Social Media Photos

So I’ve been given the task of assorting the right sort of photography for social media sites such as Twitter & Facebook, luckily Jamie Croft was on the scene as well as Mr.Chatfield ( man I talk about that guy too much, well without further or do, here are the pics along with their corresponding social media platform.

Mike guitar pic #1

This one I use for Facebook, good picture of the guitar, smiles all round and it’s based in a studio (professionalism)


This one I use as a cover photo and also for twitter, I like the focus (because it’s all on me *cough* pretentious)

Pic of me with pedal #1

I have used this on facebook to talk about my pedal (and other goodies) not the best of pictures but it’s got a black backdrop and I look a tad like a homeless Ollie Murs so it’s a 3/10 from Len…

blog post #2

Also I have used this on Myspace (yes, it is still a thing) because it actually shows me playing live. I never play live, so this is pure gold for me, oh god I wish I could play live more!

Mike Guitar pic #2

An finally my back up from the Facebook picture, I still thought this was relevant but I’m not smiling… an people want to see smiles (employment purposes) although my beard looks like a lining of golden wonder I thought this one would be kept secret from the masses.


All The Things You Are

All The Things You Are

Key – Ab Major (Fminor)

Form – A A B A

This piece conists of flavoured chords (my favourites) such as major 7ths, 9ths dominant 7ths,9ths minor 7ths,9ths so it already givces off the impression that it’s not your conventional piece. These are the chords supplied with the notes attached:
F-7 – F Ab C Eb
Eb7 – Eb G Bb Db
Abmaj7 – Ab C Eb G
A-7b5 – Ab B D Gb
C+7 – C E G# Bb (Augmented)
Bo7 – B D F Ab
C7#9 – C E G Bb D#

Bars 1 – 8
The first 5 bars are in Ab major and follow the chord progression of 6, 2, 5, 1, 4….going into a 2-5-1 (ii V I) in the key of C major. Due to C minor 7 being closer to the key of Ab major it has the transition over the C major 7 which in conventional terms the listener would be more inclined to expect. The ii-V-I in bars 6&7 resolves to the parallel major as Cm is the expected key.

Bars 9 – 16
Similar to section 1 the first 5 bars follow the same chord progression of 6, 2, 5, 1, 4, but in the key of Eb major. This change of key was created at bars 8 and 9 where a ‘parallel minor’ was used, going from a Cmaj7 to a C-7….a parallel minor is the minor key based on the same root note as the origin, here we have C major to C minor where C is the root note. So the modulation on bars 6 to 7 using the 2, 5, 1 to change into the Cmaj7 then into the C minor 7 with a parallel minor, leading to Eb major, similar to section 1 the last 3 bars become a ii V I in the key of Gmaj7.  Bars 14&15, Gmaj7 is the parallel major. Bars 9-16 is the same as 1-8 but modulated a perfect 5th higher.  The C+7 is an enharmonic pivot chord, on one level it is the altered dominant 7th chord of the Fm7 in bar 25, but the basic triad of C+ is exactly the same as E+ (E, G#, B#), and just one note different from the Emajor triad (E, G#, B), so it links the 2 keys of Emajor and Fm.

Bars 17 – 24
The first 4 bars of this section follows on the ii-V-I from section 2, in the same key using the A-7-D7-Gmaj7. Then it leads into another ii-V-I in the key of E major. Then the last 2 bars with the Emaj7 and C+7, the C+7 shares some notes to the Emaj7, these notes being E and G#, which almost makes sense but it still sounds non-diatonic, the B section is apparent due to it’s unfamiliarity with the rest of the status quo

Bars 25 – 36.
25 – 30 to start with are very similar to bars 1-8 , a 6, 2, 5, 1, 4 in the key of Ab Major (vi, ii, V, I, IV). Following on the chord progression goes down in semi-tones creating a chromatic movement from the Db-7 to the Bb-7. Leading into the same 3 chords in section 1 and the first part to section 4, Bb-7, Eb7 and Abmaj7. Then for the last 2 chords it creates a minor ii-V-I back into the start of the chords again…..also known as a minor turnaround.

Fifteen Two Part Inventions

Fifteen Two Part Inventions

The ten bar piece applies several contrapuntal conventions. The start of the extract is also C major, which has neither any sharps or flats but then are examples of modulation such as bar 4 (G – F#) then on bar 9 returns to it’s former key of C major

The first bar gives a great example of exact imitation (Exact imitation is when a melody is repeated with the same notes and same rhythmic structure) where the treble clef plays the 1st idea and the bass clef repeats this but at a later time, 2 beats into the first bar. The first motif is the first seven 16th notes ending on the G 8th note and indicated by the phrase line.

