Need advice. I feel stuck.

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
Funkaroma
KVRist
110 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:31 am

Functional wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:32 am
Funkaroma wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:22 am
Oh, so learning chords should come after ive gone through all the scales? I already know the basic of how to build a major/minor triad and 7th.
I think ideally you want to learn chords as you're learning the scales. Now I might be entirely off here, but that seems to be the pedagogically accepted way.

With that being said, I think there's also two ways of going about: if you learn how to construct different chords on their own right and you also have learned the scales, well, you can just take any note and get the chord like that. But I really don't know if that's effective vs. learning chords per scale.

There's one piano course which I am trying to learn that basically has a module for each scale and in every case it goes through the chords, arpeggios etc which is not really "new information" but it wants you to practice them anyway.

But learning like that will take you a loooooong ass while. My working memory is shite, hence it takes ages for me to progress with building up the muscle memory for each scale.
Well yeah, I think I will stick myself to just learn the scales and later focus on chords. What vert says above this is that I don’t need to get my mind in too much stuff at once.

I’m very curious of what piano course you talking about. I’m now practise with C minor natural and play it up and down, down and up and random under a metronome. I have the time to learn the piano but I also want to see some improvement. If I look on how I played last year piano and now I see little to no improvement. I try to be patient though. My short-term memory is very bad, but my long-term memory is pretty good.

Funkaroma
KVRist
110 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:32 am

Do you guys think when you are able to play decent piano drumpads would be easier too?

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vurt
addled muppet weed
41902 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:56 am

id imagine so, as you're learning eye to hand coordination and dexterity.

i know you're not interested in guitar, but that's how i learned scales and playing personally.
and while it took a little time to familiarise myself with how the keys where laid out, i already had the coordination and dexterity to control my fingers (albeit in a non to professional manner).

not saying you should play guitar, just pointing out skills do travel :)

Functional
KVRist
445 posts since 26 Oct, 2011

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:13 am

Funkaroma wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:31 am
I’m very curious of what piano course you talking about. I’m now practise with C minor natural and play it up and down, down and up and random under a metronome. I have the time to learn the piano but I also want to see some improvement. If I look on how I played last year piano and now I see little to no improvement. I try to be patient though. My short-term memory is very bad, but my long-term memory is pretty good.
https://www.udemy.com/the-complete-piano-course/

This one. It's fairly cheap for what it is, goes through minor & major for each key and mostly it emphasizes on practicing. Practice, practice & practice. It has more advanced modules but I'm not yet in there.

Also, I have now the privilege of collaborating with someone who has what amounts to now probably 20 years of experience in piano with jazz background and who also teaches. So every now and then, I can go through some of this stuff with her and she can point out what I'm doing wrong & what I should focus on more. But my biggest problem currently is pretty obvious: I need more practice. Far more practice.

One downside to this course is that you won't really learn how to sight read and all that stuff. I don't think it's necessary either, but if you want to actually perform as a pianist, it's pretty mandatory. And lot of the more advanced theory I think would require the ability to read musical notation at minimum. They are covered here during introduction, but then glossed over forever.

But even there, it's often emphasized that you shouldn't be going too fast either.

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jancivil
KVRAF
17591 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:17 am

Be concerned with intervals. Find out how melodies work by ear and how this works in terms of intervals.
It's not really the best idea to decide on a narrow taste of music as an end, the means to that end will tend to be narrowed in scope accordingly.

I just try to create something with maybe just luck. Is this a good or a bad thing?
Relying on luck rather than knowledge? You work it out.

The point about keep it to one instrument is probably a good idea at this juncture. You are faced with distractions and a sort of attention span thing otherwise.

For instance, I started on trumpet. I didn't have the option of chords on a trumpet. Later on trumpet players learn harmony/chords and get some piano, but I learned from keys and had played numerous tunes and to make associations, ear to note names and intervals. This was age 10-11. By the time I knew I had to have some things off of records, at 14 I wasn't a noob to tunes.

Your stated interest is you have no idea how to come up with melody. You have to get your feet wet with melody.
Around here (in the world, really) people like to talk about chords. It's easy to examine chords; it's less easy to tell someone things about melody. You haven't stated an interest in harmony, and harmony is not necessarily the more primary consideration. A whole lot of harmony is pretty obvious anyway. Learn how tunes work from tunes. It's pretty easily apparent from charts and graphical how keys work; learn key in tandem with extant tunes.

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jancivil
KVRAF
17591 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:21 am

Harmony as obvious as it fits to the tune, I mean.

You can perfectly well consider a drum pads controller first and now you are dealing with melody more abstractly. Who knows?
I've played keyboards where it mattered before but I don't really play keyboards, I just know where notes are on it and can have ideas on it. But these are ideas in intervals/as lines first.
Maybe think on this statement a moment.

