Category Archives: music

There’s A First Time For Everything (or how I managed to NOT blow up the recording equipment)

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This afternoon I took time off to mess around – I mean, try out the equipment in my brother’s home studio.  I should explain first that my brother and his wife (both musicians) are currently based in another country, but that they – especially he – regularly come back to their house.  Before they left a few weeks ago, my sister-in-law, who also happens to be my bandmate, talked me through the jungle of wires, dials, microphones, speakers, and other recording stuff while I took down notes.  Anyway, I was really psyched this week because my schedule’s been pretty loose and I decided that today would be THE day.

It turned out okay, mostly.  I managed to record a piano track for my latest song.  But then for some reason, when I would try to play it back, no sound would come out.  After unsuccessfully trying to figure it out for well over an hour, I decided to call it an afternoon, saved the GarageBand project, exported the piano track to iTunes (where it played beautifully), then transferred it to my laptop.  I’ll figure it out next time.

There’s Failure…and Then There’s Failure

A month ago I posted here that I made it to the short list of the 2014 Elements National Singing-Songwriting Camp.  Those who made it to the short list had to undergo a live audition.  Out of the live auditions, 60 singer-songwriters would be chosen as the campers.  Because I am based in Davao City (one of the three cities where the live auditions were held), I was originally supposed to audition here.  However, circumstances were such that I couldn’t make that date.  Fortunately Connie, the (I don’t know what’s her official job: manager? Organizer?) one in charge of calling the shortlisted applicants, was very helpful and she offered to give me a slot in Makati.  So on the 29th of September I flew out to Makati, checked into my hotel, then proceeded to the Radio Republic studio for my audition.

In the end, I did not make it to the final 60.  I gotta admit – that kinda stung.  A bit disappointing, especially after all that excitement.  At the same time, I felt relieved.  At least I don’t have to go about my days worrying about whether or not I made it.  I already had the answer: I didn’t.

And at the same time, I felt something else: Confidence.  Real, gut-level, solid-as-rock confidence in myself.

I wasn’t turned down because I was no good – I wouldn’t have made it to the short list if that were the case.  No, I was turned down because there were 60 other people who were better.  And I felt strong and confident because I failed by doing something, and I know all too well the feeling of the opposite kind of failure: to fail by not even trying.

I know what it’s like to fail by not even trying.  To fail at your dream because you were too scared to really give it a shot, and instead you settled for less and tried to rationalize that you were being practical and sensible.  I know how that kind of failure feels like.  It hurts more.  And it weakens you, draining you of your confidence as you cast around for all the excuses you can think of instead of focusing all your creativity on doing what you truly want to be doing.  I passed up so many opportunities in the past because I was afraid to fail.

And now I simply am not.

Making It to the Short List












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Woohoo!  Holy crap, I found out just now! I was so nervous as I scrolled down the list.  Like what if my name’s not there? And then, just before I reached the end of the A’s section…

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…there I was.  Now all I have to do is pass the live audition.  If I make it through that, I get to go to the 5th Elements National Singing-Songwriting Camp! 

This is actually an old photo of when I passed the 1st round of the panel defense for my masters thesis.  But this is exactly how I feel right now.  RAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!! I FUCKING ROCK!

This is actually an old photo of when I passed the 1st round of the panel defense for my masters thesis. But this is exactly how I feel right now. RAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!! I FUCKING ROCK!


Welcoming my 34th Year with a Cold

It’s been a week since I turned thirty-four and I’m still not feeling a hundred percent, though I am getting closer to it. Just yesterday I managed to practice L-sits and handstands – this morning I did more handstand practice. Yeah, I’m deviating from the plan. No excuses, just a perfect storm of circumstance and me trying to do way too much as usual. I mean, writing it down allowed me to make some daily structure for me to follow, but it seems I both greatly overestimated my ability to recover and underestimated the effects of the physical training on my body, especially given my 1-year-old’s newfound penchant for suddenly crying out several times after midnight and disrupting my sleep. And of course, after coming down with a terrible cold that had me call in sick, I opted to focus on rest and recovery for a week. Oh well, at least I weigh nearly a kilo less.

Therefore, my solution is just to: simplify, simplify, SIMPLIFY!

In other news, there’s this songwriting camp in November that I plan to join. It’s not as simple as signing up though. Only 60 slots are available, and I’ll be competing with Buddha-knows-how-many other songwriters from all over the country just to get in. It’s a pretty big deal, though – those who pass the final auditions get to stay in this place for about four days, learning from professional songwriters and composers about the craft and business side of songwriting. I’ll put in the link here later, if I remember.

Parkour Training and the Day After, plus More Writing

This post covers both Friday and a bit of yesterday because I couldn’t access WordPress’s New Post page (damn 3rd world Internet connectivity!).

Friday: Safety Vaults, Soft Landings and Jumping Around

My resource for parkour training is the Tapp Brothers’ website.  They offer a free 5-day course, which I’ve used as a guide for my training.  They also offer more for a fee, but while I’m not averse to purchasing courses online, I want to try out the small free stuff first before I commit.  It’s like trying free samples of a pastry shop before deciding to buy.  Anyway, here’s what I did:

Soft landing progression: Squat-and-drop

This progression is for learning the proper form and technique for landing softly (without rolling, that is).  For low heights, it is not necessary to drop to all fours and absorb some of the impact with the arms; however, it is good to practice doing that in preparation for the bigger, higher-altitude landings.

Safety vault progression: 1 leg up

Before doing the full safety vault I decided to just focus on getting one leg up on the rail while preparing the other leg to pass in between.  I got a nice workout doing 10 reps per side.

Safety vault progression: full safety vault

Jumps: I started with just doing box jumps but after a few reps I decided to play around by adding 180-degree spins to the jumps.  So I would jump and turn as I landed on the bench, then drop and turn again as I landed on the grass.  Did this several times.

I finished the whole thing with five pushups.  Yes, only five pushups.  I could have done more but I was pretty tired at this point.

Saturday: the day after

One word: OW.  Ow ow ow OW…..

Oh hello there Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness!  A good day to you!

Nothing physically strenuous today because man do my hips and thighs hurt!  I took the time (because I hadn’t gotten around to doing it since Thursday) to work on not just “Walk Away” but also my earlier songs.  I finally got to add in some lyrics there – yippeee!  Nothing final, but at last I’m making small progress.  I also added some lyrics to a song I wrote in the beginning of this year.  I also played around with the guitar and the piano.  My daughter was watching me from her baby chair while I was working on “Walk Away” and she started bobbing around, which was really cute and funny.

And in closing, OW!

Day 3: Rainy Day Bodyweight Conditioning

Zen: Had a short, 8-minute session today.  I wanted to make sure I had just a little more time for…

…the GUITAR *cue appropriate melodramatic proclamation-type music*.  Nothing special, just worked both on the song fragment (which I will henceforth give the working title “Walk Away”) and on two earlier songs.

Later I did the following with 60 seconds rest intervals:

Quadrupedal movements

Cartwheel-Chinese squat combo

Single-leg jumps and 180-degree jumps superset

Plyo pushups

10-second dead hang

Wall crawl to bridge push ups

Never mind that it was raining a bit.  I had to relocate to a nearby sheltered spot, but that’s all.  Damn near pulled a back muscle doing the wall crawl back up from the bridge, but that’s my fault for rushing it a bit.

And that’s all for now.  I am looking forward to a nice massage tonight.


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