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Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: Hugh Sung] #1256512 08/26/09 12:25 PM
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Dear Hugh,
I have been watching your video quietly from the beginning and finally decided to introduce myself.
First of all, THANK YOU so much for your time and effort to put the lessons together. You are an amazing person.

I am not a total beginner, I can actually play the piece through the end in decent speed but never been able to play as beautifully as you do.
And I know why. I didn't get any good theory lessons when I had teachers as a little girl, which was a long----long time ago, as well as any proper fingerings and all sort of proper techniques. So, I find your lessons helpful to slowdown a bit to overcome my bad habits and learn something I didn't pay attention before.
So please know that you are a BIG help for me.

One request from me. Could you introduce some tips how to play softly and beautifully? In other words, please help us not to just focus on getting the right notes? I know it could be too much for a biginner, but at the same time, if you don't learn it as a biginner, you take a risk of building up bad habits like I did. It's been a big challenge for me to remember not to bang on the keys. I've actually hurt my right hand middle finger joints by playing too hard, too stiff and too fast!

Thanks again.

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Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: CoffeeLover] #1256581 08/26/09 01:56 PM
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2play4U Offline
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Dear Hugh,
I have loved going through each of your lessons. I am similar to CoffeeLover in that I can play the piece in its entirety, but I have a long ways to go to master it. Listening to your lessons reminded me why I love the piece so much, and I have picked up a couple of very good tips. I loved your 2 vs. 3 counting tip :-). I plan to continue to follow your lessons.

I understand that the purpose of the lesson is for beginners, so I will try and not muddle up the lessons with more intermediate questions.

When I was younger, I tried to learn French. I had a horrible time. Maybe that is why I take so long to learn a piece on the piano :-).
Thanks again

Mike


Mike
Estonia 168 in ebony polish, serial no. 1378
Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: 2play4U] #1256720 08/26/09 04:48 PM
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Woody-Woodruff Offline
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Hugh,
I have made it so far as lesson #5.1 where you answer Bluekeys question. I took lessons for years as a kid (literally 50 years ago) and never heard an explanation like the one you provided bluekeys. The clarity of the explanation, to me was truely brillant! A light bulb actually clicked on in my head.

I have been back to playing piano for a little over two years now and thought I was making progress despite being self-taught at this time. Maybe, but not as much as I learned today in just a few of your on-line lessons. Thank you for bringing this to us. It is truely appreciated.

The speed of your instruction so far seems to be perfect for me. By the time it takes to download a lesson, I can spend time practicing the previous lesson and getting it almost under my fingers. I'm not sure how fast the more "interesting" portions of the score will take to sink in, but so far I can keep up.

Now, that I got that off my chest it's time to get back to lesson #7.


Thanks again,
Woody


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Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: Woody-Woodruff] #1256834 08/26/09 07:59 PM
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Dear Mr. Sung,

I'd like to chime in with the others who are offering their profound thanks to you for creating these videos.

I'm in too for learning this piece. I had only been hoping to learn La fille aux cheveux de lin as a first Debussy, but I'm game for working on Clair de lune instead. I'm really excited about watching the videos. I've only watched the first one and read the forum comments all the way through.

I'm also very interested in language learning and music learning and what the one might have to teach us about the other, particularly what adult learners can do in either domain when they have sufficient love, focus, and fun as you put it. I like to cite St. Augustine from De Trinitate on the mind as an analogy for the Trinity. He mentions three parts of the mind: memory, understanding, and will. In thinking of these for language learning, a great memory for vocabulary and forms and a great understanding of grammar will certainly help you, but will, which I usually rephrase as motivation (which could in turn be broken up into aspects of love, focus, and fun), is generally the key for who has the most success as an adult language learner. I'm happy to join in this experiment to see what we can all achieve!

