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#1013371 - 02/11/05 06:14 AM Piano Magic website
hmr516 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Merrick, Ny
Has anyone here purchased this course. I am a beginner who has never played a note, and it looked interesting. If anyone one here has actually used this course, I would appreciate an explanation of how it works, and what methods are used to teach someone with no piano experience. Also, would they feel that a course like this is better then purchasing some beginner books on my own. I would like to learn some basics before I look for a piano teacher. Thanks.

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#1013372 - 02/11/05 08:45 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Bob331 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 135
Loc: NY

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#1013373 - 02/11/05 10:37 AM Re: Piano Magic website
hmr516 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Merrick, Ny
Thanks, but I would still like information of the Piano Magic course if anyone has any.

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#1013374 - 02/11/05 10:43 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
There's a discussion of Piano Magic (and others) here:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/32/554.html
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#1013375 - 02/11/05 11:30 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi

It works for me...works for hundreds of others too...loads of fun ...makes playing piano a lot easier than you ever thought possible

Will make those who have struggled with piano for years ...cry...when they finally get the bigger picture and learn how music thinks.

Ever wanted to sit down infront of family and friends and just play and play and play...tune after tune after tune...then Mike and the members will help you reach that goal!


NO...I'M NOT ON COMMISSION...before someone else asks...okay \:D ...LOL


I've said this to "markb" already... I've been a member there for about 16 months and have never had so much fun in my life (and the offer is extended to anyone else who wants to hear how I play in such a short space of time? ...just email me and I will gladly send you my latest midis for you to hear)


regards


Lee
_________________________
Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013376 - 02/11/05 11:34 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
While I got your ear (again), Lee, what do you think the minimum daily practice time is to get any substantial benefit from Pianomagic? I could probably get about 1/2 hour a day to non-lesson material. Is that enough?
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#1013377 - 02/11/05 12:17 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi mark \:D


1/2 an hour is fine...Mark it ain't like anything you have ever read before...it is so simple I cannot believe no-one has realized it before.

The big problem you will face though is that *YOU* won't want to play for only 1/2 hour a day...you will be like me like a child again just wanting to play and play and play ( which is not too good on your marriage though! ;\) )

Mark...I am trying my best to not make it sound "too good to be true" (and I know I am not doing too well in that respect \:o )because I know there are so many things in all walks of life that always seem that way ...and I have been duped into so many get rich quick schemes and bought into other things that have been a total waste of money for me \:\(

I am going to stop harping on about it ...you've heard the way I play and you liked it and that is honestly from nowhere to how I play today.

So its up to you ...I promise I'll be one of the many members there who'll welcome you into our secret world of playing piano easily and with more fun than you are ever going to believe!


regards


Lee


regards
_________________________
Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013378 - 02/11/05 12:23 PM Re: Piano Magic website
hmr516 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Merrick, Ny
I hear everything you all say, but no one here has yet described in any kind of detail exactly as to what is involved. It may be new, it may be revolutionary, it may allow you to dance when you practice, or even learm while you sleep, but it would be nice if someone who uses that method to actually explain a little bit exactly how it works, what methods are used, what types of things should be practiced, etc. Thanks again.

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#1013379 - 02/11/05 12:57 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi hmr516

I think Mike describes it better than I ever could :-

Scales do NOT sound like music. Playing scales too early (if ever) may actually hamper your progress at playing the music you can hum, whistle or sing.

Music is based on chords...not scales. As a result, scales do not sound like the tunes we hum, whistle or sing...chords do!

Hundreds of songs share the exact same chord pattern, and can be played with the exact same left hand movements from one song to the next. If you can play the left hand to just ONE of these songs, you can play the left hand to ALL of them.

Some chord patterns make it nearly impossible to play a wrong tone.
Even the tunes of many songs are similar...and sometimes they are identical.


When you understand how chords work, you'll be able to THINK like music.When you think like music, you can play most songs, with both hands, the first time you try ...even if you have never played before! How is this possible? It's magic...Piano Magic! It changed my life; it can change your life, too!

that about covers it I think \:D


My bit...

You will learn how and why chords move through a song so that you can see the similarities between many, many, many songs

You will learn rhythm patterns to supplement your melody and how to play them both hands together

You can have daily help if you need it from Mike and all the members to get you to where you want to be.

Within the private members section there is lots of overhead video and audio demonstrations to help you get *it!*... that, is all put together by Mike for his members.

I can't or don't want to force you to join...okay? the decision is yours ...I play that way and love it..thats really all I can say about it.

If you play really well already, enjoy reading sheet music, have found a great teacher, can play loads of songs at the drop of a hat, have fun already and find playing the piano easy don't join...if you don't have any of the above? do!


Lee
_________________________
Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013380 - 02/11/05 01:52 PM Re: Piano Magic website
hmr516 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Merrick, Ny
Thanks for the answer, which basically was a repeat of the info as detailed on the website. I guess no one here can be more specific. The website was not very specific either. Thanks anyway.

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#1013381 - 02/11/05 02:04 PM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
I haven't signed up for the course yet, so I'm not promoting anything. However, if you want specific answers, go to the source. E-mail Mike Anderson (the Pianomagic guy) and ask questions. He responded to my e-mails quite in-depth. Basically, you're learning chord patterns that are common in popular music. There are other courses that teach them, too. Obviously, since they're selling their wares, the creators aren't going to tell you exactly what to do, but I've found that they're very willing to give you an idea of what the courses entail.
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#1013382 - 02/11/05 02:10 PM Re: Piano Magic website
leebea Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/20/05
Posts: 173
Loc: Peoria, Arizona (formerly MA)
Speaking ONLY for me, my problem with the self teaching methods after trying a couple of books is (1)my lack of self discipline (to practice regularly) and (2) not hving somenoe to ask questions of when not sure of something. Personally, I am thrilled that I gave up trying to self teach to having a teacher.
I suspect that on-line methods provide a mechanism for you to ask questions.
_________________________
Lee B.

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#1013383 - 02/11/05 03:58 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Lee B

quote:-

"I suspect that on-line methods provide a mechanism for you to ask questions."

er...hello?...yes the online member only forum where you can ask all the questions your little heart desires

hey... hmr?

as the saying goes ;-

You can only lead a horse to water you can't make it drink ;\)

you either believe me or you don't... its up to you?

either way I sure hope your piano playing gives you as much pleasure as mine does me \:D


Lee
_________________________
Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013384 - 02/11/05 10:24 PM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
O.K., so now I have signed up. (Money means nothing to me.) My extremely early impressions:

Yes, its a real site, with lessons and a forum.
It is definitely directed at the person who wants to play popular songs, for fun, by ear.
It seems to be directed at the complete beginner as far as playing by ear (as opposed to sight reading or playing classical music.) The site owner seems friendly and responsive, but the forum is smaller than I expected.

What remains to be seen is if it gets far enough beyond the bare basics such that I will feel I got my money's worth. Could go either way.

Doug
_________________________
"The secret to staying calm in a crisis is not having all the facts."

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#1013385 - 02/12/05 01:08 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Well done Doug \:D

I am looking forward to hearing about your journey and experiences and the lightbulbs switching on!

and hearing your tunes in the recital hall! \:\)

Just one teeny correction though Doug...it is actually directed at the person who wants to play the songs that he or she actually likes! ;\) ...how kool is that?


regards

Lee \:\)

P.S.

I've just said hello to you over there...check it out \:D


P.P.S.

It can only go one way ;\) You've just bought yourself a whole years worth of piano lessons and support make sure you use it! ;\)
_________________________
Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013386 - 02/12/05 05:45 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Alright, Doug, I want a minute-by-minute update. So what's the latest report look like?

And what do you mean when you say it's geared toward people who want to play for fun (as opposed to for profit)?
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#1013387 - 02/12/05 06:10 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Balladeer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/05
Posts: 171
Hello, All

My name is Tim, but they call me "Balladeer" over at Pianomagic.com. I had to visit just to see what Seaside Lee was up to - and what you all are up to! From what I've read most of you sound much like me up until a year ago...having a big desire to play piano and not knowing exactly which road to take. Actually, I was past that intersection and had basically given up and relegated myself to trying to enjoy just listening to classical piano....that's when I stumbled onto PianoMagic.

Seaside Lee isn't paying me much, so I'll be brief. Try it, you'll like it. It's like nothing else out there.

Balladeer

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#1013388 - 02/12/05 08:55 AM Re: Piano Magic website
hmr516 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Merrick, Ny
I am anxiously awaiting updates from people like Doug. I would love to know their feelings after being a member there for a week. Thanks.

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#1013389 - 02/12/05 09:45 AM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
oops- double post
Doug
_________________________
"The secret to staying calm in a crisis is not having all the facts."

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#1013390 - 02/12/05 09:47 AM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by markb:


And what do you mean when you say it's geared toward people who want to play for fun (as opposed to for profit)? [/b]
Quasi-serious answer: I mean for fun as opposed to competitively. A course like this isn't going to help you with your Chopin, and your piano teacher may smack you with a ruler if you do it in front of her. To me, the potential fun is having a favorite tune in my head, and being able to sit down a play a non-embarrassing version of it just for a hoot. (I may even sing if no ones around.)

Usual smarta** answer: I certainly still intend to make a profit with my playing. I envision myself down in the lounge of the Pasadena Hilton, pounding out "feelings" for the adoring, slightly drunk matrons.

Doug
_________________________
"The secret to staying calm in a crisis is not having all the facts."

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#1013391 - 02/12/05 09:55 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
It's definitely not for classical music. In fact, of the popular music courses I've seen, they've all been pretty upfront about that. If you want to play classical music, this ain't it.

Regarding making a profit (or making some spare change) from your playing, that seems more reasonable from a course like this (or Sudnow), which concentrates on solo piano playing. Your drunk matron fantasy may yet be fulfilled.
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#1013392 - 02/12/05 03:49 PM Re: Piano Magic website
pianomagic Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/11/05
Posts: 7
Loc: Alpharetta, Georgia, U.S.A.
I don't usually do this (post on other piano forums), but your recent discussions have generated quite a flow of email my direction...almost tooooo much. So, here I am. Let’s yak:

 Quote:
Originally posted by markb:
...what do you think the minimum daily practice time is to get any substantial benefit from Pianomagic? [/b]
Hi Mark,
It doesn't work that way. If you would enjoy playing and applying PianoMagic for 2 minutes, do 2 minutes. If you would enjoy more time, do more time. If you cannot E*N*J*O*Y your time at the keyboard, go do something else. Why? To be ‘really, really GOOD’ at whatever interests you, ya gotta find the PASSION for it!

