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#1099050 - 01/15/09 11:48 PM So... where to begin?
EKitty Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Boulder, CO
Hey everyone! *peers out over immense forums*

Well, let's get one thing straight: parents are always right. End of story. I learned piano for about 6 months when I was young and promptly gave up, because how could a piano ever compete with a fancy new Nintendo 64? :rolleyes:

Here I am, around 12 years later (22 years old, now), regretting that decision. The silly thing is that even though I'm very clearly back at square one, I still have random muscle memory for the first few lines of My Heart Will Go On because that was the last song I learned to play. LOL! It was quite popular at the time. ;\) That muscle memory has made me somewhat bitter, realizing how much more[/b] muscle memory I could have had by now if I had just stuck with it. But that's life.

Sadly, there are two things that impede me from making the best of relearning the piano:
- I'm a poor college student.
- ... I'm a very[/b] poor college student.

But!! There are also two things that are to my advantage:
- I'm a perfectionist that won't move on until I've done the best I can do.
- I'm a "scientist" that won't proceed until I have a clear plan.

So what this all amounts to is that I really, truly, honestly cannot afford real piano lessons for some time. I'm beginning as bare-bones as you can get with a used Casio CDP-100 (perfect condition, though). But I'm not going to leap in and start making crazy mistakes as far as posture and fingering goes- those things I can remember from my first lessons.

I'm also not a typical returning pianist in that I won't be focusing on classical music. There are definitely some classics that I would love to play, but the majority of my musical interest begins with the Beatles and then leaps ahead 30 years to covers of modern music.

I watch covers of things like this song and secretly fantasize about someday being able to play by ear like that. :p

I have a few questions, though: For me to reach that point, I obviously need to train my ears first, and learn all the chord patterns, while doing scales and improving my hand coordination.

Since I'll be teaching myself, I was hoping to dedicate at least an hour a day (between classes, after work, whenever) where the majority was learning to sight-read chords/fake books and practice scales, and a small portion was to slowly memorize bits of a song so that I could eventually have something fun to show for it, even if I wasn't truly at that playing level yet.

The Alfred series seems to be popular enough, so I'm definitely getting the first book there. Does anyone have any other book or website recommendations for me to find finger exercises and begin memorizing chords?

How about places where I could begin training myself to recognize note sounds? I could look up any website myself, but since I know I don't have perfect listening skills yet, someone with better judgment would be really helpful.

Or perhaps if you're somewhat like me, you could tell me how it was to learn in this rather unconventional way?

I know I won't ever reach a great amount of skill by going about the piano this way, but it seems like it's the best way to eventually play the music I'm truly interested in, rather than pages of songs that makes my brain leak out of my ears after hearing them 200 times (I'm looking at you, Lightly Row . *glare*) Luckily, I have no interest in ever giving a formal recital.

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#1099051 - 01/16/09 02:29 AM Re: So... where to begin?
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Hi, I know what it's like to be poor! I'm on disability (which is a big step upward from waiting with no money at all for my disability case to go through). During that time I taught myself to play tinwhistle and recorder, because they were cheap to acqire and had a lot of good teach-yourself materials, both online and in books. So I definitely understand having the motivation to teach yourself.

One resource that's not to be overlooked when you're poor and teaching yourself
is the library -- and as a student, you have access to both your school's library as well as your community library. If you're interested in learning to play chord based music from fakebooks, there are a couple of very common books (likely to be found in a library or used book store) called _How to play popular piano in 10 easy lessons_ by Norman Monath and _Play piano in a flash!_ by Scott Houston. They're both very simple introductions to how to find and play all the basic chords, and pick out the melodies of tunes you know. There are also 2 books by two different authors both called _How to play from a fake book_, which I haven't read yet, but which seem more in depth.

When you say you want to "begin training myself to recognize note sounds," I'm guessing you mean you want to do ear training. Before I could afford to buy software to do this, I used a couple of online sites
http://musictheory.net/
http://www.good-ear.com/

but found that I much preferred this inexpensive shareware (for Mac)
http://www.red-sweater.com/clarion/

Now I use this
http://www.ars-nova.com/aboutpm5/index.html
which is more expensive, but the student price isn't bad. It reaches me all kinds of things.

Back to free stuff -- Here's a good chord and scale reference:
http://www.looknohands.com/chordhouse/piano/

Good luck with your piano studies!
_________________________
Oops... extremely distracted by mandolins at the moment... brb

neglected piano blog

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#1099052 - 01/16/09 10:52 AM Re: So... where to begin?
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Hi EKitty,
Welcome!

I think alot of us here went through the "regret" stage. The important thing is you found your way back \:\)

I think you can go a long way teaching yourself. But, if you can swing it, I would recommend finding a teacher that might be willing to help you out. Even if it's only once a month or so. I taught myself for a long time and have had a few (not so good teachers). I had some rhythm issues that no one corrected until I found my current teacher. It's just much easier to learn something right the first time then having to go back and "fix it". \:\)

Anyway...

This is just a partial list of the books I have that you might find helpful.

Berklee Piano theory (there is also a book two)

http://www.amazon.com/Berklee-Music-Theo...2120314&sr=8-12

Berklee Piano Essentials

http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Essentials-A...32120411&sr=1-2

Chord Encyclopedia

http://www.amazon.com/Keyboardists-Pictu...32120489&sr=1-1

Scale Finder

http://www.amazon.com/Original-Piano-Fin...32120538&sr=1-3


The Berklee series also had some ear training books.I have never used them but I am thinking of getting one or two.
_________________________
“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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#1099053 - 01/16/09 10:56 AM Re: So... where to begin?
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
 Quote:
Originally posted by tangleweeds:
Hi, I know what it's like to be poor! I'm on disability (which is a big step upward from waiting with no money at all for my disability case to go through). During that time I taught myself to play tinwhistle and recorder, because they were cheap to acqire and had a lot of good teach-yourself materials, both online and in books. So I definitely understand having the motivation to teach yourself.

[/b]
Tangleweeds,
I am always shocked at how long it takes for people to get disability benefits. I know someone who was told they had to be out of work for a year before they could be considered for disability. Why? so they could loose everything they worked for. I'm glad you got yours sorted out and did something creative with your time while you waited.
My best to you
_________________________
“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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#1099054 - 01/16/09 03:37 PM Re: So... where to begin?
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Twelve yrs. ago you probably quit because
video games were fun and piano was drudgery,
and not fun. Therefore, this time
around you should maybe try to make sure
you keep piano fun so you don't quit again.
But now you're skirtting dangerous
territory by looking into scales, and
worrying about if your fingering is right,
and comparing your playing to advanced
players, and worrying about memorizing and
exercises, etc. These kinds of things
can quickly turn piano is drudgery and
unpleasantness, so that you eventually
quit. I'd suggest instead doing exactly
what you feel like doing at the keyboard,
without any concern for how this
compares to various "standards," or what
other people happen to be doing at
the piano, etc. That way you make piano
into something that represents you and
fits you individually and is something
you enjoy doing.

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