Learning to Play Piano or Old Dogs New Tricks

image of Gary getting piano lesson

Learning to Play Piano or Old Dogs New Tricks

I’m learning to play the piano.  Yes, it seems you can teach old dogs new tricks.  For many years (all my life and that means many years) I  have enjoyed music. I’ve never played an instrument although almost all of our kids are musical.  So I mentioned to NoniKay that I would like to learn piano.  Well, Christmas and Birthday and there it was.  Lessons with an amazing piano instructor who just happens to be a family member.  She is a gracious and strong teacher with the gift of music and teaching and a piano studio business. I was set.

Keyboard or Piano in the RV

The first question was how am I going to practice the piano in an RV? I mean piano practice is supposed to be an every day occurrence, right? What type of machine works best for that in an RV.  Some RV parks like Greenfield in Mesa Arizona have a community piano that can be played by everyone.  Although,  that is great, often those piano rooms are unavailable.  Plus people don’t usually care to hear the basic starter music (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) played klunkily (is that a word?).   After checking the funds and doing some research and getting input from my instructor, the decision was made.        A Yamaha 88 key digital piano was chosen and sounds amazing.  Next question is where does it fit in the RV.  Well, just in front of the fireplace is a perfect fit.  Piano, stand and stool.

image of Gary practicing Learning to play piano or old dogs new tricks www.happyhour786.com
Daily practice!

Lessons via FaceTime

Yes, it works.  So once the piano was in place then the question is how do you take lessons while traveling all over the place in the RV.  Magic of technology.  I hang the iPad from the ceiling above the keyboard, and call her on FaceTime, so that she can see the keys and my hands and hear the music.  This works “almost ok”.  And we are making progress.  I can hear her explain what I need to work on, make corrections.  She can turn her camera on her hands to demonstrate, so I can see how easy it is to do it correctly.  Once in a while there is a bit of a video or audio lag and that makes for a hilarious lesson.  More than once we laughed through the lesson.  So there it is old dogs new tricks.

image of iPad hanging from ceiling learning to play piano or old dogs new tricks www.happyhour786.com
As long as the strap holds we’re good!

When we are home in Washington for Christmas or a holiday or most summers, I take lessons in person at the studio. My instructor, of course, has to help me unlearn all the bad habits I picked up on the road.

Chords, arpeggios, scales of minor and major and sharps and dulls (flats), Etudes, counting and patting and beats and rests, Reinagles, Circles of Fifths (not the alcohol kind), Funny Cows Graze Down Always, guide notes, parallel motion and more and more.  I had no idea that our kids who mastered their music knew all this stuff.  I just remember them practicing a bunch or hollering at the boys to practice a bunch sometimes.

Timing Is Critical

Timing is critical and guess what, there are Metronome Apps and Apps to learn to read notes. Until you get to working off lead sheets, then timing is not as critical as sounding good with everyone else. Just finished off Sounds of Silence, still one of my all time favorites.  This week’s lesson is: Chords in half steps. Scale review A major, C major, D major and E major, up and down octaves. Colour My World (Chicago’s most beautiful love song), and starting on  Brian’s Song. When you want to learn from an extraordinary and gracious piano teacher in Spokane, call me, I can fix you up.

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Thank you NoniKay for a Wonderful Gift

Yes, old dogs new tricks, yep, I am doing this. My old dog gray brain does not learn as fast as it used to do and it doesn’t seem to remember as well. Although, my brain and fingers are retaining that muscle memory and occasionally the song comes out perfect, yes, new tricks. What gift will you give to your other half? What have they always wanted to accomplish?  Thank you honey.  This piano and this gift of lessons mean so much to my heart.  Piano is like marriage I think.  It’s complicated, takes work and effort and time.  Mistakes are made, practice helps and sometimes it sounds beautiful. And yes, this old dog has learned some new tricks.

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