Emerald City Productions

Playing Piano and Electronic keyboard….

by Paul on February 19, 2010

in Electronic Music, Music

Hi All,

I started playing the piano at 6-7 years old taking lessons with a very old lady-Mrs Wix (80 yrs Old) for 3 years or so.  She died and I didn’t continue!  However through being required to play at church meetings till the age of 20 years or so I learnt that I could play by ear as well as read score to some degree.  However my greatest strength tended to be the playing by ear and eventually composition.

As I time went by I was invited by Pete Gilgan to join a band he was forming, and I became the keyboard player-the band was called Giantkiller. We grew in skills and became known for our particular emphasis, playing up and down the land-our largest gig to about 15,000 people at Greenbelt a few years running.

The point I want to take from all this is the progression that I experienced and how that developed skills through just hard graft and application. I had a basic knowledge of score having only progressed to grade 3 on the piano.  My piano teacher having died threw me onto using internal skills that I believe we all have to a greater or lesser degree.  From recent developments in the psychology of music and the brain, we all have basic skills in phrasing notes as part of language skills.  We also all have the ability to recognise notes pitches and can tell whether a note is out of tune with other notes-whether they are ‘right’ or not, and also have the ability to connect notes to one another and create ‘note’ phrases.  It’s an amazing ability we have to innately create tunes.  Why not try to just whistle a quick tune-it’s easy to make one up-you’ll also probably find yourself repeating notes-called a phrase.

Add to the above the trying to play the notes you hear on the piano and you have the beginning of Mozart!  Well-all that is needed now is the desire and application to practice!  Yes that old word we all hate-the beginning of a life in music!  Do you want it-or just for route of just becoming a Star immediately-it will never happen!  Fortunately for me circumstances uniquely came together and I was required to practise year after year until I found some self expression coming in.  This I learned was my own brain beginning to express itself through the mechanical skills that I had picked up and practiced over the years.  I am a very fortunate person to have had the upbringing I had.  Others have been on different paths-some progress in the mechanical skill side to a high degree, but cant create.  Others have no training and play by ear only having a highly intuitive brain.  They seem to be naturals in all areas, picking up melody lines and creating chords and phrasing around it.

Once you have the melody, the phrase (series of notes-possibly repeating) Chords and the Tempo, you have a tune.  All that is needed is refinement-ordering it into a structure, sharpening the tempo, putting spaces in (breaks) your more or less there with your first song or instrumental piece!  The phase would be going on a course to learn scoring to put down your musical ideas.

Whatever your path, I can believe that with application you can improve-practice, practice, practice-you will succeed-it’s built in you to whatever degree…..

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