3 on Thursday – 4/27/23

Aaron Espe Plays YOUR Living Room – June & July. If you live in the US, Midwest or Mountain West and are interested in hosting a show, email Heidi at heidi@espemusic.com for more info!

Hey folks,

I hope you all have been having a good week. Here’s what’s in this issue of 3 on Thursday

  1. My One-Week Social Media/Email Challenge
  2. For the Audio Nerds: “The Amway Years” DAW Session
  3. On Songwriting: Disappointment Is Your Friend

Alright, let’s get to it! 

1 of 3

Email/Social Media Challenge

Life/Parenting/Mental Health

When I was a barista at Starbucks, my managers never asked me to make the drinks during peak hours. We would have gone out of business. Why? Because contrary to claims I’ve made on every job application I’ve ever submitted, I cannot multitask. I have a hard time being focused and present when too much is happening around me. Instead of making drinks, I was at the till, ringing up customers one at a time.  

When I became a father, I realized parenting is basically perpetual multitasking. I learned how to do it, more or less, in order to survive.

Here’s the thing, though…

Social media is also perpetual multitasking. I find it becoming this impossible equation that looks like this:

Multitasking (parenting) x Multitasking (social media) + Tennessee Humidity = Mad Dad

Mad Dad has specs of sweat showing through his t-shirt. He snaps at his kids. He says stuff like, “Leave me alone!” or “Pretend I’m not here.” And it doesn’t work because Mad Dad’s kids are literally dependent on him to tie their shoes. Then he feels bad and apologizes. But it just happens again and again.

Now, I’m not saying this is a solution for everybody, but lately, it’s been helping me: deleting all email and social media apps from my iPhone.

Hold on, hold on… I didn’t say I stopped using them.

It’s just that in order to go on social media, I have to go to my desktop or log in through a web browser. In other words, I put up some hefty resistance. For email, I batch. Twice a day at my desktop.

I’m probably a better person to be around. I’m definitely more present with my kids, especially when they’re talking to me. I don’t get irritable just because they asked me to play ping-pong when I was in the middle of writing an Instagram caption.

Last summer, I did this for 60 days, felt better, then fell back into my old ways. Currently I’ve been practicing  for a week.

If you’ve been needing to try something different, give it a whirl. I’ll be alongside you trying to do the same.

Have another technique that’s worked for you? Please let me know!

2 of 3

“The Amway Years” DAW Session

Production/Audio Nerds/BTS 

Some of you are into home recording/producing so I thought you might be interested to see what my typical DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) session looks like. Here’s a screenshot of “The Amway Years,” Track 7 from my latest album Up North, before I sent it off to my mix engineer. Maybe it’ll give you some ideas in your own process or you can point out what you think I could do better! 

3 of 3

Why Disappointment Is Your Friend

On Songwriting

(November 2020) I’m trying to learn how to paint watercolor. I’ve been watching all these YouTube videos on technique, mixing paint, tonal value studies, among other things. And as I’m watching, I can picture myself doing the same thing the instructor is doing. It’s clear to me in that moment, so effortless.

Then I grab my paints and brushes and begin. I concentrate and work at it for an hour or so.

The end result? Ninety-nine percent disappointment.

Yesterday I painted a landscape. Large sky, mountains, a little farm. It looked like something Bob Ross might paint…if someone had blindfolded him and made him use his toes.

The small part of me that wasn’t disappointed was only because of one thing: I noticed I’d improved a little from my last painting. (The gradation in my sky looked half decent!)

If you want to get better at songwriting, get comfortable with disappointment. Actually, disappointment is your friend.

It’s a gift that reminds you that you’re taking action. You’re trying. Most people who want to write a song won’t do it. Being disappointed with a song is still light years ahead of those people who want to write a song, but haven’t taken action.

Plus, if you and your buddy Disappointment meet up often, you’ll notice that one percent of improvement adds up over time. Soon the scale will be tipping in your favor. From disappointment to pride.

I’m hoping by this time next year, I’ll have a watercolor painting that at least looks like Bob Ross took the blindfold off.

Ok, that’s it for this week. Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the above.



P.S. You might be interested: 

  1. Birthday cameo
  2. Work with Me 1:1
  3. Group production lessons (join waitlist)
  4. Group songwriting lessons (join waitlist)
  5. Newsletter Shout Outs!