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Hello Piano World!

Just started here and looking for any help that can be offered. My girlfriend and I have been together for just over a year and I know she is my one. Music is very dear to her and she's an avid pianist. My goal is to learn one song, John Legends "Conversations in the Dark", by September, 24th (93 days away). I have seen a few tutorials on youtube ranging from simple one-key notes to the full song. I'm not fooling myself that I'm going to master this piece, but I need to be able to play some kind of version of it by then so that I can sign along with it. I've tinkered with a guitar over the years but never stepped up to the 88 keys. As an absolute beginner I have started with Yousician to learn the basics and can commit to around 4-5hrs per week without her knowing, this includes buying a cheap Facebook Marketplace electric for my office at work to practice on at lunch and will make use of her ES110 whenever I can.

My ask of the community would be ANY tips that can help. Being new to all of this I'm open to all suggestions.

Last edited by DarkConversations; 06/23/22 12:22 PM.
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Since I assume you dont know how to read music, you would need someone to show you which notes to press and how. Many people use synthesia but I have not used it and I dont know if this song exists in their catalog. Some other members may be able to help you more. You can also post this in the non classical forum which could be also helpful. In the classical forum most people read music.


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Thanks, Sidokar. This is the program that I see youtubers using but I didn't know what it was... it'll be a huge help having it on my laptop. I assume I can adjust the speed to learn the fingering and adjust with improvements.

Last edited by DarkConversations; 06/23/22 01:11 PM.
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This is a tall order for someone who doesn't read music. What you have to do in the short time available is simply to copy what you see/hear on a video. The problem is that you may not know what you are doing nor why.

When you get to the stage where you think you can play the work I suggest that you record yourself to hear if you really are playing what you think you are playing. The difference between concept and reality can often be surprising.

Good luck in this project.

Regards,


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Is this to be a public proposal?


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You might look at this—- Synthesia plus actual tutorial



"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Thanks, BruceD. Something I hadn't thought of and I"m sure will be a good tool.

Rubens - No, I think I am already taking enough on doing this with just her in the room, never mind the masses. lol. She'll be extremely forgiving and knowing her, she be crying hard enough to drown out any mistakes.

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Hello dogperson, that's the one I found on youtube, good to know others trust it as well. Interesting to learn she wrote the song. Its exactly what I need and now knowing about synthesia I'm hoping I can adjust the speed to let the fingers catch up.

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Originally Posted by DarkConversations
Hello dogperson, that's the one I found on youtube, good to know others trust it as well. Interesting to learn she wrote the song. Its exactly what I need and now knowing
about synthesia I'm hoping I can adjust the speed to let the fingers catch up.

Just to be clear, I only found this tutorial but haven’t tried it. It just seemed like a notch above the normal.
(I learn everything by reading the score). Best wishes this works out for you! A very romantic, personal gift 😊


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Getting 2 hands to coordinate is not easy if you're an absolute beginner. If you already taken some lessons would be much easier.

Watching YouTube videos following hand positions or B&W keys lighting up on the computer is a time consuming process. I met a retired man with little music training learn a 5 min. piece by following hand positions in a video. Took him 3 months to learn all the notes and he hasn't quite reach the ideal speed.

There is the Lead Sheet option where you'd learn just the melody line (1 note at a time) and fill-in the rest with LH chords for accompaniment.

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I strongly suggest learning strictly via the HD Piano tutorial linked above. I started out on piano learning almost everything via HD Piano, and their lessons are very quality and allow beginners to learn fairly complex songs. The video above looks totally manageable within 90 days, so as long as the rest of the song is similar, I think you can totally handle this. Don’t let the naysayers intimidate you. For reference, I learned Randy Newman’s You’ve Got a Friend In Me via HD Piano very soon after beginning piano, and it’s way more complex than this. Just practice hard and be patient! After 3-4 weeks of solid practice, you’ll start to see solid progress and be able to knock it out, I bet!

Also, it’s pretty amazing that the person who is giving that tutorial literally played the piano part on the John Legend album, so why go anywhere else?!! Also, I wouldn’t waste time learning theory or other things if you just need this song. True that you may have no idea why you’re playing which notes and yada yada yada, but for just one song, it’ll be fine and you need to spend all your time focused on this song anyway!

Feel free to DM me if you need any help or email me at my username at gmail.com. Definitely hope you make this happen and I want to hear how it goes!

Last edited by TylerMorgan1; 06/23/22 11:04 PM.
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Wishing you the best of luck DarkConversations! I am not familiar with the piece, or with HD piano, but I watched a bit and I saw that there were some jumps that may be difficult.

The way I practise jumps is that I practise one jump at the time, for instance F# to E one octave lower. I put my metronome at a speed at which I can jump correctly. This can be extremely slow! When I have played the jump correctly five times in a row, I turn up the metronome plus five bpm. Once again, after having jumped correctly five times in a row, turn up the metronome, etc.

Then I do the same for the next jump, for instance E to G# one octave higher. This way I work through all jumps.

Once I can do all jumps separately quite well, I start to connect them, one step at the time. So F# to lower E to higher G#. This whole process with the metronome repeats.

