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#1115287 - 03/13/07 12:56 PM A little progress report of me
katefields Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/06
Posts: 41
Loc: Felts Mills, NY
Hi all,

First, a big old THANK YOU to everyone on here who has taken the time to answer my questions. And also to StephenC who maintains the Hanon Challenge thread. It has helped so much!!!

Okay, so when I first joined this forum a few months ago, I was not very happy with my playing, which was made up of mostly banging out chords in very predictable and boring patterns I'd made up over the years. I have oodles of music and theory training, but the flute has been my major instrument since I was 11.

I wanted to get over the hurdle of reading piano sheet music. So, taking the advice I received on here as to how to progress, I started printing out pages and pages of easy classical starter pieces. I put them in a big stack on my keyboard, and would rotate through the stack, sightreading the new ones and working up the others. When I could get through a piece fairly accurately, I'd take it out of the stack. I was able to progress pretty quickly from "medium easy" to "medium-difficult easy". Also, just for fun, I joined the Hanon Challenge. That has totally kept me on my toes and drawn me to practice so I can get my completion post in before midnight Sunday! I think it's helped my finger coordination, too.

I selected a performance piece to play in church and have been working diligently on it. (There is nothing that gets you polished up better than public performance!) I've been playing it over and over at the church, imagining the congregation there, and playing through even when I make a mistake because I can't stop right in the middle of service and say, "Oops, wait a minute." Hopefully this week or next I will be able to do it.

I started selling old books and stuff on ebay so I could buy some books of songs I'd like to work on for church. I just got one of them yesterday (a Hal Leonard Easy Piano version) and was surprised at how easy it was to sightread some of the songs! I am loving this!

Looking forward to much more progress!

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#1115288 - 03/13/07 02:50 PM Re: A little progress report of me
Van Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 1215
Loc: S. California
Congratulations kate!

Recordings!! By the way, I'd be interested in hearing both your new piece and some of your old chord banging ones as well \:\)

#1115289 - 03/13/07 02:58 PM Re: A little progress report of me
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17876
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Sounds like you're making great progress indeed, katefields!

What's the performance piece you'll be playing in church? Maybe you'll submit it for a recital?
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

#1115290 - 03/13/07 05:51 PM Re: A little progress report of me
katefields Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/06
Posts: 41
Loc: Felts Mills, NY
I've been a bit hesitant to look into the recitals because I don't really know if I'm at a good enough level or really even how to get involved with it.

As for recordings, I'll see if I can post a little sample of both.

The piece I chose is "As the Deer", an easy Hal Leonard version.

Thanks for all your encouragement!

#1115291 - 03/13/07 06:00 PM Re: A little progress report of me
DeepElem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/06
Posts: 367
Loc: USA
Great progress !!!
It's always great to hear about people having success.

The recitals here are easy, and there is literally every level of playing in there, so you should not hesitate to submit a recording to the next recital
If you knew what you were doing, you'd probably be bored.
- Fresco's Law

#1115292 - 03/20/07 10:27 AM Re: A little progress report of me
katefields Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/06
Posts: 41
Loc: Felts Mills, NY
Here are some recordings for you of my banging. There is usually singing going on while I play, so I don't cover melody too much.

Here's a typical hymn:

And a slower song:

I'll try to get a recording of the "new and improved me" up soon. Sorry for the static; I recorded it on a tape deck.

#1115293 - 03/20/07 11:52 AM Re: A little progress report of me
Van Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 1215
Loc: S. California
I liked how you mixed the melody into the second song. FYI, Kate, if you want to complexify your accompaniment, you should definitely check out Sprunger (he has lots of nice sounding accompaniment patterns), unfortunately his course doesn't cover any melody playing.

Looking forward to the new song. BTW, what's your new goal now and how are you going to go about it? I'm curious, as a self-teaching beginner myself.

#1115294 - 03/20/07 12:46 PM Re: A little progress report of me
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
Kate, that was very nice. I am not familiar with the hymn, but your playing conveyed the tune very well. I don't know why you say you did not cover the melody, it was easy to "guess" where the words went.

