Friday, 14 December 2007

Sing-a-long-a fun!!

Hi Everyone :)

Hopefully, to spread a little sunshine today!

Here it is, I have finally captured a sing-a-long on my phone camera...this to me is what playing that out of tune grand piano is all about!! and why I love playing on it!!

Sadly, my phone battery went on me so you only get about 3 minutes to watch but, to be honest that is all that you need...when the phone clicked off I was praying that it managed to capture the video and save what little it had recorded! thankfully it did...YAAAAAAAAAAY!

You are gonna love this, never mind the quality of the sound or the quality of the video just see what happens when you can walk into a room full of strangers, sit down and play a few things, pull a crowd around the piano and then...wham!! they are all singing at the tops of their voices.

I get a complete and utterly amazing feeling inside that I cannot describe properly but, trust me it is probably more fun for me than them!

Please enjoy these magical 3 minutes that I captured last night:-

have a wonderful Christmas everyone



Wednesday, 12 December 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone 24th Augst 2004

Next one...

You'll Never Walk Alone {click}

This was recorded on the 24th August 2004 just over a month later

Mike had quite a few helpful things to say to me about my continuing rhythm problems which you should still hear when listening to this piece

More pieces to follow...

take care y'all


The magic of Mikes guidance at pianomagic!

Okay, now to hear some of my recordings posted at pianomagic

This is a chance for you to hear how I have improved in my playing from recording to recording and a chance for you to read some of Mikes (aka pianomagic) comments on my pieces.

This to me is the absolute value of pianomagic!! not only is it a pretty cool way to learn to play the piano (IMHO) but, you have Mike to listen to your music and help you through your struggles with some amazing feedback and guidance (just by listening to your recordings!)

First one

This was posted 1st July 2004 (I joined October 2003 so, this is...erm...around 9 months in!)

What A Wonderful World {Click Here}

Mike always has helpful comments on our pieces to help us along :-

He could tell I was making good progress and had many helpful suggestions to stop me tripping myself up with my rhythm problems

The start of many similar conversations over the coming months as rhythm has been a real kicker for me!

More to come...

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Playing on a Lobby Piano

Hi Folks :)

As some of you may know already I am a DJ and at Xmas time I have a run of around 20 gigs at a Medieval Banquet Night.

At this particular hotel complex there is a lobby piano (a very out of tune Yamaha grand piano) that I like to play just for fun!

Late at night after the disco has finished it can get quite "hair raising" (people assume that I am the regular pianist - they want sing-a-longs and request loads of songs too!!!)

It's a little like throwing yourself in at the deep end! but this is my 4th year playing on it and it doesn't bother me at all anymore.

Sorry about the quality of this video, its the best that the secondary camera on my mobile phone can do. This was taken before the festivities of the night so there is no singing a long as they are not drunk enough yet!

maybe the next one I'll take late at night

So here it is...I've edited it down to just under 10 minutes...but, have left in "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" which I hadn't played for a year and you may notice I got a little stuck remembering how it went...but, the key is to keep going and make the same mistake again if you can so it seems to anyone listening like a variation (if you are lucky)

Have a wonderful Xmas everyone (especially to the members of my 'fan club')


Edit to add:

Someone has mentioned to me the video quality and all the background noise!...until I get a phone upgrade its the best I can do for video quality but, with regard to the noise? this is what I said about it:-

"yes that background noise huh?..however, that's what I wanted y'all to hear...'cause that is exactly what it is like...the room is just chock full of excitement and expectation with regard to the night ahead at their office Xmas parties. I was hoping you would get a sense of it? Heck, you can hardly hear the dang piano! (in other words one can get away with murder at this joint...which is kinda kool)

later on in 'sing-a-long territory' I have to really play it LOUD!!to get it going"

Its been a great venue for me in many ways, a baptism of fire in others!! but on the whole its been a blast!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Adding a minor section to the improv last night

Hi Folks

Anyone who knows me, knows my tenacity with this piano thang!!

Man...I'm addicted

So last night I was kinda playing around with the improvisation below, attempting to take it into a minor key and back to major

For those that just love listening to me fool around at the piano

Feel free to take a listen :)

Improvisation with a minor section added - take 1 [click]

Fooling around with it some more - with bloopers - take 2 [click]

[they are a bit long winded! so be warned ;)]

Best wishes


Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Using Cantabile Light and a VST instrument

Hi Folks :)

Following Matthijs Instructions over at pianoworld, I downloaded a free program called 'Cantabile Light' and used it with my VST 'Steinberg the Grand'

This recording is for an improvisation challenge set by Matthijs over at pianomagic

Seasides December 2007 Improvisation

Please feel free to pass a comment if you like or don't like the piano sound, I'm pretty happy with it and the best thing is it saves me time converting the midi files (that I have recorded at home on my Yamaha CLP170) through the motif rack every time :)

take care


Saturday, 1 December 2007

My First video lesson - beginning improvising

Hi Folks

Okay, I have Mikes permission to show this video in my blog :) so here goes...

