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#1009368 - 11/28/07 12:54 PM Another raw beginner here, where to start?
zacster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 18
Loc: NYC
Hi all. I just plunked down a fairly large sum of money and bought a Yamaha G2 grand for my kids to play. They've been playing now for 5 years and are 11 year old twins and are pretty good if I say so myself.

Anyway, as a way to justify in my own head this purchase (ouch) I decided that I was going to learn. I have never taken any piano lessons, and don't know much more than where to find C on the keyboard, and C in a treble clef, well maybe a little more than that but nothing all that useful. I'm not looking to be a concert pianist of course, just enough that I can play a few classical pieces.

I see mention of the Alfred books, and I can pick those up, but anything else to recommend? I'm not going to use a teacher at the moment, mostly because we already are paying for the twins' lessons, cello lessons for my son, and electric guitar lessons for him as well. And on top of that one of the twins is also playing viola and wants viola lessons as well.

A CD or DVD course would be great so I can see/hear what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm going to head over to Colony music in Times Square to see what they have, but I won't buy anything until I hear back.

TIA for any help, and I'm sure I'll be here with questions as I go.

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#1009369 - 11/28/07 01:01 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
YD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 590
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Welcome to the forum, zacster!

Any adult beginner course would be a good place to start, Alfred books are just fine. There is a whole bunch of resources on the internet too; a basic understanding of staff, scales, etc. can be found here:
http://www.musictheory.net/
YAW; feel free to ask questions here ;\)
_________________________
Yuri
FWIW; YMMV

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#1009370 - 11/28/07 01:18 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
there's a Piano Handbook that i always recommend, which would be a good reference or method book for you. you can find it at amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Handbook-Com...96273875&sr=8-1

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#1009371 - 11/28/07 01:33 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
Triryche Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1451
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Welcome to the forum!!
Any possibility you could borrow one of the twins’ spot for a few lessons?
Just to make sure you have a few of the basics like posture and the like.

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#1009372 - 11/28/07 02:25 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
zacster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 18
Loc: NYC
I could probably squeeze a few lessons in with their teacher. I'm going to be picking the kids up there today so I'll ask.

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#1009373 - 11/28/07 03:58 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
PianoTeacherKim Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Kailua-Kona, HI
I always recommend getting the books with CD, if you're going to use Alfred's! I don't love ALL the recordings, but it's at least helpful to hear what you're going for with the songs. Take the tempos with a grain of salt!

One thing I can recommend is working on improvisational playing while you're learning to read music. Toward that end, Edward Weiss (Quiescence Music) has an online subscription lesson plan that's $9.95/month, and you can access all the lessons once you join. Each lesson is an improvisational song pattern, and he gives you not only keyboard charts and instructions but recordings of himself playing the songs. And, he's teaching you the theory as well.

His lessons are "new age style" playing, and might not be your cup of tea. But learning to improvise, just sit at the keyboard and play, is a great way to learn to trust yourself at the keyboard and build your confidence while you're learning to read.

Best,

Kim
_________________________
Find some help for stage fright and share what helps you -- Stage Fright Tips. Let's learn from each other!

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#1009374 - 11/28/07 04:19 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
bruceee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 317
Loc: Wellington, New Zealand
Twins, 11 years old, playing for five years? You have two piano teachers in the house \:\)

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#1009375 - 11/28/07 05:02 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
zacster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 18
Loc: NYC
I want to actually learn how to play, not argue with my kids. \:\)

But really, they are good at what they know, but I don't think they're ready to teach me.

And as I think about taking a few lessons from their teacher I realize that it might make the kids uncomfortable. In a way it is better that they know something I don't. It keeps them motivated.

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#1009376 - 11/28/07 06:01 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
bruceee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 317
Loc: Wellington, New Zealand
You'd probably be a difficult pupil \:\) Of course, if it leads to arguments, then it's a non starter.

But your kids might be delighted. Ask them a question. In explaining things to you, and maybe researching together, they too will learn something. Look on it as a group learning journey.

