Cyclops’ story.

I’m sitting here and wracking my brains – trying to figure out how to share a story (with permission) that’s just so awesome that it has to be shared. The problem is, I usually try to make (often bizarre) connections between what I feel like writing about and music. It happens when you write this much!

The people that I ask to quote sometimes wonder how, exactly, I’m going to turn their story into something to do with music. Me too! I’m glad we’re on the same page! The last time this happened, it was a ‘crazy_eyes story’ and when he asked how I’d turn it into an article, I said, “Trust me, I’m a doctor!”

This story, however…

Hmm… I’m not sure how to tell you this, but I don’t think I can tie it into music – unless I really cheat. I’m going to have to cheat and, frankly, the excuse is to simply tell you this story. This story is that awesome.

If you’ll allow me some artistic license, I can do it. Stand back, for we shall try literature! It’s a little weak, but it’s all I can come up with. I have complete faith that you’ll understand the situation that I’m faced with, once you’ve read the story.

~*makes mysterious eerie sound-effects*~ (Ed. Note: Must someday write about theremin.)

(This is so cheesy.)

In the past, I’ve written about a few things – with some consistency. I’ve often mentioned that playing a musical instrument, specifically a guitar, will expose you to interesting people.

I have also taken the time to write about people who have overcome obstacles and made works of art. For instance, one of our guitarists better than Hendrix played that shit with just two fingers – Django Reinhardt.

I can’t say that being a cyclops is actually any specific obstacle to playing a guitar. I can’t say that it imposes any serious limitation on one’s ability to create music with a guitar.

But, we have a new participant in our guitar threads and he’s a fucking cyclops!

If you don’t think that’s fucking awesome, you’re on the wrong site!

Damned right, I’m gonna ask that person some questions!

Way back at the start, I was under the impression that their story was even more awesome than it really was. Well, I was really hopeful. Oh, man… I was sure hopeful! Initially, they indicated that they ripped an eyeball out of their own face – in a fit of (I think) rage and anguish. My very first thought was, “Wait, what?”

I can’t really think of anything more metal than ripping your own eye out of your face because you’re angry at it. I can’t condone that behavior, but I can certainly be curious! (Please don’t rip your own eyeball out of your face. My lawyer would want me to add that. Please don’t rip your eye out and then sue me, thanks.)

So, I learned all about how Cyclops really became a cyclops. There were a bunch of unfamiliar names in this week’s guitar thread, and Ol’ Cyclops was one of them. Like I’ve said, you’ll be exposed to some interesting people! That’s justification enough to share this tale.

It is with his permission that I retell this story. Like normal, I’ll do some editing but only for readability and grammar reasons. They did a very, very good job of giving me text to work with and they were gracious enough to let me give their story a wider audience.

Without further ado, the story of Cyclops:

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Resonating Sound and the Voice – Part Deux

(Ed. Note: This is submitted by Nadeshda. Be sure to give her a rousing round of applause and express your gratitude! It’s much better than the article you were gonna get today!)

SO here we are again, singing and chilling like we mean it , well you better be. Get your favorite beverage, take a couple of sips and let us start talking about this singing business again.

You may wonder how I got involved in all of this, it was through a regular Friday night meet-up discussion about instruments and all things musical. One day I bravely shared some of my vocals and people enjoyed it. This started my involvement with sharing, teaching and learning about ‘How to Sing’ on playguitar. Also, theBuddha asked me too and he is very inspiring and good at getting people busy with all sorts of fun stuff while being excellent at what he does ! (Ed. Note: Damned right!)

Let me get another cup of coffee and while I do that listen to a song I wrote and shared with some of my friends. Shhh, I didn’t warm-up properly for the song but still managed some good tone, I wonder why?

Another Day by Nadeshda

So this phone recording came out okay and I think that years of proper training and proper breathing allowed me to do the sneaky recordings. I shouldn’t but some of these things we will be working through will become second nature to you and sometimes when you are caught in a last minute affair you will sound okay but let’s learn the basics first before cutting any corners, m’kay.

I have sung  in choirs since being a wee lass and swimming since I have been three years old, so breathing properly has always been drilled into me somehow and singing lessons to wazoo has filled my brain with endless information that honestly, sometimes I forget.

