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