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#SSSVEDA August 2016. Day 16 – Piano Exercise For Beginners

Vlog Every Day in August is a challenge to make a video every day for a month.
This is my #16 vlog on the super excellent #SSSVEDA August challenge.

Today I got a Piano Lesson for you. This is one of the first things I teach to beginner students, and it’s a fun exercise to start moving your fingers. Have fun!

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#SSSVEDA August 2016. Day 14 – The Hardest Part Of Your Job

Vlog Every Day in August is a challenge to make a video every day for a month.
This is my #14 vlog on the super excellent #SSSVEDA August challenge.
Today I talk about the hardest part of being a musician according to my own experiences.

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#SSSVEDA August 2016. Day 11 – Improvising On The Keyboard

Today on my #SSSVEDA video I’m improvising on the Keyboard with a backing track I made. I had problems recording the presentation, so you don’t get to see me this time! ūüėõ

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#SSSVEDA August 2016. Day 4 – Rehearsal Day!

Vlog Every Day in August is a challenge to make a video every day for a month.
This is my #4 vlog on the super excellent #SSSVEDA August challenge.
Today is Rehearsal day and I’m playing some songs with my friend, the chilean singer Genaro Prieto.

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(Piano Covers) My Life of Worshipping Freddie

This is one of my favorite songs of all time.

The music and the lyrics are very touching;¬†¬†even though they weren’t meant to talk about Freddie’s life,¬†they suit amazingly well his story.¬† Maybe that’s why he sings it with such passion. ¬†It was originally recorded in 1986, and he was the only one who knew that he had contracted¬†AIDS at the time.

The funny thing is that this song wasn’t even written by Freddie. ¬†It was written by Dave Clark for “Time, The Musical“, yet it seems to capture Freddie’s soul so well.
I heard this song for the first time when I was still¬†in school, around the year 2000, ¬†when I got “The Freddie Mercury Album” on CD.¬† I absolutely loved that CD from start to finish.¬† Only later,¬†I found out that it was a “singles” album that was released in 1992, after Freddie’s death.¬† Before that period, “In My Defence” was an obscure, rare song that was featured only in the soundtrack of a musical.
As much as I always loved the song, I’ve never really tried to play it on the piano.¬† Maybe it was because it has such emotional content for me, I never wanted to be bothered learning the technical aspects of it.
Until now.After doing two Adam Lambert songs, I was moved to make a tribute to Freddie.

So I started transcribing it for the first time.  I was getting most of the chords and melody ready until I found out that there was already an official sheet score on the Internet.  Luckily, I could see there that I had figured out most of the chords okay (Yaay!).
Anyway, ¬†I thought that after learning the song,¬†I wouldn’t take much time recording it for Youtube.¬† Oh boy, ¬†I was wrong!It¬†was a complete nightmare. ¬†It was a Friday night.¬†¬†¬†I started recording it by 8pm, ¬†and I just couldn’t get it right, from start to finish.¬† It took me 34 takes to just get a few right.¬† Then I chose the one that’s on the video. I was very, very, very pissed off.¬† I worked that night until¬†3:00 a.m.¬†and I was exhausted.

The good thing is that, in the end, it worked out and I could get something nice, so I was tired, but ultimately happy.  I think the take that made it for the video was filmed at around 2am.  It was crazy!

 

This is In My Defence as sung by the late, great Freddie Mercury.

 

(Piano Covers) My Life As a Glambert

This is “Welcome To The Show” by Adam Lambert, ¬†featuring Laleh.

At the time I made this cover, it was a brand new song. ¬†I was deeply encouraged to do it by a friend, who happens to be a big Glambert.The story goes a little like this:¬† after doing “Ghost Town” and having a quite nice reception, especially among Glamberts, my friend asked me if I could do¬† one¬†of Adam’s songs for my next cover. ¬†Originally, I wanted to do another one from The Original High Album.¬† But at that time, it was announced on¬† social media that a new song was about to get released which wasn’t featured on any previous albums. ¬†So, ¬†I thought this was a perfect chance to do something that hasn’t been done before, and the idea was that I could make the first ever piano cover of this brand new song (And hopefully Glamberts would like it!)

Okay Kitty don’t fail me

So my goal was set, and as soon as the song was released, I started listening to it several times a day and transcribing the chords and melody to do a piano arrangement.¬† But, like¬†most things in life, very few¬†work exactly as you expect them to.I¬† had my summer vacation scheduled just¬†one week after I started working on the song, ¬†and I wanted to have it recorded and uploaded to Youtube before leaving the city.¬† I wouldn’t have my gear on my vacation, so the options were:¬† 1) doing the song in 5 days or¬† 2) doing it after I came back home about 2 weeks later.

