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#1025810 - 10/16/05 11:46 AM Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
junk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/11/05
Posts: 12
Loc: Minnesota
OK, our 8 year old Charles Walter arrived yesterday. We had purchased it for our 5 year old who is just starting to take piano lessons. I've always wanted to learn how to play. I do not have any musical training. I don't read music, know no music theory and don't play any musical instruments. I would like to start by reading books, watching videos and trying to self teach. Any recommendations for these piano education materials?

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#1025811 - 10/16/05 12:01 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
sand Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/28/05
Posts: 12
Loc: Texas
i am too looking for adult beginner books and have so far found this Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course

has anyone tried it? did it work? is it supposed to use as self-taught or a supplement for piano class?

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#1025812 - 10/16/05 12:56 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
There are several possibilities for adults
who want to learn on their own. There is
the adult piano course type of book, for
example, the 2-vol. Mark Nevin adult piano
course, and there are many others by different
authors. Then there is the type of course
that is intended for the young student starting
on the long road of classical training, for
example, the 9-vol. John Schaum course (pre-A,
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H), and the 7-vol.
John Thompson course (preparing 1 and 2,
Grade 1, Gr. 2 , Gr. 3 , Gr. 4, Gr. 5), and
there are many others. The Nevin-type course
teaches from an adult perspective and moves
faster than the Schaum or Thompson classical
courses, which are written for younger
students. Both are good and assume no prior
knowledge of the piano. Note however that
these books are intended to used with a teacher
so there may be a few things in them that
are puzzling because they are intended to
be explained in detail by a teacher, but they
can also be used without a teacher.

Then today there are various software teaching
programs that you buy on a CD, sometimes with
supplementary printed books. I've never
used any of these, but I'd guess that they
can be fun to use and okay as teaching
material. However, these seem to be mostly
geared to popular or jazz type of playing.

Then there is also the intriguing possiblity
today of buying a piano that can teach you how to
play. Some of the more expensive digital
pianos with built-in LCD screens can apparently
do this. The new Roland HPi-7 digital
piano (about $4500.00) with its huge LCD
screen and built-in teaching software
is particularly interesting. I own a
regular digital with no screen or built-in
teaching software and I'm not a big fan
of computerized bells and whistles but this
one intrigues me and I'm tempted to give it
a try.

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#1025813 - 10/16/05 01:25 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
That Alfred adult piano course looks like
it would be similar to the Nevin course,
that is, the level 1, 2, and 3 books (without
CD's) at 15.95 each. The ones with the CD's
apparently contain recordings of all the
songs in the book, nice to have, but not
really necessary. The CD-only ones I think
might be awkward to use since there is no book,
and if you have an acoustic piano you'd have
to put a laptop computer on top of the piano
in order to even read the music--these
are apparently intended to be used with a
portable digital keyboard that you can set
in front of your computer, but even this would be
awkward since you'd then have to pedal with
your knee.

Those supplementary books, flash cards,
etc. would be nice to have but not really
necessary, the three books would cover
all you need to know starting out.

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#1025814 - 10/16/05 07:29 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
try this comprehensive book, which would teach you almost anything from playing basics, music theory, styles and some history:

The Piano Handbook: A Complete Guide for Mastering Piano (Spiral-bound) by Carl Humphries (check at amazon.com)

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#1025815 - 10/16/05 08:23 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
dsl88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/05
Posts: 20
I started with Alfred Basic All-in-One that came with the CD. I used the CD as reference to check if I did the exercise correct. In addition I also bought the John Thompson G1-G3 as a suppliment, which the pieces were more interesting to play than the Alfred's exercise pieces.

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#1025816 - 10/16/05 09:37 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
John WI Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/05
Posts: 88
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin USA
The Alfred Adult All-in-One course is also built into the new Kawai CN4 (digital) piano. The piano can play the whole piece straight or right hand only or left hand only (so you can play along with the other hand). You can also adjust the tempo, so you can play the piece slow when you are first learning it. (This digital piano also has a recorder and a built-in 3.5" drive, so you can play other pre-recorded music or record and save your own).

