Recommendation: Lypur on YouTube

Andrew Furmanczyk has recorded and uploaded a lot of „how to play piano“ videos on YouTube. His intention is to provide piano learn lessons to people who can’t afford one in real life. The lessons are not only very professional but funny as well 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/user/Lypur

A must see 🙂

Difficulties of learning piano

People, who want to learn something, often ask themselves, why is something supposed to be difficult, like playing piano.

From the point of view of someone, who isn’t even a beginner, a thing could look easy. You have got notes on a sheet, so you have to learn notes. And you have keys on a keyboard, so you have to find the keys and associate them with the notes on a sheet. Then you have to memorize the notes and practice by repeating and repeating until you know where the keys are, withouth thinking, because that would prevent playing fluently.

I could say, I now know the right keys on the keyboard and I know when to play them. Actually from the point of view above I should be able to play the piece.

The other thing ist … It’s getting clearer and clearer where the real difficulties are. It’s the dynamics, it’s the change in dynamics, it’s the perfect timing, it’s about emotions and so on …

The beginners point of view is: Ohh … I will never learn this … can’t do …

The basics can be learned fast, but then you get to a point, from which it’s a lot harder to progress further …

Whatever, I didn’t manage to play 3/4 of River flows in you without problems in timing and dynamics … Still, the last 1/4 has to be learned by heart …

My next piece?

I’ve been searching for quite a while for my next piece I want to learn.

At my current level, I will have to like it for about 2 month 😉

I tried the first 20 seconds and it felt sooo impossible, again … This was about 4 days ago … Now, I feel that it could be possible …

But that’s a feeling I got from „river flows in you“ as well, when I had to learn to play a new section …

My digitalpiano

Didn’t mention it before … Perhaps the reason was that I didn’t know whether I really would write this blog or not 😉

First, I tried with the old Techniks KN800 keyboard of my dad, but there were some issues which created a feeling of uncomfortableness. One thing was the missing sustain-paddel which resulted in always-stakkato. One other thing was the touch-sensitivity which was very unsensitive 😉 It could only loud and louder and the sound was fat away from being a piano. That’s no wonder, because it’s a keyboard and no piano clone.

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I decided to buy a Casio PX-120 digitalpiano which is the only recommended device for less than 600EUR. The PX-120 and the Yamaha YDP-140 are both recommended devices but the latter is even more expensive. One key-feature is the good claviature which is equipped with a hammer-mechanic – and the hammer-mechanic seems to be an absolute must for a digital piano in order to get a similar touch sensitivity and feeling like a real acoustic piano.

I got mine used from EB*y for 240EUR less than a new one. I knew the PX-120 was first produced in 2008, so it would still have more than 2 years warranty.

Compared to an acoustic piano, I’m quite satisfied with the sound quality. It’s funny to see such a small device trying to be a really big one 😉 The internal speakers don’t give the sound as good as it could be, but I always use head-phones – good Sennheiser HD487. The only thing to criticize is the sound in the middle range … It sounds as a real piano in the low and high range, but the middle range sounds like … somehow a bit sine-like without piano characteristical sound. I suppose this would be a bit different on Yamaha keyboards (actually I saw a video on Youtube about the P-140 and it sounded in the mid-range like a piano …)

Nevertheless I’m satisfied with the keyboard. 🙂

Thx for reading!

Improvisation?

One thought which crossed my mind:

The last 2 month I tried to read sheet music, to find the keys and to push them right in time. But somehow I don’t feel I would have learned much about music … I learned the movement of my hands and arms and how I can stay in the right rythmus, but when I play a key wrong, I’m not able which of my two hands played the wrong note. So actually I don’t know anything about music.

There ist some analogy which popped in my mind … It’s somehow someone would give you a PC-keyboard with unlabeled keys and told you where to press on exactly which time. One could learn something stupid by repeating the task over and over again. But does he learn writing in this way?

Don’t think so … or it takes a long time.

Perhaps the key for learning music is to improvize … or to try to reproduce a piece by ear. I could imagine that this kind of training would directly link the notes to the keys in the brain and to develop a sense for music.

Just repeating keystrokes over and over again seem to be a fast way for playing something somehow, but the main focus should be the learning of playing freely and this can’t (imho) accomplished in this way.

Your thoughts would be very interesting for me 🙂 Perhaps there is someone who is reading this blog …

Learning since …

… 15. May 2009 …

Oh, that’s almost 2 month now – and still I’m no concert pianist 😉

The last 2 month made some things clear … there’s a big difference in „finding the keys in time“ and really play piano.

Please don’t understand me wrong … It’s not that I thought I would become very good within 2 month or a year or so … It’s just the experience how much there ist to learn. And more difficulty, things which are really to late to learn. At least I feel so at the moment.

Finding the right keys in time is a skill someone can get within a short time by learning
– reading sheet music (scales, key signatures, duration of notes and pause, and so on …) and finding the right notes on the keyboard and
– repeating and repeating and repeating until the movement of the two hands gets into the Cerebellum.

I tried to record my playing with the PC, but I didn’t manage to get a version which was free of errors … Perhaps a bit later …

Aahh ohh … forgot … Do you know what my first piece is I’m learning?

Did I mention, that I like challenges?

I’m about half the way through the piece and I find almost all keys in time 😉

Afterwards, it seems that piece was quite fitting for a beginner … Other pieces like the theme of „pinky and brain“ seem to be very more difficult although someone expect exactly the contrary.