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#2188707 - 11/26/13 02:45 PM Tips for an Absolute Novice..!
Ashish Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/13
Posts: 2
I am new to this forum (and to piano, as such). Recently, my 8 yr old daughter (I am 39) started learning piano at her school, and we bought one for her (digital one). This piqued my interest in learning piano.
To be frank, I am completely new to musical instruments; and have not had any experience as such. I do not know how to read music.. but would like to learn.
Any advice for me..?? I know it would be more difficult than teaching a new language to a non-native speaker.. but what should I do..? Thanks in advance..!

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#2188710 - 11/26/13 02:50 PM Re: Tips for an Absolute Novice..! [Re: Ashish]
Whizbang Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 1311
The absolutely best thing you could do is find a good teacher.
amateur ragtime pianist

#2188711 - 11/26/13 02:52 PM Re: Tips for an Absolute Novice..! [Re: Ashish]
shaolin95 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/11
Posts: 477
Totally agree. I tried with a full DVD course before too but nothing beats a good teacher at least to get you the right fundamentals. You dont want to learn all the wrong basics then try to change later. smile
*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

*Young Chang Y150 (Del F design) (gone)

#2188719 - 11/26/13 03:04 PM Re: Tips for an Absolute Novice..! [Re: Ashish]
dmd Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 2507
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yep, go to your local music store and tell them you wish to start taking piano lessons. They will do the rest.

Current: ES8, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur

#2188730 - 11/26/13 03:22 PM Re: Tips for an Absolute Novice..! [Re: Ashish]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1890
Agreed with Whizbang. I got back into piano at 40 for the same reason: my daughter started lessons and I couldn't bear not doing it, too!

So I began lessons with the same teacher!

It's actually a ton of fun with your child. We're at very different levels, she and I, and we don't share lessons or music, but we share a teacher, and it is something we're bonding over.

So, get a teacher. For your daughter, too. School lessons are fine and all, but there's simply no substitute for good private instruction. My daughter's enthusiasm to make progress is absolutely highly tied to the enjoyment she gets out of she and I doing this "together." She also sees that it's hard, and that it's technical for everybody. She also gets to see that slow repetition is essential, even for moms. And it takes a while: 25 minutes into practicing, and I'm still probably doing scales or arpeggios. My standard warmup takes between 30 and 45 minutes!

Anyway, that's my advice: get a teacher. With your daughter also starting to get into piano, it's a great opportunity for you both to experience together! I can't tell you how invaluable a teacher has been and I took years of lessons as a kid. I could not have made much of any of the progress I have made in the past six months without one. You just need that expert eye on everything from arm weight to wrist movement and general phrasing. And I know what I'm generally looking for. It's just almost impossible to do it to yourself until you're at a very advanced level and are honing learned skills, not acquiring them in the first place. It's like trying to see yourself from the back without a mirror. There are just certain things that you're not equipped to do for yourself, even if you know what to look for on someone else.

That being said, you can certainly learn to read music, and generally learn the keys on the piano by yourself. In fact, you may want to do that first before you get a teacher. You could go through an elementary book perhaps by yourself. See if you like it. See if the basics of putting keys to notes are something you enjoy learning. But when you really want to start learning about how to move across the keyboard and execute things properly, there's no substitute for a teacher. And since you're daughter is also just now starting to enjoy to learn piano, it's a terrific time for you both to get a teacher together. People tend to think it's about learning the music, notes, and rhythm and whatnot. And to a certain extent it is, but the general mechanics of it are not what makes playing piano so difficult. It's the stuff you don't understand goes into the skill of it is what the teacher is for. The brute mechanics of it you can learn yourself.

I know that my daughter immediately began to learn about key attack, phrasing, and weight transfer and touch as soon as she could read a line of music and generally reproduce it on the keyboard. There will be nothing to unlearn or ultimately have to recognize the importance of later as she progresses. It's all built in from the get-go.

That's what a good teacher can do.

