Start with more complex styles, or easy and work up.

Discussion in 'Technique and Posture' started by paulmapp8306, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. paulmapp8306

    paulmapp8306

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    7
    Not as silly or obvious question as it looks.

    Im starting to learn proper piano, after 30+ years of noodling on synths (after a grounding on a twin manual organ).

    I can play octaves and 5th or full triad and 7th chords with my left, and the same plus melodies with my right - on not weighted boards.

    I now have a weighted board, and have practised my scales, with proper fingering left and right handed, broken chords, and simple left have bass paterns (the hard bit - getting them to work independently to the right).

    Heres the thing though - Im not really sure where I want to end up.... I will gig eventually as a keys player (rather than the guitarist Ive been for years), but general pop and synth stuff Im pretty capable at already. I want to play blues and boogie style piano (and organ) in bands, and this is a step up for me (that left had right hand thing thats not just held block chords).

    HOWEVER, I also want to (eventually) play some easy listening, mellow "lounge" type stuff. This (i imagine) will be mostly for personal pleasure (though Im sure it would come in handy for live work as well).

    Thing is - that means more of a jazz style. More complex/extended chords (twin handed etc), but probably less rhythmic bass work. Im kind of happy jamming in both blues and jazz styles from a single hand melody POV.

    So - Do I work at the "more complex" theory and chord work of Jazz, with the theory that the simpler stuff will come with it - or do I forget the jazz stuff and work on blues/boogie/rock patterns until Im comfortable doing that THEN move onto the Mellow Jazz/lounge/.easy listening stuff.

    I will say, Im fairly happy with the theory of chords (7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths etc - how to form them) - though work on some of the more complex extended diminished/augmented chords wouldnt go amis - but that is just theory - I cant play them without thinking a lot, and I dont read music. Im a "by ear" player - always have been and at 50 I dont see that changing.

    Even with guitar, I dont even read tab. If I see "A" I can play an A chrd etc (guitar and keys) but thats it. I hear things and just know where to go for them on guitar, and Im not that for behind on keys (from a melodic POV rather than full chords on keys - though even thats not too far off).

    So - I dont want to spend time working towards something that will take an age, and wont benefit other styles - but if working towards the seemingly "impossible" will help bring the "possible" on as well it might be the way to go.
     
    paulmapp8306, Mar 5, 2018
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. paulmapp8306

    paulmapp8306

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    7
    ** I should clarify by what I mean with "getting left and right to work independently".

    I can play the same cords (even different inversions) with left and right at the same time. I can play chords with left (block or broken) and melody with the right - I can play chords (block or broken) with the right while playing a melody with the left.

    What I struggle with is two different chords with each hand -= and what I cant do at all (at present) is play different melodies with left and right at the same time (which is basically what a bass line and a lead line is).

    I also find it had to lay different rhythms with left and right, even if what there playing are the same (ie If I play block C chords in root position in a rhythmic bounce, then have to play to the same rhythm. I can alternate them or play them together, but cant play them in different rhythm patterns if yo get me).
     
    paulmapp8306, Mar 5, 2018
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. paulmapp8306

    CowboyNQ

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,253
    Likes Received:
    988
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    I think you'll get a lot of different opinions on this. I'm not a music teacher, but I'll share what works for me, which may or may not suit you.

    Putting it as succinctly as I can - When it comes to practice or self-improvement I just work on where my immediate priorities lie.

    This is because of my very busy life. I play in anywhere between 2-4 bands, run my own business, coach football, plus try to be a half decent husband and dad. I simply don't have the time to work on something that I won't use for a few years, while letting something I need to perform well in a month go unattended.

    So if I were to transplant my life into your scenario - I'd be working on the most pressing need. If it were to start gigging, I'd work on that musical style. If it were to become a brilliant jazz player, I'd work on that. If it were to write a film score in my bedroom, I'd work on the tools I need to bring that to life.

    Your other issue - left and right hand independence - I've struggled with this my whole life. I just am not very naturally good at it. I have discovered no easy answer to this other than practice, practice, practice. In another thread I did share the specifics of how I tackle this - it essentially boils down to breaking down pieces into smaller chunks, then knitting back together.

    Good luck!
     
    CowboyNQ, Mar 6, 2018
    #3
    Rayblewit likes this.
  4. paulmapp8306

    Biggles

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    589
    Location:
    Lancashire, UK.
    I think we all can relate to your dilema.

    How to tackle your area of concern will get a few different responses.

    Firstly I would drop practising scales, can anyone tell me what song they have played where that song has had a full scale. To me learing scales only aids muscle memory but not the right kind as it is sequential up and down. If you must practice scales look up the Blues scale and use say an A scale to improvise both left and right hands. Blues and Jazz are a natural development and complementary.

    Practice little and often.
     
    Biggles, Mar 6, 2018
    #4
  5. paulmapp8306

    paulmapp8306

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    7
    I have practised scales, and found them useful actually for a couple of reasons. Finger dexterity, and knowing the keyboard - also helped a little with that hand/finger independence. Only played 1 scale a day, for maybe 5 mins going up then down over 2 octaves first with right, then with left hand. Then with both hands in the same direct then both hands in the opposite direction.

    Ive mixed that with a few exercises Id found for the weaker fingers (ironically, my stronger ones are my left - thats the guitar playing where the left had has most of the finger work while the right normally just holds a plectrum). Ive gone though playing all major then all minor chords - and worked through their inversions. Im still working on that as I still have to think at times - I want it to come natural.