DISCLAIMER: This video is rated as a **12a** due to some *really, really bad singing!!* and it is strongly recommended that children of a sensitive nature or household pets be kept in another room whilst watching!!

However, this video gives hope to those of us (out there) that think because they can't sing, they can't play a piano and also disproves Buffys theory that anyone can sing. For some of you (hopefully) the singing should make you laugh.

This is a video I made specifically for Elssa a pianomagic member but, if anyone wants to start improvising then, this may be of some help??

Have fun



Thursday, 15 November 2007

Video Test

Hi Everyone,

I have bought a new webcam, I use it for skype conversations

So, yesterday I decided to try and record something with it, I posted it yesterday at Pianoworld and asked for feedback, "LaValse" mentioned ...

"Have you tried dropping the avi into Windows Movie Maker...?"

So, I've tried it out and posted it up at "youtube"

Hey! I've noticed that when the transfer had completed it said that I could embed the video

Hmmmm...lets see if this works? (fingers crossed) works!! can't believe it

Please let me know if this is better or worse for you?


Friday, 9 November 2007

Hi Folks

This blog is to make things a little easier for me

I get many emails and private messages from folks trying to find a certain music file that I may have posted many months before

So In this blog I am going to post links to the most popular requests and these are usually my practise jam type thingies :)

Practise Session 1

Demo of Motif Rack Practise Jam

Practise Session 28/6/06

Practise Session (before the wedding demos)

More things to be added as I find 'em


Hi Folks

This blog is to make things a little easier for me

I get many emails and private messages from folks trying to find a certain music file that I may have posted many months before

So In this blog I am going to post links to the most popular requests and these are usually my practise jam type thingies :)

Practise Session 1

Demo of Motif Rack Practise Jam

Practise Session 28/6/06

More things to be added as I find 'em



Thursday, 4 October 2007

Fanclub...I need your help!

Hi Folks,

As some of you may know (especially the true fans LOL) as well as owning a gym I am also a DJ and I work through an agency

A few weeks ago I was the DJ at a very posh wedding and this is the story I told the folks at pianomagic

"I am so pumped I had to tell you guys on my way home from a wedding I just DJ'd

I arrived at the venue at 6-00PM and it was running very late the guests had only just begun their meal, so I was going to have to wait around a few hours!

I haven't played a gig at this hotel very often but, it has a beautiful baby grand and a regular pianist (who is very good)

Anyways, I am waiting around to load my gear in and I'm listening to him play for about half an hour or so...

Then...he comes out of the room says a quick "hello" as he recognizes me from the last time I was there...and then it turns out he was booked from 5-30PM and has to leave...

Whats a guy to do????

I have wanted to play background at a wedding meal for (like all my life!!!) and here is my chance

I sit down the piano is situated behind the main table and I start to play - no-one so much as bats an eyelid they don't even notice I don't look anything like the old guy with glasses who has just left and I've got jeans and trainers (aka sneakers in the USA to avoid confusion) on to boot!!

I play for about 45 minutes song after song just playing for me and no-one even on the top table right in front of me notices or says anything

I LOVED IT!!!!!! I can do this, I'm gonna do this..."

Here are some piccies of the wedding...

Looking through the rear door (that I had to load my equipment through...notice how near to the Wedding Party top table the piano is! That's the brides dress BTW yikes! (would you dare do it?) and hey they never even noticed! cool was that?)

a very nice and well maintained Baby Yamaha Grand

another piccie of the piano, the staff are just starting to clear away the tables for the disco

Looking down the room from the piano as the room is being readied for the disco

The upshoot of this is I promptly went and told my booking agent that "I was thinking I was ready to start playing background piano during the wedding breakfast as an extra to my usual disco services"...

Now, I'm wishing maybe I shouldn't have opened my big mouth as he has come back to me saying that "he could possibly market me as this 'combo package' to prospective wedding parties and whenever it is convenient could I pop round with my keyboard and PA system and audition for him...yikes!!!!"


this is where I need my fan club :)

This morning I was at home waiting around for SKY TV engineers to fix our satellite dish and I had a couple of hours to kill...In that time I have recorded the following eleven pieces I would like you to listen and tell me your 3 favourites and 3 second favourites out of this list of songs
and whatever you choose I shall play for him

Here they are all freshly recorded this morning:-

1. An Affair To Remember (click here to hear)

2. How Deep Is Your Love (Click here to hear)

3. If (Click here to hear)

4. I'll Be See-ing You (Click here to hear)

5. I'm Wishing On A star (Rose Royce) (Click here to hear)

6. I've Got You Under My Skin (Click here to hear)

7. Love Theme From Romeo & Juliet (Click here to hear)

8. More (Click here to hear)

9. Pennies From Heaven (Click here to hear)

1o. The Rainbow Connection (Click here to hear)

and finally as a little novelty piece

11. A Tribute To the Bride (Click here to hear)

I appreciate that this a lot of listening so this is strictly for the die hard fans :)

I am also thinking of putting a website together and the 6 favourites will probably be used on the site as samples of my playing for any prospective brides and grooms to hear.

