Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Have scales, need tunes

Had the Yamaha keyboard two or three months now. Getting quite adept at scales and arpeggios in several keys. I do the scales two handed, an octave apart, across four or five octaves altogether.    I've got some tips on YouTube, learning to not waggle my elbows, and to sit up straight. I do ten or fifteen minutes every morning before I go out to work, and then another three or four fifteen or twenty minute practises in the evening, more at the weekend. 

I need to move on now, and build up a repertoire. At the moment it's pitiful, consisting solely of my old mate Lilliburlero, which I still play several times each day, now singing the There Was An Old Woman words - it was difficult to do at first, singing and playing at the same time, but it seems to be like riding a bike, and I've got the knack now. 

Home in Glasgow I bought a book of Songs You Think You Know, a hundred standards with "easy piano" arrangements - I've turned my nose up at these in the past, thinking I'd do better to work with the original arrangements, but I really need to learn to walk before I run. 

Typing this on holiday in Lanzarote, and not been on a keyboard for nearly two weeks - absence is making the heart grow fonder, and being reunited with the Yamaha will sweeten the pill of returning to Saudi, somewhat. I brought Songs You Think You Know to Lanzarote, and I've chosen Down at the Old Bull and Bush to get me started. The idea that's formed is that I want to be able to play songs people can sing along to, in a bar, say. 

After the electronic Yamaha, a couple of days at home with the Kemble showed it's very, let's say, idiosyncratic. I had a play on an old Broadwood upright in Biggars on Sauchihall Street and Oh My God it was gorgeous, very responsive and bright. At some point in the next couple of years I need to decide whether to get the Kemble restored or buy something better.