No, I don't sell Kawai, but I am a beginner thinking about buying one (I am now renting). And, I am seriously looking at this instrument -- which is available here for $1,895.
_________________________
John Wisconsin

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#1025817 - 10/21/05 01:19 AM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
Salli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 36
Loc: Tucson, AZ
I've been using the "Alfred's Teach Yourself to Play Piano" and I'm having pretty good results with it. I've been supplimenting this with
"Edly Paints the Ivories Blue" and, of course, "Edly's Music Theory For Practical People."

I do intend to eventually find a teacher, but weird things have interfered.

Salli

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#1025818 - 10/21/05 11:31 AM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
coda Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/05
Posts: 25
Hi junk et al,

I've recently finished the level 1 book and I'm reviewing it all as I'm not that happy with my technique.

The theory I already have so I didn't learn any theory from the book, but I feel that it's pegged at the right level for a complete beginner. I found it useful as an first introduction to the piano.

While I may not be satisfied with where I am technique wise - my technique is a lot better that it was before I started the book. So I'm a satisfied customer. I have the CD with the book but never bothered to open it.

I find the book insufficient on its own. For sight reading it will not suffice as you soon become familiar with the tunes it has.

In a week or so I'll hopefully start with the level 2 book. I've already been skimming the first few pages.


ciao

Jo

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#1025819 - 10/21/05 12:32 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2844
Loc: UK.
I have used the Alfreds book in my teaching and most people seem to enjoy it. It deals a lot with the primary chords (I, IV, and V7) in basic keys which is good as these can then be used to harmonise other melodies - good for developing aural skills. I am sure it is possible to teach yourself and I have met musicians who have made a good job of it. However... it is extremely difficult, most adults who begin lessons are surprised at just how hard it is. I'm not trying to put you off but if you find it a struggle do consider getting some tuition. Most books will tell you what to do and how but they can't tell you if you are doing it right.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1025820 - 10/21/05 03:01 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
pianocliff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/05
Posts: 398
Loc: Washington, DC Metro
My picks:

For repetoire and techinque:
  • Alfred Adult Books
  • The Piano Book
  • Piano Literature series like those by
    FJH, Fredrick Haris, or Kjos series
  • Free online book: "The Art of Piano Practice" by CC Chang


For Sight-Reading
  • Howard Richmann's super sight-reading secrets
  • A hymnal or bach chorales
  • An anthology of easy classical music like Easy Classics or Music for millions


For Theory
  • Edly's Music Theory for Practical People
  • A progressive theory series like the one by Kjos publishers ("Fundamentals of piano theory")
  • website: http://www.musictheory.net


For EarTraining
  • teoria.com
  • musictheory.net exercises
  • A program called "Functional Ear Trainer"


For your sanity
  • A good teacher! heehee


~pianocliff

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#1025821 - 10/21/05 03:53 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
soldbear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/05
Posts: 56
Loc: California
Have a PC?

Get a copy of Teach Yourself Piano from www.voyetra.com. I think the best choice is the USB Teach Yourself Piano kit which includes the software and the USB-to-MIDI interface for $50. I hook up my electronic piano with an old cheap laptop (300MHz Pentium II running Windows 98). You can find a similar used laptop for about $100. Some companies are even happy giving old computer equipment away.

The software contains enough materials for at least 1 yr, even for the most serious student.

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#1025822 - 10/21/05 09:40 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
John WI Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/05
Posts: 88
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin USA
I've been using Alfred's All-in-one Adult Course and I think it is pretty good.

My note reading needs a lot of help, so for $25 I just bought "Piano is Fun" ( http://www.pianoisfun.com/b/ ) and I am fairly pleased with it. It breaks down note learning into small parts (e.g. lines on treble clef, spaces on treble clef, lines on base clef, spaces on base clef, etc.) so that it is easier to master. The program appears to be designed for children, but it is useful for adult's as well.

Also, there are other resources on the "Links to Additional Resources" section of these Piano World Forums". For example, see: http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/34/11.html
_________________________
John Wisconsin

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#1025823 - 10/21/05 11:08 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
Monica K. Online   blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianocliff:
For your sanity
  • A good teacher! heehee


[/b]
:D \:D \:D Well spoken, pianocliff!