Without ‘passion’ the playing of music remains only a ‘motion’. With ‘passion’ the playing of music becomes an ‘Emotion’; it becomes an inspiration, which leads to greater creativity, which leads to more personal expression and growth, which is FUN...and leads directly back to feed the ‘passion’.

Whether it’s playing piano, bowling, cooking, writing or whatever, to become outstanding you must...Must..MUST LOVE DOING IT! To become good you only have to like doing it. If it isn’t FUN, it won’t be done! {THAT is the story of my life}.

Whether you play the music of Beethoven or Hank Williams, ya gotta have FUN to keep doing it minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month and yEAR by yEAR!

Back to your question, “what’s the minimum daily practice time?” For ME, when the FUN stops...I stop! {I have been known to play as much as 18 hours a day. Not required or advised; but I’m addicted beyond hope!}

 Quote:
Originally posted by hmr516:
I hear everything you all say, but no one here has yet described in any kind of detail exactly as to what is involved...it would be nice if someone who uses that method to actually explain a little bit exactly how it works, what methods are used, what types of things should be practiced, etc. Thanks again. [/b]
Hi hmr516,
‘It’ works according to how YOU ‘think’. What you’ll be ‘thinking’ is the logical association between Major chords, Minor chords and all their ‘Cousin Chords’. Being able to THINK chords is your key to success in PianoMagic.

Anybody can play chords, but it seems few people know why they learned chords. The truth is, if you know chords, you already can play by ear. If you can’t play by ear already, it’s because you don’t know chords.

What method is used?
(1) You’ll simplify brain activity and body movement enough to experience the common sense logic of chord movement, combined with moment-by-moment ‘listening’ to the sounds you create.

(2) You’ll learn the most common patterns of rhythmic movement I use as a professional performer. With these Left hand patterns, you’ll be able to provide movement and interest to accompany a melody.

(3) As you learn to simultaneously listen and think, you’ll progress into knowing the ‘Cousin Chords’ that can substitute for a Basic Major Chord, which ‘Cousin’ can be used and why it works.

(4) You’ll also find ‘Accidental Chords’ in the more difficult tunes. The Circle of 5THS defines exactly how to resolve an ‘accidental chord’ back to the ‘home’ chord.

If you already know the above, you certainly don’t need me! Just PLAY and ENJOY!

What type of things should be practiced?
The music you most enjoy hearing. Make a list of ALL your favorite songs that you already can hum, whistle or sing from beginning to end. If you know the tune, you’ll be able to play many of those songs from day one; others will take more time.

The EZ songs will be harmonized with the Three Major Chords named by the 1st, 4th and 5th scale tones. If you’re playing in the ‘Key of C’, you’ll use the chords of C, F and G to harmonize a melody; in the ‘Key of F’ you’ll use F, Bb and C, etc. Regardless of the ‘Key’, the harmony chords will always be named by the 1st, 4th and 5th scale tones.

 Quote:
Originally posted by hmr516:
… I guess no one here can be more specific. The website was not very specific either. Thanks anyway. [/b]
Actually, the web site is extremely specific, but you were looking for info on the ‘doing’ of music...not the ‘thinking’ of music. ‘Doing’ music can be very tedious and frustrating for me. ‘Thinking like music thinks’ is a personal pleasure and a creative freedom beyond anything I have ever experienced.

Because I can understand it (think it), I can do it. You can also. This is what the web site is showing you. If it doesn’t make sense for you, then it wouldn’t be a good course to pursue.

There are many excellent courses on the Internet and each was created by someone who LOVES what they do! They ALL have something important to share with students. That ‘something’ is PASSION.

Every author of a course, including me, is doing their utmost to share a wonderful life changing experience with others. Find one that inspires you and jump in. Or find a private instructor that inspires you and sign up. Just find a way to BE INSPIRED and you will do exceedingly well in any endeavor!

 Quote:
Originally posted by dgoddard2:
...It is definitely directed at the person who wants to play popular songs, for fun, by ear. [/b]
Correct. The focus is NON-TRADITIONAL music.

 Quote:
Originally posted by dgoddard2:
...It seems to be directed at the complete beginner as far as playing by ear (as opposed to sight reading or playing classical music.) [/b]
Right again. We do NOT discuss reading music at all. Instead, we begin at the source of written music...the creative spark behind the tune. The person who writes the music that ‘music readers read’, first creates the music ‘by ear’. If it sounds good, they write it on paper and publish it for others to enjoy.

What’s the difference between the composer and the performer?
For music readers, the composer ‘creates’ and the performer ‘expresses’ that creation as rendered on paper.

For those who play by ear, the composer ‘creates’ the original tune, and the performer ‘re-creates’ a personalized interpretation of it.

Folks who play by ear are basically ‘para-phrasing’ the songs they know and love. For ME, that’s more interesting. Everybody can tell the same story, but because they have personalized it, the story sounds different from one person to the next.

We all sound different when we speak. We all sound different when we sing. Isn’t it logical that we all should sound equally different when we play?

Non-Traditional music gives us that opportunity to express our uniqueness. Non-Traditional performers who do it well are called ‘ARTISTS’. In the classics, those who do it well are called ‘PERFORMERS’. (I am unfamiliar with the term 'classical concert artist’...‘performer’ is more accurate and more common.)

 Quote:
Originally posted by dgoddard2:
...It seems to be directed at the complete beginner as far as playing by ear...[/b]
Yup. If you don’t already play by ear, regardless of previous experience, you ARE a beginner. Start with Lesson One.
If you already play by ear, but don’t know how you do it, start with Lesson One.
If you want to learn why more than Three Basic Major Chords are used in much non-traditional music, the first step is learn how to locate and identify the order of Three Basic Major Chords. Start with Lesson One.

Once you know the order of how those chords appear in music, you’ll also be able to identify where the ‘Cousin Chords’ can be inserted as substitutes. As you learn chord variations and their ‘expected’ movement, you’ll be able to add even more chords to your spontaneous arrangements...and you’ll know WHY they work before you ever insert them.

 Quote:
Originally posted by dgoddard2:
...The site owner seems friendly and responsive, but the forum is smaller than I expected. [/b]
You a ‘size hound’, Doug? :rolleyes: You should have seen it when there was only ONE post! ;\)

If you want the Forum to be bigger, USE IT!
Are my responses to questions smaller than you expected?


 Quote:
Originally posted by dgoddard2:
… What remains to be seen is if it gets far enough beyond the bare basics such that I will feel I got my money's worth. Could go either way.

Doug [/b]
If you don’t move far enough beyond the bare basics to amaze yourself, it will be due to failing to follow simple instructions designed to get your 'thinker' moving in the right direction. So far you seem to be fairly communicative and bright; you don't have a problem with 'thinkin' that I can perceive. So...I'm confident you'll do well. I expect it, and I'm there daily to assist.

The Forums are there for you to post questions and observations directly to me. If you have no questions, then I assume all is well. If all is not well, and you post no questions, I will be unable to assist you. If I have to be psychic for you to succeed......you'll be disappointed!

 Quote:
Originally posted by dgoddard2:
…I envision myself down in the lounge of the Pasadena Hilton, pounding out "feelings" for the adoring, slightly drunk matrons.

Doug [/b]
Then let’s set THAT as a goal to fulfill within the year! \:D

I'm serious. It isn’t unusual for students to begin playing publicly, sometimes for pay, within a few months of applying PianoMagic ‘thinkin’. If you seriously would like to play for pay, the techniques in Piano Magic are geared to lead you in that direction. Once you can do them, you can even augment the techniques by applying info from other great courses.

Check out David Sprunger’s site at www.playpianotoday.com. He focuses completely on accompaniment patterns you might incorporate. (That boy can SING, too! Sheeesh...if I could sing like HIM, I wouldn’t play melody either! Sadly, I sound like a sick frog when I sing. I have no choice. I must play solo piano (melody, harmony and rhythm) or sit quietly and only listen to others demonstrate their talent.)

Duane Shinn at www.playpiano.com also has some excellent stuff, as well as some kool video demos.

David Lawrence at www.piano-by-ear.com focuses on Gospel music for church use.

Jermaine Griggs with www.hearandplay.com has a ton of excellent info.

There are MANY excellent courses. The question you’ll have is, ‘WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR ME?’

Which one? The answer is found in the one that most inspires you. On the other hand, what’s wrong with trying all of them? You can get a well rounded musical education in ‘traditional’ music. Why not do the same thing with ‘non-traditional music’?

Start with the one that ‘clicks’ within your imagination, spurs your inner desire and causes you to fulfill a musical dream!

 Quote:
Originally posted by markb:
It's definitely not for classical music. In fact, of the popular music courses I've seen, they've all been pretty upfront about that. If you want to play classical music, this ain't it. [/b]
Mark, I couldn’t have said it better myself! \:\)

It doesn’t matter how you learn to play...just enjoy the experience. If it isn’t fun, try to find out WHY.

Some folks are geared toward the classics. I LOVE the classics, but they require more work than I want to put forth and my audiences generally want ‘POP’. Instead, I have a very clear understanding of how to play non-traditional music, the music I most enjoy, which also thankfully pays the bills.

Sorry for such a long post. I won’t make a habit of it, but I thought in this instance, you might want to get it 'directly from the horses mouth'. \:D

If you have questions or comments, I'll check back occasionally.

I wish for all of you to experience the FUN of playing! Ain't nuttin' better!
_________________________
Mike

www.pianomagic.com

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#1013393 - 02/12/05 06:21 PM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
Late day one update.

After going through most of the pre-packaged online lessons, I was on the fence about what I would report back here. A lot of overlap with material I have picked up elsewhere. It does start out at an extremely basic level. But I did run across a couple of ideas where his teaching is different, and couple of things I wanted to work on.

