I’ve Reached 100 Subscribers on YouTube!!!

I did it guys!  After almost 2 years of YouTube, I made it to 100 subscribers!  I checked, and my YouTubeaversary is April 17, so almost two years.  I’m SO FREAKING PUMPED!!!

 

At the beginning of March, I noticed my subscriber count was at 95, so I randomly decided to set the goal to get to 100 at the end of March.  Usually, I’d just set a goal and hope it happened, but this time I was a lot more proactive, linking my channel all over social media, asking people to share my channel, and people to subscribe if they hadn’t been subscribed already.  I was pleasantly surprised to see so much support come through from old friends, family members, and acquaintance’s.  My brother kept on retweeting my link as well, and he got a few of his let’s player buddies to subscribe too, which helped loads:  one of his friends was my 99th subscriber, in fact!  I can’t see who my 100th subscriber is because of their channel preferences, which is ashamed because I’d really like to know, but I’m also not complaining because AHHH I’m at 100 subs!  In doing all of that, I realized hustling to get something accomplished wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.  In fact, it’s actually pretty fun!  Doing this helped me get over my trepidation’s in regards to sharing my content, so that was a major bonus in just deciding to get to 100 no matter what this month.
One of the cool things you get when hitting 100 is a custom URL.  So instead of my channel link being some weird user ID, it’s now /c/crystaldennismusic.  Which, to be honest, is the whole reason I was pushing so hard to get to 100.  I really wanted that custom URL, and seeing it there is so amazing.  I’ve typed it in like ten times today and squealed every time my channel has popped up, it’s sooo cool!

 

Now that I’ve hit this milestone, I feel like my channel is finally going somewhere.  100 people like my music enough to be subscribed, and that’s an amazing feeling.  That’s like, the size of a concert!  Getting the amount of views I get, now that I’m recording myself is great too, and I feel like it majorly contributes to people’s readiness to help me out.  I could kick myself for not doing so before!  I’m not going to do every video on cam, like I don’t think I’ll do it for originals, but maybe I will, who knows haha.  I want to branch out and start recording in outside locations as well eventually, just have to plan it a bit better.  But overall, I’m super excited that I’ve hit this milestone!  I’ll shoot to hit 200 by the end of the year!

 

In other music news, a random tune popped into my head last night.  I’ve been obsessing over NieR Automata’s OST and story, because I’m a huge fan of the first NieR, and the OST for the 2nd game doesn’t disappoint!  The story doesn’t either, it’s freaking beautiful.  I’ve been soaking in NieR lore, watched the entire games story on video, and have been watching all the boss fights because ugh I love this game so much, and wish I had a PS4 to play it.  That tangent aside, I think this tune that came up is really inspired by NieR’s instrumentation style:  melancholy and haunting.  For my first piano original, I was trying to do a video game type of track, but it didn’t really click until I was practicing piano last night and ran across some really gorgeous sounding key combination’s.  So, I grabbed my USB cord, plugged my keyboard into the computer and recorded a few layers of melody.  Tomorrow I’m going to fine tune it a bit and see what I can come up with, so excited!  The tune is a bit simplistic, but as I’ve stated before:  I think simplistic, acoustic folksy stuff is just my style haha.  I never find a need to add more than about six instruments to a track, and I’m finally feeling like that’s ok.  So woo for progress in my musical self-esteem!

 

Long post, but ugh I’m just so excited.  EEEE I got to 100 subscribers!  My channel can only go up from here, can’t wait to make more content this year!  This milestone has given me major motivation, can’t wait to get my next video out so I can start working on other projects!

Piano Playing Progress – Two Weeks

I thought it would be fun to keep a log of my keyboard/piano progress, because what else is a blog for if not for doing something like that?  I’ll be updating with this little feature every 2 weeks, or every month, haven’t decided yet.

 

Surprisingly, it’s a lot easier to play than I expected!  Like learning the chord progressions I’ve got down for the most part, at least in the major scale.  I’m still working on training my fingers to play minor, inverted, and diminished cords, and getting the layout of the keyboard memorized a bit more.  Like, sometimes I hit the right cord, and sometimes I jump down to half a step more than I was expected.  I think that’s mainly because I start thinking about where my fingers should be:  Instead of letting my hands take over and sort of have my brain check out.  When I over think, is when I start to trip up, so I need to get more out of my head.

