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Learning to increase piano speed is often what stops a person from pursuing to learn to the piano.
What I mean is that moving forwards from playing in a basic plink-plonk fashion to playing at a slightly more advanced level means that you will need to play different notes from differing positions on the piano at a greater speed. This unfortunately means that the learning process becomes harder and progress can become slower and more time consuming. Learning to play the piano may then become less fun and this lack of enjoyment may eventually result in one giving up learning to play.
I started to learn the piano again after experiencing this problem years ago. Being older now and maybe a little more resiliant I decided to learn at home using the piano software Playground Sessions. All that I needed was a keyboard, a computer, the internet and the correct cable to connect one to the other. I can now learn with the piano teaching software available from Playground Sessions and play whenever I have free time. Each time I sit down to play and follow the tutorials on Playground I hope to make a little progress.
The training available at Playground Sessions icludes Bootcamp which is divided into Rookie Tour, Intermediate Tour and the Advanced Tour.
The is also a section of Playground Sessions which involves Courses and Songs. These I will go into more detail in future articles.
My intention is to take it one step at a time and concentrate on the Bootcamp before moving onto the Courses and finally learning Songs. Having been learning with Playground Sessions for about eighteen months I am now about halfway through the Intermediate Tour of Bootcamp and the courses available to me now correspond to my ability at present. I am working my way through the Bootcamp feature of Playground Sessions before I start working at the courses. When I have completed the Bootcamp, I will be able to take all the courses. This process is my personal choice. It is what I want to do and though the courses may be valuable to learn in conjuction with the Bootcamp I would rather do one thing at a time. It is working for me.
Now halfway through the Intermediate Tour of Bootcamp I have progressed to Broken chords. These are a little tricky. With one hand not so difficult but when working both hands together I certainly find them to be be very challenging.
The benefits that Playground Sessions has really did make a difference to my piano playing speed when learning to play this broken chord excercise. I explain why below the following video. Appologies if I appear to be a little serious and I am aware I am not Mozart!
I had learned the piece by heart and concentrate on the keys as opposed to the music notation that is shown on the laptop as I am playing. I know that this may not be as a piano teacher would wish but I played the notes correctly!
In time I hope to be able to follow a music score as I play. I know that this is necessary when learning longer pieces of but this will take a little time to achieve.
It is possible to zoom in out out of the music score. This is an excellent feature if, like me, your eyesight is a little weak and an enlargement of the music score may also be very useful. It is also very useful if you wish to concentrate on only one line at a time or many line.
Being able to see if your timing is correct and whether or not you are playing the correct notes as the writer of the music intended them to be played is invaluable. Yes, a lot of the time one should be able to make sense of a tune simply by listening to it and know that it is being played correctly or not. If however it is a tune that you are not familiar with then this feature is certainly of use. This is especially true when learning a new piece of music and being able to recognise where you are making mistakes.
The green note are played correctly, the red incorrectly and the pink is a little out of time. Timing is the main fault above.
The help that is written on the score with regards to the fingers to use for each note played can very useful for not only the piece of music being played but for music that is to be played at a later date. Getting used to which finger should be on which key certainly speeds ups ones ability to be able to play.
Alternatively the note played can be shown with the letter of the note above the music.
This help can simply be removed when more advanced and not necessary for you.
When no help is required then no help can be chosen
Autoplay Left and Right Hands
Playground Sessions calls this the Piano Demo. One or both hands together can be heard playing the notes of music that you are wishing to play.
This feature is incredibly useful and probably saved me hours of practice. It helped a great deal with boosting confidence and being able to figure out the timing to play the piece correctly.
Speed of Play
The timing of the piece can be slowed down considerably. Or even increased if you wish!
I found that to play the excercise well I had to play it far slower when I first started to learn. I gradually increased my speed until I was able to play it perfectly at the speed chosen. Only then did I increase the speed of the entire piece. As I got better and the was able to play the excercise better was I able to increase the speed by greater increments until finally playing at full speed.
Speed of choice
Only at half and whole speed will the background tune be able to play but at all speeds The Piano Demo will be there to play along with however.
Playground Sessions calls the feature of breaking the piece down into smaller sections Toggle Looping. The piece chosen can then be played repeatedly. This I found was the best way to learn and once I could play a small section correcly so I increased the section that I was attempting to play.
The scoring system is great and being given a score at the end of play results in the desire to do better than the previous score until the 100% goal is reached.
Whilst it is definately not simple to play a piece of music that initially sounds increditbly fast. In time, if the piece is slowed down quite considerably and then taken a little faster over time it is surprising how eventually, as I found that it is infact possible to play at the correct speed. This is extremely satisfying, fun and very fulfilling.