telophase: Piano icon by <user name="chomiji" site="livejournal.com"> (Piano - pianoforte!)
Here we go, because I know you all wanted it: the stunning result of my two days' (so far) worth of piano blues improv classes:

http://www.magatsu.net/piano/12-bar-improv-02.mp3

I'm rather hazy on timing. :) It was done using the 12-bar blues on the left hand, and (most of the time, when I hit the correct keys), the six-note blues scale in C on the right.

Totally life-changing, isn't it?
telophase: Piano icon by <user name="chomiji" site="livejournal.com"> (Piano - pianoforte!)
The piano teacher who does the normal level III and IV courses (I did III this summer and am doing it again in the fall - she has us repeat III until we're ready to progress to IV - each course has students at several different levels in it) talked the extended education people into letting her teach a short blues improv course between the summer and fall semesters, which I signed up for. Today was the first class, and I am reporting on it as per [personal profile] yhlee's request. :)

The first thing we did was to choose jazz names. :) The teacher is "the Duchess". I picked "Boss," a former nickname of mine. For the first half the class we primarily worked on rhythm, the swing long-short long-short rhythm, and clapping various rhythms out. She had cards with various combos of eighth, quarter, and half notes on them and we had to clap those out. We also did pentascales in C (i.e., 5-note scales up and down: C-D-E-F-G-F-E-D-C) to a swing rhythm. And then the hardest part. See in regular music with 4 beats per measure, the emphasis is usually on the 1 and 3 beats: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4. In jazz, it's on the 2 and 4 beats: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4. So she had us doing the pentascales in swing time with out right hands while tapping the 2 and 4 beats with our left.

If you're new to rhythm, it's kinda close to patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time.

The second half the class we learned the basic 12-bar blues progression, and were commanded to memorize it. (I already have!) It uses the I, IV, and V chords, and if you're new to chords that means (as we're working in C), C-E-G, F-A-C, and G-B-D. The progression goes:

I - I - I - I
IV - IV - I - I
V - IV - I - I

And if you play that out, especially the last 4 chords sound like EVERY CLASSIC ROCK AND ROLL SONG EVAR.

And then we learned a barrelhouse blues thing, which means that instead of holding the chords, we did a fifth and sixth - i.e., the first measure, played by holding down C-E-G for four beats in the 12-bar progression, is played C-E-G C-E-A C-E-G C-E-A.

To those who now what I'm talking about, that explanation is horrifically simplistic, and to those who don't, it's completely incomprehensible, I bet. :)

Anyway, that was it. After class I showed the sheet music that [personal profile] yhlee made for me from her composition "Ghostfall" to the teacher, and she was excited about it and told me that if I wanted to start learning it, she'd help me. :) So I shall be working on the right hand for that this week in addition to the blues stuff.

And now I am very sleepy and shall go to bed.
telophase: Piano icon by <user name="chomiji" site="livejournal.com"> (Piano - pianoforte!)
Well, you guys don't get an mp3 of my solo for piano class tomorrow because I couldn't get an error-free version recorded. :) I just got too tired, and couldn't stop making mistakes. Not that it would have been that good, because there's great swathes of it that sound too ricky-ticky because I'm still concentrating on getting the notes right and can't yet play with the rhythm in those parts to get it sounding good. (But for some part I can get a swingin' rhythm going!)

And, I hate to say it, but you guys not on the f-list wouldn't have gotten it anyway because it's a Disney tune ("The Bare Necessities") and thus would not have been posted publicly, because I do not want to screw with the Mouse. :P

Arg

Mar. 16th, 2010 04:02 pm
telophase: (Sanzo - wide load)
I spent some time this weekend scouring the intartubes for free piano sheet music and found a small thriving fan community that transliterates (is that the right word?) transcribe (I knew I 'd remember the right word if I hit Post) music from anime and video games and posts said sheet music on the web. Naturally, the vast majority is far too complex for my current m4d skillz*, but it's now awakened in me the desire to find sheet music for "Wake up Heart!" by Masaki Nomiyama, from the Saiyuki Reload Image Album 1, because there's a fairly simple-sounding theme repeated in it that (a) sounds like something I could achieve and (b) I really like.

Naturally, I can find all sorts of Saiuyki music except that one. *sigh*

Japanese-language readers: do you know if there's any way to find and buy it online (music stores, Japanese auction sites)? Reading around convinces me that as part of the Manga/Anime Marketing Machine that the publishers excel in, sheet music is often produced. It's been long enough that it may no longer be available, though, even if this album had sheet music.




* I can occasionally move my hand from one set of keys to another without pausing more than a second! Ph33r my skillz!

Also...

Mar. 5th, 2010 09:00 am
telophase: Piano icon by <user name="chomiji" site="livejournal.com"> (Piano - pianoforte!)
...I woke up out of a frustration/anxiety dream this morning that incorporated the piano! I was in a house with someone and was going to practice on this old piano and then people kept coming in to the room (possibly to shoot a film?), and I decided to practice anyway and just subject them to my awful playing, but then it turned out to be not a piano but a keyboard and I kept flipping switches on it but couldn't get it to work. :)
telophase: Piano icon by <user name="chomiji" site="livejournal.com"> (Piano - pianoforte!)
Forgot to mention last week that I've started part 2 of the beginning piano course. There's 4, which you can take one per semester.

