Author Topic: G'day all! Sorry, this is a bit long.  (Read 1367 times)

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Offline Russted

G'day all! Sorry, this is a bit long.
« on: January 26, 2017, 02:17:25 AM »
G'day,

20 years ago I had a brain tumour, and in the operation to remove it I suffered the equivalent of a stroke. My left side was virtually paralysed, and my right side better but uncoordinated. Also, it caused a significant speech impediment – talking's problematic enough; I can't sing at all.

20 years later I'm much improved, though still very affected. A few months ago I had a revelation. I decided to restart doing things I used to love that 20 years ago I'd been 'forced' to stop, due to life changing. Until the time of the brain tumour I used to write songs, and also play for my own pleasure.

Back in 1983 I bought a Yamaha DX7. At that time it had just come out and I had no idea what I was buying. All I wanted was a touch-sensitive electric keyboard/piano. I'd just moved out of home, and needed a keyboard to replace the piano I no longer had access to, so I could continue writing songs. A touch-sensitive keyboard was critical to how I wrote songs. At the time, the electric keyboards I'd seen were not touch sensitive – the volume was controlled by a foot pedal. For me it was like trying to play a desk.

The salesman pointed me at a DX7, and it did what I wanted, so I bought it.

In years to come I came to realise that what I'd done was the equivalent of buying a Ferrari to go shopping once a week. In addition, I never took it out of first gear. I used it as a piano, and it spent its life either set up in my bedroom or in a travel-case under my bed. This makes it pretty rare among the 200,000 DX7's out there – most had a hard life gigging. In fact, even the travel case is amusingly embarrassing – it's a heavy duty unit, designed to withstand falls from the back of vans and small nuclear explosions. I simply wanted a box to put it in so I could slide it under my bed, and this was what was available.

After my op 20 years ago, I couldn't play or sing, so I stopped using it, and hadn't touched it since. My mindset from that time was that if I couldn't do something, then I didn't want to do it. Looking at it now I see that was about trying to regain some control of my life.

But I'm over that now, and late last year I decided to have a go at the DX7, which is stored in my garage. For both 'therapy' and fun. So, after 20 years untouched I set it up and turned it on. It powered up, but there were problems.

It turns out the DX7 has got a small internal battery, which maintains the onboard 'voices' and protocols, and when you don't plug it in for 20 years or so it dies. Replacing the battery is not simple - it's hard-wired into the device and requires a soldering iron and a degree in astrophysics. And even if I achieved that, restoring the lost data is almost as simple.

Instead I decided "Bugger it! I'll buy a new one". And so entered a brand new world. Things have changed in 30 years, and I was a bit dazzled by what's on offer. Captivated by the possibilities, I ended up buying a PSR-S770.

From a 'therapy' point of view, what I plan to do with it, in a serious disciplined regimen, is piano practice, like scales and exercises. I'm aiming for 1/2 hour per day, (which is about 1/2 hour more per day than I did when I was learning as a pre- and mid-pubescent). I know it'll be difficult, tiring and frustrating - I'm prepared for that - but I've learnt that the brain, albeit very slowly, changes itself (not so much 'repairs' itself, but it finds a way) if you push it, if you keep trying.

From a 'fun' point of view, to balance this un-fun discipline and keep me motivated, is to just play ad hoc, as I feel like it. I'm not trying to impress anyone, I don't care how good/bad I am, it's only for me.

In other words: yep, I've done it again. I've bought a Ferrari to go shopping.

Mostly what I do at the moment is get frustrated, a sore back, and be glad no one can hear me! I can read scores, but I can't play from them - I play by ear (and intuition when I'm writing something). And after 20 years without touching it, my ear's gone considerably tin! Oh well, I have to keep reminding myself this is a years-long project.

