Two sharps are better than one

I was at my weekly piano lesson this morning and had another breakthrough.  Not only am I playing moozical toons in C, F and G major (one ‘sharp’ note indicated by the little # at the beginning of the music)…we’ve now moved on to D major which has two #!  Woo hoo! ;D


Which means that I now have two black notes (F# and C#) for both left hand and right hand that I have to watch out for…  They’re rather pesky and – at the moment – I’m still writing them in by hand.  Because otherwise I forget.  Until I play them, incorrectly, that is.  When the dischord is worse than nails on a blackboard.  (By the way, you write # and b before the note – not afterwards.  Another fun musical fact I learned this morning.)  But maybe a couple of weeks down the line I’ll also have all that wrapped up?

Well, the only way forward is the usual…lots of daily practice – 15 minutes at a time.  And one of my new piano pieces is called “Bare for Sjov” (Just for fun).  Um, yes, the people who write these ‘beginner piano books’ have a very droll sense of humour…

I’m off to tinkle my little ivories.

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend! 🙂

Punk classics for beginners

Last week I told my piano teacher that I had a confession to make.  I’d – shock – been to the local library and found some sheet music: easy classical pieces rearranged for children.  (‘Punk classics for beginners’ does, unfortunately, not yet exist…)  Even more shocking – I’d been trying to play some of them!  He took a look at one of the pieces (a minuet by Bach), played it, laughed and said that it was just fine.  He thought it was great practice for my level and wants to hear me play it at my next lesson.  Eek! ;D

I don’t know why I felt like I had gone behind his back. I started learning piano in September but feel that, as I’m not a ‘proper’ pianist (whatever that is…), I shouldn’t go off playing on my own.  That I should stick to playing the music from my books Vi spiller klaver 1 and Vi spiller klaver 2.  Which is, of course, completely nuts.  After all, if I was learning a new language or at an art class, then any extra work I did on my own wouldn’t be cheating.  Now would it?

But I guess it’s because I’ve still got that scared feeling.  (If you remember, learning to play piano was a previous Scaredy Cat Challenge).  The fear of doing the wrong thing.  Playing the wrong note.  Head spinning with Danish and Italian musical terms (dur, mol, fis, tonika, legato, ritartando…).  The fear of getting out of my depth.  Which I know, of course, is also nuts.  Because I’m doing this in babysteps and loving the process.  So much so that I practice for over an hour every day.  I actually have to set my Flylady timer in order to limit my time.  Luckily my teacher says it’s all paying off – he thinks I’m very methodical and can tell that I’m putting in a lot of effort! ;D

So maybe this particular Scaredy Cat Challenge isn’t quite over yet?  I’m going down a new path, playing music that isn’t in my textbooks.  Hmmm, all I can say is run for the hills and cover your ears.  And if you happen to find a copy of ‘Punk classics for beginners’, let me know!

Have a terrific Tuesday! 🙂

I could. And I can.

If you’ve been following my Scaredy Cat Challenges, you’ll know that I started learning piano in September. Today I had my fourteenth lesson (each lesson lasts half an hour). It was a turning point. I reached the end of my little red piano book, “Vi spiller klaver 1“.

My teacher told me that I had made amazing progress and to order the next book in the series. So, you see, I could. And I can. And it feels fan-flippin-tastic.

Have a fabulous Friday! 😀

Scaredy Cat Challenge – 28 January 2011

The last time I posted about our Scaredy Cat Challenges was 9 January, so I thought it was about high time I checked in with you all… Did you get started? Do you need a gentle kick up the backside? ;D

My own personal challenge this time round has been learning to play the piano. I have to say that it’s still going really well. Practising every day. Because – gasp – I enjoy it! Though, of course, the more I learn, the more I realise that there’s just so dang much to learn! (How does that work?!) I’m babystepping my way forward and learning a lot about myself in the process. Hmm, I’m a perfectionist? Now, where did I hear that before? 🙂

