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TrevorM #2379525 01/29/15 09:39 AM
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Good morning, all.

I enjoy reading fellow students' perspective on learning to play piano.

Jytte: obtaining honest and constructive feedback is so important in any learning activity. At times it is only later that we fully understand the full implications of the feedback, and I suspect having Jaak's feedback videos to watch several times must strengthen our understanding of his feedback.

My teacher encourages me to record my playing. This is an eye opener indeed -- I can hear what sounds good and what does not. Microphones don't lie!

I am starting lesson 8. (I will get into it after the internet company checks out my connection -- HD videos have been stuttering since a couple of days). Like you, I am not as motivated when I come across pieces I don't like. This is where a live teacher offers flexibility as together we can agree on more suitable pieces. Having only skimmed the "Impressions" tutorial, I think Jaak's intent is to practice using the pedal and crossing over hands. More to follow.

Keystring: Peeling back the layers is important every once in a while. It is like a review which I think is always worthwhile in any learning activity. Things are so much more interesting and less frustrating when we fully understand what we are doing or trying to achieve.

I have always been a curious individual. I need to know WHY things are as they are, or WHY things are done is such a way. This is why I appreciate Jaak's philosophical approach. Every once in a while I go back to Jaak's Youtube channel to review something.

I often wonder what my life would be like had I gone into music when I was younger... I guess I'll neve know. My sister told me once that had I done that years ago I probalby would not enjoy this piano adventure at this stage of my life.

Take care, everyone.


Dennis

Yamaha G2 5'8" grand piano, Walnut finish.
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johan d #2379540 01/29/15 10:13 AM
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Hi Johan,

Glad to hear you too are following Jaak's online course. As you can read from these posts, we all find his tutorials beneficial.

I would be interested in hearing how things go for you in this course.


Dennis

Yamaha G2 5'8" grand piano, Walnut finish.
TrevorM #2379542 01/29/15 10:14 AM
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Johan, welcome to the club smile


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
TrevorM #2379544 01/29/15 10:16 AM
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As soon as I've started another 'month', it gives you access to the next 8 lessons. I then Immediately go about downloading all lessons and materials. Watching online is often not that good, studdering. Sometimes downloading will be slow, then I just wait a little for a more opportune moment. Having the lessons downloaded always gives me access no matter the internet conditions.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
TrevorM #2379547 01/29/15 10:22 AM
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Yes, lesson 8 is pedal and crossing over. Which is why I did the thing, short as it is it's not a big deal.

Now, with a 'large' piece, that one ends up spending weeks and weeks on, it had better be something I can tolerate to listen to. And 'live' or not, I'm sure I'll find a solution with Jaak when something like that comes up.

Obviously there is a particular reason for his choices in pieces. Each and every piece teaches a specific set of skills. The course is obviously not made for me in particular, but I was lucky I guess, in that the very first 'real' piece, Bach's Menuet, was exactly addressing where most of my problem were. So I got to take the big struggle right up front, and I think that was very good.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
TrevorM #2379554 01/29/15 10:28 AM
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The first 8 lessons are a mix of theory and practical exercises. In fact they all are. If one has already this knowledge, it's easy to zoom through those theoretical parts. I did however - and would advice anyone to do so as well - watch each and every video. Just in case he touches on something I might have missed. Obviously this course is made so that anyone, without any prior knowledge, can start learning the piano, so if there's prior knowledge, some parts may be boring old stuff.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
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Originally Posted by Dennis in Canada

Keystring: Peeling back the layers is important every once in a while. It is like a review which I think is always worthwhile in any learning activity. Things are so much more interesting and less frustrating when we fully understand what we are doing or trying to achieve.

This is true. But I am also thinking of cause and effect.

Here is an example of something I found just this week. I've been learning to not lock up any of my joints and to increase movement. I've come a long way, but I've still had tension or stiffness in doing certain things.

