Here there be dragons...

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

Continuing the trend of brilliance or disaster. And, umm, a little light on the brilliance ;)

So it’s amazing how I lose the ability to play as soon as the camera is on. Even though I *know*, logically, that I can record as many takes as I like, AND that my sole audience is my dad, I still slide backwards significantly from what even the last effort was. Super frustrating and makes me glad I never have any inclination toward being on stage! 

The one significant advantage of the video though, is for the songs where I’ve gotten past the “just able to play the right keys” stage, it really helps me to hear it and then I can see what I need to do differently. It helps me pick out which areas aren’t smooth, or where dynamics need to change. I’m loving that that’s now a component of it. It’s only the last couple songs where ‘just get the right notes’ hasn’t been the WHOLE objective.

Also, my tendency in riding to go for brilliance or disaster definitely carries over to piano ;). The happy safe middle won’t do. At least in piano, it’s unlikely that I’ll end up covered in mud as a result ;). So for example, my current challenge is learning to play hands at different volumes. Otherwise even the nicest sounds sound horrible. But I can’t be happy with just slightly different. Oh no. So instead I have cases where one hand is SO soft that sometimes I don’t actually get any sound, while the other sounds like somebody let a toddler loose with a hammer.

Still having fun with it though, so deeming that a win :) I wasn’t sure I’d keep going once the weather was nice enough to go outside, but I still seem to be making time for it.

I HAVE dropped off on the theory portion though. Lol I know I really need to get back into that or I’ll regret it eventually, but atm I’m enjoying songs, and when I get stuck, I go learn the theory I need specific to that moment to get unstuck. It’s pretty much what I’m doing with Spanish too so hey, why not? ;).

I also don’t love that if I don’t play them regularly, I lose them and have to start over again. It comes back fast, but definitely can’t just sit down and play.

I’ve been writing what I’ve been learning from each song in YouTube - going to paste it here in order just for posterity’s sake:

Day 1: Game of Thrones / Sound of Silence:
At this point I had vague memories of how to read treble clef, zero knowledge of bass clef, and only vague ideas of where the keys were.

Month 1: Game of Thrones / Sound of Silence (beginner):
Very rough, but better than Day 1

Month 2: Cannon in D (beginner)
One of my favourite classics, but missing my favourite part :(. Apparently it's not beginner-friendly.

Month 2: Piano Man (beginner)
The end of this one destroyed me!

Month 2: Harry Potter (beginner)
Simple and pretty - this was the first time I got to play with the higher notes, and the first time both hands were in treble clef.

Month 2: Demons (beginner)
Had fun with this one - it was the first one with chords in both hands simultaneously ;)

Month 2: Cannon in D (intermediate)
My first Intermediate!!! Woohoo! lol I LOVED this one, but only cause it's one of my favourite songs and I was *so* disappointed by the beginner version.

Month 2: Havana (beginner)
LOVED learning this one. ALL the black keys and interesting combinations.

Month 2: 7 Years (beginner)
I love the change in rhythm half way through - 2nd half is way more fun :)

Month 3: Let it Be (beginner)
Recorded early just so it could be at exactly 3 months

Month 3: River Flows In You (Intermediate)
This song is super pretty, and I only got through it for the first time ever yesterday, so still a LONG way to go before it should be on here, but staying true to recording the learning journey.

Month 3: In the Hall of the Mountain King (intermediate)
This one gets both faster and louder as you go, which I really enjoyed. I'm not sure the volume comes through in my iffy recording but it was definitely there in my little room!

Month 4: Game of Thrones (intermediate)
Started learning this one after a week's vacation. Don't know if it was brutal because of that, or because it's harder but yeah, it was painful. The parts that I *thought* should've been easy, were hard. On the plus side, super proud of the comparison to the other versions of this song I've done so far!

Month 4: I’m Yours (intermediate)
This one was about learning to play slowly, learning chords (and how to still hear the melody!), and my first ever effort with a pedal.

Month 5: Despacito (intermediate)
This one introduced more complicated chords, triples, notes on a syncopated beat, a new key, and more pedal practice.

Month 5: Pirates of the Caribbean (Easy Piano)
First time with "real" sheet music. Challenges learning not to stall when I need to switch pages, and on the 2nd portion of a repeats going to the right end bar. I am grateful to be learning in a time when tech allows for switching pages digitally via a Bluetooth foot pedal and not needing to actually lift my hands off the keyboard to do so ;)

Month 5: Für Elise (Intermediate)
I read a (plausibly fictional) story that this was composed for a beginner student Beethoven loved. Something she could play that would still sound pretty. He proposed to her but was turned down. So he added a part that she would find very challenging 😂. There is no accurate source I could find that vouches for that; most just propose the three potential Elises. But it still amused me.
This version, suffice to say, does not have the complicated parts. More advanced versions in the same app do.  For me the learnings here were: 
- playing different volumes with each hand (still ridiculously hard for me!)
- having hands overlap without getting tangled

Month 6: Moonlight Sonata (Intermediate) 
This one was a challenge, and I admit I recorded before I probably should 😂 There's a fair bit of polish still required. BUT. I got through it :) New learnings for this one were octaves, so many octaves, and rhythm changes. Also learning to read really low notes in both clefs.

Month 6: Bohemian Rhapsody (intermediate)
SO many challenges, and so much room for improvement still. Next challenge - hands playing with different volumes! lol ah well.  Challenges to learning this song:
- changing key signatures
- changing clefs randomly
- very little repeating sections so way more to learn in a comparatively sized piece

Month 7: Sound of Silence (intermediate)
This one was all about hand independence: partially is each hand doing the right thing at the right time, but primarily getting the left hand to volume down and the right hand to be louder so that the melody can be heard clearly. Also smoothing the notes out while doing that. Lol apparently when too much is going on at once, I can only play super-staccato ;-P


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