January 20th 2019
Today I realised that perhaps learning to play the piano is not going to be as easy as I first thought. It’s on my semi-list of semi-targets for the year, but until today I’ve not yet actually actioned trying to learn it.
My friend is also trying to learn piano, and she’s just bought a new keyboard, so I went round hers to try it out. It was hard. At first. The way she’s learning is buy following those Guitar Hero-type YouTube instructional tutorials where it doesn’t even show you the letter of the key, it just shows you the position of the key, and tells you how to press it. That’s not a very good description, so here’s a photo:
We tried playing a few songs together, with her doing the main notes (green/right) and me doing the chords (blue/left). She’s far better than me, so she could handle the more difficult green parts, while I was struggling to handle the one-note blues.
I found that between each note I had to look back down at the keyboard to reorient myself in preparation for the next note, instead of being able to instinctively shift my hand position in time. This visual way of learning really wasn’t working for me, and I only had to worry about playing a few keys at a time. It was even worse when I gave the green side a go.
So I was pretty despondent at that point, and figured I was going to be a terrible pianist. But then I asked her to just give me the notes in letter form, rather than this visual bullshit. Suddenly, it was a lot easier.
We tried this piano duet piece called “Heart and Soul”, and once she’d figured it out my way and told me the notes, I could remember them no problem. In fact, here they are:
Reading sheet music means absolutely nothing to me. But I can remember strings of letters no problem. It’s mad, how different brains work in different ways. Like, she knew how to play it without knowing the notes, and I couldn’t play it without knowing the notes. It’s crazy how different brains process the same information in completely different ways.
As soon as I taught myself that string of letters, I was fine. And I could play it no problem. I mean, it’s a really, really easy piece to play, but I did it! I liked it because it only required one finger, and I could just poke at the keys one at a time with my right index finger without having to do the whole weird thumb/pink-reach thing.
Until tomorrow, don’t even get me started on the left hand.