 

What’s been frustrating me (and I know it shouldn’t since I’ve only been playing for 2 weeks) is hand coordination.  I want to be able to play with both hands already!  I’ve been focusing on training my hands to play together, because I saw this really helpful tip about doing that where your hands really aren’t playing different things, you’re using the same fingers to play the cords, just on different spots on the keyboard.  And, that trick has helped me a lot!  I’ve been doing this warm up where I use my right hand to play a descending  progression, while my left does the harmony cords.  I can do it fine fast, but when I slow down for some reason it’s harder for me to keep both hands going.  But once again, I’m being too hard on myself and hand coordination is something that will grow over time.

 

I’ve been hashing out some song melodies and stuff too, which has been fun.  A few have gone well and a few…not so well, but I feel like I need to read up more on song writing and music theory just to refresh my memory.  It’s annoying when you have a melody in your head and try to play it on piano and just can’t though grrr.  I’m trying not to get overly frustrated, because I honestly think I’ve made a lot of good progress over the two weeks I’ve been playing, and the things I’ve been trying that I’ve failed at have been some decently advanced stuff.

 

But yeah, that has been my progress so far!  I’m excited to use my keyboard in a cover, I’ve been practicing some patterns for two or three covers that I need to just record.  Am excited and nervous to have my lacking keyboard skills be shown in a video 😄

AHHHH AHHHH I Finally Have a Keyboard!

Not gonna lie:  I knew I was going to get this, because well, I picked it out.  But my Mom has this annoying thing where she wanted me to “open it” on Christmas, because it technically was a Christmas gift.  I thought, “OK, well at least I get to open a big old package on Christmas!” but nope, I come out in the morning and it was already set up for me to play booooo.  I got to open up the survival kit like a present, so I guess that’s something that was fun.

 

But yes, I finally got a keyboard!  I’ve been playing it all yesterday, and practiced for a bit today as well.  I figured, I’d practice 1 to 3 hours a day, and hopefully I’ll be able to play a song in a few months.  Just from the little bit I’ve played it though, it’s surprisingly easy!  I’m still getting acclimated to the keyboard, of course, but I’m already playing different cords, and doing a lot of warm ups/practice sessions that are just me learning how to play cords with the right fingering.  I’ve been watching a lot of helpful YouTube videos, as well, and the fact that I already was practicing chord progressions on a virtual keyboard on my computer has helped tons, too.  Having it all laid  out in an actual piano format helps me so much though, and I’m so so so so sooooo excited to use it in covers, and be able to play it in general!

 

I think my major two things I will have to work on, are getting my right hand to move like my left one on the keys:  I’m left handed, and I noticed that it’s a lot easier for me to handle that side of the keyboard because of it.  So I’ve been focusing on building up the muscle memory on both hands (but more on my right) and it’s helped already, I can tell.  Getting my fingers to not knock other keys has been a minor issue too, so I’ve just been going up and down the board with scales and when I hit two keys, starting over again.  All in all though, it so much easier to pick up than I expected.  I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve been really into music lately or something else, but I’m not complaining!

 

The Yamaha survival kit is kind of an annoying add on you have to buy, because it comes with the AC adaptor.  It also comes with a sustain peddle, and some headphones you can plug into the keyboard so you don’t bother people while you’re practicing, so it was a good extra purchase.  And, once you buy it, it can be used for any Yamaha Bran keyboard, so worth the extra money.  I really like the tonal quality of the grand piano base setting, it sounds great.  The extra keyboard voices are…hit and miss (the brass section is so ugh XD) but I was surprised that a violin voice in there doesn’t sound terrible.  Haven’t gone through all of them yet, because I’m more focused on just learning to play, but it’s nice they’re included on their nevertheless.

 

I got sidetracked this year, but I really want 2017 to be a year for music.  I’m excited to continue learning how to play my keyboard this year, and I plan to buy other instruments to compliment it.  But AHHHH AHHHH, I finally got a keyboard!

