This class really challenged my sight reading and piano playing skills. It was really difficult, but I can say that I walked away with a lot more knowledge and a better understanding of how I learn. I have never considered myself a good piano player, I still don't, but at least I can say I'm not completely hopeless. I did my best in this class and got a lot out of it.
April - May 2012
In the last month and a half, we have gone over many different kinds of practice types. I developed my own way of reading rhythm, which is the most difficult for me. I also learned how to get better at getting better! Basically, learning how to teach myself and how to apply others' teachings correctly and effectively.
Repetition. Repetition is my key to learning how to read music. I found that I became slightly dependent on the sheet music, whether that be bad or good. I have always found that I rely on my ability to memorize, which does nothing for my sight reading. I guess something worked because even if I have the music memorized, having the music in front of me was a comfort rather than a hindrance.
The hardest song for me would have to have been playing Oleo with the chords. I say this because it has a funky rhythm that throws me off if I'm not honing in on the rhythms meticulously. This was a good challenge for me though. I need to stop being afraid of rhythm.
This song has a basic chord structure that we have been learning this semester. The melody is quick and on the off beats usually which makes it tricky.
During the B section, we would solo over the chords D7, G7, C7, and F7 respectively before returning to the A section to end the song.
This is how I learned the melody line...
I learned the rhythm of the melody line by writing it out by hand first, then writing the beat numbers over the notes. For example:
1 +(and) 2 + 3 + 4 + would represent 8th notes.
The other two songs we ended the semester with included I Got Rhythm and Lester Leaps In.
I Got Rhythm has a pushed feeling melody line that progresses up from F to G to Bb to C and back down the same way. The fingering for the last part of the melody line was difficult at first.
The chord progression is simple and similar to most of the pieces we're practicing.
The bass line is 8th notes:
Bb Ab G Db C Gb F B Bb
This plays over the melody line and the chords until the B section when the bass plays the 1 and 5 over the respective chords D7, G7, C7, and F7.
The last song we got was Lester Leaps In.
This song is simple with an up beat melody line over a Bb chord until the B section which follows the chord progression of the other two songs.
My practice routine was the same for most of the pieces with difficult rhythms and for the ones with simpler rhythms, I played them with my classmates multiple times, trading around the chords, melodies, and bass lines.
My practice group was with Michael and Bernie and I practiced outside of the group with Collin, Bobby, Brent, and Matt.