It's still elementary, although today we played a piece that -- gasp! -- had us moving one hand from the position it started to an entirely new position! Yay! One of my two goals for this semester is to be able to play off the home keys* and to be able to play several notes at one time, using both hands. Without having to stop and go "um, ok, now what key is this finger supposed to be on? And that one?"

As the course is also meant to be an elementary introduction to music theory, and as it's taught by piano pedagogy masters students who will probably end up teaching music to kids, sometimes I feel vaguely condescended to by the terms or actions they use to introduce concepts. (I have not asked any of the people in class who have no musical experience what they think. They may appreciate the metaphors more than I do.) Today, they introduced the idea that some pieces have parts that repeat at the beginning and end with a different, but related, thing in between. This isn't the thing at the end of the staff that tells you to repeat from some point in the piece, but more a restatement of musical theme. So the teacher said that we're going to find an Oreo - the bottom cookie is the first part, the cream is the second, and the top cookie is the first part repeated.

Um. Yeah. I'd rather be told "it's a restatement of a musical theme."

It didn't diminish my enjoyment of the class - the teachers, after all, are students also and learning to do this, and for all I know the other students learn better with this sort of metaphor - but it does, occasionally, leave me wishing that they'd start introducing the correct terminology earlier.

We are also learning a slightly more complex arrangement of the Ode to Joy than we did last class, which makes me happy to my toes. :) And the second book, which we haven't started yet, contains Fur Elise, which leaves me hopeful that I'll be able to work it out by the end of this semester's classes.


* As my brain calls them - the 10-ish white keys right around middle C. Although all you musiciaons probably understood that. XD
telophase: Piano icon by <user name="chomiji" site="livejournal.com"> (Piano - pianoforte!)
Go easy on me, y'all. I've only had six lessons! and a semester back in undergrad...





You don't want to know how many times I had to film that to get one without me making a mistake. :)
telophase: Piano icon by <user name="chomiji" site="livejournal.com"> (Piano - pianoforte!)
Sat and practiced piano - badly - tonight, using the elementary Christmas carol primer I bought. I can now muddle my way through "We Three Kings of Orient Are" if you don't mind dropped notes and significant profanity.

Piano class

Oct. 7th, 2009 09:44 am
telophase: Piano icon by <user name="chomiji" site="livejournal.com"> (Piano - pianoforte!)
Last night got to class with none of the parking problems of last week. I did good in practicing to page 30, because we only got to page 26 or so by the end of class, so most of it was familiar to me.

What is it about young (ish - 20s and 30s) men and elderly women that makes them always seem to form friendships? :) I've seen it happen before, and this class is no exception, as the one man in it, who's probably around 30 or so, is now tight with the 76-year-old woman who's there because she had a couple of strokes and is learning a new skill to stretch her brain. It's fun to watch them.*

We are now learning to play with both hands, although not yet in chords, and learning to read notes on the staff. As predicted, I'm better with the treble clef than the bass clef, because three years of playing the violin and using only the treble clef** has informed my experience. :)

My RSI-afflicted wrist is not yet hurting, which I take to be a good sign. I'm trying to maintain proper curved fingers as I play, even though it's not easy, because I think it helps to prevent RSI. I have also indulged in my usual habit of buying books*** (spurred by a 25% off coupon from Borders) and purchased the Alfred beginning piano for adults book. It should help in that it's got lots of familiar songs in it, not just songs composed by the writers for instructional purposes like the book we use in class. I understand the utility of composing such songs, because it allows the student to focus on only 2 or 3 specific things at a time, but psychologically it's so nice to play something recognizable. I think using both in conjunction might help me keep at it a while longer. :)


--
* One considers that, aside from Harold and Maude, maybe it's because it's a cross-gender relationship that doesn't have a potentially sexual component? If you're stuck in traditional gender roles, I can see where that would be freeing.

** Er, I think? I don't actually remember anything, but the treble clef is so much more familiar to me than the bass.

*** I'm like my dad every time I get into a hobby: always buy as many books as possible about the subject. :)
telophase: (Default)
Missed piano class last week, as there was something going on and no parking available, and the last thing I wanted to do was to park back in my lot and walk across campus to class, and back again.

But I finally got [livejournal.com profile] myrialux to set up his keyboard and spent an hour last night practicing. I have no idea how far they got in the book last class, but I went to page 30 or so, in the midst of the section where they start putting the notes on a staff instead of just having them hang out, staffless, with finger numbers attached.

And then I got bored with the boring tunes in the class textbook and poked through the book that came with the Yamaha keyboard for easy things and taught myself the first lines from "When The Saints Go Marching In" and the left-hand part of the beginning of the Ode to Joy. Only one hand, because I don't have a music stand at home yet and the Yamaha book is printed to small for me to leave it on my desk and squint at it, so I have to hold it in one hand as I play. :)

Hopefully I won't be too far behind tonight.


(I need an icon with a piano in it!)

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