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#1041175 - 04/24/07 09:23 PM Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Matt H Offline
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My piano teacher is encouraging me to learn to play by ear, which I have never really tried to do before. She told me to start with children's songs and just see if I could sound out the melody.

So I was trying to plink out Mary Had a Little Lamb tonight when my ten-year-old daughter walked into the room. "Daddy, what are you trying to play? It sounds kind of . . ."

"Mary Had a Little Lamb."

"Oh. It's like this." She plays it. "I never saw the music for that song. I just taught it to myself."

"You're grounded. Go to your room."

[ok. she's not really grounded.]

Matt

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#1041176 - 04/24/07 09:28 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Quote
"You're grounded. Go to your room."
laugh laugh

Feeling a touch inadequate?! Been there, done that! Kids are wonderful that way.

Cheers,

David

#1041177 - 04/25/07 08:07 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Next time you try that and she's around, plonk really badly at it so she'll come over and "help" you out with it.

Try again and the next time segue into the End Theme for the Loonie Tunes cartoons. She'll probably jump back in disbelief (of course you have to learn that little flare some time when she's not in the house!)


Inspiration is the act of pulling a chair up to the writing desk.
Pramberger JP-185 (a 6'1" mahogany-red Grand)+ Glenn Gould-ish piano chair (no cushion)
#1041178 - 04/25/07 09:32 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Great story! laugh

Yes, it's humbling to be shown up by one's kids. On the other hand, nothing quite delivers the confidence boost to a child than outsmarting Mom and Dad. wink


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#1041179 - 04/25/07 09:41 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Quote
On the other hand, nothing quite delivers the confident boost to a child than outsmarting Mom and Dad.
Until they have their own children! laugh

#1041180 - 04/25/07 12:06 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Aren't children just great huh!


BTW...your teacher is giving good advice wink

pssst...simple tunes, nursery rhymes etc that's the way to start thumb


Lee smile


Twitter: @Seaside_Lee
#1041181 - 04/25/07 04:19 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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I must be a musical genius because I do not understand how anyone cannot instantly figure out Mary had a Little Lamb on the piano. My retarded blind limbless half sister can pluck out the song with her nose without even the need to make hilarious vocalizations (okay I don't really have a retarded blind limbless half-sister).

I just don't get it. The ability to play Mary had a Little Lamb, Hearts and Souls, and Chopsticks on a piano is embedded in everyones DNA, that's scientific fact.

And everyone knows C major is the natural resonance of the universe, so it should be eeeeaaaaaaaaaasy.

#1041182 - 04/25/07 04:38 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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U S A P T Offline
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Hi Matt:

Get your daughter back in the room and ask her to tell you exactly how she learned it. Listen carefully because she possesses the shortcut you seek.

If you approach piano from a child's perspective it's much easier to learn to play by ear or eye or a combination thereof.

Sightreading is an adult thing. Kids have amazing ways of learning without adult tools.

CLICK HERE for an example of knocking down adult blinders or filters with a childlike approach.


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#1041183 - 04/25/07 05:01 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Quote
I must be a musical genius because I do not understand how anyone cannot instantly figure out Mary had a Little Lamb on the piano.
Erm...you probably are wink

Can everyone else do it instantly??

I couldn't do it instantly at first thats for sure..no way jose!! frown


Lee smile


Twitter: @Seaside_Lee
#1041184 - 04/25/07 05:44 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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I could pick it out pretty quickly......but I personally wouldn't be making judgments about how quickly or slowly someone else might be able to pick out a tune.

MooGoo, too bad we aren't all perfect like you!! laugh


When I reach the place I'm going, I will surely know my way.
#1041185 - 04/25/07 05:47 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Quote
Originally posted by Matt H:
"Oh. It's like this." She plays it. "I never saw the music for that song. I just taught it to myself."

"You're grounded. Go to your room."

[ok. she's not really grounded.]

Matt
I long for my kids to do that to me, when they are old enough.


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#1041186 - 04/25/07 06:43 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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On the contrary, it sounds to me like she is QUITE "grounded," albeit in a different way.


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#1041187 - 04/25/07 08:08 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Trucker,

I don't think my daughter could show me how she did it, because I don't think she knows how she does it. She just does it.

When she slowed down to try to teach me the song, she actually got a little confused about which notes she was playing. But when she played it at tempo, she just played it.

