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#2128422 - 08/05/13 10:41 AM Want to learn..
Geo M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/13
Posts: 17
Hello to all.
I am pleased that I found this community with all these plentiful information. I don’t know if I am posting in the correct section or if my questions have been covered thousand times, so I beg for your kindness.

I am 30 years old from Greece and for many years I had a secret desire of learning to play the piano.

My music background is small. I have learned to play guitar and drums by myself (average playing) and stropped there, as they were covering my needs and fun.

As my age and free time are not ideal for piano learning, I am willing to make my wish come true. My expectations from this, is not to be a super expert pianist or be perfect from technical skills side, but to be able to play songs that I wish for family/friend and my pleasure.

All the above generate two main questions that need guidance.
First of all, could I learn to play the piano by myself? Is there a good and practical way of learning (reading, DVD’s, online programs or teaching)?

Secondly, my concern is about the instrument. I need to buy a digital piano or stage piano for the small noise and space, but to feel very much like a real acoustic piano. I don’t want to buy something for now and exchange it with something else in the near future (when I will discover that I need something better). My budget is around 600€ and if a solution of a good instrument (for my needs) was less than that, I would be happier.
_________________________
Kawai CN 34

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#2128458 - 08/05/13 12:10 PM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: Geo M]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5257
Loc: Italy
Welcome GeoM!

For advice on a good digital you might want to post in the digital piano forum - but I think what most people here would tell you is:
a) make sure that the keys are weighted - so that the "touch " of the keys is similar to an acoustic
b) get one that has 88 keys. (some will say fewer keys are ok - but I had one with fewer and I wouldn't do it again!)

As for learning by yourself there are many many resources.
Some are listed in this thread (found at the top of this "Adult Beginner" forum page.

Important Information Adult Beginner Forum


Many new players who don't have a teacher like to use method books that take you from learning how to read the notes (by name and with their time values) to playing a range of simple pieces - a lot of materials are on the internet but I don't know specific ones - I'm sure someone else will offer suggestions.
The method books are ones like "Alfred's" series - for which there are also many discussions in this forum.
_________________________
XVIII-XXXV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#2128463 - 08/05/13 12:23 PM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: Geo M]
dmd Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1926
Loc: Pennsylvania
The best advice I can offer is to get a teacher, especially in the first year or two of playing. This is when you will form many of your "instincts" for playing. Without a teacher, you may do things in a manner which will make things more difficult later.

As for books, dvds, etc ...

There is a mountain of material for you to utilize. Some good, some not so good. If you are not careful you can spend a fortune trying to find that next great method of learning. Forget that. None of them are perfect. You will pick things from each one of them.

With the budget you mention, I would simply suggest a Casio PX-350. Not perfect, but pretty good.

Good Luck
_________________________
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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#2128566 - 08/05/13 03:56 PM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: Geo M]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Geo M
As my age and free time are not ideal for piano learning, I am willing to make my wish come true.


There is no "ideal" age for learning to play piano - thinking otherwise is a fallacy. While young children may absorb information faster under the guidance of a good teacher, [older] adults are wiser and far better equipped to understand and make effective use of said information. See further here

As for free time, you really need only apply a small amount of time each time (take for example, 20 or 30 minutes), however, you must be consistent (meaning dedicating at least that same amount of time every day) for your progress to be the greatest. See here: Why to Practice Every Day

If anything, I'd argue that it's best to start out with just a little bit of time each day - so as to learn how to effectively use every minute of your time - and then work your way up as opposed to starting off with too much and then feeling like you're not accomplishing enough or maybe structured enough (which you won't be at first) to make full use of the time you're putting in.


Originally Posted By: Geo M
My expectations from this, is not to be a super expert pianist or be perfect from technical skills side, but to be able to play songs that I wish for family/friend and my pleasure.


This is a great goal! You should make and keep a running list of all of these songs (see below for reasoning).


Originally Posted By: Geo M
All the above generate two main questions that need guidance.
First of all, could I learn to play the piano by myself? Is there a good and practical way of learning (reading, DVD’s, online programs or teaching)?


People often think that it's better to start on their own (to save money from having to pay someone to "learn the basics" or something along those lines), but there's a lot of flaws in this logic (oh, and I'm not suggesting you think this way, but trying to clarify/strengthen my following point). The best time to learn from and study with a piano teacher is at the very beginning so that as a student, you don't waste time and effort developing bad habits that will need to be fixed later by a teacher (many people assume these habits are only physical ones regarding how to physically use the fingers/hands/wrists/arms/body, but they also include how to think about music, how to best spend your time at and away from the piano, and how to practice to be able to play anything, or in other words, how to become independent and essentially your own teacher). You can always learn from books and dvds later, but at some point - preferably the beginning, like I argued - you will do best to take lessons from a good teacher.

Forum member, composer, and piano teacher Nikolas Sideris may be able to provide specific tips or references for finding a piano teacher for adults in Greece.

Give your list of music you want to be able to play to prospective teachers - to give them an idea of your tastes and to possibly provide grounds for suggestions - and ask if they can help you to become able learn how to play them (you can learn how to play anything on your own, but not necessarily learn how to learn how to play them, which is what a good piano teacher teaches).

