Friday, March 26, 2010

Sing Along with Me!

I think one of the very best things about rock concerts and festivals is the feeling of a temporary community. The energy of the crowd feeding off one another, singing together, enjoying one of their (hopefully) favorite bands together. There's something about a sea of people fist-pumping in one accord that really moves me. Community. Then it's over, and you move on. Temporary.

Temporary communities can exist in large-scale, like a stadium-sized concert, or small venues, like a birthday party at your home, or anything in-between. Basically anytime 3 or more people get together to all do one collective thing; celebrating something is always a plus!

One of my objectives in learning to play the guitar is to be able to create temporary communities, in the form of sing-alongs. Seriously - I'd love to be able to get out the ol' acoustic guitar in a group setting, start to play, and have everyone join in. Like around a campfire, except that I don't camp, so more like around a fireplace. :)

To reach this objective, I've started selecting songs that I want to learn to play by considering if they are sing-along-able. Perusing my iPod, I notice that it does include many that meet the criteria, but many that don't. The main reasons being that they either don't translate well to the acoustic guitar (although sing-alongs could certainly spring up around an electric guitar, but I'm not sure I want to haul around all that equipment all the time), or the fact that it's a song that not everyone knows well enough to sing along with. I guess I have some obscure taste...

So, what better way to find out what songs everyone knows than to ask everyone? To everyone who's reading this, please comment with what your favorite sing-along songs might be. I'm not asking for your favorite song, per se - just those that you think would be fun (and easy) to sing in a group, that others would enjoy singing just as much as you do.

Just as an example, I've recently been working on "Every Rose Has its Thorn." I think it qualifies - do you?

Let me hear from you!

Friday, March 19, 2010


OK, this is weird. I'm posting on my blog. That's weird enough, in and of itself. But what's even weirder is it has been just one day longer than exactly 2 years since I've written...

And what's even weirder than that is that not much has changed!

Yet, everything has changed. Laid off, new job, new company bought out and things uncertain, new home, fewer cats. Various other forms of turmoil and joy.

But one thing remains constant. I'm still rockin'!

In fact, harder than ever. I finally caved in and got some real guitar lessons. And you know what? It made all the difference. Seems like an old music major like me would have known that sooner. Oh, well. Live and learn. Even a 43-year-old can learn something. I'm proving that every day as my guitar playing progresses.

I counted today, and I know almost 12 songs now. That's in 3 months. Now, they don't sound all that great, but you know, passable.

And, if that's not enough, I'm also learning that my guitar teacher is correct when he says if I master certain chord progressions that I automatically know zillions of songs because so many of them are the same. I found that out today when I was able to learn 2 more songs...just changed up the pace and the strum pattern. Whaddaya know? Instant set list.

What's even better is, my main objective is to be a good rhythm guitarist and to accompany myself when I sing. And I'm almost there! Well...with the caveat that I'll still need polish. Then I'll be just like Guitar George. He knows all the chords. But he's strictly rhythm, he doesn't want to make it cry or sing (thank you, Dire Straits!)

So, that's my little update to catch you up on the past 2 years. Hopefully it won't be quite that long before I post again.