I'm Josh, I'm 22, and I'm from London, UK. I've been playing piano since I was about 8, but I stopped having lessons after grade 2. I've had the odd spurts of piano lessons here and there throughout the last few years, so you can probably guess what kind of level I'm at. To give you an idea, I can play Lee Galloway's Canon in D very well (though I make stupid mistakes when I play in front of anyone due to nerves), and I can play the introduction of Firth of Fifth by Genesis, though I do tend to make more mistakes than not when I play it, I think maybe it's just a bit too fast/complex. I once learned the Sweet Child O' Mine version by Scott D. Davis, though I could literally not play that through once without making a mistake and fumbling somewhere, so I've forgot a lot of that piece now as I don't play it.
I would absolutely love some advice to help me get to where I want to be. My cousin is a really good guitar player, he plays at jam nights and he's in a band, I would love to be able to play with him and the band. My problem is that I have zero improvisation skills. I can't emphasize enough just how much I can't improvise, I just don't know how to do it one bit. Him and the band can simply play a blues song, in G for example, and they'll all play along easily, I'd love to do that. They play tons of songs, and as long as they all know the chord structures to the songs, they all seem to know what they're doing.
Here are the main things that hinder me:
- It takes me an extremely long time to learn a piece. Even with Canon in D, it was a long process; I have to work out the notes on the sheet etc, then slowly start to play them, and add one note on each time as I go etc. It's purely by memory, once I've added a section to the piece, I don't even look at the sheet music again, I just gradually memorize. I hope you know what I mean.
- I don't really know chords.
- I can't improvise.
So I'm figuring that I need to learn how to improvise and play by ear, so I can play songs with the band. Or it would be great if I could learn songs by sheet music quicker, because I could play with the band that way.
Me and my cousin have set the aim of playing Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Sweet Child O' Mine together, and hopefully a version of Little Wing together. With Free Bird, I've got a whopping 11 page transcription that will probably take me months to learn! For Sweet Child O' Mine, I'm going to do the introduction on piano, well I'll probably play the Scott D. Davis version and hopefully find a way of playing it without all the vocal/guitar bits so that we can play as a band and with a singer. Little Wing is a different kettle of fish altogether, I'm going to have to find my own way of figuring out how to play it, I'm guessing being able to improvise would really help with being able to make up my own version.
I would appreciate any input or any advice. I have to be honest though, I'm not currently able to afford piano lessons. I'm literally just getting started with my dog walking business and things are still difficult, but hopefully when things pick up, I'll be able to afford to have lessons again. But for the meantime, I'm going to have to go at it alone.
Also, from what you can gather, am I kidding myself by thinking that I'll be able to play with my cousin/the band? Am I just going to have to be realistic and accept that it may be quite a long time till I'll be able to do it?
I apologize for the very long lost, I have rambled for quite a while!
Anyway, I'm really pleased to have found this community, it seems like such a great place!