Thanks in advance



To listen to all the pieces in one sitting {{click here}}

Friday, 7 September 2007

A marvelous email

Hi Folks

There have been many wonderful moments that I have experienced over these past few years but, this was one of those moments that really took me by surprise!!

One day I received a wonderful email from someone somewhere in the world who took the time to write me this:-

"Just thought I would let you know that I have been looking for the song
"The Way We Were" to use on my Mother's 60th Wedding Anniversary photo
disc that I am doing.
I was unable to find an original Barbara download (for free) and while browsing web links about the song title came across yours. I just want to say that I personally think your rendition was beautiful and I have decided to use it on the CD...Thanks..."

I of course replied that "I didn't really know what to say" and that "he was most welcome to use it" and "it would be an honour for me to have him use it for something so special".

At the time I received the email I posted about it at "pianomagic" and I said back then:-

"What is this thing I have gotten into? It really is one of the most magical experiences I have ever known"

Here is the music that the gentleman who emailed me used for his Mums CD:-

To hear... "The Way We Were" performed By me October 2005 [click here]

At the time of the recording I had been learning to play with Mike @ "pianomagic" for only 2 years!

I have to add that even today the email still amazes me, to think someone in the world actually liked something that I had created enough to use it for such a special ocassion!

I will never know or meet these people but, even so I am just thrilled to have been a part of their special day!!



Thursday, 6 September 2007

Pictures of our holiday to Italy

Hi Folks

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts...I had a great family holiday in Italy this to break things up a little (and as someone said I should post some pictures up to make things more interesting) heres a few pictures from our summer holiday:-

Mummy & the boys...

Fun with dad in the pool...

Go on - you first...

Ice Creams by the Pool...

Til the next post, hope y'all enjoy the fun pictures



Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Pianoworld Recital No. II

Hi, Everyone

Thanks for the replies guys its re-assuring to know that there are a few of you left!! :)

Okay, on to Recital number two at "Pianoworld Adult Beginner Forums" which was performed may 15 2006

This was my blurb...

Performers Name: Seaside_Lee

Experience: 2 years 7 months with Pianomagic

Song title/composer: Cabaret/ John Kander & Fred Ebb from the musical Cabaret

Source of music: By Ear

Instrument used: Casio Privia PX100 through a Yamaha Motif Rack ES

Notes: Hopefully the quality of the recording will sound better than my last one as this one is through my lovely new toy, the Motif Rack. I have been working really hard to tighten up my timing issues with this piece, hope Hobie and EP can hear I'm getting a little better with it? (here's hoping...anyways)

I feel like I've recorded this a million times, I am still not 100% happy with it but, before I have a mental breakdown with it! this'll have to do.

To hear this piece click the link below:-

Cabaret - Seaside Style {click to hear}

As I mentioned in the previous post if any of you newbies to the piano are thinking of participating in one of the recitals then I say - "GO FOR IT" When I sent this one off I was thinking "I wonder what people will think"?, "I wonder what They'll say"? etc.

But, there is no need to worry the members over there are some of the most supportive bunch of people I have had the pleasure to meet, even though most of them I'll never meet face to face. The encouragement that shines through in the reviews helps encourage you to get better and better!

Here's a sample of the wonderful things members posted after hearing "Cabaret - Seaside Style"

"There are just a couple of places where the rhythm seems a bit undecided, but aside from that, this is some really good work"

"you do a terrific job of coming up with a nice jazzy arrangement"

"I may never understand how people can play by ear, and I'll always be envious. What a pleasure to listen to!"

"A bit more laid back tempo than normally heard for this song. I like it. Different is good."

"Ok, maybe we should just start calling this the advanced beginners forum. Something about it made me envision it being played in a Old West bar in 1800’s. I love that kind of music."

"Such a "full" and very professional sound on this recording; like I was at a dinner theater or something. I just love the little "fill-ins" you put in throughout your song"

"It sounded really good, Lee. Great job!"

"Do you play it the same every time? I still don't get the play-by ear method of no notes!! Amazing"

"I really like the way you can take a fairly simple melody and make it sound so full."

