Workaround to Fingering, Lettering, Print Issues

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Russ1409
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 8:08 pm

Workaround to Fingering, Lettering, Print Issues

Post by Russ1409 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:00 am

Since Playground Sessions (PGS) has made it pretty clear that changes to the interface aren't going to happen soon, I will suggest a workaround to the issues of fingering, note letters, and other print issues. I'm also going to encourage everyone to NOT use PGS (stay with me here).

If you google Musescore, you can find a FREE program for creating and printing your own music. The program is fairly easy to learn, and most people can get it down in about an hour or two. There's a very robust online community, so simply googling a question on how to do something will provide the answer. Mess with it a day or two, and you will master it.

Before anyone complains that they don't want to go outside PGS to learn, let me just say that there are a lot of benefits to writing down your own music, whether it's copying the music note for note, or changing the music to your own benefit, or creating your own music...even if it's just writing out the scales for you to practice. I've found that writing out the music helps me to see the patterns in the piece, which can make it a lot less daunting to learn. If you understand that the structure of a piece is A B A B A C, you realize that you only have to learn 3 parts of a song, instead of that huge piece. In addition, we all know that there are chords that commonly follow other chords. One can often "guess" which chord will be next based on the chord or chords that proceeded it. When you copy a few pieces, you begin to see the patterns emerge. It also helps you to understand the note patterns in the different keys. Suddenly that A# in that one particular key makes sense.

You can also change the music to suit you more when you print it out. If you've ever printed out a full song through PGS, you'll know that it might be 7, 8, 10 pages or more. This is because there aren't any repeats in the PGS music. If you use repeats and their brethren, you can vastly shorten the printed music so that you can actually put it on your music stand and play without turning the pages. Even better, with some practice and study, you will be able to create your own lead sheet. I often compare the PGS music to lead sheets that I've found online or purchased, or have in a fake book, and I've been able to create my own PGS version of a lead sheet, effectively reducing the printed pages to one or two pages. Even better, I will scan those lead sheets into my iPad, and then I can take my music with me when I go somewhere, and if I run into an empty piano, I have my music with me.

Finally, one of the more requested features here on PGS, you can add fingering, note letters, or other notes to the music whenever and wherever you want. Most times I will add fingering in to start the piece, to remind myself where I want my hands, then not put any fingering in until the fingering changes significantly. this helps me not rely on the fingering crutch. I don't put note letters in, but it's easy to do. You put these fingerings, notes, and letterings in their own layer, and you can turn them on or off as you want. I've put notes in my music..."right hand one octave up" or "---> 3rd finger up" to remind me to move my fingers. Eventually I can turn the notes off.

Now, here's the one caveat: you cannot import this music into PGS. You cannot put music into PGS and then use it to grade you and help you keep tempo, etc. I would pay SIGNIFICANT money to be able to do this. Fact is, it cannot be done (unless you hack the PGS operating system, and I won't go there), and I'm assuming since PGS makes revenue on selling songs, we will probably never get to the point of importing our own music. But that's OK. We all want to play the piano. That means we have to get outside of the PGS environment eventually. We have to study our scales and movements with other material to be well rounded pianists. We have to learn to use the metronome without the crutch of the PGS lead line. We need to learn to play clearly and crisply, without using the fine PGS background music to cover our mistakes. So print out the music, turn on the metronome on your piano, and play it outside of PGS, just like your grandmother and mother did. I guarantee you will HATE it when you start. It's hard. It's probably why most of us migrated to PGS in the first place. But you will progress quickly, thanks to what PGS has taught you. And you know what? You will be able to walk into someone's house, and when they ask you to play, you can sit down at their piano and show off what you've learned. You can't do that if you can only play within PGS. If you ONLY play with PGS, you are playing a video game. Don't be afraid to expand your learning. Strive to play like David Sides.

The other day, I traveled to Phoenix and stopped in a piano store. The salesman invited me to sit down at any piano and play. I spent over an hour going from piano to piano just playing. It was one of the best days of my piano playing career. I played on a couple baby grands, a full grand, several digital pianos that were waaaaaaaay out of my price range. I tried them ALL. You can't do that unless you expand outside of PGS.

No one should take this as me bashing PGS. I'm a lifetime member and I have over 100 songs from them. I failed in learning piano until I found PGS. I love it and would pay even more money to them than I have for what they have given me. But PGS is just one piece of the puzzle. We all need to turn it off sometimes.

Secondly, I won't get anything from Musescore for touting their product. They won't even know I mentioned it, I'm sure. I just think they are a great product, just like PGS.

Happy playing everyone.

andrewwegierski
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:37 pm

Re: Workaround to Fingering, Lettering, Print Issues

Post by andrewwegierski » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:45 pm

Hi Russ,

Thanks for the feedback. We are always looking to improve our product and give users the best experience possible with Playground.

It is not true that changes to the interface aren't going to happen soon - or not at all. Our head of technology tragically passed away about a year ago, and that set us back in regards to pushing out updates for both the desktop and iPad app. We have a great tech team now in place that is working hard on new updates. We actually just pushed a new desktop build for the first time in over a year not too long ago, so we are definitely on the right path. To claim that we are neglecting updating our program and interface wouldn't be true.

