doing something. They are noisy. Unfortunately, they make nap time for the baby difficult as well.

I do have a plan to cut down on extra noise when recording with a microphone. I've been wanting to build an isolation booth of some type for the last twelve years. I used to rent, and the room my studio was in didn't have a very tall ceiling anyways. Now that I own a house, I feel like I have more permanence and want to make my studio what I want it to be. What this includes is an isolation booth. One big enough to sing in, and also, one big enough to play an instrument in. Heck, one big enough to be able to sit down in with a guitar and sing. It won't be big enough for drums because that would be pretty big, and I have an electronic drum set anyways.

The "plan" is to build one this summer, but with other summer projects still unfinished and not started, it may end up being pushed into the fall and that cuts into my "kids are in school and I could be working on music" time. It's not as simple as that, though. There's always something or many things popping up that take priority over, or at least is/are supposed to take priority over, my passionate hobby. Even the time I'm supposed to have for music in the studio gets whittled down to mere weeks each year over the winter. I'm pretty ambitious with what I want to do and have multiple projects I work on. It's not easy to get-r-done.

When I was single, I had tons of time. It's really easy to see that now. I wasted a lot of it. I could have accomplished a lot more than I did. I did release a lot of music between 2006 and 2010 (five albums). I did need a break from music after that but not as much as I gave myself. It's not as simple as saying I was just lazy, as I did play my drums a lot for a year or so during that "off time." And even if it was partly a mental thing, I did create sessions in the computer and organized files to be able to move forward with material I'd already recorded. It's been a while since that period, so it's hard to remember what else I accomplished during that time. Regardless, life's changes give you perspective, and I could have used my time better. I can't change the past. How am I going to handle the future? That's a better thought to carry forward with me.

Now that my youngest son is going to be one this winter, I wonder how that's going to go. He won't be in school, and I can't expect that I won't be helping take care of him during the day. Plus, I do like seeing him and interacting with him. He's already grown so much! I'm happy he's getting teeth because it's super cute, but sad because I will never see his toothless smile again. (Pliers are not an option.) If I weren't a manly man, I'd be in tears. Get back in there, tear. And so it goes with all my kids. They're getting older, and I'm getting older. There are things I need to do, and things I want to do. Such is life. A privileged life. Not everyone has or has had or will have those luxuries.

Getting back to my music schedule, my studio / playing time is limited, but my brain time is all year. Brain time? Yes. I'll explain. I have a smart phone, and I have access to my Google docs, the internet etc. Where ever I'm at, I can work on things. It's the only way I can do as much as I do in general, and it's the only way I can realistically write posts for this blog. (Yay Blogger app!) I write as I'm inspired and am able. This, of course, goes for lyrics for the aforementioned multiple projects. Also, I can jot down any ideas I have for any and every thing I do, keep track of things, make a schedule, and so on. Having a smart phone has changed my life for the better. Suck it old people who hate on the youth and their fancy smarty phones! Note to self: remember this when you're old.

So, music, at least studio wise, has become a winter thing. The entire year, non-studio wise, is left for lyrics and planning and looking at the big picture so that when I do have time to sit down and play an instrument, record, mix, or master, I know exactly what I want to get out of that time. My time is maximized.

Balance is a hard thing to accomplish. I just try to keep my brain running at full all day long, every day. I yell to myself, "No minute gets left behind!" Seriously. I don't usually listen to anything on my drive to and from work anymore other than a radio program on the way home Friday (Marketplace) and Sunday (TED on MPR apparently changed times and now Invisibilia is on in its place. It's also a good program.) That started because my car has a tape deck, and it stopped working. I had previously used an adapter to use my iPod to listen to music. I now spend the time during the drive thinking. It keeps me sane. It keeps me on track. I may never fix that tape deck.

When my brain starts turning to mush at the end of the day as bedtime approaches, and thinking becomes too much, I sit and get my TV fix. It's a perfect time for that. Every day is full, and at night, I've never slept better.



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