"nice song, well played. "

"Your playing speaks volumes toward the PM program. Especially after reading some of the flames thrown “else were” in PW. lol I closed my eyes and could see Liza Minelli doing her thing on stage. "

"very nice as always! I remember this piece from the musical."

I know listening back it could have been much better (with the rhythm and all) and members were probably being over-kind in their reviews... but no matter, this sort of stuff spurs me on!! (I am sure it will for YOU too!!)

take care


Don't forget to post a comment if you enjoyed listening or reading because that spurs me on too! ;)

Monday, 6 August 2007

The Pianoworld Quarterly Recitals

Hi Folks

Yes its know that guy that leaves his blog for weeks and keeps you all in suspense until you've all given up on him!!

Today I'm going to start telling y'all about the Pianoworld Adult Beginners Forum Quarterly online piano recitals. These were the brain child of "Mr SuperHunky" and "Sir Bob Muir" two of the regular posters at Pianoworld at the time. I think these recitals are a great idea and if you happen to visit Pianoworld and join in with the forums over there and maybe, if you'd like to improve your piano playing a little more? then why not get recording yourself and post something up at the next one (if you have a teacher already why not let them know about it too and then you could maybe work on a new piece together)

The feedback and encourgement you get from all the other members is great and very motivating. The help and encouragement I have gotten there and at pianomagic has been a huge factor in my successes so far IMHO. Also it gives you something to regularly aim for in your piano playing which in turn forces you to polish up one of your pieces every quarter (and boy do those 3 months pass by quickly!!)

This was my first one for the February 15th 2006 recital

. Performer's name :Seaside_Lee
. Experience :2 years 3 months with

. Music Link : Lee-More.mp3

Boy, was I nervous when I sent this up to Bob as this was the first recital I had ever played in however, I needn't have been because everyone was so kind and many seemed to genuinely enjoy my piece even though I was learning to play the piano in a way that I know many of the members there (who take regular piano lessons) couldn't really relate to.

This was my first attempt I hope you enjoy it too (that's if you are still reading this blog and haven't given up on me LOL )

BTW...please let me know and say hello if you are still reading this blog? or if you have enjoyed any of my music? or my long winded stories? because, I haven't received that many comments so far (I know get the violins out eh?) but, it is a little disappointing to me to get so little feedback and to be honest I am starting to wonder whether there is anyone actually reading this anymore?


Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Buffy To The Rescue

Within hours of that phone call with Mike, the phone rang again and it was Mike and he sounded upbeat...

One of the UK members (called "Buffytheslayervamper" whom you'll meet on the videos at pianomagic) had come to his rescue and found a place called Belsize Music Rooms that he could hire for the whole afternoon that had a beautiful Fazioli Grand Piano to play on!!

Mike told us he would be there from 11-00Am

Oh yeah!! I really couldn't wait


Tuesday, 3 July 2007

It very nearly didn't happen!!

I got a phone call from Mike a few weeks before he was due to set off on his cruise before arriving in London...he was very upset because the hotel that he was staying in (and where we were all going to meet and play the piano for the day) had changed their minds and due to this change the hotel had decided that for us to use the piano at the hotel and to rent a room for the day was going to cost Mike literally thousands of pounds!!

Unless, we could find somewhere else in London to play a piano (for a much smaller fee) the planned visit and meet for the day with Mike was off!!

He was devastated and I felt so upset for him and really disappointed myself as the excitement for this visit had been building at pianomagic for months and I was literally getting myself to bursting point with the excitement and anticipation of it all. I had every intention of picking Mikes brains when he came over and I was so gutted it wasn't going to happen!...


Pianomagic Comes To London!!

Hi Everyone

Like a bolt from the blue Mike announces on his website and via email that he is going to visit London

here is a section a what he said in his email to me (and everyone else)

"Greetings Piano Magic Musician,

PianoMagic - Michael Anderson (that's ME) will be visiting in LONDON to 'meet and greet' PMMO Members past and present (and future?), on SEPTEMBER 11th, 2005. "...

This email is to notify you that I'll be in LONDON, I would love to meet you face to face, and I would find it very enjoyable to hear you play.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND OUR GATHERING, please let me know in advance, so I'll have an idea what size room to reserve, and whether or not I'll need to rent a piano or keyboard.

Holy Mackerel!!...was I gonna miss this???...NO WAY JOSE!


Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Practise time last night

Hi Guys

Okay, now for something a little different...yes...I'll get back to my journey more in the next post but, I thought some of you would like to hear a more recent practise session and I reckon last night is recent enough! I like these (practise sessions) because it shows more bloopers, shows more of how I play when I haven't been practising something over and over for say "the Pianoworld recitals" and I hope you find it fascinating too.

