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Popular Piano Lessons: The Rose - A Section

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We're gonna introduce some really
cool things with this next song, The Rose.
We're gonna first switch the melody so
that the melody's in your left hand, and
your right hand is playing
the accompaniment.
It's nice and slow so it shouldn't
be difficult to learn the notes, and
that gives us the perfect opportunity
to introduce the magic secret sauce
of playing the piano.
We're going to be adding the damper pedal.
This is a very special effect that makes
the piano really just sound like magic and
come to life.
I'm gonna show you some
really secret tips and
tricks to make sure that
your pedaling is perfect.
It's connected well, and has no breaks.
And, I'm gonna try to introduce some
really good habits, right from the get go.
Please learn this carefully, because if
you can get this technique down right now,
when learn advanced pedaling later on,
you're gonna have no problems whatsoever.
And you can apply the same technique
really to any piece you work on
from here on out.
So I'm really excited to show you the
secrets of using the pedal with The Rose.
One very important concept I want you to
understand as we study The Rose is
the fact that the G clef is not just for
the right hand and
the F clef is not just for the left hand.
Remember the clefs are really used to
help us understand where the notes
are in a range, okay?
So if the whole song is higher you might
want to use both hands in the G clef.
And in this case that's exactly
what's going to happen.
The other interesting thing I want
to introduce you to is the fact
that sometimes the melody
is not in the right hand.
Most of the time it will be, but
in this particular instance, the melody
will be actually played by the left hand.
It's kind of a neat effect.
All right, so don't get thrown off by the
fact that we're now starting with the left
hand playing in the G clef.
In fact this will probably be really
good for your reading skills,
to get you really comfortable with a G
clef after working through this piece.
So, left hand.
I almost said right hand there.
Left hand.
Let's start with your first notes.
You're starting on middle C.
Again, the lowest note on
our G clef staff is E.
And this is ledger line below that,
which is a C over here.
And that's where we start.
And this is tied to the next note.
Then you move on.
Same note here.
And again, another tie.
Here's an eighth rest,
which gives us a little bit of a break.
Same note
is an eighth note,
moves on quickly to the C.
the same note.
All right.
Let's just play through that again.
Just to get comfortable.
It probably feels a little weird
to be looking at the G clef and
seeing your left hand playing those notes.
So give this a try.
One more time.
Left hand fourth finger
starting on middle C here.
Two and tie.
Tie break.
three, and four.
Good, so
that's the left hand playing the melody.
Now we're gonna take a look at
the accompaniment in the right hand, and
we're gonna be taking a look at
something very, very special.
Okay, same G clef but the right hand
is be playing notes that
are going to be higher.
So we're towards the top
of the staff line here.
Lets take a look at this.
Lets find our notes.
Ew great big dog.
Fur and this note is gonna be
a little above that which is
gonna be a G space skip down,
another space and this is a C.
So play these two notes together, G and C.
Now, four of them.
[SOUND] And then the tops stays the same,
the bottom note moves down to B.
notice that both notes now move down one.
Play three of those then we
move back up to this, and
now you collapse a little bit by
coming back to a C with your thumb.
Okay, so let's just play that through
one more time, just the notes.
Okay, not too hard, not too bad.
Now what's interesting is that,
well maybe not so interesting actually.
It doesn't sound very good, does it?
If you play the same note and
you have to play the same note again,
you naturally have to lift your hand or
your finger,to repeat it.
If you don't lift it,
you're not gonna be able to play it again.
Well, it kinda sounds a little dry,
doesn't it?
This is where we introduce our
special sauce, the magic of the piano.
And I can't wait to teach this to you.
We're gonna be using the damper pedal.
Take a look at your piano or keyboard.
If you look down the pedal that
we're gonna be using the most,
will be the one on the very far right.
If you're working with an acoustic
piano you may see two or three pedals.
Don't worry about the left two pedals,
we'll talk about those later.
If you're working on a digital piano
you may see one or two pedals.
If you only have one chances are it
will be the pedal that we need.
