Amy Mantis
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Closing In On Week One

So I haven't posted my video for today yet, but I want to reflect a little bit on what I've learned so far.

For starters, this is fun.  There are so many songs I love and I'm always telling the guys in my band about how I want to cover ALL OF THE SONGS.  And now I can.  I want to get more originals up as well though so I'll have to find a balance.

This is also rather time consuming.  Partly because my iPhone/video camera is struggling to make room for the videos.  That requires me updating and syncing my phone and doing things I generally avoid doing because I'm afraid something catastrophic might happen.  Like losing all of my friends' phone numbers.

It's also time consuming because it's hard for me.  Singing is hard for me not in that it's physically laborious, but because until recently (three years or so), it wasn't something I really wanted to do.  There were moments from the ages of 15 to 19 that I thought I could do it.  But I never sought instruction or help because I didn't really want to be a singer.  I still don't think of myself as a singer.  I'm a guitar player who sings.  A guitar slinger/singer/songwriter.  Only because guitar slinger/songwriter/singer doesn't have as good of a flow...Or maybe it does.

Playing guitar was a natural instinct for me and continues to be something I instinctively do.  Writing songs is even more of a natural inclination because I write all the time.  Not only songs, but journals, blogs, backs of napkins, in the car (I talk into my phone - don't worry I'm not reckless about it), and so on. TL;DR: I love writing.

What have I learned so far?  That I need to do the following:

-Plan my days better to accommodate filming and technical mis-haps.  So far I don't think any of these have been done in one shot.
-Create a list the week/month before filming.  What I really should do is create a master list as soon as I can.  Make my life that much easier.
-Share better.  So far my videos aren't garnering a lot of views for what I think are the following reasons:

  • I'm not being as active as I should with sharing.
  • The video quality could be better.
  • The performance could be better.
  • More tags.  I'm uploading straight to YouTube and I forget to go in and edit.
  • More sharing.
  • Did I mention more sharing?

I'm kind of surprised I've done six successful days.  Yesterday was close, and I shortened the song by a verse (Bruce will understand), but I got it up there!  I'm going to do a post on quality v. quantity soon.  My voice teacher suggested I do one per week, but I already announced one per day and I don't want to let down my loyal fans (hi, Mom!).  So one per day, and he and I are working on songs within this so every Wednesday or Thursday the video will be mint.  Not that I'm not happy with my output thus far, but there's room for improvement.

I should go do my video now.

Thanks for reading!  I'll talk to you soon.

We All Have Something To Share

I was thinking this morning about how some people seem to have so much to give and to share.  And not just pointless stuff, but meaningful, valuable, insightful stuff.  Most of the people I know (or know of/follow) are older than I am, and that got me thinking that maybe I, a 24 year old who repeatedly claims to know nothing, should go be quiet for a while.

But then I thought, no.  We all have something to share.  We all can impart value and improve the lives of those around us.  I notice a shift in my attitude when I think of the fact that we can all do something.  We can contribute something of value.

I can contribute something of value, and the world will be better for it.

You can contribute something of value, and the world will be better for it.

Musings on My Own Drumming and Other Things

I like to say I can drum.  I can hold a very basic beat at no more than mid-tempo.  I also like to say I'm learning how to drum.  Well, that is true sometimes.  And it is true again now.

About 18 months ago I bought a practice pad and a pair of sticks (Vic Firth 5Bs if anyone cares) and started off great.  I practiced rudiments, mainly paradiddles, flams, and other basic right-left-right-left things.  My goal was to warrant myself good enough to buy a cheap kit.  Somewhere along the way to this quest, I was derailed by nothing in particular.  If I were to say something specifically derailed me it would have to be sailing.  But no.  I just stopped practicing.

I'm a goal-oriented person.  I like to achieve things.  It's almost always a personal goal.  Private victories, if you will.  I've conditioned myself to embrace the journey (most of the time) and not relish in the difficulties, but to not quit because I'm not instantaneously great at something.  Fact: I'd have quit just about everything in my life if I wasn't great at it right away.

I spent 30 minutes just now doing one of Mike Michaelkow's 20-Minute Beginner Pad Workout.  It's ten exercises, two minutes each that I extended to three minutes each.  Here's what I learned while doing it:

-Stick height is a tricky thing.  The exercises are mostly in unison.  I never thought about how hard it might be to have my sticks land at the same time.  Fact: for me, it is.
-My right wrist tired out before my left.  And I'm right-handed.  I've had some wrist issues in the past that had kind of gone away.  Time to get back to being aware of that issue.
-Flams at a slow tempo are harder than flams at a quick tempo.  But everything else is easier slower right now.

I'm excited to start drumming again.  I'm switching off between bass and drums as far as getting time to practice in.  Some days I definitely have time for both, but I should be able to consistently do 30 minutes a day of each.

What's 30 minutes?  A sitcom.  I can pass up a Seinfeld rerun for music.  I  have to get back to looking at the big picture again.

Anyway.  I've gotta go.  I've got a meeting for teaching snowboarding and I have some homework to do for it.  And I have to leave in 20 minutes or so.  Oops.