I am hoping this series helps me to remember and blesses you in the process.
We really shouldn’t sing without warming up our voices correctly so let’s get on with the lesson.
So without further waffling let us look at:

Resonance

What is it and how can I get it to sound good? This is the question today.

We know it when we hear it and sometimes we feel it on the inside but what is it really ?
I can safely say that it is volume of sound, easy listening and it lingers. We find it in ALL instruments.

What part of our body does the resonating? 

The Vocal Tract which is a container of air and has an opening called the mouth. We know the power source of singing is the ribs, diaphragm and the lungs which in turn push the air through the vocal fold into the Vocal Tract to form sweet, sweet sounds when all things are working together beautifully.

SILLY FACT: The average length of a vocal tract for males is about 17 cm and 14 cm for females.

The shape of the tract helps to solidly the sound and tone and the following video illustrates it perfectly while synthesizing vowels on a 3D MRI. The stereolithography (Rapid Prototyping) produces glottal waves using a Rosenberg-Klatt waveform with 1/f fluctuation of its cycle. Male and female models were used to produce the vowels.

Vocal Tract Model Synthesis Video

So how do I get better Resonance?

I am so glad you ask these wonderful questions as I am going to give you some homework and you will enjoy the results.

Let’s wake up that sweet, sweet sound!

Try the following exercise and repeat until you notice a difference. When you are done, sing a song you are comfortable with.

  • Open your mouth and take a breath through your nose and with a basic speaking volume, sustain a comfortable mid-range pitch, through an “NG” tongue position.

To help you find this tongue position, say the word “Sing” and maintain the tongue position of the “NG”. The back of your tongue will lightly close with your soft palate. Keep the tip of your tongue resting against the back of your bottom teeth. Feel the sound vibration vibrate along the roof of your mouth and under your nose.

2) Do this a couple of times using medium volume and try producing different sounds after your beautiful “NG” sound. Here we go…!

  1. NG-EE (Mean)
  2. NG-EH (Hen)
  3. NG-UH (The)
  4. NG-I (Him)
  5. NG-A (Same)
  6. NG-AA (Apple)During the last two vowels (below), DO NOT shape your lips for the sound. Your mouth should only move a wee bit, just let it flow and let the sound naturally resonate in your mouth. Try these too…
  • NG-OH (Moan)
  • NG-Ooo (Moon)

You are doing great! Congratulations you have completed your second singing lesson; now shut up and go sing me a song!

Comment if you notice a difference in resonance, tone and sound.

Happy Singing!

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Oh, man… I just learned something new.

I don’t have much time today, and I like to share the articles when I have time to also sit and respond to any questions and comments about them. So, wherever I share an article, I also answer comments.

It’s a rule that I impose on myself. I need to keep this short to do that.

Another rule is that I write something – every day. I impose that obligation on myself. I’m pretty sure I’m eventually gonna miss some days, unless I go back to scheduling them.

After I finished my morning tasks, I went to write today’s article – but couldn’t think of what to write about. A little bit more herbal inspiration found me several pages deep on a dozen sites and pretty distracted.

Which was when I learned something not just new – but new enough to tell you about. Trust me, it’s awesome!
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So, you bought yourself a guitar and it’s still sitting in the corner?

I told you, my creativity well is running low. There’s still many things I’ll write about, but I’m actually reaching into things I’d have written in the future and bringing them to this time to publish them.

There actually is a madness to my method!

Well, today I’m going to be talking to some of you who are more at the beginner stage. You might think that it’d have suited if I’d started with you, but there’s a cold hard truth that I’m just going to tell you.

I don’t believe you. So many experiences tell me that when you say you’re going to learn to play guitar that you’re not actually going to keep it up very long.

Here, go back and read a rough draft of my thoughts on the subject of learning to play guitar. In that article, I put a very low number on the number of hours I’ve dedicated to mastering the instrument.

The thing is, I don’t expect you to do that. Fuck no. You’d have to be right out of you fucking mind to do that. Seriously, it’s not worth it – for most people. It really isn’t.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to play a guitar and have fun with it.
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Lessons about performing, lesson 42: Don’t do shit for exposure!

It’s amusing how bad at predicting the future of this site has gone. It has somehow gone from anticipating making a few posts and being done with it to the point where I try to get something out there every day for you.

