So it is my final week of the 20 time project and I decided to do something more simple again to give myself an idea of the progress I have made. Sure I did not play this song prior, but it still gave me some insight. For starters I should point out that I played the section for your right hand and thus to get an idea of what to look at, watch from 00:53 to 1:36 on the video below. Yes, this song is very simple, however, how fast I picked it up is a testament to the progress I made. The things that I noticed from playing this song, is that my ability to transition my hands and fingers has greatly improved. I am much less stiff then when I started out. Also, my ability to pick up on the pacing of a song has become easier as well. I am not even close to an expert, but I can say for sure that the learning process for songs is much easier to pick up at a quicker pace now. The majority of my 20 time project was spent on learning Requiem for a Dream, and although I never did get the whole song done, I can say that that song greatly helped me learn how to move my hands. By the time I got to Amazing Grace, everything seemed to move a whole lot more smoothly. So use the video below for reference and then view mine and tell me what you think!
It has been a couple of weeks but here I am back at displaying what I learned on piano. I may not have posted a blog, but I have been practicing Requiem for a Dream since the last post. This has by far been my toughest one yet. I have only been able to get to 43 seconds of the video below, because even after all this time I cannot get my head around playing with both my right and left hand beyond that point. Up until the 43 mark, I would saying the hardest thing to do was be able to consistently play with my right hand for the repeated notes, particularly the transition of my pinky and next finger over as seen from 22 to 24 seconds in the instructional video. I can now play with my right hand all the way through the song, but as I said, I just can't seem to get my head around the more complex left hand movements while playing with my right hand. In fact, I tried to do the motions with my left hand, but I could not even do it solo at this point. I am debating on if I should keep trying to learn this song or just move on. Perhaps if I practiced with my left hand on a more simple song I can work my way up to this point, but I do not see myself getting through this entire song any time soon. Let me know what you think I should do.
Not that in the video below, it may look easier than it is, but initially spanning out my right hand and not mixing up each individual finger was harder than it looks. Perhaps next video I will go through the whole song with my right hand exclusively.
Hey guys, this week I changed my song of focus to "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay. As I first began my journey with this song, I noticed that I would be required to use my left hand position a little more than I previously did in John Legends "All of Me" intro. Considering that my biggest problem on the last song was trying to transition with my left hand as well as my right, I assumed that an increase in left hand movement would inherently make "Viva La Vida" more difficult. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. I have two theories as to why this was. For one, this particular song actually keeps a more basic hand movement pattern than my previous choice, simplifying my thought process while playing. The other reason I feel this song might have been easier was simply because I am now getting more used to moving my hands around on the keyboard; I have a greater amount of familiarity with practice.
The above video was the one I used as a tutorial. I found this one to be good, but a little more difficult to learn from than the one for "All of Me" because the keys on the piano are not labeled, and the way the notes are written out are a little less clear. Nevertheless, this video clearly teaches you this relatively easy song. The thing I noticed in this video, however, was how he moves his thumb up to play E♭, and down to play F. Even more telling was his right hand transition from D♭ to C. Up to this point I never really thought about changing the levels of my hand position, but I have since found this to be a very helpful way to maneuver my hands with relative easy. Whereas I was having a more difficult time transitioning while constantly positioning my hands low on the white keys and then moving up to black keys , and finally moving my hand back down low; I now realize it will help to play the white keys from a higher position if I am playing a black key at the same time as seen in his transition from D♭ to C. Having said all that, view my video below.
For my next post I have not yet decided what I will play, but I hope to shift to something with a little less of a pattern and require more diversity to my motion. Until next time...
Last week I set my goals on identifying and labeling my piano keys. That was the easy part. The next thing I had decided was that I was going to attempt to play the intro keys to John Legend's hit song "All of Me." I didn't quite get there, so I decided to have it done by this week. It seemed as if it would be relatively easy, but I quickly realized that I was having a bit of a hard time transition my hand from spot to spot. This got me desiring to learn how to more effectively learn strategies of moving my hands, particularly two hand at once. This week I looked up several sites giving suggestions and I found one which displayed the picture below, showing how to fingers are labeled in music.