Contrary motion and melodic inversion are shown in bar 3 & 4 (Bars 3 & 4 is an augmentation of only the first 4 notes of the motif.) , the contrary motion is show between the bass and treble clef as the melody is going down on the treble clef, its going up on the bass clef. Contrary motion is a movement of opposite directions so one would be going up in pitch while the other is going down in pitch. The melodic inversion is the two movements using the same intervals to travel, the treble clef is travelling down in seconds where the bass clef is travelling up in seconds. Melodic inversion is a form of imitation.

Augmentation is when notes are doubled in value I.E 16th notes made into 8th notes. (Also a type of imitation – the same melody played again)
The bass clef on bars 3 and 4 is an augmentation of the motif, its a diatonic augmentation to a point but when it reaches the F# it modulates into the key of G major making the whole augmentation non-diatonic. Bars 5 and 6 repeat the last 4 notes of the motif going up in thirds rather than going down in thirds, this pattern is repeated 3 times going up in thirds from E to C ending on the third of C giving an octave of E. On bar 5 the bass clef plays the motif but a tone up from the origin, therefore giving us the F# as a tone up from E is F#, this will make the modulation from C to G sound almost natural as it’s repeating a pattern previously heard.

There’s similarity between bars 7 & 8 to bars 1 & 2 but this time the bass clef is starting the idea and the treble clef is making an exact imitation, coming in after 2 beats of the bar. At the end of bar 8 the bass clef becomes a treble clef, melodic Inversion is also then shown on bars 9 & 10 in which the bass clef plays by starting the idea whilst the treble clef plays the melodic inversion by harmonizing the idea by playing a perfect 5th harmony over the top. Bars 9 & 10, the tune goes up a tone (major 2nd) modulating into D minor.

Venue (Areas of Music)

Venue (Areas of Music)

Venues… The pride and joy of a musicians life? I think not!

This post will focus on a range of venues that I’ve played at, attended, failed at and also been paid at in my recent musical life. I say recent due to me only finding that music is brilliant since I was half way through 17, these are the venues I shall be discussing in my blog:

– Kidderminster College’s Theatre

– LG Arena

– L’Opera Italian Restaurant


Kidderminster College’s Theatre

Well this is my most comfortable of the three seen as though I attend the college and I’m used to the setup and way the theatres handled. These are the things that add to how I perform and my stage presence, I’ve done around 6-7 shows now but I’ll be conversing about one in particular which is “Quarantine,” This show is a theme based show centred around a zombie apocalypse and songs that have the same sort of aura about them. Some of the hits on this were;

– Toxicity – System Of A Down

– Killing In The Name Of – Rage Against The Machine

– Creep – Radiohead

– You Make Me Wanna Die – The Pretty Reckless

– Judas – Lady Gaga

So there was a well rounded set list with a variety of tracks, I’ve only added five but we as a class had a set of around 12-15, so let me get into the setup of the performance. We had 2 Laney amps + 1 Laney bass amp with the vocals being hooked up to the couple of grand P.A system, the drums had around 3 crash cymbals and 2 rides turning it into a ridiculous piece of equipment which we will soon learn to regret. As an extra too we had prosthetics added to our faces as we dressed as zombies and had extra skin which we threw at the audience to add to the theme and kind of creep them out, so on with the performance…

After a series of performances from other pupils it had fallen upon my group to sort of shake things up in order to keep the enthusiasm of the audience in our favor, so in the pitch black we start slurring our voices and walking with broken legs (zombies) and grab our instruments, with a massive open D chord combined with a smash of drums an twang of the bass the introduction to Rage Against The Machines – Killing In The Name Of we’re pretty much bouncing off the walls due to the fact that the guitar lines are so simple it gives the opportunity the exaggerate a performance.  Then comes along the bass line which is D to Eb which builds suspense for another hard hitting riff which we execute perfectly and still keeping the performance strong and at a high level of energy and enthusiasm (I think it’s safe to say the audience were captured and that we were enjoying ourselves)

blog pic venueblog pic venue #2






The next venue I shall discuss is the LG Arena in Birmingham, The pictures are just examples, the one on the right is a stage that is set up as the thousands walk in and have to be sat in an area for around an hour before they get ushered into the arena. This is where me and my fellow singer at the time supported One Direction and performed to around 1500-2000 people, the stage is spacious and the P.A system is quite expensive and the quality good too, the setup was just him singing and me with an acoustic so we were going to need to something special to attract the attention of everyone. First off, the sound engineers were very friendly and supportive which is a first and we helped them set up their gear as we wanted to cement a future placement, so as we waited around, the contact (Charlotte) starts messing with her Ipod playing constant chart music as thousands of girls were all checking out the stage.