If you have been reading this blog from the start you will know that at first I couldn't figure out melodies to save my life and it could take me hours and hours to work out the simplest of melodies, now things are so different! at times I can just play the sounds in my head as you'll hear in this recording this is just straight out of my head and onto the keyboard (at times it really freeks me out now!!)

This recording also highlights one of the pitfalls of playing by ear and that is you really have to know the melody inside out and you will hear that I didn't know the first song "This guys in Love" thoroughly enough and I had to eventually sack it off and try my hand at "Singing In The Rain" (which I admit I had a little dabble with a few weeks ago) but, just sprung into my mind as I was struggling with "This Guys in Love"

Of course this is just a practise session and maybe in a week or maybe even a month or so down the road I'll have these songs how I want them to sound and I'll post them in one of the piano bars at Pianoworld or maybe the next recital..I hope it'll be interesting to see what happens to them.

Of course I could never have dreamed I could have done anything like this 3 and half years ago (whether its bloopy or not!) and I have Mike to thank so much at Pianomagic for teaching me how to do this kinda thing so easily, anyway here it is warts and all :-

This Guys In Love & Singing In The Rain Practise Session

Let me know what you think



Where have I been???

Okay guys

Its time to fess up...I've been totally engrossed in football these past few weeks and don't seem to have had time for anything else its been so exciting, my beloved football team (soccer team) Blackpool FC have (after 29 long years!!) finally gotten themselves promoted back to the Championship in the English Football League and I have had a very exciting past few weeks culminating with promotion gained at the New Wembley in front of 30,000 delirious and tangerine football fans!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY

So that's my excuse for not posting much recently

Something fun for you to listen to, is coming right up...


Thursday, 3 May 2007

My 2nd public performance

Okay its about time we had something new here!!

"C'mon Seaside post something new!!"...I can hear y'all saying

Okay, so you heard how I flunked my first this is how I told the guys at pianomagic and at Pianoworld about the 2nd time I played a piano in public. The date was the 14th October 2005 just a little over 1 year after I started...

This is the Restaurant last night can you spot the baby grand by the bottom of the stairs, infront of the big windows?

My friend, who is also my booking agent (for discos) had also gone along to see a singer (we were booking for our 2nd baby's Christening ) and was dining with some of his friends and brought him (the singer) over to our table to chat to us about the up-coming "Christening day".

Well, we chatted for a while, plenty of laughing and joking etc ...somehow, the conversation got round to piano and how "Alexander" (my eldest) was taking lessons and also how the singers little boy was having lessons too.

So, my agent (who is a great jazz pianist) then somehow steers the conversation around to when "...he played on my keyboard at the gym" and "...what a good player I was" and how "...I'd been teaching myself from a course off the internet" how "...he couldn't believe how well I played after 1 year" and how he "...was jealous as he had spent many years at music college etc"

So...on the stage is a baby grand piano and my agent twists my arm to play it and show what I can do!...everyone eggs me on! (even Sharon can you believe it?) Well, I walk over to the piano and get on stage, my palms are sweating my heart is racing and I'm thinking "come on Lee don't fluke it" I can still hear our friends last words as I walked to the piano "play Titanic, play Titanic"

I sat down...played around the 1625 for a minute or so to get a feel for the piano...its in tune...but, the keys are a little uneven ...nothing like my perfect yammie...but the 1625 is calming me down.

I start..." A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" yes!!!! I play it perfectly (I can play it in my sleep remember) although I know I am playing just a little too fast as my heart is racing too fast!! I continue with a little improv. around the 1625 again everything is flowing so nicely... then, in my head I hear again a whisper "play Titanic"

Quick as a flash I'm into it and I'm thinking "just remember Lee not too much intro keep it short, slow it down"...its coming together, its beautiful, my heart is still racing..."slow down"...I'm nearing the end..."remember Lee take it up the keyboard that pretty little music box ending you did in the recital hall"... nailed it!!!...big Grand Arp...Yes ...FINISH...Oh Yes!!!

Now, I am not kidding here... but, the whole restaurant cheered, everyone was applauding and shouting for more!, more!

Just Picture me (if you can?) I'm stood on stage arms wide open (humourously milking all the glory)...I bow to the Royal box..and leave the stage thinking leave 'em wanting for more (I dunno?...maybe, I should have played one more?)

But, hey....I DID IT !!!!!!

Thanks Mikey!

This is similar to what I played on that night (only this was recorded on the 17th September 2005 in a little less than a year!!)

My Heart Will Go On :-

Thats it for today

take care


Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Even Now

...So, after the crash I sent Mike a few new recordings, I was hoping they would cheer him up to hear my latest progress but, the reaction from Mike was to probably change my piano playing life for ever!

