Home Recording Blog
~ January, 2006
February, 2006 
~ May, 2006

Other Diary Entries... 
In The Beginning... 
Beginners Start Here
The Keyboard is King!
~ My Keyboard Family 
I Wanna be Eight Again 
Getting the Perfect Take 
Dare To Be Different  
Dare To Be Different #2 
Read The Flaming Manual! 

Home Recording Diary
Sunday, August 14, 2005

It's been almost a year since I bought my second hand CASIO MZ2000 keyboard. Since then, a day hasn't passed when I haven't spent at least two or more hours in front of it (and the computer), exploring, experimenting, fiddling, practicing, recording, making countless mistakes, and generally having a great time getting to know my 'tools of the trade'. 

About two weeks ago I pulled out the Casio's 200 page manual and decided to slowly work my way through it - from cover to cover. That's right, apart from have a brief look through the manual when I first bought the keyboard, I have only referred to it two or three times since. 

In one of my previous entries, I Wanna be Eight Again, I talked about two types of people - those who read the manual first, and those who just get stuck in and have a go. 

I'm one of those who like to get stuck in and learn as I go.

I was reminded of this by a friend who recently bought himself a ROLAND keyboard. The friend is very pleased with his purchase, as he should be, since Roland keyboards are amongst the best in the world.

However, there is just one problem. My friend, while he knows how to play a piano, doesn't know how to use this keyboard. Sure he can sit down and play it just like he would a standard piano, but that's not why he bought it. After all, he already has a perfectly good upright piano in his house. No, he bought it for the exciting possibilities it presents in public performance, and in home recording. But he still has this problem - he doesn't know how to use it.

So he has asked me on several occasions to visit him at home and show him how to use its many features. To date, I have not done so. Not because I don't like him. Not because I don't have the time. And certainly not because I like the power that my knowledge of these things gives me over him. 

Let me remind you... Until less than two years ago, I had never owned a musical keyboard. I couldn't then, and I still can't, sit down at the keyboard and play a tune (even a simple one like When The Saints...), without making mistakes. Until less than two years ago, I had never attempted home recording, let alone entertained the concept of recording and releasing an entire self produced album. 

But I've done all this and more. And I've done it by spending literally thousands of hours sitting in front of my computer and keyboard, learning - as I've said - the 'tools of my trade'. There is no other way to do this. There are no magic bullets; no short cuts, and no quick fixes.

The idea that I can sit down with my friend, and show him in a few hours, how to use his new keyboard is fanciful. He will learn more in an hour by just 'playing' with it by himself, than he will if I just show him (since we all learn more by doing than passively watching). 

And if he is not the character type to learn by playing - he needs to sit down and Read The Flaming Manual!


Which brings me back to a couple of weeks ago, when I decided to pull out the manual for my own keyboard, and start working my way through it.

While I am pleased to find that I have already discovered many of the keyboard's amazing features through my endless hours of exploration and experimentation, I am also now discovering many other features that I have to date, not made use of. I'm even discovering faster ways of doing things, that I had previously been doing 'the long way'.

So my friend, if you are reading this, I will make the time to come around and check out your new Roland. But when I do, I expect you to show me how to use it, and I expect you to demonstrate some of its awesome features. 

So get that flaming manual out and start reading and learning. 

See you soon...  


JIM LESSES: Sometimes I Wake Up Naked

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JIM LESSES: American Dream

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