Thursday, April 23, 2009

On Percussions and Life

I've been thinking for quite some time why I became interested in percussions. Like most people, my initial interest in percussions is to partake in music without much skill to speak of. Since percussions is largely not the core melody or riff in most music out there, the lack of skill allows you to pretend like you are as skilled as the rest of your band. You are allowed to make mistakes on stage and be able to hide it because any mistakes are not prominently heard by the audience.

As years progressed, I can safely say that I've improved and have actually learnt more about percussions beyond what I have just invented. Traditional rhythms are now being injected in my invented style of playing. I decided to inject theory into my style instead of completely supplanting what I know with theory. (I use the word theory loosely because I really don't know much about theory in comparision to the learned the likes of UP Conservatory graduates).

Beyond my percussive improvement, and beyond my years of revelling in the music scene with the least path of resistance, I realized by I like percussions in terms of how I would prefer life to be.

Percussions is first and foremost about maintaining a beat or rhythm. After one stroke on my congas, there is an assumed expectation that another stroke follows, and so on and so forth.

As one progresses in skill and gets more creative, fills and variations are introduced into the basic rhythm. I personally do fills to change things up a little. But with every fill or variation, you always have to come back to the regular timing of the basic rhythm. Like in grunge music that usually has a 4/4 timing, you always have to come back to the 4th measure in time.

So how does relate to my life perspective? Pardon the long winded background explanation to lead towards the point I'm trying to make.

I am a person who doesn't mind routine. Just like maintaining the basic rhythm of a song or jam, routine can be likened to the repition of strokes.

I also don't mind changing things up because it provides color and excitement in my life. This can be likened to fill and variations that you do. Fills and variations to me are calculated risks; where you deviate from the basic rhythm but you are sure that you come back to the right timing at the end of the measure of your fill. I don't make decisions in my life that are way too risky. I usually take conservative or at most calculated risks. I can venture out of my safe zone. But ensure that I am able to come back to the routine.

I also realized that I don't want good things in my life to end. And hence why I don't mind doing or partaking in those good things over and over again. In percussions, there is always the next stroke. There is always the next measure. There is always the next song. There is always the next gig or the next jam.

In life, change is inevitable. I had huge changes in my life over a year ago. And I am glad that those changes turned out for the better in terms of my life. Freedom, Independence, a little more self confidence, getting back to my career, splurging on things that make me happy, participating in the music scene with little skill, are all things I enjoy now that I never had before.

I don't mind partaking in all these good things in my life over and over again. Routine is a good thing in this sense. And although change is inevitable in life, I wish for this to never end. If this is all I can really look forward to in life, then so be it. I am fine with this routine.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Random Thoughts from the Long Weekend...

-Too bad "rest days" aren't considered fully rest days when you're employed in a corporate setting. Started the long weekend with a good spanking from my boss on a client issue. Being accused of negligence first before hearing the full story always leaves you all warm and fuzzy inside. But in the end, the clichet wins, "the customer is always right."

-Juggled between two MMO RPGs this weekend; Dekaron and World of Warcraft. With all the playing time, I ultimately didn't level any of my Dekaron characters. Weird. I got my Dranei hunter in WoW to level 65 by the end of the weekend though. I still want to hit 80 before the end of the month. Then the real WoW fun starts.

-I'm still kinda crabby about cancelling on our Naga gig last weekend. It was an easy decision to make professionally. But personal speaking, I'm still kicking and screaming about it. The result is a client that ultimately doesn't bring that much business to the table and is playing hard-ball with pricing by putting us up against competition. As well as, missing out on a big gig that left my bandmates texting me after their set wishing I was there. Well done . I so want to gig again.

-Caught up with Bleach to the latest episode (some Naruto Shippudden too). Last two episodes were corny ass fillers. I know that fillers are there to create space between the manga and the anime. And I don't mind watching them because they're usually interesting. But this latest filler stint was useless.

-Dropped large sums of money for my parents' house repairs and in the name of MMO RPG gaming for myself this past week. My and my family's happiness spares no expense. This is why I work so hard for, for my family and I to be happy.

-A number of my managers have their plates full even through the weekend. I'm hoping they show resiliency and not drop anything. I have faith in them. It's whether or not they have faith in themselves is the question.

-Picked up my guitar the other day for the first time in a long time. Been too into PC gaming lately that I haven't been doing my daily ritual of "singing/playing" myself to sleep. I tried learning a new song or two. I tried learning to play and sing Toad the Wet Sprockets "All I Want" and Dave Matthew's cover version of "All Along the Watchtower". Well, learning just the chords to simplify the guitar playing so I can sing that is (I know the limitations of my guitar skills). But I was too under the influence of something to manage the singing part while playing the guitar part of both songs. And Toad's vocalist has a slightly higher vocal range than me. Even my pekpek voice (according to my friend, Emmah), had slight trouble maintaining the higher range. I ended up tabling those songs for another day. I noticed I downloaded tabs of the theme song to Super Mario Bros. I tried and I failed. I think I need another long weekend just dedicated to learning that if I ever want to play it perfectly some day.

-My drummer character in Rock Legends (app in Facebook) got to level 20 a few days ago. The only virtual instruments I bought for my character have been all percussions even though there were drum kits there. It's just the percussionist in me. As soon as I hit level 20, a flood of other bands just started thoroughly kicking my ass. Weird. But fun.

-Twitter is fun. I chose it over Plurk because I didn't want to have to maintain "Karma" like in Plurk. And I get to stalk US celebrities in Twitter. I just love how Dave Matthews and Chris Cornell post in real time about their gig tours. I die with envy with each and every message. How I wish I had the skill to be an awesome musician. I'd totally leave my job and do music full time even though the industry doesn't pay well. If and only if.

-I have no idea what attracts me in a girl these days (I'm definitely not turning gay if that's what's on your mind). I know what's hot, what's pretty, and what's interesting in personality when I see or meet a girl. But something somehow doesn't push me to do anything more than harmless flirting with this or that girl. And at times, I just flat-out ignore them. My friend Emmah thinks I'm waiting for it to "click" in my head when I meet a girl. So I'm not sure if I wait if and when that "click" pops up in my head, or if I should find out what the "click" is.

-Listened to bounce-downs of two of my band's songs, "Burned" and "Failing Days". I miss those times that we had that line-up and we were gigging a lot. These days, I'm actually the bottle-neck with album recording. I should really get off my ass and work on it. At least fix the files up and pass it on to Jerrold to take a look at. Perhaps I should give Roland a call and ask him if he can clean up those two songs at least before he leaves for the States. Perhaps perhaps perhaps. I'm so indecisive when it comes to the album recording.

-I watched the latest episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. One Summer Glau Terminator to go please. I wouldn't mind Sarah Connor for take-out as well. She is afterall, the queen of Sparta. She can make a Spartan man out of me while teaching me how to prevent Skynet from going fully operational. But then again, why would I want to. I still want a Summer Glau terminator for myself.

-I still keep checking my horoscope in Friendster. And I still have yet to figure out whether I read it because I want direction in my life or just a good laugh. Trivial crisis continues to be unresolved. I'm such a weirdo.

-Paloma did a Brooke-Burke-esque gold flakes photoshoot for this month's issue of FHM Philippines. . Some of us guys can get chicks like that. And us geeky lurches down below can only have them in our dreams. Oh how Photoshop can create such beauty. Too bad there's nothing Photoshop can really do when it comes to me. LOL!

-I can't sleep. Crap. I put the same thing on Twitter just a few minutes ago. I think my body is subtley refusing to end the long weekend.