Monday, December 18, 2017

The Forward Climb

    I just started 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' from Unit 3 - Lesson 3.  It's going to be a fun challenge. Not a lot of notes, It looks to be all about timing and rests and will take a lot of practice.

  I am still working on and getting better at 'Good Morning' and doing better yet on 'Ode to Joy'.  The point is, I am learning songs, and even though the lessons do get harder through the windshield going forward, they do not look so bad in the rear view mirror attained.

   So I keep going forward and learning knowing the mountains ahead are climbable. I may be slow, but I am not one to give up.

To play and what to play, that is the question.

To play and what to play, that is the question. 
 A comparison of three keyboards 

   By comparing and listening to music keyboards and digital pianos on Youtube I am forming opinions about their sounds as well as comparing features.  I want compare how much I am willing to spend to get the sound and features I like.  I have decided I want a Digital Piano rather than a Synthesized Keyboard for a more piano sound and feel.

    After expressing an interest in the Alesis Recital Keyboard($200) and Yamaha P45 Digital Piano($349) to Lisa.  She messaged me with a comparison.  I do not know if they used the most comparable voices available and they were in two different rooms, but of what heard I must admit I liked the deeper voice used on the Digital Yamaha P45 I listened to since even better.  I have listened to many other videos separately of each piano using headphones for the clearest sound.  Other than the cost, a Yamaha consistently wins for me but an Alesis Recital is definitely the more affordable price.

   I will need to stick to these for cost reasons, it is only a hobby after to keep my brain active after all.  I have the 61 key eMedia Keyboard that works fine for now.  I do not need more than 61 keys quite yet.

    I want to learn to really play Piano including a few Theocratic songs before I invest in a Digital Piano.  But I do like the better sound of Digital Pianos more than the synthesized sound on the keyboard I have.  It has to be bad when my untrained ear can hear the difference by comparing on Youtube.  I look forward to having a better keyb… er… Digital Piano in our living room.  Sales happen, and I have time as I learn.   So I must be patient….. and learn.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Our 61-key eMedia Keyboard

Our 61-key eMedia Keyboard
Our 61 key eMedia KB outside during the summer of 2017 - Can't do that with an upright
   After seeing our interest in learning to play, Jay L. brought us over a 61-key eMedia keyboard for us to practice on.  With some work we made a place for it to live inside our small place.
  Our 61 key KB with middle C4 in the middle, starts at the C2 octave and goes to the C6 octave above with a last C7 note thrown in.  At my skill level this covers all the music I will be playing for quite some time.  As for the quality of this inexpensive KB, my ears do not know the difference in sound quality yet anyway.

Will I ever get a KB longer than 61 keys?

   I have chosen not to spend money on a KB.   If I ever get to the point I need more than 61 keys to play the music I learn to or my ear comes attuned enough so that my KB starts sounding off to me, and also, we have the funding THEN we may reconsider it.  As this KB is valued new for sale at $199.00 an upgrade would cost over $200.  I would wish to consider semi-weighted keys which are not really weighted at all just simulated to at least have a certain feel of it.  Compromises.

How about an upright?

   The other option would be to find a decent used upright that often (at least for non-name brands) seem to really lose their value quickly but are still often in the hundreds.  Like many things I suppose, new players want a new piano that they know has no issues.  I can indeed understand that viewpoint and I would agree with it, if I we were flush with funding and played often enough to consider an upright.  For us though music is just a hobby to pass some time and to share with Friends.  This would also only be considered on the outside chance both Kathy and I started playing rather well.  An upright would take a bit more room than even the longer KB option.
         I have played Kathy’s Mother Marion’s Kohler & Campbell upright console piano 1982- 780000  41" Satin Walnut  before while visiting.

Our Keyboard Pictures
  We updated the set for our RAM Camera Mount for making progress videos on the KB .  The course teacher said she liked the setup and angle. (Left) Note: We since updated and mounted on the wall behind the keyboard, but the long horizontal plane made it very hard to keep tight.  So I attached the RAM mount to an extra music stand, see blog post

We appreciate our keyboard from deep inside it’s heart. We Thank Jay for adding it to our lives.

Monday, November 20, 2017


     I love the idea of learning and sharing new things and have many interests and find it limiting that I have had just to choose just a couple interests to explore at a time.