I think that the majority of users either don't have time for, or wouldn't be interested in the "creating your own music" route, and that's why we've set up our product the way we have. We don't include repeats because the software can't handle it right now - but I can assure you that we are not satisfied currently with the notational limitations of the app, and we're going to work on improving it. As far as fingerings go, users can always hide and show the fingerings whenever they would like.

As is the case with any teacher, a good teacher knows that they simply cannot and should not claim to know all the answers - which I don't think we claim that. Everyone's learning has to draw from a multitude of sources. We at Playground just want to give users the best experience possible with our source that we're providing, and we're confident that it's a very resourceful one. I think Playground can hold a large spot in anyone's piano learning journey.

Let me know if you have any other questions or thoughts.

Best,
Andrew Wegierski

Support Tech & Music Arranger
andrew@playgroundsessions.com

Russ1409
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 8:08 pm

Re: Workaround to Fingering, Lettering, Print Issues

Post by Russ1409 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:03 pm

Hello Andrew,

Welcome. I hope that you will continue to post in this forum and respond to the customer's questions, requests, and comments.

First and foremost, we all understand about the personal tragedy the team suffered. It was a terrible loss for his family and the PGS community.

I'm going to repeat something that I've said many times to David and the other members of PGS, both here and on the Facebook page. The sale of the product is just the beginning of the relationship between the customer and PGS. PGS is selling a journey. When PGS promises updates, upgrades, new features, fixed bugs, etc, "in the near future," "just around the corner," "within a month," (ALL of those are quotes taken from the forum), and they don't come in a reasonable time, it damages PGS' credibility. There's posts here that are 18 months old and longer that promised updates that still haven't happened. The only thing that could be worse is completely ignoring the customer...as has been done in this very forum. It makes it look like PGS is no longer being supported.

As for my references to "creating our own music," perhaps my post lost the main point I was trying to make. Over and over, the PGS user has commented on formatting issues regarding fingering, numbers, notes, and printing problems. I was simply trying to give those users a workaround. Recognizing that many people don't want to learn a new program, I went on to discuss other benefits to it. Perhaps the post got too wide. I certainly don't write my own music. I copy it so I have enhanced materials.

I'm sure that some of this post is going to seem harsh, especially to someone who has arrived here to represent the company. I only want the company to succeed because I've been very successful using PGS, and if PGS grows and improves, so will I.

andrewwegierski
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:37 pm

Re: Workaround to Fingering, Lettering, Print Issues

Post by andrewwegierski » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:11 pm

Hi Russ,

I understand your concerns about some of the wording we have used on the forums. I can't really defend that - but I know we're headed in the right direction. I work on both the Support and Music team, and I've now been brought on to help manage the forums almost every day of the week - so I personally clear the forums of spam, approve appropriate posts, and respond to posts like these. It's my goal to get the forums under control. And I will also personally address the wording issues to my colleagues.

We think that providing the user with fingerings, note names, and the ability to turn them on and off is an appropriate compromise for all users - I understand that it may be appropriate eventually to have just fingerings at the beginning and only notate other fingerings if the position changes or something is especially tricky, like piano textbooks. However, and I know this from working on the Music team, we want to create as consistent of a product for everybody - any that means all fingerings on all the notes.

I don't think your comments are particularly harsh; in fact, I find them constructive and thoughtful. I appreciate that you took that time to write out these concerns and reach out to us. I am confident that the PG product and team will only grow moving forward!

Any specific questions, please do not hesitate to email me. Would be happy to talk.

Andrew
Andrew Wegierski

Support Tech & Music Arranger
andrew@playgroundsessions.com

Russ1409
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 8:08 pm

Re: Workaround to Fingering, Lettering, Print Issues

Post by Russ1409 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:26 am

Sounds great Andrew, and I see your points.

A fresh start in the forum is fantastic, and the new things that have already been introduced to the program are very welcomed and fun. Looking forward to many years of continued learning via PGS.

Laurensss
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:20 am

Re: Workaround to Fingering, Lettering, Print Issues

Post by Laurensss » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:59 pm

andrewwegierski wrote:I work on both the Support and Music team, and I've now been brought on to help manage the forums almost every day of the week - so I personally clear the forums of spam, approve appropriate posts, and respond to posts like these. It's my goal to get the forums under control.
Hi Andrew, I'm really happy to read that. Looking forward to the updates to the program and content, and I hope this forum will be revived with your oversight and inputs. Thanks.

-Laurens

andrewwegierski
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:37 pm

Re: Workaround to Fingering, Lettering, Print Issues

Post by andrewwegierski » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:44 pm

Laurens,

I hope so too! One step at a time. Let us know how you're enjoying Playground!

Best,
Andrew
Andrew Wegierski

Support Tech & Music Arranger
andrew@playgroundsessions.com

Moreless
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:45 am

Re: Workaround to Fingering, Lettering, Print Issues

Post by Moreless » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:04 am

Yay, finally a mod talking about updates and why they're delayed.

andrewwegierski
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:37 pm

Re: Workaround to Fingering, Lettering, Print Issues

Post by andrewwegierski » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:54 pm

Moreless wrote:Yay, finally a mod talking about updates and why they're delayed.
Happy to be bringing these forums back to life. Email me if you have any questions!
Andrew Wegierski

Support Tech & Music Arranger
andrew@playgroundsessions.com

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