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#1015366 - 11/08/04 08:41 AM new here
calvin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 35
Loc: traveling the us
i am just starting and i got Scott Houston play piano in a flash . any comments on how good it is to start with

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#1015367 - 11/08/04 09:18 AM Re: new here
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
It depends. What are your goals? Do you just want to be able to play some popular tunes from a fake book?

#1015368 - 11/08/04 09:25 AM Re: new here
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
Calvin: Welcome to the forum. A lot of the adult beginners here are learning with a teacher, which is what I recommend. However, there are several who've learned to play all on their own. I believe most of these guys have learned by using a piano learning series, such as the Alfred books. I can only speak from my experience, which is one of great reward and benefit from having a personal instructor. If you are interested I can send you a private message with a list of teachers in your area? Just need your zip code.
Good luck.
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

#1015369 - 11/08/04 09:31 AM Re: new here
calvin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 35
Loc: traveling the us
thanks for answering , first let me just say that i have no interest in classical music whatsoever i just want to learn to have a little fun with the piano . you know play a few christmas songs a couple of country tunes or whatever, just want to amuse myself with it

#1015370 - 11/08/04 10:02 AM Re: new here
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
Most good adult beginner instructors will query you to find out what you want to get out of piano. Even the simplest pieces can have spots that only a trained pianist can sort out properly. My big concern would be for you to pick up bad habits that make it difficult for you to progress.
As far as playing a few Christmas songs and what not, if you read the posts you'll see that even some of our accomplished players can have difficulty with them.
I just think that you would do yourself a big favor by using an instructor for at least a short period of time to sort out where your fingers go and some basic music theory. Just my opinion...
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

#1015371 - 11/08/04 11:33 AM Re: new here
calvin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 35
Loc: traveling the us
i think that i may be in the wrong place , this forum seems to be geared toward classical players .

#1015372 - 11/08/04 11:47 AM Re: new here
ragtimebg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/04
Posts: 180
Loc: California
Yup, there's a little bias toward classical music, but it's far from 100%....and I enjoy the forums a lot and I don't play any classical music at all....I don't think the "Furry Lisa" rag counts as classical...Jon's probably right about the teacher, at least to start. I am 90% self taught, but I had a couple years of lessons when I started, and I don't think I could have made it to this magnificent peak of performance....okay, to this valley of mediocrity...without the lessons. I'd love to know how you like the Scott lessons ( I assume that's the guy that's been on PBS)...He's describing the piano method that I use most of the time...
I have a new mistress. She's black and curvy and pretty and sounds great and has great legs. I call her "Petrof".

#1015373 - 11/08/04 11:58 AM Re: new here
Vintagefingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 331
Loc: SE
Hello Calvin

I am new to the forum and relatively new to the piano, studying less than a year. Interestingly enough my goals were twofold in the beginning, learn to play Gershwin and some of the golden standards from one of the most memorable eras of American pop music and to learn the Andante from Mozart's 20th piano concerto (K466) It is about the music and we all have different interests. Classical is a good starting point since it is generally more structured than many other forms of music, a good foundation point.

I believe whatever you may be interested in learning to play would probably be better realized with a teacher than on your own. What can be gained from an attentive teacher can't be measured. The big problem with learning on your own, I fooled around with it for a while, is picking up poor habits and never realizing it which might limit you in the future if your interest grows, just something to consider.

#1015374 - 11/08/04 12:14 PM Re: new here
calvin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/04
Posts: 35
Loc: traveling the us
well let me just say this about Scott Houston's way of teaching .to me it just makes sense . why spend years of boring practice when you can pratice on something that you like from day one so far the hard part is leaning to read the notes fast enough. i have played pedal steel guitar where i had to use both hands ,both feet and both knees at the same time in very precise time, the piano in comparison is at least i think fairly easy. and while i am not at all comfortable reading music yet i think that i can at least get to a point that i can play some popular music .scott houston is the first to say that his book is not the way to learn classical piano . but from what VERY LITTLE i do know it seems to be a good way to get to a point of just having fun with the piano . would like other's opionion about his book

#1015375 - 11/08/04 06:02 PM Re: new here
Luckychwee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 231
Loc: Singapore
Hi ragtimebg, you mentioned that you 90% self taught yourself but took a couple of years lessons.