This was IMHO my defining moment and also the moment that I really fell in love with playing the piano and in particular the pianomagic method of learning how to play it!

So, here it is my version of "Even Now" (Barry Manilow's hit) the most amazing thing is this was recorded on the 11 june 2004 only after 8 months of learning to play the piano with Mike.

Mikes reaction to it amazed me:-

He said that I had worked so very hard and with tireless devotion. Sometimes, he had wanted to come over to Great Britain and HELP me personally...but THIS latest recording was simply an INSPIRATION! "Even Now" in spite of having lost all the previous posts under my topic, THIS WAS SUPERB!!


He was so amazed he asked was it ME playing???? He was was so BEAUTIFUL! and in light of the past couple of weeks, it was 'breaking his heart' and had given him a sense of extreme inner relief...and emotional release.

He told me that I had done what nobody had done before (except for deceased organist VIRGIL FOX)...I had made him cry! with "Wonderful sounds"..."graceful musicianship"!! and he was so P*R*O*U*D..OF.. M*E*!!!

Mike said it was exactly what HE NEEDED to hear!

reading all his kind words made me cry too (tears of joy!)



Disaster at Pianomagic!!

This was just a terrible time for Mike and all his students....months of posts on the forums lost!! in the server meltdown, whats more months of my posts!!, months of my questions!! student projects all lost. The devastation when the site came back on-line was almost too much to take for Mike, myself and his many other students, it was very sad.

He told us how it had been a very difficult month!and in spite of careful efforts to safeguard all important data, the two companies he had hired to maintain DAILY BACKUPS C*O*M*P*L*E*T*E*L*Y FAILED to do the ONLY job they were supposed to do!

Months of posts and work had been lost it was devastating but Mike has put many things into place to make sure it never happened again”

Yes indeed it was very sad but, this leads to the next chapter of my journey...

Thursday, 29 March 2007

A Big Thankyou to Liverpool Poet

Some of you...may have noticed that I have added a picture to the first post and I have to thank Liverpool Poet - Justine from Pianoworld for her creation.

I hadn't got a clue what I wanted when Justine asked me... "ooh, just something with a piano and Seaside Lee on it" I said. I have to say I think it is just sooo perfect, infact to be honest it brought a tear to my eye when I saw it...thankyou ever so much LP you are a star, I don't know how to tell you how much I love it.

However, I would have liked to have been able to place it at the top of the page where the header is ...but, quite frankly I haven't got a clue how to do it???...mahlzeit!!! I need some help ;)


Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Flunking my first public performance

The journey was not always smooth and I messed up the first time I played on a lobby piano in front of people other than family and's what I wrote back then

Well I finally did it !!

Last night we were at a party and in the bar area there was a Yamaha (not a baby...but, not a 6' grand either...kind of half way size?)

As the night rolled on there was a bunch of blokes (aka guys in their 30 - 50's) having a sing song round the piano. One of their mates was playing so I joined them he could play very well but, he was struggling to remember more than a verse or so of songs he could play (I figured he was probably a sheet music man)...but, never the less his friends were up for a sing song!!

The guy at the piano was getting a little frustrated with himself as his mates were egging him on to play more, more, more and he just couldn't think of what else to play...he had a few classical pieces impressive but, not what the guys wanted. His best song was Bryan Adams "Everything I Do"...and the guys were belting it out at every opportunity fuelled by copious amounts of beer but he couldn't remember more than a couple of verses ...however, when he played the bits he did know he was quite brilliant.

Up came the question "can any one else play a tune?" it felt like the moment in films where the camera just zooms in to the petrified actor ..but, inspite of my stomach dropping to the floor I said "yes I could play a little".My heart was racing ...I felt almost sick ..I sat down ..then I played a grand arpeggio and guess what?...the piano was so out of tune is was unbelievable...My brain just fingers locked up mind was blank.

"What a wonderful world!" ...I tried it, it was very timing was wrong...I couldn't get my syncopated thingy going and the boys couldn't sing a long with me ...drat. The more I thought about songs I could play the more I couldn't think of things to play ...except for "edelweiss"...I played it I played it well but, the singalong was over. The chap who could play didn't want to get back on as he couldn't think of any other songs and the guys did not want to sing a long to "edelweiss"...and everyone left and went back to the bar.

I just sat there on my own and started playing 1625 stuff and playing pretty chords and strange as it may seem I started getting used to this "out of tune piano" and I started to play a few songs...I played for an hour and half or so to no-one really but, myself.

