JF's beginner piano ongoing thread

Posted by: JF Playing

JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 01/09/13 03:33 PM

Hello!

I would like to introduce myself.

I am brand new to playing piano and started on January 3rd this year, so basically just now. I am returning to playing Piano after many years as I did ~4 years as a kid and I think I had passed a conservatory exam or two at the time. I can still read music pretty well, albeit slowly and I learned the Do-Re-Mi... way and now that I am in an "english" environment, I guess all methods are using CDEFGAB. So, I'll see how that goes. Right now, CDE just really doesn't tell me anything. Ultimately, I guess I will have to be comfortable with both methods.

My intent is to document my progress and practice sessions, post questions to help future new members and hopefully motivate others. I will document what I am working on as I progress and any challenges I am facing.

I have started practicing on the Alfred's Method, but I am also using the Piano Handbook by Carl Humphries because of the quality of the pieces in that book and because I love Jazz! My first class with a teacher is this coming Saturday!! Yay - Wish me luck. I have a plan and a list of things to ask him. (Thanks Becca) I will be seeing him every weeks for 30 Minutes, so no room for slacking off!

I just bought a Casio PX150 in Calgary, and as an entry level instrument, I am quite satisfied. (I realize that it's no grand piano, but we all have to start somewhere...)

So, i realize that for adults learning Piano, expectations can be a tad unrealistic. Hopefully, I played a few years as a kid, so I think I have a good grasp of what's realistic say 2 years from now.

What do you think is a realistic goal after a year or 2? How do you keep track of progress?

Cheers, thanks for reading my post and stay tuned. Next post will be on my experience meeting my first teacher.



Posted by: hamlet cat

Re: JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 01/09/13 04:22 PM

Welcome to the world of black and white.
Posted by: JimF

Re: JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 01/09/13 04:40 PM

Welcome JF.

I think you will find that your four years of learning as a child will serve you well. Many of us who start from scratch later in life struggle with things that you probably won't even think about. And I wouldn't worry about "where you should be in 2 years." Just keep working at it and enjoy the process.....you will get wherever it is you get anyway, and there will always be more to do and a next step to take.

Enjoy and welcome to the forum.

-the other JF grin
Posted by: Whizbang

Re: JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 01/09/13 06:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Jfamiot
What do you think is a realistic goal after a year or 2? How do you keep track of progress?


I think this question is impossible to answer, because it will depend on your aptitude and effort.

What I think does make sense is the following:

* Find a musical style you love and a piece you love within that style. Of whatever difficulty, even insane. Set that as your aspirational goal but don't necessarily put a timeframe on it.

* Then, based off how well you are progressing and with feedback from your teacher, set incremental goals. These aren't necessarily for your piece of choice, but the idea is that you're picking up skills that might be useful in your piece of choice and learning other pieces in a similar style.

I think, as long as you are always working on a specific incremental goal, you don't need to keep track of specific progress. It's when you don't have a goal at all that you can founder.

Finally, some folks here contribute to the Piano Jams. I could see how, say, 3 years down the line, when you're feeling low, being able to refer to your progress over the course of the various piano jams could show you how you've improved over time in a way that your memory might not be so good at recalling.
Posted by: ZoeCalgary

Re: JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 01/09/13 07:02 PM

Hello Jfamiot and fellow Calgarian! Good luck with your first lesson and the start of your journey! I started in 2010 but had a few years of organ as a teenager. I am truly addicted! My organ knowledge came in handy and helped me not start from scratch. But who knows where I'll be in a few more years?

This forum is a lot of fun. You will enjoy it. There is a long standing thread on Alfreds book you may like to find it and take a read through. Many folks follow that path.

Congrats also in your new instrument!
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 01/10/13 01:36 AM

Originally Posted By: Jfamiot
Right now, CDE just really doesn't tell me anything.


