I decided to start the new year having some fun with musical instruments. Each day I’m playing something different – recording a short video and drawing a quick sketch of it. It’s my latest involvement in “FunADay” – which I’ve been part of since 2014 – see my back catalogue here!
1 – drum kit – I’ve been playing for a few years now, and really love drums. I used to play keyboard in a rock band: then our drummer left, I offered to have a go – and haven’t looked back since! Currently I drum with Dirt Road Collective – a lo-fi blues band based in Perth.
2 – glockenspiel – the notes are laid out like a piano, which makes it easy for me to find my way – and it makes a cool jingly sound . . . This one has proved popular in music therapy groups I’ve run, and has also been used on a couple of albums the past few years.
3 – electric guitar – since my teens I’ve played guitar, and bought this one from Rainbow when I was a student at Abertay in the late 90’s – it’s a solid feeling Les-Paul-copy. It’s featured on most of my albums so far, and is a satisfying instrument to play… in this case through a tiny Epiphone amp.
4 – bongo drums – it’s loads of fun to play these, you can spend a while trying out the different ways to hit the high/low drums with your hands, fingers, palms… These have been popular in music therapy too, I’ve seen them used as a substitute for speech, people tapping out high and low sounds along to music and songs.
5 – flute – way back at secondary school I learned to play the flute, then my mouth changed shape as I grew – my “embouchure” changed, so my flute-playing finished there. During music therapy training I bought this one off eBay and it’s been good to get back into the instrument – plus it’s particularly portable :)
6 – mandolin – my dad gave me this as a gift – and I’ve been learning a few things on it. It will appear on my next album, fitting in well with the country/folk sound… The strings are tuned in fifths, the same as a violin, which makes it good for playing open-sounding chords…
7 – ocean drum – another staple of music therapy sessions, this unique kind of drum has a range of sounds. You can hit it, shake it, roll it, but probably the gentle sound of waves at the beach is the most soothing . . . This was also bought from eBay during music therapy training.
8 – egg shakers – easy to hold and play – and coming in a range of types – these are great for playing along to songs.
They’ve been so popular in music groups I’ve bought 8 so far . . .
9 – cowbell – an addition all the way from cattle farming, and who can deny some songs just need more cowbell?!
With these first 9 instruments, I recorded a short clip each day – then the next day I listened to the previous clip and went from there – the video below brings them all together.