Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Maple Leaf Rag for Beginners

Just how hard can it be? Scott Joplin's iconic ditty is etched into the minds of classical music buffs the world over but what exactly does it take to be able to play it?

It's this basic question that prompted me (who cannot play the piano) to embark on a musical experiment extraviganza. Just how much time and effort would it take for a 'non-pianist' to polish this merry little tune. And so begins a journey which will end, hopefully in me being a whole £100 pounds richer as my wife seems fairly adamant that I can hardly scale the back door step let alone this musical masterpiece. Little does she know I have a very precise plan of attack: As follows.

1. Obtain the music. (already done thanks to

2. Obtain some kind of suitable instrument (I'm working on this: Serious offers greatly appreciated on

3. Find out what 'key' its in (its got four little 'b's on the music... once again for answers from all you 'muso's') Once I know the key, I will begin practicing the 'scale' unless I don't have a piano, in which case I'll practice in the apple store on their's...

4. Locate a patient, kind-hearted piano teacher who voluntarily will surrender their time teaching a complete beginner a piece of music that's on the 'Trinity Syllabus' at grade 8... Whatever that means.

5. Ply said individual with alcohol and anything else within reason until they agree to oversee this wonderful feat of human achievement.

6. Practice every day.

7. Weekly reassess my progress.

8. After I can play half, take a month out to ponder my achievement thus far (and prepare myself for the really difficult bit).

9. Attain note perfect recital abilities.

10. Perform in public. Become world famous and possibly audition for a TV talent competition where my unique abilities can be appropriately demonstrated.

And so, I begin the task. I've given myself six months to do all this which by my reckoning will allow me to learn 180 notes if I learn one a day. That means that even where you press more than one button at once, I should still be able to learn it... Eventually...

Updates to follow!