Howdy! ...from the Wonderful Land of Oz

Nov 21, 2021
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Melbourne, Australia
A small (for me) dissertation by way of introduction...

I started to learn to play the (electronic) organ at the age of 9 (formally but not classically) and continued with lessons for about 5 years (when school became too demanding), although I kept playing all the time. I mainly learnt to play classic show tunes (Rodgers & Hammerstein, Gilbert & Sullivan, etc), many tunes from the 'Great American Songbook' (Berlin, Gershwin, Kern, Porter, etc), '60s movie & TV tunes (too many & varied to describe), Beatles (a large portion of their catalog), 'easy listening' tunes, a lot of the rock/pop tunes from the '60s through the '80s and so on.

Sidebar: I frequently tried to play piano, off and on, over the years.. but I've never had sufficient strength or motor control in my fingers to deal with the action of a piano... and as long as the keyboard I'm playing has velocity sensing and aftertouch, I'm happy enough... :)

Whilst my organ study was going on, I also started playing guitar (no lessons, some basic chords and that was all, really)... and I was involved in most of the musical events held at my secondary school... including playing in a lot of the jams at lunchtimes.

I started playing synthesizers (very much a Roland aficionado, though not exclusively) and did some home recording in the '80s and '90s (having been inspired by Tomita, Jarre, Vangelis, etc)... and that continues, although these days, the 'mechanisms' have changed from using multiple physical keyboards (Jupiter 4, DX7, JX-3P, SH-101 and Casio & Yamaha 'home keyboards'), my (Teac M-144) portastudio, tape-sync and early-days hardware MIDI (much of it self-built) to DAWs, VSTis and software control/development, although I'm still using my (heavily modified) Yamaha DX7 as a controller keyboard (with most of the other gear having been sold, placed in storage or has been permanently 'lent out').

I became sort-of 'fatigued' with all the 'computer focused' music in the mid-2000s and had some real guitar lessons with a local teacher for a few years... and that study continues with a lot of lesson videos that I'm s-l-o-w-l-y going through (if folks are familiar with Brad Carlton at 'Truefire').

Similarly with my keyboard playing, although I've done a lot with modifying the tunes I've been playing (using chord substitutions, different simple voicings, etc), I've been doing some more extensive explorations of music theory this year, like upper structures, voicing 'theory', reharmonization, etc... and I'm extra motivated to get back to 'playing' some more.

Sure, the ultimate thing is still to keep on arranging, recording and using 'The Gear' and my knowledge to make some music at home.. but heading into my 6th decade (and with my eyes on retirement), I'm looking to 'Get Back' (haha) to spending a lot more of my time on my favourite 'hobby'.

I'm currently using Mixcraft 7 as my 'primary' DAW (although I use a lot of other things for various functions: energyXT, Reaper, 'Audacity' (not really a DAW), Mulab, etc)... the DX7 is my controller keyboard (and what I play 'just to play')... and I have a handful of Squier Stratocasters and Jazzmasters (of differing wiring/electrical configurations) for the guitar -side of things.

I'm looking to KeyboardForums(tm) to see how various folks are approaching their music making, how they've addressed any issues they've come up against with theory, sound design, battling gear and software weirdness, music production questions... all in the context of keyboard playing... and to hopefully bring something 'new' and/or useful to the group from my 50+ years of going gaga about music :)





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