At¬†the same time, ¬†my friend came up with a whole “marketing” plan for my rendition of this song. ¬†She would help me share it with friends and fellow Glamberts over Twitter and Facebook, and thought that we should¬†take the advantage of all the¬†excitement¬†that a new song always brings to Adam’s fans.

As¬†Adam was just starting his U.S. and European tour, she thought it was just the perfect timing to do it.And, she was already attending a Meet and Greet at¬†¬†Adam’s concert in Amsterdam, ¬†and she came up with the idea that she could give Adam, himself, ¬†a flashdrive with my “Ghost Town” and the “Welcome To The Show” videos!¬†¬† She bought a “Hello Kitty” flashdrive, which she thought would “stand out” ¬†to honor the occasion.
It was the perfect plan aimed to get my work known, but as you might imagine, it put a lot of pressure on me.  The timing had to be just right, and I had to do this thing before leaving the city.

So,¬†as bad luck would have it, ¬†the song was in the key of Bbm and I found it wasn’t as easy as I would hope for. It has some technical difficulties I had to overcome between the right and left hand, not the usual “one chord per bar”¬†like lots of pop songs, and overall, the Bbm key is always a nightmare for every pianist.I’m used to playing songs¬†in any key.¬† ¬†I learned a lot playing in bands with singers that would say “Can we play this just a little higher???”, so the band decided to play the song a half key up.¬† Ok, the guitar player puts his capotasto one “square” high –no problem. ¬† The bass player just plays the same thing as before but also half “square” up —¬†no problem.¬†¬† But the keyboard player gets completely fucked up in that process —¬†BIG PROBLEM.

You see,¬†you were playing mostly on white keys and a very common key, and now you have to deal with all the black keys at the same time.¬† That is a nightmare for any pianist or keyboard player who has to play songs “on the fly”.¬†¬† So, that would make an easily relaxed key like Dm, converted¬†to the hellish nightmare that is Ebm, or an easy song on Am converted¬†to ¬†Bbm.

And what does the rest of the band say about it??¬† ¬†DEAL WITH IT!, or “heey! I thought you were a professional musician”…… So, that way, I learned to play anything, ¬†even if in the most difficult keys.¬† But it’s always a challenge, and you always curse the “genius” who said: “Hey, let’s make this song¬†in Bbm instead of Am”, or “Let’s change the key from Cm to C#m instead of Cm to Dm which would almost be the same for any singer”.

Anyway, this song was in Bbm and I already decided that I would make all my videos in the same key as the original songs.  As I wrote before, I know very well how to play in any key, but it definitely adds a lot more challenge to anything you are attempting to perform, adding to all the technical challenges that any song has.

I noticed that this was a very time consuming task. ¬†I could play the song from start to finish, ¬†but I definitely was not ready to record it by the end of the week……. so I failed meeting the deadline… and I had to leave the city before finishing the song….I was beat up miserably by “Welcome To The Show.”

Anyway, I enjoyed my vacation, tried not to remember my miserable attempt¬†at doing the song,¬†and arrived home with just 3 days left before¬† the Meet and Greet. There wasn’t going to be any flashdrive at all if I didn’t make it, and it was the only chance to get my piano version of the song directly to Adam.I practiced the song many, many times ¬†and completed it just one day before the deadline. ¬†But I still had to record it!¬† So that night I ¬†stayed up pretty much until 5am recording and editing the video.¬†¬†I slept like¬†two hours, and tried to¬†get ¬†the video to my friend, ¬†who was¬†already in¬†Amsterdam and had given up on me by then, following several angry exchanges that only friends as close as we are can both engage in and endure.

Luckily another miracle happened:   the Wifi on both ends worked okay and she received the video file with just one hour left before the Meet and Greet.  I was just about to quit and forget about the song altogether!

But now, at this very moment, ¬†thanks to a lot of effort and the right timing, this video is¬†on a Hello Kitty flashdrive, hopefully still with Adam. ¬†And after getting both my friend and I very upset, everything turned out just fine!Adam responded with a¬†smile, ¬†a giggle, and interest¬†to my friend’s mention of the flashdrive and my songs.¬† My friend, one of those obsessed Glamberts, was thrilled with her part in this story.

And now, after 14 takes, here is the finished product

(Piano Covers) My Life is a Ghost Town

This is the 2nd Piano cover I’ve made for my web series.

I’m a big Queen fan, and I was very surprised to hear a new approach¬†to the original Adam Lambert song¬†created by Brian May and Roger Taylor. ¬†They performed a very “Queenie” version of this pop-dance song during the Queen + Adam Lambert South American tour in 2015.¬† It was a big rocker, ¬†and it featured an amazing Brian May guitar solo. ¬†I was very amazed about their version, I liked it so much that I instantly wanted it to be on my next Piano Cover video.

