Encyclopaedic knowledge

Let’s close out the old year with a bang, yeah? How about a blog post? Does that work for you?

I finally finished Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica, a book I had started in July and never got around to picking up again in earnest until this week. Determined to finish it before the end of the year, I read essentially from the time I woke up at noon to 9pm, breaking for meals, of course. It was quite a good book! I learned a lot and gained a lot of insights about not only Metallica but the music industry as a whole. Secretly, that’s why I read musicians’ memoirs and biographies: to learn what they did, what mistakes they made along the way, to gain inspiration, and to apply it all to my future career. It’s like the book’s author Mick Wall said about Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich: “He also had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of rock, what went wrong with groups and what went right with them” (pg. 442). That’s the kind of understanding I’d like to develop.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I’m always one for realistic, measurable goals, and this year I’m in a place where I would like to set some year-long goals to begin in 2012. As much as I am totally loving life right now, there are some aspects of my life where I’m dissatisfied. These aspects are very much controllable, and I think with the right goals and the right frame of mind, I can build better habits that will serve me well hopefully far beyond the coming year.

Read (at least) one book a month. I used to be an avid reader, but that interest petered off in high school and I haven’t really found time for it since. However, I’ve noticed a marked decrease in my spelling ability, I’ve had more difficulty with tenses in conditional sentences, and I overall just think I could really use the reading boost. One book a month seems easy enough, but seeing as I only read six books in 2011, it will definitely be a change. I already have some books queued up, which you can see on my Shelfari if you’d like.

Practice singing (with warm-ups) three times a week. This one’s pretty self-explanatory, yeah? I take voice lessons at a local music lesson place, and while my teacher hopes I will practice every day, most weeks I only practice once a week, sometimes twice. I make excuses about not having time, but the truth is I could easily find a half hour to practice most days, if not every day. This is something I need to do for myself and my future if I EVER want to see my dream fulfilled of singing in a band.

Practice guitar six days a week. I go on and on about how I want to be a singer, not a guitarist, but the truth is I’ve wanted to play guitar ever since I was seven years old. There was a period sometime in late 2010/early 2011 where I practiced every day, and although I’m still very much a beginner, my playing greatly improved during that time. I want the coming year to be a period like that. I want to learn more chords, I want to learn electric techniques… basically I just want to learn. I’ve tried the whole scale thing and it got boring after a few weeks. The way I see it, there are plenty of guitarists who were self-taught simply through learning to play others’ songs (*cough* Zacky Vengeance), and that’s even how my voice coach runs things, so why not give it a try myself?

We’ll see how I go! πŸ˜€

14 thoughts on “Encyclopaedic knowledge

  1. Seeing as how many famous people taught themselves how to play guitar, you could do the same. I mean, I guess it’s right when they say practice makes perfect. It’s just about finding the motivation and giving yourself a challenge. I’m kind of not far from where I started because I didn’t quite challenge myself. I learned, but I didn’t push myself on and to be honest I think that’s where it makes all the difference. I’m not as serious about it as you, I guess, so I just pick it up when I am in the mood.

    For a second I wondered if Jebediah had any biographies or memoirs, but all in all I like watching their mini-documentaries about their albums and such because it makes me realise how much they have to go through to get just one song going, and know that if anything I’d have to take the same path if I wanted to be like them. I remember finding out all this stuff about Kurt Cobain from videos, DVDs and books, and he actually started out playing drums and failed music in school. It’s really interesting also knowing them outside of music and who they are as a person.

    I would like to read more this year but I haven’t got anything planned, other than to read the new books I bought a few months ago, and try to do that before uni goes back. So yeah… no real set goals in mind, but I’m looking forward to a good year. :3

  2. Happy new year! Hope 2012 will be a great year for you ^^

    Those are some good goals =D I have a reading goal for myself, which is read 52 books in 52 weeks XD Don’t know how I’ll get that one done, since a lot of my time is taken up by school work, but we’ll see =P I used to be a very enthusiastic reader, but with all the reading I have to do for school anyway it’s hard to find the will to pick up a book after I finally put my study book down =/

  3. Happy New Year!

    I read Slash’s autobiography a long time ago, but it was amazing. I found out what life with Guns N’ Roses was like in his perspective, and I was able to understand his side of the story when they broke up. The book was just plain awesome and insightful.

    Practice guitar. Practice, practice, practice. I first started playing two years ago, and within a year I was able to play some really fast solos on my electric. Oh, and if you can, try out some finger-style songs.

