Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What to do with a Piano in your House

On the previous post, I wrote a blog about our decision to move a piano into our house.  It was a hellacious movie, but the fact is, we had room, and now we have an awesome piano.  Okay, well, maybe not ‘awesome’ per say, but its pretty cool.

The piano is definitely over one hundred years old and is in great condition.  We set it up in the perfect place in the room, except for us needing a door stop....  Some of the keys are horribly out of tune and one key is kinda broken (it works sometimes), but beyond that, it sounds and plays spectacular.

So, what is a person to do with a new piano?  Simple...learn to play it!

Luckily I have a slight background in music, having played in band in highschool, but blowing on a horn is nothing compared to the daunting idea of a piano.  The chords, multiple fingers, two hands....  Even the music has two lines of music on it....

Then came the internet.  Okay...well...maybe the internet’s been around for a bit.  Anyways, I jumped on YouTube and started digging around.  I instantly came across the man who saved my life as far as giving me a good start.  Under the name Lypur, Andrew Furmanczyk started the Furmanczyk Academy of Music.

At first I was cautious because, I mean, seriously...I know I can learn anything online, but the idea of someone spending hours of their time making a series of free videos that helps teach piano is insane....  But luckily, this guy is insane.  Even after the first video, you can tell he’s nuts.

But he knows what he’s doing.  Hands down, I’ve learned more from his videos about the piano than I did from lifting the 800 lbs thing with my own hands (which includes disassembling most of it and putting it back together).

The lessons are set for the absolute beginner.  Lesson #4 is all about how to count music, which I’m oh so very attuned to (having spent so many years in the band marching).  So I’m able to not have to strictly pay attention to it.  Earlier I mentioned he taught me more about the piano...yeah, he taught me more about music in the first video that made me understand the process so much better.

The other thing about Mr. Furmanczyk is that he’s quirky.  You can tell he’s used to teaching children, as some of his jokes would definitely play more with a younger audience.  But by lesson #5 I learned the basics of what I needed to know to read and play music.  You also learn that some of the silly quirkiness of his lessons are due to him shooting the video at 2 in the morning, which would make just about anyone super quirky.

There are only two issues with the lessons.  The first is that the spoken audio is a bit low.  I have to plug in my earphones to hear him with my iPad in front of me.  Which is no big deal, since the piano is in the living room, having the earphones keeps me from getting distracted by all the craziness on the TV.

The other issue is the ‘homework.’  He never really tells you about how much you need to work on it, but by lesson #5, you’ll realize how far you are behind if you didn’t study the keys and know them by heart (which honestly isn’t hard, I have memorized a few, but not all).

As an example of how good he is, in lesson #1 he teaches Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  One lesson #2 he teaches Mary Had a Little Lamb.  All simple tunes.  Each one he finishes with a chord just to kind of show off.  Lesson #3 is all about chords, and how certain notes play together.  During lesson #3, I learned how to finish those two previous songs with my own chords, giving me the range to make the song my own.

Anyways, I don’t watch a new one every day, but I mess with the piano as much as I can.  Going over and playing the scales he taught, the songs, and the chords.  Right now I’m studying the keys harder, and learning all about how Good Boys Deserve Fudge (or Good Burritos Don’t Fall Apart), amongst other silly phrases.  But I’m well on my way to learning to play the piano thanks to my piano teacher, Andrew Furmanczyk.  And even though its all free, when we get it in the budget we are definitely going to hit that donate button and send him some money, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a website that deserves it more.

Seriously, go check out his Website and YouTube Channel now!  And while you're at it, go back and see how we actually got out piano in the first place!

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