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#2212962 - 01/11/14 04:40 PM Rediscovering the piano
Ritzycat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 164
Hello friends. I understand this is the "Adult" piano forum, I am 16 and I didn't know exactly where else to post this kind of thing.

We've had this fairly nice Yamaha piano in the house ever since we've been here, and A long time ago (when I was like 5-6) I had taken piano lessons, and I learned basic piano stuff, chords, music theory, etc. After a few years we didn't have the time or money (or drive) to continue doing them, so I quit.

Very recently however I have decided to become much more involved in the piano, it seemed redundant such a beautiful instrument was in the corner of the room but nobody ever played it. Over the last few months I've re-acquainted with it, and I'm able to advance much quickly. I know all the notes and stuff, and I'm fairly proficient with the treble clef in general, from having played the clarinet the last 8 years. So I opened up the old Adult Lesson Piano books, and started playing the really watered-down versions of The Entertainer, Canon in D, etc. A few weeks ago I went to the music store and a book called "Easiest Piano Classics", while ironically, most of them are not so easy for me, I also got anothher one with a bunch of more tunes in it.

I am planning on taking lessons again, probably starting this Fall or some time around then.

I can read music and point out every dynamics term, staccato, dimuendo, etc, which I've learned in my years on the clarinet. My downfall however is that I have trouble in pieces that are left-hand heavy. I've been playing Sonatina in C Major by Muzio Clementi, Moonlight Sonata (again, watered down), etc. Because most of the more advanced fingering is on the right hands of those pieces, at least for me.

Overall the treble cleff is pretty simple for me, even with the chords and whatnot. I also have a good sense of time, while the Fantaisie-Impromptu which I have recently heard for the first ime, sounds very incredible, and I have heard that it is seen to be difficult by many because of the triplets on the left hand and the sixteenth notes for the right - that sort of thing would come easy to me, but however, that song specifically has much, much more to it than just its rhythm.

I have trouble sort of moving my left hand about the keyboard, like in The Entertainer, with the left hand you play one note and then a chord, then back to the one note that keeps getting lower (this is hard to explain, I don't know the nomenclature of musical styles and whatnot), aut I can't keep at a steady pace. Due to my infamiliarity with the bass clef in general I take more time to read it, but I am becoming much able to do it from muscle memory. But chords dancing all over the left hand is alien to me. Unfortunately these are some of the most important concepts and It's barring me from advancing to the next level.

For now, I want to take the rest of this year to maybe get a few "easier" pieces under my fingers so I can take lessons in the fall and be able to tell my teacher what I don't understand, what I need to work on, etc.

I figured coming here would be a good place for some help. My main concern is what do you guys think I should do to help familiarize myself with these bass-clef concepts and maybe some practices I can do every day to try to make it muscle memory to me. I don't have much to do at home and always wondered why I wasn't playing the piano. I have hours every day where I sit and repeat playing that Sonatina because playing the piano is so fun. My dog also loves listening to the piano, he is terrified of the clarinet.

I'm also not really interested in learning the piano for anything in particular. Music is not my intended career, but I think being able to play such a versatile instrument that I perosnally think can function as its own "band" is cool. A clarinet can't really be played by itself, clarinet solos, or almost any wind instrument requests a piano accompaniment. Pianos on the other hand, can be played by theirselves and still tell the full story of a musical piece.

Edited by Ritzycat (01/11/14 04:44 PM)

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#2212981 - 01/11/14 05:17 PM Re: Rediscovering the piano [Re: Ritzycat]
peterws Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 5856
Loc: Northern England.
If your soon to be music teacher doesn`t do classics exclusively, she`ll probably be a great help on modern stuff which is informative and useful/challenging. Listen to piano music on Youtube, all sorts of genres. dOn`t be put off by the obvious excellence of some o` the performanes; there`s something for everybody here, and you`ll get a balanced viewpoint from most.

If I can have fun at 65, you certainly can at 16! Best wishes/stick around.
"I am not a man. I am a free number"


#2213104 - 01/11/14 09:22 PM Re: Rediscovering the piano [Re: Ritzycat]
Ritzycat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 164
Thanks for the reply. I have been listening to a lot of piano music lately but I'm still entranced by the classical stuff. I can't find as much interest in the more modern pieces, despite the different style they represent.

#2213137 - 01/11/14 10:46 PM Re: Rediscovering the piano [Re: Ritzycat]
earlofmar Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 2841
Loc: Australia
I think everyone struggles with the left hand and some even say it will always be weaker compared to the right.

Scale and arpeggio practice are the obvious things to start off with and then there is the Hanon and Czerny drills. Basically though there is no quick fix it is just plenty of practice.
If this life is a simulation can I not be in the easy version where Bach was a drummer


#2213150 - 01/11/14 11:19 PM Re: Rediscovering the piano [Re: Ritzycat]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Welcome to the ABF, Ritzycat. I love your passion for the piano, and it sounds like you already have a musical base that will help you considerably in your journey. You will discover of course that piano presents certain challenges, not the least of which is having to really work at reading the bass clef and getting the left hand under control. Those are pretty common "areas for improvement." smile

I'm glad to hear you're planning to get a teacher. In the meantime, MusicTheory.Net is a good resource for theory and exercises. You'll probably also want a good scales book to get the fingering, etc.

Hope this is helpful.
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

#2213304 - 01/12/14 09:51 AM Re: Rediscovering the piano [Re: Ritzycat]
JimF Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 2284
Loc: south florida

Welcome to the ABF. You will find lots of friendly support here for your return to piano.

To get your left hand moving, I would suggest you work on pieces by JS Bach, starting with those found in his Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. Although they look easy you may find these quite challenging at first. Rest assured they will feel a little easier after the first few. Almost all teachers will eventually have you working on these.

If you can already play the AMB pieces, then there is a very large body of beautiful intermediate material you will be able to choose from. Just ask and you will get lots of suggestions. Oh, I would avoid "simplified" versions of harder pieces....it may spoil the original for you when you are eventually ready to play it.
Sonatine, No.2 Menuet - MRavel
Invention No.13 A-minor - JSBach
Consolation no.3- FLiszt

Estonia L190 #7284

#2213751 - 01/13/14 12:06 AM Re: Rediscovering the piano [Re: Ritzycat]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014

Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Ritzycat
I have trouble sort of moving my left hand about the keyboard, like in The Entertainer, with the left hand you play one note and then a chord, then back to the one note that keeps getting lower (this is hard to explain, I don't know the nomenclature of musical styles and whatnot), aut I can't keep at a steady pace. Due to my infamiliarity with the bass clef in general I take more time to read it, but I am becoming much able to do it from muscle memory. But chords dancing all over the left hand is alien to me. Unfortunately these are some of the most important concepts and It's barring me from advancing to the next level.

A trick for reading the bass clef (at least at first) is to pick a few lines/spaces and memorize not only where they are on the keyboard, but also their note names, and then use these points for quick reference when trying to identify unfamiliar notes. Because the bass clef's other name is the f clef, it makes sense that "f" could be one such line. Another reference point is middle c (the first upper ledger line), c3 (the second space from the bottom), and c2 (two ledger lines down).

As far as becoming more adept with the left hand, you're right on the mark with practicing until it seems "automatic". Even for experienced pianists, coordination between hands can often be the single greatest difficulty in learning new music. Here are various resources with helpful tips for understanding and overcoming the difficulties:
"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."


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