On with the playing and my heart was racing as there were a carpet of faces and heads, I looked down and played my first 7th chord for John Newman’s “Ordinary People,” and then realized “Oh, this is easy, yeah let’s kick it up a notch,” so me being a “Not the average beach guitarist,” starts whacking out different chord voicing’s, rhythms and melodies as the vocalist gets more comfortable he also starts altering and improving the feel for songs. The audience’s reaction is phenomenal as we only played a 7 song set we were very much welcomed by the thousand and I assumed they thought we were famous, hence our great reception! honestly I wouldn’t mind playing for pop artists if it meant arena gigs as they really cement your ambition to play music. One of my best gigs to date and the difference between this and the college one is that this was purely foreign, we had no one that knew us that was there we purely had to showcase that we were pretty good to get them on  our side. Quite a challenging objective but we somehow achieved it!




Last venue of my outrageously long blog post shall be my most recent of gigs (which I’m still currently doing as a regular gig) and that is playing as a background jazz band for an Italian restaurant. Now after doing this like 5/6 times the place really feels like regular work now but I’ll be discussing our first gig when it was just me, my guitar, amp, P.A system and Rosie.

So we had a deadline of 2 weeks to get a set list of 20 – 25 songs all of good quality so we could be the background music to improve the feel and all round atmosphere of a new Italian restaurant, as I got there the owner shown me where we were going to play in the next 2 hours… honest one of the tiniest spaces ever as we set up the equipment we barely had any room to play but then again made for a new experience. So on with the playing, as the tables started filling I put the reverb on the mic and guitar to add an effect and hopefully make us sound a lot better, the first 3 tracks had no applause and were of mediocre quality, we were nervous… very nervous!! Then again it was a “Background Noise,” gig so we continued to play at our best, we come to “My Funny Valentine,” in which we played brilliantly and the vocalist really nailed every section, after playing the last chord I hear “Bravissimo!” shout from the bar, the whole restaurant cheers and smiles at us as if they had been saving their applause for something special. The next 10 songs up to the break were played to a higher quality due to our confidence being lifted from that specific song, as we got to the break the tables were fully filled and the customers all wanted to chat to Rosie “The singer,” I’m never bothered about the aftermath of we playing as long as I know that I played the a high standard. We come back and the crowd are captured by every chord, every vocal line and  every note that was played, me and Rosie look at each other and start rustling up the songs and become a tad more hedonistic with what we were playing. Also a great gig! The difference between this and the rest is that this is a lot more intimate, the crowd are eating so the song choices have to be very quiet and passive because you really don’t want to spoil their evening, also this is a paid gig which is very important.

Paid gigs add a certain amount of professionalism and pressure to any gig, you want that money and you will up the game. The objective set has to be met as well as bringing extra so that you cement your next future opportunities, as my story of the three venues comes to a close, just a note to say that I’m still playing at the Italian place, it’s brought many opportunities for me and Rosie in which we still thrive to become better. Plus there all paid gigs… which is nice!

My Notation… The Need To Get Better

I recently jotted down a few ideas in lesson for a short composition as the lecturer explained what we would need to hit our curriculum. During this he mentioned about us writing parts for each other and performing each other’s work like we have been doing recently, my piece was designed for Carl & Alex Nash. Here are the points James posted for me :-

– Improvement from last week, much neater

– Flags are still too small

– Good use of repeats

– There’s an accidental on the fourth bar on section B (treble clef) which is wrong, should’ve been a C flat.

– I don’t think Alex & Carl we’re taken into consideration when writing this piece, on the plus side it has some good ideas

Now this was the most forgiving bit of feedback I’d received, I now realise that I’m struggling with theory a lot so I’ll be posting of my attempt to get extra work from Murphy (Lecturer) and posting my progress as I attempt to catch up to everyone else on my course.

I feel embarrassed to show my transcriptions as they always have something wrong, I’ll be fine tuning this and as I’ve now identified the problem I’ll fix this so I get more confident with my transcriptions and continue to challenge my self.

I photo-linked this to a piece by Yann Tierson who I will be studying soon, french music & Amelie!