This time,  I took a different approach and made, from scratch, a backing track based on the Queen version.  Originally, I wanted it to be ready before the Queen + Adam Lambert concert in Chile (September 30th). But due to a full time shitty job I had at the time, it could only be completed in 2016.

This was a full music production work:  I transcribed all the instruments and sequenced them on Cubase 8.5, using Kontakt VST instruments running through Midi. Then, I had the backing track mixed and mastered before recording my Piano performance live in front of the camera. I recorded about 10 takes before getting the one I was happy about.

Finally, the whole track was mixed and mastered again with the live piano performance, and synced with the video footage.

If you want to hear the original Adam Lambert song, you can find it on The Original High album HERE.

Enjoy my rendition of Ghost Town by Adam Lambert (based on the Queen + Adam Lambert live version).

 

(Piano Covers) My Life With Katy

Katy Perry – Circle The Drain Piano Cover

Back in the beginning of 2015 I was inspired by many musicians who made covers of rock and pop songs in different styles and using different instruments to give songs a different approach.

So I decided to start my own series of rock and pop piano covers. ¬†This is the first video I made, and for several reasons I had to stop working on this project for most of 2015. ¬†But starting in 2016, I brought back to life the series, ¬†and since then I’ve been working non-stop on it.

So this is the song that kicked off the series, ¬†and the grand opening for my Youtube channel Germ√°n Hace M√ļsica” (Germ√°n Does Music).

I absolutely love the melody and chord changes of this one because it has a pretty interesting chromatic approach on a few bars of the chorus.

The original song also features very harsh lyrics. You can listen and buy it from the Teenage Dream album.

I hope you enjoy listening to my Piano rendition of this Katy Perry song.

 

 

My life…

Hello, so this is my real first post. I’ve never been good at writing but I’ve decided to give it a try.
garden lodge with chilean flag

garden lodge with chilean flag

My Name is Germ√°n (as in ‚ÄúHerman‚ÄĚ for English speakers). I come from a far, far away land called Chile. You may have heard it before as a synonymous for ‚Äúearthquake‚ÄĚ, ¬†or maybe you saw on TV how 33 miners were heroically rescued. Or even, if you are a soccer fan, know a few names of very succesful (and rich!) players across Europe. The thing is,¬†¬† I live in a small but generally ‚Äúproud of themselves‚ÄĚ country (except for that Hitler wannabe¬†who was in the government for 15 years. Not proud at all of that‚Ķ).

But I’m not here to tell you all about the country I live in,  or how wonderful it is for foreigners to spend their vacation here.

I’m here to tell you about my own experience, living, working,  and dreaming in a place that’s not a powerful world power but it isn’t also a place filled with disaster and poverty.

I‚Äôm just a guy trying to reach his dreams, (as many others) doing what is considered here to be a ‚Äúnon traditional‚ÄĚ job. ¬†So most of my experiences are about spending all my 20s trying to be successful and crashing¬† into walls.

It’s All About The Music

So, I’m a 31-year-old musician.  My instrument of preference has been the piano and keyboards since I was 13 years old.   I come from a middle class family and I went to University to get a degree in music.
I won’t talk in much detail, but I think you know what comes next after studying music (or any artistic field for that matter)

This!

Unlike other ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ jobs, this is one field in that you actually don‚Äôt get paid every time you work (or get paid a very low amount of money). ¬†And you never get a formal work contract.As you might think,¬†after successfully getting my music degree, I started to swim in the exciting and vast sea of the jobless and¬†struggling artist. Working to get paid gigs, joining bands, trying to get paid composer jobs, and doing piano teaching to survive.

While trying to perfect my craft and artistry I came to know how this business works if you are not the son of a famous artist, or if you are a ‚Äúnewbie‚ÄĚ.¬† ¬†I got really excited and¬†disappointed¬†about¬†projects that I worked on, really happy about things that worked out, and really depressed about other things that didn‚Äôt go that well. ¬†That‚Äôs life, ¬†you might say!, and it‚Äôs true!, but this is life trying to survive in a very small fish tank, filled with angry sharks and pretentious piranhas.¬† Most of them don‚Äôt even let you get closer to get a little catch. ¬†But when¬†I came across those kinds of people, ¬†I‚Äôve also realized I didn‚Äôt want to be like them.

Go to hell shark!!

So where am I now??    I’ve decided to use my past experiences and work for my very own projects.  As things haven’t worked out with other people, I might as well work for myself and try to step out.

So‚Ķ this is my life and it‚Äôs just starting‚Ķ‚Ķ.Of course I still have to eat‚Ķ so it‚Äôs not like I‚Äôm living now in a mountain alone; ¬†I still need social contact (sadly!), ¬†and I‚Äôm still trying to get ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ music jobs, while dedicating most of my time to my own projects.