Originally posted by braindonor:
1. I can't afford a piano, so i'm going to get a keyboard. What are some decent keyboards for $200 or under, and how many keys should I get one one.
2. I can't afford lessons, so i'm going to teach myself for now. Since I play guitar and drums, it will be easier for me to teach myself than if I didnt play any instruments. What are some good begginer books to teach myself
3. How many keys does a standard piano have?
Been there, done that.
Just recently too, as I only have one years experience, but that means I possibly can understand the question better than some.
Weighted keys on a keyboard will be a very important feature to "play piano", with keys which "feel" like a piano. You wont find that on any $200 keyboards, which have a very light touch and feel more toy-like. To be sure you realize the difference, at least look at the Yamaha P120 or P90 in the stores (Guitar Center has them). These do have excellent weighted keys, but their new price is like $1000 or $1200. Their sound is great too, but that is much much less important in the beginning.
I tried to start learning with a $200 keyboard anyway, and it was good enough right at first, when I was only trying to figure out how to read the note names on the music, and how to find the right key on the keyboard, etc. But after a couple of months when I could actually play to some slight degree, and needed to practice playing for more extended periods, it quickly became clear the key feel just wasnt good enough. I bought a P90 then - huge difference.
Pianos have 88 keys, but 61 keys is enough for anything you may encounter for a long time. That is not really an issue yet, since most music simply isnt written to use those extreme low or high keys, which is why the 61 key keyboards can ignore them. The better digital pianos will have 88 keys however.
Books... go to a music instrument store that sells pianos, and get one of the regular piano beginners method books, like Alfreds Basic Adult Piano Course lesson book is popular. Bastien is also a popular name. Inexpensive.
These method books will not be theory books, they are more about trying to play a few notes than about explaining music theory, but these same book lines do have other accompanying theory volumes.
Also go to the public library or regular book store, they should have books, like "How to play popular piano in 10 easy lessons" which seems a pretty good one for that type of thing (first basic introduction). Dont imagine 10 lessons is literal, but the book does cover the combination of theory and chords and initial ideas of playing, as a discussion, not as exercises. Its not the only choice, but I thought that book was a good first introduction to the basic concepts, in combination with the method books for practicing.
Dont underestimate the importance of a teacher.
30 minutes a week is not expensive. I pay $70/month, $840 a year, which seems like not much for what it is. A teacher is valuable for the lessons, for the organization and guidance, important to quickly stop wrong ideas, and for asking questions, etc. It is also motivation, if only to satisfy your teacher, but which is extremely important too, may be the biggest one factor, to keep you going without quitting.
There are different teachers, some are very much classical music oriented, and others are popular music oriented, for those interested in playing in groups or churches, etc. The first few months doesnt much matter, initial learning is the same ideas, but make sure the teacher can teach your goals.