It may take many days to learn the jumps, and usually, the next day I start the whole process from the beginning again, with the jumps from one note to one other note. Then connecting three notes, etc.

My system may not suit you, but I hope it can be an inspiration for you in finding your own way of practising jumps.


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Animisha is 100% right about getting and using a metronome. It most likely will seem odd and hard to do but a necessary part IMHO. Almost all beginners do not keep proper time while learning an instrument. Plus using a metronome give you a point to see how you are improving on getting the piece up to speed. Another thing to do is play a few measure (2-4) and keep repeating them over and over and over. Then do another 2-4 measures. repeat..... Also I still do this now after all some 40 years of playing piano on and off, Look and find what you think is the hard part of the song and start there first. Hate to have you learn 80% of the piece and get the to hard part with only a few days left to learn and fail.

Bet of luck to you. I played the Daddy/Daughter song while my wife's friend sang to at our wedding.


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Here's what I would do were I in your situation. I would resign myself to working with a teacher. I'd find one who knows how to play pop piano.

Then I'd take another look at this tutorial. The tutorial places the song in the key of B, which is not a beginner's key. If your voice can handle it, I'd play the song one half-step higher to the key of C.

Here's a link to sheet music with notes, chord symbols, and lyrics pitched in C.

https://freshsheetmusic.com/john-legend-conversations-in-the-dark/

(There are other sites that will supply you with the sheet music and even allow you to choose the key you want it in).

The key of C is all white keys and is where most beginners start. As the video says, the song is not difficult. It only requires a few chords. The most basic way to play these chords is use your left hand to play the root of the chord while your right hand plays the entire chord. There are other ways to make it sound fuller, but this technique is a good one when starting from scratch.

These chords are just accompaniment. You'll be singing over them and the singing is the focus of what you'll be doing. That being the case, you won't need to do much more than strike the chords on beats 1 and 3 and it'll sound fine. You can even just run through the chords as the introduction. That will still work.

If all this sounds foreign to you, your teacher will decipher it.

It will go better than you think. Relax and have fun.


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Or just record the accompaniment on your digital piano beforehand if it has that function. Then you can press play, put your hands on the keyboard, and sing along with your "perfect" accompaniment.


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Originally Posted by Rubens
Or just record the accompaniment on your digital piano beforehand if it has that function. Then you can press play, put your hands on the keyboard, and sing along with your "perfect" accompaniment.

Someone who is an absolute beginner wouldn't be comfortable even playing the accompaniment unless it's very straightforward. If you're just using a background track and sing on top of it, forget about learning piano. The whole idea here is to impress someone you love with your piano playing. Singing the part does the job of making a proposal without having to play piano. There are singers who play electric guitar or keyboard and those who only sing.

Some people learn to lip sing on stage which is not authentic singing. Pretending to play isn't real playing. Even if you're playing some wrong notes, it's the thought that counts.

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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Originally Posted by Rubens
Or just record the accompaniment on your digital piano beforehand if it has that function. Then you can press play, put your hands on the keyboard, and sing along with your "perfect" accompaniment.

Someone who is an absolute beginner wouldn't be comfortable even playing the accompaniment unless it's very straightforward. If you're just using a background track and sing on top of it, forget about learning piano. The whole idea here is to impress someone you love with your piano playing. Singing the part does the job of making a proposal without having to play piano. There are singers who play electric guitar or keyboard and those who only sing.

Some people learn to lip sing on stage which is not authentic singing. Pretending to play isn't real playing. Even if you're playing some wrong notes, it's the thought that counts.


He came here asking how to learn the piano. I therefore assume he wants to play the music on the piano and not just sing it with a backing track.


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Originally Posted by DarkConversations
Hello dogperson, that's the one I found on youtube, good to know others trust it as well. Interesting to learn she wrote the song. Its exactly what I need and now knowing about synthesia I'm hoping I can adjust the speed to let the fingers catch up.
So I had a look/listen to the song and the tutorial that @Dogperson posted.
The chords are easy.
The rhythm of the guitar intro... isn't.
She hinted at the difficulty with the "one -e-and -a two-..." counting.
Basically what she's doing is subdividing quarter notes into sixteenths and playing syncopated (as written).
If none of that means anything to you, it could make for a steep learning curve.
So... @DarkConversations - could you play that 4 bar intro on the guitar?
If I were working it with you I would have you just beat the time at first - maybe LH for that long held note, followed by RH. Bang on a table like you were drumming.
THen you put the pitches with it which you can get by watching a video and putting little colored dots on the keys (if you need a reminder).

An easier alternative is to get a lead sheet in C major with the chord symbols (which we hope you remember from your guitar days). Learn to play from the lead sheet accompanying on the guitar.
THen... find where those chords are on a piano keyboard, and... you're on the way.

Good luck with all this. It is encouraging that Romance has not gone completely out of fashion.


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Gossiping less and practicing more helps.


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The proposal date is getting near. Better find a version and start learning if you haven't already. Before playing it in front of an advanced piano player, you can upload a sound or video recording and let people here comment on your playing and give you tips how to improve.

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