Byron Alexander

My Journey to Becoming a Teacher

Goodnight and thanks for tuning in…

It seems like only yesterday I started this learning project, but soon I’ll be putting away my books and pens for another semester.  This semester I was able to try my efforts at playing the piano which is something I have always wanted to try out.  I can gladly say that I am proud of my progress but there is still lots of room for improvement, but I coming into this I knew that was going to be the case.  When I look at my progress from a high level it is easy to scoff at what I have accomplished, but then I started diving down into where I was and where I am now and it makes me proud of what I have learnt in this short time.

Here is an overview of my journey from Week #1 to where I am now…

Piano? Sounds Easy.  

What was I getting myself into?  I don’t think I was really sure at this point.  I knew that I wanted to be able to play piano somewhat, I just wasn’t even really sure how I was going to do it or what my goal was.  Come to think of it, I am not sure I ever really laid out a goal for me in regards to piano playing.  It was such an unknown for me that I just wanted to go with it and see where it would take me.  I started my first week referencing my daughters piano book that she was using for her lessons and it was a great resource to kick start my learning.  It was a Lesson Book – Level 1A and I would recommend it for anyone (especially children) that are looking to begin playing piano.

Keep practicing…. 

This week I focused on finger placement and understanding what the book was referencing when it used letters such as A,B,C,D,E,F,G.  In all my previous music classes I have taken (including EMUS101 last semester) I have come to realize that I tend to play music by ear, I have never been an overly technical person and I was quickly seeing that when it came to notes and sounds.  I would much rather make my way through the keys until I found combinations that sounded the way I thought it should to match the song I desired to play.  The only problem with that is, what I think I sound like playing and what I actually sound like are often two very different things, I often think of it as karaoke.  Those of us who have been brave enough to venture up onto the stage truly feel like this is our American Idol moment to serenade the audience, however, the moment as experienced by the audience is often not synchronized with that of the performer.  Back to practicing piano.

Old MacDonald

Piano man?  Close but not yet…

Quarter notes, half notes and whole note!  This would not have meant anything to me a few short week prior to starting this project.  This was the week I actually learnt my first song, wait for it…. Merry Had A Little Lamb!  I also started to utilize YouTube this week for my learning as I was able to find numerous awesome videos that helped me!  This was the week that I finally felt like I was making some progress towards becoming a master pianist!

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Tickling the ivories…

This week I was able to utilize a video from YouTube titled top 5 piano exercises for beginners.  This was also the week that I started to experience hand cramping, which was the worst!  I finally got to a point where I was playing for longer stretches of time and was making (what I thought at least) some good sounding music.  I had found that my left hand was much more precise than my right hand when it came to playing piano even though I am right handed, which I found to be surprising. Practice was going well!

They’re creepy and they’re kooky

As I had been seeing through my project, each week tended to take on a life of its own.  This week I just so happened to stumble across The Addams Family and the theme song that went along with it.  Again, through a great online tutorial from YouTube I was able to find another fun song to play and learn on the piano. Check it out…

The Addams Family

Left side, strong side

This week’s focus was on my left hand, as I had seen my left hand doing well off the start, it had started to fall behind the more I practiced.  It may have been more of my right hand getting used to what we were doing and surpassing my left hand.  So again, I went back to YouTube and found some exercises that stress the left hand to complete the majority of the lesson.  While this may have been one of the more frustrating weeks as it forced me to grind away on something that was not coming easy to me, it was definitely beneficial. 

Is that Byron or John Legend?

This is the week that I began my journey towards transforming into John Legend on the piano!  I choose to try and learn the song All of Me.  While there are numerous different versions of this song that you can find online, some more complex that other.  I was able to find one that was not overly difficult, the beginning of it atleast!  I was able to get the start of the song down pat fairly quickly, but then the song has a lot of individual key stokes that get somewhat complicated.  Back to practicing…

Intro…

Ok, so I feel really confident with the beginning of the song All of Me.  A few comments have asked that I sing while playing this song and while I think that would be awesome, I will have to pass for now.  I can barely look away from what I am doing when playing piano without messing up, let alone sing.  I really have a new appreciation for artists that are able to make that skill look so smooth and seamless because it is incredibly difficult!  This is as far as I was able to get with All of Me, I plan to continue working to incorporate my left hand for the entire song!

All of Me

Well, this bring me to the end of my FINAL post about my learning project.  Learning the piano, or I should say, beginning to learn to play the piano was an awesome experience.  It is such a difficult instrument to play and people that have devoted themselves to mastering it got my vote!  It is an incredibly satisfying thing to learn, even if it just elementary level song like I was able to play.  My plan is to continue playing the piano and potentially even take lessons from someone.  While online instruction videos are great (and many of them free) they can only take you so far, for me at least.  Thank you all so much for coming along with me for this journey, for you 90’s babies out there, you might recognize this last song.  Thanks to a duet with my wife and amazing camera work by my 6-year-old daughter, I am very happy to share my last video.  Enjoy…

Heart & Soul

2 Comments

  1. This is so great Byron! You certainly have come a long way from your first post to playing part of “All of Me”. It’s such a great learning project idea that you can keep working on. If your daughter is taking lessons, you could take lessons together. This was a really great wrap-up post and I enjoyed watching the videos you included of your progress. I also appreciated the final duet with your wife as I used to play all sorts of variations of that song anytime I had a piano/organ/keyboard in front of me. Have a wonderful spring and happy Easter!

    • Byron

      April 10, 2020 at 1:44 am

      Thanks Lauren, it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed my time blogging about my progress. I hope you and your family have a great Easter as well. Good luck with your classes moving forward!

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