Fairly new... and struggling (advice needed)

A place to discuss Playground's main curriculum, the Bootcamp.
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PianoTom
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2021 12:17 pm

Fairly new... and struggling (advice needed)

Post by PianoTom » Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:58 pm

Hello-
I received my keyboard around the Christmas 2020 season and joined Playground in January.
I do enjoy the program a lot. I don't have a lot of time to practice but try to get it in 4 days a week (2 days at an hour, and 2 days at 30 min).
I know practice, practice, practice.

I'm looking for some advice as I'm struggling with playing both hands. One note- I do ok when I select the option where the numbers are listed on the notes. The problem is I just felt like I was not learning enough, or I was just going through motions clicking on keys that had numbers assigned to them.

I started doing the option where there are no numbers or or letters and on lesson 37 now. Its hard as all get out. My wife said I need to get my left brain and right brain in sync-- she gave me some exercises for it. Outside of that, any other advice? How do you memorize the notes? Just practice? Any tricks?

Thanks for any advice and thoughts.
Tom

josemontelio
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:43 pm

Re: Fairly new... and struggling (advice needed)

Post by josemontelio » Thu Sep 02, 2021 1:31 am

Start playing at a very slow tempo. Once you are able to play the notes with both hands, increase the tempo a bit more and then a bit more. Eventually you will be able to play at the required tempo and you should also have memorized the notes after so many repetitions.

SJunior22
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:04 pm

Re: Fairly new... and struggling (advice needed)

Post by SJunior22 » Fri Sep 03, 2021 11:05 am

Hi PianoTom!

From what you've wrote, there's alot to unpack; so I'll give it my best here:

First off, three hours a week, for the last nine months = 144 hours (give or take). That's a strong amount of hours, the question is, are those hours consistent? Have you practiced at the usual time and day (or night) up til now? Consistency is key to getting your foundations (left and right hand coordination and reading of music) down.

If you've deviated from a tight practice schedule, you'll end up taking some of those 144 hours to review what you've done previously, which would cause you to feel that there has been little, if any, progress made all this time. I'd suggest you make sure you stick to a tight of a practice schedule as possible. It's not so much in how many hours you've practiced, it's what you've done within that time that's key.

For your concern about coordination, I think what I mentioned above will help resolve that as well. The brain is muscle, the more consistent time you touch those keys and tell it what note it's touching, the stronger it becomes along with your playing.

You can always plan a time where you'll focus only on one thing (coordination, music theory, learning to read music, etc). Also, on your "non-practice" days, on your free time, watch videos of your favorite pro, listen to music that you'll want to play eventually. What I'm getting at here is that you can "practice" everyday, it just doesnt have to be at the piano to count.

I'm gonna take a leap and think that you are on the beginner bootcamp with lesson 37 refference. I wouldn't worry about not seeing numbers or the note notation now. Have them all active if that helps you (its not cheating, its helping your brain memorize the notes and such as you practice). Eventually, you wont need to see the numbers or note notated by PS because you'll "see" it regardless. Your brain will be as fluent in reading notes as you're reading what I've written here, over time.

Finally, exercises to improve your coordination: I'd reccomend you practice the "2 birds with 1 stone approach" and practice all of your scales. Memorize them, then play them over and over and over. Then add them to your "warmup" before you practice other things. Accuracy is key, speed comes later, but make sure to improve on both as you go along.

I hope you find some help in any of the advice I've given here and I wish you all the best! Keep at it, never give up, you are on your way to being that pianist you've envisioned!

PianoTom
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2021 12:17 pm

Re: Fairly new... and struggling (advice needed)

Post by PianoTom » Mon Sep 06, 2021 9:20 am

SJunior22 wrote:
Fri Sep 03, 2021 11:05 am
Hi PianoTom!

From what you've wrote, there's alot to unpack; so I'll give it my best here:

First off, three hours a week, for the last nine months = 144 hours (give or take). That's a strong amount of hours, the question is, are those hours consistent? Have you practiced at the usual time and day (or night) up til now? Consistency is key to getting your foundations (left and right hand coordination and reading of music) down.

If!
Wow excellent reply-- I really appreciate it.

To answer some questions and to make some points:

I do practice the same days-- on weekends the times may vary (just fit it in when I can).

I need to look deeper into some of the concepts you mentioned: coordination, music theory, learning to read music.

Yes I'm on the bootcamp lesson 37.
I love the optimism about learning the notes. I can do a fairly good job when the numbers are listed to the notes. But like I said above it felt like I wasn't really anything. Question- I know there is no average but do beginners get through the entire beginner bootcamp without the numbers or letters showing? I guess my real question is should I feel the need to do all of the beginners bootcamp with no letters or numbers? I guess I just wanted to see what others do. I see you said don't worry about the numbers/letters showing.

I like the idea of practicing scales.
I really appreciate the advice and the time you took with the reply. Thanks so much!

SJunior22
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:04 pm

Re: Fairly new... and struggling (advice needed)

Post by SJunior22 » Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:40 am

Hello again!

Thank you very much for the kind feedback. I'm very glad you found some help with what I wrote. As a disclaimer, this is advice only valid from my experiences with the instruments I've learned over the years. I'm sure you know, everyone learns differently and there are an infinite amount of methods to accomplishing mastery.

About the "Notes/finger charts", I did mean to keep them active if it only helps you. Side note, I kept both up until I completed the Advanced bootcamp. The reason why is, about middle-to-end of the intermediate bootcamp, I forgot they were up there. I didnt really notice until I got to the last lesson in advanced. Somehow, I became blind of seeing whats on the screen and my mind just taking over. Weird, no?

I was of a typical beginner as you can get when I started piano. Sure, I had 2 other instruments under my belt, but the learning curve was still sharp. In my mind, the average beginner always has higher expectations than I think they can achieve (myself very guilty of). Average beginner performance, are the ones who stick to their own reasonable practice script and only deviates under rare exceptions.

Apologies for the Tome of a response, but I guess I had more to say. Thank you again for your awesome feedback! I wish you all the best!

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