I noticed last night that it’s been nearly six months since I bought my electric piano and started learning more about playing it. Figured that makes this a good time for a checkin.
Short version: I’m still enjoying it a lot. I’m still practicing about 20 minutes a day, with the iOS app Simply Piano.
A month or two ago, I got partway through the Intermediate II lessons (Intermediate II is roughly the 12th set of lessons, out of about 28 sets, so I’m less than halfway done with the app’s lessons), and then I noticed that I hadn’t been keeping up with playing the songs that they provide in addition to the lessons. (Each song gradually walks you through learning to play the melody or the accompanying chords, then has you play the whole song (with accompanying percussion and vocals and such, with the sheet music scrolling by in time to the music) and rates you on how well you did.)
So I put the lessons part of the app on hold, and went through about three songs a day for several weeks. I thought I had finally caught up yesterday (there are over 250 songs so far in the song part of the app, and I think I had previously gone through less than half of those), so today I started doing the Intermediate II lessons again. Only it turns out that I had missed one batch of songs, so I have another 17 or so to go through to really catch up. But I’m close to caught up.
Anyway, in today’s lessons, one of the songs that I went through the basics of was “Shut Up and Dance,” by WALK THE MOON, which I already knew was catchy but also turns out to be a lot of fun to play. It’s still running through my head. I’m looking forward to coming back to that song later when my skills are more polished.
The current lessons are about switching the right hand smoothly among C, D, and F positions. I’m gradually getting the hang of that. Meanwhile, going through all those songs has gotten me to the point where my hands more or less automatically move into the right positions for the chords I’ve learned so far (Am, C, Dm, E, F, G), without my having to consciously think about it much. (In much the same way that I don’t have to consciously think about where the letters are when I’m typing.) I’m still not super fluid in all this, but have come a long way in the past six months.
And I don’t think I’ve ever before practiced anything as regularly as I’ve been practicing piano. Part of that is the gamification, and part is just that it’s fun. And I’m mostly taking my time with it; when I start to make a lot of mistakes on a given day, or when I just feel like that’s enough for one day, I stop.
Part of it may also be that I didn’t have to start completely from scratch; a few years of violin in middle school and high school, and early exposure to piano keyboards, left me able to sight-read treble clef reasonably well, and I already know about sharps and flats and note durations and various other things that I might have been too intimidated by if I had no grounding in it at all. (I often don’t manage to get into growth mindset for learning new things; if something is too hard at the start, I often just give up.)
But another part of it is that the way this app teaches works really well for me. I’m sure it doesn’t match everyone’s style, and there are aspects here and there that bug me; but overall, I think it’s great.
Anyway. Still enjoying it, still looking forward to continuing.
(No advice, please.)