If you also have two pedals ignore
the one on the left it will be the one on
the far right.
If you have to connect your pedals for the
very first time to a keyboard, look for
the connection jack that goes into
something like pedal one or damper.
We want the damper pedal.
In a nutshell, what is a damper pedal?
Well a damper pedal,
when I push it down on an acoustic piano,
there are series of black dampers.
What does a damper do?
It dampens the sound.
There is a black mechanism, our hammer,
it's actually stops the string.
It's a piece of felt underneath
a little wooden block.
And when I push the peddle down,
it lifts all the dampers all at once.
Now, when I'm playing one note [SOUND] and
I let go of it,
the sound stops because what's
happening is as I release the note,
there's a damper block that comes down and
stops the string from vibrating.
When I push the damper pedal down,
it lifts that mechanism so
there's nothing now coming down to stop
those strings, and you have this wonderful
This is the magic of the piano.
This is what makes notes connect.
It's what makes your piano ring and
So let's take a look at adding the damper
pedal to this simple little passage.
Now right off the bat,
I'm gonna teach you
a very special technique,
a super secret technique.
If you get this right, you will never
have problems using the pedal ever.
The trick is in this really weird timing
thing that I'm gonna show you okay?
so pay attention.
So basically,
there are two positions in the pedal.
Push down and lift it up.
Push down, lift it up.
Couple of little tips I wanna have for
you for using your pedal.
Try not to lift your whole
knee when lifting the pedal.
We really wanna have lots of control, so
you wanna keep your heel planted on
the ground to operate the pedal.
See how I'm doing that?
We don't wanna do this.
Again, I wanna use as few muscles as
possible to give me more speed and
The other thing you wanna keep in
mind is when you release the pedal,
try not to let it jump off like that.
Because what happens is you're
gonna get this ugly little snap,
especially if you're working
on an acoustic piano.
When you release,
you're gonna learn, hopefully,
over time as you practice using the pedal.
You release just enough, so that you
feel or hear where the sound stops.
When you get to the top of your pedal and
then keep your foot lightly touching
the pedal without pushing it down.
Takes a little bit of practice, but try
to see how your pedal operates and feels.
Now in some digital pianos or
some electronic pianos,
the pedal will simply be an on and
off switch.
So you push it, it's on.
You let go, it's off.
That's the easiest to use.
On an acoustic piano, believe it or not,
you can actually have gradations where you
have maybe half the pedal, full pedal,
half pedal and the pedal off.
So you can actually control that full
distance between the very bottom and
the very top when it's completely engaged.
So you might wanna experiment with that.
And again, but whenever you let go,
try to learn where the top of that pedal
is without having to fly off
your foot,Okay, as you can see.
All right?
So for now, for simple purposes, down up,
down up.
Now the little thing I want you to
remember is called an up, down, up, down.
What do I mean by that?
When I play the piano with my hand,
I'm coming down on the keys
with my hands or my fingers.
Down and then I have to lift up
before I play the note again.
What I want you to be careful
of is not pushing your pedal and
your hand at the same time,
your body is going to have
a bit of a synchronizing issue.
It's kind of a symbiotic relationship
between your hand and your foot.
Basically, what that means
is if your hand comes down,
your foot is gonna want to feel
like coming down at the same time.
It's a natural physiological tendency.
You put your hand down,
your foot wants to come down.
We don't want to do that with the pedal.
So I came up with the phrase, up, down.
Up, down.
So here's how it works.
When I push the keys down with my hand,
my foot has to come up, down.
See what I'm doing?
And as long as [SOUND]
I'm holding the note and
catching the pedal with my hand,
I can sustain the sound.
Now, let me play two of these in a row and
you can see exactly how this works.
Ready and up, down.
The pedal will come down after
your hand plays the note.
We're gonna play it again and
as soon as I play it,
I'm gonna let go of the pedal.
Up, down.
You see how that works?
Up, down.
As long as my foot is pushing the pedal
down, the sound will continue to ring.
The moment I lift it up,
the sound will stop.
This is what I want you to avoid.
