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#2080096 - 05/10/13 12:42 AM Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano.
FlightBrothers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Ontario
Hi pianoworld!!

I am 17 year old (1 more month till 18 so i guess i'm an adult) and for the past 6 months, i've suddenly found my love for piano and i've decided that i will try to learn by myself. Just very recently bought a Yamaha P105 as an initiative. Now my problem is where to begin my journey. Since i had trumpet lessons for about 1 year so my music knowledge isn't completely empty. When i began learning the trumpet, i learned scales, reading notes, and techniques such as tonguing and fingering. Naturally i would presume learning the piano would also be similar, but this was not the case because i don't have a single clue where to begin. I don't have any piano sheets or books to play. As a completely adult piano newb, where should i start? And what music book should i get for an adult beginner?And are there any common bad habits that might hinder my performance later on? Also would tapping or counting in your head be more beneficial later in the progression than using a metronome?

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#2080100 - 05/10/13 01:09 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: FlightBrothers]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 530
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
Hi FlightBrothers,

Get a method book. That's what most beginners do when they want to learn on their own. Alfred's Adult All-In-One course is insanely popular around here, and has two entire threads devoted to it. They are full of adult beginners working through with or without a teacher.

I personally think having a teacher is invaluable for a lot of reasons, especially in the early stages. People think 'the basics' are about how to sit and how to position your hands, and that's part of it. But the more important part, in my opinion, is about how to break a piece down into manageable chunks, and learn them quickly and efficiently. A good teacher can help you develop an effective practice routine from the start, which will serve you well throughout your piano playing years (assuming you actually follow their advice, which ... well, is sometimes a bit of a problem for me, and could be a problem for you or not, depending on what kind of person you are). Also, 'the basics' are about paying attention to detail: legato versus staccato, even rhythm, the right dynamics in the right places, and so on. Sometimes, you need a discerning third party to tell you how far off you are on those fronts. And to tell you whether or not you have really jumped a certain hurdle.

All of that said, you will find plenty of people here who are making their way without a teacher, and some of them are pretty fabulous. Plus, a bad teacher can do more harm than an average one can do good. But still ... consider finding a good teacher. That's my advice to you.

Re: use of a metronome. I use it, at this point, mostly to avoid going too fast, too soon -- which helps with control issues I had before. You need to be able to count and clap too, though, because that will help you figure out tricky rhythms, and it will help you keep time when there isn't a metronome ticking in the background.
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#2080104 - 05/10/13 01:26 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: FlightBrothers]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1123
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Quote:

All of that said, you will find plenty of people here who are making their way without a teacher, and some of them are pretty fabulous. Plus, a bad teacher can do more harm than an average one can do good. But still ... consider finding a good teacher. That's my advice to you.


+1.

. charles

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#2080105 - 05/10/13 01:29 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: FlightBrothers]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 718
Originally Posted By: FlightBrothers
i don't have a single clue where to begin.


I would advise against tonguing the piano.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2080112 - 05/10/13 01:48 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: FlightBrothers]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1366
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: FlightBrothers
Hi pianoworld!!

i don't have a single clue where to begin. I don't have any piano sheets or books to play.


Welcome FlightBrothers

I have been playing almost six months and came to piano by way of another instrument. I too found it quite daunting on my own, just where to begin. Getting a teacher was my best move after buying the piano in the first instance.

A good site for free entry level music is here:

http://gmajormusictheory.org/Freebies/freebies.html

I also found "Piano Marvel" a very good interactive teaching program although I did not continue after the 30 day free trial. I opted for the Adult All In One Course and found it to be a well balanced course building in difficulty over the span of three books.

Good luck you have made the right start, buying a piano and coming here.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXIV-5-XXX

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#2080113 - 05/10/13 01:49 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: Whizbang]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1366
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Originally Posted By: FlightBrothers
i don't have a single clue where to begin.


I would advise against tonguing the piano.


Is a kiss goodnight acceptable?
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXIV-5-XXX

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#2080148 - 05/10/13 03:44 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: earlofmar]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Originally Posted By: earlofmar
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Originally Posted By: FlightBrothers
i don't have a single clue where to begin.


I would advise against tonguing the piano.


Is a kiss goodnight acceptable?


Ive kissed my piano most days lol

Just have to make sure my girlfriend gets slightly more affection or tgere is trouble...

She already calls my piano "my other girlfriend".
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#2080159 - 05/10/13 04:44 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: Whizbang]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
I would advise against tonguing the piano.


Hey, you play the way you play, and I'll play the way I play.

