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#1022508 - 12/02/08 02:49 PM Where to go from here? Experience?
enigma2118 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/08
Posts: 50
Loc: Boston
Hello all,

So I am new here, and new at the piano too. I've played guitar before, and just started piano about 5 months ago. My music knowledge is that I can read sheet music, but very slowly, very very slowly. I know all my chords now, in all the positions.

How I've been playing so far: (besides watching someone play on yourtube) I will grab a song I like and know. One that has the chords listed. I then will play the song using just the chords (I'm not sheet music reading, tho I have but it takes a looooong time of memorizing the song as I can't just plunk it out as I go) and I will usually play the root and the 5th (I think) with my left hand and the full root-3rd-5th with my right. I'll play around with these 5 keys I am hitting and try and hit some at different strenght/time to try and get a feeling of fully playing the song. I can't yet make my left hand do a bass pattern and my right do another pattern. I seem to have very little hand independence so far. Not to say both my hands play notes always at the same time, if I'm not thinking about it I can split the beat up into left and right, but to have 2 completly differnet tempos going is very hard for me right now.

So my question I guess is this: what would you fine folks suggest I tackle next? Scales? I would sit down with a lesson book, but oh man the tediousness of playing Mary had a Little Lamb will kill me. I'm enjoying playing music I know, and wonder if there is a way to keep it involved.

Thank you everyone and anyone for replying. This place is great! (Also just got a new piano, I'm on cloud 9)


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#1022509 - 12/02/08 03:14 PM Re: Where to go from here? Experience?
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4534
The advantage to learning to read sht. music
is that just about all the songs you'd
ever want to play are available in sht.
music. These sht. music arrangements
are better than anything that you could
improvise by chords or by ear, unless
you were a pro. I just got the Hal Leonard
publications, The Big Book of Jazz and The
Big Book of Standards, and they have all
kinds of neat songs in them in full piano
arrangements that are better than anything
that you could improvise.

People often shun reading music because
sht. music looks like indecipherable Martian
hieroglyphics, but note that there are
only seven different notes that can ever
be written on a score: C D E F G A B,
the seven white keys on the piano surrounding
each group of 2 and 3 black keys--each
of the seven complete sets of 7 white
and 5 black keys on an 88-key keyboard
represent the same notes, at a higher
pitch as you go up the keyboard.
(The black keys are not directly notated
on scores, but are implied by sharps
and flats.)

Thus, what looks like a maze of 88 black
and white keys on the keyboard and
a tangle of hieroglyphics on a score is
actually only seven different notes,
C D E F G A B.

Also, we're now living in the digital piano
age, and so you should get a digital piano.
This will enable you to not embarass yourself
as you initially struggle with learning
to read music.

#1022510 - 12/02/08 03:48 PM Re: Where to go from here? Experience?
knotty Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 3041
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)

If you cannot get a teacher.
You should get a decent book that teaches the style of music you like to play.

Playing from sheet is good, it's the best way to play above your level, because you play arrangements written by professional players. There is no reason whatsoever to play Mary had a little lamb. You can find sheetmusic for any style of music. What may seem impossible to play at first will be under your fingers after a few months. All you need is discipline. This is very rewarding.

Scales are absolutely crucial. Play them daily. Find challenges.
Play everything slow at first.

Try developing your ear. As a guitarist, your ear is probably already way above average. Continue by doing simple transcriptions of songs you like.

Record yourself and post here. This will provide a good goal and a sense of accomplishment.

Take care

#1022511 - 12/02/08 03:51 PM Re: Where to go from here? Experience?
enigma2118 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/08
Posts: 50
Loc: Boston
Thanks Gyro for the advise.

It's not that I shun sheet music reading, I do plan on mastering it like a ninja. But in the interum while I'm "chord-playing" for fun, I'm wondering about how to improve this aspect. Right now my chord-playing is all starting to sound the same. Would studying and practicing scales give me the ability to add to my chord playing? Be able to play something more than just the root-5th left hand / root-3rd-5th with the right? Thanks to you all again.

I do have a keyboard too. Not a bad one, Casio Previa (something like that) the 1st model they put out. I like the action on the keys alot. But I'm so happy I got a piano too. What else would/should I spend money on if not music?

#1022512 - 12/02/08 04:52 PM Re: Where to go from here? Experience?
IngridT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Netherlands

It's a pity I am from the netherlands. I am doing classical piano, but chord stuff too, and I've got a great book here (it's a series of 3 in fact) that covers very nicely and completely how to use the chord approach for playing popsongs. Including improvisations based on chords. It's by a (dutch) guy called Bernie Vane, but I have no idea whether his books have been translated in english.

Anyway, there's probably US/UK books that cover similar stuff, maybe someone else has some titles...

#1022513 - 12/02/08 05:49 PM Re: Where to go from here? Experience?
smjl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 13
I absolutely think reading music is the way to go. However! If you want your chord accompaniments to sound better, try using some inversions, with the top note of the inversion being the melody note.

For example: If your chords were G(G B D), D(D F# A) and Am(A C E), you might play (G B D)(F# A D)(E A C).

#1022514 - 12/02/08 10:49 PM Re: Where to go from here? Experience?
piano4 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/21/08
Posts: 358
Loc: Hampton, Virginia
Definitely scales, and I agree with smjl, inversions. Keep on going!


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