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#2054094 - 03/25/13 03:54 PM Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING.
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
I am 17 and the last time my hands grazed a musical instrument was when I was 12. I played the trumpet from 9-12 and stopped. Back then, I never really read my notes and just wrote them in. I love music and the sound of a good piano piece can bring me to tears so piano has always been something that I wanted to learn.

Any tips? I can tell you that even before starting:
1. I don't have long fingers and my ring finger cannot lift.
2. Playing for long periods of time can tire my wrist.

^I would imagine that these problems are corrected by a teacher but I am SELF-TEACHING. I don't have the money for a teacher.

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#2054127 - 03/25/13 05:06 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1949
Loc: Pennsylvania
You seem to have a sort of negative attitude towards this to start off with.

You may want to wait a bit until you are sure you really want to do this.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2054149 - 03/25/13 05:38 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5375
Loc: Philadelphia
I can't really comment without knowing what your goals are...
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2054151 - 03/25/13 05:41 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1644
Loc: Reseda, California
Get something from Craig's list, figure on spending in the low hundreds. Check that all the keys and the sustain pedal work before you let go of your cash. If it doesn't include headphones, bring yours and make sure the headphone jack works. For the sake of the rest of your family, you'll want to practice on headphones most of the time. If it doesn't work out for you, you can just Craig's list it again and get most if not all your money back.
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Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
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#2054152 - 03/25/13 05:42 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
Cookie74 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/06
Posts: 137
Loc: California
It doesn't sound to me like you have a negative attitude. In answer to your question about tips, I would suggest getting a digital piano with weighted keys (if you can't get an acoustic). Regarding the problem with your ring finger, everyone's ring finger is the weakest finger, so you just have to use it to strengthen it--start off with five finger patters (if you don't know what those are, look it up on you tube). I don't know what you mean by "My ring finger cannot lift?" If you can't lift your ring finger at all, then you will have a hard time learning piano. Finally, everyone gets tired after playing for a long period of time, but you can build up endurance.

Other advice would be to get a book like Alfred's all in one adult piano course and follow the method page by page. There are tons of posts about different method books on these forums, including Alfred's. Just need to do a little search.
_________________________
" I wish you music to help with the burdens of life, and to help you release your happiness to others."

--Ludwig van Beethoven

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#2054267 - 03/25/13 09:44 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1098
Loc: Southern California
If you need to buy a piano, the buyers guide links on the side bars, and their respective forums, piano forum for acoustics, digital forum for electric are resources.

I suggest a balanced approach to learning: learning pieces, music theory, sight reading, ear training, technique, and later on improvisation and composition.

Different people learn in different ways, there is visual, aural, kinesthetic. Many are stronger in one way than the others. A balanced approach will let a person find their strengths and weaknesses and decide how to allocate their time. Some like to focus more on their strengths, some more on their weaknesses.

You already mentioned some physical problems, so listen to your body. Take breaks no matter what. Take time off if the body complains.
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#2054420 - 03/26/13 07:03 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
LarryShone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 1000
Loc: Darlington, UK
I don't see a negative attitude at all, quite the opposite in fact.Youre obviously passionate about music and well 5 years have passed. A lot can happen in 5 years!
I can't offer any recommendations piano wise but I will say go with what you feel you need to do!
Good luck!


Edited by LarryShone (03/26/13 07:04 AM)
Edit Reason: typo
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#2054453 - 03/26/13 09:12 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12205
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
The ring finger will not be able to lift like all the other fingers can. You only need to not press it down when using finger 3 or 5 (middle and pinkie). A word of note, in piano we number fingers starting with thumbs as 1, pointy finger as 2 middle finger 3, ring finger 4, and pinkie 5.

I agree you should be looking at a digital piano and not a keyboard. Digital pianos, while the title is not regulated, basically mean you have 88 weighted keys and it's primary function is to imitate a real (acoustic) piano.

What kind of music do you want to play?

Also, a comment about your tired wrists. This is a warning sign that your body is telling you. If your wrists get tired that means your technique is not good. When playing, your wrists should not be stiff, but flexible. Only the finger(s) pressing down a key should be stiff and once the keys are released then the fingers should go back to relaxation immediately. If your wrists are tired that means you are playing with stiff wrists and/or hands. You will want to play VERY slowly and practice relaxing everything after each note played. If you can't relax then you're playing too fast. Once you can relax in between playing each note then you can gradually increase the tempo. This will take time over a period of weeks to correct, maybe even months. Be sure to listen to your body and stop playing for a good period of time if you experience fatigue or pain.
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#2054788 - 03/26/13 08:08 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
Sorry if I seem to have a negative attitude but I don't! It might just be my determination and ambition. I will be purchasing a Yamaha YPG535.