So at this point, I'm thinking, not a total waste of money, but I will probably quickly move on to the next thing (must try all teach yourself programs. . .)

Just now, I found on their forum a video the site leader made to respond to some questions and illustrate some of his principals. Blew me away. It is just spot on what I want to learn, and gave me some immediate ideas to work on.

We'll see if I still feel this positive in a few weeks, but I may be hooked. (Doesn't mean its for everyone, but it might really fit what I want.)

Doug
_________________________
"The secret to staying calm in a crisis is not having all the facts."

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#1013394 - 02/13/05 04:45 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Thanks for the update, Doug. Please keep them coming.

BTW, how much time do you actually spend on the Web site versus time at the piano? I don't want to have to run to the computer every five minutes. There's competition in this house for the computer, and my competition will always win. (OTOH, I have *no* competition for access to the piano.)
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#1013395 - 02/13/05 07:25 AM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by markb:

BTW, how much time do you actually spend on the Web site versus time at the piano? I don't want to have to run to the computer every five minutes. There's competition in this house for the computer, and my competition will always win. (OTOH, I have *no* competition for access to the piano.) [/b]
Well, for me it will be nearly all time at the piano. I will use the online material and the ability to correspond with Mike as both motivation and a reminder of what to work on next. The idea is to spend a bunch of time at the keyboard doing it.

What I am going to do this morning is make a list of 10 or 12 songs I want to play, and then start playing them at the very simplest level. The plan is then to work up to making them progressively more interesting sounding. (eventually, maybe a cross between Jerry lee Lewis and Liberace?)

I actually probably knew enough about playing by ear to be doing what I'm doing now without having signed up for the course. What the course is giving me so for is 1) motivation 2) some structure to my approach 3)a few specific ideas I might not have come up with on my own, and 4)a resource to go to with questions, evaluation of what I am doing, etc. If I end up really liking the course, it will probably be #4 that does it for me.

My update in a week or so will probably be more meaningful.

Doug
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#1013396 - 02/13/05 08:40 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Doug


I'm looking forward to the update \:\)


Lee
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#1013397 - 02/13/05 10:48 AM Re: Piano Magic website
buffy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/13/05
Posts: 2
Loc: UK
Hi,
I'm another stray from pianomagic, here becauase this discussion has spilled into the forums there, courtesy of Seaside Lee and Doug.

I've been a member for about a year and haven't tried any other courses because I'm totally happy with the one I have.

Can I have a go at trying to answer the original questions?

How does it teach beginners? Well everyone starts as a beginner, really, because it is a totally play by ear method. The basic lessons are very basic indeed but actually contain the whole structure of the method. I suspect that beginners probably take to the first dozen lessons more readily than those with some experience of traditional methods who may balk at the simplicity and miss the point.After the basics comes decoration, broken down into the most useful and pleasing embellishments to the
melody and chords you'll be using by then. And after that is the most useful part of all ,in my opinion, which is the forums. I'm suprised Doug thought them thin because there are huge numbers of A/V demos and discussions on everything from basic questions on say, using the sustain pedal correctly to hugely sophisticated material on chord progressions and points of style. This is where you really learn, both from existing material and from the questions that you ask yourself because Mike is a genuinely interactive teacher who works with students individually and responds constructively and helpfully (and with endless patience) to examples of our playing and progress.

Better than buying a book? You work it out.

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#1013398 - 02/13/05 03:45 PM Re: Piano Magic website
palley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/05
Posts: 708
Loc: Binghamton, New York
To you magicians:

Could one muddle through practicing favorite classical stuff and perhaps even scales while partaking of piano magic to explore interests in contemporary music and improvised playing?
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Phil

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#1013399 - 02/14/05 03:29 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Phil

"Balladeer" would probably the best one to answer your question as he loves classical music \:D ...it aint my thang really.

I would probably have to say that Mozart, Beethoven & Co. kinda had it going on in their time ;\) and their arrangements would most likely be impossible to improve upon.

However, at pianomagic you will learn how to play with more expression and emotion in your music ...which may help?

I'll have a chat with Tim and Mikey and see if they can answer your question...okay?

I wouldn't think though that continuing learning sheet music and playing scales would hinder your learning in anyway...infact Mike reads sheet music quite easily

I practise scales quite often because, I *want* to not because I have to...because I want to be able to play in other keys.

Mike often uses an analogy that:- "you have to learn to speak before you can read books and if you learn to play by ear and speak music first it makes learning to read music easier"..so, it may probably help?


Lee \:\)


BTW ...A/V = "audio and video lessons" ;\)
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#1013400 - 02/14/05 01:06 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
Perhaps some of you Pianomagic fans can give us an indication of the kind of progress you've made over say the last year. (midi files would be helpful)

I'm genuinly considering the jump from classical as most of the music I like to play is POP. My primary goal is to just sit at the keyboard and improvise.

Rodney

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#1013401 - 02/14/05 02:13 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Rodney

Send me an email and I will gladly send you some midis showing you how I'm doing...okay?


regards


Lee \:\)
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#1013402 - 02/16/05 06:58 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Rodney

As you asked for midi files within this thread I thought I would answer your questions here

 Quote:

via email from Rodney :-

Hi Lee,

Thanks for taking the time.... sounds great!!!

I noticed that all the music you sent me was in a Ballad style. Is this your primary area of focus or just the specific selections you decided to send? Do you learn other styles (Jazz, Swing, POP/Dance, Rock, etc.) with the Pianomagic course? How about learning to take a piece in one style on play it in another?

BTW:

Amazing progress in the time you've been learning!!! After two years, I can't even begin to just sit at the piano and improvise anything. :-(

Rodney [/b]

To answer your questions

As you know I have been a member of pianomagic for around 16 months and so far my ability to play ballads is far greater than the faster stuff

Yes, you will learn how to play songs at all sorts of tempos and styles and if you want to play in a certain style all you have to do is ask Mikey and he will provide an audio or video demonstration if he hasn't already.

I can play faster style songs but, when I turn on the record button I usually goof up if I am not too good at it \:\( ...so the majority of my recordings have been ballad style so far ...but, hey! I am on a journey of never ending discovery \:D ...16 months ago I couldn't play a note ...now, I play like you have just heard...which judging from your reaction we both think is kinda Kool...yes?


Also to answer your other question ...yes one of the aspects of learning the way I am learning is that you can take any song and play it in whatever style you desire...but, its great fun just building ability upon ability (most of the time without even noticing) and staying where you are comfy until your brain has the free space to move on. The primary focus of "pianomagic" is to make learning to play the piano the most fun you have ever had.

Now I've got to ask you a question... you've been taking traditional piano lessons with a teacher and as you said to me in your first email practising 2 hours a day.

I haven't paid for any traditional lessons with a teacher I just paid around $80 for Mikes year long help and guidance, and with his help and encouragement have taught myself.

How do you and I compare in playing ability?


Lee


P.S.

I shall send you something a little more uptempo
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#1013403 - 02/16/05 08:01 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
Lee,

To give you an idea of my progress... I'm currently working my way through "Harris Piano Classics Vol 3/a" and can currently play from this volume:

Air en Gavotte ( Graupner, C.)
Bourree ( Kirnberger, J.P.)
Hornpipe in B flat ( Purcell, H.)
Menuet in G Major, BWV Anh. 114 ( Bach, J.S.)

It takes me about 2 weeks to completely master a new piece at this level (about an hour of my time per day). I can sight read HS (both left and right) pieces at this level but HT is brutally hard until it just seems to click.

I split the rest of my time on scales, arpegios, memorizing chord fingering, and sight reading practice.

I made it through Alfreds Adult course volume 1 and part of volume 2 but became bored with the method pieces so I switched to developing sight reading skills. I checked on the weekend and discovered that I can now sight read nearly every piece in volume 2 at about half tempo and can play any piece at tempo with anything from 1 to a few hours of practice.

I memorized a few pieces from volume 1 that I use as warm up exercises... "The Entertainer", "Greensleeves", "Amazing Grace", "Auld Lang Syne", ... What I don't have memorized, I can sight read at tempo the first time through (no great feat since these are all easy renditions that I have already learned once befor but never memorized).

I have also picked up (portions) of a few POP pieces including "The Rose", "My Immortal", and a few classics "Canon in D", "Fur Elise".

In terms of theory, I know all the Major scales and practice them regularly up and down 4 octaves together and in opposition. I know many of the Major/Minor/Augmented/Diminished/Suspended/7th/ etc. chords and their inversions by heart and can figure out what isn't memorized with about 5 seconds of thought. My teacher was big on ensuring I understood the relationship between scales and chords as he doesn't believe in chord charts.

I'm fairly happy with my progress so far BUT as I stated before, I "CAN NOT" just sit at the piano/keyboard and improvise anything or even mildly modify the pieces I know. :-(

While I'm sure that with another few years of study and practice, I'll be able to perform some of the more advanced pieces available, I doubt I'll be any closer to being able to just sit at the keyboard and play (improvise). Unfortunately I want to be able to do both and just haven't figured out how to get there (YET).

Rodney

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#1013404 - 02/16/05 08:20 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Rodney

Sounds like you are doing just great \:D ...to be honest I don't know any of the classical pieces you mention sorry \:\( ...so I still really have no idea how your playing ability compares to mine?

I can improvise at the drop of a hat! ...the improv. I sent you was recorded in the 10 minutes spare I had after shutting my gym and was played off the top of my head...which I know you are going to love being able to do \:\) ..it is sooo easy you will not believe!

I can play well over 50 songs now and can normally work out a new song in about 15 minutes...some songs though are still beyond me yet? I just can't work them out and they are on my "can't play list" to be tried again at a later date as my knowledge grows ;\)

I could play a medley of all the unfinished songs that I have tried to play for probably 24 hours straight if I had the time!

 Quote:

While I'm sure that with another few years of study and practice
sounds a little like torture...I like to think of practise as fun!


thanks for the reply


Lee
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#1013405 - 02/17/05 01:46 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi George

As you emailed me because of what you have read in this thread I feel it is best that I answer your questions here also...

