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#1381878 - 02/24/10 11:44 AM Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard
barks62 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/24/10
Posts: 3
I would love to learn to play the piano, but I can never seem to find the time. Between five kids and two jobs, I'm pretty worn out when bedtime rolls around.

I started thinking that my desk at job #1 would be a great place to practice, as my lunch hour provides some quiet time. But the keyboard I have is not small enough to store in my cubicle. It's a 61 key, about 36" keyboard. I was thinking of buying one of those (don't crucify me!!) roll-up keyboards to use as a practice piano.

Seems like the kind of thing that wouldn't be thought highly of by real piano players, but does anybody think it would be a good setup for a beginner with no training at all? At this point it seems like I get something portable enough to store at work or I don't play at all.

I would appreciate any advice or suggestions!

Thank you!

Oh, and I apologize if this has been mentioned before, but I was not able to find it with a search.

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#1381885 - 02/24/10 11:56 AM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: barks62]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 748
Loc: Canada
Funny you should mention.... Because over the weekend, somebody posted a video in another thread of Tony DeSare, a singer/piano player who's touring with a trio (that includes Bucky Pizzarelli, so the guy has some kind of jazz cred). I googled him afterwards, & he uses a fold-up keyboard as part of a portable recording studio that he takes on the road. Tony DeSare Tour Blog
_________________________
Carol
(Started playing July 2008)


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#1381904 - 02/24/10 12:22 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: barks62]
BenPiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 1171
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: barks62
I was thinking of buying one of those (don't crucify me!!) roll-up keyboards to use as a practice piano.


Don't do it! They're really quite horrible, and you might hurt yourself with them. My wife put one in my stocking at Christmas (I'd like to think it was sort of a joke whome ) . I took it back the next day.



Edited by BenPiano (02/24/10 12:22 PM)
_________________________
Learning to play since June 2009.
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#1381917 - 02/24/10 12:32 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: BenPiano]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Hi barks62,

Welcome to the forum. Taking advantage of some quiet time at work by getting some practice on basics (note reading, rhythm) is a brilliant idea. Technique building should not be a concern. After you get the basics out of the way, you may discover some extra energy to then play at home on your better keyboard.

Taking into account BenPiano's post, I would recommend checking out these different roll up keyboards. I clicked on Tony DeSares blog. His setup looks very interesting with that roll up sitting there.

The most important thing is to just get started on your piano journey. It will lead to a lifetime of fun!

Barb
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1381922 - 02/24/10 12:38 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: Swingin' Barb]
barks62 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/24/10
Posts: 3
So that's one vote for, and one against. BenPiano, when you say I may hurt myself, do you mean physically (I heard they're hard on the wrists), or technique? If I get one I want to make sure the technique will translate to the big keys.

Are there any other suggestions? If the roll-up won't cut it, does anybody know of some other practice setup that would be smaller than a 61 key but still good enough to practice technique?

Thanks for the quick responses!!

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#1381923 - 02/24/10 12:39 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: BenPiano]
Pedies Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/10
Posts: 155
I've only tried the roll up keyboard at the store (i.e. Sharper Image when they were still in business) and it was very difficult to play. I could only get one note to play at a time with significant pressure (not using a normal touch that I would use on a real piano or a digital). I would definitely recommend trying one before you buy it or else making sure there is a good return policy at the store where you do buy it (if you do get one).

From what I've read, it is very difficult to play chords on them because the sound is so difficult to produce due to this touch issue. I have to admit I've been tempted to get one too just to play a riff or two at work when I have down time.

Something else to consider is mental play (as Chang discusses in his book on the Fundamental of Piano Practice- you can google it and find it, there is a free version on the internet or Amazon has it too). That is, you visualize the piano in your head and then practice passages. At first I thought this would be impossible but as I practice more, I sometimes do it as I'm going to sleep or at other times and I can actually see the keys and play through some passages that I'm working on. I don't know if it's helping me get better at playing but it helps you memorize pieces better.

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#1381936 - 02/24/10 01:07 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: Pedies]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
My brain is in overdrive....

You mention that you have a cubicle at work. I am wondering if there is another room you can "borrow" at lunch time - an unused training room or any other place where you can set up your keyboard and get under headphones? Even 30 minutes of this type practice would be absolutely wonderful.

Barb
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1381937 - 02/24/10 01:07 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: Pedies]
I'll be Bach Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/09
Posts: 122
Loc: North Carolina
If storage is the issue

Why not get a gig bag to protect the digital and then you could stash it on a lean?

