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#1993419 - 12/01/12 10:18 PM Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful?
Im A Deus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/12
Posts: 7
Hello all, I would really like to know what teachers think of the lighted pianos that are on the market ( some examples)

I don't have any piano background but I would like to start learning. I am just over 30 years old. On a recent trip to a Target store, I saw one of these keyboards and pushed the buttons to have it play Mozart's Alla Turca Rondo (with lighted keys).

Within 10 minutes I was able to play the first 45 seconds of the right hand part from memory though at a slower tempo, then I had to go. Is this pace of learning typical for someone who has no piano background? I honestly surprised myself. Or is this typical with the lighted keyboard "method"? I would have thought it would take months of practice to learn enough to play that peice.

My concern is that there is a downside to these keyboards, and I want to learn piano for the long-term and fully develop my potential.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!

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#1993454 - 12/02/12 12:13 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 439
I think of it like they old game Simon Says. The game lights up in a sequence and then you repeat the pattern. It's not really playing the piano, it's Guitar Hero.

My daughter is fascinated by the videos like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F7GNQAO4T4

And the app by Smule (Magic Piano).

But they are just games. I suppose a positive is that she is very familiar with the songs she finds and when she hears them on the radio she knows the name and composer.

A downside is that there are times she gets a new piece of music and if it is something she has never heard she will look for a video to hear before playing. If there isn't one, she is frustrated. She ends up singing the notes she reads and THEN she will attempt to play it. Of course she does not want me to hear her singing.... So I guess the downside would be a reliance on hearing the music to know if you are playing it correctly vs just reading/singing it. (I don't know if singing it is something piano teachers like kids to do - it is just the solution she has come up with).

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#1993757 - 12/02/12 04:32 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Im A Deus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/12
Posts: 7
Thanks for the reply. I'm not sure I see the downside yet to learning with a lighted keyboard. It seems to me that it helps you to find the correct keys, and if used in conjunction to sheet music I don't see what the downside might be. Do all teachers feel strongly that a student should learn to sight read music from the beginning and not play by ear, for example? Couldn't a student use the lighted keys to backwards engineer the sheet music and perhaps come to a more complete understanding and ability for reading sheet music?

To clarify, I will still be seeking piano lessons from a teacher but I would want the option of learning on my own between lessons.

Another issue I have is that I need a keyboard that has good sound. I have a 25 year old keyboard in my house which sounds horrible and I can't stand listening to the sound it produces. After reading some reviews, the Yamaha YPG-235 seems like a good choice for sound quality and price (considering I am just getting started, I wouldnt want to spend much more than $300 for one).

I would appreciate a teachers thoughts on the Yamaha Education Suite (YES) that comes standard with many Yamaha keyboards. Is this education package good for a student to use in addition to lessons? Are there other keyboards in this price range with good sound and a better education suite?

Thanks in advance!!

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#1993807 - 12/02/12 06:02 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
The pianos with lighted keys that I've seen had springloaded keys instead of weighted ones.

I think that you will be very disappointed if you buy a keyboard that has a touch that you don't like. For learning you really want something as close to an acoustic piano as you can get. My daughter's progress at piano lessons did not take off until we bought her a quality digital with realistic weighted keys.

IMO touch is more important than sound. You can always use software to make your sound anything you want (and can afford). You can experiment with your old keyboard. Just use MIDI out into a laptop, and try some of the free software pianos available. I used Pianissimo for a church performance and it was well received. Now I'm running Synthfont on an old slow computer.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1993874 - 12/02/12 09:08 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
whitfit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/11
Posts: 80
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Get a weighted keyboard if you really are serious about learning. My first keyboard was a YPG-535, and I grew out of it in a few months. It is cheaper in the beginning, but it is cheaper only for a very short term, and then it is wasted money if you are serious about continuing.

If you want to learn about digital pianos, check out the digital pianos forum on here. There are a ton of threads about first DPs, values at different price points etc... The lighting up keys keyboards that I have seen are little more than toys in terms of action and playability. I am not sure about them as a teaching tool, and suspect you are better off learning to read right off the bat - hitting the right notes is only part of the battle anyway - you have to have the right technique and understanding of music.

