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Topic Options
#1307296 - 11/17/09 03:55 PM Looking for the right start.
Sam Kumming Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 3
Hey everyone. My name is Sam.

I have a recent fascination with piano. We have an antique upright at our home, but i am looking to buy a keyboard and learn through some informal methods.

There are a few limiting factors to my learning.
A) I am 18, but already have a case of inflammatory arthritis. Sometimes my hands hurt too much to even write. My other hobbies of juggling and cardistry tend to aggravate this. I could use some advice on whether i should just avoid this venture altogether, as my condition is inoperable and painkillers don't seem to help much. This would limit practice to only a few sessions a week, so i can heal in between.
B) I am a fulltime student and not interested in lessons. Book or video teaching would be optimal.

I dont have any interest in making my own music, and just want to learn some of the new hits and whatever else sounds cool. I appologize if i sound like i am not taking this seriously, but i really am.

I was looking at the yamaha PSR E313 or E323. Would this be a good starting keyboard. Anyone here own/ use one?

I would also like suggestions for a learning method. I saw the shawn cheek videos on youtube, and while i seemed to learn something from them, they may not be the best route. I wouldn't mind learning to read sheet music.

So im sure you guys get a bunch of posts just like this, but here is mine. smile

Thanks for the help, and hopefully i can get started on bringing music into my life for the first time.


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#1307326 - 11/17/09 04:59 PM Re: Looking for the right start. [Re: Sam Kumming]
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1211
Loc: New Jersey
I'm just a 1 year beginner, so I probably shouldn't even be giving advice, but...
The purists will probably argue this point, but with your inflamatory arthritis and your hand pain, you might be better off with a keyboard with a light touch instead of the weighted keys that would usually be recommended. You should check the keyboard/synth forum for info about particular models.

And since you evidently aren't interested in classical, there is a series called American Popular Piano which starts you from scratch to learn popular styles. If you Google them and get into their website, you can see sample pages and hear samples of the music. That way if you like them you can start from whatever level you think you are ready for. Good luck.


#1307327 - 11/17/09 05:01 PM Re: Looking for the right start. [Re: Sam Kumming]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4534
You need to get some kind of keyboard
instrument to practice on, and the
exact type is not that critical,
as all keyboard instruments--grand,
upright, clavichord, organ, harpsichord,
electric piano, synth, digital piano,
computer controller keyboard,
61-key portable, etc.--are of the
same musical species and are played
essentially the same way. For
example, since the striking bars
on a xylophone are laid out
the same as the keys on a piano,
a good xylophonist, who has never
played any instrument but the
xylophone, can sit down at
the piano and play it without
instruction. An inexpensive
61-key portable keyboard
is more than adequate to learn
piano on.

You can learn from books, videos,
software, etc. Basically, all
you would need is a chart showing
which note on the staffs corresponds
to which key on the piano, and
some basic information about
notation, and you could then play
anything by going at it note by

As for the arthritis, people play
with arthritis, or even after
losing an arm, or their vision.

You need to get some kind
of keyboard instrument--any
kind will do (even a xylophone
would not be out of the question;
it's more interesting than
a piano, and it's easier on
the hands, and after you learn
the xylophone, you could play
the piano without instruction)--
and start pounding away on it,
instead of worrying about if
you've got everything exactly
right before you even play a note.

Edited by Gyro (11/17/09 05:04 PM)

#1307338 - 11/17/09 05:13 PM Re: Looking for the right start. [Re: Gyro]
Sam Kumming Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 3
Thanks guys!
I mainly wanted a concise recommendation for learning.
I do enjoy the sound of classical piano, but i dont know if its in the cards for me. I wouldnt mind doing a note by note lesson in accompaniment to reading a good starter book.


thanks so much

#1307345 - 11/17/09 05:22 PM Re: Looking for the right start. [Re: Sam Kumming]
mom3gram Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 1211
Loc: New Jersey
Well, in that case, I am using the Alfred Adult All-in-one series, as are quite a few people on the ABF forum. We have a study group thread for each of the three books. And there is a new "self-teaching" version of Book 1 that looks really good.

The version I am using: http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/Alfred-s-Adult-All-in-One-Course-Level-1-Book/3658941

and the self teaching version:

Edited by mom3gram (11/17/09 05:29 PM)


#1307417 - 11/17/09 07:52 PM Re: Looking for the right start. [Re: mom3gram]
marimorimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/09
Posts: 429
Loc: Kingdom of Nodame
First off, take Gyro's advice with a grain of salt. He has quite a...reputation in this forum.

With your arthritic hands, I really do think it's best for you to get a teacher. But not just any teacher. You have to do your research and interview teachers in your area and find one that focuses on proper hand and body positions to prevent tension and injury. One that would specifically address your concern about arthritis. Believe me, it's so much easier to play with a lot of tension than to play without it (relaxed, which is what pianists should aim for). I've been trying to achieve that perfect balance ever since I started playing a few months ago, but I'm still far from it, I'm afraid. I've played with so much tension that my hands throbbed after a practice session, to being so 'relaxed' that my hands never got tired playing for 2 hours, but my fingers lacked power. Fortunately, I haven't injured myself (yet!)

I played on an unweighted keyboard before getting a digital piano, and the action is so different from a real piano that I can't recommend it unless you just want to 'mess around' and not spend a lot of money. If you get serious about the piano, you'll have to shell out more down the road to get a proper piano when the keyboard starts limiting you (the cheap keyboards only have 61 out of 88 keys). Unweighted keys tend to be springy and sensitive which lends itself to poor technique and weak fingers. It's also very hard to control dynamics, even if you get the models with touch-response. Fortunately, there seems to be a middle ground - full size keyboards with semi-weighted keys such as the NP-30, YPG(?) or DGX Yamaha models. I tried them a bit at the store and thought they were pretty good. One of my favorite Youtube pianists even has an older DGX model. Yamaha calls the keyboard "Graded Soft Touch," which means that the key weight gets lighter from the bass to the treble, but still not as heavy as fully weighted keys. Try one next time you visit a music store wink
Alfred's AOI Course Bk 2
Frances Clark Contemporary Piano Literature, Bk 1
The Festival Collection Bk 3
30th Week Playing Piano
+ CASIO PX-720 and PX-730 +

#1307448 - 11/17/09 08:45 PM Re: Looking for the right start. [Re: marimorimo]
Waltz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 707
Loc: Massachusetts
I would strongly urge you to consult a medical professional (ie physician) before beginning anything. Inflammatory arthritis at your age should not be taken lightly.

#1307454 - 11/17/09 09:04 PM Re: Looking for the right start. [Re: Waltz]
Sam Kumming Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 3
Thanks for the concern, my doctor is well aware of my self destructive hobbies. There is nothing really to be said. I can play through the pain, but i should probably speak with him again.

Edited by Sam Kumming (11/17/09 09:07 PM)

#1307493 - 11/17/09 10:10 PM Re: Looking for the right start. [Re: Sam Kumming]
Waltz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 707
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: Sam Kumming
Thanks for the concern, my doctor is well aware of my self destructive hobbies. There is nothing really to be said. I can play through the pain, but i should probably speak with him again.

I understand. We can't always allow ourselves to be controlled by disease, especially at such a young age. I hope your condition improves, best of luck smile


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