     I would love to program and have tried it but my brain would not allow.  I have to limit myself because my memory, and my learning ability is limited.  It is not fun to have interests in so many things in life only to be hindered by one's own brain, free time available throughout life, and man's currently limited life span as well as finances also hindering a person.

     Our brains were designed to be so special, only to be hindered by imperfection and a world system that does not allow us as individuals the time or resources to explore.  I have tried my hand at many hobby's but music has been a common thread.  I have tried KB before but did not keep at it. I tried flute as I love it too, but could not get the aperture, I like guitar but have a hard time with chords and strumming and it's hard to say to give up on an interest, but it is on the side for now anyway.

    For me and my abilities, I seem to be doing well with piano with the Piano Video Lessons course I have been using, and want to follow through and keep at it.   It is only a hobby for me, but it keeps my mind as active as it is able to do for me.  I have to do the best with the brain I was dealt with, and to learn the best I am able to do.  To do any less with what I HAVE been given would still be a loss.   I will keep trying to learn and continue to be encouraged to move on with piano at whatever pace I am able.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New camera tripod mount

   I frankensteined a new camera tripod setup using RAM mount system parts attached to an extra music stand tripod for a better view for future camera sessions and recordings.  

    The interface RAM mount plate is screwed a 2x6 block with a hole on the bottom to fit the top of the music stand.  

   This will a be much more flexible for future camera sessions and recordings with my teacher to give her a better over the shoulder view of the student.  

   My previous three set-ups were to mount the RAM mount system 
   first to two heavy 2x8 layers sitting on the corner of table in the picture which was awkward to set up, 
    I then mounted it to the keyboard table which worked, but the camera moved as I played, 
   and then I mounted it to on the wall over the keyboard which didn't quite extend far enough from the wall to over the kb, and the long reach made it hard to keep tight enough to stay in place. 

   I feel this new setup will be the best setup yet.  I will have to use for my next video or lesson with the teacher to find out...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

PVL Nov bonus Patreon reward

  This month Lisa the Teacher is offering a November Bonus for $10 Patrons! Video Mini-Lesson reward.

   It is a valuable bonus reward in that, normally a $50 dollar monthly Patron gets only a 5 minute recorded video assessment.

  I am set up for my check-up on Sunday Nov 12th at 11-11:15am
  I have been stuck on Unit 3 Lesson 1 - (Free Youtube lesson video) since August 4th trying to learn to play the both the notes at the same time I play the 'chords' to 'Good Morning'. I also practice "Ode to Joy' regularly' with 'Christian Dedication' as an ongoing goal song.

 Thumbnail of lesson-1-34-time-dotted-half-notes-33
Thumbnail of lesson-1-34-time-dotted-half-notes-33
Sunday Post Lesson Update: The live Mini-Lesson allowed Lisa to give me some immediate and important feedback to me on what I could do give my practice sessions more value to me. While having me keep practicing my current songs 'Ode To Joy' and 'Good Morning' she is also having me move onto the next lesson Unit 3:Lesson 2.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Motivation and patients in learning

  Motivation and perseverance can be a tricky thing.  What motivates a person to persevere?  It can be the desire to do something or learn something that will benefit oneself or others of value to you.  I find motivation greater when the desire is shared and valued by friends, at least to the extent that they cheer you on.  When this does not happen it takes much greater self driven tenacity and motivation to get oneself to persevere, especially if the task is something that requires motivation for the long haul.  

  I have the desire to eventually learn many things, but find that it takes great work to stay motivated for the long that haul.  Especially when I am going it alone.  I am pleased that as I continue to learn music, I have friends that mutually cheer each other on, but even then I find it work to keep at it regular each day.  It is something I really want to learn so I continue to work at it.  I am a slow learner and this does slow me down, but I am a patient person and am patient with myself, but perhaps I need to be even more patient with myself as learning slowly does take a bite out my excitement of learning.  Oh, I'll keep at it, but it does slow me down.  I just need to be patient and happy with each small step I make.

 So my job is to be more motivated and patient with myself and carry on, and stay excited, even about my small progress steps to help me persevere to my goal.  Although I am here referring to music, this attitude work with everything we do and learn in life.