See if I'm lifting my hand and
my foot at the same time,
I'm not getting the benefit
of be able to sustain the sound between
two of the same repeated notes.
But if I do this, [SOUND] push
the pedal down right after the note.
Keep it held and don't let go
until the note actually sounds.
Now let me play it a little bit faster,
so you can hear how the sustain works.
See how that works?
It's a little bit tricky, but if you can
get used to this and make this a habit...
You will always have
perfectly connected,
pedaled notes.
So in our next lesson, let's take a look
at applying the pedal to a whole sequence.
When we start this piece,
I actually want you to push
your pedal down first,
and keep it held down.
That'll have the effects, so that the very
first note [SOUND] is already ringing.
And if you're working
on an acoustic piano,
this has the effect of opening up the
sound board, so that the whole instrument,
all of the other strings
are actually resonating together,
not just those two notes,
[SOUND] believe it or not.
In any case, put your pedal down, and
let's try the same sequence
that we just looked at.
And this time we're gonna add pedaling,
we're gonna change the pedal,
the very first note of every measure.
So, let's take a look at how this works.
My pedal is pushed down.
And before I even play, I'm just gonna
keep my foot pushed on that damper pedal.
Ready, here we go, and.
So I'm not gonna use the pedal on the very
[SOUND] Now, as I get ready to
change to the next measure.
I'm gonna lift up, remember up, down.
[SOUND] Up, down.
And then up, down.
Up, down.
Now one more really critical thing to
remember, is that your hand
needs to hold long enough for
the pedal to clear the sound
of the previous measure,
as well as catch the current
sound of the present chord.
Here's what happens if you don't do that.
So let's say, [SOUND] I've started it.
And I don't hold the note long enough.
[SOUND] See what happens?
There's nothing for the pedal to catch.
[SOUND] So you have to hold it long enough
for the pedal to catch the note,
before letting it go.
Make sense?
So just, all you need to think about is
hold the note as long as you can in your
hand, up, down, don't lift up
the pedal before the note plays.
And you're gonna come down as quickly
as you can after the note plays,
while the hand is still holding the note.
So one more time, pushing the pedal.
[SOUND] We're gonna start off over here.
And we're gonna change here, ready, and
up, down.
Holding my hand, so I can catch it
with my foot before letting go.
Up, down, holding.
See that?
Up, down.
So, practice that.
It's gonna feel a little awkward.
And of course I'm
exaggerating the motions, so
you can see how much I'm lifting,
so I'm breaking my own rule.
But eventually,
let me show you how it looks like
when you don't have to exaggerate.
So I'm gonna show you,
what professional pedaling looks like,
so to speak.
Okay, Ready?
it's a very
subtle motion.
Can you see me pedaling?
It's pretty, you can just see
a little flicker of my foot.
That's how subtle the motion is.
It takes practice.
But again, get started.
You've got the secret to
pedal exactly the right way.
We're just gonna practice that, and
in fact after we learn this piece,
one of the challenges I'm gonna have for
you is go back to the previous
pieces that we've learned.
And then add pedaling to those, as well.
I think you're gonna realize that, wow,
the songs they sound pretty good
when you add the pedal to them.
They sound amazing.
So now, let's apply both hands
together with the pedal.
Woo, it's like playing with three hands.
All right,
let's put it all together.
Right hand, left hand, and the pedal.
As I said before,
I recommend you push the pedal down and
have it held before you can
play the very first notes.
Right hand,
you're starting on a G and a C.
Then, you're going to
come in on a C down here.
So start again, pushing the pedal down,
and keep it held down.
Keep the pedal held.
Left hand comes in here.
Ready, and up, down.
Notice i'm holding the notes.
Up, down.
Up, down.
Up, down.
It might be a little much to throw
all three elements in together.
So, let's try it one
time without the pedal so
that you can see how your
hands are being played.
And then we will do it
again with the pedal.
All right, so just the hands alone,
no pedal
See how dry it sounds?
Left hand comes in here.
It's tied here,
it's tied here, and you come
in after that, move this right hand
Tie left hand, so
don't play the next note.
