21 Day VGM Challenge, Final Day is Tomorrow! What I learned wrap up

Tomorrow is the final day of my 21 day VGM Challenge and I was debating waiting until next week to do the wrap up post or just doing it  day before it was over.  But I figure, what I learned during the challenge isn’t going to change overnight so I’ll just do a post about the things I learned during these past 21 days in a nice bullet list format!

 

  • Biggest thing I learned was no matter what, if you want to write something, just sit down and write.  This doesn’t just go for music, it goes for anything:  If you want to write a novel or fanfic, or blog, just sit down and write.  You’re not going to like the first thing you churn out, but you’ll have something to grow and learn from, and you’ll get your brain working in a creative way so you can actually be in the proper mindset to work on the piece.
  • For music, don’t be afraid of hitting a road block!  There were so many times during this challenge I hit a snag while making a melody or chord progression, but instead of getting frustrated, I stopped and said what I had was going to be my bars for that day.  A few times, the next day I came up with something I could use for the thing the day before, so just stopping and taking a breather instead of banging my head against the wall helped loads.
    • This is a huuuge one that I see a lot of musicians and creators struggle with, and it’s a constant battle for us but honestly don’t be a perfectionist.  There were a few times I made a mistake, and it made something even better than I was trying to get because instead of giving up because it wasn’t “perfect” I forged forward in spite of   the “imperfections”.  Especially in music, flaws show character, and can make something great out of something you may have thought was garbage.  So really try and check your perfectionism at the door, and just get out there and create!
  • I was getting burnt out halfway through the challenge, but I forced myself to keep on moving forward.  I know people think that creativity should be some sort of muse, or flash on inspiration, but it’s really a muscle you need to flex so it can get developed enough to come up with ideas. Whenever you need to.  If you want to make this your profession, then making music when you’re not “inspired” is a must have skill.
  • I’m slowly learning how to develop better melodies and figuring out how to make things more dynamic, and I wouldn’t have known that without this challenge.  I also wouldn’t have figured out the sorts of VSTs I want to buy for the type of music I make without it either, and wouldn’t have figured out writing for different styles isn’t as hard as I thought.  I put off doing a few other projects to keep my momentum going for this challenge, so I will probably do this sort of thing every so often to get a lot of ideas for songs.
    • As it stands, I’m going to work on some collabs, some other covers, and also work on fleshing the ideas I got from this challenge out (I already have at least three things I know where I want to go woo).  I’m really happy I did this because as you see, I learned a lot from it, and enjoyed it a lot and defs will do it again!

 

If you want to check out the ideas I came up with during the challenge, you can check out the playlist I made for them here!

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The 21 Day VGM Challenge has Begun!

And it’s been loads of fun!

 

If you haven’t seen me mention it before, the 21 Day VGM Challenge is an event put on by Video Game Music Academy, a blog and facebook group that specializes in helping people improve their composing skills, specifically for composing in video games.  This month, a challenge was set forth to create music for 21 days.  It has to be 2 to 4 bars, and the entire thing is designed to get into the habit of making music every day, to get your composer juices flowing.
And I gotta say, it’s working super well for me, in more ways than one!  Not only is it helping me come up with ideas, but it’s helping me learn how to play on piano in different ways.  It’s also stretching my brain to look for different chord progressions, melodic structures, and ways to play both on the piano.  I hadn’t realized how much of a practicing piano slump I had gotten into, until I started this challenge.  I still play daily, but I was having a hard time finding things to teach myself that I hadn’t already figured out.  With this challenge however, I’m doing things like mirroring left and right hand playing, looking for different chord voicings, figuring out how to do a different tempo in one hand as opposed to the other, and overall just striving to teach myself things I wasn’t really thinking of, because I wasn’t stretching my brain to think outside of the box.  I’m much more of a teach yourself something when you need it type of person, so this write a melody or chord sketch a day process is working extraordinarily well for me!
On the Facebook group, people are sharing what they’re coming up with, and it’s really cool, and inspiring!  It’s interesting to see how people are approaching the challenge differently:  some people are doing simple piano sketches like me, other full blown tracks.  Some people made a theme the first day, and are building upon said theme with the rest of the bars they’re making throughout the challenge – a great idea that got me thinking, I’ll see if any of my ideas can merge together after the challenge is done in such a way – and that’s the cool thing, too.  Seeing everyone else’s compositions is giving me so many ideas just by listening to them.  The crazy thing too, is we’re only four days in!  There are so many pieces of music to listen to, the event is going awesome so far!

