So my New Year's Resolution in 2005 was to learn how to play the piano.
It's something that has intrigued me for a number of years, but for a variety of reasons never quite made it all the way to the top of my "to do" list. Well, only 16 months after the original resolution, I used my tax return this past year to purchase as Suzuki 100-D digital piano (fully weighted, 88 keys, blah blah woof woof). Here's a picture of it in my loft.
There was a course starting at a local community college in the summer, but that was too far off, so I purchased a teach yourself how to play the piano book. This was actually a big help, as I'd never read music before (go figure). I learned a lot of the basics — which note corresponded to which key on the keyboard, and what a chord was (I'm not kidding).
I started to take the course over the summer, but had to withdraw because of my 2+ week vacation right in the middle of it. I'm back at it again and am enjoying the class. My own self-education has tended to be towards pieces I know — that is, I know what they're supposed to sound like. I hope the course will help me improve at being able to "get" pieces from reading the sheet music.
So — after 4 1/2 months of mostly self-taught plinking away, where am I? Well, one of my favorite sites that I've found for learning how to play the piano is one from Gilbert DeBenedetti at the University of Pittsburgh. He has arranged several well known pieces at several levels of difficulty with pdf versions of sheet music, and MIDI files of the arrangements to go along with them. Its great.
My favorites from here are:
5th Symphony, 1st Movement — Beethoven: A pretty easy arrangement (L1) of the probably the most famous four notes in all of classical music. He also has a higher level version, but I haven't taken that one on yet.
From The New World Symphony: "Going Home" –Dvorak: This is just a beautiful piece. Its very short and simple (L1) but it always makes me happy to play.
Ode to Joy — Beethoven: This L2 piece is probably my favorite, and I think I will try and make it one of my performance peices in class.
7th Symphony, 2nd Movement — Beethoven: My favorite piece of classical music. Period. I can't play the whole thing yet — maybe about the first 30-40%. But just to be able to reproduce this (even at my early level) really gives me joy.
Yes, I know there's a LOT of Beethoven. What can I say, I like what I like!