I'm guessing the "shortcut" is just learning hear intervals.

I'll ask her anyway, though, because I'm interested in what she'd say.

Anyway, my self esteem is intact today. I challenged her to arm wrestling. (Won two out of three.)

#1041188 - 04/25/07 08:13 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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LOL. I am guilty too of reasserting myself. I remember winning the race to take the free weights from the basement to the attic. smile

Nice to see another Hoosier on here by the way.


Full-Time Music/Entrepreneurship Major: (Why not compose music AND businesses?)
Former Piano Industry Professional
************
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Roland Atelier AT90R
************
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************
#1041189 - 04/25/07 08:32 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Quote
Originally posted by Matt H:
Anyway, my self esteem is intact today. I challenged her to arm wrestling. (Won two out of three.)
Matt H., I am really liking your sense of humor. Hope you stick around. smile


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
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#1041190 - 04/25/07 11:12 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Ouch. You really hit a nerve with me. I have a lousy ear, and really have to struggle to pick out a tune. I got a book called "How to play the piano despite years of Lessons." It has some good suggestions for playing by ear.

I can do simple chording, but nothing like what a friend of mine---who never had a lesson in her life and can't read music can do. She has mastered all the different rhythms--Spanish, boogie, jazz etc.,and can play just about anything, and she plays it well.

Sheesh, do I ever feel inadequate. So, I can understand Matt's feelings when his little daughter sat down and rippled off "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
Gaby tu

#1041191 - 04/25/07 11:33 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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I learned piano by ear because as a kid, I really had no other choice. Lessons had never been made available, so teaching myself was the only way I knew. I can play OK by ear (I can play alot of music/harmonies from Les Miserables - I even sometimes play along as if I'm part of the orchestra) and I can also play some 'popular' music. Playing by ear can be great because I can commit it to memory and add in my own touches. However, sometimes if I hear something in the car and try to play it by memory I have trouble getting it in the right key. So that takes some adjustment. Usually I only get the root notes. Bass cleft and Chords are hard for me to glean just by hearing the music.
Then again, sometimes it's a curse. Learning to read music has been pretty hard and I find it difficult to actually follow the music. Usually I eventually memorize it, and inadvertently stop looking at the score, which defeats the purpose of reading music. Sight reading is also very hard for me.
My girlfriend is in the opposite situation. I'm jealous of her because she can sightread well and has been doing it for years, but she can't play by ear (which she's jealous of me for).
I just hope it's possible for me to be good at both.


Les C Deal




#1041192 - 04/26/07 12:45 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Mary had a little lamb???
You all got that one wrong!

This is how it goes:
Mary had a little sheep!
With the sheep, she went to sleep.
The sheep turned out to be a ram.
Mary had a little lamb.

(I spent too much time in English Music Halls)


Some men are music lovers. Others make love without it.
#1041193 - 04/26/07 08:53 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Actually it's Merrily we Roll Along.

I can pick out that song no problem, but beyond that I clearly suck.

#1041194 - 04/26/07 11:36 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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1 vote for best subject line ever. smile

#1041195 - 04/26/07 06:44 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Gabytu,

I bought the book "How to play piano despite years of lessons" too. I actually bought it before I bought a piano. I have not really started it yet. Which parts do you like best?


Wade
#1041196 - 04/27/07 11:29 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Matt H -- did your daughter play it (Mary had a...) with full accompaniment? -- then I would be really impressed smile

I failed the Mary test -- took me about 20 minutes to figure it out -- and that was just the melody line frown Am I beyond all hope? Rhetoric question -- I don't want to hear the answer smile

Here's a challenge you Piano Magic players -- what can you do with that theme? If it was good enough for Mozart to do variations on "Twinkle Twinkle" .....

#1041197 - 04/28/07 01:57 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Wade, I like the way the authors Cannel and Marx debunk a lot of myths about piano playing.

I already understood theory, and my way around the keyboard, but picking out a melody was something else again.

Therefore, for me the most helpful part was Chapter 35, page178 where they tell you which note of the chord the melody starts on (the root, the 3rd, or the 5th). Once I understood that I was able to play a chord, and from it, determine which note was the beginning note of the melody. After that everything fell into place.