 Quote:

by george via email

Hi Lee,
Thanks for the recordings. They are impressive. It hard to believe you can sound like this after 16 months. If you wish to send me more of them don't hesitate. It is a real pleasure to listen to the music performed in such a way.
There is one thing I would like to ask you. I am a bit suprised with the unusual fingering Mike prefers ( no thumbs?- such an information I found in FAQ on his website). Tell me something about it. Do you use your thombs while playing or not? Is this fingering unusual ? Does it look strange when you put your hands on the keys or it looks just normal.
Awaiting your answer - George.[/b]
Yes you are right... Mike teaches you to play with unusual fingering at first which quickly leads to more advanced playing in his and my and many others opinion ...once you get used to this then of course you can use your thumbs for much more advanced harmony and melody.

It looks a little unusual as you start out but, then as the weeks go by you will use your thumbs quite happily...okay?

And yes it almost sounds too good to be true...doesn't it? (but, I and many, many others play just like how you heard)

If you need more of my tunes??...it will cost you ££££'s

If you want to play and sound like me in 16 months time then you know what to do ...don't you?

hope this helps?


Lee \:\)
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#1013406 - 02/18/05 06:53 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Alright, Doug, you've been a pianomagician for a week. Give us the straight dope.
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#1013407 - 02/18/05 07:09 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Mark

Are you implying the other kind members (who kindly posted their experiences to help you) and myself have not been giving it to ya straight? \:\(


Lee
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#1013408 - 02/18/05 07:36 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Oh, no, Lee, that's not what I meant! I was just asking for Doug's honest opinion (you see, with Doug, you need to specifically request honesty; otherwise, you get some sarcastic, wise-a** response). I also think it's helpful to get a beginner's perspective in addition to the veterans' perspective. You and the other pianomagicians have been very helpful!

If I thought that you and the others weren't giving it to me straight, I wouldn't still be considering the program.
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#1013409 - 02/18/05 08:32 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
That's okay then ;\) ...phew...you had me worried there for a moment \:\)

We shall await our good friend "Doug"....to see how he's getting along during his first week over on the "dark side" \:D


Lee
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#1013410 - 02/18/05 09:41 AM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by markb:
with Doug, you need to specifically request honesty; otherwise, you get some sarcastic, wise-a** response). [/b]
Now my feelings are hurt. When have I said anything sarcastic?( Oh, wait, that was sarcastic right there. . .).

My impressions after one week:

I think pianomagic is a good thing to try for at least two types of pianists:

1) People who sight read, take lessons, or play classical music, but are frustrated by the fact that they can't so much as play "happy birthday" without sheet music (and even with the sheet music they have to play exactly what is written.) I was closest to this group, although I have done some playing by ear in the past year, and enjoy it.

2)People who own a keyboard or piano, and are not interested in “studying” music. They just want to play songs they like on the #!*&! Thing.

I am enjoying it enough after one week that I expect to stick with it. For me the value will likely come from the interaction with Mike, who runs the site. I’m going to send him a recording of myself this weekend, in response to a recording he sent me last week. The one thing I can say for sure after one week is that Mike is as enthusiastic, energetic and responsive as he seems.

Another question I will answer, that you are too polite to ask, is “are people like Seaside Lee” for real? (Sorry Lee, I wondered for a while.) There are a group of people in pianomagic who are having great success and fun with it, and they have the fervor of converts. So yes, Lee is real, and I believe the stuff he writes here is his real experience with Pianomagic.

It’s probably not fair for me to review the specific techniques Mike teaches after one week. There is a lot of overlap with what I have tried to teach myself about playing by ear, and I am a great believer in the approach in general. What this has that the stuff I’ve done for myself doesn’t is feedback/coaching from Mike.

So, its not like some kind of cult. It’s just a nice group of folks, with a charismatic leader, and they serve great Kool-aid. . .


Doug
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#1013411 - 02/18/05 11:02 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Oh Doug, Doug, Doug, *that's* why you have a reputation for the, ummmm, tone of your messages!

And thanks for the update!
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#1013412 - 02/18/05 11:21 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Hey, I was wondering why this thread was getting so long, and now I know!

Well, my reaction to those who want to use the PianoMagic method is "Go for it!" Really, whatever rocks your boat, turns you on, works for you, blah, blah. I understand the frustration of studying classical music and getting better and better at it while your skills at playing chord-based music are slow to improve. That's why I'm doing extra work to learn to use a fake book. I too am looking forward to more reports from Doug as someone who has kind of lived in both worlds.

There's only one thing that didn't really feel right to me. It is this exchange:

Markb:

 Quote:

...what do you think the minimum daily practice time is to get any substantial benefit from Pianomagic?
PianoMagic:

 Quote:
It doesn't work that way. If you would enjoy playing and applying PianoMagic for 2 minutes, do 2 minutes. If you would enjoy more time, do more time. If you cannot E*N*J*O*Y your time at the keyboard, go do something else. Why? To be ‘really, really GOOD’ at whatever interests you, ya gotta find the PASSION for it! [snip]
I *so* want to believe this, but it really runs counter to my life experience. There are many things in life that require hard work and gutting it out, even when it isn't fun. Being in good physical shape is one. Getting a law degree and being successful in practice is another. I would guess that learning a difficult musical instrument like the piano would be yet another.

I have a hard time believing there is a way to become a good piano player (classical, jazz or pop) without dedicating oneself to putting in time on the bench even when it is sometimes not fun.

Could we be overpromising here, just a teensy little bit?

Cindy -- donning her asbestos suit and taking cover behind Markb
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#1013413 - 02/18/05 11:22 AM Re: Piano Magic website
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
 Quote:
Originally posted by dgoddard2:

So, its not like some kind of cult. It’s just a nice group of folks, with a charismatic leader, and they serve great Kool-aid. . .
[/QB]
Do you guys have matching Nike sneakers too?

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#1013414 - 02/18/05 11:35 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Cindy, I don't think that PianoMagic was promising that one can get good by practicing 2 minutes a day. I think he meant that the process should be fun regardless of whatever time you can apply. Once it gets to be not fun, don't do it.

It's true, though, that his response didn't totally answer my question. I consider my lesson practice time to be fun, too, but because it's limited, if there comes a point where I don't feel like I'm making what I consider to be adequate process given my time limitations, I'd drop them. That's sort of what I was getting at in my question. I have Sudnow's course and gave that a try, but I realized that I'd have to devote much more time that I currently have in order to make satisfactory progress. During the Sudnow course, he does recommend an hour a day (which can be broken up). I think that's reasonable for the course--I just don't have an hour in addition to my lesson practice time.
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#1013415 - 02/18/05 01:06 PM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
O.k. I'll jump in before the real enthusiasts do. I think that by playing by ear, if it goes well:

1) You will get proportionately more positive feed back from your playing for a moderate amount of time spent, than with formal training. (i.e., playing 12 different songs that I like is more satsifying than being on week twelve of your first song.)
2) If you are having fun, you will spend more time doing it.

I think the people who have great success with this method get 5% of the benefit because the techniques taught are good (or not) and 95% because they are having so much fun that they play a lot. (Play, not practice. Not scales or drills.)

I spend about an hour most evenings (more on the weekends). I am probably spending 20-30 minutes of it on the play by ear stuff. If you take to it, I think that would be plenty, but you may end up wanting to do more.

I don't agree with you, Cindy, that you have to spend any time that is not fun, (Remember, I'm not talking about classical or competition here). You do have to play. You will always be able to play Chopin better than me. You probably can't touch my version of "when you and I were young, Maggie", and I'll play it differently every time.


Doug (who sounds more arrogant in this post than he really is . . .)
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#1013416 - 02/18/05 02:31 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
I hear ya, Doug, I do.

I think learning the piano is a daunting task. Period. There's no way around that. Just like learning a foreign language is a daunting task. In fact, it's a good analogy, I think.

Take lessons, learn classical, gut it out, put in lots of time and you'll become "proficient." You'll be able to play a variety of things, including things that aren't classical. (That's the pot at the end of the rainbow for me.)

Go the "play by ear" route and you'll become competent, maybe in less time. It's akin to learning a language from a tape series or phrase book, though. You'll get around, but you'll be more limited in what you can accomplish.

For me, the solution has been to try to learn to fake. I'm finding all of that work with the Circle of Fifths has proved invaluable, and I don't see how someone who doesn't learn chords and key signatures could fake very well beyond the most basic things. Not to mention how faking sounds more interesting when you have the coordination to play something more than three note chords on the beat.

That said, I'm all for having fun, and the reason I have got on so well with my teacher is that she emphasizes playing repertorie rather than exercised. In fact, the only exercise I do at her insistence is scales. I will do chords and arpeggios on my own, but not as often as I should.

'Cause they're not "fun." \:D
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#1013417 - 02/18/05 02:45 PM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
[QB]
Go the "play by ear" route and you'll become competent, maybe in less time. It's akin to learning a language from a tape series or phrase book, though. You'll get around, but you'll be more limited in what you can accomplish.

If you mean more limited in the sense of not being able to play particular pieces just as they are composed, I would agree with this. This is why I still practice particular pieces that I enjoy.(I want to play the Maple Leaf Rag they way that it is written, for example)

Apart from that, I know pianists who play by ear who do not seem limited in any way to me.

But I don't want to fight about it, because it sounds like you are in way better shape than me.

Incidently, I don't really have a version of "When You and I were Young, Maggie", but now that I've said it, I'll have to learn one tonight.

Doug
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#1013418 - 02/18/05 06:20 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi guys...Hi Doug \:\)

 Quote:

posted by Cindysphinx :-

I think learning the piano is a daunting task. Period. There's no way around that. Just like learning a foreign language is a daunting task. In fact, it's a good analogy, I think.
its less daunting than you think...you just need to be shown how easy it actually is ;\)


Thanks Doug for confirming that I am not actually a certifiable loonie!!...although that is open to debate? ;\)

And yes I can rock a piano!...and yes I often transport myself to pianoland!...and yes I have 13 songs in the recital hall charting my progress! ...and yes playing piano is much easier than you guys in "intermediate and advanced hell!" will ever know (which I find sad \:\( )


Keep it up "Doug" I am sooooo looking forward to hearing your first contribution to the "recital hall" \:D over at the ...ahem...dark side...LOL


Lee
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#1013419 - 02/18/05 06:40 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
 Quote:
its less daunting than you think...you just need to be shown how easy it actually is
Actually . . . no, it isn't and no, I don't.

