Archive for the ‘Pianos’ Category

Piano practice

Over the weekend, I spent some time recording some videos of my piano practice on the new piano. These videos have some of the older songs I recorded before, but I also recorded some new songs too. I also included an intro bit of the “You” song from the Higurashi anime.

I’m happier with the composition session this time. It still needs a lot of work, but i’m starting to make it sound a bit more decent. I still don’t know how to put in the black keys, but I guess that will come in time. Perhaps when I learn more about playing in different keys.

Enjoy!

You intro from the anime Higurashi no naku koro ni
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yuf9bylWrtQ[/youtube]
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My new piano arrived!!

This morning, my new piano (Yamaha T121) arrived safely on time at around 9:30am. The piano fortunately fit in the area that I made some room for it. The piano was transported by 2 staff from Sound Centre and it only took them about 10 minutes to move the piano into the place I had prepared. It was certainly much faster then I had anticipated. When peeking at the contents of the truck, when my piano was being unloaded, there were several upright pianos as well as a grand piano in there.

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When I tested out the piano, it was actually louder than I had imagined but was still fine. Although I am glad that I didn’t buy a piano with a larger cabinet, otherwise, It would be far too loud.

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After finishing work for the day, I spent the rest of my time playing the piano for most of the day. The sound quality is most definitely a lot better than my digital piano’s sound. Because of the loudness of the piano, I doubt I’d be able to practice too late at night, so I’ll have to resort to using my digital piano for night practice. My parents also are quite impressed with the new piano.

Anyways, I am really happy with the piano and plan to keep up with my piano practice.

Australian Piano Fair

I went to the Australian Piano Fair at the Perth convention center this weekend as I heard of it from some piano related email subscription.

Recently I’ve been rather dissatisfied with the fake piano sound that my digital pianos use, so I have been quite tempted with the prospect of buying a real piano. The main problems I had with the digital pianos were that I wasn’t able to appreciate the songs I was playing as the sounds didn’t sound right (e.g. chords when playing blues songs) and I was not able to play on my teacher’s piano without having to spend a bit of time at the beginning getting used to the difference in the key action.

Anyways, since I have a holiday planned later in the year, I figured it wasn’t such a good idea to go to the piano fair, but I wanted to try playing on various brands and types of pianos (like the expensive grand pianos), so I ended up going. 😛

Tim room 161 

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Piano practice

Last week, I uploaded some videos of myself practicing piano. I still can’t play anime or game songs yet, so I decided to play some of the songs that I liked the most from the Simply Music piano method that I’m learning. I haven’t uploaded all of the songs I can play yet, so I plan to set aside some time to record and upload the remaining songs.

I actually was recording myself play the piano at about midnight till 1am, so I was actually a bit tired but overall was quite happy with my performance. I did however feel intimidated by the camera. On the other hand, it actually helped me identify which songs I need to work on more as I ended up making some mistakes on some songs I thought I could play easily.

Fur Elise
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zstKhuJjdc0[/youtube]
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Simply Music

It’s been a while since I last posted. Lately I’ve been fairly occupied with work as well as some new hobbies that have been taking up quite a bit of my free time. One of those hobbies is music. A while back, I mentioned that I was self-teaching myself the piano and guitar. Well although for a while I kinda neglected it, I have started to concentrate on it recently by starting piano lessons with the goal of becoming able to play anime and video game songs like you often see people play on youtube. So far I’ve taken lessons for 6 months now and am quite enjoying it.

yamaha piano

It took a while to find a teacher for piano. There were suprisingly quite a few teachers a reasonable distance away from me, although it seems that most of them didn’t do hours after work or during weekends which made it very difficult for me to find a teacher. Fortunately out of recommendation from  another teacher, I managed to find a teacher who lives close by and could do lessons on weekends or in the evening. It seemed that all of the teachers close to where I live all teach based on a piano method called Simply Music.

A quick google of this piano method didn’t really bring up much information, but from reading up on it on the website and from a few Youtube videos, it looked like it was some new breakthrough piano method that seemed to promise that you’d be playing songs with both hands from your first lesson.