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#2128696 - 08/05/13 10:28 PM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: Geo M]
Charles Cohen Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1492
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Geo M
. . .

Secondly, my concern is about the instrument. I need to buy a digital piano or stage piano for the small noise and space, but to feel very much like a real acoustic piano. I don’t want to buy something for now and exchange it with something else in the near future (when I will discover that I need something better). My budget is around 600€ and if a solution of a good instrument (for my needs) was less than that, I would be happier.


I think that the three digital pianos most recommended in the "Digital Piano" forum, in your price range, are:
. . Casio PX-150
. . Yamaha P105
. . Casio PX-350

The PX-150 and PX-350 have identical keyboard mechanisms, so they _feel_ the same. They have different "sound generators". The "grand piano" sounds are similar. The PX-350 has many more sounds, and it has "one-man-band" functions -- built-in drum section, and easy-playing chords for accompaniment.

The Yamaha P105 has a different keyboard mechanism, and a different sound generator. Some people like it more than the Casio, other people prefer the Casio.

Because they are low-priced, _none_ of those 3 has good loudspeakers. They sound _much_ better through headphones, than they sound through their own sound systems.

They don't feel _exactly_ like "real pianos", and they don't sound _exactly_ like "real pianos". But they're close enough so that you can learn on them, and enjoy playing them.

If any one of those fits your budget, you will be OK. You will need a pedal (or a 3-pedal set), and some kind of stand (usually an "X-stand").

The "next step up" in quality will cost more money -- probably, out of your budget.

Most of all -- have fun!

. Charles

PS -- bias -- I own a PX-350.

PPS -- you can ask this question on the Digital Piano forum, and get other answers.

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#2128751 - 08/06/13 12:46 AM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: Geo M]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Geo M, I have read your post, here:

Hello to all.
I am pleased that I found this community with all these plentiful information. I don’t know if I am posting in the correct section or if my questions have been covered thousand times, so I beg for your kindness.

I am 30 years old from Greece and for many years I had a secret desire of learning to play the piano.

My music background is small. I have learned to play guitar and drums by myself (average playing) and stropped there, as they were covering my needs and fun.

As my age and free time are not ideal for piano learning, I am willing to make my wish come true. My expectations from this, is not to be a super expert pianist or be perfect from technical skills side, but to be able to play songs that I wish for family/friend and my pleasure.

All the above generate two main questions that need guidance.
First of all, could I learn to play the piano by myself? Is there a good and practical way of learning (reading, DVD’s, online programs or teaching)?

Secondly, my concern is about the instrument. I need to buy a digital piano or stage piano for the small noise and space, but to feel very much like a real acoustic piano. I don’t want to buy something for now and exchange it with something else in the near future (when I will discover that I need something better). My budget is around 600€ and if a solution of a good instrument (for my needs) was less than that, I would be happier.

___________________________________________________

Geo M says: All the above generate two main questions that need guidance.
First of all, could I learn to play the piano by myself?


humblebeginnerpianoplayer says: Yes, you could learn to play the piano by yourself.

There is only one piano book that was ever printed called "John Thompson's Modern Course for the piano. It is a red mostly cover, has 75 pages of learning and awesome music to play. Great instruction with drawings and descriptions. It is only $5 Canadian for the 75 pages, so dirty cheap and availble in most of the world and on the internet if you think it is safe. It was written in the 1900s so before the second world war. It has taught lots of piano players, famous and not-famous piano players.

Now, it is important to know that there is another book called John thompson Modern course for the piano -Teaching Little Fingers to Play. It is different from the other books because it teacher a beginner to play the piano.

You see, Geo. you know lots of stuff that lots of people don't know - and I will discuss that in a minute. But this little book of 39 pages introduces Geo.the student to the beginning of playing the piano, so it introduces you to the names of the notes, which you know - if it is the treble clef, but the book also introduces you to the bass cleff, which I suspect, you are bit rusty at reading it - but maybe not. Of course, you know about counting because you are a drummer and a guitar player. You know how to read music. You know how to practice. You know that if you don't learn by the rules and you break the rules, you will have a very, very unhappy and miserable life with anything to do with music.


Geo, says: Secondly, my concern is about the instrument. I need to buy a digital piano or stage piano for the small noise and space, but to feel very much like a real acoustic piano. I don’t want to buy something for now and exchange it with something else in the near future (when I will discover that I need something better). My budget is around 600€ and if a solution of a good instrument (for my needs) was less than that, I would be happier.

humblebeginnerpianoplayer says: Geo you know that as a musician, that you need to know a b c d e f g notes in a row to begin to play any kind of music - and the piano is no different.

You know as a musician that it is never, ever the instrument that matters, but the brain, the heart, the fingers, and the one ear that works a little bit.

Lots of people complain about their instrument. You know as a drummer and a guitar player that it is the heart,fingers,ear,brain that matter and not the strings of the guitar because even if a string is missing, you can play. As a drummer if, the drum or the cow bell is missing, you can work around the problem to play music. Lots of people complain about pianos, but you know that an acoustic guitar is not remotely like an electric guitar. A steel stringed acoustic guitar is not remotely like an acoustic guitar with nylon srings. So you know what most don't know, especially some piano players.