  In my year course, I have been working on Unit 3 lesson 1 for a while now.  I am finding it a more difficult lesson to learn, but I should expect that the songs will get more challenging as I continue.  I will persevere with it one note at a time.  Many notes make a song learned, and confidence bolstered.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Completed UNIT 2 of my one year online piano course

   UPDATE: January 11 2018 My teacher Lesa made new Certificates of completion upon completion of the courses at  Each certificate has 1 more flagged not on it.
New 2 flagged, Year 1 Unit 2 Certificate Of Completion Certificate


   I completed UNIT 2 of the one year online piano course I am taking.  On to UNIT 3 of  Piano Video Lessons - UNIT 3.  I hope to continue to progress at playing the piano.  I am continuing through the course while keeping practice with 'Ode to Joy' and 'Christian Dedication.  

   My Right 4th and 5th fingers have bothered me off and on while playing so I have during these times broken up my practice songs up into separate daily sessions.  I have never been diagnosed with arthritis but even before piano lesson I have wondered.  I hope to address this at my next doctor appointment.

   There will be no Personalized Coaching Video(PCV) this month as several patrons decided not to contribute to the course at the last moments of the month.  I hope there will be more patrons who are taking the course decide all the teachers hard work and materials are worth contributing for, and perhaps even decide that it is worth $10 a month to get a chance in the monthly drawing for the PCV.  I sure found mine that I won very useful to me as the feedback from her alerted me to a couple habits with my hands during playing that I need to keep in mind.  I would never have known if not for her tips for me in my PCV.  I hope to have the opportunity for another PCV in the future.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Playing on the porch

  I am still enjoying and getting use out of the Piano Video Lessons course.

    Right now for the summer I have my keyboard on the porch, it is enjoyable to practice out in the yard as I continue to practice Lesson 11 'Ode to Joy,  Lesson 14 'Wind Chimes' and Song 7 ' Christian Dedication'.

   Like all students I supose, I sometimes feel I move too quickly on some lessons, and other times I feel like I hang on whatever current lesson I am working on too long. Sometimes it is hard to know how long to work on the current lesson or if I should be moving on and stretching out. I have a tendency... err habit of buzzing through the 'finger jim's' practice and such. If the lesson feels like I am playing a song I have a tendency to slow down and work on it longer. Right now I know I need to work on L 14 'Windchimes' for a while until I get it right, meanwhile keeping L11 'Ode To Joy' as part of my daily practice as well.

Friday, July 21, 2017

July PVL Personalized Coaching Video

The July ‘Piano Video Lessons’ ‘Personalized Coaching Video’
& and my notes from the teacher's comments.

   The July drawing it was a lot of fun.  Here are the two practice songs I used for the video for the teacher to critique for me and my notes from the PCV.  The teacher's PCV link to her reply is in the last section of this post if you want to get right to it.  I enjoyed Lisa’s help and pointers to use as I continue to learn to play the piano.

Let's Go Skipping Hands Togather.jpg
  First I chose to practice ‘Let’s Go Skipping Hands Together’ from Unit 2 Lesson 7.  Here is a previous practice session I recorded of this song when I was working on this lesson before I removed the last of the keyboard ‘helpers’.  Lesson 7 was one of my marker lessons I wanted to come back to review but had not done.  Consequently when I came back to record it for a second time for my PCV, instead of showing improvements, I had to do go through it several times until I got to where I was before.
 Notes from Teacher comments: Rhythm steady, Beats and count perfect, Natural curved hands, not tense.  Can’t see wrist position in video.  Move hands into keys toward black keys.  Missed one note, I played F instead of G key.  Included tips on hand and arm posture.

Ode to Joy.jpg
  The second song I played was ‘Ode to Joy’ from Unit 2 Lesson 11 that I am currently working on.  This is a song I plan to continue to practice and play for friends, and so is a song I wish to continue to improve on and add complexities to it, such as playing some real chords with it.  I would enjoy a few simple upgrades to the song I could add.  I will no doubt want to make another future practice video of this song to compare with as well.  Perhaps even for another Personalized Coaching Video for PVL.
Notes from Teacher comments: Line 1:  Left hand wrist not level but angled pinky(5) down.  Line 2: A little bit of volume weakness in right pinky.  Line 3: Good but slower and more cautiously which is ok.  Played correct notes but need to practice line 3.  Line 4: Had some errors because of pressure just coming off of line 3 that I had trouble with.