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#2080455 - 05/10/13 05:57 PM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: FlightBrothers]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 610
Loc: Leicester, UK
flightbrothers - if you're serious about wanting to play the piano, you have to find a good teacher. sure, you can get a method book and follow it and learn from it - no doubt about that. but the method book isn't going to watch and listen to how you do the things it tells you to do. it won't give you feedback. it won't show you easy ways around problems you might have or begin to develop. for sure, it won't adjust itself and it's teaching method and advice to the strengths and weaknesses you'll develop as you go through it.

a good teacher will know how to guide you to the musical and technical foundation you'll use for a long time. they'll help you to avoid repetitive stress injuries. they'll help you to develop "musical" common sense, meaning, knowledge of common practice and general musical knowledge. they'll help you to evaluate your goals and expectations. and they'll be a connection to a wider musical world that includes others such as yourself who are learning to play and perhaps other professionals and all kinds of other things. in other words, if you study with a teacher, you move into a network of sorts.

the fact that there are plenty of not-so-good teachers shouldn't deter you from seeking a good one. finding a good teacher is trial and error and getting opinions and taking trial lessons, etc. it may be that you start with one teacher and soon move to another. the pianoworld forums do a lot of experienced contributors who can give you great advice about the pros and cons of "this and that."

of course, if you have any kind of aspiration to eventually play or teach as a professional, then absolutely an excellent teacher is the only way to go. but, in the end, it's your choice and it really just comes down to what you want to do with and at the piano and how far you want to go. and most important is just that you enjoy (and continue to enjoy) playing the piano. if it's fun, then you will return to it over and over again and you will make progress.

hope this is helpful!

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#2080529 - 05/10/13 09:46 PM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: FlightBrothers]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
WOW WOW WOW... the similarities we have are scary.

I'm 17 (18 in less than a month) and I just started learning a month ago. I bought a Yamaha P105 to start learning. And yes, I used to play the trumpet for 2-3 years before stopping.

My progress has been great and I've learned really fast. I feel that my common problems so far are sitting incorrectly at the bench (yes, it's possible) and also keeping my fingers lifted.

After doing a lot of research, I discovered that the BEST book by far is the Alfred's Adult AIO course. Additionally, supplement this with Hanon exercises and you will have great success. I have (thus far). Some people learn quick, some people don't. I happen to learn pretty fast (after 2 weeks, I was already halfway through the book). Good luck!

Links to books (get plastic comb version of Virtuoso):
http://www.amazon.com/Alfreds-Basic-Adul...+course+level+1

http://www.amazon.com/Virtuoso-Pianist-C...on+plastic+comb

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#2080532 - 05/10/13 09:51 PM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: pianotimo]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1366
Loc: Australia
[quote=pianotimo]WOW WOW WOW... the similarities we have are scary.



After doing a lot of research, I discovered that the BEST book by far is the Alfred's Adult AIO course. Additionally, supplement this with Hanon exercises and you will have great success. I have (thus far). Some people learn quick, some people don't. I happen to learn pretty fast (after 2 weeks, I was already halfway through the book). Good luck![quote]


Glad to hear your doing so well pianotimo


Edited by earlofmar (05/10/13 11:43 PM)
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXIV-5-XXX

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#2080547 - 05/10/13 11:34 PM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: earlofmar]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
Thanks smile

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#2080549 - 05/10/13 11:44 PM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: earlofmar]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1366
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: earlofmar
[quote=pianotimo]WOW WOW WOW... the similarities we have are scary.



After doing a lot of research, I discovered that the BEST book by far is the Alfred's Adult AIO course. Additionally, supplement this with Hanon exercises and you will have great success. I have (thus far). Some people learn quick, some people don't. I happen to learn pretty fast (after 2 weeks, I was already halfway through the book). Good luck!



Glad to hear your doing so well pianotimo


Edited by earlofmar (05/10/13 11:44 PM)
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXIV-5-XXX

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#2080588 - 05/11/13 02:40 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: pianotimo]
FlightBrothers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Ontario
@pianotimo WOW, that is kind of scary...but i'm glad you've progressed half through the book.

BTW how long should you practice each day? Do you practice until you feel stressed? or until you perfect a piece? or whatever else reason there are

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#2080612 - 05/11/13 05:12 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: FlightBrothers]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Be careful of over use of the hannon.... everyone does it! I would now choose to limit the excercises... and certainly not attempt to go through the first 20 as the author indicates... not only is it very easy to slip into mindless drilling, but tendon strain WILL likely happen.
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#2080641 - 05/11/13 07:03 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: UK Paul UK]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1366
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: UK Paul UK
Be careful of over use of the hannon.... everyone does it! I would now choose to limit the excercises... and certainly not attempt to go through the first 20 as the author indicates... not only is it very easy to slip into mindless drilling, but tendon strain WILL likely happen.