And yes, I am trying out these same theories on myself with piano learning. I'm 3 years into weekly lessons and have recently completed my first Chopin waltz (a minor posthumous) and three movements of a Clementi Sonatina (Op. 36, No.3) as examples of what I've completed. My current pieces include Chopin's A major Prelude, Beethoven's Bagatelle in D major (Op. 33, No. 6), a Kuhlau sonatina (Op. 55, No. 2), and a short Handel Prelude in G major. From there on to Debussy (at least surreptitiously!)

Thanks!


cscl
Estonia 190 Satin Ebony
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Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: CoffeeLover] #1256888 08/26/09 10:00 PM
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Hugh Sung Offline OP
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Originally Posted by CoffeeLover
Dear Hugh,
I have been watching your video quietly from the beginning and finally decided to introduce myself.
First of all, THANK YOU so much for your time and effort to put the lessons together. You are an amazing person.

I am not a total beginner, I can actually play the piece through the end in decent speed but never been able to play as beautifully as you do.
And I know why. I didn't get any good theory lessons when I had teachers as a little girl, which was a long----long time ago, as well as any proper fingerings and all sort of proper techniques. So, I find your lessons helpful to slowdown a bit to overcome my bad habits and learn something I didn't pay attention before.
So please know that you are a BIG help for me.

One request from me. Could you introduce some tips how to play softly and beautifully? In other words, please help us not to just focus on getting the right notes? I know it could be too much for a biginner, but at the same time, if you don't learn it as a biginner, you take a risk of building up bad habits like I did. It's been a big challenge for me to remember not to bang on the keys. I've actually hurt my right hand middle finger joints by playing too hard, too stiff and too fast!

Thanks again.


Dear CoffeeLover,
I hope this video helps - there's so much more to talk about, but perhaps this will help lay some groundwork for future videos about sound production and tone control. Let me know what you think.

Lesson #12.1 - Thoughts on how to play softly and beautifully

One of the members of the PianoWorld.com Forums posted an excellent question asking advice on playing softly with a beautiful sound. I hope the illustrations in this video help you to visualize the basic mechanics of producing a good sound on the piano. In addition to suggestions for videotaping yourself so that you can see potential posture or muscle problems, you might want to download a terrific audio editing program called Audacity from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ - this video will give you an innovative way to develop a softer sound using Audacity.


Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: Hugh Sung] #1256908 08/26/09 10:57 PM
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Dear Hugh,

Wow----I didn't expect a whole lesson on my request!
That was not just nice, but great explanation! Thanks! You got me when you took out the bell! Why didn't I think of that before? (I wish I had a teacher like you when I was younger)
I shall start practicing with something slow and simple tonight.
I will check out Audacity, too.
Regarding videotaping myself, I don't have any equipment to do that now but I will in the future for sure when I have more money. I use a small SONY ICD recorder to record my playing just to see how my playing sounds like. I can't even upload my music into a computer now because I don't have a software for that. Well, it's a long story. So that's all I have right now. When I figure out about the software I can upload my Clair de lune to share with you all. And that will be a good motivation for me. Sounds exciting!

Hugh, thanks a million for working so hard to prepare the lessons.
I still can't get over what a nice guy and a smart and efficient teacher you are. Thank you so much and I look forward to going forward with this song.

Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: CoffeeLover] #1256945 08/26/09 11:57 PM
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Horowitzian Offline
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CoffeeLover, Audacity should solve all your problems there. All you need is a mic of some sort, and the file will be on your computer once you record.


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: Horowitzian] #1256968 08/27/09 12:37 AM
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cruiser Offline
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wow! ...how could I have missed THIS thread until now?!

Hugh, let me add my voice in thanking you for the time and effort you're devoting to this great thread. In my opinion you've breathed new life into the Adults Beginner Forum with your Clair de Lune lessons. This is what we need more of! It's wonderful when accomplished musicians and teachers such as yourself and keyboardklutz take the time to record video lessons for the benefit of us all here.