  During my video I asked how to add some ‘upgrades’ to my playing of ‘Ode to Joy’’ I would like to make a future video using some of these improvements.  Here are the teachers suggestions:
 Notes on the Teachers tips about adding more to my playing of ‘Ode to Joy’: Play C triad chord for line 1, 2 and 4.  For line 3 can play the G chord.  Another option is to play the song left and right hand in unison.  Can also play left hand lower an octave in the base for lines 1, 2, and 4 for stronger ‘forte’ but move back up for lie 3 for lighter ‘piano’.  Can also use pedal.  Add dotted quarter rhythm to last 3 notes in lines 1, 2, 4 - dotted quarter - eighth - half as in original.
 So here is my teacher's reply to my PCV practice session at PVL on YouTube.  I hope it benefits others.

Thank you Lisa for providing the July PCV for me.      


Thursday, July 6, 2017

PVA Runner-up Winner PM and Announcement

Winner Announcement Patreon Thread Posts
   Jul 1 Patreon Drawing announcement Patreon drawing winner announcement ‘AJBohac’ Winner has 4 days to reply!
   Jul 5  Piano Video Lessons  
Moving on to the runner-up! I have not heard back from AJBohac.  So, Pallen is now the recipient of a personalized video coaching session!
   Jul 5  Pallen
😱 Wow! Thank You Lisa.  I will get to putting it together as instructed in your PM.  I will share it with you first, and then I will plan on sharing it on youtube later.  May my fellow students be kind. 😉
  Jul 6  Pallen
The July drawing was a lot fun even for the runner-up in this case.  I plan on doing a couple practice songs from Unit 2 of the 1 Year Course.

   I first would like to practice is ‘Let’s Go Skipping Hands Together’ from Unit 2 Lesson 7.
 The second song I will practice is ‘Ode to Joy’ from Unit 2 Lesson 11.  This is a song I plan to hang on to for continued practice and even play for close friends, and so is a song I wish to continue to improve on and add complexities to it such as playing some real chords with it.

Patreon PM Notification    Jul 6
   Jul 5  Piano Video Lessons
Paul's Piano Video Lessons course Teacher (Lisa)  Hi Paul!

You are the new winner of the personalized coaching video!  

By the end of July, send me a recording of yourself working on your piano.  Perform your most recent pieces.  You'll get the most benefit, if you send me a polished piece as well as something you've been working on for a week or 2.  a 5-10 minute video please.

I know you have all the technology in place to record, so just let me know when the video is ready,  You can send it to me via google docs, or send me a youtube link.  If you send it by google docs, I can seam my coaching in with the footage from your original video.

Any questions?
Jul 6
  Wow! Thankyou,  I can do both for you, a Google .doc first and then post later on Youtube as second stage for your other students benefit and perhaps encourage others to want to take advantage of the $10 level offer.

   Although I must admit in my selfishness, I am enjoying the high 1 out of 3 odds so far of winning it again until you get more $10 patreons. Hey I am human ok ;)

   I know I will be doing my latest lesson on 'Ode to Joy' for you and I will pick an easier piece out a less complex from another lesson, perhaps 'Let's Go Skipping Hands Together'?.   Thank You for allowing 2 pieces, I was hoping for critique on only 1.
  Your student, Paul

Saturday, July 1, 2017

LIVE (July1) Personalized Video Coaching Lesson Draw: June Winner Announced

The live drawing was today for Piano Video Lesson and a student named 'AJBohac' won.  There were only 3 students this month that were $10 contributors at Patreon.  I was runner up in case for some reason they do not wish to do a video coaching lesson for the Teacher, Lisa to critique.  AJBohac has through July 4th to accept prize.  Congratulations 'AJBohac'!

