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#1044430 - 01/02/09 07:16 PM Push me in the right direction!
Stabby Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/07
Posts: 84
Hey fellow piano players. This is it, I finally bought a piano after all those years of wanting to play. There's no way back now! \:\)

I need some advice on how to find out which method of learning will suit me best. If I'm right there are several ways:

- Read notes, learn by playing piano sheets and getting better after each song
- Try playing songs by ear (costs more effort, but more effective?)
- A combination of both

I want to play mostly jazz and pop, but I'm also a beginning producer (have a Microkorg), so improvisation will be an important skill to develop for making electronic music. However I also wish to play piano songs of course.

So how should I start out? Some good books I should give a try. Starting next month I'll get lessons from my nephew, but I'd like to combine this with some self study. Unfortunately he doesn't know what books are good.

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#1044431 - 01/02/09 07:36 PM Re: Push me in the right direction!
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2993
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
congrats on the purchase!

I vote for 3) combination of both.

Add to that a fair amount of technical exercises. At least enough to know your scales inside out.

In my opinion, playing from sheet is a lot easier than playing by ear. Getting better after each song - as you put it- is by far the easiest way to be able to play songs quickly. If you pick the tunes carefully, you can also get a lot of technique out of it. It's a fun way to get your fingers in shape.

But it helps very little with being able to improvise or play by ear.
There's no shortcut to playing by ear, you just have to be very disciplined and do it. Pick records and try to copy-cat. Any style goes... What you listen to and copy will define who you become as a pianist.
First learn melodies, then bass-line.
Then whatever you can \:\)

Take care, and enjoy!

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#1044432 - 01/02/09 09:12 PM Re: Push me in the right direction!
quiescen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 215
Loc: San Diego
Hi Stabby,

Congratulations on your new piano purchase! It's an exciting time to be sure as you get to know your new musical "friend."

If I read correctly, you're interested in learning how to improvise. Just so happens, I have a free piano lesson at http://www.quiescencemusic.com that shows you how to do just that. And with both hands right away.

Have fun playing piano!
_________________________
Edward Weiss
Quiescence Music
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1044433 - 01/03/09 10:23 AM Re: Push me in the right direction!
RobM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 112
Loc: Plymouth, Devon, UK
Hi Stabby, I'll second knotty's vote for option number 3 - a combination of both.

I've been learning to play the piano for a little over a year now, but I've only been reading sheet music for about 7 or 8 months. Luckily, I've got a fairly good ear for picking out tunes without any sheet music as I grew up 'playing around' on a little 61 key keyboard. When I first bought my digital piano about 13 months ago I was under the impression that I could just hone my skills and learn to play some more advanced piano music by ear alone. And I could.....but progress was very slow as soon as I started trying to learn more difficult pieces.

Since making the transition to learning to read sheet music, I've noticed a vast improvement in my playing. You hit the nail on the head by saying about "getting better after each song"; what I've actually found is that my playing-by-ear has significantly improved as well as I can apply the various techniques that I've developed from reading music. Therefore I can highly recommend a combination of both methods, but placing a greater emphasis on reading the notes as a way of accelerating your learning.

Many people seem to recommend various method books or online courses but these don't have any appeal to me, and from your post it seems as if you learn in the same way that I do. If so, the one recommendation that I'd make is to vary your repertoire as much as possible. I only play songs that I like, but when choosing a new piece I'll always attempt to find one that uses a different key or time signature, or has a different bass pattern, or includes triplets/trills/some other technique. In doing so, I've developed as many tools as possible that help with playing by ear and improvising.
_________________________
"All my life I've had one dream: to achieve my many goals." - Homer Simpson

My Videos: http://www.youtube.com/MastahUK

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#1044434 - 01/03/09 10:31 AM Re: Push me in the right direction!
Gerry Armstrong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 214
Loc: Cumbernauld, Scotland
I would also recommend going with RobM's advice, perhaps with more of an emphasis on reading in the short term as that tends to be a weak area for people who have previosuly learned by ear.

The more tools you have in your box the more you can enjoy yourself later on.
_________________________
Gerry Armstrong

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#1044435 - 01/05/09 08:50 AM Re: Push me in the right direction!
Stabby Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/07
Posts: 84
Thanks for all the advice! Any book suggestions?

Also, I was wondering if it's normal that my digital piano makes a slight buzz. This occurs on every key on all instruments. When I put the volume all the way down and listen carefully I can hear which notes I play listening to this buzz. Is this normal for digital piano's?

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#1044436 - 01/05/09 09:23 AM Re: Push me in the right direction!
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2993
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
 Quote:
Originally posted by Stabby:
Is this normal for digital piano's? [/b]
no, but you should ask that question in the digital forum.

Take care.

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#1044437 - 01/05/09 09:43 AM Re: Push me in the right direction!
Stabby Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/07
Posts: 84
Yes, I also asked in the digital forum. However it's very quiet, I wouldn't be surprised if most people don't notice it.

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#1044438 - 01/05/09 10:36 AM Re: Push me in the right direction!
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101
Book recommendations:

-Faber and Faber's Piano Adventures (Children series, NOT adult). Begin with premier and work your way up!
:::Lesson, Theory, Technique and Artistry, and Performance
-Scale book (F&F actually have achievement sheets that go along with each book, but I haven't seen them). I recommend either Keith Snell's series or Alfred's Beginning Musicianship
-Chord book
-Piano Town, go through this series, then supplement with Keith Snell repertoire books

Good luck!
_________________________
II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.

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#1044439 - 01/08/09 10:43 AM Re: Push me in the right direction!
garyg Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 8
Loc: Arkansas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Stabby:
Thanks for all the advice! Any book suggestions?

Also, I was wondering if it's normal that my digital piano makes a slight buzz. This occurs on every key on all instruments. When I put the volume all the way down and listen carefully I can hear which notes I play listening to this buzz. Is this normal for digital piano's? [/b]
I don't think your problem is in the DP. Sounds like electrical interference. Is there something else electrical plugged in close by? Try relocating. Maybe you'll need a line conditioner.

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