And now, you have a little break.
Let's just do that much there, okay?
So, now you understand how the notes
are fitting together between the hands.
Now, let's add the pedal
back in one more time.
Push your pedal down,
right hand, let's give it a try.
Up down.
Up down.
Up down.
Now, I'm exaggerating my foot.
Normally, you wouldn't
lift it as much as I am.
I'm just trying to show you.
It can be very hard to see if
I'm pedaling the proper way.
But just try to keep that in mind,
try not to lift your foot [LAUGH]
As high as I'm doing right now.
I'm just trying to illustrate
the timing of the foot to your hands.
There's one little part that's a little
tricky, because your left hand is playing
some fast notes, and
you have to pedal in between them.
That's in measure number four.
So let me kind of go into that.
This is measure number three.
If you're really uncomfortable
with the pedal, you can do this.
Up down.
You see what I just did?
I put, with this fourth measure,
I can lift up my foot for
the very first note, and then come
down on the second note if I want to.
The way you should do it is, up, down,
before you play the second
note of the left hand.
[SOUND] Let me play that in context for
you, slowly, ready.
Here's the pedal up down.
Now this is the proper way to pedal
quickly enough that you catch that
eighth note before moving on.
It can be tricky, though.
So, if you're not comfortable with that,
you can simply lift up on the first eighth
note, and
come down on the second eighth note.
So let me show you
the alternate way to pedal.
This is the alternate way.
You can do this, up down.
See what I did?
So I coordinated the pedal
with the two notes, okay?
So if you're uncomfortable and if your
foot doesn't move as fast as you'd like,
time your pedaling so that it lifts
up on the first eighth note and
then comes down on the second eighth note.
Just make sure you hold, the other hand,
while you change your pedal.
Okay, now we're gonna hear the melody
one more time but slightly different.
We've been using just eighth notes,
half notes.
Now we're gonna be introduced
to the sixteenth note.
The sixteenth note is simply,
looks almost the same as an eighth
note except it has an extra beam.
Two beams instead of just one for
the eighth note.
So, it's twice as fast.
So let's take a look at
the end of measure six.
Start with the fourth finger on a C,
and then you have these two notes.
It's basically an embellishment.
The original melody went to
C, D, E.
Very simple.
The second time it comes as
so it's a little fancier.
So that's how the rhythm kind of sounds.
All right?
And then it's tied.
Tie, and
after that it's pretty much
the same as what you just learned.
So, let's put this in
context with our right hand,
let's do it first without the pedal so
you can understand the rhythm.
So let's start from the measure six.
Okay here we go.
We just finished the end of that
first melody, now here we go.
See how that rhythm goes?
Okay so
those two notes are quite fast, all right?
And the rest of it is the same.
Okay let's
just do up to there.
Now let's put it together
with our pedaling.
Okay so let's just put our pedal down.
And as we play the first beginning of
measure six, let's change the pedal, okay.
Up down.
Don't lift the pedal before the notes.
Up down.
Up, down.
Up, down.
One more tendency,
I just want to give you
more pedalling advice.
The better you can get at working
the pedal with your piano,
the more musical it's gonna sound.
Be careful that you don't move the rest
of your body while you're pedaling.
Again, the key thing is to isolate just
the muscles you need to operate this.
If you're moving the rest of
your body to coordinate that,
that'll actually throw your arms off,
your fingers off, and basically,
you wont' have as much
speed to change your pedal.
And believe it or not, later on,
as we get to the intermediate and
advanced lessons, your foot is gonna
need to move pretty quickly, okay,
to change the pedals in some
advanced pedaling technique.
So let's learn some good habits now.
As you change,
don't exaggerate like I'm doing.
But change.
Hold the pedal and up, down.
Try to really stay relaxed with
the rest of your body as you change.
Up, down.
Try not to jump down.
Try not to lift your knee.
Lift your leg.
Just keep your heel down.
Keep your leg relaxed and
just focus on just the balls of your foot.
Holding on to that pedal and up, down,
very light controlled motions, okay?