It turns out that when I first went back to piano on my own (I played self-taught as a child), I carefully raised my arms a certain way: bend the forearm at the elbow, turn the hand - in that order. If you turn only the forearm while keeping the upper arm fixed, then you create tension in the elbow, upper arm, and somewhat in the shoulders. What I did was the opposite of "chicken winging", where people do everything by lifting the elbow. In reality, when you turn the hand into playing position while raising it to the position, it's all one movement and the angle of the elbow does (should) shift a bit in response, in other words, it's not locked. I've gone right back to the very first thing we do when we play: raise the hands to the keyboard.

At a more "middle" stage, where I was playing music at levels that weren't beginner music, I did learn not to have a locked elbow, and in fact I did tend to lock at the elbow. So I worked on that, and did manage to undo a great deal of the problem. But all this time I still had the original template in my body where you raise the arms and then tip the hands into playing position. A certain degree of tension was always in there, and since it felt "normal" I had no idea that it could be otherwise.

When I'm thinking about this, there are three ways of reaching something: a) you try to make your passage sound good while aiming to be comfortable, and things fix themselves in the process b) you work on something like "don't make the elbows rigid" and whatever the original cause might have been, you're reprogramming the effect, c) you get at the foundational level where you first put yourself off track. There is not one choice which is superior to the others, and probably the answer lies in "all of the above".

TrevorM #2379624 01/29/15 01:28 PM
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"Impressions" is especially for pedaling and hands crossing, I'd think, but there are also other aspects. If you think of how many traditional systems go, you start in C, G, and F "position", mostly on white keys, mostly in a closed 5-finger hand shape. You are in the central region of the keyboard for a very long time.

"Impressions" has a whole-tone scale of B C# D# F for part of it, and it uses mostly black keys. The bit of scale I quoted puts you in a position that mimics the shape of the hand - a roundness of deeper higher higher deeper in terms of key height. It promotes a more relaxed hand. 2. You are moving around the keyboard, which isn't just good for keyboard geography - you have to keep rebalancing your whole self as you go from one end to the other, balance your hands and arms. As you cross hands you're also moving in 3D space. Add the pedal and the whole body gets coordinated. The sense of it becomes apparent when you compare this to what happens physically in the "C, G, F position" model, 5-finger, central region of keyboard.

When I self-taught as a child, I was given my grandmother's books of sonatinas and one Czerny. I played mostly white keys, and most of what I played didn't demand a stretch of more than 6 notes maximum. This "shaped" my playing physically. My fingers were perpetually round, the forearms didn't go up and down (locked wrists), and you could have put a penny on the back of my hands without it falling off. Repertoire itself will shape the physical part of your playing.

TrevorM #2379656 01/29/15 02:45 PM
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Keystring, you are right, it is very much about using 'all of the real estate', and the balance of the body in doing so.

This is where I ran into trouble, as I had only a 61-key keyboard at the time. I did play the exercise by simply moving it up/down an octave as needed, but that didn't give me the full benefit of it. I did however play it again when I got my new piano smile I figured, I'd paid plenty for 88 keys, now let's USE them LOL


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
TrevorM #2379663 01/29/15 02:59 PM
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Very good analysis, Keystring. cool

Jaak's exercises are a lot smarter than they may appear at first glance. I had not realized that the exercise is good to think about balancing on the sitting bones.


Dennis

Yamaha G2 5'8" grand piano, Walnut finish.
TrevorM #2379712 01/29/15 04:53 PM
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Hi, I have been online for 4 hours trying to find the free 8 lessons for this site. All that comes up is a YouTube ad for his site about the free lessons but with no access to the free lessons. I really have been all over the place looking at many videos and they are really good, but cannot get the free 8 lessons. Am I not in the correct place? Probably, I am not computer literate. it is very frustrating. Hope someone can help.
Shey


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Practising Mindfulness Piano




TrevorM #2379717 01/29/15 05:01 PM
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Hello Shey,

this is the main page: http://playingpianoblog.com/learn-to-play-the-piano/

about half way down (in orange) it says
How to Participate in the Free Online Piano Course

Click Register Now at the sign up page. Then enter your name, email address and choose a password.