So you can start playing with whatever piano you can afford, be it spring loaded keys or weighted keys, or missing keys, a broken acoustic piano as long as you have an octave or better to begin learning to play. Then you can put a cup in an open window with writing in Greek or English for the tourists to read and ask them for dracmas or coins to save for the piano you want to be able to play.

Since playing the piano or any instrument is all about listening to yourself play and feeling and hearing yourself play, your good sound comes from your heart and your ears, and everybody who can hear you play out your open window will want to listen to you play no matter how simply the music and your cup will be filled with coins. So don't worry, you know how to make music. And that is a big part of learning to play any music.


So once you learn and work through the "Teaching little fingers to play" then you can move on to the John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano. of 75 pages, etc.

Although you know all this, I will remind you that when you begin to learn a piece, it is important to read through the music to make sure you know to read and say the notes in every measure of the piece. It is imporant to read the piece again, to make sure that you know all the sharps and flats and how to play them. It is important that you know all the values of the notes of the piece and how to count out the values of the notes in every measure. Now you are ready to read and play the piece slowly without mistakes looking at the music and not looking at your fingers. When you can play it about 3 times without mistakes smoothly and musically then it it time to move on to the next piece. You know, of course, that it is only by playing the pieces you have learned regularly that you able to play them smoothly and musically over time and practice. You also know that when you play a piece, that even though you play the music with perfect counting, that it is only when you can feel the piece in your heart, and hearing with your ear/ears, that the piece will be played by you beautifully - but it is a lifetime of almost reaching perfection but not quite - for another time to perfection again and again.

There are 5 books that will take you to a good level of play to start - and like me - I am in the middle of books 2 of the 5 books) I think you will love the journey and even though it is slow, it is very rewarding to play the piano.

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#2128759 - 08/06/13 01:22 AM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: Charles Cohen]
Geo M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/13
Posts: 17
First of all I would like to thank you all for your time and support.
I am trying to walk on the ground for all these. That's why I also think that the best for me is to start with a teacher for the first 6 months-1 year, just to put the correct bases for my habits. I will keep in mind these books to buy and I also have found "learn & master piano" and "playground sessions" which I don't know if they are worth to follow.
I liked a lot the suggestion of song list, because (if it is possible to be done) if I see a target come closer, it would be much better and fun for me to continue.
Unfortunately I don't live in Greece anymore (business duties), while I have relocated in Sofia (Bulgaria). So I have to find here a piano teacher.
About the digital pianos, I had also settled on your suggestions (Casio & Yamaha) but leaning little towards casio's due to lot of reviews and comparisons that I have read between them. But I will post this question to the correct thread for further suggestions.


Edited by Geo M (08/06/13 01:41 AM)
_________________________
Kawai CN 34

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#2128763 - 08/06/13 01:40 AM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: Geo M]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1009
Loc: Italy
Welcome Geo!

Last year I was in the same situation as you now, so I went to the music store and compared Casio and Yamaha digital pianos. I went for the Casio because I found the Yamaha sound a bit too bright and metallic, but it's a matter of personal taste. The Casio has a nice feel and the weight you need to press a key is the same of a decent acoustic piano. The speakers may be okay or very bad depending on the room you place it in - the smaller the better.

Getting a teacher is certainly the best way to learn, just make sure you learn how to practice too. You'll spend much more time at the piano on your own than with your teacher.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2128897 - 08/06/13 11:21 AM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: sinophilia]
Daniel Corban Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/13
Posts: 215
Loc: Canada
As someone who has recently been through this phase, I predict that within six months, you will want a new piano anyway. As you get better, you may start to notice how the low end keyboard is affecting your play, and how the sound isn't quite what you want it to be in more complex pieces, especially with pedalling.
_________________________
Playing: Yamaha GC2

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#2129287 - 08/07/13 04:26 AM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: Geo M]
Geo M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/13
Posts: 17
Does anyone has any knowledge/experience with "learn & master piano" and "playground sessions". Are they worth to follow or not?
_________________________
Kawai CN 34

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#2129325 - 08/07/13 08:57 AM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: Geo M]
dmd Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1926
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Geo M
Does anyone has any knowledge/experience with "learn & master piano" and "playground sessions". Are they worth to follow or not?


I have Learn and Master and in my opinion, it is ok but it covers things too briefly. I think it is way over-priced.
_________________________
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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#2129473 - 08/07/13 03:38 PM Re: Want to learn.. [Re: Geo M]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Geo M
Does anyone has any knowledge/experience with "learn & master piano" and "playground sessions". Are they worth to follow or not?


I'd say "no" as far as whether or not its worth it to follow any such courses, but I mean as far as an alternative to studying with a good teacher, and only because there is no equivalent to the latter.


Here are some really nice old posts on the topic of the feasibility of trying to self-teach from books and/or other things without the guidance of a teacher:
-Link 1
-Link 2 (paraphrased tease: "'books' often seem to contradict when in reality, they may very well mean the same thing... What's needed is a hands-on approach, not a book")
-Link 3

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