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#1094098 - 12/09/08 08:39 PM Pretty totally new to piano
Nonono Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/09/08
Posts: 13
Hi, folks. At 35 years of age I've decided to do something I've always wanted to do - learn to play the piano! I'm not sure whether I've been my own worst enemy however in trying to take in too much too soon. I don't wish to go the route of a piano teacher or collect books, if at all possible, as I'm a strong believer that the internet provides more than adequate resources, and would rather video/interactive type tutorials which I can replay over and over and take in at my own pace. Because of the apparently high recommendations on a few different sites, I purchased Rocket Piano but doing this started me asking a lot of questions and pretty much led me to start exploring more than appeared to be covered in the program (I read it all in a few hours; it's mostly artwork, and not well explained in my opinion). I've also watched all the lessons by a piano teacher (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mkoeHGVgQyU). While I grasp all that is being said, I feel don't have any structure to my learning, and have not really developed any intuition about what I'm doing. If I'm going to practice, I really need to know what, and WHY. Mary had a little lamb is just soul-destroying. \:\)

I know how to form the major and minor keys, and can play triads while thinking about it (I don't know them off by heart, only the majors and then with a few seconds to sort out where my fingers go; I'm still "working out" the notes, as it were). I see so much conflicting advice about reading music (which I can do academically, but it doesn't readily translate to sound or what I ought to be doing with my hands in any reasonable time).

I'm now ready to commit to the apparently mandatory 15-30 minutes a day to learn and practice piano seriously, but I'm wondering really where I ought to start. What is actually the value of scales practice - I know scales are collections of notes that sound good together and a framework on which the chords are built, but a lot of music seems to use notes not belonging to a particular key, for example, so I wonder why so much stress is placed upon practicing them. Rocket Piano only covers, if memory serves, two keys - C and G I think - in the first book. It also places a lot of emphasis on learning to read music, whereas I know that many very talented musicians can't read it at all. Presumably however they weren't just born able to play to the standards they do.

I guess I'm just looking to some guidance as to how I should be spending my time, and what I ought to be focussing on. Ultimately I'd like to be able to get the endless tunes out of my head and into an instrument. It's connecting my fingers to my brain and getting a grip of the rudiments, which I really want to grasp academically and "just do", that's my challenge. I love all kinds of music, but am not interested in becoming a concert pianist.

Help and guidance appreciated.

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#1094099 - 12/09/08 09:04 PM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17747
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Welcome to the forum, nonono, and welcome to the rewarding world of piano. \:\)

If it's structure you wish, I'd recommend working through one of the major method series, e.g., the Alfred's for Adults, or Faber Adult Adventures. These books will present lessons and skills in a logical order that will allow you to build upon mastered techniques. If you go with a well-known series, you also ought to be able to find plenty of info on the forum or YouTube to supplement the books.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1094100 - 12/09/08 09:12 PM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
The advantage to learning to read music is
that you can buy the sheet music for any
song you would like to play. These are
typically of the "piano-voice-guitar chords"
variety, with a melody line and the words
of the song, guitar chord symbols above,
and a complete piano arrangement below.
These arrangements are pretty good as
written and if worked up diligently can
sound almost professional. In any case,
they'd be better than anything you could
improvise by ear or by using just
the chord progressions of the song
from a fake book or lead sheet (fake
books and lead sheets are specialized
sheet music with just a melody line
and the names of the chords--these are
intended for advanced players), unless
you were a very experienced professional-
level player.

For example, I just got the Hal Leonard
publications, The Big Book of Jazz
and The Big Book of Standards, and these
have all kinds of great songs with complete
piano arrangements that are better than
anything but what the best pros could improvise.
And the piano arrangements are not overly
difficult and well within the reach of
any player with some experience
playing from sht. music.

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#1094101 - 12/09/08 09:19 PM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
Serge88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 775
Loc: Canada
Welcome Nonono,

learning the piano is a long journey. Some people learn with a teacher, some with books others with online piano course.

There is many ways to pianoland because everyone is different.

Serge
_________________________

“Being able to hear recorded music freed up loads of musicians that couldn't necessarily afford to learn to read or write music. With recording, it was emancipation for the people.”
-Keith Richards


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#1094102 - 12/09/08 09:48 PM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
CCFireLt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/07
Posts: 41
Loc: Florida
Hi nonono! Welcomc aboard. I was on the same path as you very recently. Like you, I decided I needed more structure to my learning and my new instructor has started me with the Alfreds All in One Series of books. Starts at the basics and is very clear. But the best part is that in this particular Adult Beginners Forum, there are threads devoted specifically to the Alfreds books #'s 1, 2, and 3 comprising around 100 pages of total discussion. You can play until you need to read, then read till you need to play! I haven't been here long but between my teacher and the helpful folks here, I'm learning a lot. Stay with it (I'm 38 too!) Good luck...

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#1094103 - 12/09/08 10:11 PM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
Nonono Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/09/08
Posts: 13
Thanks everyone for the replies. Can I have the ISBN for the Alfred book, please. I'm resident in the UK and see several different (and confusing) versions of the book, including a second edition and some with MIDI files, etc. Not sure what I should be going with. TIA.

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#1094104 - 12/10/08 01:46 AM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
CCFireLt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/07
Posts: 41
Loc: Florida
Here's the ISBN: 0882848186

And Here's the Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Adult-All-One-Course-Lesson-Theory-Technic/dp/0882848186

Enjoy!