This could be a good time to start learning [more] music theory. You'll likely come to find that it helps you significantly in dissecting, learning, and memorizing new repertoire. The book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory is very approachable and interesting (and you can play all of the examples of covered material on the piano). I also made this thread a short while back that links to several free resources on music theory for beginners just learning to read notation through intermediate students: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1948785.html

Originally Posted By: Jfamiot
My intent is to document my progress and practice sessions, post questions to help future new members and hopefully motivate others. I will document what I am working on as I progress and any challenges I am facing.


Excellent! A practice journal is a terrific idea, especially when shared with others or even better, a physical teacher. This is probably also the best way to track and document your progress which you also brought up. For example, a year from now, you can look back to these days/weeks/months and see how far you've progressed from struggling with learning what will then seem like easy material

Originally Posted By: Jfamiot
What do you think is a realistic goal after a year or 2?


Everyone progresses at different rates as a result of a multitude of variables. Nobody can tell you invested you are at this moment or will be maybe 6 months from now. It's thus impossible to really say here. Instead of thinking about this, focus on how much you enjoy being back to the piano right at this moment and start trying to make your practice sessions as enjoyable as possible.
Posted by: JF Playing

Re: JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 01/16/13 06:09 PM

Thanks Ron, Jim, Wizbang, Zoe in Calgary and Bob. Great insight on goals setting.

So, I had my first class last weekend and while 30 Minutes isn't much, I think having someone more experienced to act as a guide will be very beneficial. It's hard to say how things will click with that teacher who is very very young. Will have to wait and see. I don't really know, it all went so fast. One thing I noticed is that when I told him I definitively wanted to do the conservatory exam, he seemed to take me more seriously and offered to help me set up a plan so I can try the exam in August. I can see why when teaching adult a young teacher would be more in a "let them do what they want" mood and a rather hands off approach. So, I guess time will tell, I am fairly easy going and as long as I am learning I will be good. I don't expect a teacher to baby feed me everything, but to be a guide.

Right now, I am practicing Greensleeves. Going pretty well, but I recorded myself and I have a big challenge with keeping the tempo. I guess I still need practice, so it's normal. I want to be able to play this one really really well, and then practice with the metronome.

A question, when one is at the initial learning stage, should we use the metronome? Or is it better to know the piece reasonably well before aligning the notes to the tempo in a more definitive way? (I am not totally ignoring one vs. the other of course.) Would you recommend practicing both aspect separately, as in focusing on tempo practices VS practicing the notes/hands movement/fluidity... or having the metronome on all the time and for any types of practice?

Cheers and thanks for reading.
Posted by: JimF

Re: JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 01/17/13 08:23 AM

I would learn to count out loud first. You want to develop an inner rhythm. Use the metronome occasionally to check yourself or to work a tricky bit or something else specific. I use the metronome most often to slow myself down.
Posted by: Norrec

Re: JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 01/17/13 08:44 AM

Is this the version of Greensleaves in Alfed's Book 1? I did that one a couple weeks ago and it is a fun one. What helped me a lot was to pay attention to the recommended fingerings. It became much easier to play it correctly when I did. In particular there is a spot where you're moving back down the keyboard that has I think 3-4. So you'll hit the key with finger 3, then switch to finger 4, then play the next note. This sets your hand up to play the next portion and you had a half note(I think, could be a dotted note) to move the hand instead of a quarter if you wait for later.

I think it was 2 weeks for me until I was playing that one good enough to record and send home. You can use that as a baseline to judge your own progress if you like, but I couldn't tell you whether that is esppically fast or slow. I was working on 2 other pieces from Alfred's at the same time.
Posted by: hamlet cat

Re: JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 02/14/13 12:35 AM

Hows it going JR? Are you still determined to do the exam in August?

Greensleaves is a fun song. I'm doing it now and really enjoying it. I'm working on Alfred's book 1, so that is the version of it that I'm playing.
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: JF's beginner piano ongoing thread - 02/14/13 12:25 PM

Good luck with it all:-) i have changed teacher recently and am making some minor but very poignant breakthroughs.... a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.. keep up the good work.