Yes, I might be able to make *different* sounds come out of the piano if I did whatever it is you are suggesting. I highly doubt I'd be able to make the sounds *I* want to come out of the piano by doing what you are suggesting.

See, here's the thing. I have a friend who has had many children and has a great body. If you ask her how on earth she manages to do this, she might say "It's easy." Well, OK. It's easy for her. That has nothing to do with whether it will be easy for me.

So I think the most that can be said would be that there are easy ways to get sounds out of a piano, and there are hard ways. People can differ on which sounds they find more pleasing and which sounds they feel like producing. But I think it is a little strange for one person to tell another person who is working hard to produce a particular sound that producing a different sound (or even producing the sound they are producing) is "easy." It's rather beside the point because it is a different beast entirely, no?

My 7-year-old just started 15-minute lessons in December. He can play two songs in middle C position. He is having fun. He thinks piano is easy. I'm OK having him believe that.

For now.

And if all he ever wishes to play is "Puppy Dog" and "Halloween Witch," then he will spend his life saying playing the piano is easy.

And I'll smile and nod. 'Cause that's what we moms do!
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#1013420 - 02/18/05 07:12 PM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
If I may interject, I really think we're comparing apples and oranges. Classical and popular music are not the same. Pianomagic does not claim to be able to teach classical music. If you spent 20 years with Pianomagic, I doubt you'd be able to pick up a "simple" classical piece, say, the Clementi sonatina that's giving me fits, and be able to play it. On the other hand, if you spent 20 years in classical lessons, I doubt you'd be able to hum a well known tune and, by ear, produce a pleasing accompaniment. (Actually, I think there'd be a decent chance of coming up with *something* that doesn't sound too bad, but nothing comparable to what someone who's been playing by ear could produce.)

If you want to learn classical music, take classical lessons. If you want to learn jazz music, take jazz lessons. If you want to play popular music or standards, take popular music or standards lessons (I'll include Pianomagic in there, since there seems to be a curriculum and interactive instruction.)

Other than that, maybe we can refrain from making blanket statements that playing piano is easy or difficult. There are too many qualifiers. It just depends....
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#1013421 - 02/18/05 07:17 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Aveu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 137
Loc: points de vue
markb, 20 years is indeed a long time. Perhaps you may want to rethink your thesis? (Near-perfection as it stands, I humbly suggest a slight modification to the ever present gap in logic represented by your calculations. (If I may be so daring as to insert another set of parenthesis within parenthesis, I will do so in order to assure you that I am not questioning your ability to calculate.) That shall be all, I leave in gratitude.
_________________________
"Le genre de bouffon".

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#1013422 - 02/18/05 07:26 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
...)
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#1013423 - 02/18/05 07:27 PM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
Darn,

I said I didn't want to fight, and now Cindy is going to beat the carp out of me.

For the record, I would love to hear you play some time Cindy. It sounds like you have accomplished great things, and you have more "stick to it" then most of us who ever took lessons. I don't think what you have learned is easy, and I can't do what you do. (I also just love to listen to piano music of all kinds.)

My lessons sucked. I had one year in 1964 from a clueless teacher, so you have learned lots of great stuff I never got to.

One observation for me has been that playing by ear and reading music are quite different skills (maybe just at my level). Learning to read music and learning the theory did not actually help much with playing by ear ( and vice versa). Does your teacher help you with the Fake Book stuff?


Doug
_________________________
"The secret to staying calm in a crisis is not having all the facts."

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#1013424 - 02/18/05 07:29 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Aveu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 137
Loc: points de vue
Matt, your ability to convey the most intimate of emotions with barely a nimble usage of keyboard characters is humbling to this reader, indeed. Perhaps I may learn of your art, or perhaps not- for I fear it is something one is given by the gods, and not through the way of labour!
_________________________
"Le genre de bouffon".

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#1013425 - 02/18/05 07:32 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Seaside_Lee:
Music is based on chords...not scales.[/b]
Sorry, but this statement is just so freaking flat-out WRONG that it makes my blood boil. (I'd add more, but there's a limit of eight!)

If this is the kind of brain-dead nonsense that Piano Magic is teaching, then the only thing I can say is that while they might turn you into a passable parlor piano playing drone, this kind of crap (pardon my language) will NEVER make you a musician.
_________________________
Sacred cows make the best hamburger. - Clemens

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#1013426 - 02/18/05 08:22 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Jerry Luke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 969
Loc: Tillamook, Oregon
Aveu- Your speech doth betray you, poetic though it may be. \:\)
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#1013427 - 02/18/05 08:26 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Aveu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 137
Loc: points de vue
Jerry Luke, you have glorified my manner of speech by the scope of your comment, which I assure you, is as bright as the moons of Saturn are magical! (And magic they are, betwixt such as gentle beast and of reassuring warmth).
_________________________
"Le genre de bouffon".

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#1013428 - 02/19/05 03:31 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
hi Matt G

please explain your definition of musician?

Lee \:\)
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Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013429 - 02/19/05 05:42 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
 Quote:
Originally posted by Aveu:
markb, 20 years is indeed a long time. Perhaps you may want to rethink your thesis? (Near-perfection as it stands, I humbly suggest a slight modification to the ever present gap in logic represented by your calculations. (If I may be so daring as to insert another set of parenthesis within parenthesis, I will do so in order to assure you that I am not questioning your ability to calculate.) That shall be all, I leave in gratitude. [/b]
You know, after I posted that, I knew I'd get some response. 20 years of lessons probably provides the skills to be proficient in several types of music. The point I so feebly tried to make was that one should focus their studies on the music and sounds one wants to produce, and the methods to do so may very well be different.

Adieu, Aveu!
_________________________
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#1013430 - 02/19/05 06:23 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Doug, Doug, Doug,

I'd never try to beat the carp out of you! I *like* you! I respect what you're doing, and I look forward to reading about your progress, really.

I was just feeling a little snippy at some of the comments made in this thread and another that sounded a little off to my ears. Matt picked up on one of them. Another that didn't sit well was a comparison made suggesting that classical music students are "robots."

Markb, ever the diplomat, has totally nailed this. We're talking apples and oranges here, so it isn't fair or right for the apples to say the poor misguided oranges are wasting their money and their time.

What worries me for purposes of our delightful AB forum is that people come here in large part for emotional support in a long (and yes, difficult!) journey. Yes, they might need help with a fingering or understanding notation, of course. But they also need a place to say "Ack! Mozart is kicking my behind!" or "I'm in Intermediate Hell." What they don't need to hear in reply is "This is supposed to be easy; you're doing it wrong."

I mean, I don't think I'd make any friends if I went over to the digital pianists corner and extolled the virtues of my Estonia, popping in to tell someone having problems with their instrument that the real problem is they bought the wrong instrument. Apples and oranges.

Now. Doug, I don't think you've been doing any of that. At all. You're *awesome,* and you're giving me a real run for my money on the practice log. I have no idea who is the better musician, and I don't think it matters at all. I think you've been tremendously helpful to people who post here. I think you bring a lot of credibility to the table, and I very much hope you will continue to tell us about your progress with this program.

And your posts have been wonderfully entertaining, which is just an Extra Added Bonus.

Still friends?

:hopeful, come hither look:

Oh, in answer to your question, I'm doing the fake stuff on my own for now. My teacher has offered to help me, but it is a self-teaching tool. Besides, I need her help to rescue me on the other things I'm hoping to work up.
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#1013431 - 02/19/05 06:43 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Jerry Luke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 969
Loc: Tillamook, Oregon
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
We're talking apples and oranges here, so it isn't fair or right for the apples to say the poor misguided oranges are wasting their money and their time.

[/b]
Where do us grapefruits fit in?

(Is grapefruits the proper plural of grapefruit, or is it just grapefruit (like fish)?)
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#1013432 - 02/19/05 07:39 AM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
Doug, Doug, Doug,


I have no idea who is the better musician,
Well, yesterday, you were probably the better musician, but by today, I am. Last night, I learned to play "Rach II" using only the toes of my left foot. It was easy.

Doug - Who is thinking of changing his name to "Doug,Doug, Doug" based on his recent experience in this thread. . .
_________________________
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#1013433 - 02/19/05 08:52 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Seaside_Lee:
Music is based on chords...not scales.[/b]
Sorry, but this statement is just so freaking flat-out WRONG that it makes my blood boil. (I'd add more, but there's a limit of eight!)

[/b]
I'll join the battle here, because MattG is 100% right.

I'm a little worried that this is becoming a pretty heavy-duty sales spin with users in and offering "testimonials," rather than just discussing music.

(edited)

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#1013434 - 02/19/05 09:16 AM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by Nina:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Seaside_Lee:
Music is based on chords...not scales.[/b]
Sorry, but this statement is just so freaking flat-out WRONG that it makes my blood boil. (I'd add more, but there's a limit of eight!)

If this is the kind of brain-dead nonsense that Piano Magic is teaching, then the only thing I can say is that while they might turn you into a passable parlor piano playing drone, this kind of crap (pardon my language) will NEVER make you a musician. [/b]
I'll join the battle here, because MattG is 100% right.

I'm a little worried that this is becoming a pretty heavy-duty sales spin with users in and offering "testimonials," rather than just discussing music. [/b]
Sigh. This will be my last post on this subject. Nina, I can't give MattG a 100% on his comment (maybe a 90%) because he does not allow for the great many of us for whom being a "parlor piano playing drone" is exactly what we aspire to. I think the word drone is a bit harsh, though. I expect that I could take lessons for 20 years, and many in this forum would still consider me a drone. I have a great deal of fun with the piano without knowing anywhere near what Matt does. Playing simple chord based music is a good part of how I do that. I enjoy sources that help me do that better or in a more interesting way (to me.)