However, during this one and a half hours I did get some comments. A bit of a mixed bag really...worst was a party of miserable people sat within about 20 metres of the piano who eventually sent a man over to tell me to stop playing as the ladies had had enough...(seriously !...I just ignored him and played very softly until they eventually left)

One of the bar staff who when passing the piano ...said "hey, someone who can finally play that thing" And then a group of girls who arrived after the miseries had left who insisted I kept on playing and made me play another half an hour or so ...and although sat a little distance away applauded everything I did.

One lesson I learned from this is I have got to learn some sing a long type songs and learn to be able to play them well enough to sing along to. And that not everyone appreciates out of tune pianos or my playing just yet. Next time will be better...but, that's the first one out of the way

Just thought I would share this story with you all

This is the way I could play "What A Wonderful World" back then (this was recorded on 1st July 2004 10 months into my first year) and this isn't how I played it on that out of tune piano


Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Frank to the rescue!!!...yaaaaaaaaaaaayyy!!!

Wow...Frank is on the ball

I only mentioned it yesterday in my blog and he's found my first post at Pianoworld and sent me the link already!! how kool is that huh?

Heres what Frank found out for me

I looked it up, you joined June 19, 2004. Looks like your first post was this one on June 28, 2004...;f=2;t=005186;p=0

(about 1/2 way down the page)


Frank B.Piano World

Click the link above to find the first thread I posted in (can't understand why I didn't say hello but, I seem to remember that I posted in the digital piano forum before the ABF because I was initially looking for help on a new purchase...but Frank says thats the first post so, I'll go with it)

So, here it is my first post from that thread as always trying to be as helpful as I could...(yeah I know...erm...and always harping on about playing by ear!!...LOL)

Hi mkorman

I can tell that this incident has upset you. People who don't understand or have never played a not really understand the hard work that goes into learning how to play one or performance nerves that can effect people who do not play professionally.

Seems to me that you would like to be able to perform some songs spontaneously. The best way to do this is to learn to be able to play by ear aswell as learning to read sheet music.

I have been learning to play by ear for about 8 months now (something I had believed for years was just a god given gift...but, is in reality quite easy to learn if you know how ;-) )...and I can happily rattle off 10 - 20 songs if needed and probably 20 -30 nursery rhyme type songs if everyone one was still awake.

I have to say playing by ear is fun fun fun...if you are interested in finding out how to learn just email me and I'll let you know.



Monday, 26 March 2007

Early struggles

It is well documented that I was like the most hopeless "play piano by ear musician in the world ever!" when I I couldn't tell whether melody went up or down?, couldn't hear chord changes!, couldn't get my two hands going together!!...basically, if there was a question that needing asking I would ask it.

Here is an example of one of my typical posts back in the early days of my journey at pianomagic :-

Posted - Oct 16 2003 : 06:10:23 AM

Hi Mike and the rest of the regulars on here, I thought I would just share with everyone a few of the things that I am finding the trickiest...purely for discussion of course

1. Finding that first note of the melody of a song ...although I am starting to make headway on this! :)

2. Deciding whether the melody goes up or down ....this is the one I am having the most trouble with is something that I have to really really think about and it is not yet on auto pilot to speak

3. When the same note is played a couple or more times in a row it stumps me every time ....until I have played the song over and over!

4. With the song "King of the Road" which I can now play IN MY SLEEP, I am finding myself wanting to play with more fingers and when I do it sounds more I pushing things too fast?

Thats it for now, I am sure there will be many more along the way



There are hundreds and hundreds of similar struggles I won't bore y'all to death with 'em though

Just for my mate sid at pianoworld (who is looking forward to a daily dose of Seaside - he's a loonie BTW...LOL)

Here is my 2nd recital hall piece (yes still early days this was posted up on the 4th July 2004)

I was proud of it back then...plenty of room for improvement though ;)



First reactions to my new blog

Its Monday 26th March 2007

Last week I nervously unveiled my new blog to the forums I visit and it seems to have been very well received...some people have actually subscribed!!! (which is kool)

Pastor Gary has left a comment and that made me feel great thanks PG!!

I have had a few suggestions on what to do to make this blog better - putting some stuff in my profile would be nice (maybe some speedo photos!! LOL), smaller blocks of text etc and I'll do my best to incorporate some of the suggestions you've made thanks everyone.

Over at pianoworld dearest Monica ;) has suggested it would be neat if I could find my first ever post at pianoworld too...well I've tried today and its impossible...grrrrr!! I have searched for all my posts and the search will only take me back as far as 300 posts and the ABF has 82 pages which only goes back as far as 2005. I wonder if there are archives?

thats it for now


Thursday, 22 March 2007

Seasides Piano Journey

Hello World

I have finally decided to write a blog about my piano journey which started a little over 3 years ago... I am writing this journal in the hope that it inspires those who are later on in life (or come to think of it? at any age for that matter!) and still hold the dream that someday they can just sit right down at a piano and play for themselves, for friends or maybe one day for ££££'s!! (or $$$$'s for y'all over there)

Over the past few years I have met many friends who started playing the piano in later life, their talent is quite often breathtaking and they are all adult beginners...some take lessons with a regular teacher, some are self taught and some like myself have learned to play the piano on the internet. Through my interaction on piano forums and through my music I have inspired others to follow my path and seen many of these people grow into fine pianists in a short space of time!!

