I went home a few weeks ago and had a go on my parents piano. Since then I’ve had a breakthrough moment where I’ve come off book and started making stuff up. They’re mostly just chord progression but nevertheless I feel the improvisational skills and play by ear skills I’ve been teaching myself on the accordion translating across to my piano playing. I’ve still got a long way to go as I’m only on piano book 13/40 in my series. So if I’m already feeling successful now, I can’t wait to hear what I produce after I’ve finished the series.
I’ll be heading to my parents place again in April for my sisters wedding, so I’ll be able to have another go on the piano then. It’s surprising what a difference there is between a real one and a keyboard.
Check out my soundtrack for the short film Friend Request and download your free copy – Friend Request (Original Short Film Soundtrack)
I’ve been getting on pretty well with teaching myself piano using the series of books/cassettes that I have. But whilst I was waiting for my cassette player to arrive from the 80s, I had ago at the Learn To Play function that comes with the new GarageBand.
If you own a Mac then you’ll also have GarageBand pre-installed on it. GarageBand now comes with Learn To Play. Learn To Play will teach you the basics of how to play the Piano or the Guitar. Both come with one lesson instantly accessible, but the other lessons are easy to download and also free. Basic Piano has 9 lessons in total. Each one has two parts: Learn and Play. In the Learn part you are taken through different steps for that lesson with your teacher, Tim. It’s fun and easy to understand even for a complete beginner, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.
The second part is Play, here you are given the opportunity to play what you learnt in the lesson and you even have a full band backing you up to make you sound even better. You play along and practice a few times before hitting the record button where GarageBand will track your playing and tell you how well you did at the end and even where you can improve. If you find the piece too fast then that’s no problem as you can easily slow it down and have another go. Each lesson only takes about 10-15 minutes so it’s really not very time consuming. The last two lessons could take up a bit more of your time as the pieces of music you play at the end of the lessons are a bit more complex, but just keep practicing and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the next Lang Lang.
Once you’ve done the Basic Piano lessons then GarageBand has 6 Pop Piano lessons, 4 Classical Piano lessons and 8 Artist Lessons, the latter being where famous Artists will teach you to play one of their hit songs. The Pop Piano and Classical Piano lessons are all free, but you will have to pay £2.95 for each Artist lesson that you download. All in all it’s a great little addition to GarageBand that is well worth taking advantage of, so get learning and get creating.
I was very lucky to get a full sized keyboard for Christmas, but haven’t really been able to use it properly yet as I can’t actually play the piano. I can push individual keys or play some chords, but I wouldn’t call that playing. Thankfully my parents had stored away a bunch of books from which you can teach yourself.
There are 40 books in the series and they each have an accompanying audio cassette. That’s right cassette, they’re that old! Now I don’t know about you but I got rid of my cassette player quite awhile ago, so I’ve had to order a new one. I remember working myself through the books when I was about 15 and I managed to get to book 7. At the time I found the method of teaching really good, and whilst the technology might be out of date now, the teaching information is definitely not, which is why I thought I’d blow the dust off of them. My aim is to work through at least one book a week, so we’ll see how that goes. In 9 months I could be playing this:
…or I could still be stuck on Jingle Bells! Aim high though right 😉