Last year I posted about my New Year's resolutions, and while they were really good things to do and I did pretty well with them...I am taking a different approach this year. This year my New Year's resolution is just one thing. This past year has taught me a valuable lesson, which is sometimes too much of a good thing(s) can be bad. The more items you toss onto the "pile of things to do" the more things that used to be fun or side projects become too much like work and not so much fun. I'm going to try to avoid that pitfall this year.
My single goal this year is to boost my piano playing skills to a whole other level, one I have tried and never successfully reached. I've been playing some kind of a keyboarded instrument since I was 10 years-old (be that an organ, piano or keyboard). I took lessons up until I got into college and at that point my teacher told me I knew everything I needed to know from him and learning the rest was up to me. I can play almost anything on the piano and I do mean almost anything. The problem is I can't read sheet music at a level that equals my playing ability. I can sight read up to a point, but I can't sight read anything beyond a simple melody line and a few bass notes or chords. I memorize very quickly, so I used that ability as a crutch against my poor music reading skills.
I've been playing piano and keyboards for my church for the past 10 years or so now, so I have kept playing in some capacity. In fact, playing for church forced me to re-learn how to play all over again in that I had to learn to improvise. I was taught how to play in the classical sense, so giving me a lead sheet and telling me to follow along was like dropping me alone on the surface of an alien planet. But over the years I got better and better at improvisation. But now I want something more.
So over my nice long break from work over the holidays I have been doing a lot of piano playing. I have found some pretty promising iOS apps to help me improve my music reading skills and plan to finally push my reading skills up to where they should be. I won't be able to do this overnight, but slowly over time I will get there. I also want to get better about chord structures and scales and bring that into my weekly church playing.
I'm hoping that by keeping my New Year's resolution to one thing I will be able to focus a little more on it and finally get the playing improvements I have been looking for.