    I have some bass patterns to try with block right hand chords, and some simple melodies - the melodies are a challenge. Ive played a few songs - which tend to be octaves and fifths with left hand (with the occasional extra note for colour) - with chords and melodies on the right. Thats what Ive normally done on keys anyway - but Im getting better at it.

    I dont tend to "practice songs" as such. I never do as a guitarist either really (I do in a band situation, but not on solo practice). I tend to play the right chords (or simplified If I cant), and any key (ie so well known you cant leave them out) hooks, or lead lines - then improvise the rest. I play by ear, and dont read music. Im pretty good at improv - I can play a right hand melody (not just with single notes either) to most songs without even thinking where Im going. Its putting that together with left hand chords, bass patterns and rhythmic left/right hand phrasing thats the struggle at present.

    Im lucky - despite having a job and being a husband/father - and also swim coaching 5 nights a week, I do work from home at times. My wife also works overnights 3 days a week - so when kids are in bed I can practice. Ive put in an average of 2.5 hours per day in the 4 weeks Ive had the weighted board.
     
    paulmapp8306, Mar 7, 2018
    #5
  6. paulmapp8306

    Biggles

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    589
    Location:
    Lancashire, UK.
    I have given you a suggestion and you have come back to me saying that scales work for you.

    How do I now put this without offending?

    Reality check, your routines are not working, you seem to be stuck in a rut and the only way I see of getting out of the rut is that you need to change what you do, which is precisely why you seem to be asking for suggestions then ignoring those given.

    Maybe if you went to have lessons for a few weeks the tutor could offer more meaningfull advice and give you different exercise routines to follow to get you moving in the right direction.

    Good luck.
     
    Biggles, Mar 7, 2018
    #6
  7. paulmapp8306

    paulmapp8306

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    7
    @Biggles

    I think you took my comments the wrong way - you seem offended. That was not my intention - I wasnt meaning to "rubbish" you suggestions. I was merely pointing out what I have been doing for my first 4 weeks of learning. I totally agree with you that scales for scales sake seem pretty pointless (unless Im aiming to be a concert pianist - which I dont), I just pointed out I had found them useful from a dexterity and Independence POV. Your advice to move away from those is taken, and I am going to go that way as I think I have got out of those exercises what I needed (ie not the scales as such).

    AS for the "reality check" bit - Ive been trying to learn "piano" for a grand total of 4 weeks - hardly long enough to start forming a rut. Im mixing things up as best I can at present.

    My initial question was more about do I Taylor my next stage of progression to one particular style, and if so the more complex or easiest - of if I should keep going in a general manor to develop every aspect (though that means slower progression n any particular style).

    Any advice is of course welcome.

    I am 50 years old now, and have played guitar for 35 of them, while also noodling (from a synth POV not really a keyboard/piano player) for much of that time as well. Ive always concentrated on the guitar when learning, and just noodling on synths for fun. Ive got to the point where Im not going to get any better on guitar (I can more than hold my own anyway) - and want to develop my keys skills on a more determined and meaningful manor.
     
    paulmapp8306, Mar 7, 2018
    #7
  8. paulmapp8306

    Biggles

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    589
    Location:
    Lancashire, UK.
    No offence taker or I hope given to you Paul, your original post indicated to me that you have been learning for far longer.

    But really 4 weeks, you have barely started and Rome was not built in a day as the saying goes. It will take at least 3 if not up to 6 months to get the brain synapse pathways built up to be able to use both hands even rudamentory independently. It is just the way it is when you start our activity at an older age, I started keyboards at an age way older than you are and am still trying to get the gnarled old hands of mine working as I want them to, years of guitar playing are not helping as I am used to coordinated hands.

    Question, do you want to play piano or keyboards?

    There is a difference and different learning is required, or so my initial tutor advised.

    A few lessons will help as the tutor will guide you in getting clarity of available learning pathways.
     
    Biggles, Mar 7, 2018
    #8
  9. paulmapp8306

    paulmapp8306

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2018
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    7
    Definitely piano - when I say "4 weeks" I mean 4 weeks piano. Ive noodled on synths for a long time,but thats 90% right hand work (even then a lot of the time its single notes then playing with filters and modulation to generate the interest) with the 10% left being basic block chords (maj, min and 7ths) or octaves only. As such I do have a head start on a total beginner and kind of know my way around a board.

    I know 4 weeks is no time at all - Im just trying to work out the best route to get where Im going. I dont want to waste the time I have chasing un necessary or impossible techniques and styles that wont actually help in my goals.

    I did that on guitar in my youth - wasted a lot of time tying to learn things I thought would be great, but that were of no real use to me in the end. My time would have been better spent learning things I ended up needing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    paulmapp8306, Mar 8, 2018
    #9
  10. paulmapp8306

    Biggles

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    589
    Location:
    Lancashire, UK.
    Have a look through the links in Gary’s thread.

    https://www.keyboardforums.com/threads/good-tutorial-links.24556/

    Some here may well be of help in steering you in the direction you want to go.

    Also check out pianogenius.com as Tim Gross is a working keyboard player in Rick Springfields band and his paid tutorial site has some great videos on technique and styles, there are some of his free on Youtube.
     
    Biggles, Mar 8, 2018
    #10
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.