Doug the Drone
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#1013435 - 02/19/05 09:26 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Doug, Doug, Doug \:\) :

I'll edit my post-- the part that I was commenting on was the fact that music is based on scales, not chords.

As to being a parlor playing drone, I have no problem with it. I've known many a parlor player and I wouldn't classify any of them as drones.

I do think it's a bit of an apples-and-oranges thing. If the pianomagic method works and gives you what you want, great! I truly think that is a good thing.

But it is not the be all and end all of piano playing. I took a look at the website and picked up on these:

people who play traditional music are "performers."
people who play using pianomagic methods are "artists."

Cough, cough, ack, ack. Which would you rather be, a drone, a performer or an artist? ;\)

I'm just not sure how many more testimonials are necessary versus discussion on the methods, questions, etc.

Nina the Performer

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#1013436 - 02/19/05 09:33 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Seaside_Lee:
hi Matt G

please explain your definition of musician?

Lee \:\) [/b]
The difference between a player and a musician is rather analogous to the difference between a driver and a mechanic. One can drive a car perfectly well without having a clue as to what's going on under the hood. Similarly, one can play the piano just fine without understanding what is going on behind the scenes (with the music, not the piano).

There is far, FAR more to music than playing the piano for enjoyment. Likewise there is far, far more to being a musician than being a piano player. If one wishes to stop at being "just" a piano player for a pastime, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that goal. However, if this is as far as one progresses with one's musical education, one is in no position whatsoever to comment upon the knowledge of those who have actively pursued the depths of the study of music.

Let me also counter a few of the "points" you offered earlier. Stating that music is based on chords shows a profound and complete lack of any knowledge of the history of music. Music has always been a HORIZONTAL, TEMPORAL structure, not a stack of tones. Music started with singing. One cannot sing a chord.

Second, the analogy of learning music the way one learned to speak is flawed. To begin with, anyone familiar with child development learns that the brains of infants are specifically adapted to the learning of language through listening and imitation. This process works very well in the first few years of life, and children can often learn multiple languages that way. But adults do not learn that way, not for languages, nor for music. Listening and repetition, for adults, results in only surface knowledge, with no perception of deeper meaning. Talk to someone who learned a new language simply by listening as an adult and just try to have a meaningful conversation with him. He might be able to express simple desires or statements, but the command of the language just won't be there. Adults are far too attached to symbology to be able to learn with no visual guidance.

The type of instuction being offered by Piano Magic doesn't sound new or revolutionary. In fact, it sounds almost exactly like the kind of piano instruction my grandmother received. She could harmonize and play just about any melody she could plunk out. She was the life of the party. All of the songs sounded suspiciously similar. She could only barely read music. She was a fair piano player, but she wasn't a musician.
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#1013437 - 02/19/05 09:56 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by dgoddard2:
Sigh. This will be my last post on this subject. Nina, I can't give MattG a 100% on his comment (maybe a 90%) because he does not allow for the great many of us for whom being a "parlor piano playing drone" is exactly what we aspire to. I think the word drone is a bit harsh, though. I expect that I could take lessons for 20 years, and many in this forum would still consider me a drone. I have a great deal of fun with the piano without knowing anywhere near what Matt does. Playing simple chord based music is a good part of how I do that. I enjoy sources that help me do that better or in a more interesting way (to me.)

Doug the Drone [/b]
Doug, I did not mean to be harsh, but realize in retrospect that "drone" is probably not the best term. I suppose I just bristle when things are said about music that I know, through years of academic study, are incorrect.

I see the biggest issue here is that proponents of Piano Magic find it necessary to denigrate the "other" camp's ways in order to lend validity to their method. The problem is that there are lots and lots of bad teachers (likely who had bad teachers themselves) out there teaching all kinds of piano playing. You and others have obviously had bad experiences with "traditional" teachers. Others, I'm sure, have had bad experiences with "pop" teachers.

Learning to play various types of music ISN'T[/b] an us vs. them thing. But the only way to learn the commonalities that bind all types of music together, the things that apply whether you're playing a Beethoven sonata or "Fly Me to the Moon," is to learn the deeper structure of music itself. Failure to do so explains why an outstanding Classical pianist can't play "Happy Birthday" or why someone who can play all the standards in any key can't handle a Bach minuet.

The point is there is so much more to music that's available to you if you're willing to go beyond just playing. Doing so takes time and perseverance, but the end result can be far greater than the sum of its parts.
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#1013438 - 02/19/05 10:11 AM Re: Piano Magic website
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i happened to step in and didn't even realize there were much of disscusions on music here. i agree with MattG, and music has many kinds, and polyphony for one thing doesn't fit in 'chord based' music. so, there, i have much more respect for MattG's knowledge in music.

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#1013439 - 02/19/05 11:13 AM Re: Piano Magic website
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Matt G. wrote: "Learning to play various types of music ISN'T an us vs. them thing."

Exactly!

Matt also wrote: "The point is there is so much more to music that's available to you if you're willing to go beyond just playing. Doing so takes time and perseverance, but the end result can be far greater than the sum of its parts."

For many of us, it's not a matter of being willing. It does take time, and I, for one, don't have that much of it. If I had it to do over again, I would have stuck with music consistently from third grade; however, I didn't and am trying to play catch-up with almost no time. Therefore, we seek out resources that will give us the most individualized bang for the buck. This bang is different for all of us, and no one should make someone else feel bad because they're searching for the elusive bang in a different manner.

Now, before we turn into the Coffee Room Jr., can we all hold hands and sing Ebony and Ivory and promise not to pick on the various approaches that have been discussed here?
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#1013440 - 02/19/05 11:32 AM Re: Piano Magic website
dgoddard2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/04
Posts: 484
Loc: los angeles
Ooooh! Post number 1000 coming up for MarkB!

D'oh! I wasn't going to post here any more.


Doug
_________________________
"The secret to staying calm in a crisis is not having all the facts."

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#1013441 - 02/19/05 02:10 PM Re: Piano Magic website
hmr516 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Merrick, Ny
Wow. I started this discussion to get some information. It seems like I got a lot more in the way of opinions then information. Maybe I will skip that site, and purchase a few piano lesson DVD's.

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#1013442 - 02/19/05 05:53 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Matt G

I like the sound of your gran...she'll do for me \:\)

 Quote:

I see the biggest issue here is that proponents of Piano Magic find it necessary to denigrate the "other" camp's ways in order to lend validity to their method.
Could you point out where I have "denigrated" the "other camp"?...the only thing that I have commented on is that I find playing the piano "fun and easy"...the "other camp" from what I read on here...evidently don't? (although some seem to enjoy the struggle...all I can say is ...good for them \:D )

I'll stick with having fun ;\)

 Quote:

posted by Matt G
Originally posted by Seaside_Lee:
Music is based on chords...not scales. [/b] .
Erm...slight correction... originally posted by Seaside_Lee quoting (i.e.cut and pasting) from the pianomagic website...okay?


That sounds like a really good plan "Hmr15" ...you seem to have totally ignored my helpful advice and I notice your next post states how hard you are finding it after 4 days....hmmmm?

Lee

Funny how this thread has become soooo busy...since Doug came back and posted that it kinda aint too weird at pianomagic! and that I actually am a genuine person and not some shrewd marketing tool. Seems to me like some of you were hoping he was going to say that it isn't very good? ;\)

Hey and Doug has only been there a week! ...just wait until he's been a member for 6 months or so and the "pennies" really start dropping and the "light bulbs" are really switching on!!
_________________________
Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013443 - 02/19/05 06:16 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Cindy

I don't think it matters who is right or who is wrong? ...we are both learning to play a piano...you obviously enjoy the hard work (I think?) and I enjoy having fun...horses for courses I suppose?

I came to pianoworld many months ago to join in discussions about keyboards as I want to trade in my second piano/keyboard (a casio PX100) for a stage piano. I stumbled into this forum and answered a question about the David Sprunger course which I also own ( and don't like because I cant sing)

Then HMR15 posted a question about "piano magic "I am a member there...have been a member there for 16 months. In those 16 months I have become truly addicted to playing the piano, so far I find it very easy to play...I'm sorry if that is offensive to other members who prefer to be in some sort of differing levels of hell...but, that is the way it is with me and many, many, many, many others.

I know only too well how hard traditional lessons are ..I started when I was around 8 or 9 and took around 2 or 3 years of lessons. Despite the fact that I was told I was talented I grew to hate them and jacked them in (a decision I have regretted all my adult life \:\( ). I tried again in my mid 20's with piano lessons and lasted 5 weeks and that is where I have remained until 16 months ago.

I have dreamed all my adult life of just sitting down at a piano and playing it like Matt G's gran and being the life and soul of the party!!!

I know what it is like to get applause ( I DJ in my spare time and am a very popular wedding/party DJ in my local area and have bookings week in week out)...I crave applause ....I love it when crowds are screaming for one more...but, I have never had a buzz like the one I got a couple of weeks ago when, I was encouraged/persuaded to play a baby grand that sits in a local restaurant ..and in front of only 60 or so people (which is still quite daunting) I left the stage after playing a couple of songs to rapturous applause and cheering for more!!!

I was born to entertain...I need it... I crave it
and being over 40 years of age and starting over this dream would have never seemed possible...but, now it seems *very* possible and probable! \:\)

I am enjoying myself playing piano more than I have enjoyed anything since being a child...I came on here to give advice to someone who was thinking about learning to play the piano the way I do...and I told them straight...if that offends some on here....you know what?...I don't really care.

IMHO its a great way to learn to play the piano...you either believe me or ya don't?


Lee
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Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013444 - 02/20/05 05:18 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Jasper

I have responded to your email questions within this thread also

 Quote:

via email by Jasper

Hey Lee,

I'm not as proficient as you yet. I am *almost* done learning my first
real
piece, a Minuet in G Major by J.S. Bach (not THE Minuet in G, a
different
one... there are a few). Maybe once I figure out how to record with
this MIDI
stuff I can send a copy and you can listen.

Of the three songs that you sent I'm most familiar with "How Deep is
your Love?"
and it seems to be coming along quite nicely. I really like the way it
sounds
at around 1:10.

