How to learn the piano by feel: grey day meditation. (Improvisation.)

I can’t stand “reading” music, I can’t stand sheet music, I can’t stand music lessons.

You too?

I can’t play by ear too well either, can’t sing on pitch and sometimes find it hard to tune a guitar (I can hear two tones are different, which the heck is higher?).

But I still love producing expressive sound.

And humans should always allow themselves to do that.

So I’ve decided to use what I have: hyperactive fingers (well yes, they need to fiddle ceaselessly), a good visual pattern memory (harmonic patterns) and an aspie obsession with theory in general (used to have bursts of studying music theory for fun, along with every other possible theory about the universe).

And just express my feelings about things …

… think about life by pressing piano keys.

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Grey day meditation

I’ll allow you to read my mind now, even if you don’t have psi: below are my musical thoughts on this grey morning that’s paying me company today.

(Warning: brace your ears if you are looking for melody or harmony. This is mostly about energy and mood (aka feels), and about tinkering and doodling in the soundscape to connect with this feeling of today.)

It’s a bit downbeat and contemplative.

If you’re on the brink of a depression, perhaps instead listen to the shorter playful piece that follows just below (on awaiting the rain).

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Short meditation on impending rain

Below are my thoughts, feelings and shapes on the rain that I sense coming.

(And yes, it came, and felt like that.)

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Do you hear music as texture, timbre and movement?

I’ve noticed a while ago (actually, in a music cognition class at HUJI) that there’s probably something different about the way I listen to music.

I can’t sing on pitch, hold rhythm too well (I was once told by an African djembe player that I’m the worst drummer he’s ever met), or avoid dissonant disharmonies. The funny thing is, that’s not what I listen for when I listen to music. I listen for … “energy“?

Timbre, mood, emotion, expression, texture, kinaesthetic patterns (since I’m a synaesthete and somehow feel everything as movement in space).

Think of sound as an energetic fingerprint of the moment. I don’t care if notes clash, if there’s no rhythm, as long as there’s motion and feeling. Like a voice.

Or a step, or a gesture.

Or a thought.

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Thoughts?

Do you listen to the energy in music? Have you ever tried playing by mood rather than ear or sheet?

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