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#1993887 - 12/02/12 09:45 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Im A Deus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/12
Posts: 7
The Yamaha YPG-235 has "Graded Soft Touch" with 3 levels of resistance. I'm not sure what to make of that, will that be good enough for me to get started and move to, say, intermediate level?

link: http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-i...235/?mode=model


Edited by Im A Deus (12/02/12 09:46 PM)

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#1993918 - 12/02/12 10:57 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Play by Lights is kind of like Paint by Numbers. It'll walk you through making something decent, but that doesn't necessarily means you'll be a pianist/artist.

The keyboard is probably good enough to get you started. The big issue is technique - it's difficult to train solid technique on a budget keyboard, but if you're starting with some good physical talent and dexterity, it could work just fine.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1993926 - 12/02/12 11:31 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
I'm not a teacher. But I've come across this question before.

those lights teach you to look at your fingers.
you should already see your fingers on the keyboard in your mind.
And should already feel where your fingers are by bumping into black keys.
That's why they're there.

don't look down - look at the sheet music.
you can look down if you're hopping, but get your eyes back on the music and don't lose your place.

get a real keyboard.
I'd recommend a used yamaha cp-33 or better.
you also NEED a piano teacher.
_________________________
...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#1993953 - 12/03/12 01:43 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
whitfit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/11
Posts: 80
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: Im A Deus
The Yamaha YPG-235 has "Graded Soft Touch" with 3 levels of resistance. I'm not sure what to make of that, will that be good enough for me to get started and move to, say, intermediate level?

link: http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-i...235/?mode=model


This is an unweighted action. Similar to what I had on my YPG-535. I give you a year before you need to upgrade, if you practice regularly. Think of it this way - do you want a crappy tool that you will want to upgrade in a year (thus effectively wasting that money), and you may be frustrated with sooner, or do you think you will stick with it enough that you will upgrade anyway in a year, and you might as well put that money towards a better board to start?

This may sound harsh, but I went through the same thing, and the money spent on the cheaper keyboard was mostly wasted as I upgraded soon after I started to advance. You'll find that when you are playing an unweighted keyboard, you will go to your lesson on a real piano and not be able to control the dynamics, and have no sense of how to play musically or effectively. It is like the difference between driving in a video game and driving in the real world. You get some of the concepts, but the feeling and the tactile feedback is completely missing.

If you just want to see if you like playing the piano and think you will stick with it, go for the cheaper unweighted keyboard first to not risk wasting the money. If you think you will stick with it, don't waste the money on the cheaper unweighted board.

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#1993983 - 12/03/12 05:04 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
As somebody who had a lighting keyboard for a few months.

I found lighting keyboards to be useful.... for motivational purposes.

NOTHING is more discouraging than attempting something for days and days and not being able to even put a slightly recognisable tune out.

Once I felt I got into it, I got a digital piano. Had I not been able to make the lit keyboard make some recognisable tunes I may well have given up.

Secondly, even though I learned the entire song bank via the lighting keys extremely quickly. I can't actually remember more than 3-4 bars of almost all of the pieces I apparently learnt. I feel the learning isn't deep enough as well as the fact that it scores you on a press of a key not the duration of the key held. So you can be holding kets for stuccato and it'll score fine. You can press it once for a long held note, like in Moonlight sonata and it'll score you fine as well.

As above I spent money on a cheapo keyboard initially, although I wished I had saved the money and bought something bigger and badder. I don't feel the money is wasted as I needed the motivational kick to actually start learning it properly.

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#1994031 - 12/03/12 08:38 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: justpin]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10761
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I highly recommend that you invest in the best piano your money can buy. Try to get 88 keys that are weighted, not spring-loaded keys. I say 88 keys because your chances of getting higher quality go up considerably when looking at a full set of keys.

The efficacy of lighted keyboards is yet to be seen. I see this as Kreisler does: painting by numbers. If you just want to get up and running and only learn the songs you can learn by way of lighted keys, then do not concern yourself with opinions of teachers. However, if you want to learn to play piano independently and make actual music, I recommend not starting out your piano journey with lighted keys. It will become a crutch for you that you will have to unlearn and that transition will be frustrating.

I also want to address the idea of learning some stuff first before taking lessons. For some reason this idea is popular, but it's really not a good idea. One would not learn to fly a plane by first trying it out for themselves, and then later finding an instructor. And while piano playing is not potentially life-threatening in most circumstances, the analogy holds true: if you plan to study with a teacher, then do so from the start so you can get it right from the beginning and not have to undo bad habits.