While this will be great for my future experiences, it did not help my that much for this particular song. For that reason I kept looking and found a couple other websites such as key-notes.com, which though simple, gave me some basic advice and reassurances. After reading the content, it became evident that I am not the only one that struggles. From this website I took these suggestions: 1. I need to figure out what works and feels best for me, which can vary by hand; 2. If there is a pattern, then be "consistent" with my movements; and 3. "Write down your fingers."
The last piece of advice was perhaps the most helpful for me. When I began to play the notes, I wrote them down and displayed them in from of me, and since my keys are already labeled, it helped tremendously. In addition, as hinted in my comments last week, muscle memory absolutely came into play! So as I promised last week, here is a video of me playing the intro to John Legend's "All of Me."
To close this week out, I would like to announce that my goal for next week is to learn the basic notes to play Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" as I originally announced a desire to play in week 1. I looked up more videos to play the full "All of Me" song, and it just seems a little to complex for me at this point. Therefore, you can get yourself ready to here me play some Coldplay for you next week. Stay tuned and enjoy!
This was my first week attempting to learn basic piano skills. The initial problem that became evident to me was the fact that I did not even know which key was what. For this reason I ended up counting the keys on my keyboard, found that there my particular keyboard has 61 keys, and then had to search up which notes would match. I found a website which broke down the individual keys for me and even showed me where middle C is. You can click the hyperlink and find that website, which guides its audience to not only a 61 key piano, but a 49, 76, and 88 as well. They look like this:
I decide to try and help myself out a bit!
The next step was learning were the flat (♭) and sharp (♯) notes would be. I found a video which broke that down for me as well. Essentially an E♭ would be the black key behind the E note, whereas an F♯ would be the black key after the F note. Therefore, if it is a flat note, it the the black key before, and if it is a sharp note, it is the black key after.
Finally after all this, I finally attempted to learn how to play to intro to John Legend's "All of Me." I would post a video of me playing, but I still would like to get a little better first. Instead I will put the explanation video below.
If you watched the above video then you saw the part where you transition from holding down C♯ with your left hand, while playing F & C♯ (3 times) with your right hand, to then holding down G♯ with your left, while playing D♯ & C (3 times) with your right hand.
This is where I am currently having the most trouble transitioning consistently. I can get the 4 step intro down once, twice, sometimes even 3 times in a row, but I cannot consistently play all 4 steps 4 times in a row yet. I am hoping that by next week I can have a video of me successfully playing the intro for you guys. Stay tuned!
It has been decided, I will try to learn how to play the piano! Although it would be great to learn how to cook, I feel that since I often come home a little late, and don't want to mess up my family's eating schedule, I will just stick with piano. As I have been looking at some videos, I am starting to think I should probably narrow my focus down to a certain song or songs. Not sure if I would want something more modern or an older classic. Two possible options are "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay, or something a little older, such as Mozart's "Symphony No. 40." Either way, I will likely try out a couple songs and then break it down to one or two songs that I want to get really comfortable with. Since I have an electric piano in my house it should not be too difficult a task to attempt. The thing I will have to get used to is learning the different notes on the piano so the songs come a bit more natural. Anyway, I will come back with an update soon.
I am trying to decide on what to do for my 20% Project. The two activities I have narrowed my focus down to are cooking or playing piano. While cooking is something that I believe will be useful throughout my life, the piano is an instrument I briefly attempted to learn to play once before. Both seem to be interesting to learn. I feel cooking is more useful, but it might bring too many investments in buying food, taking the time to cook, and not throwing off my current dinners with the family. Piano on the other hand would simply be a hobby, not something I plan to take any further than an occasional way to pass time. What do you think?