Do you use sheet music to play at all? I'm not exactly sure what it
means to
play by ear. I thought when people played by ear it meant like using
fake book
music to get the "bare bones" of a song and then make up the rest. Is
this how
you do it?

Jasper
[/b]
Glad you enjoyed the midis \:D

and... yes Jasper I would love to hear you play once you get your midi thang sorted...okay?

To answer your question...playing by ear means to be able to speak melody with your fingers as easily as you speak words.

It means to be able to play any song that you can sing, whistle or hum.

Yes you can use fake books but, if you only learn how to play using fake books then you will often have to use them as a memory jogger, and you will never truly develop the skills to have the freedom to play without some sort of memory jogger.

The above skills are taught at pianomagic home of the "pianomagically insane" ;\)

does that help?


Lee
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#1013445 - 02/20/05 07:01 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Seaside, you asked where you have "denigrated" the other camp (the other camp being people who take traditional lessons).

To be honest, yeah, I think you have done that, although to your credit you have been rather sly and subtle about it. Your opinion seems to be that playing piano is easy, and those who don't find it easy are simply doing it wrong. They are wasting their time (this can be done in months) and money (after all, it should $80). The whole premise of what they are doing in traditional lessons is wrongheaded (music being based on chords and not notes).

I don't believe the reason that people are coming out of the woodwork to take issue with you is because they feel threatened. I think it is that you've implied pretty strongly that what you are doing is easy, cheap and fun, and there's no reason for mastery of the piano to be anything else. It's that latter part -- that there's no reason for piano study to be difficult or expensive -- that is bothersome to me.

Here's an analogy for you. Say I happen to meet up with figure skater Michelle Kwan. She tells me about her expensive skates, her pricey coaches, her hours doing figure 8s on the ice when she was 6, her months working up one routine, her attention to detail where every arm movement is planned with a choreographer.

And then you come along. You tell her skating is easy and fun, and anyone who believes otherwise isn't doing it right. Your coach took you on for $80, so she's wasting her money. And you can skate around the rink 10 times in the time it takes Michelle to do it twice on account of all those prissy spins and jumps she is doing. Who needs prissy moves; just skate already.

She would probably think this shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what it means to "skate."

You haven't been rude at all in this discussion, and I appreciate that and thank you for it. I think you and other PM adherents can and should post here. I do think, however, that if you plan to stand at the side of the rink while folks are practicing their jumps and spins and point out that they all need to see the light . . . well, that would be kind of problematic.

My view of Piano magic is simple. In life, there are people who are looking for shortcuts. They want to lose weight without exercise. They want six-pack abs without doing crunches. They want to learn piano without the effort and expense. There's nothing wrong with it, although they won't wind up in the same place as someone who doesn't take the shortcut. If someone wants to take on the marketing challenge and convinces them to buy the shortcut, fine by me.

But I've yet to see anything that would convince me that the PM approach (or any play by ear training) will leave a person a better (or even equal) pianist than traditional lessons. I know two excellent play-by-ear pianists. They both wish they had a classical background because there are many, many things they can't do. One of these play-by-ear pianists (who is so good he was asked to play at the wedding of the daughter of a Supreme Court Justice) even put his 4 kids in traditional lessons because he knows what is missing from his own playing.

That's my take on PianoMagic. I don't believe in "something for nothing," and that's how PianoMagic is being marketed, based on what I've seen here.
_________________________
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#1013446 - 02/20/05 09:20 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
I thought I might jump in here with my interpretation of the "music is based on chords vs scales" thing.

I think what the owner of the Pianomagic web site is trying to say is that "popular" music isn't DIRECTLY based on scales but rather on chord progressions over melodies. Of course chord progression are derived from scale degrees, so yes all music is based on scales but for people who aren't ready to delve deeper into understanding music theory YET, the explanation provides just enough information to start the journey.

I also want to point out that there are actually three ways to play a piano (or any instrument for that matter):

1) Classical Solo (no explanation required)
2) Popular Solo (Harmony through chord progressions on the left hand and melody on the right hand)
3) Improvise Accompaniment (back-up another lead "melody" instrument or vocals)

One doesn't need to learn all methods to call themselves a musician but clearly each has its place. Unfortunately, from my experience, classical teachers ignore styles 2 and 3 while chord method books and courses for style 2 or 3 ignore the importance/value of style 1.

Obviously style 3 requiring the least amount of note reading and co-ordination so we can assume it requires the least amount of effort and time to develop (assuming of course that you can sing or have someone else who can play lead). Improvising in this style does requires building a library of two handed patterns but once memorized they can be applied to any chord in a song. Every new pattern improves your improvisational possibilities.

Style 2 requires more effort than 3 but PW forum members seem to feel that you can become more musical with less effort and time than style 1. The student must learn to read chord symbols and treble clef melody lines which many feel is easier than learning to read the grand staff. I think that getting started with this method is initially (let the flames begin.... easier) BUT to become truly masterful requires as much or more effort than style 1. This is because popular music is made up of MANY sub styles (Jazz, Bee Bop, Dance, Techno, Ballad, Country, Cocktail, Blues, Rock, Rap, Gospel, ...). Sure you can relatively quickly learn one sub style, but then all of your music will essentially sound the same. Developing the skills to play more than one sub-style is a huge effort and requires a lifetime of study and practice.

Style 1 which we are all aware of has a VERY steep learning curve. There are a lot of things to learn at once which can be overwhelming for many people. For this price comes a huge reward... The ability to play the best pieces of music ever composed for the instrument and many that just plain stink.... (my point is that you learn the skills necessary to play any piece of music "AS WRITTEN").

I for one have grand ambitions.... I want to play in all three styles. There are many great pieces that are only possible from the original score (who would really want to improvise over a master's composition) so classical training is the only option for these scores (Style 1). As for popular music, and playing by ear, most pop musicians never play their music live the way it was scored for the studio, therefor I don't necessarily want to play it that way either (style 2). Finally when playing Christmas tunes with the family and friends (singing) or backing-up the church choir, you don't play melody so this requires you to know how to provide pure harmony. Just try and play the melody line while others are singing or while you play in a band with another lead instrument... You will not be playing for very long ;-) Learning proper accompaniment techniques is (style 3) and absolutely required if you ever plan to play in a band or with vocalists.

Rodney

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#1013447 - 02/20/05 11:09 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Rodney, I think what you're saying makes lots of sense. I only quibble with one point.

Classical music teachers *do* teach you how to accompany, if you want to learn that. At my teacher's last recital, there were a few duets, a flute/piano performance, a classical guitar/piano performance and a violin/piano classical performance. We've also had voice/piano in prior recitals.

I'm currently working on a piece for two pianos. The very reason I am doing this piece is to learn to accompany others (well, and because I like the piece and the solo version is over my head).

My classical teachers teach their students to arrange, to compose, to accompany and to solo. The only thing they tend not to do is teaching improvisation.
_________________________
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#1013448 - 02/20/05 11:44 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
Thanks Cindy,

I updated my post to reflect that I meant to say "Improvise Accompaniment". When I discussed this issue with my teacher, he explained that playing pure Harmony is generally not taught until the higher grades (RCM) and advanced techniques aren't covered at all. You usually need to study music at the college/university level to get a thorough education in this style.

That reminds me,... I guess I forgot a 4th style...

4) Harmonizing the melody line (taking a single note melody line and converting it to right hand chords with the melody note at the bottom) Actually this is an advanced function of style 2 but I believe it is often taught seperately.


BTW Cindy:

Your teacher sounds like a real gem!!! Finding a teacher who can cover all the basis is a real challenge.


Rodney

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#1013449 - 02/20/05 04:03 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi Cindy


Thanks for such a long and detailed post and for taking the time to post such a great analogy...I get your point...but, you seem to have missed *the* point of this whole thread and you seem to have created problems where they don't exist.

So lets go back to the "ice rink" shall we...

I am skating around the rink having fun...and by the side of the rink I see a young boy hesitant to take his first steps on the ice...

I get off near the boy and he says..."hello I am not sure what to do its my first time?"

I say...hey I learned to skate off that guy over there hes the best skater I have ever seen around here ...he showed me how easy and fun it is to skate why don't you have a chat with him?

then I bump into a mates girlfriend Cindy she skates really good ...much better than me...shes going to go onto the regional skating team...and she buts in with my conversation with the young guy and says "howdy fella trying to learn to skate?"

yes he says I'm thinking of taking Lees advice and speaking to mike that great skater over there

"Don't do that" she says "I've been skating for 5 years I am going to get on the regional skating team I have a great coach...but, its really been tough ...he works me real hard because skating to get into the regional team is really tough...but, I love the hard work...no, I really do honest!"

I say "but, hey that guy over there makes it fun...who knows one day I may reach the regional team too ...I just get better every day"

Cindy says..." nah that guy knows nothing I've heard it all before"

I say "have you spoken to him?...do you know what he is all about?"

she says..."nope but, I've heard all about his sorts...now if you don't mind, I am off for my next lesson...but, don't worry we regional team skaters don't mind at all that your sorts are allowed to skate here...okay?"

I say to the boy..."hey Cindys a great skater but, from what I see she never seems to have a smile on her face \:\( ...I hope to be as good as her one day who knows? but, I am having plenty of fun at the rink!"

-----------------------------------------------


IMHO I feel that is a much fairer reflection of this thread

And I am afraid I am going to have to disagree with you again...

You think that I've been sly?...I think that I've been...H*O*N*E*S*T ! \:\)

Lee \:\)

BTW..thanks for allowing me to post here Cindy ..it is most appreciated \:D
_________________________
Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013450 - 02/21/05 04:37 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Scott Prell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 101
Loc: Diamond Bar, CA
What a lot of fuss.

I signed up for Piano Magic today. ($130 per year, not $80.) If I don't GROW, I won't GO! (Uh-oh . . . starting to spout Piano Magic-like rhymes already!) So come drink the Kool-Aid with the rest of us.

Thanks, Doug, for posting your newbie experience. That was the clincher for me!