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#1094105 - 12/10/08 12:25 PM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Hi Nonono,
Welcome!
The scales relate to music in that when a song is written in a certain Key which is indicated in the key signature it's basicially is that scale. (sorry if that doesn't make sense).
So if there is one sharp in the key signature that is the Key of G major(or the relative minor but I wont get into that right now so lets just assume its maj). So the notes are comprised of the G major scale....
I think I good place to start is to practice and memorize all the major scales. From there you can easily learn the minor scales (relative, harmonic, melodic) and chords, easily based on those scales.
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

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#1094106 - 12/10/08 12:35 PM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
Blackbird Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/08
Posts: 125
Loc: Cornwall UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by Nonono:
Thanks everyone for the replies. Can I have the ISBN for the Alfred book, please. I'm resident in the UK and see several different (and confusing) versions of the book, including a second edition and some with MIDI files, etc. Not sure what I should be going with. TIA. [/b]
Here is the link to the UK one with included theory and the CD of the tracks. It's been great so far and lots of support here

Alfred all in One
_________________________
http://blackbirdlearnspiano.wordpress.com/

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#1094107 - 12/11/08 08:22 AM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
PianoPeter73 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/08
Posts: 53
Loc: Porto, Portugal
Hi Nonono,

I'm also 35 and started learning the piano recently (I've only had 5 lessons!). I understand that you don't want to have a teacher and want learn everything by your own, but my personal opinion is that having a teacher, at least in the first year(s), is the way to go.

A teacher will always be there to correct you and make you aware of your mistakes. Sure, you can read a book that says you shouldn't do this or that, but while you're playing you probably don't realize you're making mistakes. If you have a teacher, he will be there to point your mistakes over and over until you stop doing them.

Also, having a teacher is good because you commit to something. If you know you'll have a class next week you'll practise as much as you can to show some progress to your teacher.

I think that being on your own means you'll have to be very organized and methodic.

But that's just my opinon! I hope it helps you in some way.

Best regards.

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#1094108 - 12/11/08 01:15 PM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
ctcrmcou Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 83
Another way to commit to something is to buy an expensive piano! Then you're guilt (or your nagging wife) will keep you at it. Although my wife doesn't nag, she uses positive reinforcement to keep me feeling good about my playing. ha ha

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#1094109 - 12/20/08 04:09 PM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
DrGaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/08
Posts: 37
Loc: UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by clavedesol:
Hi Nonono,

I'm also 35 and started learning the piano recently (I've only had 5 lessons!). I understand that you don't want to have a teacher and want learn everything by your own, but my personal opinion is that having a teacher, at least in the first year(s), is the way to go.
[/b]
I absolutely agree with you here. I have so far found having a teacher absolutely essential. She has picked up on so many mistakes I made that I didn't realise were wrong, and shown me ways of improving my playing that I wouldn't have realised.
_________________________
My blog: http://drgaz.blogspot.com

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#1094110 - 12/20/08 04:52 PM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
Wow, what happens at the 35 years old mark?
It was last year, in my 35th birthday when I decided to take piano lessons....


Welcome to the forums!

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#1094111 - 12/23/08 09:38 AM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
criptonite Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 1
Loc: Staffs, UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boira:
Wow, what happens at the 35 years old mark?
It was last year, in my 35th birthday when I decided to take piano lessons....[/b]
Last Christmas, I asked my partner for a keyboard so that I could learn to play. Guess what? I was 35...

Oh, and "Hi..."

my first post \:\)

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#1094112 - 12/23/08 10:00 AM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101
Welcome criptonite!

Nonono, might I suggest Faber and Faber's Piano Adventures (I'd take the children's method books over the adults--more songs that are much easier to progress through--the adult version seems to be focused on playing some tunes rather than giving you a good foundation).
_________________________
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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#1094113 - 12/28/08 08:32 AM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
mcasl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/08
Posts: 116
Loc: Spain
Hi,
I am 34 years old. I started taking lessons about 2 months ago from scratch. So far, I am glad I started. Hope you like it too.

I guess that at this age many people settles down at last. That's what happened to me, so it was the perfect time to start playing.

Best wishes
_________________________

- Danza Oriental, E. Granados
- Nocturne 4, J. Field
- Six variations on 'Mio caro adone', W.A. Mozart
http://www.youtube.com/mcasl

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#1094114 - 12/28/08 10:49 AM Re: Pretty totally new to piano
Akvarn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/08
Posts: 35
Loc: Norway
 Quote:
Originally posted by DrGaz:
 Quote:
Originally posted by clavedesol:
Hi Nonono,

I'm also 35 and started learning the piano recently (I've only had 5 lessons!). I understand that you don't want to have a teacher and want learn everything by your own, but my personal opinion is that having a teacher, at least in the first year(s), is the way to go.
[/b]
I absolutely agree with you here. I have so far found having a teacher absolutely essential. She has picked up on so many mistakes I made that I didn't realise were wrong, and shown me ways of improving my playing that I wouldn't have realised. [/b]
I agree with both of you. I have "always" played the guitar but when I decided to get serious about it I went to a teacher for a year and a half. That helped me lay the foundation for further development. Same thing when I started out with the piano - about 6 months with a teacher.

Since you are aiming for a 15-30 min session every day I think you'll get much more out of that practice time if you let a teacher help you. One teacher told me that the most important thing she taught me was not to play the pieces but *how* to practice and structure the practice time. I find this to be absolutely true. A teacher will also bring to your attention things that the internet will never help you address.

I would never have been playing the piano today had I not found a qualified teacher to guide me during the first steps. Piano is so much more fun when you get it right from the start. If you are the sort of person who knows exactly what you want a teacher will help you find that path. You'll know when time comes to part with your teacher. Patience may be the key word here.

Just sharing my experience. Good luck whatever you choose to do.

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