Edited by Morodiene (12/03/12 08:40 AM)
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1994069 - 12/03/12 10:51 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Im A Deus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/12
Posts: 7
Thanks for the replies. I did not even think of weighted keys as a consideration when selecting a keyboard, so I'm glad I asked and appreciate the advice.

I really wouldn't want to learn on my own as I understand that bad habits can be tough to break. I would hardly count my target trip as learning on my own wink it was fun though!

I am having considerable difficulty finding stores that have large variety of keyboards on display. Best buy and target are obviously not great places to look. My Internet searches have mainly returned stores that have showrooms for real pianos but not keyboards.

Are there any national retail stores that I can walk in and test out keyboards for sound and feel? Or perhaps if anyone lives in the NY/NJ area could you reccomend a local store?

I'm concerned about spending over $500 without trying a keyboard out! I would say my price range at this point is MAX $700 (USD) and cheaper without sacrificing build quality and sound would be great though I know "you get what you pay for".

Thanks!!

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#1994074 - 12/03/12 10:59 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10761
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Im A Deus
Thanks for the replies. I did not even think of weighted keys as a consideration when selecting a keyboard, so I'm glad I asked and appreciate the advice.

I really wouldn't want to learn on my own as I understand that bad habits can be tough to break. I would hardly count my target trip as learning on my own wink it was fun though!

I am having considerable difficulty finding stores that have large variety of keyboards on display. Best buy and target are obviously not great places to look. My Internet searches have mainly returned stores that have showrooms for real pianos but not keyboards.

Are there any national retail stores that I can walk in and test out keyboards for sound and feel? Or perhaps if anyone lives in the NY/NJ area could you reccomend a local store?

I'm concerned about spending over $500 without trying a keyboard out! I would say my price range at this point is MAX $700 (USD) and cheaper without sacrificing build quality and sound would be great though I know "you get what you pay for".

Thanks!!


There are plenty of music stores in your area, I'm sure (although I don't live there to know specific names). But larger retails like Sam Ash or similar would most likely have what you're looking for.

I highly recommend checking out Yamaha Clavinovas and Casio Privias (PX-130 I think is the base model). They are both within your price range including stand, bench, and at least one pedal (which is probably all you'd need), and are highly rated as far as digital pianos go.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1994118 - 12/03/12 12:17 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Im A Deus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/12
Posts: 7
Thanks! Found a Sam Ash and going to check it out tonight.

Last but certainly not least is a teacher. What's a good way to scout out teachers and how can I find "the right one"? Craigslist? Newspaper?

Ideally I would like someone who works with kids and adults. Not sure if I would prefer a studio in someone's private home or a studio with multiple teachers.

Any thoughts as to how I can find the best teacher (for my circumstances) would really be appreciated!!

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#1994171 - 12/03/12 02:15 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Scott Coletta Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Here are my suggestions:

Good teachers make a career out of teaching. They aren't hobbyists or teaching to make extra money on the side of their performing career etc. A teacher who owns and operates their own studio is more likely to be good. Not that there aren't good teachers in stores and schools too. Just check their experience. Lots of students is a good sign and student retention is important.

Good teachers are well educated. Music, while an art and ultimately subjective, still requires great skill to be good at it. The amount of skill needed to play popular music is not as much as what's needed to play classical or jazz. The best teachers will be accomplished in the music that requires the most skill to play. They have a better understanding of the skills needed to be successful. Lower level musicians may be great artist and skilled at their level, but their understanding is as limited as their skill set. A lower level musician can teach the average person, but the extra wisdom of someone more skillfull will be sure to give you the right foundations and an overall better experience. So look for teachers with bachelors or masters degrees in music, preferably from universities, not community colleges. But also make sure they can play. Competency in both serious classical repertoire and real improvised jazz will be your best bet. While degrees are an important indicator of a solid education, various "certificates" aren't. They can certainly mean that a teacher has additional experience, but they can also just be fluff.

Just interview teachers and see which ones seem to understand you. The best teachers will listen to your concerns and yield to you. They'll be able to get you to understand what they want you to learn by understanding you. Be wary of teachers who just talk alot about how much they know and don't put it into terms that you can understand.

You can easily find teachers by searching online. Search "piano teacher (your city)". I would start with teachers who have their own websites/studios. The effort that it takes to establish one's own studio and a good website are good signs. Some of these teachers may come up in organic search results or local maps, others can be found on directories such as pianoteachers.com. If that doesn't work, go to local stores and local schools. Lastly, you could contact the national companies online that contract teachers. Some of these are better than others so just be careful.