I got a question from a guy we’re going to call “Bob.” Bob is not his real name, but he asked why I do this – if I’m not making any money at it.

Well, Bob, I enjoy it. I also like the idea of helping people. People seem to enjoy the work and I enjoy seeing the comments and hit counter go up. No, they don’t click ads, but I’m rewarded in other ways.

Yes, I’d like the site to break even. I don’t much care about a profit, so breaking even is just the goal. Anything additional would go to some worthy cause, perhaps some sort of gift for the regular readers.

Bob followed this up with asking why I didn’t seek out sponsors. Well, Bob, I’m pretty lazy and I might someday want to write reviews – and I’d like those reviews to be untainted with the smell of bias. So far, I’ve written mostly nice things, but I have plenty of not-nice things to say.

So, there you have it, Bob. Those are the answers to your question. They have not a damned thing to do with today’s post, but I’m going to put it here anyhow.

No, today’s post is something different. It’s yet another lesson that you might want to learn. This one has some caveats, but we’ll try to address them.

I’m not going to write my longer intro, ’cause I was busy answering Bob. If you want to see the complete list of rules for performing musicians, see this link.

Now, onto today’s article…
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Lessons about performing, lesson 41: Venue follow-up!

Well, here we are again, my dear reader! If you’re reading this on the day it was published, it’s the Friday and that means that we have our weekly guitar thread tonight.

If you’d like a reminder (and any updates that may apply to that thread) then there’s a spot right there on the right. It says, “Subscribe for thread notifications.” If you put any ol’ name and working email address in there, I usually remember to send out reminders.

Note: You’ll have to confirm your email address. We take issues of spam pretty seriously, so you can’t just put in any email address – you have to have access to it. If the email containing the confirmation link doesn’t arrive in short order, check your trash/spam folder.

We’re a fairly new domain, on a non-standard ccTLD, and we live in a bad Internet neighborhood. So, it’ll probably get filtered to your junk folder. Sorry ’bout that, but there’s not much I can do about it. You can configure your email provider’s settings to filter it to the inbox, which is what I recommend. You can also send them hate mail, or a horse’s  head, but it’s probably just as effective to use your own filtering mechanism.

Now, this is our 41st entry into the lessons for performing musicians. They’re rules that you can pick and choose from – but most of them are applicable, in some way, to your particular situation – assuming you’re going to be a performing musician and would like to eat more than frozen meals and peanut butter.

No, they won’t help you be a rock star – but they will help you reach the point where you’re able to make a successful living by just using your musicianship. It means you might not have to try to juggle three different jobs.

If you’d like to see the whole list, sort of – it’s probably a little out of date, then click here. Otherwise, I’m going to assume you’re all caught up and we’ll just jump right into the next lesson.
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Lessons about performing, lesson 40: Remember why you’re there!

If you don’t know what I’m doing, why are you even here? Sheesh! I write these intros and explain what I’m doing. I probably should have just written one and the copied and pasted it to start every article. It’s a little late for that now.

So, what am I doing? Well, I’m telling you how to be a performing musician and how to actually increase your odds of getting paid to do it. No, I’m not telling you how to become the next person to have an album go gold. That’s entirely unrealistic (sorry, but it’s true).

What is realistic is that you can be a professional performing musician and not have to work multiple jobs. What is realistic is that you can do so without having to resort to eating nothing but generic cereal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on cheap bread.

The odds of you getting rich are pretty low. The odds of you getting great fame are also pretty low. The odds of you actually being able to afford an off-lease car are much better. So, if you don’t want to be rich and famous, here’s the lessons that have so far been published.

There has been new daily content for the site for over two months now. The amusing part about this is that I never expected to do this. No, I expected it’d just be a few articles and then abandoned due to lack of interest. I figured the greatest lack of interest would be on my end. But, here we are…

I get a lot from writing these. I don’t get paid, ’cause y’all don’t actually click on any of those ads. In fact, it costs me money. However, it costs me more time than money. But, I do get rewarded.

I get rewarded by honing my skills as a writer and, more importantly, learning to understand my audience. That’s an art in and of itself and it’s one that can take a lifetime to truly master. It is also related to today’s lesson.
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Lessons about performing, lesson 39: Case closed!

