Learn for Myself

Here is my latest recording, a new song called “Learn for Myself.” I decided to try something new, and make a music video.

Download: audio (mp3), lyrics & chords (pdf), tablature (pdf)

About the Song

I have written about the song’s meaning in greater depth on my Medicine and Faith blog. The short version is that it is a contemporary Christian song about growing up in a believing family but finding my own anchor of faith.

Learn for Myself

(words and music by Alan Sanderson)

My parents are good
They have faith in God, and they do what they should
I want to follow their example
And the things they say
Keep me safe and show me the right way
But how do they know these things are true?

They tell me,
If I want to know, more than just believe
I have to learn for myself

My parents love me
They put food on my plate and a roof above me
I’m so grateful for what they do
And I believe what they say
Because I see them do what’s right every day
Their words are sinking into my soul

And I want to know, more than just believe
I want to see
I want to hear
I want to know it in my heart
I want to learn for myself

And I can feel it when I pray — I know he answers me
And I can hear his voice when I read his word
And when I serve my fellow men
When I walk away from sin
And when I turn my heart to him
I can see him

And now I know, more than just believe
I have seen
I have heard
And I know it in my heart
I have learned for myself

About the Recording

This was a solo recording done in my basement studio using all Free Software: Linux Mint 19.3, Ardour 5.12.0, Hydrogen drum machine, Guitarix virtual amplifier and effects, Dragonfly Reverb 3, Calf Studio Gear, setBfree virtual tonewheel organ, Linux Studio Plugins, and AVL Drumkits. I also used MuseScore to create the tablature. The video was made using iMovie on an iPad. Maybe I’ll try a Linux tool next time, but I’ve got to admit that that iPad app was pretty slick.

450x600-IMG_20200418_120200620
My current studio setup.

The instrumentation was fairly simple. I played my Takamine G-330 acoustic guitar, Ibanez AM53 semi-hollow body, and Austin Bazaar bass. The tonewheel organ, piano, and percussion sounds were all midi instruments.

The backing vocals are a 3-part harmony layered 4 voices deep. This was my first attempt to deep-layer vocals, and I think the result was not bad. I was inspired to try it by this video which my cousin Tom forwarded to me about how Richard and Karen Carpenter used this technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVhelpH_cCU

About the Video

I stumbled through a few approaches to making the video. At first I tried to make a proper music video, with me playing the guitar and singing, but I couldn’t stand the sight of myself on the screen. (That’s my social phobia, I guess.) Then I thought I would make a slideshow of family photos from the old archive, but that was too cheesy. In the end I decided to use a mix of family and nature photography, because everyone likes nature, and a couple shots of my hands on the guitar strings and fret board.

Thanks for listening, watching, and reading!

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