The right teacher makes all the difference. You just have to do your research and trust your instinct. Last suggestion, study other resources that you choose on your own once you start lessons (books, videos, forums, etc.). See if your chosen teacher blends well with what you are learning on your own and can clarify any questions you might have.

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#1994407 - 12/04/12 12:52 AM Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Now that we have gotten far enough away from the “Keyboards with Lights that give you a Score” discussion, I have a couple of observations:

Originally Posted By: Im A Deus
I'm concerned about spending over $500 without trying a keyboard out! I would say my price range at this point is MAX $700 (USD) and cheaper without sacrificing build quality and sound would be great though I know "you get what you pay for".

There was NEVER (EVER) a better time to purchase a good, used, REAL piano! I am not a fan of buying stuff using the internet, but the vast www does make it easy to FIND stuff. Your local CraigsList will have a very large assortment of pianos. There are literally hundreds of threads in the General Forum here on how to find, evaluate, and purchase pianos. If you know what to look for, you will be able to locate, test-play, purchase, have moved, and have tuned a respectable spinet or console, for seven hundred bucks, or less!

Originally Posted By: Scott Coletta
You can easily find teachers by searching online. Search "piano teacher (your city)". I would start with teachers who have their own websites/studios. The effort that it takes to establish one's own studio and a good website are good signs. Some of these teachers may come up in organic search results or local maps, others can be found on directories such as pianoteachers.com. If that doesn't work, go to local stores and local schools. . .

Scott has some great advice here. I would disagree only with his positioning of “If that doesn't work, go to local stores and local schools.” Using word-of-mouth, music stores, schools, Universities, and the business offices of local symphonies and operas, would be the FIRST places I would look for (referral to) a piano teacher. A teacher’s own studio is certainly a sign of commitment to the profession. Anyone can have a web site.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1994588 - 12/04/12 10:56 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
I seriously doubt you will find a used spinet or console with an action as good as a decent digital. I guarantee you will not find one that has been tuned or maintained. If the OP is not firmly committed to piano, weighted key digital is the way to go. If he is, you could make an argument for a quality upright. The used acoustic piano market is a buyer's market, as you suggest, but it is also buyer beware, requiring an experienced and knowledgable purchaser.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1994707 - 12/04/12 04:28 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Im A Deus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/12
Posts: 7
Thanks for the advice! Now I have an idea what to look for in a teacher. Regarding the piano thanks or the tip but I am an uneducated buyer and also like the idea of using headphones while I learn to play so as to not drive my family away wink

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#1994711 - 12/04/12 04:49 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Im A Deus
. . . [I] also like the idea of using headphones while I learn to play so as to not drive my family away

I use full-cuff headphones while playing myself, even though I have only acoustic pianos. They help mask my mistakes!

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1995728 - 12/07/12 01:21 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Im A Deus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/12
Posts: 7
Again, I really appreciate everyone's replies.

I'm in a financial rut at the moment and I am trying to decide whether or not it's important to convince my wife that learning piano is "worthwhile" for me - the price of a digital piano and lessons adds up quickly.

So this post strictly relates to the discovery of my apparent talent. (in Target!)

As mentioned in the OP, I learned to play 45 seconds of Mozart's Alla Turca in about 10 minutes from scratch and I am about 30 years old. I know the lighted keys helped but the patterns in the piece seemed obvious to me. There was a couple (girl-boyfriend) on the keyboard before I approached it and they could not play "row row row your boat" correctly.

I didn't mention it, but I am also able to figure out music based on my "musical memory" - which I now wonder if it is actually perfect pitch.

I am able to play back some pieces (albeit in a much more simplified manner) that I've heard in the past. Examples include the theme to movement 1 of Mozart's K 478 (GDDEbD) and Mozart - Klavierstück in F 33b (CCCBbABbCAF, etc.). Also Derik Paravincini's version of In the Hall of the Mountain King (@ 5:55)

I played the music then verified it was correct with sheet music (in the case of Mr. Paravicini I verified it with his video!)

Yes, I love Mozart (hence my forum name choice). And perhaps repeated exposure to his music has had a "memorization effect" on me but considering that I am a beginner with no formal training, is this a sign of talent? Should I press my wife to allow me to spend thousands of dollars pursuing this hobby/passion?

