100/180 and related stay-at-home songwriting endeavors

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Over on FAWM, there are at least three threads going about post-FAWM songwriting. And there's the 100 Songs in 180 Days Facebook group, where I started a "how are you doing?" thread and have already gotten a few responses.
So I'm starting one here, too - I know, this site gets wiped clean and re-booted around the first of July, right? But like many of you, I've found myself with a lot of time on my hands for poking around various forums and enjoying a bit of interaction.
Since FAWM, I've written 9 songs, 8 of those for 100/180. I've also written a 27-couplet poem chronicling my last 3 weeks of relative isolation. Oh, and I recorded 7 Grateful Dead covers on ukulele.
I've also been able to work from home, although that work is mainly creating online content for our yoga studio. So, it's not a real money-maker right now.
I'm already planning, sort of, what my 50/90 goals will be. But those goals always shift once the challenge starts.
Other things I'm doing while at home - gardening/landscaping, walking around the neighborhood, and coming up with creative ways to work out at home since I can't go to the gym. (For example, I've been sledgehammering cardboard boxes to break them down for our recycling bin.)
How about you?

In March I wrote a song a week in the Song Skirmish group, took an online songwriting class, and got laid off from my job. No worries I have a pension that covers needs and expenses however I suddenly had a lot more time to spend with my wife, home projects, and for songwriting. Home projects have included decluttering, yardwork, screen replacement, and reconfiguring the firepit. I signed up for 100 in 180 and do far this month I have written a song a day to the National Poetry Writing Month prompts. I have not practiced my instruments or learned songs as much as I had expected.

See if I remember how to tag people in 5090-speak - Hi, @AndyGetch! I forgot about this thread I started - I thought folks might gravitate over here because the threads are easier to follow than Facebook.
I'm plugging right along at 100/180, but I'll admit (and I don't think this is a surprise) it's not like FAWM or 50/90 in terms of interaction. Still, good folks there, good music to listen to, and gives me a push to practice banjo. But it's hard to write songs (other than instrumentals) that aren't quarantine- or virus-themed. I mean, that's the dominant thing, the reason why we're doing most the things we're doing.

Haha @Chip Withrow yes that is a very cool banjo-songwriting arc you are on. The lower level of interaction doesn't bother me. I was only expecting a few people to jump in. The number of song postings are still more than I have energy to listen to. For writing I am experimenting again and integrating more instruments. I have even edited a few and held off on posting a few until I revise or like them better. Current events have snuck in to a few songs so far. Going through my writing books I was 2012 journal page where I had just started doing yoga and I was questioning whether I had anything else left to write songs about LOL.

I much prefer using this rather than Facebook! I've had to go online with 5 classes, making video lectures and everything, so I thought that I wouldn't be able to get much done. Then I realized that I could put little musical bits in the first 5-10 seconds of the videos. So I've done about a dozen of them, little intro bits, mostly just synth sequences but the last few using Garritan personal orchestra. Should I paste them together and post them?

Hi, @TomS! Yes - this is easier to follow than Facebook. I would like to hear your intro music!
We (my wife and I) have been producing lots of online content for our yoga studio. I don't know if it's harder, but it's a different challenge than teaching face to face.
Usually, I teach an outdoor yoga class on Saturday mornings at a local market. On the other side of the market, there's live music going on - often performed by @AndyGetch and other non-5090 friends. And there are other sounds, sights, and smells, too. For the last 4 Saturdays, I have done a Facebook Live virtual market yoga class from my front porch (from inside my house yesterday, because it rained). And I've played ukulele songs at the beginning and end of class - a mix of older originals (I did do an instrumental I wrote a couple weeks ago), covers, and yoga/mantra music.

True to form, I've not been practicing my instruments at all since FAWM.
@Mt.Mélodie has asked me to contribute spoken word bits to a couple of his new songs, so I'm in the middle of that.
Other than that I've just been sitting on the couch reading; right now I'm half way through reading "Dhalgren" for the third time.
I was looking forward to seeing King Crimson this summer, but they've cancelled their tour. Sad
Can't wait for 50/90!

@Chip Withrow cool, I will put them together. Smile LAST WEEK OF THE SEMESTER RIGHT NOW. It's crazy!!!

5 dollar drum vst -- looks cool, bought it, planning on checking it out in a bit!


@Fuzzy - I'm plugging away at 100/180 at my usual 50/90 pace, with 21 songs in the last 25 days, including one late last night and one more when I got up this morning.
But I too can't wait for July 4 and 50/90. I'm optimistic about some degree of normalcy by then, but that won't include big summer tours. Baseball would be nice.
@TomS - I'm intrigued by programmable drums, and have been for years. My use of percussion is limited to what I have around the house to shake and bang upon.

This drum VSTi is not the one you should get first, Chip. The drums are truly trashy. Fun as hell but very specific and not very flexible. I've been using EZDrummer for quite some time, and it's easy. Still can't replace a real drummer. EZD is occasionally on sale for cheap -- I got it when it was 30 bucks - and the expansion packs are really well done.