Jazz & The Beginning Of A Wonderful Thing

My Jazz Gig With Rosie Mountjoy

Hey there… once again I have a tale of me doing something a tad interesting, I’ve also made a photo click link to My Funny Valentine by Chet Baker, I feel that my cover’s a bit more accurate to his version.

So for the past week (that’s right, a week) I was given the deadline to learn a 2 hour set of jazz standards for a background music gig at a local Italian restaurant with a lovely singer that I’ve only known as an acquaintance for a few months. We we’re both excited to be playing despite the tight deadline we tried to make as much time as possible through our lectures in the week, luckily we had a third party that had gotten us the gig and was guiding us through what we we’re expected to do. So with our merry gang I we planned a rehearsal!

The rehearsal was due in which I got to college a tad early to prepare for both singer and conductor to attend, I also took the liberty of buying room temperature water (So it didn’t hurt her vocal chords) and set up my sound and sheet music stands. I think little things like this showcase my professionalism, throughout the whole time I spent with them both I tried to make a good impression and show the HND Level 5 Music Performance are very focused and polite musicians that have the tools and skills needed for professional life. Well after already using my spare time as productive as possible I researched most tracks and got them down, as both parties got to the rehearsal room they said “Thank you,” as they actually noticed those “Little things,” I mentioned earlier so I reckon I made a good impression. As we started our first track which was “Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra,” I started smiling to myself as she sung it beautifully, I could only sit and play but admire as she was pretty much doing all the work and I was just following instructions on a piece of paper. “This is what I want to do,” i thought to myself as I was using different chord voicing and adding dynamics such as finger picking, staccato, modal soloing and a gentle riff here and there in my lousy attempt to show to her that I’m pretty good… it sort of worked as she was pleased enough after every song but we both knew near the end of this rehearsal that the pairing was right and that we’d be able to hit that deadline and produce quality songs.

As we got to the second rehearsal my conductor (Also good friend Ollie Patton) had some good notes mainly on my playing giving good direction on certain songs whether to give them more of an upbeat or “Lounge-ish,” feel. I took this in good stead and followed his instruction to the letter… or word, the problem that was arising was the fact that we we’re running out of jazz standards we knew and time was running out for research and listening so we opted to use modern songs in a jazz style which was entirely down to her vocal phrasing and my chord inversions.

I was lucky, my tutor Mr. Phi Yaan Zek gave me a chord sheet on inversions, I thought to myself “This has saved me!” so we had around 2 days left with about 4 hours practice under our belt including private rehearsal so the nerves were kicking in but I had used my chord inversions on all the plain originals of these modern songs so they were sounding a lot better and Rosie and Ollie were loving them. Using this we were able to get about 3-4 hours more practice before the gig!

Gig time! so throughout the day we polished on “Billie Jean – Michael Jackson,” and a few others just to tighten them up but this is what our set list looked like:

– Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra
– Autumn Leaves – Various Artists
– My Funny Valentine – Chet Baker
– Make You Feel My Love – Adele
– What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
– Starry Eyed – Ellie Goulding
– Moving To New York – The Wombats
– Dream A Little Dream – Etta James
– Back To Black – Amy Winehouse
– Someone Like You – Adele
– Killing Me Softly – Roberta Flack
– Too Close – Alex Clare
– Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
– Last Request – Paolo Nutini
– Your song – Elton John
– Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
– Ordinary People – John Legend

So we mixed modern and classic alike to get a good vibe all thanks to our conductor, Ollie really helped in which I thanked and relied on his direction a lot during the rehearsal period. As I got to the venue I was greeted by the owner who spoke very little English but due to the fact I had my guitar, music stand, P.A, Speaker and my amp he realized who I was ( big thanks to James Chatfield & Daniel Whybrow for the help and equipment). Me an the conductor started to set everything up as the restaurant was beginning preparations for the evening parties, as Rosie got there with her equipment it finally dawned on us “Damn, we’re actually performing!” so we kept asking each other questions about the set and chordal choices due to nerves. As the public started to come in we waited for at least 3 tables to be set up, the back drop is a very vintage Italian space filled with large round tables with a varied wine bottle perfectly centered with sparkling glasses and cloth surrounding, keeping the red white and green (Italian flag) theme across the whole space with the constant smell of beautiful food in which we were to be a part of. As we started our first song we realized that people aren’t really giving much attention but rather conversing between themselves and having a great time, as the space really filled up we relaxed because we weren’t the center of attention although each song was given the kudos we we’re looking for.

