Grand Finally

My final product for my learning project is far from perfect but has come a long way from the start. I know that I did not play every single note correct and that my speed may not have been super consistent throughout but on the bright side I can finish the whole song hands together. I am still happy with how it sounds. I never thought that I would be able to pick up on it as easy as I had and am extremely pleased with the progress I have made.

Overall this learning project has taught me a ton and I had a lot of fun with it! I have learned how to play many of the different major and minor scales. Before that, I had to learn the name of each key on the piano. I learned about flats and sharps and how the same note can sometimes even have two different names.

While learning my song, Mercy by Shawn Mendez, I got better at hearing what sounded right and didn’t sound right because I was learning by looking at the hand placements of the YouTube video and how it sounded. I also learned what good hand and finger placement, and good posture looked like while sitting at the piano, where your head, legs, arms, and body should be positioned.

As I continue to play and learn songs I am going to practice learning how to read notes and rests on sheet music! I am also determined to learn how to play a duet with my younger sister.

One Step Closer

This week I finished learning the rest of the song hands together.

I also explore a couple of the free apps I found on the blogs I explored last week. If it had been earlier on in my learning project I would have thought about purchasing a couple if the reviews and uses of them seamed suitable, but since we are nearing the end I decided to go with the free option.

One of the apps I explored, MusicNotes Deck, is to help with remembering music theory, which I have not had a ton of time to focus on. This app is like a set of flash cards. On the card is something you should recognize such as a sharp or rest, and at the bottom of the card is a little sound button that you can click on and it then tells you the correct answer. I think this app would be useful for when I do get a chance to do more work on the theory.

The second app I looked at is to teach sight reading, something I also did not have a chance to work a lot on. This app is called Piano Maestro. This one is more suitable for younger children who are trying to learn the piano, and for them would be very helpful. I do not see myself want to use it in the future.

Next Week:

For my final week of the learning project I am going to work on fine tuning my piece. Things I am going to work on will be dynamics, tempo, and I might even try to add some pedaling in.

Coming Together.. one day it will sound like music

This Week:

I have been continuing my work on putting together both hands together in Mercy, by Shawn Mendez. It started out quite rough, but I think it is safe to say that it is starting to come together and sound much better now. Here is my progress so far!

I have also explored a few different blogs this week using Feedly as my search engine. Two of my favourite blog that I found are 88 Piano Keys and Color in My Piano . 88 Piano Keys provided different example of thing you can be doing off the piano that will help your learning, such as theory work. Color in My Piano had a few good articles about getting started playing the piano, and ways to stay motivated in your learning. One thing that both of these blogs had too was different example of apps you can get to help with learning different pieces of playing the piano.

Next Week:

I am going to continue learning the next part of the song hand together. As my song is coming together I am starting to look at different things that will need to be fixed or added at the end. I want my song to go from good to great before I am finished. A few things that I have seen are adding dynamics, louder and quieter parts to the song, and having a tempo that is right for the song, but a speed that I can still play with minimal mistakes. As I finish getting the song all put together those are things that I am, going to be thinking about. I am also going to explore different apps that I have found on the different blogs I explore this week.

Slow and Steady

This Week:

I did a lot of work on my learning project, here is the right hand of Mercy, by Shawn Mendez, which is the piece I decided to play. I have been working on this for the past week and a half.

This week I starts on the left hand which is quite simple. So After going through it a few times I have started putting it together. It is not as easy as I thought it was going to be. Each hand alone is not bad but trying to multitask in a way is much harder. I looked at my hands quite a bit when learning so not being able to see what each hand is doing has been my challenge while learning it hands together.

This week I also tried exploring different twitter accounts that may help motivate me or give helpful tips and suggestions. One that I like the most is called Grand Piano Passion. It puts different tips and quotes involving piano. Another account that I started following is called TeachPianoToday which provided different links to different articles on their website that are sometimes useful. The last one that I started following is called Piano Mentor. This account post very frequently and I’m not sure if it is right for me yet but I am still going to give it a chance before I decide whether or not I am going to unfollow it. This account posts tons of different facts, statements, or quotes about piano and music, I wouldn’t say that it is helpful but some of the stuff that they do post is interesting to know.