Personalized Coaching Video Winner announcement post at Patreon

Monday, June 26, 2017

A note to my Teacher and about Her course

      Lisa, may I personally Thank You also for being my piano Teacher, I have learned so much already from your Year 1 Piano Video Lessons course and .pdf course books. Your plan for an online piano course is helping so many students like me who never thought they would be able to have a REAL piano teacher who can answer questions and not just by trying to learn from just watching Youtube videos or from apps. :)  From what I have learned from it already  I would definitely recommend it to others. Your student, Pallen

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Piano Video Lessons

     Piano Video Lessons is where I have been taking my piano lessons. The videos are free but she does charge for her .pdf ebooks at almost $1 a lesson with a nice discount for joining Patreon which I have been getting good use out of.

    The discount offered for a donation to her Patreon fund also makes me elegable for a drawing for a free critique of a 5 min. practice video.  So far if there are no other contributors before July 1, I am 1 of 3 elegable.  I do not expect these odds to hold but IF, IF I win the July draw, I would get critiqued for playing 'Ode to Joy'. 😮

My Music History-long version

My Music History(long version)
  I have always been a slow learner and found it very hard to remember things, but yet I am still able to learn. I have a decent finger memory and sometimes is how I remember how I did something the last time I did it.  I have always been interested in music starting as a child playing around with a harmonica, a school Recorder, and with a little box air organ my parents bought.  I also played around with my Dad's organ he bought and after some self teaching hired a teacher which helped him do well at playing some folk songs for the family.  I however did not have the confidence to put more effort into it, if I had I may had gotten some lesson out of it as well.
  Over the years on my own since, I have tried another keyboard, a clarinet, a couple side flutes(traditional and wood), but I never took lessons, I could never afford them, and so tried to learn on my own and I was never able to get anywhere.
  Most recently(2016) my Wife and I decided to learn the classical guitar together, but this did not work out for my Wife because of health so far.  I continued on with the guitar on my own using an app on my tablet and enjoy it.  It is still a goal instrument for me.  I like its affordability, portability and the fact it takes no power. :)
  Then recently(May 2017) I finally had the opportunity to play on my Mom-in Law's upright piano on a visit.  I did recognizable job at "Christian Dedication", a song my wife and I used at our marriage.  I posted a video a me playing it that a longtime friend of mine saw, and he brought us over a KB for my wife and I to play as he knew my wife is also interested in piano's.(pic below, the stickers have since been removed)  Alas due to health my wife has not been able, yet :).
   I have taken a shine to playing the KB and so I searched Youtube for a video course.  After looking at several I found the ‘Piano Video Lessons’ course.  I liked that I could view a complete course and see how I did with them.  I like the bite sized chunks that usually focused on one thing in each lesson.  I am learning, and that is cool, so cool I now have the courses optional written materials. I never imagined to be able to afford take lessons to play. With this course I feel that I am.  I may actually finally get to play an instrument yet.   And a piano at that, one of the first style instruments I ever took a shine too.
P.Allen June 23,2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Learning Ode to Joy on piano

   I have been busy practicing on the keyboard with the Piano Video Lessons.  I finished Unit 1 and am now in Unit 2 of the First year.  I am starting to use both hands and a lot of second and thirds practice.  I have been working on a simplified version of  "Ode to Joy" since June 21.  Sooner or later I will be making a practice video of it to compare with the previous course practice video: "Let Go Skipping Hands Together".

   The Piano Video Lessons course just made it's first $100 pledge goal at Petreon so one of the $10 monthly contributors will get picked to have a 5 minute video critique of thier playing along with a chance to ask her any questions about playing piano.  I will be among the running for this level reward although one other contributor has been a $10 contributor longer than me.  I hope to be able to make a practice video of "Ode to Joy" to share when ever it gets to be my turn. Who knows, by that time I may have moved on to another practice song to share with the teacher.

   I have been concentrating on the piano rather than the guitar since I got the piano.  I do plan to get back to the guitar, but for now I am really enjoying the piano practice and that is what my music hobby is all about.  Besides two instrument at one time is to much for now. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Year 1 Unit 1 - Complete!

UPDATE: My Teacher made new Certificates Of Completion for each course unit. Here is the new one for Year 1 Unit 1  This first certificate only has 1 flag with one more added for each Unit.
New Year 1 Unit 1 Certificate of Completion from teacher

Yippie ! Year 1 Unit 1 - Complete!

 Unit 1 Complete - Piano Video Lessons

Done, and moving on through Year One.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017