As the set was getting past it’s salad days (Shakespeare’s term for beginning, early stages… that’s right, I’m quite the poet) we we’re delved so far into the swing of things that time didn’t matter an I thought to myself “I’m really enjoying this, this is brilliant, I hope Rosie’s enjoying it,” applause after applause after our hard work paid off, then one of the workers (also very Italian) said “Why don’t you spice it up a bit,” so we added tempo and a tad more treble to my toneless guitar in which was well received by the audience. During our set I was greeted by my improvisation guys who I mention all the time in my blog as well as my good friend and fellow musician Mr. Danny Whybrow, this was huge to me as it made me feel comfort and they could see me enjoying myself. Once it was over Rosie smiled to me and said “Thank you,” as every table on the way to the bar wanted to speak to her and ask her 20 questions ranging from “When are you coming back?” to “Next time, could you play this?” so I think she gained a fan base, or we both did?

The owner shakes my hand and thanks us massively for our performance, I was taking a back when he said excitedly “When can I have you back?” with his little English slur, I was massively honored if anything to be given the chance to do it again and as Rosie managed to get away from her new friends we spoke about the future of us playing there in 2 weeks. Last but not least it was time to talk money, we got paid, it was very rewarding anyways to see our rehearsal flourish into applause and congrats but to get paid was just the icing on top of very delicious cake!

I’m not expecting anyone to read it all but thank you for following me this far, if ever in doubt about music, rehearse some songs talk to people and get out there, the enthusiasm you gain from doing a gig is like nothing else so what’s stopping you? I’d like to read about your gigs!

My Playing Today… My Sad Sad Realisation

My Playing Today... My Sad Sad Realisation

Some days when your just not feeling up to it, excited at the beginning of my lectures in the knowledge that I would be starting on a third album got my fingers tingling from another nights practice as I knew I got to try that new riff I’d been working on. As the lecture began on something about french music that I knew I’d be no part of (Well I’ll be studying and showing my third party perspective of musicians in the pit) all I could think about was the music I’d be making at exactly 2:00 PM that very day, 4 hours I thought to myself “I can do this!” but there was something that happened along the way that made me re – think everything.

As my lecturer was talking about “La Mer,” which is the original french “Somewhere, beyond the sea,” I thought to myself “I have 1 year and then I’m in the professional world, what am I going to do?” this question repeats itself over 500 million times disorientating me from everything in front of me as I’m now warped and 1000 miles away from the very room in this state of consciousness where I play different future scenarios of what I’ll be like in the future. Some of these scenarios of my vivid imagination give me comfort in the knowledge that my creativity and need for security will put me at ease in life where I’ll be financially safe and happy but then it came.

The scenarios of me not being happy and destroying everything that the world says I need such as money, job, relationships, children and family. This all happens in the space of what felt like 8 hours of solid imagination but was more 5 minutes to the rest of reality, these thoughts really sent me into a depressive state where I had to sit back and constantly chew on my fingers to come back to earth and realize that I’m fine but am I?

As the lecture continues to around 1:50 that excitement of me playing ambient seems less magnificent and more bleak as the question “What can you see us doing in 10 years slips out of my mouth,” the lecturer thinks it over as he doesn’t know how to answer properly but then after 3/4 minutes of the class pushing him he decides to dish out his ideas based on stereotypes and his knowledge of who we are based on an accumulation of knowing the man for around 400+ hours. The room was buzzing at first and full of charisma but as he went round the room, the gleam from everyone’s eyes that hoped for the “Your gonna be famous,” was sorely misplaced as it’s very unlikely for any of us to “Make it.” I’ll blog about that disgusting term in the future but here’s what he had say for me “I can see you definitely teaching, maybe sticking to what some of the others had of still playing in bands to keep the energy there but yeah, you have that certain need for security in which I can definitely see you teaching.” This actually made me happy for the first 5 minutes but then it came to me, his answers for everyone where still very musically entailed, I began to question to myself “Maybe it’s a white lie, we’ll probably be happy and realize our potential if we put our minds to it but the percentage of us really fighting this struggle we’re all so enthusiastic to fall into is extremely low.”

Just a thought, well…. many but this is my first attempt at a very opinionated blog about my future in music and i feel is very relevant to my work as it hints at what I feel is an ambition. I’m glad I found somewhere to actually share this so I really thank you if you bothered to read it.

P.s – I linked Brian Eno’s music to the film “Lovely Bones,” awesome stuff and I was listening to it the whole time I wrote the post, en-captured my thought process at the time.