In the longer term, there are three things I will aim for. In order of difficulty:
1.   Input existing songs I've already got a recording of (ie. giving me a playable .mp3 'recording' of it. I have recordings, not necessarily very good but at least something, of about 60% of my songs)
2.   Input existing songs I haven't got recordings of (I've got just the lyrics – when I read them I remember the music)
3.   Create new songs

It remains to be seen whether I can do #3 (actually, I'm not sure I'll be able to do any of them). It will require me to develop an entirely new process – before I'd basically accompany myself singing, and I'd make up the words as I went along, just let my unconscious mind speak. Not sure how I'd do it now, or even if I can. It'll work itself out, or not.

I'd like to have had this machine 30 years ago, but as my nephew-in-law is fond of saying, it is what it is. Besides, there's nothing to lose – the worst case is I do nothing with it except muck around and have fun.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 03:22:41 PM by Russted »
 

Offline Graham UK

Re: G'day all! Sorry, this is a bit long.
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2017, 02:55:43 AM »
Russted. Nice to read your story which would not have easy to talk about.

I will be 80 in April and each morning I wake up I think to myself...Ha!! another bonus day.

We wish you well and best wishes from the UK
T2 + NP30
 

Offline Roger Brenizer

Re: G'day all! Sorry, this is a bit long.
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2017, 07:19:47 PM »
Hi Russted,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for becoming a member.  It's obvious you are a fighter and are here to enjoy life to its fullest.  Music is great therapy, which I'm sure you already know.  I'm certain with your mindset you will accomplish the goals you've set forth for yourself.

Congratulations of your purchase of the PSR-S770 keyboard.  I'm sure you're going to learn a great deal about your instrument here on the forum and will experience many pleasurable hours playing it.

The main thing is to enjoy playing and learning at your own pace and for your own enjoyment, which will bring you great satisfaction given your circumstances.  Take your time and don't push yourself and I'm sure a lot of your abilities will return to you over time.

You'll want to be sure to visit the Home page and check out some of the tutorials you will find links to there.  This link will take you to the Home page of the website: http://psrtutorial.com/

Should you later decide to become a supporting member, which will include lifetime membership, other forum boards will become available to you, as well as a wealth of additional musical knowledge; however, there is absolutely no obligation to do so.  You may also use the following link to discover the full benefit of becoming a Supporting Member of the PSR Tutorial.
http://www.psrtutorial.com/forum/index.php/topic,15536.0.html

In lieu of making a donation only, you may also order any of the websites resources, which can be found at the following link:
http://psrtutorial.com/cdrom/productsum.html

We're so glad you've decided to become a member and very happy you've decided to become a part of this great forum.  If you have any questions, then please just ask.  There are many members here who are always willing and eager to help you.
"Music Is My Life"
My best regards,
Roger

(The older I get...the better I used to be...LOL!!!)
Roger’s PSR Performer Page
 

Offline RONBO

Re: G'day all! Sorry, this is a bit long.
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2017, 01:33:03 PM »
hello russted,

Thanks for joining this great forum.

You're going to like it here.

Regards

Ron

Offline Linda K

Re: G'day all! Sorry, this is a bit long.
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2017, 06:34:16 AM »
Hello Russted

Thank you for sharing your story of great courage :) :)

Linda


Offline MBedesem

Re: G'day all! Sorry, this is a bit long.
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2017, 11:22:26 AM »
Russted:

Welcome to the forum. This is really the best place to be when you are just starting out.

We understand. Most of us have gone through the same process of learning to make music on these very flexible and capable instruments.

There is a lot of information, examples and files on http://psrtutorial.com/index.html, and the Lessons tab begins with a "Start Here"section for new owners who have just received their keyboard.

As most of us have found out, you can't become a concert grade performer/composer/arranger overnight, and to expect too much too soon just takes the fun out of it all. The best advice I can give is to start be doing things that sound good to you. It might be auditioning sounds that grows to picking out a favorite tune from memory. Or playing around with styles that are in a genre that gets your foot tapping. In my opinion, if you make the learning phase too big or demanding, you run the risk that its stops being fun.

And when you have a question or are confused by the manual or the instrument, just ask here.

Regards,

Michael


 

Michael P. Bedesem
mpb@vermontel.net
http://psrtutorial.com/MB/bedesem.html
Tyros 5