 

That’s basically been my experience thus far.  I’ll write a wrap up post when this is all over, talking about what I learned and enjoyed and sniz in this little adventure.  But honestly, I know I’m going to be doing this again on my own.  It’s an awesome experience already, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

If you’d like to hear the musical sketches I’ve come up with, I’ve made a playlist for them you can listen to here.  Fingers crossed I don’t run out of time on my soundcloud before the event is up XD

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 XD

 

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!

Everything’s Alright To the Moon Cover

After what I considered to have been a pity party last week, I decided to stop being all overly critical of myself, and finally post this video.  I’ve had it since June, and was going to wait until after the album it was on released, then the album released and I sat on making the video because pity party I suppose.  I feel I needed that time to sort of regroup however, so when I posted this I didn’t feel like my videos were lacking in any way.  So, I asked my animator friend to use something he’s made for this video, and honestly really like how it came out!  Or rather, how people have been telling me it came out XD I’m not sure if it’s just because I was more confident in posting this video as it is or what, but I’ve been getting a lot of good comments on both it and the cover.  And, I feel confident in using this style often:  I’ve thought of maybe getting animations done for other videos, like I’ve seen some other YouTubers do but in order to actually have a specific custom video for a cover done I really would like to do some research and see how much it would cost to pay an animator.  In a perfect world, I’d animate it myself, but let’s be real here:  Even when I could see, I wasn’t that great of an illustrator hahaa.  So yeah, as of now in my mind, I think maybe animated videos are the route I’d like to take for a few, if not all of my videos.  Though, I’ve recently started to form the instrument collection I’ve been wanting to start all year, so we’ll see if I’d be a lot more comfortable recording myself on camera for a video with something to play while singing…once I learn how to play them!  Either way, I can see both video styles as viable options for me, so I guess woo for steps in the right direction.

 

But ok:  Here is the cover!  Everything’s Alright from the indi game To the Moon.  If you haven’t played this game, or at least watched a let’s play of it, I highly recommend:  The story is beautiful, soundtrack is great, and it’s probably my favorite indi game from a storytelling standpoint (sorry Undertale and Transistor).  If you want to check out the album it’s on, there’s a link to it in the video’s description!  There’s also a link to the VGM subreddit there, as well!

 

How do you like the video?  The song?  The game itself?  Would love to hear in the comments!

 

 

Ruh-roh, Not Another Freak Out!

I’m in one of those non-creative lacking motivation slumps, help!

 

I don’t know what it is.  Well, scratch that, I know exactly what it is.  As I’ve mentioned before, I joined a Video Game Cover reddit a while back.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s been a joy being a part of the community.  I’ve participated in a few albums, am still participating, and have been meeting a lot of great people in the meantime.  Yesterday, the group started a Discord server that I’ve been too nervous to actually talk in, and here’s why.
They are all talking about a lot of musically related stuff, and I have no clue what they are talking about!  Well, more about guitars and things, and music theory things and I just feel so inadequate to everyone else in the community.  Why would someone listen to a cover of a song with a pre-existing backtrack used, when people are able to remix tracks with midi, and electronic music snizzy, or play instruments themselves?  Why is someone going to watch my videos, that either consist of video game footage or a still photo, when all of this production goes into others videos?  Who is going to want to hear me only sing, when they can hear a full blown orchestrated reinterpretation of an iconic game track?