 

Did you get any Christmas gifts you’ve been wanting for a while?  Would love to hear what you got in the comments!

A Musical Update

I’m having one of those awesome weeks where stuff is starting to come together, and I don’t think I’ve done a straight up music update in a while, so here we go!

 

I’ve been working on a few collabs the past few months, and I got to hear the one I was most looking forward to hearing a few hours ago.  It’s from a Final Fantasy game, and is going to be on a Final Fantasy album for next year, and ugh I am just so excited to be able to hear it completed but now I’m like aruuuug I can’t share it with you guys until the album is released and it’s killing me.  I will say, everyone involved put in their A game, the track is so amazing.  It’s my favorite track from that particular Final Fantasy, and it’s a very different take on the original track.
It’s doubly exciting, because I provided both vocals, and lyrics for it!  I told the person mixing it that they could use takes with lyrics or with just straight up ooos for the melody, so I was super excite to hear the lyrical takes on the tracks.  I wrote a lot more verses than were used in this version of the track, so I may do another version on my YouTube Channel with all four verses I did for this certain track.

 

I’m also working on a duet with someone that’s coming out great so far!  I haven’t done my parts, but their parts sound really good and I’m excited to get to work on that once I learn the song.  I also finally got a few instruments recently!  I picked up some shakers and a really nice tambourine, and I know for sure I’ll be getting um, something pretty musical for Christmas I can’t wait to start learning how to play.  I also picked up a recorder, so once I learn how to play that, it’s going to be sooo much fun making covers.  But I’m the most excited to start learning to play my Christmas gift 😄

 

My main focus for next year and the end of this year, is going to be music.  I got side track this year by a lot of side projects, and silly insecurities, so I’m going to make it a point to not have that be the case for next year.  I’m so happy that I’ve decided to tackle some things I wouldn’t normally do (like doing all of these collaborations, for one) and I feel like my music is going in a great direction.  Here’s hoping it stays that way!

Your Lie in April Poetry Piece

A few weeks back, I watched this anime called Your Lie In April.  I heard some good things about it, and had a friend voicing a character in it, so I figured I’d give it a watch.  It’s about musicians, the relationships they have, and how music brings people together and it was such an amazing watch:  I don’t know why, maybe it was the subject matter, but I haven’t had an anime affect me so much in years!  I’m not a crier, but man it had me bawling like a baby at the end of the last episode:  It’s just such a beautiful story, and if you like anime, some good drama, and some awesome classical music, I’d suggest giving it a watch on Netflix.

 

Like I said, I have never had an anime touch me in such a way.  It’s just such a beautiful story, such great characters, and at the show’s end I had so many feels about it that I wrote down some poetry right after episode 24 finished.  I was hoping to make it a song, but I really don’t see that happening because honestly I like how raw it sounds as is and don’t really want to tweak it to make sense in a lyrical way, so figured I’d just share it here.  So without further ado, here is my Your Lie in April themed poetry!

 

My heart beats in rhythm with yours,

I hear your breath, in tandem with mine.

We work towards the same goal,

We share a life that others would not.

 

The melody of life,

Shines right through your eyes.

Simple gestures that once were common,

Shine to life inside.

I hear the echoes of the sea,

I feel the wind roar.

It cradles all I hold so dear,

Encircles me, takes away the aches,

The pains of my reality,

The pains I once knew.

Abandoned once, I thought you’d leave,

Even though you’re gone now, you aren’t really.

I can never forget you, I’ll always remember your smile.

The pain I used to know, that I knew for so long,

Just vanishes when I feel you near, when I’m with you.

And even though you’re gone, I can’t help but smile.

Because I remember everything we had, everything we did.

I remember the soft embrace of your smile, of your heart beat.

I remember everything, I remember it all…

And I journey on, I journey onto this journey that is still ours.

Because you’ll always be with me, in your heart.

I’ll never forget you.

Your memory echoes in mine.

I never forget you.  Please don’t forget me.

 

Spotify is Accessible!!!

