Tag Archives: Piano

Metronome

To aid in my learning to play the piano, I have considered getting a metronome. Metronomes seem to be subject of some discussion in the world of music teachers, so I’ve collected some of the thoughts here.

When to use a metronome
A metronome attempts to teach the student a consistent rhythm and to aid in determining the correct speed at which to play a piece of music. Some schools of teaching insist that the metronome only be used for teaching how fast a given speed “feels”, and that it should never be used while playing or doing rhythm exercises. This puts the main burden on the shoulders of the student, and should give the student a better internal rhythm. It doesn’t, however, prevent the student from losing rhythm in the difficult parts of a piece, and the student has no external way of keeping track of how well he is holding his pace.

Using the metronome while playing pieces, on the other hand, is recommended by some teachers. It is said to be easier to start at a lower pace, and slowly speed up the metronome until the desired playing speed is achieved. It removes the task of keeping the correct rhythm from the student, giving him time to focus on the notes in the music. However, it may also render the student unable to play consistent speeds without a metronome ticking.

I lean toward the second method, of course with the provision that the metronome should only be used for a period of time, after which pieces should be well enough learned for the student (me) to hold the rhythm without external reference.

Types of metronomes
I found a great article concerning metronomes that I will paraphrase a bit from in the following.

Electronic metronomes
These are little electronic devices that go “beep” whenever there’s a tick. I made stuff like this in the 5th grade or so, though modern ones have all sorts of different stuff like built-in tuning. I’m sure it’s great for guitarists and such – I don’t need it. If my digital piano goes out of tune, I’m sure I won’t be able to fix it that easily.

Electric metronomes
These are apparently bigger metronomes that plug into wall sockets, and take up a whole lot of space. I haven’t seen these, but I expect they do exist… I doubt they’d be much use for me, I would rather go for …

Mechanic metronomes
This is the real deal. Wind-up, moving arm with weight, movable weight. These give of a good, unmistakable ticking sound, and since they use wind-up mechanisms, you can use them wherever you are. I know there’s a German company, Wittner, that makes some quite well-known ones – this seems to be the biggest manufacturer of metronomes. And they also make some funny ones, leading me to …

The one I want
So I found it. The metronome I want. It’s mechanic, and it’s funny – it’s shaped like a cat.

Wittner Taktell Cat
Please, buy me one.

Piano progress

I’m slowly progressing with learning to play the piano. Latest to get assimilated is “Love me tender”, though I’ve jumped a few songs on the way there. Rhythm is still a bit of a problem, but I’m getting better at it.

Books

I got myself a couple of books to learn to play the piano, namely the first two of “The Complete Piano Player”, giving me quite enough to do for a while. (I’ve yet to master the first three songs in it – I have attacked them vigorously, and I can hit the notes fairly well, but my rhythm counting isn’t very good.)

Once I get the rhythm down, I’m fairly sure I’ll be quite good. I am already having good success reading the music, which isn’t really very hard.

Roland KR-3000

I managed to find one. An electric piano for almost no money. 2.000 kr., or about £175. It’s a Roland KR-3000, and since google is unable to find me a suitable link for that name, I shall have to post a bit about the specs here, for the world to see.

Roland KR-3000
Specifications

  • Keyboard: 88 velocity-sensitive keys (That do feel quite weighted as well, though probably not hammer-action.)
  • Polyphony: 31 notes at a time. Not up to par with modern keyboard with at the very least 64, but quite okay for my use.
  • Pedals: 3.
  • MIDI: In, out, through. I didn’t really expect this, given the age (I think it’s from 1992, and was introduced even earlier) – but very nice.
  • Size: 1410mm by 480mm by 835mm
  • Weight: 65 kg. (OUCH!)

This very last part, the weight, is really the reason why this post doesn’t include a picture. I haven’t actually managed to haul it up here yet. I am waiting for a few people to wake up and give me a helping hand, but alas, it is Sunday and people are sleeping.

It does have a lot of other features, but those aren’t really of interest to me yet – I just want it to function as a piano.

Piano plans

I stopped playing World of Warcraft. It’s too time-consuming, it was starting to get boring, and I really need to concentrate on my studies this fall. I want to get my bachelors degree before I’m 30 or something like that.

Anyway, with a lot of time freed up came a natural craving to do something else. So washing all my socks, I thought about what kind of things I might want to do, and came upon this craving I’ve had for some time to learn to play some music. Now, I am in no way a natural music player, but I do think it’d be cool to be able to play the piano. I’d need a few tools for it, granted, like for instance a piano – but apart from that, I have friends who can provide me with some help and some beginner music, and there seems to be no shortage of piano teachers in town.

The biggest problem now is buying a piano. It’d have to be an electric one, since those work with headphones, and I’m sure the people living above, below and next to my room would really like that. It also needs to be of a certain quality – I think a Roland one would be a nice choice. Probably a previously owned one, since my economy doesn’t really allow for the price of a new one.

My worry is that this is merely a passing idea, so I am slightly reluctant paying the money into it, just to find out I don’t really want to use it for more than a month or two. Not sure how I’m going to figure that one out…