Day 81 | On Hold

Wow, a month since my last update! Oops.

Photo by Vincent Guth on Unsplash

I have to admit I have been a little distracted from my Cliffs quest for the past few weeks, guitar-wise and otherwise…

  • I tried to learn a couple of new songs that I could sing. “Midnight” by Lianne La Havas is one of them. It has a lovely jazzy guitar riff which I couldn’t stop playing once I had it down. Highly addictive. But then I tried to sing along… and fell hard on my face. I spent a few very frustrating evenings trying to figure out how to sync the two parts together, without much success.
  • I spent some time improvising (I think “messing around” would be a better term, though) and I stumbled on some interesting licks. I completely lost track of time exploring them. Some turned into riffs, which might turn into a couple of songs soon…
  • I also rediscovered some of the writing inspiration I had lost since summer, and I wrote some draft lyrics that I’m not too unhappy about 😏
  • Oh, and I moved flat. Again. Packed and unpacked my things for the third time in 5 months. It was nerve-wracking and exhausting, but it’s done. And there’s a good chance I won’t move again for at least 6 months! Woop woop!

Now I’m flying away from London on Friday to see my family in France for the Holidays, and I’m leaving my guitar here. So I won’t make any more progress on this challenge until January (I’m bracing myself for a 2-week guitar withdrawal)

This a good time to look back on my journey up to now.

End of Year Review

Looking back on my goals when I started this: how am I doing?

GOAL 1: Learn to play one of my favourite songs

Let’s say I can roughly play half the song at half the speed.

I have hit a few walls. Some tricky parts that still trip me up. Others that I’ll struggle to speed up. And the one right in front of me now, the next part I’ll need to learn: the interlude. I’ve had a first look at it and I feel like I’m going to struggle to make sense of it. I don’t know it very well by ear, so maybe it’s just a matter of listening to it more carefully? We’ll see in January.

My progress so far

GOAL 2: Find some sense of purpose

In these weird times, this little project has definitely brought me some comfort. While I was living in a strange and not very comfortable place these past months, feeling isolated and anxious, I was glad to have a clear reason to pick up my guitar and forget my surroundings for a moment every day.

The sense of accomplishment has also been comforting. Even if my progress is slow, I’m happy I haven’t given up 😊

GOAL 3: Start blogging again

Okay, I have pushed back writing an update by a week a couple of times since I started. Despite the procrastination, I’ve managed to write regularly about my journey.

GOAL 4: Improve my playing skills

I’m very happy with this one! Learning the song has given my fingers a pretty good almost-daily workout. I can see improvements across the board: picking & fretting speed and accuracy, bending, vibrato, muting… It’s also been a good training for my ears. I’m much more comfortable transcribing solos now and breaking through complex rhythms. And improvising feels a lot easier too.

GOAL 5: Have fun

It’s been frustrating at times. Challenging for sure. There have been days when I didn’t feel like picking up my guitar. But every time I managed to push myself and start practising, I ended up having a good time.

To be continued in January! I hope I won’t have forgotten too much of what I’ve learned. Although, I’ve found that letting things rest sometimes helps them mature, and once I pick them up again I’m able to make a lot of progress very quickly. Still, I might air-practice with my imaginary guitar during the Holidays 😛

Wishing everyone a warm and peaceful end of the year!

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I have decided to learn how to play Eric Johnson’s composition, The Cliffs of Dover, despite my wholly inadequate skills. I’ll be sharing my progress and process while I power through this journey!

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Ludivine Siau

Ludivine Siau

Reads and writes about product development, leadership, change management, mental health, creativity…

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