As for my goals, I don't intend to make a profession out of music but I would like to spend my afternoons being able to play a few classical pieces (not the extremely difficult ones). As you can probably tell, I am not too familiar with the history of music or the great composers' tunes. I imagine that this will come with time as a I grow more fond of playing.

My father supports me in learning the piano. He listens to Bach and Beethoven all the time and has stated that if I become better and really want to progress into intermediate/advanced learning, he would find me a teacher. For now, I'm on my own.

How's the Alfred's Adult Course by the way and which is the correct one? Can you someone link me the version that is talked about on the forums?

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#2054826 - 03/26/13 09:35 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5375
Loc: Philadelphia
Can you give us an example or two of pieces you would like to play one day? (The realm of classical music varies greatly in difficulty. wink )
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#2054829 - 03/26/13 09:48 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: Derulux]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
Being to play these two would make me beyond happy smile

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3WWZQyPs30
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H99FM6S8rU

I'm sure #2 would take me many years of practice but I'm excited to hear myself progress so I wouldn't consider it impossible.

I'd like to learn some Yiruma songs (my girlfriend likes them a lot) but I'm sure those are easier.

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#2054833 - 03/26/13 10:02 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1098
Loc: Southern California
Pianotimo, you might want to take a look at the Yamaha P105 and Casio PX-150. Try them live if at all possible. Those units are a bit more money, but many think they have a more piano-like action. There is also the Yamaha P35 which is a bit less money.

Some beginners reach for the Yiruma pieces relatively early on.
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#2054837 - 03/26/13 10:07 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: Sand Tiger]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
What's wrong with the Yamaha YPG535? I tried it at my local Guitar Center and it sounded and felt the nicest.

And are you a self-taught player? I would like some insight into how you began playing and how you persevered during rough times.

Is reaching for Yiruma early on a bad thing?


Edited by pianotimo (03/26/13 10:07 PM)

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#2054838 - 03/26/13 10:07 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: pianotimo
I will be purchasing a Yamaha YPG535.


I would strongly recommend against the YPG535 with its GST (Graded Soft Touch) action. This action basically has no weight. Your absolute lowest starting Yamaha action should be the GHS, which could be found in the Yamaha P85 / P95 / P105. Anything less, you are wasting time and money.

If you cannot afford a new Yamaha P105 (about $500), you could look for a used P85 or P95, which should be fine, once you've made sure they are functioning correctly.

Good luck!
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2054842 - 03/26/13 10:12 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: 4evrBeginR]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
What is the drawback of a GST keyboard? I understand that the GHS can recreate the feel of a grand piano but I'm only 17 and I'm spending my own money of it. It's too pricey to buy the P105 (or even the 85,95) because there isn't a stand. Amazon currently has a really nice deal on its YPG535.

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-Portable-Gr...=yamaha+ypg-535

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#2054849 - 03/26/13 10:21 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: pianotimo
What is the drawback of a GST keyboard? I understand that the GHS can recreate the feel of a grand piano....


Actually, the GHS action cannot recreate the feel of a grand piano, but that's a discussion for a different thread.

The GST is not a weighted action. I am not sure how to properly explain all the reasons why you must have a weighted action for learning piano. Perhaps others could help. Bottom line, Yamaha GHS is the absolute lowest end action for learning piano. Sorry for the bad news.

I only know this. You know those two YouTube videos you listed as something you would love to play some day? You can spend an enternity on the GST action and never get there. You will never learn the required techniques for piano on a organ-like keyboard.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2054858 - 03/26/13 10:29 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
ahhsmurf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/07/13
Posts: 48
Loc: Banned
You may want to wait a bit until you are sure you really want to do this.

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#2054861 - 03/26/13 10:35 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: ahhsmurf]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
Originally Posted By: ahhsmurf
You may want to wait a bit until you are sure you really want to do this.


I think I've waited 5 years already... don't think I should wait any longer.

As for GST, it's a MUST? I guess I'll have to ask my parents for the money then smirk There goes my independence, haha.

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#2054879 - 03/26/13 11:02 PM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: ahhsmurf]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1949
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: ahhsmurf
You may want to wait a bit until you are sure you really want to do this.


I agree.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2054906 - 03/27/13 12:26 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 817
Originally Posted By: pianotimo

1. I don't have long fingers and my ring finger cannot lift.


If I put all my fingertips on a tabletop and try to lift my ring finger while keeping the others down, I can only barely do it by a millimeter or two.

I don't know if this is ultimately a hindrance--other pianists seem to be able to do more--but you can learn to play pretty complex pieces anyway, and I don't doubt that it's more about the way your head is wired than your hands are wired.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2054916 - 03/27/13 01:02 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1098
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: pianotimo
What's wrong with the Yamaha YPG535? I tried it at my local Guitar Center and it sounded and felt the nicest.

