Piano songs - Ballade Pour Adeline

Grasp the rhythm in piano songs by identifying patterns in the arrangement of notes, use the wrist's lateral movement to create an overlapping legato.

The goosebumps I felt having witnessed the live performance of acoustic instruments especially the piano was what possessed me to start taking piano lessons. Music is vibrations, perhaps that is why it had such a deep impact on me – drew me in because I was vibrating at the same frequency. It astonishes me even now when I think about it because coming from a god forsaken backwater slum in the middle of nowhere, I had no business getting to know classical music much less play the piano. It is fascinating how the law of attraction works in its mysterious ways.

In the same mysterious ways was perhaps how Ballade Pour Adeline was introduced and taught to me within months after I began my lessons. A song I had secretly desired for years to learn by the time I put my name on the registration form - never mentioned it once, yet there it was offered to me by my piano teacher on a platter for my learning pleasure.

Grasping the rhythm of piano songs

Since it was a familiar song, grasping the rhythm was not a difficult task. What was difficult was to turn the symbols I was reading from the music sheet into vibrations in real time so that the exact same rhythm could be reproduced.

Doing so properly called for recognizing the patterns in the arrangement of the said symbols in the music sheet. By varying the combinations, arrangement and rearrangements of a set of musical notes infinite patterns of rhythm are born into existence.

In a song, only a limited number of patterns exist. Moreover, usually they are repetitive albeit at a different pitch. Therefore, recognize them and focus your efforts on playing a handful of patterns well and you would be playing a large segment of the song correctly. See Image 1 below for example.

Having identified the patterns that were repeated in a song provided clarity to the mind. I was able to break them into smaller, shorter sections which added more clarity. Making it easier to practice hands separately.

Playing piano songs accurately

Accuracy in landing on the correct keys was gained by practicing hands separately. Smaller and shorter sections, with only the bass clef practiced with the left hand followed by only the treble clef practiced with the right hand reduced learning to play what was an overwhelming phrase into a surmountable objective.

Ballade Pour Adeline is not played with the fingers but with the movement of the wrists. Apply the wrists’ rotary rotation combined with the thrusts and circular movement of the arm to connect one key with another in an overlapping legato - releasing a key only after the next key has been played results in an overlapping legato.

The wrist has 2 ways to move - up down and side to side. The side to side movement is also known as lateral movement. Position the wrists at the same level as the arms with the arms parallel to the ground. Blend the wrists and tips of the fingers to make contact with the surface of the keys. Use the lateral movement of the wrists to adjust the position of the hands to land precisely on the correct keys as well as when lifting away from them after the following keys have been played, to create an overlapping legato.

Grasp the rhythm then seek to recreate it on the piano by identifying patterns that exist in the arrangement of notes in the music sheet. To do so accurately, in the beginning practice hands separately. Use the wrist's lateral movement to create an overlapping legato. Skillful use of the rotary and lateral movement of the wrists and thrusts of the arms allow for a focused and loose piano playing.

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