I often get emails from people thanking me for inspiring them and letting them know there is a guy out there who is the real deal and they are for ever grateful to me that I showed them the door to his magical website. This is my story, my adventure...I had a dream and now I'm living it, I'm proof it can be done if you want it no matter your age. This is for the dreamers like me.

So lets begin...

I took piano lessons as a child, I was around 9 or 10 years old and that silly boy gave them up after a few years, a decision which has been a deep regret all of my adult life!!!

When my eldest boy was 5 years old my wife decided she would like him to start taking piano lessons and after many arguments (because I grew to hate my lessons as a child!!) I finally caved in to the pressure and a cheap keyboard was purchased to get him started. This decision was to change my life and finally rekindle a burning desire I had long since forgotten about.

We had owned the keyboard for a few months and one night I was thumbing through my sons first beginner book and tried to plink through the first few pages and then it hit me!!!... I suddenly remembered trying to pick melodies out by ear as a child (something I couldn't do back then) and I thought to myself ..."I wonder if anyone teaches to play piano by ear on the internet?"

The following day I typed "play piano by ear" into google and found a website that was going to change my life from that day on!!..The website was called and the rest of this blog is going to tell the tale of my fantastic journey with the help of Mike and all the wonderful helpful pianists (many whom are now my friends) who frequent the forums there and also the many helpful members over at another fantastic piano website I often frequent the piano forums run by Frank Baxter.

So...The journey for me began (at age 37 not knowing a note, chord or scale and without a hope in heck of learning to play the piano by ear so late in life!!) on October 1st 2003, after watching Mikes video on his home page with his dog "CoCo" I decided to chance it (he seemed genuine) so, I paid my money and joined. I made my first post in the forums and said hello in the lobby forum

This is what I said in my very first post :-


Posted - Oct 01 2003 : 09:54:12 AM
I am a new member who is (I get the feeling) going to need some help. My story - I played the piano and started at 9 0r 10 and played until I was about 12 or 13. I was told many times not to give up and that I would regret it. I knew I would, but, I just got bored of practise.

I was always frustrated as a young child that I couldn't play by ear and never really realised it could be taught. I always thought you either could or couldn't! I have always regretted giving up the piano, as I love entertaining people. I DJ in my spare time which only semi-satisfies me, I love the buzz you get from the applause, but, I am only playing other peoples work.

My little boy who is 5 years old has started piano lessons in the last 6 months and to be honest it has given me renewed vigour to get back infront of the keyboard.This time there are no excuses I am going to do it!!


Within pianomagic there is a recital hall where Mike would post up any recordings sent by members to him (if they were good enough) to demonstrate each students growth over time. I must have asked a bazillion questions and sent in loads of recordings until finally I sent something good enough to be posted up (by Mike) in the recital hall (yaaaaaaaaaay!)

It was around 4 or 5 months into my membership and this was the first piece to make it "Can't Help falling In Love With You"...It was customary that when members got their first piece posted up they were required to send a photo and write a little info about themselves.

This is what I wrote back then (I was so excited to finally make it, it was like a dream come true) :-


I joined in October and it has been one of the greatest things I have ever done. Piano has taken over my life. I have a keyboard at work ( I own a Gym!) and one at home. I seem to be able to think of nothing else but playing those darned keyboards! :-)

When I joined I could remember nothing of my piano lessons gone by. I have basically started from ground zero and every note I play is down to Mike and this wonderful site (also a lot of help from all the guys and gals on the message know who you are)!

I have struggled with every basic concept of Piano Magic (the message boards will testify to all my questions)! A big thank you to Mike for all his patience with me.This is quite a moment for me as I must have sent Mike a thousand recordings (slight exaggeration...a lot anyway!) and to make it here...well, its just great!I am so thrilled to get here...I know it is not perfect yet and I know I can only get better as time goes by.

Heck, I can even do the "Oli G on the 1625 boom chuck pattern" now ...just can't combine it with melody too well just yet...but I know I will!....Anyway it has been a long cold winter over here in England by the sea...but, Pianomagic has made it pass very quickly indeed.

Please enjoy this first effort ...and there is more to come.

click link below to hear my first recording


Credits: Performed and Arranged by LEE HOLT