And are you a self-taught player? I would like some insight into how you began playing and how you persevered during rough times.

Is reaching for Yiruma early on a bad thing?


I am self-taught, piano is my third instrument. I recently posted a one year summary at my blog (my_piano_uploads in my signature). If you prefer to stay on the forum, search for: One Year and the Passage of Time.

There are periodic online coupons (like once a month) from some of the major online retailers, so you might be able to get the Yamaha P105 or Casio PX-150 for not much more than the YGP535. If that dollar amount is your absolute limit, I would vote for the less expensive Yamaha P35 because of the weighted keys. Be aware that a person has to call in their order to get the coupons applied. The online checkout will not take them.

If you want more opinions on the merits of the various units, I suggest a visit to the Digital forum, where you can ask the same questions. Also check the prices paid thread at the top of that forum to see what others are paying, and where they are buying.

As for the Yiruma question, some beginners do well reaching for pieces above beginner level, others find it to be discouraging. There is little way to know which group you might be in. You have three years background in music on trumpet, which may help you, or it may not.

I don't paint decisions concerning a hobby as being good or bad, right or wrong. Each person makes their own choices, but hopefully they are informed choices.

I am one of many one-year beginners on the forum, so don't take what I write as anything special. I came to piano with a lot of experience on pennywhistle and in songwriting, so my road is different from most other beginners. Most true beginners use one of the various method book. However, I knew from the start that I didn't want to go that way. I suggest a balanced approach, with a method book as one part. That way a person can find their strengths and weaknesses, how they learn best, what they need the most help with, and decide how to proceed.
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#2054922 - 03/27/13 01:26 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: Whizbang]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1535
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Originally Posted By: pianotimo

1. I don't have long fingers and my ring finger cannot lift.


If I put all my fingertips on a tabletop and try to lift my ring finger while keeping the others down, I can only barely do it by a millimeter or two.

I don't know if this is ultimately a hindrance--other pianists seem to be able to do more--but you can learn to play pretty complex pieces anyway, and I don't doubt that it's more about the way your head is wired than your hands are wired.


This may be a red herring, but here's how I see the question:

Suppose a chord requires playing fingers 1235. So those fingers must bottom-out their keys. But 4 must _not_ press down its key (whichever one it's over).

This is why Hanon (and every other "method book") was created -- to practice doing things that _don't_ come naturally to our fingers.

I'm not a good pianist, and am trying to recover some technique after many years of not playing. But I _did_ play as a teenager. I can hold 1235 down on a table (gently, without forcing), and lift 4 by 1" easily (right or left hand), and 1.5" (RH) if I work at it.

This is a _learned skill_. Nerves and muscles _both_ must be trained. It's not something you need in "normal life", so the skill doesn't get developed.

. Charles

PS -- I'm on the "weighted keyboard" side of the argument. It's quite possible to play a lot of classical repertoire on a synth-style keyboard. But if you learn it that way, _don't_ expect the skill to transfer to an acoustic piano. The "touch" is quite different.

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#2054934 - 03/27/13 02:05 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
maestro57 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/13
Posts: 38
Loc: Canada
As everyone has mentioned: weighted keys and a sustain pedal is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY with whatever digital keyboard you choose.

You don't want to practice and get "good" and "used to" a non-weighted keyboard because it'll be that much more difficult to adjust to a keyboard with weighted keys later down the road if you feel you'd like to make the transition and invest some more money into this endeavour.

If you're familiar with ice skating and rollerblading, consider this: rollerblading (playing on non-weighted keys) comes easily if you know how to ice skate (playing on weighted keys), but transitioning from the reverse is much more difficult (rollerbladers have a heck of a time learning how to ice skate). The two are really different.

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#2054940 - 03/27/13 03:07 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: maestro57]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: maestro57
As everyone has mentioned: weighted keys and a sustain pedal is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY with whatever digital keyboard you choose.


I agree completely, BUT... even a cheap keyboard is better than nothing! There are people here who even got to composing their own music on 66-key non-weighted keyboards.