Of course I was skeptical about it, but given that I finally found a piano teacher, I decided to give it a go and was quite impressed with it. It seems that the piano method teaches you songs by using patterns to help you remember the songs, and gets you playing from both hands as advertised. The reading music process is delayed until later on in the Simply Music program and emphasis is put on technique built up from playing the songs in the playlist.

 

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KAWAI X140-D Keyboard

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the swapmeet hoping to find myself a cheap but good MIDI keyboard to practice on. Since I’m a beginner at the keyboard, I wanted to spend as little as possible on the hobby just in case I end up losing interest.

new spot piano keyboard new spot piano keyboard 2

Anyways, it rained on that Sunday morning, so the regular swapmeet spot that I usually went to was pretty deserted and there wasn’t anything much there, so I went to the more commercialised Sunday undercover markets in Canningvale which usually has more dealers than people trying to get rid of unwanted stuff.

keyboard side on

I ended up finding only one keyboard there after all the searching around. It was being sold by a dealer who was asking for $80AU for it, but after checking the keyboard to see if it worked and a bit of bargaining, I managed to get it for $55AU. As you can tell in the title, the brand of the keyboard is KAWAI, which I think is a good brand for keyboards. The keys have velocity sensitivity to change how loud or soft you play the keys. It seemed like I got a good bargain, until I found out that half the buttons on the panel didn’t work.

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I did try to open it up and fix the buttons, however despite my efforts, the buttons still refused to work after using some contact spray on the buttons and circuits. I was quite suprised how little is inside the plastic case.

opened keyboard 2

Fortunately, the bits that didn’t work were things I didn’t really need such as recording my songs, and some random special effects. Fortunately, the MIDI functionality was still working and after ordering a MIDI to USB cable from Ebay, I was successfully able to play midi files on my keyboard as well as use a few learning programs on the PC to help me learn the keyboard better.

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One program I find particularly useful is called “Notes Attack” where you have to press the correct key on the keyboard to stop notes from flying to the left side of a music sheet staff.

Learning to play the keyboard and guitar

I have been thinking for a while about learning how to play a musical instrument. Lately when playing all the visual novels, I’ve encountered some nice music on guitar and piano that really inspired me to start learning an instrument.

In fact, I actually wanted to pursue this idea before getting into playing visual novels. I remember in 2004 when I was an exchange student in Himeji, Japan studying Japanese, one of the girls from China in our class played on the piano there and it really impressed me how good she was. Unfortunately we never exchanged contact information so I’ve lost contact with her now. I decided around then that I would like to learn to play a musical instrument like that.

Anyways, the first instrument that I decided on was the keyboard or piano. I ended up going to a swapmeet in search for a piano or keyboard around last December a few months ago and managed to find a really old keyboard for sale. I managed to bargain a bit and bought it for only $5AU!.

I was pretty happy with my purchase, until I got home and found out when I put batteries in it and it didn’t turn on. (T_T) Fortunately, I managed to find a spare power plug that seemed to match the voltage rating on the keyboard and managed to power it.

After that, I have been using Lypur’s Piano tutorials on Youtube to help me pursue my new hobby. At the moment I am able to read some simple sheet music and play some simple songs that I found in a book for playing the organ. I still have trouble reading sheet music quickly and also find it difficult knowing how far to move my fingers when playing keys far from the 5 main keys my hand is on.

Apart from the keyboard, I’ve also been trying to learn the guitar, but noticed there wasn’t any really good tutorials on Youtube like Lypur’s piano tutorials. However, I did try a couple anyways and found it incredibly difficult to get started. I tired to copy everything the person in the video did, but I couldn’t even get a decent sound, or a sound like the one in the video.

I think perhaps it may of been that my guitar (actually my dad’s) was out of tune. This weekend, I managed to spend a couple of hours looking on the net and tuning the guitar. Hopefully the next time I attempt it, I should have better luck.

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I am still a total beginner with the keyboard and guitar so if you have any tips, it would be very welcome.