Has anyone mentioned singing? Sing tunes; learn with your body how it feels to execute a tune without this extra {secondary?} consideration of keyboard.

deastman
KVRAF
7002 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:23 am

You need piano lessons. There are online courses and programs you can use, but in-person lessons from a real instructor will get you there faster. Or a combination of both. You need to learn the keys of the keyboard. You need to learn where to put your fingers, how to position your fingers, and where to move them. You need to learn scales, intervals, chords. You need to learn to use each hand independently. You need to practice these things until they become intuitive muscle memory and you don’t even have to think about it.

To use an analogy, you need to learn the letters of the alphabet, and how to write them. You need to learn how to combine them to form words. You need to develop a vocabulary of words. And then you have to decide what you want to write. Right now, you haven’t done much of that ground work, but you’re trying to write a novel without a story concept while worrying about which font you should choose.

Put in the work. Learn to play your instrument- physically and conceptually. Spend five hours on this every day for a year. Sounds boring, right? Well, just consider that the investment in developing your musical skills will continue to pay you back for the rest of your life.
Incomplete list of my gear: 110V AC to 12V DC 1.5A power supply (+ tip)

Funkaroma
KVRist
110 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:26 am

@jancivil

‘ It's not really the best idea to decide on a narrow taste of music as an end, the means to that end will tend to be narrowed in scope accordingly ‘

I don’t really understand what you mean by this. Could be because i’m dutch and english isn’t my native language ;)

Because I’m to busy in my head like; Does this keys sound right together, how must I place my hands to play this etc. etc. I’m not very busy anymore on how create a nice melody. Then everything goes to play something with luck and not with actual knowledge on what I’m doing. That’s why I want to give my learning progress a boost and try something else

One instrument is more enough indeed. Especially for now. I make electronic music, so there is no need for me to learn more then piano I guess. I always wanted to give singing a try, but first I want to be comfortable playing the piano.

You are right about Harmony. That is something I am stuck with a lot. It’s not perhaps that I have no harmony, but I create a standard harmony which is hard to get rid of it. Or yeah, I don’t want to get rid of it, but I want to be able to create different harmonies as well. For example; I try to create electro and with electro I mean electro from particularly detroit. The rhythm is perfect in my opinion, but the overal vibe isn’t just right. It sounds too cheesy for this vibe I try to create and it sounds more like deep house eventually which isn’t where I aim for. All of that goes automaticly.

My keyboard; Nektar impact lx25+ has 8 drumpads on it. I could do some basic things with them, but if I try to play more then 3 sounds at once I mess up. I am keeping them aside for now because my prime goal is just the regular keys.

With singing you mean just singing without a keyboard at all? On already or existing tracks?

Funkaroma
KVRist
110 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:39 am

deastman wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:23 am
You need piano lessons. There are online courses and programs you can use, but in-person lessons from a real instructor will get you there faster. Or a combination of both. You need to learn the keys of the keyboard. You need to learn where to put your fingers, how to position your fingers, and where to move them. You need to learn scales, intervals, chords. You need to learn to use each hand independently. You need to practice these things until they become intuitive muscle memory and you don’t even have to think about it.

To use an analogy, you need to learn the letters of the alphabet, and how to write them. You need to learn how to combine them to form words. You need to develop a vocabulary of words. And then you have to decide what you want to write. Right now, you haven’t done much of that ground work, but you’re trying to write a novel without a story concept while worrying about which font you should choose.

Put in the work. Learn to play your instrument- physically and conceptually. Spend five hours on this every day for a year. Sounds boring, right? Well, just consider that the investment in developing your musical skills will continue to pay you back for the rest of your life.
If I had the option to get piano lessons I would do it right away, but it is really expensive and I can’t afford it right now. They ask for like 60€ for 45 minutes. Well yeah, say I take lessons once a week that would be 240€ a month and thats a really large amount for a 19 year old person. Maybe if I could ask my parents with a sweet smile.. Don’t think it is going to work though. A ‘affordable’ online course would be something that is left then. A few people here on this topic pointing out some programs which I’m going to check out tonight. Maybe books could help too?

I do have quit some time to learn, but 5 hours.. Wouldn’t that be overkill?