My opinion: either you get an extremely cheap keyboard (under $200), just to see how you like it, or it's worth to add a few bucks and get a $500 digital piano with weighted action. The Casio PX-130 is $499 on Amazon right now, and maybe you can find it for less. Remember that you don't really need its own stand, you can buy a cheaper X-stand or even put it on a table, as long as you have a chair that's high enough.
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Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2054970 - 03/27/13 06:44 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
I am a beginner too but about your ring finger, one thing you will notice if your keyboard action is heavy enough (I have a yamaha P155, so it's not by any mean a high end piano but the action is fairly heavy), most of the time you won't need to actually "lift" your finger but rather learn to relax it in order not to press a key. I know it's probably not very clear, hard to explain but what I mean is, if you have to press with fingers 1-3-5 (a basic major chord for example), then you won't need to actually lift finger 4, but rather relax it, then it will be lifted by the key under it and won't depress it. Try to put your five fingers on a table and lift the fourth finger with your other hand, you will notice how easily you lift if if it's relaxed, a normal piano action is actually "strong" enough to lift your finger if it's relaxed.
Sorry if it's a bit unclear, English isn't my native language, but I am sure if needed, a more experienced player, will be able to explain it better (and btw, it's another reason for having a weighted keyboard).
Good luck with your playing, you are still very young and I am sure with the right amount of works pretty much anything but becoming a concert pianist is within your reach)
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Jean-Luc

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#2054974 - 03/27/13 07:27 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: sinophilia]
MrPozor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/12
Posts: 61
Loc: near Paris, France
Originally Posted By: sinophilia
My opinion: either you get an extremely cheap keyboard (under $200), just to see how you like it, or it's worth to add a few bucks and get a $500 digital piano with weighted action.


This is very good advice from sinophilia. Instead of the cheap keyboard you can also get an even cheaper MIDI controller for a PC (Like M-Audio Keystation for example). That way you can test whether learning to play the piano is really something you want to and can invest your time in. If not, you only lost 150$ and you can try to resell the controller.

If after a few months you see that you like it, you can then switch to something more sophisticated like the good digital pianos mentioned above or a used acoustic piano. They cost much more but if you play them for several years you will find it money well spent.
(And if you ever take out your cheap keyboard again you will wonder how you were ever able to play something on its cheap plastic keys).

Kind regards,

MrPozor
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Equipment: Petrof 118 L1

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#2054976 - 03/27/13 07:44 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
pianopaws Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 71
Loc: North Carolina, USA
As a teacher who has worked with many older beginners, my best piece of advice is: don't get frustrated! Learning to play piano, especially classical piano, is like training for a marathon. It takes muscle strength and endurance. There will be days when you will make great breakthroughs in your practice, and there will be other days when you may feel that you can't play a right note. Just be consistent and stick with it and you will see progress.

There are lots of resources for learning piano in both this forum and other websites: instructional videos, sheet music, theory. Get a good adult beginners book for the basics and supplement with other things to keep it interesting. Good luck!
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#2055008 - 03/27/13 08:58 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: pianotimo]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12205
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: pianotimo
Being to play these two would make me beyond happy smile

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3WWZQyPs30
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H99FM6S8rU

I'm sure #2 would take me many years of practice but I'm excited to hear myself progress so I wouldn't consider it impossible.

I'd like to learn some Yiruma songs (my girlfriend likes them a lot) but I'm sure those are easier.


You mentioned that you wanted to play some not-so-difficult classical pieces, but both of these are in the advanced category. The first is early advanced, while the second is a bit more difficult.

It is great to have these as goals, however, they are wonderful pieces and if you have the drive and put in the years of hard work (and eventually get a teacher) then you can do it!

You also said you wanted to use the Alfred All-In_One course. It's a popular choice on this board, but I do not recommend it. Too often you encounter pieces that are right hand melody left hand chords. They have you start playing chords too soon, IMO. I haven't found a perfect book for adult beginners, but I use Hal Leonard's Adult Method quite often for lacking something better (I don't care of the Piano Adventures one, either). I like the pacing of the HL method.
_________________________
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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#2055020 - 03/27/13 09:19 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: Morodiene]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3196
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I haven't found a perfect book for adult beginners, but I use Hal Leonard's Adult Method quite often for lacking something better (I don't care of the Piano Adventures one, either).

Morodiene, is that the Adult Piano Adventurees you don't care for? What about the regular Piano Adventures? Or the Accelerated Piano Adventures? Why don't you care for it (or them)?
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#2055031 - 03/27/13 09:52 AM Re: Buying a keyboard today to start SELF-TEACHING. [Re: PianoStudent88]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12205
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I haven't found a perfect book for adult beginners, but I use Hal Leonard's Adult Method quite often for lacking something better (I don't care of the Piano Adventures one, either).

Morodiene, is that the Adult Piano Adventurees you don't care for? What about the regular Piano Adventures? Or the Accelerated Piano Adventures? Why don't you care for it (or them)?


Yes, it's the Adult PA I don't care for. The students that I had in it didn't like the song selections, and I thought the layout was a bit chaotic. HL's adult method looks more orderly and while it's not perfect, I think students can progress through the songs a bit faster so they don't get bored with it.

I also don't care for the Accelerated PA. I don't think the pacing is really good, and have never had a student who went into that actually finish the book. I do use regular PA and like it, however.
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