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#1112072 - 10/30/04 02:40 PM basic qns
raja Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 1
Hi all,

I am 27 years old, and recently (about an year back) fell in love with the piano. Took classes for a while and learnt some sight reading, then bought a piano and started learning myself with books and online material.

1. Do you guys have tips on how to quickly associate the notes with the key - the mnemonics (FACE, EatGoodBreadDearFather) do help, but i hope there are better ways to get there fast.

2. This is probably a dumb question - i have been doing typewriting for the last 5 years (pretty good at it too), but anytime i type i have to position myself at the home position (F, J) and then i can type at amazing speeds. Place my hands randomly on the typewriter keyboard, and i cant say what key i am typing. But my fingers know for sure the relative positions of all keys from the home keys.

How is that in piano people lift off hands and can place them exactly at the correct note without even looking down at the piano? Is there a concept of 'home position' that is intuitively understood for placement?? Any help??

Thanks,
-Raja

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#1112073 - 10/30/04 06:24 PM Re: basic qns
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
the only way to associate keys with notes quickly is to play as much as you can. you will develop the hand memory as you play a passage long enough, which will make your hands position themselves at the right keys automatically (just as your typing). the point is physical practise, because muscle memory and playing skills take a while (3-6 months at least) to develop, and you just have to be patient at the beginning and keep practicing.

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#1112074 - 10/31/04 01:55 AM Re: basic qns
HermanM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/04
Posts: 117
Loc: Newport, VA
Raja,
Forgive me if this seems obvious, but it bears mentioning that sitting at the same spot relative to the keys is imperative. I had read somewhere that middle D is a good key to align yourself with, so that's what I do. Think of a perpindicular line coming out from it straight to your belly button. FWIW.

HM
_________________________
I played it better at home.

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#1112075 - 10/31/04 11:05 AM Re: basic qns
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
lots and lots of practice! there really are no shortcuts, the more you do, the better you get.

-Paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

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#1112076 - 11/01/04 01:39 PM Re: basic qns
jasper_garcia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 172
Loc: New York
Another basic question:

After one year of practicing piano, what basic set of skills is one "expected" to know. I suppose it could be such things that are found it tests for piano, whatever those may be, I am not really familiar with them. This is assuming, lets say, 7 to 8 hours a week of practice.
_________________________
Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it. [Salvador DalĂ­]
--------------------------------------------------------------

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#1112077 - 11/01/04 08:43 PM Re: basic qns
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i am not quite sure what set of skills you'd have after one year, but at least you would be able to read music well enough to learn any piece relatively easier (than now), and you hands/fingers would feel keyboard much better and may even develop a sense of 'touch' if you're lucky, and you shouldn't have any trouble playing scales or arpeggios or chords/broken chords(whether HT or HS). you probable have learned a few pieces, which are memorized and played well. maybe you could even start tackling some easy Chopin pieces or even learning a Bach invention... well, it all depends on yourself, and nobody can really predict how fast or how well you could progress. so, just keep on playing and you will see after a year.

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#1112078 - 11/07/04 10:11 PM Re: basic qns
Ballyhoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 408
Loc: Australia
 Quote:
Originally posted by raja:

How is that in piano people lift off hands and can place them exactly at the correct note without even looking down at the piano? Is there a concept of 'home position' that is intuitively understood for placement?? Any help??
[/b]
Using your peripheral vision is important.

Also, you can use the black keys to help you "feel" the correct position.

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#1112079 - 11/07/04 10:15 PM Re: basic qns
Ballyhoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 408
Loc: Australia
 Quote:
Originally posted by HermanM:
Raja,
Forgive me if this seems obvious, but it bears mentioning that sitting at the same spot relative to the keys is imperative. I had read somewhere that middle D is a good key to align yourself with, so that's what I do. Think of a perpindicular line coming out from it straight to your belly button. FWIW.

HM [/b]
I'm certainly no authority on piano playing, but I sit in slightly different positions for different pieces. Some pieces use a lot more high notes than low notes, and some use a lot more low notes than high notes, so I position myself accordingly.

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#1112080 - 11/08/04 07:16 AM Re: basic qns
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1071
Loc: Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by raja:
Hi all,
How is that in piano people lift off hands and can place them exactly at the correct note without even looking down at the piano? Is there a concept of 'home position' that is intuitively understood for placement?
[/b]
the equivalent to F and J on the typewriter would be the groups of 2 and 3 black notes. if you practice a lot you can get used to where all the keys are just by using the black keys. your hand position across the 88 keys will be relative so you have to remember where you came from to know which C you are at on the keyboard. something like that, i'm not good at this at all but i think this is a decent path to begin with.

If you are on a computer a lot and want some practice away from the piano these are some really good resources:

http://astro.sci.uop.edu/~harlow/piano/index.html

http://www.musictheory.net./

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#1112081 - 11/08/04 08:20 AM Re: basic qns
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
I just started playing by feel a week or so ago and I have to tell you that it is much, much easier once you've been doing it for a few days.

I started with this great post by Bernhard:
Training to play by feel

raja, I would recommend NOT relying on mnemonics to remember the notes on the staff. It becomes a crutch that can seriously slow down your reading ability. If you have to figure out FACE or "Every Good Boy Does Fine" every time you need to read a note, then you'll be slow.

I started with three landmarks. In the upper staff they're the lines E, B, and F and in the lower, the lines G, D, and A. Once you have those landmarks, it's easier to get the notes on either side. After a few months of playing, then you won't even need the landmarks anymore. You'll know the notes.

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#1112082 - 11/08/04 08:29 AM Re: basic qns
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1071
Loc: Massachusetts
great points Muir and thanks for the link. I have to say that I also agree through my own experience that you cannot sight-read well unless you can play by feel. If you have to keep looking from the page back to the keyboard, well you can see what I'm trying to say here. Now is the best time for you to start learning by feel since you are still in your beginning stages.

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