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 final lesson in Step Three lets you practise moving down the keyboard by leap. The leaps in the patterns you will play in this lesson are generally larger than those in Lesson 4 which will provide a little more challenge. The rhythm, however, is a little simpler.
The music in this lesson is for Vibraphone, Drum Set, Electric Bass Guitar, and Piano. If you have worked through all the lessons thoroughly up to now you should be well equipped to play the music in this lesson. If you are starting to find these lessons too difficult, however, I suggest you retrace your steps and replay some of the earlier lessons. Learning to play the piano takes time. Even seemingly simple tasks on the piano can be frustratingly difficult to master. Be patient and don’t give up. As the pianist Louis Kenter put it;
There is no such thing as a difficult piece. A piece is either impossible - or it is easy. The process whereby it migrates from one category to the other is known as practicing.
Step 1. Listen to the lesson music.
Step 2. Then listen to the patterns you will play. Since the notes are so widely spaced, you might find it quite difficult to find the notes in these patterns by ear alone. Therefore, it will be a good idea to watch the video at least once before you attempt to play the pattens in the next step. If you can find the notes by ear alone then so much the better, but don’t feel discouraged if you can’t.
Step 3. Now play the patterns along with the percussion accompaniment.
Step 4. Next, listen to the patterns accompanied by the drum set. Don’t forget to use the listening steps in these lessons to prepare and practise for the following steps where you play along with the accompaniment. Counting, singing, tapping out the beat or rhythm, playing in your mind... these are all very useful and beneficial ways to practise without touching the piano keyboard.
Step 5. Play along now with the drum set accompaniment.
Step 6. Next we add piano to the drum set accompaniment. Listen to it and prepare in whatever way you feel you need to for the next step.
Step 7. Play along with the drum set and piano accompaniment.
Step 8. Now for the lesson music played without the vibraphone. Listen to this version of the lesson music and play along in your mind. Then listen to the track again but this time focus in on the other instruments. See if you can follow along with each instrument as it plays. In particular, see if you can distinguish between your part and the other piano accompaniment.
Step 9. Play your part now along with this version of the lesson music. Play it a few times and each time try to listen to just one of the other instruments while you play.
Step 10. And at last, play along with the full version of the lesson music.
This concludes Step Three of the First Steps in Piano course. Here you learnt ways in which a musical line can move up and down the keyboard. You also practised playing with both hands in Lessons 4 & 5. In this step there was only one line for you to play. Very often, however, a pianist will have to play multiple lines simultaneously. This will be the focus of future lessons. For now, however, it is time to revisit the keyboard layout and further develop your playing, listening, and memory skills in Step Four of the First Steps in Piano course.