Forcing myself to read sheet music while learning!

Like I said last week, I am learning to play the piano in an attempt to understand music just a little more. I am using an app called Yousician Piano and I am going through the learning process in "easy mode". This means that instead of regular sheet music it shows the exact name of the note to play and for how long on a virtual scrolling "line of sheet music"..which is called a clef. ;) (see here to learn about the different modes it displays the notes)

This "enhanced" helped me a lot to get familiar with the notes C,D,E,F,G,A,B and where they are on the keyboard. And that they actually repeat a few times in a different octave. The problem with this mode is that it uses colors to suggest which finger to use to press a key on the keyboard and the length of the bar tells you how long. Really helpful if you can't read sheet music...but I am starting to get annoyed by it a lot! You see, some times you need to move your hand around so you can hit a higher or lower note. It then changes the "hand position" during a song...but does not tell you about it...and all colors stay the same!!! Resulting in hitting the wrong note and failing that part of the song! On top of that it does not help you learn any songs outside of the app...and that is kind of sad.

There is a second mode called "Colored" which is a almost exactly like standard sheet music notation, except each note has a color suggesting which finger to use....which is just like in "enhanced" and thus has the same problem with changing hand positions! The third and last option is to use standard all black on white music notation....but unless you know what this means....that's also the hardest mode! Luckily you can change notation during the song whenever you want and use whats easier.

This is starting to look like a review ... :shy: ... but it really isn't! Just putting down my thoughts and struggles here. :D

For the last week I have been switching the notation styles and have settled for now on the "colored" mode. While it still has the problems with changing hand position and colors staying the same, it also looks more like actual sheet music. Thus helping me learn where on the clef the notes are and what the extra notations around them mean...or at least show me when I got it wrong. I would prefer an extra mode in between that helps in showing how long a note should be played, and have the name next to it like there is in "enhanced" mode. But I guess that would make it even harder to switch to actual sheet music....maybe.

Just to make things a little easier...I ordered piano note labels from amazon and they look great! Now every key is clearly labeled and I can find them quicker. It even has the musical notation and position of that key on it! This is what it looks like:
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I do feel it looks more like a kids toy now...but I do not care! I got this keyboard second hand for a reasonable price and it's a learning tool for me. I do want to upgrade to a more advanced model later with drum pads and other fun stuff. Not sure if I am sticking with this brand or not...but upgrading is going to happen. :D

I have learned to play "happy birthday" looking only at these stickers and the sheet music. It took me about 1,5 to 2 hours to get the key's right and learn the correct order of the notes. I can play the melody...most of the times...from memory now. Did not involve my left hand yet for some base notes...that is still very complicated for me. I did try a few different songs but it did not go that well yet.

I still have a long way to go but I am almost at level 4 in yousician...got stuck on a song before I can pass. But hey...it's only been like 2 weeks now! I might post some video or audio once I learned some game music :D (any requests :rofl2:)

Either way..thanks for reading. hope it was not to boring. ;)

Comments

I learned piano with standard notation and finger number annotations 1 (thumb) to 5 (pinky) (and still use these numbers when playing melodeon where the thumb is rarely used). Your problem may get easier if you use other sheet music, where you can make your own notes about changes of hand position. I suspect that you are currently relying on the colours rather than note position to tell you which key to press as well as which finger to use, whereas later on you will be able to annotate fingering only when you're moving your hand in an unusual way.
 
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I learned piano with standard notation and finger number annotations 1 (thumb) to 5 (pinky) (and still use these numbers when playing melodeon where the thumb is rarely used). Your problem may get easier if you use other sheet music, where you can make your own notes about changes of hand position. I suspect that you are currently relying on the colours rather than note position to tell you which key to press as well as which finger to use, whereas later on you will be able to annotate fingering only when you're moving your hand in an unusual way.
I was indeed relying on the color instead of the position of the notes. Then when they change...I got lost! :rofl2: This so called "enhanced" mode does make it easier to start I think. But in the end it also gets in the way because you only learn how to play music that is in the yousician library, and not everything else that is in "standard sheet notation".

I have been watching a lot of YouTube obviously...and my favorite channel for lessons is from Pianote with teacher Lisa. In one of her video's she explains how see reads notes her self...and that see does not see the individual note. Just a "landmark" like G, middle C or F for example and then counts the steps between to hit the right keys. (she explains it way better than me ;))

I have been trying that trick and it really works! While I can now "decode the notes" in other sheet music too...it still takes me to much time to actually play it at full speed. I still make mistakes or get lost what note it is sometimes....but at least I can use the standard sheet notation now! I tried improving on the previous levels in Yousician to get three gold stars on everything...in standard notation. I did improve a lot...and on some songs I barely made it though at first were now much easier. :D

But considering I have only really been playing and learning for about 2 weeks...with on average 1-2 hours a day....I think I am doing fine. Only my hand position must be wrong....because it hurts a little after I play longer. :blush:
 

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