Based on what I've said above, with 1 being the skill of a monkey and 100 being the skill of Mozart himself, where on this spectrum would you place my ability/potential based on the information I have provided?

I appreciate honest answers, please don't provide me with anything but your honest opinions! Thanks!!



-------
On a side note, I've also started to compose music, using "MuseScore" based only on my understanding of "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (EGBDF)" and FACE as a means to map notes to the bargraph. I dont want to share my compositions as they are just getting started. I cannot even play the music I have composed - it is too difficult for me!! Yet somehow it comes to me while daydreaming.


Side note #2: Derek Paravicini is in a way the most amazing musical talent in the world; is he our generation's Mozart?


Edited by Im A Deus (12/07/12 01:38 AM)

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#1995831 - 12/07/12 08:15 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10761
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Im A Deus
Again, I really appreciate everyone's replies.

I'm in a financial rut at the moment and I am trying to decide whether or not it's important to convince my wife that learning piano is "worthwhile" for me - the price of a digital piano and lessons adds up quickly.

So this post strictly relates to the discovery of my apparent talent. (in Target!)

As mentioned in the OP, I learned to play 45 seconds of Mozart's Alla Turca in about 10 minutes from scratch and I am about 30 years old. I know the lighted keys helped but the patterns in the piece seemed obvious to me. There was a couple (girl-boyfriend) on the keyboard before I approached it and they could not play "row row row your boat" correctly.

I didn't mention it, but I am also able to figure out music based on my "musical memory" - which I now wonder if it is actually perfect pitch.

I am able to play back some pieces (albeit in a much more simplified manner) that I've heard in the past. Examples include the theme to movement 1 of Mozart's K 478 (GDDEbD) and Mozart - Klavierstück in F 33b (CCCBbABbCAF, etc.). Also Derik Paravincini's version of In the Hall of the Mountain King (@ 5:55)

I played the music then verified it was correct with sheet music (in the case of Mr. Paravicini I verified it with his video!)

Yes, I love Mozart (hence my forum name choice). And perhaps repeated exposure to his music has had a "memorization effect" on me but considering that I am a beginner with no formal training, is this a sign of talent? Should I press my wife to allow me to spend thousands of dollars pursuing this hobby/passion?

Based on what I've said above, with 1 being the skill of a monkey and 100 being the skill of Mozart himself, where on this spectrum would you place my ability/potential based on the information I have provided?

I appreciate honest answers, please don't provide me with anything but your honest opinions! Thanks!!



-------
On a side note, I've also started to compose music, using "MuseScore" based only on my understanding of "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (EGBDF)" and FACE as a means to map notes to the bargraph. I dont want to share my compositions as they are just getting started. I cannot even play the music I have composed - it is too difficult for me!! Yet somehow it comes to me while daydreaming.


Side note #2: Derek Paravicini is in a way the most amazing musical talent in the world; is he our generation's Mozart?


Without actually working with you there's is no way anyone here can answer that with any credibility. The only way to know is to try it out. Many teachers will offer trial lessons (even a free trial lesson to begin), so that may be worth investigating more, and from that lesson you can use that info to convince your wife it's worthwhile.

I recommend looking into renting an instrument if you decide to start up lessons. Many piano dealers will allow you to rent for 6 months and at that point your rent payments can be a downpayment on a permanent instrument if you stay with it. Usually there's no obligation to rent for the 6 months either, so you can cancel at any time if it doesn't work out. The rent payments vary from location, but around $40-60/month is what I've seen.

I think getting a trial lesson and looking into rental options is a great way to start out without a huge initial investment, and a great way to ease into it.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1995851 - 12/07/12 08:48 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4394
Loc: San Jose, CA
You've gotten useful advice, Im A Deuce. Those lighted-keyboard deals are fine--- as long as you consider them a child's toy and nothing more, for that is the short of it.

If you have a Sam Ash locally, you may also have a Guitar Center. Despite the name, they have pianos. Casio has released a new series which addresses (my impression of) the price point you are looking for. They are not the best, but you could do worse.