Enjoy! I don't know how I got to 39 without keeping piano in my life, frankly. Welcome to the obsession.
Dvorak Op. 46 No. 2 Slavonic Dance e minor for four hand piano
Chopin Op. 57
Rachmaninoff Elegie Op. 3 No. 1
Anything that works for ballet accompaniment

#2188790 - 11/26/13 05:01 PM Re: Tips for an Absolute Novice..! [Re: Ashish]
earlofmar Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 2681
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Ashish

Any advice for me..?? I know it would be more difficult than teaching a new language to a non-native speaker.. but what should I do..? Thanks in advance..!

Welcome to the forum Ashish....my best tip, after getting a teacher, is remember the whole activity of learning a musical instrument is not the exclusive domain of the musically gifted. Learning piano can be done by anyone. It is a brain and body partnership, both are inexperienced in this activity and need slow patient practice to start seeing even meager results. The first few months can be very taxing as you are learning so much all the while your fingers are refusing to cooperate.
So it's work hard but try to have fun at the same time.....awful advice I know.
If this life is a simulation can I not be in the easy version where Bach was a drummer


#2188810 - 11/26/13 05:27 PM Re: Tips for an Absolute Novice..! [Re: Ashish]
Ashish Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/13
Posts: 2
Thanks, TwoSnowflakes, Earlofmar, Whizbang, Shaolin95, dmd for your insight.
I am looking into getting lessons from a teacher. In the meantime, which book do you suggest I should read for music theory..?? Because, I feel, if I do not know that when I go in for a lesson, it will be very unfamiliar for me.. I have seen different books like Music theory for dummy, Alfred's essential for music theory, complete idiot's guide to music theory. Obviously, not having had any experience in this matter, I am unable to decipher which would be a good starting point..

#2188826 - 11/26/13 05:58 PM Re: Tips for an Absolute Novice..! [Re: Ashish]
earlofmar Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 2681
Loc: Australia
If you are going to get a teacher they will take control from the very start and there is no real prep work required. However it is useful to be able to name the notes both on the piano and on the written music as well as say a one octave scale (C Major). Naming the notes will be frustrating for a while as you have to take a second or two (or ten) to think. I found flashcards were good and everyday I would sit for a few minutes and just run through them at random until I could name them so I have attached links to them here
and here

You have some good books so reading them alone starts to familiarize yourself with concepts. Youtube will also prove to be a great resource and if you can get past this guy's silliness he is a great resource, take the link Free Music Lessons and look for the theory lessons. He has piano lessons as well but that's getting ahead of any teacher you might get.

Edited by earlofmar (11/26/13 06:02 PM)
If this life is a simulation can I not be in the easy version where Bach was a drummer


#2188857 - 11/26/13 06:34 PM Re: Tips for an Absolute Novice..! [Re: Ashish]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1275
Loc: Portland, OR
Here are a couple of music theory books that I (and other forum members) have found useful

Complete Idiot's Guice to Music Theory
Alfred's Music Theory for Self-Study Course

You can also look at sites that have music theory tutorials and exercises. My favorite is
Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.

intermittent piano blog

#2189006 - 11/27/13 01:22 AM Re: Tips for an Absolute Novice..! [Re: Ashish]
Charles Cohen Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 2779
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
I think that learning "theory", and learning "piano", should be coordinated.

The notes on the page don't make much sense until you can play them (or sing them). And a lot of "theory" is about how to create music that _sounds good_. The only way to find out whether it sounds good --

. . . play it!

Kant's aphorism:

. . . "Concepts without percepts are empty; percepts without concepts are blind."

Translated into the current discussion:

. . . "Theory, without playing, is empty; playing, without theory, is blind."

. Charles

PS -- I just came out of a 2-hour choir rehearsal -- sorry if this is incoherent.
. Charles
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

#2189606 - 11/28/13 11:29 AM Re: Tips for an Absolute Novice..! [Re: Ashish]
Silver Keys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/13
Posts: 233
Loc: Upstate N.Y.
I too was intimidated by learning to read music. My teacher explained that it is a skill that takes many years to master, but at the same time, assured me that it will come. A good teacher will introduce reading music gradually along with, and as part of, your lessons. I never memorize my lessons by rote because I put the effort into learning to read music from the start.
So much music and so little time!
1916 Mason & Hamlin BB
Yamaha P155


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