So I have had my piano now for a couple of weeks. Watched a ton of YouTube videos, I have a request in for several theory books at the library, and I have been messing around on FlowKey.

Yeah I know zero chill.

But you see what happens is I start and then I notice something like – it’s hard coordinating my hands – and then I go down a rabbit hole of watching lots of videos for tips about that. That leads to other videos like “biggest mistakes self-taught piano players make” or “things I wish I had focused on more when starting to learn” etc. which then leads to more rabbit holes about music theory (as apparently just attempting to play what is there without understanding it is bad) and then yeah I am here.

Anyway while I was sleeping last night I was dreaming and the whole “key of the song” and “scales” thing clicked. I think I also get how the chords connect but not sure. Seriously most useful dream I have had in a while, usually it’s screaming nightmares so yay.

But it’s a bit like art. I have a lot of general knowledge floating around my head. I can look at sheet music and read it (the more complex, the slower I am but I can do it). However, that doesn’t translate to my hands doing what I want them to do.

My setup is bad at the moment and is killing my back. The piano is much too high on the Lego table so it’s easier to stand (as if I sit I am below it) but I don’t think standing is sustainable long term. I ordered a piano stand this morning and so hopefully I can move forward with proper posture/practice.

When it comes to practice though I am not too sure what I should focus on. Keyboard familiarity obviously so scales, chords; Rhythm so practicing with a metronome etc. But when it comes to songs… I’m having a bit of a logic question.

Maybe it’s because every song feels like the same approach but if it’s just a matter of practicing the key combinations, working out the fingering, and then getting smoother until I have the right rhythm – what does it matter if I practice a song marked “beginner” or “advanced”? Yeah the advanced has more notes, more movement, requires more coordination etc. But it requires practice either way. Break it down into sections, do a couple of measures at a time, do hands separately and then try hands together etc.

I don’t know I am just having a “well why can’t I try it?” type reaction. Not going to lie it’s fun to hear my own hands make notes I can recognise. Is it smooth or in proper timing? Hell no. But I have been playing only a couple of weeks and with no stand and also being afraid of making too much noise (I have an order in for headphones too) I would say my practice has thus far been hindered.

I do have a very bad habit of trying to run before I can walk. I am like this with art. I jump right into trying to draw full pieces rather than do practice studies, as it’s the full pieces that are the reason I want to draw. Same with the piano. I want to learn to play the songs I like. I don’t know if as an “adult learner” who isn’t going to bother with any tests or anything, I can get away with that, or if I am ultimately doing myself a disservice by skipping the practice of the beginner songs.

Anyway eventually I hope the lady at the music school who does piano will feel better, or they will hire a substitute, and I can have a lesson and ask these silly questions about learning effectively. I wish I could find an art teacher who could give me a course of study too. Trying to chart my own path does feel a lot like flailing most of the time.

The dream is the same as with everything I attempt (writing, art and now music). I just want to feel competent, like I am good enough.

So I need another hobby like I need a hole in my head buuuuuut tomorrow I am getting a digital piano 🙃

When I was a kid I had a keyboard. I got rid of it when I was 9 due to family drama. I didn’t give up the idea of learning to play and asked if I could have lessons when I was at high school. Somehow that morphed into clarinet lessons (which mystifies me to this day as how??). I was thoroughly unsuited as an asthmatic as I didn’t have nearly enough puff for a wind instrument. It didn’t last and I haven’t touched a musical instrument in 20 years.

In that 20 years though I have listened to piano arrangements of songs, or listened to songs with a strong piano melody, and imagined playing. Last year when I started visualising living in my own place I thought about getting a piano but decided against it. I mean it really wasn’t the time with all the other expenses and besides I was – am! – going all in with art. I already struggle to balance art and writing and games and Lego and reading etc. Something else is just crazy.

But I have this picture in my head I can’t shake of the peace of playing on the piano, of losing myself in the melody. I reached out to two places in my town for lessons but neither have worked out thus far. It’s possible one will in time but I have a character flaw of impatience and decided I would try and practice on my own in the meantime.

It could all go horribly wrong. I am scared and excited all at once. The keyboard comes with a free few months of FlowKey which is a learning app and I hope that will be good to get me started. I always try to run before I can walk, and throw myself at that brick wall of endless frustration. I have a list of songs I want to learn to play which is probably horribly ambitious. Have to see how it goes.