Kawai offers a more serious effort to combine a DP with an action satisfactory to real pianists (and a full 88-key range), short of taking out a second mortgage. They have models which have the form factor of a small upright and contain amp/speakers, MIDI and sound recording (some include some lesson software). Other models, such as the MP6 and MP10, are stage pianos, with serious feature sets but no amp and speakers, lighter-weight and for less money. Perhaps less wife-acceptable in appearance, if it matters, but then again, they retain some sale value if that's how it works out.

Roland and Yamaha also have models you may want to at least consider for comparison. If you own a set of good headphones, it will help you greatly to take them with you when you go shopping, if you're looking at digitals.

A time may come when you will wish to have both an AP and a DP. Beginning students and their wives can seriously benefit from having a model which offers headphones. In time, there is no substitute for a good acoustic piano. However it falls, buying the best instrument you can (instead of trash, or a cheap toy), will come back to your good.

Good luck to you--- I'm hoping it works out all the way around.
_________________________
Clef


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#1995884 - 12/07/12 10:19 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11181
Loc: Canada
Learning to play the piano involves more than being able to play a melody. That is also what makes it fascinating in the long run and why working with a teacher or at least getting into good studies is worthwhile. The abilities that you have in the raw of being able to pick out a tune are just a beginning. You will learn to hear more finely and listen for things which right now are still invisible to you. Your early playing will probably seem like junk to you as you know and hear more, and to me those greater abilities are more rewarding than being able to play the tune of any piece. Meanwhile piano also involves skills (technique). If you seek out a teacher, look for someone who is interested in teaching you how to play and develop you as a pianist, rather than promising you quick results in well loved music.

The lighted keyboards might have gotten you to pay attention to the keys and the notes, so that you focused on the right thing and then used that from then on. Otherwise the effect is more like that of trained seals pushing the right horns to the nod of their keeper for a fish. That's probably why the other people couldn't do "Row Your Boat".

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#2207926 - 01/04/14 08:59 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
Mac1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/04/14
Posts: 1
Hi

first post. I did a Google search of this topic and it landed me here, although I've been gleaning useful info from this site for years.

I just wanted to say that IMHO this lighted key thing is probably (certainly) very harmful. As others have said, it's like Guitar Hero but with the deception that it's a learning tool, which of course it is, but learning absolutely the wrong way.

It's perhaps good to learn the right way, no? smile

Of course these types of keyboards need to be considered, as short cuts should be used whenever possible for economy, its just that this is going way to far.

Having said that, i'm not sure if small children could benefit from these, especially if learning a conventional way would not work, do to motivational issues, or attention problems. I don't have kids, but I can imagine various scenarios. In this case they might be very useful, but I would not just drop one of these on a child without exhausting other options.


Edited by Mac1 (01/04/14 09:02 AM)

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#2209281 - 01/06/14 11:24 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
evamar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/02/12
Posts: 524
Loc: Spanish living in UK
I have recently got myself a second hand 73 keys lighted keyboard by Casio. My reason for this is that being dyslexic sight reading is extremely hard for me and I normally end up just seeing dots flying around the page, not notes.

Saying this, I'm still trying to read music the traditional way and have gone back to basics both in music theory and piano playing.

I will be using the lighted keyboard along with Synthesia simply to quickly learn to play pieces I like, which I'll immediately play on my CA65. I need to feel that I can progress in a practical way, as it takes me far too long to get to sight read and play pieces the hard way.

Yes, I'm maybe cheating, but otherwise I would end up giving up something I really like if I only did the traditional learning way. I'm combining both.

For me the main problem with the lighted keyboards is the cheap action especially compared to the amazing action of the CA65. They might be okay to quickly learn to play something, but you need a decent dp with weighted keys to properly practice the pieces and learn the dynamics and make them sound like real music. It doesn't have to be a new one, there are plenty of good second hand dps around so that you can have it both ways. I quickly hide the keyboard on top of a wardrobe and the stand folds under a sofa, so it's only visible when I use it.

But at the end, this way you can only memorise the pieces, it's completely muscle memory. Playing Simon, as somebody said.

Very helpful for me, due to my problem reading music. But harmful if the only thing to play what you learn on it.



Edited by evamar (01/06/14 11:38 AM)
_________________________
Serious since Dec 2013. March 2014, Kawai CA95!

Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted



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#2218515 - 01/21/14 10:25 PM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
R_B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/09
Posts: 418
An old thread, I know.
The OP has probably moved on to a higher level by now, but for others who might be curious I came across a similar "gadget" today.