I have always loved Clair de Lune but never attempted to learn it, until now. And so, I'd like to join your enthusiastic group of forum member students in endeavouring to learn this Debussy masterpiece too... got some catching up to do!

...thanks again Hugh!


Michael
Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: 2play4U] #1257070 08/27/09 08:10 AM
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Hugh Sung Offline OP
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Originally Posted by 2play4U
Dear Hugh,
I have loved going through each of your lessons. I am similar to CoffeeLover in that I can play the piece in its entirety, but I have a long ways to go to master it. Listening to your lessons reminded me why I love the piece so much, and I have picked up a couple of very good tips. I loved your 2 vs. 3 counting tip :-). I plan to continue to follow your lessons.

I understand that the purpose of the lesson is for beginners, so I will try and not muddle up the lessons with more intermediate questions.

When I was younger, I tried to learn French. I had a horrible time. Maybe that is why I take so long to learn a piece on the piano :-).
Thanks again

Mike

Hi Mike
Feel free to post those intermediate questions - if i can help address them, i'll try to interleave them into the lesson series. The responses to the other advanced questions have been really nice, so I'm sure your question would help a lot of people.

Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: Hugh Sung] #1257076 08/27/09 08:24 AM
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AC26XP Offline
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Hugh,
Thank you for being such a generous contributor to this forum... and thank you for the time you spend producing these lessons (both on and off the camera).

You motivate and inspire me to continue learning piano and to want to share this universal language we call music.

You da man !
Or... I should say (er... type)... Hugh da man !

Thanks again,
AC

Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: AC26XP] #1257144 08/27/09 09:45 AM
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Hugh Sung Offline OP
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Lesson #12, Measure 10

More multi voice playing for the right hand; tips for holding notes while playing others in one hand; visualizing a large jump for the left hand; using the pedal to catch jumping hands; introducing octaves, and measuring chords by an octave hand; practice tips to gradually add note elements.


Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: Hugh Sung] #1257282 08/27/09 02:12 PM
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My biggest challenge in playing this piece is playing it as legato as possible. I do use a sound recorder (Zoom H4 – very popular in this forum) to listen to my playing. I am always surprised that when I listen to the recording, it is not as legato as I thought it was when I was playing it. My fingering is slightly different than your suggestions, and so I am playing with that a bit.
I do use Audacity for normalizing the sound before I post my playing, but I had never thought of using it to watch the amplitudes of the various chords to see if some are louder than others.

I know that you mentioned that you would cover pedaling later, but I was wondering if you think marking the pedal marks on the piece would confuse everyone. I struggle with the pedaling and where to overlap chords (i.e. hold one chord while playing the next chord) and using the pedal to join the chords. It appears that you lift the pedal quite a bit more than I do in each measure. I was wondering if you could make the pedal on the screen a little bigger, so that I could follow it easier.
Thanks for your help


Mike
Estonia 168 in ebony polish, serial no. 1378
Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: 2play4U] #1257290 08/27/09 02:20 PM
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Hugh Sung Offline OP
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Lesson #13, Measure 11 - Part 1

This is a tricky measure, so we're going to tackle it in two parts. We learn about eyeballing octaves and how to use our hands as "octave cookie cutters" to more easily find our way around; we'll start working on the right hand octaves first before adding the inner notes, talking about how to play them in a relaxed manner.


Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: 2play4U] #1257293 08/27/09 02:21 PM
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Hugh Sung Offline OP
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Originally Posted by 2play4U
My biggest challenge in playing this piece is playing it as legato as possible. I do use a sound recorder (Zoom H4 – very popular in this forum) to listen to my playing. I am always surprised that when I listen to the recording, it is not as legato as I thought it was when I was playing it. My fingering is slightly different than your suggestions, and so I am playing with that a bit.
I do use Audacity for normalizing the sound before I post my playing, but I had never thought of using it to watch the amplitudes of the various chords to see if some are louder than others.