It will reinforce the fact that they know more than you. They will feel smart, and they may be even better motivated to keep a few steps ahead of you. Motivation all round \:\)

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#1009377 - 11/28/07 07:01 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
Gomsb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 73
Loc: Kansas City, MO
My daughter who has been taking lessons for over a year now, is only going to charge me $5 a lesson since I am already paying for hers. I'm definately feeling the love.

The wife plays as well so you guessed it, we are waiting on the 3rd paino to get here.
_________________________
Half the people you meet during the day are below average.

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#1009378 - 11/28/07 08:32 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
Steve W Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/07
Posts: 249
Loc: Omaha, NE
 Quote:
Originally posted by zacster:


I'm not going to use a teacher at the moment, mostly because we already are paying for the twins' lessons, cello lessons for my son, and electric guitar lessons for him as well. And on top of that one of the twins is also playing viola and wants viola lessons as well.
[/b]
You are certainly doing your part to keep music teachers in business! Still, I would strongly suggest you find a way to pay for your own teacher. Better to learn good habits right from the start rather than pick up bad habits you have to unlearn.

Think of the great music your family will be able to make together down the road! My wife is learning the violin, 11-year-old son is learning the cello, so together we have a built-in trio! Great fun.
_________________________
Steve W
Omaha, NE

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#1009379 - 11/28/07 09:07 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
apple cheek Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 26
Loc: Seoul, South Korea
It is just so charming only to think about you playing with your children. But I yet prefer you ask your children's teacher to teach you little bit when you start playing piano.

In my experience, I was not taught properly first time when I started learing, and it made me several bad habits. It did not bother me when I was playing just for fun. However when I became capable of play other stuffs and when I wanted to be good at it, the bad habits became big obtacle for me. I am having real hard time to correct it.

I think it is because I did not get the lesson from experienced sophisticated teacher. It probably had been better if I had proper lessons. Although you might think you are just learning it for fun, there is chance you might regret it. So IMO I suggest you take proper lesson from experienced teacher when you start - learning from your children or computer might not check your performance perfectly or personally.

If you can not yet hire yourself a teacher, I think the best way to learn is to listen to the good musics and learn basic music grammars. By doing so, I guess you might become a perfectly ready student, and you will sometime be able to play well. \:\)
_________________________
It is, of course, a man that would be around us til the end. However, it is music that would be with us constantly, that never betrays us.

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#1009380 - 11/29/07 09:11 AM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
Donna R. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 794
Welcome zacster,

As you mention classical, you might want to take a look at John Thompson's Modern Piano Course. I picked up the first volume recently because someone on the forums had recommended the pieces in there for sightreading practice. But I'm now using it as a method book. I wish I'd started off with it instead of Adult Piano Adventures (which my first teacher used, but I didn't find very satisfactory) and Alfred's (which I switched to for a while after reading about it on the forum, but also didn't suit me particularly well). I think I'd have been much further along than I am. (I'm mostly self-taught, BTW, though I took about 4 months of lessons this summer with a teacher who didn't use a method book.) Thompson's isn't the easiest course out there, but if your principal interest is classical, it's the best I've seen.

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#1009381 - 11/29/07 11:55 AM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
zacster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 18
Loc: NYC
Thanks everyone for the advice.

I spoke to their teacher yesterday and signed up for lessons with her starting in January. One option she gave me is to come immediately following the kids' lessons, but they just groaned because they'd have to wait. I'm going at a different time without them.

In the meantime I'm going to use the Alfreds book to familiarize myself a bit. I was doing the exercise on key recognition on musictheory.net mentioned above and kept at it until I could do 98% over 100 tries. Is there an exercise in sight reading like that somewhere?

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#1009382 - 11/29/07 12:11 PM Re: Another raw beginner here, where to start?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Google: Piano Music Sight Reading Practice

This site is very helpful to beginners in learning to read notation. It is by Jason Harlow.

You can save it to your favorites and have it readily available.

Good for you! You can have your own private time with your teacher without the kids around, you deserve it! That was a very good idea! Having quiet time yourself before and after a lesson helps the brain dwell on the lesson you have taken. It's a good idea to go home and practice the lesson on your piano (in solitude) after your lessons, if you can.

Best wishes!

Betty

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