And very helpful references! This entire thread is great and would be a good candidate for the FAQ archives, as it seems like a lot of the adult beginners want to know good self-teaching curricula.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1025824 - 10/21/05 11:24 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
azpat Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/05
Posts: 6
Loc: Tempe, AZ
Schaum has a four book series called "Piano for Adults", although it does not start from the absolute beginning. There is a five book series by Kenneth Baker, available in a single omnibus edition "The Complete Piano Player" which starts from an absolute beginning. It also has songs and pieces that are probably more interesting to an adult. For beginning music theory, there is Alfred's "Essentials of Music Theory" which is three books in one. It comes with two CD's which are basically exercises of identifying different note patterns, etc. The Baker books seem designed for someone working on their own and for the time I used these books I found them rewarding in that progress was evident as you moved through the exercises.

But maybe it doesn't matter too much what you pick to get started. There are thousands of music books and many that would serve your purpose. It's more important to just get started and practice regularly.

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#1025825 - 10/27/05 12:51 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
For anyone out there who wants to learn blues piano, I can't recommend Tim Richards' "Improvising Blues Piano" strongly enough. I'm at the beginning of the book (lesson three) have been completeing each challenge in sequence before moving on and already I can feel some glimmers of hand independence beginning to take hold after only a couple of months. Be warned, though, this is not a "Learn to Play Blues Like a Pro in Two Weeks" scam. But if you're realistic, committed and don't skip the steps, I'd expect an early-intermediate pianist to be playing decent-sounding blues after about a year (maybe halfway to three quarters of the way through the book). I'd put myself at an advanced beginner level and I reckon in about one year I should be somewhere like 1/3 of the way through the book.

The examples not only sound good, but have been chosen/created with clear pedagogical objectives by someone who clearly knows, not just how to play, but also to teach the genre.
_________________________
Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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#1025826 - 11/01/05 03:15 AM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
geek in the pink Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 340
Loc: New Jersey
Wow, that book is expensive. I read your post thinking, "Ok, I'll go out tomorrow and buy this book." Then I looked at the prices online...some places wanted $50 It might not be a lot for most of you, but I'm a broke college student.

As far as starter books, I have a Hal-Leonard adult focused beginner book. It's ok, I'd probably go with the Alfred's book myself if I had to do it over again. The Hal-Leonard book is a little all-over-the-place for me. One of the things I did not like was that the first chords they taught you were inversions, but they never told you they were inversions. I had a bit a theory study before I started the book so I knew a basic chord was built on a root-3rd-5th, so I thought that was a little misleading. I understand not wanting to complicate a beginner's mind with triad inversions and such, but why not just introduce chords based on the root-3rd-5th standard, then move on to inversions [and explain them]?

 Quote:
Originally posted by pastafarian:
For anyone out there who wants to learn blues piano, I can't recommend Tim Richards' "Improvising Blues Piano" strongly enough. I'm at the beginning of the book (lesson three) have been completing each challenge in sequence before moving on and already I can feel some glimmers of hand independence beginning to take hold after only a couple of months. Be warned, though, this is not a "Learn to Play Blues Like a Pro in Two Weeks" scam. But if you're realistic, committed and don't skip the steps, I'd expect an early-intermediate pianist to be playing decent-sounding blues after about a year (maybe halfway to three quarters of the way through the book). I'd put myself at an advanced beginner level and I reckon in about one year I should be somewhere like 1/3 of the way through the book.

The examples not only sound good, but have been chosen/created with clear pedagogical objectives by someone who clearly knows, not just how to play, but also to teach the genre. [/b]

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#1025827 - 11/01/05 05:01 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
pianocliff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/05
Posts: 398
Loc: Washington, DC Metro
how's this geek?

cheap places to buy that book

(froogle is your friend...)

