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Relearning How to Play the Piano

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, Music | Posted on 13-01-2008

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I can’t remem­ber whether or not I bur­bled about this already, but if this is a repeat you can get extra hugs the next time I see you or some­thing. We have a work­ing, mar­velous, beau­ti­ful piano! It’s the freecy­cled Korg 88-key dig­i­tal that I men­tioned way back in Novem­ber, all clean and func­tion­al thanks to my sweet Sam. It sounds so good! It even feels right, unlike any elec­tron­ic key­board I’ve ever tried to play. I learned to play on an acoustic piano, and the feel is just dif­fer­ent. This piano has nice­ly weight­ed keys to help old­sters like me, and they’re even touch-sen­si­tive, like a “real” (acoustic) piano. And it has two ped­als! (There’s a pic­ture of a sim­i­lar mod­el down there under the “read more” link.)

It won’t go out of tune. We can record any­thing that’s played on it. There are not one, but two head­jack ports, so that, say, a teacher and stu­dent could hear the student’s attempts with­out both­er­ing any­one else in the house­hold.

Yes, I like!

Now I need to find appro­pri­ate “learn to play” books writ­ten for the adult stu­dent, but the only ones I’ve seen in the past assume absolute­ly no musi­cal knowl­edge or expe­ri­ence. I think I’d like to take lessons again, but I’m almost afraid to do so. Still, does any­one know of a good teacher in the Decatur area? Have any rec­om­men­da­tions for appro­pri­ate instruc­tion books?
Korg 88-key Digital Piano
Katie took lessons for a cou­ple of years before her father died. He nev­er got a piano, but she did (and still does) have a key­board. I’m real­ly hop­ing she’ll decide to start lessons again. Of course, if she does we’ll have to find a teacher. The girl has such per­fect hands for the instru­ment, all slen­der and ele­gant, with such long fin­gers! She’s had bet­ter reach than I do for years, now.

Once upon a time I was good enough to accom­pa­ny myself while prac­tic­ing voice pieces. I didn’t play in pub­lic, gen­er­al­ly, but I did direct and accom­pa­ny a senior citizen’s choir a life­time or so ago. I haven’t had reg­u­lar access to a work­ing piano since I was 21 or so, and 20 years of no prac­tice real­ly shows. Add to that the fact that I lost most of the feel­ing in my left hand dur­ing that time, and you can prob­a­bly under­stand why I’m pret­ty much start­ing over.

It’s far more frus­trat­ing to start over. You know how the music should sound, you can remem­ber play­ing it well, you know how your mus­cles should work. But they don’t. It’s humil­i­at­ing.

I had saved all of my “learn to play piano” books, but since nei­ther Moth­er nor I can find them, I believe that my sis­ter and/​or broth­er “help­ful­ly” tossed them out at some point in the past, when my music was stored in my par­ents’ home. I had planned to go back through them until I found my cur­rent “lev­el,” then prac­tice the drills and songs and such ’til I could retrain my mus­cles. It isn’t as if I’ve for­got­ten how to read music, or any of the the­o­ry, after all. Okay, I haven’t for­got­ten much of the the­o­ry. I’m just rusty on it.

Comments (7)

Yay for work­ing key­board!

I’ve nev­er got­ten beyond the very, very basics of any intru­ment, includ­ing my voice. Mind you, I enjoy singing, but I won­der what I could do if I actu­al­ly knew what I was doing. Singing lessons are some­thing I may actu­al­ly do one day.

Here’s hop­ing you find good resources — mak­ing music is good for the soul 🙂

Thanks, sug­ar! I real­ly appre­ci­ate you pass­ing on my request in your LJ 🙂

I didn’t get as much out of the very few singing lessons I had years ago as I’d hoped, but then I had a bad sinus infec­tion all quar­ter and I didn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly “click” with the teacher. I did get an incred­i­ble boost from a week­end sem­i­nar with Elise Witt, and I real­ly hope to take one of her 8-week class­es here some time soon.

Absolute­ly my plea­sure 🙂 Lati sug­gest­ed the fol­low­ing “Piano advice here from some­one who’s been play­ing for… 13 years now?

Don’t start with old favorite songs. They’ll be very very frus­trat­ing, mak­ing you think “Damn, I used to know this so well!” Start with some new fun pieces. Then once the keys are back in your bones, dig up some old loves.”

OMG YAR! And it has ped­als too — amaz­ing. I’m so jeal­ous, my head is spin­ning. 🙂 Good for you — many hap­py tin­kling of the ivories!

It might help to try a piano method aimed at adults, such as Hal Leonard Stu­dent Piano Library Adult Piano Method or some­thing sim­i­lar. PM me if you want a spe­cif­ic sug­ges­tion, but a search on adult piano meth­ods should turn up a num­ber of good can­di­dates. I’m a gui­tar play­er but I learned to play piano by slow­ing down a play­er piano (Disklavier in my case), and then learn­ing the left hand part, then adding in the right hand notes, then chords. I’m not “good” but I make music and have fun.

I must say that I’ve been in the piano busi­ness for a long time and nev­er seen this brand of ‘piano’, although elec­tron­ic key­boards are very com­mon and I’ve relo­cat­ed more mod­els than I can remem­ber, I’m pret­ty sure I’ve nev­er ran by this.
As a piano lover I will def­i­nite­ly give this one a try. Thanks.

Since it breaks down into pieces my teen daugh­ter can lift alone, I doubt that any­one would hire piano movers to relo­cate one of these. One of the rea­sons I’m so hap­py is that, unlike an acoustic piano, it doesn’t require tun­ing.

Don’t get me wrong – I adore acoustic pianos! That’s what I learned to play on, and some­day, I hope to have a nice one. But we know we’re mov­ing again in the not-so-dis­tant future, and in a place as small as we have now, the abil­i­ty to use head­phones with the dig­i­tal piano is very nice.