I’m so so so so so excited! I don’t know how I ran across it, but I was googling something last week and ran across some people talking about using Spotify with the screenreader I use. They were talking about how it worked on the Windows app version, but the web version still had some issues. So, I decided to just check it out: I had made an account a while back to check accessibility, and no go. But this time, I tried to use Spotify both on the Windows app version, and on the web version. Didn’t work on the web version, but the app works perfectly, Just like a web page! As a music person, I’m overjoyed that I can listen to all sorts of music on the platform that pretty much everyone uses! I have been listening to so many different things this weekend, and see why everyone loves to use Spotify so much 😀

 

I really hope the next upgrade to Spotify doesn’t break this accessibility. That happens a lot, and I’d be so crushed if it did because I’m loving using it. Since Google bought it recently, I really hope the accessibility stays: they’re pretty good at keeping things accessible to screenreaders, and NVDA is really good at keeping third party software accessible with its software, so please please please keep it accessible I loooove it XDD

 

Ok, I’m gonna stop gushing now. Back to Spotify to listen to more music!

Do What You’re Comfortable With, in art and in life

When you’re teaching yourself something on the internet, you always wind up finding dos and don’ts. With music, however, so many people take their opinions, and how they did something, and say it as fact when a newbie is asking for advice. I was looking up some info on music theory the other day and ran across a thread where someone was asking if they should learn it before making songs. The advice was so mixed: From “No but it helps” to “Do it it’ll help so much” to “No just start listening to music, imitate it and then learn theory” to “Start making music/learn an instrument and learn along the way” and it just made me realize how freaking subjective music is. Like, My opinion on the matter is the last one, because it’s what I’ve been doing. Just start writing songs and then build upon your skillset and learn theory in a more proactive way because just picking up a book and learning theory for me at least, doesn’t help a lot. I tried reading a book and a decent amount of the info has fallen out of my head: I’m more of a doer when it comes to music. That’s the best way I personally learn and retain musical information. Is there anything wrong with just picking up a book and reading before doing anything else? Not at all!

 

It just made me realize how subjective this art form is, along with other art forms. Can you learn theory first and then compose? Yes. Can you start instinctually writing music and then learn theory later, or, just feel your way through writing a track? Yes. I’m glad there is a community of people to help others starting out, but also I think it’s a bit detrimental to tell someone that they should be doing something a different way, or that they need to do ___ before they can do what they actually want to be doing. It really stifles creativity, and I feel makes bouts of self-doubt a bit more prevalent in the process. If you’re asking for advice, or talking to someone about this stuff, try to take what they say and apply it to your situation, and be able to tell how comfortable you feel taking, or disregarding the advice they give. At the end of the day: do what will keep your work flow going, your journey as true to you as it possibly can, and have fun along the way.

 

I guess this sort of hit me harder than usual because of my funk recently. I’m getting motivated to get back on the music making horse, and as I said on Tuesday one of my steps is to research stuff. But in doing so I just realized how silly it was to read every piece of info I find and take it to heart. Like I said earlier, just take what you can use to your advantage and ignore what doesn’t apply to you at the current point in time. It may apply to you later, or strike a different cord when you’re further along in your artistic journey, but never let something as stupid as, “I don’t have schooling for this, I don’t know how to use ___” stop you from creating. So many times in my head I’ve told myself: “I wish I had started sooner, if only I had taken advantage of this past opportunity I could do ___” but smack yourself if you do that! Because it’s only a form of self sabotage. Who cares if you didn’t take advantage of something you could have in your past? Then take the motivation of “I still want to learn this” and learn it now! Stop stopping yourself from doing anything you want to do, may it be creatively or otherwise. Don’t look back on the could have’s, and yesterday and just live in the now. Maybe if I had taken said opportunities’ I wouldn’t have appreciated them, or would have forgotten everything I learned or something, who knows. The important thing is I want to learn it now, and I will learn it now, no questions asked! I am ready to take my craft by the horns and dive into it fully and completely, no matter what learning curve, or hardships are in the way!

If you’re on the fence about diving into a hobby, or craft, or whatever it is you’re doing I implore you: Just get what you need to start and get going. The journey is far more important than the end result! And the ride is so much fun 😄