Blockchain & Yoga

OnChain:

Before I unleash my own thoughts about blockchain, here are some of my favorite beginner friendly links.

  • Article: The Ultimate, 3,500 word, plain English guide to blockchain
    • This article takes you under the hood on how blockchain enables us to control our own data and still have a universal source of truth
  • PodCast: Nick Szabo on the Tim Ferris Show
    • Long, winding and interesting. Great for a road trip.
  • Documentary: Banking On Bitcoin (Netflix link)
    • This focuses only on bitcoin, but is entertaining. FYI: Bitcoin ≠ Blockchain
  • Starter Investment Platform: Coinbase
    • First off only put in what you would be comfortable losing. Second, understand what you’re buying and why you’re buying it. Third, what to buy, when to buy, and when to sell is the billion dollar question. Many have opinions, no one knows. This is absolutely not investment advice, but if you want to dip your toes into the water, the Coinbase app is the easiest way to get started.

OffChain:

Here is my favorite YouTube Yoga class. I’ve honestly done it 300+ times. It’s particularly good if you’ve done a few Bikram classes in a studio, and therefore already know how to do these poses. That way you can use it more as an audio rather than video track.  Between this, body weight exercises and running, I now no longer spend money on fitness memberships 🙂

New Job

I got a job and I like it a lot. Weird.

I found ConsenSys, when I was deep in a Wikipedia rabbit hole learning about Ethereum and blockchain technology. The company is completely remote and “flat” – meaning no one has a boss and you don’t have to go into an office. You’re basically just hired with a skill set and then you figure out what to do.  Weird.

Weird is awesome though, and that’s why I sent them a weird video on my first day. Co-workers liked it a lot and I’ve been continuing to collaborate and be weird ever since joining.

 

Can You Learn To Sing Online

I sang, but I never considered myself a singer. The reason I sang is because I’m a guitarist and songwriter – so who else was going to sing my songs?  I was skeptical you could learn to sing in the same way you could learn to play the guitar. You were either born a good singer, or you weren’t. I was even further skeptical that you could learn to sing online, a process that does not involve a high paid vocal coach watching and adjusting your every note.

However, with my folk duo booking more and more shows, I figured it was time for me to step up and take this “singing thing” seriously. So I bought Aaron Anastasia’s online course The Superior Singing Method and made a vow to the universe that I would stick it through until the end, 6 days a week for 8 weeks straight. I was surprisingly thrilled by the results – here is how it went down:

A Quick Heady Intro

As a previous non-believer, I now admit that you absolutely can teach yourself to sing. The 8 week course felt a little like learning a physical instrument, say guitar, where your hand positions can be literally explained, but also a lot like Yoga, or meditation. Singing is consciously shaping and releasing your breath to form certain frequencies – so no matter how you learn to sing there’s going to be a great deal of abstract internal understanding that needs to and will happen along your journey.

The Superior Singing Method (SSM), is designed to slowly build up your voice and ingrain good singing habits. In the first week, you’ll only do one or two exercises a day. You may feel like nothing is happening, or be a bit confused – but push on. I begin feeling, hearing, and believing in results at the end of week 2 and had another significant breakthrough around week 7.

Learn To Sing

Pt. 1 Technique

Each day Aaron gives a video introduction of a new exercise along with a piano track to guide you. The short videos explain the new exercise’s purpose and how/where you will feel it in your body. While Aaron’s descriptions are fantastic, at times when an exercise was first introduced I was confused and convinced I was doing it wrong, perhaps even causing more harm than good, but as I continued to do it everyday my body and muscles began to intuitively perform correctly. From a listener’s perspective, I comically butchered most exercises the first day they were introduced, but now I could perform nearly all of them in my sleep.

So yes, my singing technique did improve and because of that alone, I believe an outsider would consider my current voice 2x better than the voice I had before the 8 week program – but the improvements go deeper than that.

Pt. 2 Confidence

Confidence is a HUGE part of singing – and I know that’s cliché, but it’s cliché because it’s true. If you don’t feel confident and comfortable – the audience feels that. Purchasing the SSM and deciding to stick to its relatively demanding schedule, made me feel confident. Here is why:

By dedicating time and effort into learning to sing I convinced myself that I was taking singing seriously. Now when doubt crept into my head “What makes you think you can sing?” I could at least answer it with, “Well, I’m taking steps every day, and following a system to get better— so back off alright!”

Simply having an answer to your doubting voice is more than half the battle.

So now that it’s all over, I would consider myself a 2.5X better singer than I was 8 weeks ago. That’s huge. Imagine going to an open mic and deeming one performer more than twice as good as the other. Honestly, that improvement made the money I spent on SSM one of the better investments of my life. Which brings me to price…

Price Positive

The price of The Superior Singing Method (48+ lessons) is less than or equal to the price of one private voice lesson. On top of that, Aaron is a voice coach to big name acts – something you likely won’t find in your hometown.

It’s true, you are buying a lesson pack – made for the masses – rather than something specifically tailored to where you are and what you need at the moment – but what you need most is to start. To jump in, figure some of it out on your own, prove to yourself that you are dedicated and then worry about finding the “perfect fit.”  In fact, by taking this course before private lessons you’ll learn enough to evaluate different voice coaches and find the “even more perfect fit” when the time is right.

Doubts and Downsides

Most importantly – you have to do the exercises. I know that sounds silly, but buying the SSM isn’t going to improve your singing unless you do it. So whatever promises or pacts you have to make with friends, lovers, bandmates, or the universe to garner the self-discipline to complete these lessons – do it.

Me, I know if I give myself a little slack – I’ll break – so I promised never to miss a day (there is 1 day of built in rest each week).  I did these exercises at guest houses, in hotel rooms in Mexico when I had a stomach bug, at odd hours etc. Which leads too…

Singing Lessons Are Weird

At times you’ll feel and appear crazy.  Most of these exercises are loud, weird and annoying. Roommates and neighbors may look at you funny. You can explain it to them – and they’ll likely respect your desire to improve, or you can just not care what they think, because that’s another good lesson to learn as a performer.

Another thing, you may get a little over confident/excited about your new voice, and show up to a party, have a few drinks, and then get wayyyyy to into singing Justin Bieber songs… anyway….

So now that it’s all over, I would consider myself a 2.5X better singer than I was 8 weeks ago. That’s huge. Imagine going to an open mic and deeming one performer more than twice as good as the other. Honestly, that improvement made the money I spent on SSM one of the better investments of my life.

Thanks for reading!

***The links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through the links on my site, I earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you, and helps me justify the time I spend creating useful content. Most importantly, I ONLY make recommendations on products that I personally use and fully believe in.  If you ever buy something through my site let me know! I always appreciate the support and hello’s!

New Year’s Resolutions

I made three News Year’s resolutions this year. With New Year’s resolutions it’s better to promise to stick to a process, something you can control, rather than a goal which depends on outside factors.

Here are my 3 New Year’s Resolutions for 2018:

1. Every night write down 3 things I’m grateful for.

The point of this is not to have a list of things you’re grateful for, but rather to train your brain to constantly be looking for things you’re grateful for because you know you have to write them down later that night.

2. Send out a weekly email newsletter filled with helpful and interesting things

Similar to my 2014 New Year’s process to blog once a week – except this time there is even less structure. I just have to send you helpful things that I find or make.  (Ex: cool articles/videos/books, helpful thoughts, cartoons, etc.) Sign up here.

3. Wash my hands every time after I use the restroom

I do usually do this, but I could be better.

Hopefully, sticking to these positive processes in 2018 will lead to positive achievements!