 

Every time I share these concerns with a friend, they say only the music should matter.  And yes, in a perfect world, it should, but I know it doesn’t.  Video quality, along with sound quality and creativity matter, so why would someone listen to my music while staring at a still photo, when they can go over to someone else and see a full blown music video style dealy go down?  I feel like no matter what I would be able to do, it would be falling short, or be me having to rely on someone else to do the brunt of the work, and it’s just majorly discouraging, and the main reason why I haven’t uploaded in two months, even though I have a few songs I’ve wanted to post.  Like, sure I could just post the same old static photo to a cover thing, but I feel like at this point I really need to step up my game and just don’t know how to, or how to reach out to people that could help.

 

I’m half tempted to try and use midi software again, but every time I try to I get overwhelmed and don’t get anything done.  I can play virtual instruments, sure, but when I have to use them to mix it gets a little wonky with timing.  I’ve mentioned before I prefer live instruments, and am going to be picking up a scarce few, but how am I going to use those to start building better covers, to develop my style?  It’s just so frustrating to know what I want to do, but not know how to go about it, and seeing a ton of amazing musicians talk about it just really, really has been getting me down and I want to slap myself out of it.

 

And, I hate that I know all of this is sooo irrational, but I can’t help but think it.  That’s the most annoying thing to me.

 

I’m actually curious though:  What types of videos do you watch in the video game or anime music scene that you like?  Are they usually animated, still drawn photo, footage from the game/show?  A mix of all three?  And what makes you like  the video.  Or, do you not really care and just listen to the music.

Transistor Old Friends Cover

This isn’t the collab I’ve been mentioning for the past few weeks, but it’s exciting nevertheless.  I was just asked to hum on this track from Transistor, and since it’s one of my favorite game OSTs I was like “Hell yea!”.  So here we are XD

 

This is also one of the channels I linked as one of my favorite cover artists in the VGM scene, so double yay!  Hope you enjoy~

 

Old Friends – Transistor Cover

 

Some of my Favorite Video Game Cover Artists

In honor of all of the collaborations I’ve been doing lately (I got asked to participate in two more woo) I thought, I would dedicate this post to some of my favorite YouTube cover artists!  Now, I’ll put out there right now:  I primarily listen to video game music, so most of the people I listen to are part of the video game music scene.  Well, scratch that:  All of them will be part of the video game music scene XD

Tera C Music

I found Tera through googling for a cover of Sanctuary from Kingdom Hearts 2.  Not gonna lie,, I only really like covers of that song, and that’s what started my hunt.  That, and I really wanted to find some female VGM artists, because I find the genre a lot more saturated by guys.  Tera has this really beautiful style of a cappella, combined with her violin playing that I just love to pieces.  Since I’ve subscribed to her, her style has definitely evolved, and is only getting better, so if you like vgm covers with a more classical twist, go check her out!

PyjamaPantsMusic

Man oh man, how can I describe PyjamaPantsMusic?  She has this beautiful, operatic tone to her voice, that I adore so much.  Her covers are so simple, while at the same time being so intricate and intense and every thing she does is just gold.  She is by far my favorite VGM cover artist, 10/10 highly recommend!

Kain White

Want some really chill, really atmospheric, video game music?  This is your channel.  Kain’s style is so great, and so developed, that I just love hearing each and every cover he does.  This style is something I strive to achieve one day, so I will always listen to his stuff for inspiration!

michelleheafy

Another person I found because of my Sanctuary hunt.  Michelle’s stuff is primarily piano, with vocals and some occasional drum work, but it’s once again all just so atmospheric, and always great to listen to.  Some days I just listen to her music when I need to kick back and relax, and it works every time~

And those are my top picks  for YouTube cover artists.  I listen to tons more, but these are the ones I always look forward to uploads from and enjoy everything they do.  Do you have any artists you love to pieces?  Would love to see in the comments!