Next Week:

This coming week I am going to continue to work on putting my left and right hand together. I am also going to take some tome to explore different blogs there might be about piano or music in general.

 

Let the music begin!

Recap:

Here is the progress I made from last week’s minor scales.

This week:

This week I have decided what song I was going to learn how to play. I choose Mercy by Shawn Mendez. I am going to try and learn it by ear as well as following had placements and finger placements on the keyboard. I found a website with a few different YouTube videos as well as the notes that each hand should be playing. Both are helpful because sometimes the video is going too fast to be able to see exactly which key is being hit.

My reason for learning by ear is because I have not learned how time signatures work yet and what how long to play each not just by looking at them. This will be a work in progress for the future as I continue to progress with playing.  With learning by ear I have had a little trouble holding the notes for the right amount of time so that it sounds how it should, but the more I continue to practice the easier it is getting, and the better it is starting to sound.

I like the video I found because it shows both hands together as well as each hand separately.

Next week:

Continue learning the right hand because I have not yet learned it all. I am also going to try and find more sources that will help me with learning the piano such as different twitter accounts, or blogs.

Minor Scales

Recap:

Here is a video of the progress I made last week!

This week:

Now that I have a good handle on the major scales, I took this week to work on the minor scales and chords. I can now play all the minor scales and chords with both hands simultaneously. The minor scales and chords include A, B, C#, D#. F and G. When learning to play these scales I continued to use the same resources that I used to learn the major scales and chords.

As I am learning the minor chords I am starting to make a connection in my head. The major side sounds much more joyful and happy, while the minor side sounds sadder and gloomy. I have also learned that every major scale is related to a minor scale. This means that they have the same keys, the difference is the starting point and that is what changes the sound of it. Another thing I learned is that there are three different types of minor scales. With this I decided to learn only the natural minor scales.

Now that I am getting more comfortable with playing I have been trying to focus on proper hand placements and posture while sitting at the piano. It is important to ensure that the bench is proper height and distance from the piano. You want your knees to be at about a 90-degree angle. Your back should be straight, and your wrist should make a straight line with your arm, this means that your elbows should also be at about a 90-degree angle. Lastly your fingers should be relaxed so that they are able to have a nice curve to them, if they are straight it makes moving freely from key to key very difficult.

Next step:

Begin learning the right hand of the piece I have chosen.

Major progress…

This week in my learning project I have tackled the major scales and the chords on the piano. I am now able to slowly make it through the C, E, G, B, D#, and G# scales with both my left and right hand simultaneously. Little did I know there is many different types of scales and ways to play each and every one of them. I am also starting to pick up on reading notes, although I have mostly been learning from watching where the fingers are placed on the piano instead of the notes themselves.

One YouTube channel that has been very helpful for me when it comes to technique is called Piano Scales Book. There are many different concepts that are described and demonstrated on the piano while he is explaining. Another website that I found with many different videos (which can also be found on YouTube) is very useful too and provides description and a visual on how to do it as well.

With using both of these resources as a starting point I think that it will help me to develop the basic skills that I will need when learning to play a full piece and then maybe one day a duet.

I am pleased with my progress so far in my learning project. The initial awkwardness of where to put my fingers and what to do wit
h them is slowly disappearing. This makes me excited to continue learning.

Next step: Learning all the minor scales and cords that go with them.

Future pianist?

For my learning project I have decided to learn how to play the piano, or attempt to. When I was younger I took a few lessons but quit because I did not have enough time to practice it. I have always wanted to learn how to play an instrument so this seemed like a great time to start. This is going to be like starting at rock bottom, I do not know how to read notes, or play much more than “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.

I choose the piano because my younger sister plays and is very good at it. My mom and her sister used to play duets when they were youngers so I would like to eventually be able to play duets my sister too. Once I am able to fluently read notes, play at a high enough level and play a few different songs.

I am going to start with learning the notes and different scales in both major and minor keys. If that goes okay I am going to choose a song to try and tackle and see how it goes from there. YouTube is where I am going to go to start my journey.