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#1994255 - 12/03/12 05:56 PM Digital Beginner Seeking Feedback on Gear/Training
Adam- Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/03/12
Posts: 2
Greetings! I'm a complete novice - I'm 28 years old and had a few months of weekly training a couple years ago, but it didn't stick at all. I'm sure my problem had a lot to due with poor motivation, but I also had a cheap keyboard that would make feedback sounds when multiple keys were pressed at the same time in my defense!

Going forward, I'm looking to really invest myself in learning to play the piano. My girlfriend and I plan on buying an acoustic piano, but I thought to start I'd try for a mid-range high-quality digital piano to learn on. After a bunch of research, I think I've settled on the Yamaha P155 for around $1000 USD. A big investment for me, but I'm partly hoping that if I spend more than a few hundred I'll be more motivated. Does anyone have any feedback on if it'll be a good starter piano to learn on, to later move to an acoustic? Any other recommendations at that quality point? I want the ability to plug in headphones and plug it into my computer/iPad, and I want the closest simulation to an acoustic as possible. I hear the speakers on the P155 are lackluster, but I have a good set of computer speakers+subwoofer I can plug in. All for low volume home use.

I also read that the sustain pedal it comes with (FC4) is not ideal, and that the Yamaha FC3 better simulates an acoustic piano's sustain pedal. Anyone know if it'll be worth the $40 USD?

I also plan on getting a Yamaha MIDI-to-USB adapter, because the cheaper ones had some issues with the pedal coming across as a separate note if I recall correctly. Apparently there is a difference for some using the $5 USD adapters vs the $50 USD adapters (Yamaha or Roland brands). Anyone have experience with this, or did the cheap adapters work?

As for training, I want to try self-guided and software based instruction, and then perhaps go back to a real live instructor. The Alfred Adult All-In-One series goes highly recommended by the thread in this forum and elsewhere, and I also settled on eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method v.3 software. Anyone have any experience with the latter, or better yet, with combining the two? Which one should I start with, and how far should I go before combining them? Or any other recommendations for training from the absolute beginning - ideally with MIDI connectivity? I have a Windows 7 PC and an iPad (1st gen), so Apple's GarageBand is right out.

Any feedback would be appreciated!

Cheers,
Adam

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#1994291 - 12/03/12 07:13 PM Re: Digital Beginner Seeking Feedback on Gear/Training [Re: Adam-]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1846
Loc: Pennsylvania
If you are looking to become classically trained on the cheap ...

I always recommend this site.

http://fundamentalkeys.com/index.html


She is a classically trained pianist and she passes her knowledge on to you as best she can via her book and her videos.

You can actually look through her book (on site) page by page without actually purchasing it.

Her videos are exellent as she explains how a piece should be approached and then she demonstrates how it should be played.

A modest investment gives you first rate instruction.

And ... there is a forum associated with the site where you can ask questions and discuss various topics of interest to you.


Good Luck


Edited by dmd (12/03/12 07:14 PM)
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D

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#1994334 - 12/03/12 08:29 PM Re: Digital Beginner Seeking Feedback on Gear/Training [Re: dmd]
Adam- Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/03/12
Posts: 2
Thanks dmd - I checked it out and from her blurb it sounds promising. Have you tried other instruction or just her videos and books?

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#1994422 - 12/04/12 01:44 AM Re: Digital Beginner Seeking Feedback on Gear/Training [Re: Adam-]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Adam-
Greetings! I'm a complete novice - I'm 28 years old and had a few months of weekly training a couple years ago, but it didn't stick at all. I'm sure my problem had a lot to due with poor motivation, but I also had a cheap keyboard that would make feedback sounds when multiple keys were pressed at the same time in my defense!


motivation is key! Make sure to listen often to quality performances and take away inspiration (and not de-motivation wink )


Originally Posted By: Adam-
Going forward, I'm looking to really invest myself in learning to play the piano. My girlfriend and I plan on buying an acoustic piano, but I thought to start I'd try for a mid-range high-quality digital piano to learn on. After a bunch of research, I think I've settled on the Yamaha P155 for around $1000 USD. A big investment for me, but I'm partly hoping that if I spend more than a few hundred I'll be more motivated. Does anyone have any feedback on if it'll be a good starter piano to learn on, to later move to an acoustic?


It's an excellent piano for this purpose. I've learned on one the majority of my time on the instrument and the action and sound(s) are quite good (though obviously not as good as a well-tuned quality acoustic). The speakers aren't particularly astounding, but they get the job done when performing. I always practice with quality headphones and would recommend you do the same (these are imo the best for <$100 http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDR7506-Profe...rds=son+mdr7506).


Originally Posted By: Adam-
I also read that the sustain pedal it comes with (FC4) is not ideal, and that the Yamaha FC3 better simulates an acoustic piano's sustain pedal. Anyone know if it'll be worth the $40 USD?


I didn't read this anywhere, but don't find it hard to believe. Becoming accustomed to different pedals and weights isn't too difficult, but if the pedal you speak of is the 3 pedal option and it's only $40, I would opt for it because its something I actually want on mine (having only a sustain eventually becomes difficult).


Originally Posted By: Adam-
I also plan on getting a Yamaha MIDI-to-USB adapter, because the cheaper ones had some issues with the pedal coming across as a separate note if I recall correctly. Apparently there is a difference for some using the $5 USD adapters vs the $50 USD adapters (Yamaha or Roland brands). Anyone have experience with this, or did the cheap adapters work?


cheap adapters worked for me for [occasionally] playing virtual pianos. Keep in mind you can't record sound through a midi cable if that's what you want one for, though; this is done through stereo cables connected to the headphone slot or line out slot (see http://www.pianoclues.com/how-to-record-piano/)


Originally Posted By: Adam-
As for training, I want to try self-guided and software based instruction, and then perhaps go back to a real live instructor. The Alfred Adult All-In-One series goes highly recommended by the thread in this forum and elsewhere, and I also settled on eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method v.3 software. Anyone have any experience with the latter, or better yet, with combining the two? Which one should I start with, and how far should I go before combining them? Or any other recommendations for training from the absolute beginning - ideally with MIDI connectivity? I have a Windows 7 PC and an iPad (1st gen), so Apple's GarageBand is right out.


Nothing compares to a quality real teacher just as nothing compares to a quality real piano, for instance. I don't have experience with the latter, but I'd second any recommendation for the Alfred's Adult All-in-One Piano Method in a regular regimen. With the approaching spring college semester, I'd recommend checking out local community colleges (if you have any and your spring schedule permits) for beginning piano classes, or if you want to opt out of that, a beginning music theory ("basic musicianship") course as that can really aid in learning.

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#1994479 - 12/04/12 05:46 AM Re: Digital Beginner Seeking Feedback on Gear/Training [Re: Adam-]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
Hello, and welcome! You are about to start on a fun and magical journey.

For questions on gear check the digital piano thread on this site. Lots of info on gear there. As for the P155, I think you've made a good choice. I have one myself and find it to be more than suitable. I do wish the speakers were louder but mostly I play with headphones so not a big deal for me. Also the better pedal is a good idea. I don't have the better one but am thinking to upgrade.

I've heard good things about Alfreds. Another option is the regular method books from either Alfreds or Faber and Faber. They go into more detail I think and you can supplement with the various theory books, performance, etc. My son is using Alfreds but I buy him the Faber supplemental materials. If you can buy the books with CDs. They are usually only slightly more expensive and will help you understand what the pieces are supposed to sound like.

Good luck!
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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