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@Chip Withrow I have been to(intrigued by programmed drums) and everytime I try to use any I have to start with drums.....my playing is so offbeat most times it's almost impossible for me(with my non-existing skills with most things programmable) to add drums/percussion later. I've had some luck with some midi controllers with pads, or just an electric pad that you can either run through a DAW or just pedals to amp/line in(easier for me), and like @TomS said.....never a replacement for a real drummer. I might have some homebrewed percussion setup by the time 50/90 does get here, not that I'm any real drummer, it's been too long since I've set down on anything that could constitute a kit Smile

Heh -- I tried for like 20 years to learn to play drums well enough to make basic tracks. Nothing fancy, just keep a groove. I literally can't do it. I mean, I really tried, practiced a lot, did lots of exercises. I am convinced that you have to have the right neurological and muscular abilities to be able to play well. I simply can't play with any groove. I also never made it to the NHL. Biggrin

Every so often, I think about getting one of those cajon percussion boxes, the ones you sit on and bang on the box.
If I'm going to learn an instrument that requires feet and hands all at once, it's going to be the pedal steel guitar.
I have a cigar box slide - actually a German cookie tin slide - that I tuned up so I can do some recording with it tomorrow.

dzd's picture

I recommend cajons for all Chip.....if nothing else they make great seats hahah....can find them pretty cheap as well maybe 40ish$

Tom the NHL doesn't know what they're missing Smile ........turn off that metronome and just bang away....you might be surprised.

@dzd what you say is absolutely true. The NHL does not know what they missed in me. Smile

So, are we posting 90/100 songs here? Pardon my confusion. I've just been released from my distance learning cave. Biggrin

I know what you mean, @TomS; I'm the drummer in my band and I often struggle to just keep a coherent beat.
My limb independence skills are entirely nonexistent.
Good thing it's a punk band so I can pretend that it's my choice to play simply. Smile

@TomS - I think song posting should stay on the 100/180 Facebook page, and this forum used for chatting.
I know I'm missing listening to a lot of people's songs on the Facebook page, but I do receive notifications about new activity there and I listen when I can. (Usually when I post a song, I listen to a few others that were posted recently.)
As far as getting to 50 songs written before 50/90 actually starts - that's a personal goal, and keeping track of them on my relatively unlistened-to SoundCloud page is fine for me. If I do get to 50 (and I'm on a pace to do that around early June) I'll probably stop right there until July 4.
And early June is a good time to stop because our very tentative plan is to re-open our business (yoga studios) - if we're allowed - around June 1.

@Chip Withrow, cool. I prob won't post anything on Facebook...unless I suddenly acquire greater talent and mixing chops, of course. Smile I sure hope your business is Ok through this. The financial hit must be enormous.

@Fuzzy, so, if I record & mix badly I can call it lofi, and if I play badly as well, it's lofi punk. Awesome. Biggrin

@TomS - I didn't mean to discourage you if you wanted to post new music here in this thread (or start another). I'll always listen to what you do! Of course, the forum also gets wiped clean before July 4.
Our business is a yoga studio - we closed the physical spaces on March 13 and right away started offering online content. The pandemic shutdown actually accelerated what we'd been meaning to do for a while. We do indeed have some financial uncertainty, but we're actually OK and in no real danger of having to close completely. (Although my wife and I did briefly discuss going back to school teaching - she was at the university level for 15 years and I taught middle and high school for 20 years. And we really liked school teaching - we quit to try our hands at this yoga business, and we're still hanging on 7 years later.)
@Fuzzy - Although I'm not much of a punk listener (I do like it when I hear it), I love lo-fi recordings! Perhaps my favorite is the complete Basement Tapes of Bob Dylan and The Band. Lots of starts and stops, mistakes, background noises - it's actually punk in attitude, I think. Same with old acoustic blues recordings - I'd say Robert Johnson was punk way back in the 1930s.

I grew up in a family business. The whole cliche: vacuuming the floors for 25 cents an hour when I was 8, later doing inventories, etc. Man, I bought a lot of candy that first summer. Later I was a partner in a small chain of record stores. Late 80s. Entrepreneurship is a ton of fun. Smile But I like teaching.

I've learned a bunch of new covers. I figure this is a good time to work on ukulele and mandolin instrumentals since that will probably come back before singing. I've also worked on creating live performance versions of songs I wrote and never did that with. I've written a little, but I will probably be pretty quiet here this summer. I want to focus on arranging and recording stuff Ive already written. I also feel like by the time the end of June hits if I ever look at my computer screen again it will be too soon. Teaching is not fun right now.

@katpiercemusic - Well, first of all I hope you create some new material this 50/90. Your songs are delightful!
I certainly feel for you teachers! I did it for a long time. The shift to teaching online was starting to happen the last few years I taught (I finished in 2014). I tried it for a couple of years as a teaching assistant at our local state university - I enjoyed one of the classes, and couldn't stand the other.
I, too, had the idea that I might try re-working some of my songs from years past. One stay-at-home project was finding the various folders and USB drives where all my songs are stored and creating some kind of organizational plan.
But then, here I am doing the 100 Songs in 180 Days (a run-up to 50/90) challenge on Facebook.

Day 51 of 100/180 and I am on pace, barely. Resetting my attitude about songwriting with the help of a pay-what-you-want Writing Great Songs workshop series by @thisisbeckyw. https://beckywarren.bandcamp.com/merch

@AndyGetch - I'm also doing 100/180 and easily on pace for 50 by July 4, when this 50/90 site starts again. (Actually, of course, the site will re-boot sooner.) In fact, I could very well get my 50 by sometime next week at the pace I'm keeping.
I saw that Becky Warren workshop you're referring to - an interesting way for musicians to keep working when they can't tour. Recently we joined Master Class, and I'm interested in the Tom Morello electric guitar class, even though I don't have an electric guitar. I'm also interested in the Stephen Curry shooting basketballs class, even though I don't play much basketball! I figure new skills learned work their way into my songwriting and my yoga in some way or another.

@Chip Withrow The sounds that Tom Morello pulls out of an electric guitar are amazing. Saw him in the on Springsteens High Hopes tour version of the E Street Band. I've been waxing and waning on 100/180, not so much a steady pace as a series of creative bursts. I have a half dozen or so works in progress that need to simmer for awhile, some April writes I want to revisit, and lots of old ideas and songs to re-explore.