May I know how many years have you took lessons until you are proficient and confident that you can explore learning by yourself ?
An apple a day keep the doctor away,
A smile a day chase your sadness away,
A chat a day drive all loneliness away,
And a prayer a day never keep our Jesus away
And let's praise our Lord, our King, our God all the way ....

#1015376 - 11/08/04 08:45 PM Re: new here
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Hi, Calvin:

In my opinion, you'll do fine with the Houston method. If not, then just find another one.

My guess is you'll want to focus on a few things:

1) Reading the treble clef.
2) Knowing key signatures and time signatures.
3) CHORDS!! There really aren't that many exotic chords in 90% of popular music.
You'll get far if you can get to where you can play the I, III, IV and VII chords in most key signatures, major and minor, plus the inversions (particularly the 7th chord inversions). That's pretty much what the Houston method will tell you, and if you want to be able to play around and do popular music, this will do it.

It's a bit of a grind at first, but once you get to where you can read something like "Gdim" and immediately play a diminished G chord, you'll be able to pick up almost any piece of popular music or fake book music and play it.

Good luck!

#1015377 - 11/08/04 09:00 PM Re: new here
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i got bored when seeing Scott guy on PBS. he just kept talking but covered very little music concepts on the keyboard. i guess maybe for someone who knows absolutely nothing about music, learning from him at the beginning may not be too bad. but for anyone who has some music knowledge, his teaching becomes boring.

#1015378 - 11/09/04 06:48 AM Re: new here
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland

I can't comment on Scott Houston, but I liked "How to Play Popular Piano in 10 Easy Lessons" and also "How to Play Piano Despite Years of Lessons" (or something resembling those titles. You can find them on Amazon). The first one is more basic and teaches left hand chords/right hand melody. The second book goes more in depth. From what I understand of your goals/intentions, these sound appropriate. They're geared toward people without any music experience (especially the first book), so since you have at least some experience reading music, they should be pretty easy for you.

There's another method called the Sudnow method that sounds similar, that is, learning how to play popular music by bypassing more traditional teaching methods. I posted here asking if anyone could comment but don't think I got any replies. You can check it out at www.sudnow.com. Also, there's some discussions about it on rec.music.makers.piano.

I normally recommend some type of lessons, too, but if you really know what your current goal is, you might be able to reach them without lessons. Besides, there's nothing stopping you from taking lessons in the future if you decide that's the right course.

Good luck and have fun.
markb--The Count of Casio

#1015379 - 11/09/04 10:27 AM Re: new here
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati

This forum is for all adult beginners. Welcome. Try the Scott Houston book, learn what you can, then try someone else's book.. then whatever you like. This is the beauty of being an adult.

But.. this warning.. you may find classical music enticing after a while.. \:D \:D \:D playing piano is an insidious and consuming passion!

(So is buying a piano.. a fine madness.)

Good luck!


He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

#1015380 - 11/09/04 07:40 PM Re: new here
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
Originally posted by markb:

I can't comment on Scott Houston, but I liked "How to Play Popular Piano in 10 Easy Lessons" and also "How to Play Piano Despite Years of Lessons" (or something resembling those titles. You can find them on Amazon). [/b]
i forgot the exact name of the book i used to start playing (which i gave to someone else after), but it was pretty much like "How to Play Piano in 10 Easy Lessons" sort or maybe even little better. but it is a basic book to start with and by the end of the book, one pretty much has learned enough to play some simple pieces with both hands. but it cannot be the only book to depend on, because once you pass that basic stage, some techinical or musical issues or problems begin to surface as you play more. that's when you need some more advanced instruction books or even just technique books to give you some guidance and advises on playing technique (dynamics, phrasing, pedaling and even learning and practicing strategies, etc.).

so, even though i'd care less for the Scott's book, but for Calvin who is definitely interested in Scott's teaching, it nevertheless is a good starting point, as long as such an enthusiasm for playing piano remains. but after this book, moving on to other books will become necessary for acquiring more advanced techniques.


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