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#2001424 - 12/18/12 10:05 PM Piano Method for Someone with Musical Skills
cirenosach Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 6
Hi, my daughter asked Santa for a piano/keyboard, and a new Yamaha P105 should be arriving Christmas eve. I'm a middling electric bass player and also played sax for 6 years in middle/high school.

I'd like to get some some instructional materials for myself. Ideally, the materials would be geared for someone who reads music (treble and bass clef) and understands some basic music theory (circle of fifths, major/minor scales and triads, basic blues, and similar things).

Here are some of my piano goals:
1. Use the piano for learning and internalizing music theory and ear training.
2. Get some basic playing skills.
3. Maybe switch to piano from bass. I really love the bass, but I have some nagging tendonitis in a finger. I might need to find something new.

I'll probably also tag along to daughter's lessons and soak in some of the technique. I don't plan to get my own teacher unless I get more serious.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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#2001937 - 12/20/12 12:13 AM Re: Piano Method for Someone with Musical Skills [Re: cirenosach]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Interesting post.

I played alto/bari sax, playing by the seat of my pants because I was just starting music at 40 and had a chance to play in a community band, so rented an alto, couldn't play and hired a sax teacher. The band conductor suggested I play a triangle or a rhythm intrument. But somebody whispered, get a sax, it is easy, just push the buttons. I have been lied to before - but it was good advice. I love the bari/bass sound and I always wanted to play an electric bass. When I learned I had to dampen the strings so they don't buzz I knew I probaby couldn't do it. I lost too many teeth that I can't play the saxaphones so I tried the piano and accidentally fell in love with the instrument. I must confess, I always want to play everything at the lower end of the piano. You probably know of the book Mel Bay Presents Mastering the Bass/electric and upright bass. I love the book 1, and 2. by Bruce Gerts. Great books explaining rhythm and general music theory.


Having experience with the treble clef, I took Leila Fletcher's piano course book 1 that had 50 tunes in the book plus some garbage. The book is easy and simple so technically in 30 days playing/learning the tunes playing them accurately and slowly I discovered that I learned the basics. Now, having said that I played the tunes everyday for about a year, so an excellent foundiation. I switched to John Thompson piano method books, famous and old but soooooooooo good. The pieces are tough to learn but very rewarding. So I will keep going that. What I should say is that the Fletcher book, because I worked hard, meant that when I switched to John Thompson books I didn't have to worrying about playing the bass notes, bass clef, so I could concentrated on the two clefs as equals and move foreward. Which was a nice surprise and reward for doing the book conscientiously.

But I played in a blues band, a jazz band, and a concert band all at basic level, adult players trying. Of course, I love playing classical although I am not there yet so I am working towards that. But I love jazz and improv but I don't know it and bought lots of Aebersold books and understand them to a point and in many ways I am lost.

Recently, I flipped open my "how to play from a fake book keyboard edition. It was at that point it all connected for me. Because I wanted to learn how to comp on the piano and I didn't understand voices. Well, I haven't finished the book but it explained the stuff. So it was the missing key for me because it explained chords and everything related to the piano. The Aebersold books are awesome but the are pretty much for the treble clef in a way. So once I learn those basics I can then make better use of and have a better use Aebersold Jazz books.

I don't think I have any answers but you can probaby see the various transitions necessary related to your knowledge and experience moving to the piano. Unlike most instuments, these days the electronic pianos mean you can play 24 hrs a day and they weight 30 pounds as opposed to bass amps. etc. and cost $500. Enjoy the journey it is worth all the fuss. The only sad point is that you and your daughter will be fighting over "piano time" on Christmas day and for rest of the year! ! !

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#2001975 - 12/20/12 03:47 AM Re: Piano Method for Someone with Musical Skills [Re: Michael_99]
cirenosach Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 6
Thanks for your thoughts, Michael_99. I always like to hear stories from adult beginners. I probably would've gone back to the sax were it not for the practice issue. I think it must be the hardest instrument to mute. I might still go back, as I'm sort of involved with a local swing band that already has a bassist but needs a 2nd alto sax player. I'm sure, though, that I'm much better at electric bass than I ever was at saxophone .

For better or for worse, I'll be stuck lugging around bass gear for a while. I actually have two daughters, a 9 y/o musical beginner and a 12 y/o bass (electric and upright/double) player. To be honest, though, it's kind of fun lugging big gear around and getting puzzled looks from parents of flutists and violinists. The 12 y/o has been at it for 2 years now and is on her way to becoming a serious musician. She recently told me, in all seriousness, "Dad, I plan to major in math and go work on Wall Street, but I'll have bass playing to fall back on if that doesn't work out."

Back to my initial question, I'll take a look at those books. Thanks. I guess what I really need/want is something that helps with the physical aspects of playing piano (posture, hands, etc.) but otherwise takes off at a pretty quick and steep pace.

It sounds like we're at a similar place musically. On the bass, I'm try to learn "walking" off of chord symbols and lead sheets. Intellectually, I sort of get it, but turning that into music on the fly is tough. Bass is probably easier, because you can always fall back on pretty simple structures.

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#2002378 - 12/20/12 08:56 PM Re: Piano Method for Someone with Musical Skills [Re: cirenosach]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Thanks for the feedback. When I learned to play basketball at 58, I realized that people from all over the world at all ages 17 to 60s who didn't speak a word of English could show up at a court and step onto the court and play an impressively game of ball. So, too, in music, you can play for supper and more travelling all over the world or on Wall Street.

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