I’ve now set up a makeshift studio in my small music room. By hooking up a duvet over a cupboard door and tying it to the top of a mic stand I can make a sort of sound booth around my microphone. By opening all the other cupboard doors, pulling down a blind, and with a book shelf along another wall the acoustic properties seem to work fairly well. I’ve bought some foam draft excluder tape to seal the door when it closes, and found some carpet underlay to fill the gap under the door. It’s not exactly Abbey Road, but it’s the best I can do in the situation.
I’ve been busy composing and putting together more multi-tracked recordings. I’ve got a “Joyful Melody” in the pipeline. This time I’ve sent it to my mate Bubu to add a drum track to it - my simple bass drum and tambourine wasn’t really doing it. I’m excited to hear what he sends back. I’ve also added double bass to a song of a friend who lives in Switzerland. I recorded a version a few days ago, but I reckoned I could do a better job in my new ‘studio’ and had another go. Also a banjo playing friend living in Banbury wanted to put together something with me so I’ve recorded a version of “Muscrat Ramble” for him to play along to and send me his track back to mix together.
Another task I’ve had on the go for over 10 years is learning to play the trumpet. As a trombone and tuba player I’ve found it very difficult to teach my lips to create a trumpet embouchure (many have said I shouldn't try), but I’ve been making progress. A bit of daily trumpet practice, along with signing up to an on-line trumpet class, seems to be helping. And contrary to what people have said, it's actually improving my trombone playing in the process.
All these projects have done wonders for my mood – I feel like I’m learning something, and creating something, and recording yourself is a very good way of highlighting what you need to work on in your playing. So I hope that I’ll be a better musician when we all get back to gigging. I’d feared that by this point in the lockdown I’d be feeling very low but quite the reverse: With eating proper meals, going to bed at a sensible time each night, not having anything pressing to worry about, and with things to get on with I’m feeling positive.
I’ve been avoiding watching very much of the news. A quick glance is enough at the moment. Some friends are disgusted by how they think the government is managing the situation and want to tell everyone, but I think most just want to get through this before starting to point any fingers of blame.
It helps that the weather is glorious – bright sunshine and blue skies.