Functional
KVRist
445 posts since 26 Oct, 2011

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:41 am

If you're trying to create "electro" but end up creating "deep house" I don't think your issues have much to do with not being able to write a melody. Rarely, if ever, you mess up a melody and suddenly turn the genre around. Even harmonies shouldn't do that. A cheesy harmony especially shouldn't make a song deep house, since the whole thing about deep house is using extended chords

Also about piano lessons: you don't need them once a week, once a month would actually be enough if you're relying on other training material as well. The pianist I collaborate with, she doesn't go over the basic stuff with me, she just tells me what I should focus on and how to improve etc. So her task is more to guide than to teach indepth

Also 5 hours of training every day... I wouldn't recommend it. You should practice every day, but 5 hours seems flat out wack. Yes, there's some dedicated people who have done that. Good for them. Doesn't mean everyone should. Practicing every day (or nearly every day) is important though, you'll lose a lot of progress as soon as you start taking long breaks.

Funkaroma
KVRist
110 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:56 am

Functional wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:41 am
If you're trying to create "electro" but end up creating "deep house" I don't think your issues have much to do with not being able to write a melody. Rarely, if ever, you mess up a melody and suddenly turn the genre around. Even harmonies shouldn't do that. A cheesy harmony especially shouldn't make a song deep house, since the whole thing about deep house is using extended chords

Also about piano lessons: you don't need them once a week, once a month would actually be enough if you're relying on other training material as well. The pianist I collaborate with, she doesn't go over the basic stuff with me, she just tells me what I should focus on and how to improve etc. So her task is more to guide than to teach indepth

Also 5 hours of training every day... I wouldn't recommend it. You should practice every day, but 5 hours seems flat out wack. Yes, there's some dedicated people who have done that. Good for them. Doesn't mean everyone should. Practicing every day (or nearly every day) is important though, you'll lose a lot of progress as soon as you start taking long breaks.
It is hard to explain what happens when I create something, but it always turns to a direction I don’t want to be in. Don’t really know if I really can say that is getting a melody of a deep house track, but it goes more in that direction then electro. I almost use no chords now though. There are things that go before chords now for me.

I think it would be a good idea to take lessons once a month yes. It would be still expensive, but affordable and it is something I really want to. I’m going to consider it and look for options.

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jancivil
KVRAF
17591 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:04 am

Funkaroma wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:26 am

It's not really the best idea to decide on a narrow taste of music as an end, the means to that end will tend to be narrowed in scope accordingly
I don’t really understand what you mean by this. Could be because i’m dutch and english isn’t my native language ;)
You decided you don't need to know guitar (which is fine) because it isn't the thing in whatever, electro or house or some kind of genre tag. And then the reveal you supposedly write a melody and it isn't one of these things but it's the other one.
Get that shit out of your way.

You need to learn melody qua melody, melody as the end; rather than whatever these little genre tags are, which places the cart in front of the horse. Your means to this end are not going to be so well gauged with that end foremost in your consideration. Chances are good that your taste will widen and your appreciation for the experience will be deeper if you don't place yourself in this rut to begin with.

"Means to an end", the paths you take en route to your end result.

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jancivil
KVRAF
17591 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:11 am

With singing I mean sing the melody. Do not worry about anything other than getting the notes like off the record to come out of your face.
Songs.

"I make electronic music, so there is no need for me to learn more then piano I guess. I always wanted to give singing a try, but first I want to be comfortable playing the piano."

Ok, first of all you aren't getting anywhere, in your own words. How is it then, that you know what you need? You're soliciting advice from strangers on the internet.

You can do melody without this other consideration. I'm not advising you to take yourself seriously as a lead vocalist or whatever, I'm saying that melody is accessible to you right now in a very direct way. Everyone, with no exception, that learns to write music is expected to sing; the reason for that is not obscure.
Last edited by jancivil on Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
5408 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:12 am

A lot of good advice, but I think the main thing (as Jan alluded to) is to play some actual music (as in songs/tunes etc) rather than just learning the scales/chords etc and expecting to then come out with something great.

To ripoff the great West Indian writer CLR James; what do they of deep house know, who only deep house know? Play as much stuff from different places and styles as you can - the techniques and compositional styles will rub off and you'll be able to adapt them to your own ends and develop your own style. When I was a callow youth many moons ago learning guitar I wanted to be able to play like Johnny Marr*/Jimmy Page etc, but there was no way I could dive in and play that kind of thing without a grounding in the more basic building blocks. I really never wanted to have to learn 'Wichita Lineman' or 'I wanna hold your hand' and difficult 'boring' jazz chords, and stuff like that, but I'm glad now I did. We are standing on the shoulders of giants (pretentious arse.. :hihi: ) so use that previous accumulated wisdom to your advantage.

* I still can't play 'This Charming Man' to this day..

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jancivil
KVRAF
17591 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:22 am

"what do they of deep house know, who only deep house know? Play as much stuff from different places and styles as you can - the techniques and compositional styles will rub off and you'll be able to adapt them to your own ends "
This communicates what I mean much better than I did.

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