January 22, 2014

Problem solving for musicians

1. Define the problem (what do I want this note/phrase to sound like?)

2. Analyze the problem (what is causing it to sound like this?)

3. Identify potential solutions (what can I tweak to make it sound more like I want?)

4. Test the potential solutions to select the most effective one (what tweaks seem to work best?)

5. Implement the best solution (make these changes permanent)

6. Monitor implementation (do these changes continue to produce the results I’m looking for?)

Source: http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/how-many-hours-a-day-should-you-practice/

January 20, 2014

Transcending Levels of Consciousness [UPDATE]

If you knew me, Dr. David Hawkins’ Power Vs. Force is my bible.

It talks about the levels of consciousness.

The moment I first held the book in my hands, my default state was somewhere between Pride and Courage. I was between Force and Power.

Until today, throughout my life, I’ve felt the progress I’ve been making in transcending levels of consciousness. From the age of:

5-7: Fear

Scared of getting into trouble. Scared of getting a bad grade. Scared of riding a bike. Scared of falling off a bike. Scared of parents.

7-11: Desire/Fear

Childhood dreams, imaginations and passion. <insert your own childhood rockstar/astronaut/doctor dream here>. Scared of parents.

11-15: Anger/Fear

Teenage rebellion. No one understands you. You want to be loved. You want to be noticed. You wanted to be cool. You wanted to fit in. Scared of parents.

15-19: Pride/Anger/Fear

Friends take notice of your talents. Teachers take notice of your talents. You’re proud. You have a status. You’re smart. So you should be treated as the genius kid. Angry at parents for not praising you as much as friends and teachers. Scared of parents.

19-23: Pride/Anger/Fear

You start making a living. You’re proud of your work. You’re proud you’re recognized by some people in the industry. You’re angry your parents don’t recognize any of it. You don’t have enough balls to face the world on your own (because subconsciously, you don’t know what the world is entirely made of).

23 -:  Courage/Neutrality/Willingness

That thing you have always wanted is not a magical dream. It doesn’t take magic. It’s right here. It’s real. It’s a part of reality. First level of empowerment. You embody humility. You embody compassion for your parents. You smile at them. You mind your own business. You know when to help and show empathy for others. You’re comfortable with who you are and what you were made for. You stand for your career. You have nothing to prove. You’re willing to chip in work you have never done before. You get your hands dirty and it’s okay that people see. You take on new skills. You handle new opportunities of life. You have the confident capability to live in the world. You’re not interested in conflict, competition or guilt. You’re harmless. You’re not led to control other people’s behaviours. You have a flexible, non-judgmental and realistic appraisal of problems. Growth is rapid here. Work is done well. Success in all endeavours are common. You’re genuinely friendly. Social and economic success automatically follow. You’re willing to face inner issues and learn easily without major learning blocks. You don’t feel demeaned to learn new skills from the bottom. You bounce back from adversity and learn from experience. You are self-correcting. You are an excellent student. You’re willing to look at your defects and learn from others. Self-esteem is high and reinforced by positive feedback from the society in the forms of recognition, appreciation and reward. You show sympathy while responding to the needs of others. You have overcome inner resistance to life and is committed to participation. Bonus for romance: You acknowledge of the dedication it takes in reality to have the romantic partner you have always wanted in a long-term relationship. You acknowledge the time and effort it takes to hold a romantic relationship. You allocate the quality, energy, time and effort for a romantic relationship. You give room for a romantic relationship in your life. You allow the energy of a romantic partner in your life. You allow the presence of a romantic partner. You allow the company, the companionship, the charisma, the existence, the BEING of a romantic partner. And you allow the possible unexpected circumstances to happen caused by your partner. You accept every possible event in a romantic relationship.

It’s interesting and EXTREMELY stimulating to transcend levels of consciousness. It’s really exciting.

January 20, 2014

Asian parents don’t teach you to grow up, be an adult and be independent

Unless you’re poor.

Or perhaps, that’s just the way they raise daughters in Asian culture.

I had to teach myself to face my fears and conquer over them. I had to teach myself to be independent and be an ADULT. All the processes of mastering my craft. All the processes of having the courage to LEARN.

You gotta go through it all and DOMINATE.

January 19, 2014

Spark – Mac Keyboard Shortcuts Manager (Can’t live without it)

I wanted to share a Mac application I’ve been using since I got my first Mac in 2007 (or was it 2008).

