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Yes, I'm a newbie (both on this board and to keyboard/piano). Two years in; I didn't read music prior to starting this musical journey. I've learned from online lessons for the past 2 years and feel I have a satisfactory foundation. Now I'm trying to work on lapses I have; things I read, watched, etc. but didn't make myself do. I'm going to start this thread to share some of my self-learning discoveries and breakthroughs. I welcome others to participate in this thread. Please share things that has helped you on your journey. So, without further delay...


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. No exams for me!

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I have learned 12 keys so far. I have Alfread's Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios and Cadences. To try to sit down and run though all those at any given time is a good hour plus for me. Not an enjoyable experience. So the other day I was thinking about how could I work these exercises in consistently each day. If it was left up to me, I'd chose C Major, G Major and A minor because they are easy. So, it needed to be randomized. One of my other hobbies is scrapbooking (which I have done very little of since starting to learn piano). I combined the two interests and made cards with each Key; I included the page in the Alfred's book the key is on. This also helps me remember what keys I practice when I write it in my practice journal. So, after I practice the 3 keys of the day, they get put in the "done" stack and I'll pick 3 more tomorrow. Every 4 days I will have practiced all 12 keys. Each day is unpredictable so hopefully this will cut down on the perceived monotony of these exercises. Pictures of my cards are included in this post (hopefully. Still struggling with pictures...)
[img]http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...keys-gallery.html#lg=3109253&slide=2[/img]
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...keys-gallery.html#lg=3109253&slide=3

Last edited by SunnyKeys; 04/23/21 09:30 AM.

SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. No exams for me!

Yamaha P125
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Counting while playing. What???? I'm looking at circles, trying to figure out what note it is on the scale...oh or ledger lines...and then trying to tell my fingers what key on the piano to play. A sustain pedal should be there somewhere too...AND I'm supposed to count? Brain overload. I'm not the most coordinated person on the planet! A friend of mine says "oh I just play that note a little faster..." Not a good solution I realize. So, today while I was playing my scales I counted. Yes, it took a little bit of doing because they were half notes in 4/4 so I counted to 8 (one and two and three and four and five and....) After a few tries I was able to do actually count and play at the same time. I will be incorporating this into my scales work over the next week or so before I try to venture out to any pieces I play. Baby steps...


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. No exams for me!

Yamaha P125
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I have a similar method with cards and a random key every day, although my cards aren't as nice as yours. Counting is very important so it's great that you are learning this habit.

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It's easier to work on recognition and rhythm separately. Just get fast at reading and playing them in the right order first, then add the counting couple month down the line. laugh

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Originally Posted by SunnyKeys
Counting while playing. What???? I'm looking at circles, trying to figure out what note it is on the scale...oh or ledger lines...and then trying to tell my fingers what key on the piano to play. A sustain pedal should be there somewhere too...AND I'm supposed to count? Brain overload. I'm not the most coordinated person on the planet! A friend of mine says "oh I just play that note a little faster..." Not a good solution I realize. So, today while I was playing my scales I counted. Yes, it took a little bit of doing because they were half notes in 4/4 so I counted to 8 (one and two and three and four and five and....) After a few tries I was able to do actually count and play at the same time. I will be incorporating this into my scales work over the next week or so before I try to venture out to any pieces I play. Baby steps...

I’ve kind of punted on this myself - it feels like too much for a newbie. And then add in a metronome - yikes!

But I’ve wondered if one of these counting systems might help:
Rhythm counting systems

(That was a site google turned up but looks like a good summary.)

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Originally Posted by SunnyKeys
Pictures of my cards are included in this post (hopefully. Still struggling with pictures...)

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

When I opened the images in a new tab, I got their correct addresses. SunnyKeys, these are gorgeous!!


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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They are truly gorgeous! I’m in awe
If you do choose, you could write the scale with the fingering on the back of the card


"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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Great suggestion!


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. No exams for me!

Yamaha P125
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Thank you for that suggestion. I know I can't incorporate it all at once.


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. No exams for me!

Yamaha P125
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I'll check it out. Thank you!


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. No exams for me!

Yamaha P125
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For me, two very important breakthroughs were:

1) understanding relaxation
2) understanding using the weight of you arm and hand when playing

Before I understood these two things, I tried to imitate the movements of my teacher but without the force and relaxation behind it, and I just couldn't get it right.


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Great points. I also play golf. Relaxation is a must there too. I'm getting better there, after way too many years. Hopefully it won't take me as long with piano. Relaxation includes relaxing your brain as well as your body. Happy playing! Thanks for the post.


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. No exams for me!

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SunnyKeys - Like the cards, piano, + cat.

Like EinLudov said: Get the notes down first so that you are fairly steady and confident. Then go back and work on rhythm, tempo, dynamics, articulation. You can look these up on Google, YouTube, etc... though you probably know some of it already.

Count each measure one measure at a time. Each measure contains the equivalent of 4 quarter notes when in 4/4 time. Count like this: If they are whole notes: 1 2 3 4. If half notes: 1 2, 3 4 . If quarter notes: 1, 2, 3, 4 . If eighth notes: 1& 2& 3& 4&. If 16th notes: 1e&a 2e&a 3e&a 4e&a.

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The etude I'm working on is 6/8 and starts with 2 sets of triplets. I remember from a video that one way to count them is tri-pi-let. When I played/counted it that way my rhythm was right. A small but important victory!

Last edited by SunnyKeys; 04/25/21 01:50 PM.

SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. No exams for me!

Yamaha P125
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Originally Posted by SunnyKeys
The etude I'm working on is 6/8 and starts with 2 sets of triplets. I remember from a video that one way to count them is tri-pi-let. When I played/counted it that way my rhythm was right. A small but important victory!

I spent a lot of time (while doing other things, such as bicycling), thinking about the best way to count rhythmical structures such as triplets. I have come up with mi-mo-sa for triplets, also because it is easy to say this fast, if needed. For triplets that are followed by a longer note, I say a-la-ba-maaaa so there won't be a break between last note of the triplet and the next note. cool


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Are they triplets, or 2 sets of 3 eighth notes?


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You are probably right. Looked up definition of a triplet. My head is swimming. I'm such a novice. The mi-mo-sa sounds like a good drink about now. Sorry for being naive.


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Originally Posted by SunnyKeys
The etude I'm working on is 6/8 and starts with 2 sets of triplets. I remember from a video that one way to count them is tri-pi-let. When I played/counted it that way my rhythm was right. A small but important victory!

In 6/8, the beat is on a dotted quarter note, ie 3 eight note. There are no triplets. A triplet is when you play 3 notes but in the time of 2. In a duple meter of 4/4, a triplet of 3 eight notes would be played in the time of 2, ie one quarter.

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I've spent the evening learning more on rhythm, proper counting and such. It is confusing to me but I'm starting to scratch the surface just a bit.Thank you.


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. No exams for me!

Yamaha P125
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