This course was an experiment in which I tried guide beginning students to learn and practise some fundamental aspects of piano playing without the need to learn to read music notation. I can't say that I fully endorse this course any more. There are certain aspects of it that I think people have found confusing, and the progression of difficulty is probably not as well suited to a beginner as I would have liked. However, I have decided to keep it available for now on the off chance that someone finds it interesting of finds some value in it.
The first part of the piano keyboard we will explore is the group of two black keys illustrated below. Since we are not learning to read music notation in this course, there is no need to learn which notes these two keys play. All you need to do for now is to be able to find them on the keyboard. On a full sized piano keyboard there are seven groups of these two black keys. The music you play in this lesson will use just one of those groups. This lesson's music is for two Violins and Piano.
Step 1. As always, the first step is to listen to the lesson music.
Step 2. Then listen to the pattern you will play. You will notice that this pattern is a little more complex than any of the patterns in Step One and so may require a little more practice. On it’s own it shouldn’t be too difficult but the challenge comes once you have to play with the other instruments.
Step 3. When you feel like you know the pattern well enough, find the two keys on the keyboard. Remember, there are seven groups of two black keys on a full sized piano keyboard so make sure you are playing the correct notes.
Step 4. Next, listen to the same pattern accompanied by piano. Listen to it a few times and count along as you do. If you are not sure about the count, go back to step 2 and listen again. The percussion in these tracks outline the beats and bars so you should be able to work out the correct count by listening to it and counting along. In these lessons you will practice playing the same patterns with a different accompaniments. The practise patterns are always the same (usually shortened versions of the patterns in the lesson music) so if you are struggling to play a pattern accompanied by certain instruments, go back and practise playing it with the simple percussion accompaniment.
Step 5. Now, play along with the piano accompaniment.
Step 6. Next, listen to the lesson music played without the violins. Your part will be more difficult to hear in this track, not only because the other instrument playing is also a piano but because it is playing in the same register, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. This disguises your part and makes it sound very different to how it sounds on its own. When you listen to the accompaniment track in step 7 in which your part is missing, you will be able to hear the difference. I recommend listening to both of these tracks a few times, one after the other, then singing your part along with this track. This will help to train your ears to hear notes buried deep within chords.
Step 7. Now, play the pattern along with the piano accompaniment. You might also want to try playing and singing the pattern at the same time in this step. For an extra challenge, try singing your part along with this track, without playing it on the piano.
Step 8. Finally, play along to the lesson music.