Piano After One Week

Actually, it may have been a week and a half. I neglected to jot down the initial date.

The story is that for several years I've regretted that my parents never made me take piano lessons as a child. Lots of kids are required to learn an instrument. Some resent it, and some don't, and some grow up to play as an adult, and some don't, but if they learned as a kid, they have the choice to play as an adult or not. So I'd been wishing I'd been made to learn to play. I don't want to play formally or anything, just for my own enjoyment, messing around at home, I'd like to be able to sit down with sheet music and turn it into something audible. There's a piano in the living room, after all. It's not a fancy or expensive piano, but it plays notes okay.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago this subject came up in a conversation with my mom, and she said, "So, why don't you learn?" I started thinking about it, and she dug up a couple of my kid sister's old piano primers, and I've been sitting down at the piano for about ten or fifteen minutes a day for a week or so now.

It's actually coming along rather faster than I expected. I expected to be three months getting to where I am now. Indeed, I expected to play nothing but scales for two weeks. But I'm tearing through the primer three or four pages a day, and supplementing it with a piece or two out of the hymnal. (I have at this point to select pieces carefully. They've pretty much gotta be in C major for now. I can play accidentals if they're explicitely marked on a per-note basis, e.g., the sharps in A Mighty Fortress.)

I don't want to give the impression that I'm some kind of piano whiz or something. I haven't even started to look at chords yet, and I have trouble reading timing fast enough to keep up with it. I can play timing well enough to suit myself on tunes I know (except when I have to pause to figure out an interval; I get quicker at this every day), and I know how to read the note durations in theory, but I can't yet read both the intervals and the durations fast enough to play them that way.

Still, I'm learning quickly. Two days ago I couldn't play anything with intervals much larger than two white keys (i.e., I could only skip over one key, discounting the black ones, which I still mostly ignore at this point) unless I sat there and counted for several seconds between notes. Today I'm jumping from C to G and stuff without messing up the timing (on hymns I know). That's progress.

I'm looking forward to learning how to play chords, and to learning to play with a key signature other than C major. I wonder which one the primer will have me do first?

So for all those adults out there who have wanted to learn to do something but thought you were too old... maybe middle-age isn't too old to learn new tricks. I'll post about my progress periodically.

2 comments:

Mark said...

Good for you, Jonadab! :)

shenme said...

At a certain level keyboarding is a skill that can transfer from instrument to instrument, as it were. So if you were even half-way to being a touch-typist at the computer you had a big jump on someone whose most delicate means of expression is pen, fork, or football. ;-)