I do not know the second piece either, but you did the title justice, it was soft and tender. Nice touch.

Very enjoyable. More, please.
"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro

#1115295 - 03/20/07 04:39 PM Re: A little progress report of me
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5942
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I love the picture in my head of your stacks of sheet music on either side of your piano. I keep thinking that will work for me, too, but several days into the stacks I get sidetracked by something and pretty soon you can't walk in my living room for the sheet music all over the floor. Then I make one big stack and start all over again. But it sure is fun, huh, and it sounds like you're doing really well in learning the things yo want to learn, as well as keeping up your ability to perform in public. Keep on!


#1115296 - 03/20/07 04:50 PM Re: A little progress report of me
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5942
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Wow! I'm going to heaven with your music guiding me on my way! Just listened to your "banging" (sic) - definitely great piano music. Softly and Tenderly was often the altar call at church when I was a kid. Since I used to *only* read sheet music/notes I'm expanding into being able to do what you did on these recordings \:D . It's fun to still have things to learn for all the years there are left -


#1115297 - 03/21/07 09:10 AM Re: A little progress report of me
katefields Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/06
Posts: 41
Loc: Felts Mills, NY
And here's a sample of the performance piece I've been working on.


I'm playing it on a different keyboard than my first two samples. The first one was a really nice Yamaha DG-something, I think; but I used my little Casio to record this one. I never noticed how hard the attack is on the Casio until I listened to this recording. It sounds like I'm really crushing the keys, but I assure you I wasn't.

Thank you all so much for your encouragement. I did actually have the Sprunger course, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for. So I got what I wanted out of it, and then sold it on ebay a couple weeks ago so I could by some easy sheet music!

I guess I was having trouble figuring out what exactly I wanted, but I've decided that in order to achieve the sound I want, I need to learn to read piano music.

Right now my goal is this: I have a binder full of lyrics with chords over them that I use for church services. I would like to replace the majority of them with real arrangements. I know that might take years, but I am willing to do it.

I came across a really beautiful piano piece performed by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir one time. I love the song, and I tried to play it and some others of theirs just using chords, and the effect was completely lost. I guess it was then that I realized I need to move forward with my playing, bite the bullet and get over my hang up with sheet music.

So I am progressing! Thank you all for your help and your comments!

#1115298 - 03/21/07 08:47 PM Re: A little progress report of me
stephenc Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 693
Loc: Australia
Hi Katefields1 - Its great to hear you are making such progress, your commitment to learning to sightread is also very impressive. I was fortunate enough recently to play a piano in a church hall (no audience, it was up for sale) but the experience of playing in such a large room with all the wonderful acoustics was, appropriately, heavenly!

BTW - thanks for participating in the Hanon challenge, It's really helped my playing and been great motivation having others to pursue the challenge with!

#1115299 - 03/21/07 11:51 PM Re: A little progress report of me
Van Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 1215
Loc: S. California
Kate, I liked the new recording. I liked how you mixed the block chords into the middle of those arpeggios. It's a nice arrangement, you're very steady on the rhythm even when you improvise.

#1115300 - 03/22/07 09:23 AM Re: A little progress report of me
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Kate

I have to be honest I actually really liked the banging (regardless of the hiss ) and I loved "As The Deer" \:D

Very nice indeedy...sounded great to my ears \:\)


Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

#1115301 - 03/22/07 04:15 PM Re: A little progress report of me
katefields Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/06
Posts: 41
Loc: Felts Mills, NY
Thanks for listening!

Actually, "As the Deer" is from sheet music. I have been working on it as my first "real" piece since I began focusing on sheet music rather than improvisation. (Although, I did improvise the intro a little bit--I didn't like the chords they had.) It will (hopefully) be the first piece of music I play (and sing) for an actual church function that isn't played by only chords. I am nervous! But I know that I can do it. You all are awesome. Thanks.


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