Y’all know what I’m doing, right? I mean, this is the 39th entry on this damned list. I really shouldn’t have to explain it to you nearly every day!

I should seriously plan these things out better. The sloppiness of this is entirely my fault. There is nobody to blame but me – and possibly the lazier people who came before me and didn’t actually write this shit down.

What didn’t they write down? The list of rules you should follow if you want to actually make a living as a performer. It’s not gonna make you a rock star, but it might mean you don’t have to eat pasta and butter every night.

Here, read the full damned list. It might be up to date, it might not be. It was up to date the other day but you’ll have to forgive me for having other things with higher priorities. It’s probably never going to be complete – until the series is done.

When is the series over? Buggered if I know. It’s over when I run out of ideas. I actually get quite a few ideas from you folks (my dear readers) and turn ’em into lessons.

Not this one, however. This one I had to come up with all on my own. I got not one iota of help, you unhelpful bastards. Seriously, help me out! I’m running low on ideas and could use some fresh eyeballs and thoughts. There’s a contact form and you (yes you, you personally) should use it.

Seriously, click here and send me a message. You can even throw in gratuitous insults. I ain’t scared. I ain’t even smart enough to be scared! No, really, I’m running low on ideas.

What you might not have noticed is you’ve had a new article – every single day – for over two months now. That’s right. We’re fucking productive. (Y’all chew through some bandwidth, too. But, I digress.) Anyhow, it’s been two months and I’ve had some help along the way (for which I’m very grateful, as are my dear readers) but the ol’ idea bucket is running a bit dry.

Am I ranting? Yes, yes I am. Why? ‘Cause I’m getting good at these damned intros! Ha! I had a madness to my method all along!
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Lessons about performing, lesson 38: Maintaining Relationships!

We meet again, earthling! We meet again!

You should know what I’m doing. If you don’t, then please see this list of rules that you should know, should you desire to become a performing musician. Following these rules won’t make you an instant rock star. Following along with these lessons will, on the other hand, give you some chance at making an acceptable income from your musicianship.

Of course, they’ll not all apply to you. Some will be more important to you than others. But, they’ll help you – even if you’re not a musician. There are all sorts of lessons in there for people involved in other careers. So, think of them as a buffet. You can take what you will and disregard the rest – but I’d urge you to make your selection carefully, as they’re all pretty valuable things to know.

Sort of related: I actually caught up the master list of all the lessons. I usually do that on Monday but I’d missed one week and that led to the master list being pretty far behind. Thank you for your patience and please keep in mind that I have to prioritize my time and I also need to keep this as a hobby and not make it anything like work.

You know, I really don’t actually like writing these intros. They’re about the hardest thing to do with regards to keeping content coming. I have said pretty much everything in these intros before and, to date, I’ve said it some 37 times.

Yet, here I am, saying it again! The thing is, I really don’t like repeating myself. I said it once and saying it again is a waste of time. My time is important to me. This not liking to repeat myself was a thorn in my kid’s sides and it took them years to understand it.

“I already told you to clean your room. Don’t make me repeat myself.” They seemed pretty fond of making me repeat myself,  probably for their own amusement.

But, with regard to these intros and many other things in life, the key seems to be to practice. It’s my opinion that I’m getting better at these and that I’m learning to make them topical, interesting, and informative! Maybe…

At the very least, you’ll soon see why I chose my children as the example…
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Lessons about performing, lesson 37: People lie!

It turns out, there are a lot more rules to follow than I’d expected. I didn’t think I’d come up with this many. I’m starting to notice a trend, in that I’m not predicting the success of the various series on this site.

What am I doing?

Well, if you’re asking that then you’re pretty late to the series. You’ll probably want to go way back to the very beginning and read all of the lessons. I’ve explained this enough times already! Sheesh…

These are the things you should know (and try to do) if you want to have a successful career as a performing musician. Someone should have written a book with this information. They didn’t. So, you’re stuck with me. Sorry about that.

Now, not all the rules are applicable to every venue or genre. It’s horribly inappropriate to stage dive when you’re doing a lunch gig at a fancy restaurant, no matter how awesome that might sound. You also probably don’t need an accountant if you’re playing your friend’s pit party for $100 and all the beer you can drink. So, use some common sense and try to apply them to your situation as best as you are able.

This next one is pretty fucking universal, however.
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