The Sticker Method: Creating a Habit of Practice

Available now from Etsy!

This fall I published my latest zine, The Sticker Method: Creating a Habit of Practice. This is a method for taking a lot of the stress that can come with being a learner/do-er out of our lives. I’ve developed the method over my lifetime as both a teacher and a student.

I am a user of The Sticker Method and one of my favorite aspects of it is that the method can be used for anything. If you’ve heard my music, seen my drawings, watched my skateboard videos, or if we’ve talked about developing a habit of going to the gym, then you’ve seen The Sticker Method in action.

What are you going to practice? I’d love to know. Drop me a note at jasonplaystunes@gmail.com.

Why do you play video games? Why do you play music? Why make art?

Imaginary World Podcast is one of my very favorite podcasts.

This week’s episode, Fighting a Virtual Pandemic (embedded at the bottom), is all our actual pandemic as it relates to a video game called World of Warcraft.

I don’t really play video games, but I still find the episodes about video games so interesting.

There is a moment at about 17:80 when the interviewee, Virginia Wilkerson, talks about the different reasons people play video games. She says,

People live life for different reasons and people play video games for many different reasons. I’m sort of like a skill and achievement-based player. I want to be the best in my class that I can be. And then there are people who play purely for social reasons that aren’t interested in going to the high level raids and really maxing out their characters. And then you have a small subset of people who play just for the economics of the auction house in World of Warcraft. And then you have lots of people who play for the roll playing. Like it’s Dungeons and Dragons or something similar to that.

Here description of the 4 reasons people play video games caught my attention.

  1. Skill and Achievement
  2. Social
  3. Money
  4. Role Playing/Character (which I would call emotion)

I see those four facets in my own reasons for playing music. It made me pause and think about how I relate to those aspects of playing.

  • For skill and achievement, I do like to do my best, and be known as someone with a high level of skill. But, I don’t go out of my way to be the best player or something. I play to my abilities and standards, and I don’t worry about music else.
  • I do play music for the social interactions to be sure. I think that is why I excelled within a musical community like the Old Town School of Folk Music, which puts a high value on the social aspect of music.
  • I’ve built a career out of teaching music, so I can’t escape the financial aspect of it. Getting paid to make music allows me to make more music.
  • And, I do think that I have a character when I’m playing. I LOVE to be on stage and I love to put my limited acting range into the music I play. For me, this is where the emotion of my music comes out. I don’t have a character in the way that David Bowie or Bruce Springsteen have, but it’s there. It may be subtle, but know I’m a different person off stage than I am on.

If I had to put a number on these aspects of my interest in music it would be something like 30% skill, 30% social, 15% money, 25% character.

Those numbers are very different than my drawing work. That is more like 50% skill, 25% social, 5% money, 20% emotion.

What about you? Why do you do things like play music or video games? Or dance, draw, play sports, write poetry, ride a skateboard? I would be interested in knowing. I’ll leave the comments open. Thank you for sharing.

Let’s Have a Pizza Party! – Songwriting with 2nd Grade

It’s Saturday and for many people that means pizza!

Here’s a fun song to go along with your pizza party.

Some second graders from Hibbard Elementary and I wrote this song in 2018.

“Cheese and pepperoni! We’ll drink some juice!”

Here is a lyric and chord sheet that you can download to learn to play the song yourself!

How to Find the Minor 2 (ii) Chord in a Major Scale – Video Lesson

During this challenging time of life I’ve been inspired by the Marquette Makers’ Project to keep busy with some creative work.

I’ve made a lot of lessons like this, but this is the first one where I used a virtual whiteboard and recorded my voice along with the drawings I made on the whiteboard.  It turned out pretty well and I learned a lot!

In the video I mention two songs that use the minor 2 chord.  Here are lyric and chord sheet for those to songs

Old Devil Time by Pete Seeger

Hungry Heart by Bruce Springsteen

Here is the weekly schedule for Marquette Makers’ Projects during the physical separation from our communities.  Cool stuff.  I’m excited to see what people are working on.

Snowy Day – A Song for Young Musicians – Video and Zine

Recently, it was a very snowy morning here in Marquette, MI.  I was waiting for some of my students to have their lesson and I wrote this song.

I made a video of me playing the song, and there is a .pdf of a zine that you can print out to help you learn it.  Print it double-sided and then follow the instructions to make the zine!

The zine contains the lyrics, standard music notation, and specialized notation for harmonica, guitar and ‘ukulele. 

I was wondering, what would happen if we changed the lyrics from “snowy day” to “cloudy day” or “sunny day”.  What changes would you make in the rest of the lyrics so that the song is about your day?

Download the Snowy Day Zine here. Be sure to print it double sided and then watch the short video below to learn how to fold your zine.

Thanks to Ore Dock Brewing Company for letting me use their beautiful community space to make some music.

Watch this short video to learn how to fold your zine.