Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Danny Boy

Still working on Danny Boy. Will celebrate my son's 19th birthday tomorrow! I actually bought a couple of albums tonight: "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player" and "Madman Across the Water," both by Elton John.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday / Thank you, Alan Swain

Feeling more Catholic these days.
Anyway, I had a really good piano day today. Not because I practiced for hours. Actually I practiced just a little. But my attitude towards the piano has perhaps changed. It's getting more internalized, perhaps, that it's best if I take my time and see this as a long term thing. Started "Danny Boy" and it's coming along nicely, as is my chord learning. 

Looked up the Alan Swain piano learning books on the internet, and sadly, it looks like his internet site is down. That's not cool, because I think his book is a wonderful resource. I guess too many people are on their phones and doing other things rather than learn music. 

Anyway, if Alan Swain happens to read this, I want to say "Thank you" for your learning material.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday

Band practice today - went well. Came home and spent just about the whole day  putting a bed together for one of my kids. 

Tomorrow will go back to the piano and start learning Danny Boy. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thursday

Saw a decent movie with my son: "Lights Out." Came home and did some good piano practice. Working on memorizing a short Alan Swain tune from his first book per his instructions. Added another chord to my knowledge bank.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday

Continue to work on the Swain piano material. Ted Cruz just recently got some attention with his speech at the GOP Convention. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 19, 2016 / MUSIC GOALS

Rode exercise bike for about 33 minutes. Eating habits today were pretty bad but I got back ok for dinner. Back to the piano:

I've been everywhere with this method and that method, combining methods and everything this past week or so. Changed my mind again. Going to work with Alan Swain's two books. Here are my goals for this year:

1) Using Alan Swain's material (and lead sheets) devote at least a half hour a day to piano practice. The key will be to use the half hour productively in a way that involves one or both of: memorizing chords, and playing them in songs. Take my time. Don't make mistakes. Be patient. Use the half hour wisely.

2) Don't share solo piano recordings with others (except perhaps my piano buddy) for a year. I think that by sharing my practice I am getting sidetracked. My goal at this point needs to be to learn the piano, rather than have an audience. Don't put the cart before the horse.
-----------------------------------------
Up to page 24 of the first Swain book.  Just questioning if I will eventually gain the ability to play chords automatically
while playing from a lead sheet...

A good day at the piano.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The July 18 Challenge

Rode exercise bike for 1/2 hour.

Well I've been changing plans all over the place lately. But this is a challenge I want to keep. Been working on a way to sound great on piano with, let's be honest, the least effort. So with the help of my piano buddy I figured out a way to memorize just 36 chords that just fulfill my needs. So here is the July 18, 2016 challenge:

1) Give my 36 chord program material a solid year of practicing at least a half hour a day. The key will be to use the half hour productively in a way that involves one or both of: memorizing chords, and playing them in songs. Take my time. Don't make mistakes. Be patient. Use the half hour wisely.

2) Don't share solo piano recordings with others (except perhaps my piano buddy) for a year. I think that by sharing my practice I am getting sidetracked. My goal at this point needs to be to learn the piano, rather than have an audience. Don't put the cart before the horse.

Today learned: C7 closed voicing, Bb major and Am open voicings, and C major open voicing.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Crunch Time

Rode exercise bike for 1/2 hour. 

Crunch time with health. Honeymoon is over and now my healthy habits have to remain a priority as the routine has set in.

At the piano, it's crunch time. The honeymoon is over. It's time to do the sweating and the work. Memorizing chords is hard work. Then quickly shifting them in a song is hard work. 

Patience

Ok well I just had a brilliant idea with regards to piano learning. I got what I think is a great idea regarding how to memorize chords. The answer rests in elegant simplification. I think I can memorize all major, minor, and dominant chords by combining what David Sudnow, Alan Swain, and perhaps Bill Susman teach. Now this will not cover chords such as 6th, 9ths, 13s, b5, so for those chords I'll have to study a little differently. 

But I think by combining methods, I can facilitate the learning of all the major chords, all the major 7 chords, all the minor chord, all the minor 7 chords, and all the dominant (7th) chords. Now that wouldn't be too big of a feat, taking only 36 chords to do all that! Yep, only 36 chords!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday

Rode exercise bike for 1/2 hour.
R5Q.     3Q
If not maj min or o then dom

Up to page 21 in the Swain book, and learned a third boogie woogie left hand bass pattern. 

Thinking that the key to playing songs on the piano, for me anyway, is twofold: a) memorizing open chords as utilized by Alan Swain, and b) playing tons of songs.

A cool method for me might be to pick out a song, first memorize its chords, then play the song utilizing the melody note.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday / Four Days

Rode exercise bike for 1/2 hour. 

Continue to work on the Swain book. Added Fmaj7 to my list: chords known now are: Cmaj7, Dmin7, Emin7, Fmaj7, C6, and G7.

The piano is difficult. 

Sure I might know these chords, but playing them in the context of Swain's melodies (using a melody note and staying in time) is challenging. Finding myself getting ahead of myself thinking I should be better at it, how am I going to play it when it gets more complex, etc. BUT I'M ONLY FOUR DAYS INTO THE BOOK! WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT MY PATIENCE?? Hahahahahahahaha!

I think it will help to remember to not expect to be a master song player after just a little practice. This kind of thing takes time. And I am enjoying it as long as I don't try to get ahead of myself.

Went back to the piano after writing the stuff above and it was good! Working up to p. 8 in the Swain book and actually added another boogie woogie (from the boggie woogie book) left hand pattern to my left hand. Started to actually get a little bit in time slamming down right handed chord stuff as I jammed on those left hand patterns.

I thought earlier today that perhaps I should just work on the Swain material since I probably don't have the time to work on the Swain material AND the boogie wiggle book. But I want to try both, with an emphasis on the Swain method. That boogie woogie stuff is just too much fun to resist! 

Read about a boogie woogie piano player who only played in the keys of C an G. Inspirational!!  Man, play music your OWN way!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursday

Rode exercise bike for 1/2 hour. Have been doing great with regards to healthy habits including not eating in the middle of the night.

Worked more on page 5 of the Swain book; time to move to page 6. Practiced the first left hand pattern in the boogie-woogie book, too! That right hand / left hand coordination will be a bear!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesday

Rode exercise bike for 1/2 hour. Lost 7.2 pounds in a week.

Almost done with page 5 of the Swain book. Fine line between trying to get the music known with no errors and knowing when good enough is enough. 

Toying with learning boogie-woogie piano. Listened to some old time boogie-woogie on CD. Toying with using the book "Boogie-Woogie Piano" by Todd Lowry. Started reading it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tuesday

Rode exercise bike for 1/2 hour.
Practicing Swain's Book One, and up to page 5. Learning some new chords, and p. 5 had a little melody that might take me some time to really learn. Liking this. Learning open chords and their application. I guess I just wasn't ready in the past to just take my time with this methodology. Alan Swain gives some useful practice ideas also in Book 1.
CHORDS LEARNED:
Cmaj7
Dmin7
Emin7
C6
G7


Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday

Rode exercise bike for 1/2 hour.
Started the first Alan Swain (I tried it before, but this is a restart). On page 4 of the the first book; started with three chords.
LEARNED CHORDS:
Cmaj7
Dmin7
Emin7

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday

Rode exercise bike for 1/2 hour.  With my dad, wife, and two daughters today for a visit. My son had to work so he didn't accompany us.