    1. I was actually JUST listening to Savior by Black Veil Brides and thinking I might I’ll start learning the acoustic finger-style part to it today. πŸ˜€

  4. Happy New Year, Rachel!

    Reading about a musician’s life before they became what they are today is interesting :O! It also helps you along the way too on what to avoid and so :D! You’re the only one who doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions either. If you’re loving life, just keep on loving life ;D! Good luck with your goals! All of them can be pulled off with the right mindset! Practicing guitar six days a week can be challenging when you have a lot to do! But you will see improvements after a month :D! Music is powerful!

    I love marching band and all, but this is high school. People with their.. Harmones get in the way of everything :/. Someone suddenly has a crush on me, I’m not interested, I then get stalked- it’s not a delight to face. But oh well &_&. I’m hoping concert season will calm everyone down :D!

    Let’s all make an effort to blog more often in 2012 :D! I find the easiest way to do that is to be more productive in everythinnnnnng! The more you do, the more you’ll have to blog about :P!

    Take care (:! And hope for a fantabulous year! (I kind of made that up)

  5. A historical perspective is always amazingly useful for anything, whether it be in business, or in my case, martial arts and music. It just makes everything make sense all of a sudden! For example, I know that flying sidekicks were used to take out horses by surprise, and that using it straight out in a tournament is probably an idiotic move…

    My parents say that guitar is the easiest instrument to play and that tons of people can learn it on their own. As a musician myself, I don’t actually believe that, and I’m willing to bet that many rock stars have a background in music by the time they learn how to play guitar. Even if guitar is indeed easy, lots of practice will eventually make perfect. Same goes for voice! (People who think that the ability to sing is something you either have or don’t have seem to be high in number, and silly these days… grr!)

    Good luck on your goals, and Happy New Year!

  6. I wish that I actually liked reading nonfiction books. I’m always ready to learn, but for the life of me I can never get into them. I think the only nonfiction books I’ve been able to read were the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, haha. Which are meant for like 8 year olds. Ahh…

    One of my goals for 2012 is to read more as well. πŸ™‚ I used to read allll the time, like two books a week, at least. And then I entered high school and started doing other things, getting into different habits. I’ve recently (as in the last month) been reading a lot more. So I’m hoping to continue that. I’m also looking forward to reading John Green’s new book! I’ve always loved his books.

    Good luck with fulfilling all of your goals, and here’s to a happy new year! πŸ™‚

  7. Happy new year! Hope you’ll have a great year! πŸ˜€ I like your goals, I hope you can full fill all of them πŸ™‚ I still have to write my goals down since they are all in my head xD

  8. I can totally see what you meant by going in the complete opposite direction, straight for orange and sunshininess! I love it! It actually makes me feel so much happier seeing it even though it’s really getting dark outside now.

    I should really take a leaf out of your book and try to use the autobiographies of famous people and apply to my own situation. Perhaps I’m too lazy but I should at least try! I haven’t really thought about New Year’s Resolutions but maybe I should make trying things a priority. The whole New Year just kind of rolled right past me. I think I’m getting a bit old now. πŸ˜› I learnt long ago that I suck at New Year’s Resolutions. I make drastic targets and expect too much too quickly.

    Oooo Shelfari! What is this exotic new thing that I’ve not heard of? I love seeing people’s taste in literature so I’ll have a nose around that. If I had a Shelfari, our shelves would share two out of the four books: “The Fault in our Stars” and “Lolita”. I was in the bookstore recently and I considered picking up “Lolita” but I was kind of weary of what I would read and how I much I wanted to read. :/ On a side note, I swear high school drains life out of everyone. I used to be a heavy reader too but I just stopped. I started to pick it up slowly again but it’s like I’ve lost the ability to concentrate on it for a sustained period of time without worrying about other school-related nonsense.

    As for practicing music, I just have to admire you for actually wanting to practice. I practice basically everyday but that’s nowhere near out of personal choice. Had I my way, I’d run as far away from the piano as possible and then regret it badly later on in life. πŸ˜›

    Anyway, happy new year and I hope you can meet your goals!

  9. ooh books.. yeah I really should start reading. I just don’t have the time for it. Okay, maybe I do but if I can’t make time for the gym, lol why should I make time for my books I always say… lol. Work makes you pooped.

  10. Wow, the only book I ever read for 9 hours straight is probably Harry Potter. Everything else I manage for make myself stop, haha. I do enjoy memoirs though if they are meaningful rather than boring blog entries such as mine.

    I gave up on resolutions because I’d forget about them! However I think your goals are manageable and reasonable to add into as a part of your life! I used to be an avid reader too, until I made commuting a part of my life. For some reason all time just disappeared! And since I’m no musician, good luck with your musical goals. I used to play some instruments and it was hard to practice every day like I was forced to.

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