Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Piano Adventure

So Thursday evening I sat down for my first practice session. I spent about fifteen minutes getting frustrated with myself before I figured out a plan of attack. I purchased a highly recommended book for teaching yourself piano but it had not arrived yet and I was impatient. I did have a few different books from a lot of 4 that I won on eBay for 99 cents so I thumbed through them with no knowledge of how to sit properly or what note, say "C" on the treble clef corresponded to what "C" on the keys ... there are quite a few of them after all. Well after I reminded myself that this was for fun and there were no tests involved I found a song in a book that is fairly simple that I am familiar with because I played it as a solo on my viola in high school. I just picked a C to use as my base and went on from there. Got the whole song memorized too, well the right hand portion of it at least. I decided not to conquer the left hand until I had more instruction. So my frustration quickly turned to fun and I was loving every minute of it. We went to the river this weekend and I was very sad to leave Charley because I planned to get some good practice time in but lucky for me when we got home Saturday evening I found the book I was waiting for in the mailbox. Yay! And let me tell you ... it's exactly what I needed. The first page is all pictures and it shows you where to sit (i was sitting too close), how to hold your hands (my fingers were flat, not curved) and several other things that you really need to know. I also discovered where middle C is on the keys and on the treble clef. Armed with that information I worked through the first 19 pages of the book today during two practice sessions ... probably about 1 to 1-1/2 hours or so total and by the end of it I was playing Jingle Bells with both hands!!! Yipppeeeee! :)

An interesting thing that i'm struggling with, well it's interesting to me anyway, is in this book they give you a number to help you find the note ... for example, you play middle C with your right thumb which is finger number 1. So everywhere there is a C there is also a number 1 written above the note to help you out. Well here's the problem ... in playing the viola finger 1 is actually the finger next to the thumb. My brain is fighting itself a bit but i'm working to retrain. As i'm going along playing these songs (so glad i can already read music) I'll notice that it doesn't sound quite right and i'll realize that i'm playing viola finger 3 instead of piano finger 3. Funny stuff. And the treble clef and viola clef are off also so that provides for yet another challenge. For example, in viola (viola clef) the note in the top space is an F but in piano (treble clef) it is an E. Great brain exercise though ... seriously. I love brainy puzzles, in fact, I have a MENSA puzzle-a-day calendar on my desk. :) So this has created quite a challenge for me that I am really enjoying.

As for Charley, she seems to play really well and has a great sound ... to my non-piano-playing ears at least. She's definitely out of tune in a few spots but I hope to have her tuned up and repaired after our yard sale on the 3rd. (Group yard sale at a church with our FPU class ... should be able to really unload some stuff) There are a few keys that definitely need a little work done on them. I find that i'm fascinated with how a piano actually works. I never knew before ... I just thought you hit the keys and something hit a string and that's it. Boy was I wrong ... there is so much more involved. I've heard several stories now (2 from 2 different people i actually know in person) about people with absolutely no experience in playing or fixing a piano taking a piano apart and rebuilding it. I would so love to learn to fix this thing on my own. I brought my grand idea up to Brett and he kindly reminded me that we just started our own business and that we don't have time for that. Bah humbug! Oh well ... maybe later. He does have a point. And I would rather spend the little time that I do find learning to play anyhow.

So the journey begins ... can't wait for my other books to show up. I found all kinds of used (but not used) piano books on and I bought a couple for myself and a couple for Houston. The book I mentioned about is $20 new but I got it for $3 + shipping ($3.49) and it looks as if it has never been opened. Gotta love the internet. :) I'm really looking forward to the Laurie Berkner song book to arrive. If you have kids (and cable tv) then you know what I mean. Time for some goof ball fun!

1 comment:

  1. Have fun!!! I think I still have my books from first learning where I had to color the thumb red, then the middle C red, etc. Especially if you have a musical background, this will be easy-peasy.

    My father always told a story of his piano being delivered by donkey-and-cart in the mid 1940s. I grew up playing it - still had most of the (chipped) ivory keys, and it was painted black. We had a fire in the house, and the piano survived, but it needed refinishing. Come to find out it was mahogany veneer - looks absolutely stunning now.

    Very much out of tune now, and it would need a major internal overhaul to correct it, but I don't care. I love that beast and all that it's brought to our family.

    May you make joyful memories with yours!