Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

The next adventure

Grab some popcorn and settle in for the latest adventure.  This is the story - or rather the introduction to the story - of the year completely tone-deaf me decided to learn to play piano.   You know, I had SO many things I wanted to do after finishing my MBA, ranging from actually making a serious effort at leaving the intermediate plateau in Spanish, to clearing out my work-in-progress pile of stabbing, to playing through a few different video games which I own but have never actually played.  But no, because I'm desperate for something new in my life and travel isn't a realistic option these days, what else is there?   Lol well I've always wanted to play piano, so why not?   Surly that's reasonable.  I will admit when I first started to write this, I had full intention of delaying publishing till somewhere in the 30-90 day range as a look back, but here's to being brave and publishing as I go.  Hence, the introduction ;)

Google says that 20% of kids learn to play music; 70% of adults wish they had.  Idk if it's true, but I do know that it's slightly ridiculous cause as a gainfully employed adult with zero children, I can learn whatever I want.  So yeah - I decided I wanted to learn, did a ton of research on best keyboards for adult beginners in my price range (alas- this is one of those things where to a significant degree $ = quality.But I learned there were some really solid options in the range I was willing to spend on a hobby that I have ZERO idea if it’ll stick).

This is actually a step up from where I started;
Mine was flat on the floor 

On Nov 2, my keyboard arrived but not the stand - which wouldn't arrive till the 8th, so for the first couple days I was Charlie Browning it on the floor.   During this time I did all the googling on best apps to learn piano and settled on Flowkey as the right fit for “never touched a key” beginner and both verified they had lots of songs I was interested in (conveniently filterable by level) and found the first few lessons useful.

My new toy and gratuitous Sasha picture ;)

Okay, but then there was a gap - I finished the beginner lessons in a couple days but was really phenomenally horrible at it.  And definitely can't play even the beginner songs (although the app is certainly helpful - you can set it to practice either hand or both, define the section you want to work on, and speed can be 75%, 50%, or don’t progress till you hit the right key lol aka painfully slow).

Also realized v quickly that while I knew how to read music as a teen, A - it was only ever treble clef and, well, piano uses BOTH.  And B - I’d long since lost the ability.  I knew where the letters were (yeah mnemonics!) but couldn’t actually read them at all without going through the chant.  And for bass clef?   I had nothing.  Frig.

And oh yeah - while I’ve generally felt reasonably coordinated after years of riding (even arial silks - my atrociousness was due to lack of flexibility and strength, not lack of coordination).  It turns out my hands don’t like to work in different rhythms.   They can do different things (yeah transferable skills from touch typing and beat saber) but they like to do different things at the same time.  Hmmm

I played w the idea of actual lessons, but it turns out that’s a frill and we live in a sadly no frill area :(.  And covid.  And $.  So hard no all the way around.   I had a vague idea that I should be learning scales of some sort….  YouTube for the win.  Turns out it potentially matters which finger hits which key.  Who knew?  lol So I found the easiest scale and started working through that one - two weeks in, it's definitely less painful, but wow.  Then a friend was over and showed me you actually need very little theory to learn some basics.  So that seemed like more fun - but… tone deaf, remember (autocorrect made that tone dead lol).  So the whole "play what you hear" thing seems fairly impossible atm, but we'll see a few months from now.

Anyways.  After picking random things off YouTube and my app for a few days I had to acknowledge I had zero idea of how or what to train.  So Google to the rescue :).  Suffice to say I found a plan that appeals to me - it has a 20 day program to play pop songs from scratch which I started this week, and a 20 week program to build technical skills that complement each other which I'll start next week.  I like the coach, it targets adult learners, and from what I know of adult learning, is doing a good job of incorporating best practices.   So….  Before starting, I took these atrocious “before” videos of where I’m starting (which sadly is significant progress over the first few days when I hit a key for the first time).  I let myself try three times and picked the best one of the 3 - we're burying the bar in the sand here lol so I will not be posting these until there's a reasonable after vid to go with them.  Bravery only extends so far ;)

So stay tuned - we'll see how it goes :).  To put in perspective - this week I learned what the pedal does *g*.   So I'll be sitting on the Spanish intermediate plateau a little longer and spend the next few months focusing on this one.  ;)


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