July 28, 2011

Piano lesson week 2

July 28, 2011 - Categories: learning

I’m starting to get the hang of the first part of the overture from “Raymond” and this bluesy sort of piece from Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano course. It’s a bit mind-boggling, trying to figure out how to play staccato with my right hand while playing smooth, connected notes with my left. I find it helps to stop thinking about the music and start listening to it. Obvious, you might think, but I have to work on figuring it out. Or on not figuring it out, and going with the flow.

J- is also learning how to play the piano. She’s starting in grade 1 so that she can practise reading the notes. J- plays the piano like I type QWERTY: untutored, we hit the keys with whichever finger is closest, which is fine for pecking things out, but which can be limiting. I fixed that on the computer keyboard by switching to Dvorak and going through self-paced training exercises. Since you can’t exactly re-layout a piano keyboard to rejig your mental connections, there’s nothing to do but to unlearn those habits and then learn new ones.

I’m working on dynamics, tempo, and getting the hang of thinking in these different keys. I play the piano like I program. I get carried away by the fun and easy bits, and then I slow down for the parts I have to think about some more. One of the tricks with piano is to slow down even for the parts that you’ve figured out so that you can play at a sustainable pace throughout. Hmm. Maybe that’s like life, too.

Good mental exercise. Glad I’m doing it. Going for lessons (actual paid-for lessons that take up a chunk of my day, with exercises and homework I’m accountable for!) looks like it’s helping.