Saturday, January 23, 2016

Studying, Piano Lessons, and Remembering Childhood Piano Practicing

Picture of Book Piano Lab an Introduction to Class Piano
Text Book for Piano Class
I have enrolled in a piano class this semester.  We recently received the piano from Carries' parents.  It is very similar to the piano I used when I was young.

The book we are using in the class is the "PianoLab: An Introduction to Class Piano".  I almost forgot I had to order the book as I had checked on the class before the semester started, but did not see the book listed.  I checked again this past weekend and realized I could find the book listed under "Find My Books" of our campus portal.  Sure enough, there was the book listed for the class.  A few short Amazon searches and we had a book in-route to our house for class that started Wednesday night.

When I was young, I took piano for many years.  I took the Suzuki method of piano.  I started in grade school and from what I remember I took it all the way through junior high.  In fact, when Carrie asked me how long I took lessons, I think I told her it was for 12 years.  That might have been an exaggeration... it just felt like it went on forever.  With the Suzuki style of piano, I did not learn to read any music.  It was all memorization.  Well, at least through the first couple of years of lessons.  I think at some point, the lessons did try and teach us to read music, but being a kid, it was not something I was too interested in learning.

Mom and I had a lot of "fun" learning new pieces.  Of course, she struggled to get me to practice and then we struggled through my memorization of the piece.  I remember my dad being in the family room watching TV while mom and I struggled through lessons for the night.  I am sure dad enjoyed hearing the piano played while he was trying to watch TV.  My mom recalls at a summer workshop that I was attending that the teachers finally realized after years of my taking lessons that I could not read music.  I think I blocked that out as I do not remember it at all... or the ability to read music!

Image of Treble and Bas ClefSo, I have started this new class.  We had our first class, as I mentioned, on Wednesday night.  We are starting with the basics.  Posture, hands, keys, how the peddles work, and much more.  This was all on our first night of class.  We have homework to do for our next class Monday night.  It did bring back memories of some of the Saturday morning workshops with my piano teacher when I was little. Memories of going through treble and bass and trying to memorize the lines and spaces.  Memories of the "Every Good Boy Does Fine" or Good Boys Do Fine Always" to help you remember those lines and spaces on the treble and bass clef.  Ah, the memories when I was young and not caring whether I learned it or not.  Not, the goal is to learn how to read music and then be able to sit down and play at a piano from any book that I pick up.  Now, I am not saying I want to be able to sit down and play perfectly as I recognize that it takes practice to be able to play a song; I would like to be able to simply sit down and play a song with both hands from start to finish.

When asked in class about treble or bass clef, yeah, I could not remember the notes each represented. I could though recall where Middle C was located. So that was good to know I at least remembered that much from my young years taking piano.  Everything else from those early years, while it  sounded familiar, were no more clicking in class Wednesday night then they did when I was in lessons years ago.

Picture of Music StaffThe intent this weekend is to spend about two hours studying for class Monday night.  Learn the treble and bass clef well enough to be able to look at the staff and recognize the individual notes.  I think I can handle that without too much trouble. After all, I do not want to embarrass myself in class on Monday when we are asked to go to the board and mark the notes.  I did leave my notes from class at the office, so I will need to stop by the office to pick those up and make sure I cover everything.  I also plan to sit down at the piano in our house and try out a few of the items we did in class Wednesday.

Wish me luck in my class and maybe in a future update there will be a sample of what I am playing.  I am excited to be taking lessons and I want to make the most of this class.

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