Totally agree about the Hannon, quite dangerous if done too much. Personally I just like the very first exercise and use it as a warm up. Scales and arpeggios are the best with Hannon as a companion.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXIV-5-XXX

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#2080642 - 05/11/13 07:10 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: FlightBrothers]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1366
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: FlightBrothers
@pianotimo WOW, that is kind of scary...but i'm glad you've progressed half through the book.

BTW how long should you practice each day? Do you practice until you feel stressed? or until you perfect a piece? or whatever else reason there are


FlightBrothers there is no hard and fast rule, but it is often said the complete beginner should not be doing much more than a half to one hour a day. The brain cannot concentrate for much more than 15-30 mins at a time and when your not concentrating it is not "good" practice. You may find several 15-20 sessions a day beneficial and definitely you should find sleeping on a problem will result in a difference the next day.

I often relate to piano to sport in that you have to build stamina and take it easy on those muscles that have been idle for so long.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXIV-5-XXX

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#2080873 - 05/11/13 02:22 PM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: FlightBrothers]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: FlightBrothers
@pianotimo WOW, that is kind of scary...but i'm glad you've progressed half through the book.

BTW how long should you practice each day? Do you practice until you feel stressed? or until you perfect a piece? or whatever else reason there are


http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/how-many-hours-a-day-should-you-practice/

This is the best read on the topic I think I've come across.

It's best to work a little bit on several different things (pieces, technical exercises, note-reading exercises, etc.) but to keep the scope low and the depth high ( How To Practice Less and Improve More ).

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#2081002 - 05/11/13 06:56 PM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: FlightBrothers]
pianotimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/13
Posts: 51
Good question that I certainly asked the forum when I started. My answer would be: as long as you have to to feel satisfied for the day OR until you feel pain.

I remembered that when I was progressing quickly, I would practice for 2-3 hours straight. When I was learning Blow the Man Down, I found it particularly gruesome. As you may realize, practicing the same thing for 2-3 hours is not beneficial. Therefore, I would only practice for 30 minutes that day. DEFINITELY do not practice until you feel stressed. Don't even practice if your stressed...just take a day off.

I mentioned that I progressed through half the book in two weeks (80 pages). I've been playing for a month now and I'm still on page 90. I'm not trying to learn at the same pace because that's not my goal. My goal is to learn the fundamentals perfectly so I don't suffer problems in the future.

Perfect a piece? Don't bother to do it (made that mistake with Blow the Man Down, now I can play it so well but doesn't help me). Play a piece until it sounds satisfactory and just move on. Remember that you should be returning to the previous lessons everyday anyways and that you're learning to play the piano, not that particular piece.

Lastly, pain in your fingers, wrists, arms, head, etc... STOP. You need to diagnose what's causing you pain before you start playing again.


Edited by pianotimo (05/11/13 06:56 PM)

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#2081175 - 05/12/13 03:18 AM Re: Sudden Urge of Learning the Piano. [Re: pianotimo]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: pianotimo
Good question that I certainly asked the forum when I started. My answer would be: as long as you have to to feel satisfied for the day OR until you feel pain.

I remembered that when I was progressing quickly, I would practice for 2-3 hours straight. When I was learning Blow the Man Down, I found it particularly gruesome. As you may realize, practicing the same thing for 2-3 hours is not beneficial. Therefore, I would only practice for 30 minutes that day. DEFINITELY do not practice until you feel stressed. Don't even practice if your stressed...just take a day off.

I mentioned that I progressed through half the book in two weeks (80 pages). I've been playing for a month now and I'm still on page 90. I'm not trying to learn at the same pace because that's not my goal. My goal is to learn the fundamentals perfectly so I don't suffer problems in the future.

Perfect a piece? Don't bother to do it (made that mistake with Blow the Man Down, now I can play it so well but doesn't help me). Play a piece until it sounds satisfactory and just move on. Remember that you should be returning to the previous lessons everyday anyways and that you're learning to play the piano, not that particular piece.

Lastly, pain in your fingers, wrists, arms, head, etc... STOP. You need to diagnose what's causing you pain before you start playing again.



Great input, pianotimo. I'll simply add that the following quote (quite possibly unintentionally) implies that in practicing, everyone is going to eventually encounter pain:

Originally Posted By: pianotimo
My answer would be: ...until you feel pain.


, but so long as you're positioned properly and are practicing with the proper knowledge and careful application of what muscles are involved (or more often, not involved) as well as gravity's role at the piano, anyone is capable of being able to sit and play for any length of time pain-free.

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