Original Sheet Music Downloads

Selected and arranged by Graham Lyons

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STARTING PIANO FROM SCRATCH AS AN ADULT no.1

Jan 16 2017


Here is a simple test to discover whether you are likely to enjoy playing the piano–“enjoy” meaning “getting musical satisfaction from”. 

You'll have to sit in front of a piano for this test. But never mind, if you don't own a piano nor have friendly neighbours with one, but are really keen, here's what to do: 

Buy a second-hand 49-key piano. I've seen them on sale from £19 to £65. Perfectly good enough for this test and perfectly good enough for your first six months.

Want to upgrade, or give up? Sell; you've lost little dosh and had the use of a piano for 6 months. 

THE TEST:*

It involves both hands, but one at a time. 

Right Hand

 

 Look at the piano keys above.

1. thumb

2. second finger

3. third finger

4. (you've guessed it) fourth finger

5. fifth finger

 On the keyboard you can see the black notes are grouped in twos and threes. Go to the two-note group nearest the middle of the keyboard. Place your thumb on the white note just below the black note on the left of the group.

Slowly, at your own pace, play notes 1 to 5 and back again repeatedly. After a while, sing, hum or whistle what you play as you play. The quality of your voice doesn't matter a jot; what does matter is that you try to hear the note in your mind before you play it.

The Blue Danube

click here for audio

 Now listen to the audio above. You may already know the tune; it's the main theme of the Blue Danube Waltz, repeated three times. When the tune is thoroughly in your head, dive into the deep end and play it.

  • Keep your fingers on their allotted keys.

  • Correct wrong notes entirely by ear; avoid this type of thinking:"Was the third note of the tune finger 3 or 4?”, “Which key do I play for the 5th note?".

  • If you play a wrong note, mentally hear the right note (if you can't, start again), then experiment until you land on the right note.

. . . . . . . .

Left Hand

 

 

Go to the two-note group of black notes that's further down. Place your 5th finger on the white note just below the black note on the left. Your fifth finger is now on the lowest note.

As before, play notes 5 to 1 up and down, and sing, hum or whistle the notes as you play.

Listen to the Blue Danube audio again if necessary), and play the tune with your left hand.

Worth repeating:

  • Keep your fingers on their allotted keys.

  • Correct wrong notes entirely by ear; avoid this type of thinking: “Was the third note of the tune finger 3 or 4?”, “Which key do I play for the 5th note?”, etc.

  • If you play a wrong note,mentally hear the right note (if you can't, start again), then experiment until you land on the right note.

You may have noticed I haven't even mentioned note names, rhythms, and many other things to do with reading music. I believe it is not only unnecessary to teach music notation early, it is also harmful. But that's a B – C and D, and all the other notes – in my bonnet; the subject for a later blog.