6 Month Piano Progress - 100 Hours of Practice
Hey guys! Hope this post finds you all in good health in these complicated times 🙂
I finally managed to find the time for editing my 6 month progress video. It took me quite a while since I experimented with several new VFX and editing tricks (if that’s what you’re into, there’s a section on that below 😉).
In this post I’ll share with you my progress after 100 hours of piano, which translated to 6 months of playing. I do these videos because they are a great way for me to keep a personal record of this piano journey, but also because the feedback I’ve been getting is great: several people on Reddit or YouTube have though the initial 2 month progress video was very inspiring and I think it’s awesome that someone might see these videos and decide to pick up that instrument they always wanted to play but “never had the time” 🙂 since I started doing these videos I also became interested in all this piano VFX particles stuff, and well… This is the end result 😄
Quick clarification: I do not include in this count the months when I don’t play the piano at all. This was the case in August because of summer vacations and other dislocations.
Without further ado, here’s the 6 month piano progress video!
6 Month Piano Progress Video
What I’ve Been Practicing
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Chopin’s Waltz in A Minor
This has been by far my biggest focus lately. How can you not love this piece? I’m glad you listened to me play it, but you should definitely listen to it performed by a great pianist like Vittorio Forte and Ashkenazy.
Can someone not find it beautiful? Interesting trivia: this piece was only published after Chopin’s death (just as Beethoven’s Fur Elise btw)
Bach’s Prelude in C Major
Another simple but very charming piece. At the moment I’m struggling to play it in perfect tempo without the metronome. When I listen to my own recordings I can point out the places where I played slightly too soon or too late, but when actually playing and hitting the keys I still find it hard. I guess it’s just a matter of being patient and practicing a lot with the metronome 🙂 check Alistain McGowan for a great interpretation.
Alfred’s Adult All-in-One Books
Things have changed a bit for me, recently. Despite my conviction that you should get a piano teacher, especially when starting out, I recently stopped having classes and will be self-teaching for a while. This has more to do with my working arrangements and personal life than anything. I intend to have classes again at some point but right now I felt I wasn’t taking full advantage of the time I was investing with the teacher. I might do a separate post about this in the future.
Anyway, what’s my new teacher? After some research I felt Alfred’s All-in-One piano books were the best choice for me.
- You only need one book! They have 3 books depending on your level (I’m using level 1), but whichever level you find yourself in, these books have all you need to learn. This means they have sections dedicated to lessons, to theory and also important technique exercises. This felt like a big advantage to me since I didn’t want to keep changing books.
- They are made for adults, so it is quite simple in design (there are no colorful drawings all over the place)
The pathway is very well-defined. You start from the basics and slightly move up, learning about the notes and staff, tempo, musical intervals, chords… Pretty cool 🙂
- It’s a very adopted learning method, so you can easily find tutorial videos if you ever want to listen to someone else play the book’s pieces
Scales and Arpeggios
Of course, every warm up starts with scales and arpeggios. I’ve been giving this more attention than in previous months, but I’m not in a rush. The current goal is to finish learning all major scales and move on to the minor ones. There’s no doubt it will be extremely useful, but it’s not as fun… This is another reason why having a teacher is good – he/she will pressure you to practice the boring stuff 😅 At some point I will start integrating some Hanon exercises, since many world-class pianists swear by its utility in developing strength and hand independence.
Video Editing and Visual Effects
Oh boy, I couldn’t tell you how many hours this video took in total if I wanted to. That doesn’t mean it’s super complicated, it just means I’m slow haha
As you can see, in this video I mixed the style of my previous progress video with the piano roll and particle effects I used in the Alfred pieces visualization. The process gets a little longer, but to be honest the hardest part is making the piano roll with particles. I have a tutorial on how to do it, but it will only take you so far. You can not learn to ride a bike by reading either, right? You must do your own experiments 🙂
After having that done it’s not that much harder to make the background transparent and adding some perspective to make it seem like it is actually connected to the piano (although I’m not super satisfied with the way I did it). The thing is, you can never be too perfectionist. Sometimes enough is enough and you must charge forward or you’ll never get the video out.
Remember, “done is better than perfect”. The good part is every time you do this you become a little better and learn something new.
The Gear and Software I Use
Some of you have asked me before which piano I use, or what software is the best for this kind of video or piano learning in general. Here are some affiliate links for what I find most useful:
- 🎹 Piano: Yamaha P45 – https://amzn.to/2LBmNkR
- 🎹 Stand: Yamaha L88 – https://amzn.to/2Nmlpo9
- 📸 Camera: OnePlus 6T – https://amzn.to/2Nmlb0h
- 🔭 Tripod: Amazon Basics – https://amzn.to/32pTfvE
- 🎧 Headphones: AKG K240 MKII – https://amzn.to/2NoUgj9
- 🎬 Video Edit: Adobe Premiere Pro – https://amzn.to/2O7thcM
- 💥 VFX: Adobe After Effects – https://amzn.to/2pOGo91
- 📚 Learning Books: Alfred’s Adult All-in-One – https://amzn.to/2RLKk5p
What Comes Next?
Great question my dear reader! As for progress videos, I still think it doesn’t make sense to have them scheduled. I will do another one when I’ve made relevant progress. I think I will be having a lot of fun following the Alfred books now that I’m going self-taught for a while, so you can count on some extra particle experiments with those pieces. Those videos will hopefully result in high quality learning material for anyone who follows the same books in the future 🙂