Transcribing My Story To Music

People have told me that they like my writing style and I should consider writing a book. I don’t think I have enough content for a book and don’t know anything about writing a book. I used to play the guitar and know some music theory so I am going to try to tell my story through music. The chemo nerve damage and rheumatoid arthritis in my hands might cause problems playing guitar but I think I can do some basic playing.

I bought a used Yamaha keyboard which is easier on the hands and I will use it to provide color to the guitar music. It also models many other instruments including drums which will be very useful. It includes a USB interface as well as a 1/4″ jack for connecting to a mixer.

I bought a modelling amp, which like the keyboard will provide color. The amp is a Fender Mustang III V2 and includes 14 amp models and over 40 effects models. It also has a USB interface to connect to my computer if I so choose. It also has dual XLR outputs and an FX loop. The amp came with Ableton DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software which is a very popular DAW. I also have a couple of others if I don’t like Ableton.

I’ve managed to acquire some basic recording equipment including a Mackie PROFX8V2 mixer. My goal is to run both the amp and keyboard through the mixer and connect the mixer to my laptop via USB. Even though the keyboard and amp have USB interfaces I’d rather use one connection to the laptop.

And lastly I’ve acquired a couple of microphones. One is a Blue (brand name) en CORE 300 for vocals and the other is a Blue en CORE 100i instrument mic that I will use with my acoustic guitar.

Lacking funding I’ve relied mainly on craigslist and bartering when I can. I’d say at least half the cost of the gear was covered by bartering.

Currently my challenge is that I’ve never recorded so I have to figure out how all of the equipment interface to each other, and also how to set up and use the DAW. I am in no rush and do a little at a time so I don’t get frustrated and stressed out.

Over the past year I have been recording ideas into my phone. Sometimes I strum a simple melody with my acoustic guitar and other times I just hum the idea into the phone. Several times I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to hum a melody into my phone so I don’t forget it by morning. My memory is almost non-existent due to all of the medications I’m on, which will actually be part of the album by way of a song.

I have never done any singing so I plan on combining late Johnny Cash music with modern rhyming techniques to create somewhat of a unique sound. I hope people like it!

The music will be raw and real. The media often sugar coats cancer by showing the triumphant parts of it, but keep the painful parts hidden from the public. This also seems to be the case for chemo centers. I see lots of ads of cancer survivors smiling and doing all the things they love to do. That is great, but only half the story. I plan on telling the other half of the story. It will be uncomfortable for some but it’s a story that needs to be told. The ultimate goal is this…  If you have had cancer hopefully you will hear my music and think “Yes That’s exactly what it’s like!”. If you’ve never had cancer then I hope to convey what it is like to have cancer so that people understand in some small way. Often cancer survivors feel isolated because they feel that people who have never had cancer don’t get it. Nothing replaces actually having cancer to understand it, but I would rather they understand through my music than to be diagnosed with cancer in order to understand.

Below is a guitar melody that was in my head so I picked up the guitar and recorded it. The song will be called “Fighting”. No practice or arranging. From my head to my hands. The beginning and end is just filler for now. I have not practiced in over ten years so my timing is way off as is my ability to change chords but it gets the message across.



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