Opening doors: Ideal Mental and Emotional States
The best environment for exploring your own potential is one in which there is no concern about “right” and “wrong.” Nothing is more stifling than the feeling of worry over making a mistake. Therefore, let’s figure out how to dispose of that feeling. Probably the best way is for you to spend time with an instrument – maybe starting with a piano or keyboard – in a room by yourself. It is too easy for another person to become a presence that unwittingly introduces some kind of pressure. If it is just you and the piano, you will lose that feeling of having to explain, justify or ask permission.
The next step would be to get rid of any timepieces or at least not look at them. A musical safari should be given as much time as it needs, and the longer, the better! It’s like getting to know another person – the more time you spend, the better you will get to know him.
If you have gotten your hands on a piano or keyboard, think of it as a friendly puppy that wants you to play with it. I have never seen a piano growl or bite anyone, yet you would think, from the trepidation with which many people approach it, that that is exactly their concern. The piano loves you – it is begging to be explored, so go on – Tickle the ivories!
1. Find the 3 notes C, D and E:
Using only those 3 notes, start on E and try to figure out the first 7 notes of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The next “Little lamb” uses only one of those notes 3X. The third “Little lamb” lives in the notes E and G.
Challenge: “Its fleece was white as snow” begins on E. Good luck!
2. The Perfect Fifth is an interval. That means that 2 notes are played at the same time, in this case 5 notes apart. It is one of the most elemental sounds in music, producing a sound that speaks to many cultures and evokes something primal.
Here is how you find it. Play these 2 notes together:
Try making up a rhythm for it, for example, long – short-short, long – short-short. Starting to sound familiar?
Can you find the sound of the Perfect Fifth anywhere else on the keyboard? (Hint: Start with the note next to C and the Note next to G together)
Challenge: If a fifth is 2 notes, 5 notes apart that are played together, can you find a third? A fourth?
3. Experiment with playing only the black keys. Try them in order, out of order, and playing more than one note at a time. Invite a trusted friend to play some of the blacks while you are playing others. The black keys have the magical property of sounding pleasant no matter what you do to them.
Trusted friend plays these 2 notes, together or separately in a nice rhythm:
At the same time, YOU make up a tune on any black keys above ( to the right of) those.
Voila – an improvisation!
© Meryl Danziger 2004