Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Project #2 - Dan Ga (Dae Jang Geum OST)

Duration: July 2010 - September 2010
Location: Home, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Length: Appx. 1 min 30 seconds

Status: Complete, on-going


So, I got the piano and all I needed to do was learn how to play it on my own. Signing up for piano lessons was not considered cause I don't think I can commit to a fix schedule. I began by doing a search of a list of songs that I am keen to learn. It must be short and easy, and definitely a wonderful piece that I don't mind practicing over and over again.

I've narrowed them down to a few songs, including Dan Ga, an OST track for one of my favourite Korean drama series "Dae Jang Geum". To be honest, I never took notice of this song while watching the series years ago. I came across it when I was doing a youtube search for another OST track of the same series. When I first heard that song on youtube, all I had in mind was to play that on the piano and I was eager and determined to do just that. It is definitely not easy, for a first timer but I have set my own goals. I started looking for the music sheet and found one (arranged by Mildred Lau, 2005). Printed and set them up on the piano music rack.

As a start, I listened to the music repeatedly to memorize the tune and listen to the melody carefully. Later on, I listened to it while looking at the music sheet and try to relate the music to the music sheet (again, something I have to do as I am not that well trained). After I am very familar with it, I began with the first bar and gave myself three days to get the hang of it, and four days to be comfortable with it (without pausing or jerking, etc). The same goes for the rest of the bars. The more complicated ones would obviously require more time, whilst on some days I could cover up to four bars. The good thing about this song for eager beginners like me is that it is repeated. So, I only needed to learn half of the entire sheet, which still took me more than a month to learn the entire song.

When I finished learning the song, it was such a joy to be able to play the entire song, though with much flaws. At first, I wasn't sure whether I was getting ahead of myself, but I practiced hard, more than I originally committed to. Today, I am still playing this song, along with others that I learned subsequently. I now know this song by heart, and will continue to practice till I get it right

I'm attaching the latest practice file of the song, as part of this piano project posting. As said, there are some glitches here and there but most importantly, I enjoyed playing this :)


Friday, September 2, 2011

Project #1 - Getting a piano

Date: July 2010
Location: Virgin Store, Dubai, UAE
Status: Complete

I have always wanted to play the piano since I was a child. Everytime I hear a piano being played, it never fail to amaze me. Rich in melody, talented pianists, I was inspired.

Back in the days, a piano was not particularly affordable. To own it, was beyond our means, and to learn it, the already hefty fee will just go higher by the grade. It is just not right, considering that most likely I will not be a serious musician and virtually no returns on investment.

We did however, have an organ which belonged to my sister. It was definitely the next best thing to learn. Following my sister's footsteps, I signed up for my first class (which is by the way much cheaper than piano lessons). Being only 7 years old, discipline was a problem. I quit after a few months. With that basic and limited knowledge I had, I continued on my own at my own pace. And, I learned songs from the books my sister left behind.

After all those years, I am still inspired to learn the piano. And yet, it was still out of reach. Priorities and commitments did not permit me to make that investment just yet until recently. It was around mid last year, we were at the Virgin Store in Dubai. We saw a few pianos on display. I admit that I have limited knowledge on the range but I do know that some electronic pianos have keys that are more like keyboards and others give a similar feel to that of a piano. Having just that in mind, I decided on the Yamaha Clavinova CLP 330. Though I did not make any comparisons vis-a-vis other series or piano makers, I am very happy with that purchase. I did however make cost comparisons between the colour choices, and as it turns out I get to save around 2k if choose rosewood as opposed to the black lacquer finish.

Now that I have realised an old wish to own a piano, I can now proceed to realising that old passion.
I intend to document all my past and current efforts in learning songs that I am inspired to play. I will try my best to provide weekly updates and progress for own motivation and hopefully to inspire others to do what they love to do, one step at a time.