It’s Spark: http://www.shadowlab.org/softwares/spark.php

A keyboard shortcuts manager.

Simply put:

  • CTRL + B: Safari
  • CTRL + F: Photoshop
  • CTRL + P: TextEdit
  • CTRL + V: Traktor
  • CTRL + Q: Home Folder
  • CTRL + ALT + F: Open selected file in Photoshop

After nearing 5 years of using Spark, I’m donating now ^^ (took me a while).

January 10, 2014

Questions that have obvious answers Indonesians ask in the form of small talk

So, I wanted to write a light-hearted post about some of the forms of small talk in the Indonesian culture.

It took me a while to get used to them and not be confused at why the person is asking the question in the first place.

Actually, now I think about it, this form of small talk exists in all language and is probably just something I consider worthless to ask lol.

Some of the questions go like this (in certain context):

(While eating)
Q: You haven’t eaten?

Well, obviously, I wouldn’t be eating if I have.

(Arriving at home)
Q: You just got home?

Does it seem that hard to notice? Yes, I just got in the front door.

Perhaps, if they were said in an affirmative format or in an alternative interrogative format, I wouldn’t be so confused why that person is asking these questions to such obvious answers.

(While eating)
Q: What are you eating?

I’m happy to answer that if the person is genuinely interested in what I’m indeed eating.

(Arriving at home)
Q: You’re home!

Well, that just cheers me up.
January 4, 2014


the foundation of commercial songwriting, particularly hit-single writing”, which varies in length from the repetition of “one note or a series of notes…[to] a lyric phrase, full lines, or an entire verse. The hook is ‘what you’re selling’. Though a hook can be something as insubstantial as a ‘sound’ (such as da doo ron ron), “ideally should contain one or more of the following: (a) a driving, danceable rhythm; (b) a melody that stays in people’s minds; (c) a lyric that furthers the dramatic action, or defines a person or place.

January 4, 2014

Adele’s 21 is proof to the music industry that albums still sells. You just gotta be HONEST AND GOOD


It’s a situation that is changing the nature of recording, says White: “Nobody wants album tracks any more, they just want singles. Before, you weren’t just chasing the money and the radio play – you could do something you really wanted to do, and had thus far been thwarted. Nobody wants the beautiful slow song that ends up as track 11 on an album but that everyone who buys the album will end up loving best of all. It’s down to iPod playing, cherry-picking, downloading. Fifteen years ago, you would hope that albums would outsell singles two to one. Now, I hear stories about Taio Cruz selling 13m downloads and 300,000 albums. And it’s not just him. Katy Perry: massive singles sales, small album sales. For publishing companies, that’s not a disaster – 13m singles is fantastic. But it’s a disaster for record companies and it’s a human disaster. The album is no longer the way people define themselves: there isn’t enough meat in there.”

Then he mentions Adele‘s LP 21, which has just spent its 15th week at No 1 in the UK, and suddenly he perks up: he has a song on that. “Oh, that’s a glorious bloody nose to the music industry. Short-termist arses. Start fucking making music with your hearts! The record industry was saying no one was buying records any more, and then someone makes a very stoical, honest, beautiful record and people are buying it in shedloads. Because it’s nutritious.”

Anyway, he says, album tracks or not, it’s a great job. “I’ve had Matt Cardle in today. We’ve both been making a fuck of a lot of noise, turning the guitars up really loud.” Matt Cardle off The X-Factor? Loud guitars? Noise? Really? “Yeah,” White chuckles. “Songwriting really is great fun.”

January 4, 2014

Gen-Y Songwriters and VCVCBC

I’d have to say that as a songwriter who was born in the 1990s, we were so used to listening to the #1s with VCVCBC form that I personally wound up having that as the default form of songwriting.

I was aware of the AABA forms in songs during the 60s (partly thanks to my Dad’s taste of music) but the VCVCBC form was the structure the little 9 year-old me thought was the default structure.

So, if you were to ask me about repetition in today’s songs, one should really ask Max Martin and other songwriters in the 1990s who are now into their 40s because they paved the structure for us. They created the pattern that us, the next generation, would follow suit.

January 4, 2014

Music Industry

The music industry is so used to have such a high bargaining power that when they slump down due to piracy, it seems like such a huge loss for everybody in the music industry.

Perhaps, there is no loss. There is just a slump to what is fair for today’s music.

And I’m speaking as a singer-songwriter-producer.

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