Last week at my lesson, I was playing a piece that had been causing me no end of grief (moving out of my comfort zone of C major to F major). I said afterwards to the teacher that I was annoyed with myself that, a whole week later, there was still one place where I was messing up. And he said (in Danish, with a Norwegian accent), “Okay, that’s as maybe. But think of all the other parts where you got it right!”. Aha! Yes. Concentrate on the victories. Isn’t that what I’m always preaching to the kids? ;D

Anyway, as the piano thing has now become an everyday part of my life (woo hoo, woo hoo!), I think it’s time to get out of my comfort zone again and pick a brand new challenge. After all, it’s January, the start of a new year. A fresh page!

I’m going to have a look and see what the others are up to for inspiration. I suggest you do the same. And when you’re ready for the plunge, we’re here to hold your hand and be scared together! Add your blog with the Linky below, or leave a comment.

Have an ivory-tickling-tastic Friday! 🙂

Scaredy Cat Challenge – remember?

Do you remember that we’re doing Scaredy Cat Challenges? My latest personal challenge was to attempt to play the piano at the sprightly age of 43. (You can read the background on that particular challenge here.)

Now that we’ve moved the piano into the livingroom

(because, woo hoo, I’m using it every day!),

even DH couldn’t resist getting in on the act ;D

Well, I finished my set of 10 lessons – with my very nice Norwegian teacher called Odd (isn’t that a fantastic christian name?!) – on 17 December.

These lessons have been a godsend. And not just in the musical sense… They’ve also been a huge kick up the jacksie for a control freak like me. Who wants everything done my way – right here – right now. I laughed out loud when Odd said, “I know you want to be The Master of this instrument [after 5 lessons] but right now the piano controls you! And will do for years. Just s-l-o-w right down. Take your time. One thing at a time. You will get there in the end.” Ha! Babysteps, anyone?!

One of the strangest things is that, every single time we start a new piece of music, I look at the (hobbeldy gobbeldy) bunch of notes dancing on the paper and think, “Eek! He expects me to decipher THAT? I caaaaaan’t!” And I stare ahead at the notes, fingers fumbling and think, “I was right, this IS impossible. I’ll NEVER be able to play this.” And yet, one week later, I’ve deciphered the notes and can play it – albeit shakily – but I know that I can. I CAN! That’s pretty strong stuff 🙂

So I’ve just signed up for another season and am ready (and willing!) for more scary piano challenges in 2011. Are you working on a Scaredy Cat Challenge or need some inspiration? Check out all the great challenges below… Link up your blog, let’s hold hands and be scared together! 😀

Have a simply super Sunday!

Scaredy Cat Challenge – Old Dogs and New Tricks

Time for a quick update on my latest Scaredy Cat Challenge… learning to play the piano! 🙂

I went for my second piano lesson last Friday. My Norwegian teacher told me that I was, and I quote, “…surprisingly good at playing from the sheet music without looking down at your hands.”  He said it in Danish, which I’ve translated for you.  His singsong Norwegian accent you will just have to imagine for yourselves… ;D

I told him that, actually, I found that part very easy (it’s the rest that’s difficult). After all, I’m an old-school ‘stenog’ or shorthand typist. Just like my hero, Thoroughly Modern Millie! 🙂  I learned to typewrite in the days when the machines were mechanical. When the teacher drummed out a rhythm to type to [perhaps even to music?! will have to check with my schoolmates] and most of the lesson was spent with the fabric dust cover over our hands, so we couldn’t look down and cheat.  In my first office job – in 1986 – I had an electric typewriter.  I can even remember the day it was upgraded to an electronic one…with a ‘memory’ of about 50 characters.  What a new fangled machine that was!

So maybe it is possible to teach this old dog new piano tricks? Keep your ears pricked up! And don’t forget to practice for 15 minutes every day… (setting my Flylady timer NOW!)

Would you like to join in the Scaredy Cat Challenge? Add your blog with the Linky below. Or go check out what my fearless twisters are throwing themselves into!

Have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