I know that you mentioned that you would cover pedaling later, but I was wondering if you think marking the pedal marks on the piece would confuse everyone. I struggle with the pedaling and where to overlap chords (i.e. hold one chord while playing the next chord) and using the pedal to join the chords. It appears that you lift the pedal quite a bit more than I do in each measure. I was wondering if you could make the pedal on the screen a little bigger, so that I could follow it easier.
Thanks for your help

That's a terrific suggestion, Mike - I'll work on a pedaling lesson for everyone. Thanks!

Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: Hugh Sung] #1257677 08/28/09 06:06 AM
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Here's a bit of inspiration from a young beginner from Sweden - lesson videos have only been up about a week, and to see this kind of result already is a thrill for me! I'd love to see more video responses (and video questions) so that we can collectively encourage each other and have fun learning together!


Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: Hugh Sung] #1257801 08/28/09 09:49 AM
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Lesson #14 - Measure 11, Part 2

Now we put the remaining elements together in this measure. Once again, we try to use some fingering strategies that take advantage of "cookie cutter" octave shapes, particularly in the left hand where we can position it to fit several consecutive note groups. Octaves are the name of the game! We also look at pivoting fingering in favor of preserving the "cookie cutter" shape, and some different pedaling options.


Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: Hugh Sung] #1257917 08/28/09 12:20 PM
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hi,
Thanks for the video, Hugh and "the young biginner from Sweden" ! Good job for such a short time. I noticed that you are plying from memory. Nice. I usually wait until it comes natually.
I tried videotaping for the first time! Just up to measure 14. I'm not sure how this is going to work. I just used a web camera that came with my laptop. Here it goes. (In case you don't know me, I am not a total biginner, but I am trying to make my playing sound better. I am sure there are lots of bad habits like posture, hand position etc. since I got back to piano three years ago just teaching myself. So if you notice something, please let me know.)

humm..., it looks like I have to make it into something like YouTube video.
I guess I'll figure it out and then post it.
Hold just a minute please...this is not going to be easy..
whistle

Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: CoffeeLover] #1257964 08/28/09 01:29 PM
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Beginner from Sweden is doing great!

My biggest challenge is internalizing the thirds timing. Maybe I've lived too long in a "1&2&3&4" world. One thing that's helped is setting the metronome on 32 and letting it click every third beat. Alas, I'm only on measure 8, but I'm learning 2 other pieces right now and only giving Claire a few minutes a day.

This is going to be a long term project.

Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: bluekeys] #1258037 08/28/09 02:51 PM
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Beginner from Sweden is doing much better than I am also. While I can play up to measure 11, it still needs more work to come completely up to speed. My problems are with the fingering and pedaling. I have realized that I haven't been using much of my thumbs on either hand as I should have so I am in the process of fixing that for the fingering and I have either too much or not enough pedaling.

I have managed to work on it a total of about 2 hours since I started yesterday so I am satisfied with where I am right now - just not enough to open up the piano and set up the H2 yet.

I think what would help besides the future pedaling lesson is a review lesson of everything we have completed so far. I'm not sure at what point we can draw the line yet due to continuing phrasing of the music...

Bluekeys is right, this is a long term project!

Woody


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Re: Clair de lune from Scratch - YouTube Piano Lessons [Re: Woody-Woodruff] #1258100 08/28/09 04:13 PM
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Hi, new member Joyce popping into the conversation and the lesson group. I can't tell you how delighted I am to find these lessons (thank you BlueKeys, I saw the reference to them in your webpage, which I follow) and can't wait to get home from work and start playing with this. I'm a beginner, started as an adult at age 58 and have been taking lessons and practicing diligently for 20 months now. With Hugh's help I'm ready to tackle this song which is so gorgeous. I'll be posting additional questions and comments as I go thru the study. Thanks everyone for being here.


Ski34days (to ski is to live!)
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