~pianocliff

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#1025828 - 11/01/05 05:47 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
Copper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 1048
Loc: Virginia
Here are some piano books I have bought:

Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course Level 1 (without CD)
Lesson - Theory - Technic
Willard Palmer et al. $15.95

As a beginner I liked this book. It is presented as a series of lessons with lots of simple examples and exercises. I recommend this book for an adult beginner. I'd expect to spend at least a few months working in this book. Of course this time can vary widely depending on the student and the time spent on each lesson.
The music in this book is mostly popular or 'old favorites'.

The Piano Handbook: A Complete Guide for Mastering Piano (with CD)
Carl Humphries $29.95
This is a another good book for a beginner, although it has more text and less music than the Alfred's. It is more oriented toward classical music.
I thought this book was a great complement to the Alfred's course. The music in the book really helped me develop Hands Together playing.

How to Play Piano
Roger Evans $5.95
A basic presentation of theory and technique with examples. Similar lessons to the Alfred's book but more limited scope.

Teach yourself Piano and Keyboards
King Palmer $9.95
More text less music than the others on this list. It goes beyond just the basics for the beginner and gets a little deeper into each topic. The terminology used is British as opposed to American, which can be distracting.

How To Play Popular Piano In 10 Easy Lessons (Fireside Books (Fireside))
Norman Monath $14.00
Another beginner's book, easy to read, understandable. It has some good examples of working with chords.

Play Piano in a Flash! Play Your Favorite Songs Like a Pro--Whether You've Had Lessons or Not!
Scott Houston $12.95
The title is obviously an outrageous claim.
But, this guy is so up beat and so positive and so motivating you can't possibly say anything bad about him. I recommend this book just for fun, you might also learn something about working with fake books, chords and improvisation. He has a nice web site with lots of audio samples and lessons.

Library of Piano Classics (Library of Series)
Music Sales Corporation $19.95
A nice collection of classical favorites

Library of Easy Piano Classics (Library of Series)
Music Sales Corporation $21.95
A nice collection of easier classical favorites with simpler arrangements

Disney Fake Book
Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation $24.95
Like the title says … if you like Disney you'll like it

The Illustrated Treasury of Disney Songs
Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation $26.95
Disney classic arrangements for two hands

Fake Book of the World's Favorite Songs
Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation $19.95
More than 600 songs - fun to play them at random

Player Piano
Kurt Vonnegut $14.00
Has nothing to do with playing the piano, but still a classic
_________________________


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#1025829 - 11/01/05 10:02 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
geek in the pink Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 340
Loc: New Jersey
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianocliff:
how's this geek?

cheap places to buy that book

(froogle is your friend...)

~pianocliff [/b]
Awesome!

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#1025830 - 11/05/05 02:07 AM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
I promise you, you won't regret it, GITP.

Tim Richards is pretty solid on theory, but he introduces it gradually. Chapter one is based on triads and inversions, but these are all introduced with standard notation and inversions are noted. I've stopped formal lessons for a while to focus on this book. I feel as though my left hand is starting to think for itself and I have begun to feel in my fingers that I will be able to improvise.

I've also started the first two exercises in the Boogie-Woogie Hanon, but I'm really taking my time with it.
_________________________
Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

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#1025831 - 11/17/05 12:48 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
Relic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 70
Loc: Netherlands, Purmerend
Hey, Pianocliff. Could you give me the link of the online book
'The Art of Piano Practice'

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#1025832 - 11/17/05 12:56 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
Copper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 1048
Loc: Virginia
Chang Fundamentals of Piano Practice
http://members.aol.com/chang8828/contents.htm
_________________________


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#1025833 - 12/17/08 10:51 PM Re: Recommendations for self teaching books/videos
blues flat 7 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 86
Loc: PA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pastafarian:

Tim Richards is pretty solid on theory, but he introduces it gradually. Chapter one is based on triads and inversions, but these are all introduced with standard notation and inversions are noted. I've stopped formal lessons for a while to focus on this book. I feel as though my left hand is starting to think for itself and I have begun to feel in my fingers that I will be able to improvise.

[/b]
Book = Tim Richards' "Improvising Blues Piano"

Hi pastafarian;
This is a old message and I am just wondering how everything worked out with this book and you? Anyone else working thru it?

Thanks,
Flat 7
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Please add some tips to it too!

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