Metronome/click

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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sooper8
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Metronome/click

Post by sooper8 » 15 Apr 2018, 12:12

Hi all - I am a long time guitar player but I don't read music, and a few weeks ago got a piano.

As a guitar player, I made the mistake of just noodling around when I practised and didn't use a beat/metronome. Consequently my timing got a bit sloppy, despite the fact that I have played for ages and am quite good.

I'm presuming that it is crucial to use a metronome for learning piano? (I don't want to be a professional, I just want to play pop songs).

Any other tips for a beginner?

Gill the Piano
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Re: Metronome/click

Post by Gill the Piano » 15 Apr 2018, 13:49

Not crucial, no - but it can be useful. People who play with a metronome all the time sound slightly robotic and never develop their own sense of tempo. However, where it is very useful is where there's a difficult bit. Either the pianist goes from 100 mph to 2mph (in effect saying 'Helloooo, I can't play this bit!') or goes from 30mph to 100mph ('Hellooooo, I can't play this bit and I'm panicking!'). So use it as a reference, but don't live your life by it!
The only other tips would be to go and get a few lessons with a sympathetic teacher who'll start you off. Books are fine but there's no substitute for someone just giving you some tips on sitting position, height, arm position, hand and finger position and so on. Saves backache/handache. I wish I'd done it when I 'taught' myself the guitar and then went to a teacher who smiled gently and pointed out that I had the guitar on the wrong leg... :oops:
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

chrisw
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Re: Metronome/click

Post by chrisw » 15 Apr 2018, 14:46

Hello sooper8. Welcome to the forum.

I agree with Gill the Piano on the use of a metronome and seeking a few lessons if you can. I had avoided using one for donkeys years but I found that counting to myself is invaluable because it prompts me when the next note is needed. I have got used to one of late because I am playing duets without the benefit of having much practice time with my duet partner and the metronome gives me confidence of the required tempo. (I still tend to end up playing too slowly !)

Please come back to the forum with the progress you make with piano

sooper8
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Re: Metronome/click

Post by sooper8 » 15 Apr 2018, 18:48

Thanks for the welcome.

I think I will seek out a local teacher...I really want to set myself up to learn 'properly' and not be totally self taught as I did on the guitar. I really value that I developed my own guitar style and the idiosynchacies that follow- But for piano I think I want to be more formal, and then 'chose' how sloppy/funky I want to get, rather than vice versa.

chrisw
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Re: Metronome/click

Post by chrisw » 15 Apr 2018, 20:40

I notice the statement in the first post about not reading music and wonder if you are intent on starting to read it. With your knowledge of playing guitar I am sure that you could harmonise the tunes you wish to play without reading it from a score. On the other hand there is so much piano music out there that being able to read is good idea. I tend not to stick at a piece of music long enough for it to enter my memory.

sooper8
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Re: Metronome/click

Post by sooper8 » 15 Apr 2018, 21:09

chrisw wrote:
15 Apr 2018, 20:40
I notice the statement in the first post about not reading music and wonder if you are intent on starting to read it. With your knowledge of playing guitar I am sure that you could harmonise the tunes you wish to play without reading it from a score. On the other hand there is so much piano music out there that being able to read is good idea. I tend not to stick at a piece of music long enough for it to enter my memory.
Chrisw, yes you are spot on with that comment - So far I have almost learned all of the major and minor chords on piano, and can kind of guess where the 7th's are in some cases (well , I throw my little finger out and hope for the best). I have done inversions of C/Am/Em/F in order to make things a bit easier on a couple of songs that I'm learning. But, I can't work out what notes I can play in improvisation yet- sometimes I hit them and feel like I am progressing, and then next moment I don't know why a note doesn't work and it sounds dreadful. So, in short, I don't know my scales and haven't worked consciously on them (likewise guitar, I never practised scales - more shapes and boxes)

I have the chords to a couple of simple Bruce Springsteen songs, and a Bob Dylan tune pinned up on the piano and am managing to make it sound close enough to the song that when my family walk past they sort of know what song it might be and are not wincing as much as the other week. My wife even stopped and sang to Tight Connection to my Heart as she walked past yesterday.

I can sort of find a melody in my right hand over these chords, if it's easy enough.
Yesterday, I tackled Watching the Wheels by John Lennon and had to go and watch a YouTube tutorial (although the guy must be presuming some pretty hefty knowledge of theory/playing because he goes so fast and skips over things). But, that is a tricky song (although on guitar it is simple). It requires a fluency which i just don't have yet. But, I cans that for things like this, reading music and having my fingers be memory mapped to scales and chords would be an aspiration more than a realistic target in the short/medium term.

I'm having fun and realise that I could literally sit for hours plonking away.

I just don't know if I have the perseverance to read music. I think it will depend on whether the things that I can play satisfy me enough to just keep embellishing chords, picking out a melody after a couple of goes. Or if I want to play things as written and sound good enough to play in front of other people.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Metronome/click

Post by Gill the Piano » 16 Apr 2018, 17:59

You can get a PICTURE CHORD DICTIONARY FOR PIANO which has photographs of a hand in all the positions for the various chords; mine was about £25 i think from eBay. All the 'D min dim 7' and all that cods doesn't mean a thing to me, so it's been a godsend if I'm given trendy music to play with nothing but a melody line and hieroglyphics denoting chords!
You can find a teacher who will teach you to play like this (from a Fake Book) and they could give you pointers. To learn classical and then go off piste could take a long time. Find a jazz teacher if you want to take that route, or a classical teacher who also teaches jazz, even though what you want to play isn't exactly jazz.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

chrisw
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Re: Metronome/click

Post by chrisw » 16 Apr 2018, 18:18

Gill the Piano has stated what was in my mind about selecting a teacher.

I go to a piano meetup group in Clitheroe (Lancashire) and have become friendly with someone roughly my age that plays from the American Song book, seemingly at a drop of a hat and from memory, by using chord harmonisation to the melody. Most of the time the chord is spread over the bar or half bar. I think it is a wonderful way to maintain a large repertoire and it is something I would like to do myself but breaking away from the classical training would be my challenge.

chrisw
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Re: Metronome/click

Post by chrisw » 16 Apr 2018, 19:10

Perhaps a suitable teacher would be someone who has played piano or keyboard in a band.

sooper8
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Re: Metronome/click

Post by sooper8 » 17 Apr 2018, 09:00

Thanks everyone. All of these comments are very much pointing in the right direction for me I think. I wasn't sure if I would be able to make myself understood in this 'new world' of piano and it's language, but thankfully you seem to get where I am and what I am saying.

I have a chord chart printed off, and a web site with 'reverse look-up' , just in case I hit upon a chord that I like but don't know what it is. But, I have really forced myself to try and learn how to work out how to create a chord by understanding the 3rd 5th and flattening etc, then as in guitar the 7th just seems to findable with little finger 'above' the chord, if you get my meaning? (haha) This is taking me ages sometimes but I feel that I am getting a deeper understating at least and if I was alone on a desert island with a piano and found a chord book (I know, a very unlikely scenario), I could overtime, work out chords that I had never seen before and play.

One last comment - I don't particularly write much on guitar, but must say that the piano lends itself (for me anyway) to composing. Because I don't always know where my fingers are going to go, I have played some really beautiful and moving chord progressions. I love the surprise of playing something new

Thanks for the encouragement and advice. I will report back at the end of next weekend. I am now hunting for a suitable teacher nearby just for a few lessons.

rhondanist
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Re: Metronome/click

Post by rhondanist » 21 May 2018, 18:43

Nowadays, there are many apps for metronome as well. you can easily use those !!

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