This
http://www.thepianomaestro.com
seems to overcome most of the objections raised about keyboard actions.

It only covers 4 octaves, but by the time a beginner gets out of that center zone they would most likely no longer have use for it.
For about $140 - plus a laptop of some sort - plus whatever "piano" you already have, can get access to, or decide to buy for its other attributes.

Sure it is a crutch, but it is cheap enough to try, maybe motivate a child with, could be carried around.
Gift it or discard responsibly if it doesn't work out (-:

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#2218630 - 01/22/14 08:06 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: R_B]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10761
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: R_B
An old thread, I know.
The OP has probably moved on to a higher level by now, but for others who might be curious I came across a similar "gadget" today.

This
http://www.thepianomaestro.com
seems to overcome most of the objections raised about keyboard actions.

It only covers 4 octaves, but by the time a beginner gets out of that center zone they would most likely no longer have use for it.
For about $140 - plus a laptop of some sort - plus whatever "piano" you already have, can get access to, or decide to buy for its other attributes.

Sure it is a crutch, but it is cheap enough to try, maybe motivate a child with, could be carried around.
Gift it or discard responsibly if it doesn't work out (-:
If your purpose is to get someone to sit down and make a sound it's great. But their mind won't benefit from it like learning to play piano for real. It's like painting by numbers, and piano isn't really that hard for beginners to pick up.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2218638 - 01/22/14 08:34 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Morodiene]
R_B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/09
Posts: 418
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: R_B
An old thread, I know.
The OP has probably moved on to a higher level by now, but for others who might be curious I came across a similar "gadget" today.

This
http://www.thepianomaestro.com
seems to overcome most of the objections raised about keyboard actions.

It only covers 4 octaves, but by the time a beginner gets out of that center zone they would most likely no longer have use for it.
For about $140 - plus a laptop of some sort - plus whatever "piano" you already have, can get access to, or decide to buy for its other attributes.

Sure it is a crutch, but it is cheap enough to try, maybe motivate a child with, could be carried around.
Gift it or discard responsibly if it doesn't work out (-:
If your purpose is to get someone to sit down and make a sound it's great. But their mind won't benefit from it like learning to play piano for real. It's like painting by numbers, and piano isn't really that hard for beginners to pick up.


I can't represent the graphics arts community, but I suspect they view painting by numbers with GREAT disdain.
My view is very much that if it gets a brush in someone's hand because it now looks SO EASY then it may not be all that bad.

Some will get bored, some will try painting on blank paper.
Copying initially, perhaps creating something original at some point.
Point is it may make the piano more approachable, is cheap enough, etc.
Not for everyone, not a substitute for a good teacher, but hopefully a gateway.

I am probably going to get one of these for my grandchildren.
They see me play (poorly) and I think this could work to get some of them to at least give it a second (and/or third) try.
A couple of tunes, then maybe I hide it (-:

Training wheels ? maybe they just reduce the scary factor and we learn to get by without them.

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#2218660 - 01/22/14 09:13 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
hreichgott Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 509
Loc: western MA, USA
It's a fun toy, but the reason it's detrimental is it trains us not to listen. If working on a lighted keyboard we are thinking hard about where the lights are, not about what sound we are creating. Early ear training at the piano is recognizing when you have the sound you want, and when you have some other sound. The sound needs to be the positive or negative feedback from hitting the note.

Also with little kids, the lighted keyboard implies that the piano by itself is not interesting... normally a piano, especially if an adult in the house often likes to make sound on it (even simple sound), is quite interesting!

I can only imagine a lighted keyboard being useful for someone who cannot hear pitches at all, i.e. cannot tell that "Mary Had a Little Lamb" played E D C D E E E is any different from "Mary Had a Little Lamb" played E E E E E E E E.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Currently obsessed with Schubert/D. 845 and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2218686 - 01/22/14 10:36 AM Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
When my kids were small, elementary school age, we had a basic unweighted (though touch sensitive) keyboard in the den. It was mostly useful for finding pitches, checking intervals on a vocal, etc. (When the kids got older and took lessons we upgraded.)

One day I noticed the keys had scotch tape applied so they could be numbered.

They'd found some kind of quiz game where you had to guess a song by drawing a card with a sequence of numbers and playing it on a toy piano. Since the toy was broken they improvised by converting the keyboard.

There was no skill building, but they had fun and stayed interested. The lighted keyboard seems much the same to me.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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