Note Site Reading and finger numbers

A place to discuss Playground's main curriculum, the Bootcamp.
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Note Site Reading and finger numbers

Post by rcol4jc » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:05 am

I am the rookie stage in bootcamp. I'm not sure what number it is, but I got to the Train Hey soul Sister exercise with rhythm.

First, I'm wondering if I should use the setting to take away the finger numbers. I find I'm learning how to read the finger numbers instead of the actual notes. I don't want to train my brain one way, only to have to retrain to look at the notes again. I don't know if the lessons will eventually take away the finger numbers on its own or not.

Second, making the jump to two hands is VERY difficult. I was wondering if anyone out there had much difficulty with the two hands, but now is doing really well with it. Thanks for any inputer

Rick Collins

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Re: Note Site Reading and finger numbers

Post by Russ1409 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:24 pm

Everyone has difficulty with two hands when they first tackle it. Go to YouTube and watch David or any pianist play, and remember that he or she had the same frustrations when they started to play. It's not something you're born with.

Turn the metronome down slow. So s-l-o-w that you have time to think about what each finger on each hand is doing. You can do it if you go slowly enough. Then pick it up just a notch.

When I was at your point I started with the bpm at 20. Yes, 20. It was excruciatingly slow. But I had time to think "right hand third finger, left hand first finger," and then do it. I bumped it up by 5 bpm whenever I got it right. I went down 5 bpm whenever I screwed it up twice.

Nowadays I start at 30 bpm and if it's a straightforward score with lefty notes I know, I can jump 10 bpm pretty easily until about 90 bpm or so. Then it's just a question of how ever long it takes me to "get" the song at faster speeds.

As for the notation, try turning it off and playing the score. If suddenly you can't, you know that you're either playing by the numbers or playing the score by rote. I'd suggest learning the score with the notes on for awhile, and then turning it off and continue to learn it. At the rookie level, why not take advantage of PG's features. After all, you could just use paper music score and a metronome, however you've chosen to take advantage of PG's fantastic features. Go ahead and use them.

Seriously. Go on YouTube and watch someone play. Then think:

1. They started off just like me.
2. I can do that if I dedicate enough of myself to learning how to do it.


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Re: Note Site Reading and finger numbers

Post by Laurensss » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:43 am

You bring up a good point, and I (who learned to read notes decades ago and can still do so without much effort; playing with PGS for two weeks now) also catch myself using the finger numbers as a help to figure out what note to play - I think that is a very bad habit to form if you're starting out - even if the numbers would be available in PGS, in other materials they are not available or much more scarce.

I would definitely recommend turning off the finger numbers at some point during every set of exercises. It would be very helpful if PGS were to offer a "lighter" annotation with finger numbers only at difficult spots (wide reach, position changes, etc) like you see in many piano books. You wouldn't even need an additional button in the interface, just have it toggle through three options.

And the two hands thing: practice practice practice, there are no real shortcuts. Just keep it simple and slow in the beginning, it really wouldn't hurt playing the PGS exercises with simple two hand arrangements repeatedly even after reaching 100%.

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Re: Note Site Reading and finger numbers

Post by sw1tch73ch » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:52 pm

I like the idea, Laurensss, of having the finger numbers only at the position changes as an option. You can start at the current full numbering until you can play it through, then note when the position changes, then without any number at all - switching to the lettering, and then just the standard sheet notation without numbering or lettering. Then we could work our way up to just reading the music.
== Just keep playing. Just keep playing. Just keep playing, playing, playing! ==

-- jbs --

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Re: Note Site Reading and finger numbers

Post by fudge1979 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:11 pm

I had the same thought as you, what I started doing was using it to figure out where my fingers should go then used the note annotations to start learning the notes. The fingering recommendations get helpful the further you get in bootcamp when you start learning about position changes and extended fingering, so I still find it useful. But you are right, for a good portion of the bootcamp you can turn it off to try to learn how to read the music.
And yes, learning to use both hands at first is incredibly painful! Just finished the rookie bootcamp and I had to go back and do some of the earlier lessons (because they wouldn't load and I finally figured out how to send them a request and figured out how to get the old ones to load) and found they were MUCH easier after getting through it. I agree with the above comment, I too turned down the timing painfully slow just to get used to using two hands!
Good luck!

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