(P.S.: Very impressed with Michael's [Piano Magic's] candidness. Over the phone, I had mentioned my interest in jazz piano specifically, and HE REFERRED ME TO SCOT RANEY'S WEBSITE AS ONE ALTERNATIVE BEFORE I HAD EVEN PLUNKED DOWN MY MONEY ON HIS!)
_________________________
"Amateurs practice until they get a piece right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."

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#1013451 - 02/22/05 08:32 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
What do ya mean Scott?

After all the hours I've spent talking about it and telling y'all my story


(only kidding)

Welcome to the "dark side"...do try not to become too much "the life and soul of the party" though...eh? ;\)


Lee
_________________________
Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013452 - 02/22/05 07:55 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Scott Prell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 101
Loc: Diamond Bar, CA
Hey, Seaside: It was Mark's "newbie" status that struck me. I might have perceived you as a biased, brainwashed vet.

Looking forward to seeing you on the "other" forum...
_________________________
"Amateurs practice until they get a piece right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."

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#1013453 - 03/10/05 07:56 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Rodney Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/04
Posts: 735
Loc: Caledon ON, Canada
So how are the PianoMagic newbies doing? Any progress?

Thoughts?

Rodney

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#1013454 - 06/25/06 01:16 PM Re: Piano Magic website
psychopianoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 608
Loc: Oklahoma
Just want to bump this to see how the once newbies are doing. Let us know your progress with piano magic.
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#1013455 - 06/25/06 01:16 PM Re: Piano Magic website
psychopianoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 608
Loc: Oklahoma
Just want to bump this to see how the once newbies are doing. Let us know your progress with piano magic.
_________________________
pianolessonaddicts.com

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#1013456 - 06/25/06 05:42 PM Re: Piano Magic website
s54mo827 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 1231
Loc: New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by psychopianoman:
Just want to bump this to see how the once newbies are doing. Let us know your progress with piano magic.
Like all things, like life, PMMO goes in its cycle. Having feasted and satisfied my appetite for knowledge at this time, I now have plently to work with and am no longer going crazy trying to figure it all out (the play by ear method). When I do come to a bump in the road, I step back and reevaluate where I'm going with the song and try to simplify it as best as possible. Of course, if all else fails, I am quickly drawn to the boards to post my request for assistance.

All in all - going quite well.

(Good that you bumped this up, Psy ;\) ).
_________________________
~Sharon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv7-qjprix4

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#1013457 - 06/26/06 07:27 AM Re: Piano Magic website
groovygarden Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/06
Posts: 17
Loc: UK
Yes, well bumped.

After a couple of years of lessons, a decade of tinkering and a not inconsiderable amount of PianoWorld lurking(!) am considering signing up for PianoMagic. I'm very hesitent though - £110 is a lot of money (especially considering my digi piano only cost £330!).

Keen to see how the newbies have got on!

Just to check my understanding: Piano Magic teaches you about chord patterns, so you can work out what chords come next in a song and it also teaches you how to break up the chords and add "stuff" to your playing to make it sound good. Right?

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#1013458 - 06/26/06 10:01 AM Re: Piano Magic website
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Right. The method teaches how to play by ear. Playing by ear in the context of the course means you can play a tune that you can hum all the way through.

To play by ear, you need to know how chords change within a tune and you need to be able to follow a melody up and down the scale. This is what PM teaches.

PM absolutely teaches breaking up the chords and adding spice and decorations to your playing. After all, most popular tunes are only about 30 - 45 seconds long, (or less), and it wouldn't be very interesting at all if we played the same short verse over and over again with the same accompaniment.

However. While PM has a ton of information on how to play, and it's going to take me several years to get through it, I would consider it the basics of playing. I think the value of the course is the theory work that is so simple and makes so much sense that it's scary.
 Quote:
£110 is a lot of money
Yep. I would recommend investing the money only if the following applies:

1. You understand that the primary purpose of PM is to teach playing by ear in general. If you insist on trying to play tunes that are above your level, then you'll be frustrated and quit. Too many people want to run before they can even walk.

2. If your goal is to play a specific artist's songs, or if your goal is to play specific new age tunes, or if your goal is to play classical music, then playing-by-ear is not the best way to get there. If all you want to do is play Billy Joel tunes for example, then you'll get there much faster by learning the sheet music. Most new age artists initially played their own pieces by ear because that's how they wrote it. But it's very difficult to play a new age song that you didn't write by ear and unless you're Mozart, it's virtually impossible to play classical music by ear.

3. You understand that you'll be restricted to C-major for quite some time. The PM philosophy is to learn one key inside and out before moving on to minors and then other keys. Minor key songs change chords differently than majors. As for the other keys, once you've learned C-major and a minor key, then all that knowledge is easily transferred to other keys.

4. Finally, and most importantly, you need to participate in the forums to succeed. If you're not comfortable sending recordings of your playing to the instructor and communicating with the instructor and other students, then you'll very quickly be frustrated and quit.

PM is not a step-by-step method with defined parameters. Only the barest basics are set out that way. If you follow the guidance of the instructor, you WILL learn how to play the songs you love without being restricted to a single sheet music arrangement. You WILL make your own arrangements, on the fly, and with your own special flair!

I don't remember seeing this thread before. I'm glad that psycho bumped it up. But Groovy, if you do a search for Piano Magic or Pianomagic in this forum and the non-classical forum, you'll find more information that you can shake a stick at. Much of it will be from fellow Brit Seaside Lee.

Whatever you decide, have fun!

Bob

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#1013459 - 06/26/06 11:26 AM Re: Piano Magic website
groovygarden Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/06
Posts: 17
Loc: UK
Thanks Bob,

What makes a song "easy" in PianoMagic terms? Is it just the number of chord changes, and, I guess, the complexity of the chords? Would "Let it be" by the Beatles be at PM beginner level, for example? I think a simple version of that has about 4 diff major chords.

I read through points 1-4 in your post, and I think they all fit my understanding of PM / what I want to get out of it, and I have read a lot of what you guys have written about PM (thanks for that btw - is really invaluable! You must get sick of answering these questions!). Am convinced PM is a good course, but then I think about my £110! I'm such a skinflint!

One thing though, am not too fussed about playing by ear - right now playing from a fake book would be good enough for me. Perhaps I should just get a "teach yourself" book (I have "How to play the piano despite years of lessons" but not had a chance to use it yet) and try that, then think about PM later

eeek! Can't decide!

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#1013460 - 06/26/06 09:22 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
 Quote:
What makes a song "easy" in PianoMagic terms?
A song is considered easy when only three chords, I, IV, and V/V7 are required to play it. A songs is super basic easy when the IV and V chords alternate with the I chord.

The difference is that the former can be dolled up later with lots of other chords, but the former not so much. I finally found time to get to the piano and I'm pretty sure that "Let it Be" would be of the not basic easy variety. It *can* be played with just three chords. There is one spot where it goes I-V-IV-I but otherwise, it's fairly basic easy.

Even so, I wouldn't take on that song in the first few months. Most folks are used to hearing the substitute chords and turnaround progressions used by the Beatles and it's better to wait until you learn where and when they can come into the picture before jumping in to the deep end right away.

If you have "...Despite years of Lessons", then you can definitely use that to learn how to play from a fakebook. You would pick up many of the same styles and decorations that PM teaches. The only thing missing out would be the chord theory which is where PM earns its money. IMO

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#1013461 - 06/27/06 01:33 PM Re: Piano Magic website
Seaside_Lee Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Blackpool, UK
Hi guys, Bob and anyone else whos hasn't fallen asleep reading yet another pianomagic thread!! ;\)

I think Bob has just about covered most of it \:\) .

I just have to add there is something really rather magical and re-assuring about knowing where you are and where a songs going when you are playing it.

The only way I can think of to describe it...is it is like when you learn to drive a manual/stick shift car (I know this analogy may be lost on those of y'all over there ;\) ) at first it is difficult to work out when to clutch and change gears and check your mirror and keep your eye on the road etc etc.

But years later you can just drive without hardly any mental effort at all, its all just so natural...well that is really kinda like what my playing is getting to now..at times it is almost automatic, I play with almost carefree abandon most of the time...sometimes I even drift away when playing to another world.

Admittedly I still have lots to learn to be totally satisfied with the way I play...but, I'll get there.

Bob hasn't quite gotten there yet ( but he's doing better than I was after the same amount of time) as he has only been there less than a year, I've been there 2 and a half years and the good stuff for Bob is on the horizon.

hope that helps?


Lee \:\)
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Twitter: @Seaside_Lee

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#1013462 - 06/27/06 07:24 PM Re: Piano Magic website
DeepElem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/06
Posts: 366
Loc: USA
I've only been doing PM for about a month. I thought I'd toss in an opinion from a newbie perspective.

1) You can play with a relatively full sound very quickly which makes learning and practicing more fun, and hence I'm more likely to play/practice more

2) I don't see how you develop right hand technique, especially with respect to altering melodies (runs, fills, etc). The right hand techniques I've seen described (beyond my current level) seem to be more about adding color tones giving the right hand melody a fuller richer sound. Definitely a good thing, but not everything I'd hope for. I think there are plenty of other places to pick up that kind of thing however. I suspect this could also be due to my early stage of learning in PM. I don't have the longer term knowledge that those like Seaside,Bob, and Balladeer have.

3) Early on, for the most part, you don't get to play songs you like (unless you happen to be a 6 year old). This is more than offset by #1 though. This falls into the realm of advice that the PM regulars repeat like a mantra - "Don't go to fast, pay attention to the early lessons, even though it seems simple in the beginning don't skip anything".

4) What you really head towards is creating your own arrangements of songs. I think that's a very cool aspect to this "play by ear" stuff.

5) It looks like once you master the basics the teacher (Mike) is very willing to go in whatever direction you'd like to go - a great thing. The course is by NO MEANS just the written material. That personal interaction with Mike I think really sets this off from most other courses.

Overall I'm very pleased with the course, very pleased with the people on the PM private forums (a great group to correspond with), and even more pleased with the teacher (Mike Anderson).

Even though I just started, I intend on playing for quite a while. I can't imagine PM is the only source of learning I'll ever seek, but it sure is a good place to start for anyone not interested in classical playing.
_________________________
-Buck
------
If you knew what you were doing, you'd probably be bored.
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