Gaby Tu

#1041198 - 04/28/07 08:18 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Hello bruceee laugh

20 minutes thats good for a first try thumb , it would have taken me hours when I first started

Quote
Here's a challenge you Piano Magic players -- what can you do with that theme? If it was good enough for Mozart to do variations on "Twinkle Twinkle" .....
hmmm what would I do? good question...


First of all I'd have a little play around with it like this:-

http://www.box.net/shared/92i466mpo1


and then I'd try something like this:-

http://www.box.net/shared/8ih4216ta5


How's that?


Tommorrow it would be different...but, hey its a fun tune aint it

maybe not Mozart?...however, I had a 10 minute pianomagical blast with it...

Q. When is a kiddie tune not a kiddie tune?
A. When its grown up wink


Lee smile


Twitter: @Seaside_Lee
#1041199 - 04/28/07 08:34 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Quote
Originally posted by MooGoo:
I must be a musical genius because I do not understand how anyone cannot instantly figure out Mary had a Little Lamb on the piano. My retarded blind limbless half sister can pluck out the song with her nose without even the need to make hilarious vocalizations (okay I don't really have a retarded blind limbless half-sister).

I just don't get it. The ability to play Mary had a Little Lamb, Hearts and Souls, and Chopsticks on a piano is embedded in everyones DNA, that's scientific fact.

And everyone knows C major is the natural resonance of the universe, so it should be eeeeaaaaaaaaaasy.
OUCH!!


It's the journey not the destination..
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#1041200 - 04/28/07 08:35 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Quote
Originally posted by MooGoo:
I must be a musical genius because I do not understand how anyone cannot instantly figure out Mary had a Little Lamb on the piano. My retarded blind limbless half sister can pluck out the song with her nose without even the need to make hilarious vocalizations (okay I don't really have a retarded blind limbless half-sister).

I just don't get it. The ability to play Mary had a Little Lamb, Hearts and Souls, and Chopsticks on a piano is embedded in everyones DNA, that's scientific fact.

And everyone knows C major is the natural resonance of the universe, so it should be eeeeaaaaaaaaaasy.
OUCH!!
I'm curious, can you notate it as easily?


It's the journey not the destination..
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#1041201 - 04/28/07 09:59 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Matt H Offline
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I have that book by Cannell and Marx. I better dig it out. The hardest part for me was figuring out which note to start on.

bruceee, My daughter just played the melody. But she does sometimes play a I-V accompianment with songs she learns by ear. She does this with "I'm a Little Teapot."

#1041202 - 04/28/07 10:12 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Seaside made me do it:

http://www.box.net/shared/fticazurso

Excuse the sloppy recording and the lousy piano sound, but I was in a hurry.

Chords are: C A7 (or C#dim, which is basically the same thing) Dm G, repeated throughout.


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#1041203 - 04/28/07 11:16 AM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Quote
Originally posted by Sandy Moore:
Quote
Originally posted by MooGoo:
[b] I must be a musical genius because I do not understand how anyone cannot instantly figure out Mary had a Little Lamb on the piano. My retarded blind limbless half sister can pluck out the song with her nose without even the need to make hilarious vocalizations (okay I don't really have a retarded blind limbless half-sister).

I just don't get it. The ability to play Mary had a Little Lamb, Hearts and Souls, and Chopsticks on a piano is embedded in everyones DNA, that's scientific fact.

And everyone knows C major is the natural resonance of the universe, so it should be eeeeaaaaaaaaaasy.
OUCH!!
I'm curious, can you notate it as easily? [/b]
Yes, in the key of C:

e d c d e e e r d d d r e g g r e d c d e e e e d d e d c off the top of my head where "r" == rest.

Change e to e flat if you want to make Mary sad.

#1041204 - 04/28/07 04:23 PM Re: Mary Had a Little @#$!!  
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Wow. Seaside's rendition is fantastic. Loved it. Got me so inspired I rushed to the piano to try my hand at it.

I played around a bit with the tune, and had the most fun playing it in c minor. (just flatted all the e's. as moo goo suggested.) My playing is very elementary so far, but at least I was able to pick out the melody all way through and embellish it with some full chords, arpeggios etc. What fun. I think my ear is beginning to get fine tuned and eventually will be able to direct my fingers to the correct notes, without the fumbling in between.

This has opened a whole new area of exploration for me. Bless Mary and her little lamb. She is leading me to new heights of musical prowess.

From now on, I am going to incorporate some playing by ear into my regular practice sessions.
Gaby Tu

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