Here there be dragons...

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

My river is more of a slow creek atm

So I heard this song on a YouTube video of songs beginner players should be able to play, and one, for "year 3" I really liked (side note -- I can't be a beginner for 3 years?!?!  That's so disheartening) - anyways I wrote down the title with  “really pretty” under my 'things to learn' category.   So of course instead of giving it a reasonable time, I went and found it in my app and it has beginner, int, and advanced versions….   Sweet!

Song is River Flows In You - spoiler alert: it doesn't sound like that when I play it

Well beginner was too boring so I decided to start with intermediate. Right. Have I mentioned I am very much still a beginner player? So I learned like the first 4 bars painfully. And then realized it got harder from there. Learned a bit more, while also playing other songs… Kinda paused it for a week or two while I finished learning more beginner appropriate songs.  Then I had a break from my "technique" class (one week off between beginner and advanced versions.   Don't worry - the "advanced" class has a dumbed down version for us beginners).   So I decided I’d give it a week with all the focus on this and see if it was feasible. 

Yeah - it's like the day I decided to start measuring how long it actually takes me to do a moderately complex stabbing?  I'm at almost 60h on that thing now.  I was happier not knowing ;)

I'm determined this will get finished this year ;-P

But so far we've got:

  • Day 1: Review the little bit I'd already learned
  • Introduce the hard parts
  • Individual hands through the whole thing on wait mode (wait mode means it doesn't move till you hit the right key)
  • Day 2: Focus on hard spots
  • 2nd half at 50%
  • Failed attempt at full thing at 50%
  • RH only at 75%
  • Day 3: hard parts only, 50%  (the novelty wore off and this was starting to get frustrating here)
  • Day 4: all @ 50%: good
  • 2nd half @ 75% (was struggling with this)
  • Day Off
  • Day 5: whole thing @ 75%: iffy but got through it (Seemingly proving the day off is good for brain to practice)
  • 100% individual hands
  • Day 6: 100% easy early bars: good
  • 100% middle section: decent
  • 100% hard section: really iffy
  • Whole thing @ 75%: good
  • Day 7: 100%, whole thing, SO CLOSE!

Right so today, being Day 7, I played it through all the way. Note correct but fairly horrible. Lol when things get fast or I feel frantic I pound all the keys at full force. This is not a pound the keys kinda song lol. So yeah - refinement needed. But it's fun and I was super proud of myself.   And while I'm quite certain for long grown-up pieces a week is nothing, but for me with 'easy' pieces that are almost all less than 30 bars, a week is an excessively long time ;-P

Side note - when I’m super focused in riding, I hold my breath. This is usually bad, esp on XC where courses last much longer than my ability to not breath. Today I discovered it turns out I do this in piano too ;). I guess this is the first song that’s been challenging enough but definitely have caught myself a few times at the end with a big exhale lol 

The other thing that's moderately amusing (at least to me) which also aligns to riding is that I talk to myself (good thing I play in front of a mirror), I talk to the dogs (who listen enthusiastically), and I talk to the app (which doesn't listen at all).  Sometimes it's friendly and positive, sometimes it's snarky and sarcastic, but generally it amuses me.   I can't imagine what the dogs think is going on -- I sit there staring at a wall clicking buttons (cause I pretty well always have headphones on) and occasionally talking to them.   lol normal is boring.

Anyways - scales and arpeggios and octaves and hands together exercises and other such things go back in the schedule on Sun, so I have tomorrow to keep playing with this one and then we’ll see. Lol prob a week of remembering all the ones I’ve already learned would be good. Cause I can def only play one at a time right now.  I tried playing one I *know* I can play well and failed horribly lol.  So yeah - sole focus potentially not so good for a brand-new beginner.  But all good.

*edited to add*: here's my attempt the day after originally writing this post:

The babiest of baby steps.

The piano adventures continue.   Today I learned all about arpeggios.  YouTube instructors fly through these at super speed. But then my buddy (read complete stranger) Zach actually broke down what it was and I thought oh yeah - I can do that. It can’t be that different from scales. Well. Let me tell you. I can’t, in fact, do that; at least not faster than the average snail. And it CAN be more challenging than scales lol. But maybe someday I’ll be able to. So I've added it to the list of things to practice and away I go.

It was an interesting experience though to see what a big gap there is in YouTube "beginner" lessons.  Most of them do okay with complete beginner -- aka my Day 1, which introduces where to find - and what IS - "middle C".  They mostly all cover that, and even the other keys.   An astonishing number forget about teaching what the black keys are all about.  And even those that do 101 level well, then suddenly skip to "how to speed up your arpeggios" -- which was what I hit.  Ummm wtf?!?!   Like I don't even know what that is?  Why should I be concerned about speeding it up, if it doesn't even exist?

Another one which got me was "how to make scales more interesting" -- great!  It's been not quite three months and I'm already bored out of my mind with scales.  Let's do this!  Yeah.  Hard no.  Despite being tagged for beginners, it was SO far beyond my capabilities I'm not even sure what he was doing, much less am I capable of replicating it.  Maybe at the six month or one year mark I'll revisit that one.  Sheesh.

Progress-wise -- for the most part I can learn a Flowkey beginner song pretty solidly within a week.  But Intermediate is still a BIG jump for me.  I have one that I'm determined to learn, so will prob butcher my way through it with brute force, but in general it's tedious, frustrating, and sad -- so I'm sticking with beginners for the moment.  They're still challenging enough.  But it makes me hesitate to go to "real" sheet music cause I feel like it's ALL going to be more advanced than that.   Ah well.  Some day ;)

This came across my FB today; felt it applied to pianoing ;)