Take me to the sign up page (link)

If you have any trouble, email Jaak directly: jaak@playingpianoblog.com

Have fun!


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
TrevorM #2379877 01/30/15 02:52 AM
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Are the payed lessons also of the same length /lesson? Because the first lesson are only <5 minutes long. Does he show stuff ON the piano, because until now only spoken words...

TrevorM #2379917 01/30/15 05:23 AM
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Johan, each lesson has from 2 to 5 videos, and each video is anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes in length. Lessons are a mix of theory (as it pertains to the task at hand) and practical (on the piano). As you have obviously only watched one of the intro-videos, not a lesson yet, he is explaining about how to follow this course, how to sit, how to practice.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
TrevorM #2379936 01/30/15 07:40 AM
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Jytte,
Just curious, when you submit a video for evaluation, does it go just to Jaak (and otherwise is kept private)? or is it displayed publicly so that everyone can learn from the evaluation? I can see merits to both approaches. I imagine some people would want to guard their privacy pretty zealously and might be uncomfortable having their videos publicly displayed. But at the same time I can see how it might be nice to have a large library of instruction available based on corrections to other students. Just wondering which approach Jaak takes?


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Roland RD800
TrevorM #2379943 01/30/15 08:14 AM
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Fizikisto, that is your choice. You can upload your videos to 'whereever', and then email the link to Jaak. He will answer back by email. As you might have seen on YouTube, some times he will make a video for further clarification of a point. You can choose to make your videos available on YouTube or some other place, but that's entirely up to you.
You also email what ever questions you may have to him, and get an email back. Private as all email. You may however also choose to write that question on the lesson's discussion page (available to students only) in which case it's 'public' as will be his answer.

PS: I regard a student/teacher relationship as private. All my videos and evaluations are strictly between Jaak and me.

Last edited by Jytte; 01/30/15 08:15 AM.

[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Jytte #2380024 01/30/15 12:37 PM
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Oh thanks. As soon as I posted my question I found the link! I love his accent and the relaxed way he speaks. I have enjoyed the little I have watched so far. will carry on and see if it is for me.


Adult returner
Practising Mindfulness Piano




TrevorM #2380349 01/31/15 08:05 AM
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I think indeed the course has great value, even the free beginning 8 lessons contains new thing that I was not aware of. My first impression is to take the following-up 11 months also.

TrevorM #2385887 02/13/15 10:39 PM
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I also found great value in the first 8 lessons. He does a good job of building a solid foundation. The videos on hand technique are very insightful, useful for both beginners and people who have been playing a long time. His accent/speech pattern is a little disconcerting at first, but it became kinda comforting after awhile.

I also was impressed by the video feedback/answers he posted on his blog. He posts the student's video performance followed by his video feedback/answer. I found these videos very interesting and useful. I wouldn't hesitate to post my lesson videos publicly, so that his video feedback/answer could also be posted for others to also learn from.

Looks like a very good teacher/course, I'm definitely going to sign up too.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
TrevorM #2387224 02/17/15 12:55 AM
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Hay guys!

I am a prospective student of this course. Would you recommend it for someone who can just barely play "Ode to Joy" and stuff like that? I am a total newbie. Does Jaak start out on that level? Also, what's the easiest way to film yourself? I am assuming a webcam, but how would you angle the shot? I mean the stuff you usually see on YouTube is usually coming over and above someones left shoulder. How do you support a webcam to get that shot? Could you just set the webcam level with one end of the piano so its looking up or down the keyboard? I hope I wouldn't need a camcorder for this. That would put it out of my price range.


Casio CGP 700 and love it. Learning with Alfred's All in One. I have a real live teacher now!
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