My office isn't very big, but I have been considering getting a nicish digital, gig bag, etc. It gets a bit tiresome trying to fight the parking on campus sometimes to get to the music center during lunch.



Edited by I'll be Bach (02/24/10 01:08 PM)
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#1381944 - 02/24/10 01:21 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: I'll be Bach]
barks62 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/24/10
Posts: 3
Barb: to bring my big keyboard to work would require approval from people higher up. I don't know if I could get that approved. If it is something that can fit at my desk I wouldn't need approval, I could just throw some headphones on it and go to work.

Pedies: I can't seem to find one in a store, only online. I guess if I do go that route a return policy would be necessary.

Bach: Transportation isn't the only issue, practice space is the big one. Using it in my cubicle isn't realistic.

Thanks again for the responses!

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#1381951 - 02/24/10 01:35 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: barks62]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: barks62
Between five kids and two jobs, I'm pretty worn out when bedtime rolls around.

I am getting desperate here. Can you set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier and get in some morning practice at home? smile
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1381952 - 02/24/10 01:35 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: barks62]
BenPiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 1171
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: barks62
BenPiano, when you say I may hurt myself, do you mean physically (I heard they're hard on the wrists), or technique? If I get one I want to make sure the technique will translate to the big keys.


I think your biggest risk is tendinitis. There is no easy way to play those (at least the one I got). I really had to mash the keys to get it to sound.

After playing a few notes, and trying to think of some positive spin to give my wife (in case the gift was not meant as a gag), I realized there was no amount of spin that would translate what I was thinking into something that wasn't negative. The first thing out of my mouth was, "I'm gonna hurt myself with this thing!"

As far as translating between these roll-ups and a keyboard / piano, there is not translation - they are not compatible. It was very difficult for me to play.

The board is 2 dimensional, compared to a 3 dimensional piano. There is no touch response, or weight, etc. One might as well scribble some keys out on a blank piece of paper and practice on that - it's the same experience, only more expensive. grin



When it comes to finding time to play piano, there are a couple of options. I have children too, and most of my piano practice time comes when the kids go to bed. However, I'm a natural night owl so it sort of fits. Also, one could wake up an extra 20 minutes early to play (many do this to exercise, for example.)

Another creative option is to include one or two of your children in your practice, and you could learn to play together. Since I started learning last summer, my oldest took a real interest in learning as well. He takes a group class once a week, and we practice every day together.

Both parent and child learn, and it's a great bonding experience. A real win-win.
_________________________
Learning to play since June 2009.
My piano diary on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/afpaSTU1096
<- 10+ ABF recitals

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#1382377 - 02/25/10 12:19 AM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: BenPiano]
ladypayne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 428
Loc: AK, USA
Ironic this came up on the roll up piano.. I was actually thinking of getting one because I'll be studying overseas for 5 weeks in a few months and won't have any piano. So thought a roll up piano might be a good buddy! Maybe I'll just take a break though from the piano.. Guess it wouldn't hurt :P
_________________________
I am currently uploading all of my written piano sheets onto my blog to make things easier. I also have written out a few more sheets. All free check it out if you want smile Any questions, PM me

http://myuniquepianomusic.blogspot.com/

http://www.youtube.com/user/paws1528

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#1382543 - 02/25/10 09:39 AM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: ladypayne]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 748
Loc: Canada
There are also non-flexible keyboards that fold in half. This one apparently has 77 weighted keys, folds up to 25 inches.
_________________________
Carol
(Started playing July 2008)


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#1382585 - 02/25/10 10:35 AM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: joyoussong]
Pete M. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/10
Posts: 125
Loc: California
Yeah, I'd sooner go for the one that folds in half than a roll-up one. Normally I'm all for practice keyboards as long as they get someone playing, but the roll-up kind is one case that does far more harm than good.
_________________________
Looking for piano learning resources or interesting piano stories? Check out my piano blog.

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#1382682 - 02/25/10 12:48 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: barks62]
Sam S Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 1492
Loc: Georgia, USA
Another option would be a midi keyboard controller. They have no built-in piano sound (or any other sound) and no speakers, so you lose the weight of all those extras. In other words, it is just the keyboard and nothing else. You have to plug them into a computer and run some software to hear them. If you are allowed to use your work computer for something like this it might be an option.

There are 61 and 88 key versions. Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

Sam

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#1384150 - 02/27/10 05:34 PM Re: Looking for an ultra-portable practice keyboard [Re: Sam S]
ocd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 201
Loc: North East
I have not yet found a midi-controller with fewer than 88 keys that has weighted keys: they feel like synthesizers not acoustic pianos.

ocd
_________________________
"Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen."

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