Archive for August, 2007

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Bought a bass guitar

August 23, 2007

Haven’t progessed with Alfred recently, although I have been practicing Beautiful Brown Eyes whenever I had the chance and it really seems easy now. Well at least I get sense of improvement.

Anyway, I bought a new bass guitar on an impulse buy last weekend. It was pretty much the cheapest in shop but the guys were praising it a lot, even over more expensive models such a the popular Fender Squier series. And I did try all of them out and I have to agree with them. I did make a note to myself before never to cheap out on musical instruments after having to endure my first acoustic guitar. But this was an exception. It feels really nice and build quality is quite good for a Chinese made instrument. The fretboard is apparently ‘contemporary’ which is a little fatter than traditional bass guitars. My hands are kinda small though and it looks really funny when I play it, and I do find it difficult to play the first few frets. But overall I am happy with it, I only need it for recording really. But who knows I might decide to become a bassist.

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Back on guitar

August 18, 2007

Had a jam with a bandmate the other day.  Just realised how rubbish I have become on the guitar.  When it comes to improvising on the spot, I am pretty much useless.  Thinking about it, although I pick up my guitar every day I haven’t learnt a new song in 3 years now.  I have always tried to come up with my own stuff.  My playing level has become stagnant and I end up playing the same chords over and over.  I need to learn something new.  Taking up the piano has been inspiring because it IS something new and I almost forgot how fun that is!

I just feel myself improving musically on every level at the moment.  I can’t really express how refreshing the feeling is.  Thinking back, I had a wasted childhood, I wish I had started earlier.  But no point feeling like that, I can only move forward and get better!

Today I am learning Kathy’s Song by Simon and Garfunkel on guitar.  Fairly easy but its such a beautiful song.

Not abandoning the piano either, I will work on the next exercise tonight from the Alfred course.

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OMG my hands!!!

August 15, 2007

…are aching so badly.

I attempted Beautiful Brown Eyes today and I just couldn’t stop. I played non stop for around 90 mins and just had to nail it or I would go crazy.

I learnt the main song fairly quickly but then adding the pedal really changes things. This is definately the first challenging piece for me in the Alfred course. I know from experience with the guitar, its actually better to take a break. I find coming back from the break I can play better with a clear head. But I gotta go to work tomorrow and I needed to get this done tonight.

I got the hang of it, recorded it and let out the biggest sigh of relief. So I decided to listen to the CD and ……….I played it way too fast!! I’m banging my head on the table.

But oh well I’ve run out of time anyway, so here it is

http://www.box.net/shared/hil9dvnq8v

EDIT: just realised I got one note completly wrong. Off to re-record!

Version 2 – http://www.box.net/shared/5hsq81lolr

Oh I still don’t know how to read those ties on the sheet music, so I probably got them wrong. I just held down the chords anyway. Can anyone explain?

I don’t even want to look at the next page yet. I probably won’t work on the next piece until the weekend as I have band practice tomorrow, so time to rock out on the guitar.

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Small entry today

August 14, 2007

Not much time during the week to practice the piano.  I thought I could complete two songs today but Beautiful Brown Eyes turned out a bit tricky.  Ok it isn’t too hard, but it introduces a new chord (the C major inversion mentioned in my last entry) and my hands aren’t used to it yet.  Hopefully I will have it down by tomorrow.

Also discovered something about recording my piano.  Not sure if you can notice it on my two previous recordings but you can hear a faint bassy sound, this is the tapping sound the keys makes on my digital piano.  I totally forgot my piano had recording functions.  So now I record myself with the piano first and then play it back while recording to my PC, hopefully having less unwanted noise.  If only the playback button didn’t have an annoying click!!  I suppose I could play a note and leave a pause before playing and then cut it out at mixdown.

Liza Jane –  http://www.box.net/shared/yf4krqn4ei

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Broken chords and the Damper pedal

August 12, 2007

Today I learnt broken chords. This where you play the keys of a chord separately. Isn’t this what you call an arpeggio? I have no idea, hopefully the book will mention arpeggios later as I see the word pop up quite often.

So the exercise had me practicing the broken chords of G and D7 triads. This where I discovered a fault with my right hand. I seemed to be lifting my index up straight when I wasn’t using it thus breaking the ‘cup’ shape it should be in. I tried to correct it but then I found my arm started to ache. This was not the position I was used to. I went off to lunch (Mmm spaghetti bolognese), came back and it seemed to be ok. I guess I needed the rest. I also had to cut off my beautiful guitar nails to make it a bit easier… nevermind I have been using the pick more anyway.

The song for this exercise is Harp Song. Very simple song, its just the broken chords repeated in 3/4 time. But theres a catch – the damper pedal! I believe this is first time it is mentioend in the book, I was dreading this day. I never really had co-ordination in my legs, I completey suck at football, and to think I wanted to learn the drums before too! Its quite easy though, I just have to step on it at the beginning of a measure.

Here is the recording – http://www.box.net/shared/glr6qtaxmc

Not sure if the recording quality is good enough, but it does sound lush with the damper pedal on with those sustained notes in harmony with the melody.

Anyway thats enough for today. Theres a few writing exercises to be done – boring! But after that it introduces the E key in the G position and we can play a variation of the C major chord. Is that a “chord inversion”?

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Hello

August 11, 2007

Welcome to my new blog.

I am an adult beginner with the piano and all of you readers out there can follow my progress through learning it. I am currently working my way through “Alfred’s All-in-one piano course book 1”.

I bought my piano last year but had a break for a few months due to other commitments. Now I’m back into it and picked up where I left off. So here is a recording of the current piece I am working on – The Cuckoo!

http://www.box.net/shared/hmh4a12brl