Coming back to the piano

Posted by: rockbadger

Coming back to the piano - 11/05/12 09:24 AM

My new (first) digital piano arrives today (Casio PX330) and I get to play piano again after a long break from proper practice.

I'm about grade 5 level with my fingers but strong on theory and music in general (I'm a Music graduate).

I want to get better at pretty much everything - classical pieces, sight reading, jazz, left hand comping, soloing etc. I'm capable of teaching myself but need some resources/suggestions for what to play - particularly things that are available cheaply/for free.

Classical - I see the free sheet music thread that should be useful. But I could use some suggestions for repertoire. I've played some Chopin Preludes (E minor and B minor) in the past.

Comping/technique/sight-reading - I feel much more at home in sharp keys (I'm primarily a guitarist - also a brass player, which makes me more at home in these keys). So I could do with lots of good exercises to get me familiar with other keys. Do I just do arpeggios and scales or is there anything more interesting. Hanon is horrible. Is it worth ploughing through something like Riemenschneider to learn sightreading?

Soloing/improvisation - any good resources? I can play by ear but any useful patterns/tricks for good keyboard soloing would be good.

Any suggestions for what to work on would be great - particularly if they're cheap!
Posted by: Playagain

Re: Coming back to the piano - 11/05/12 11:19 AM

HI, Rockbadger,
Congratulations on getting your digital piano!
For free classical music, go to imslp.org and search. It's a huge library of classical music scores, and you can print the ones you want. I search first for the composer, and then for the piece I'm interested in.

For suggestions for pieces at your level, you can also try posting at the Piano Teacher's forum, too, because they would know what to suggest at your level.

I remember having a compilation book of classical pieces for about that level, but I don't know what the name of it was. You could search for something like that at sheetmusicplus.com and then pick pieces listed in the book to print out free at imslp.org.

I do play scales, arpeggios, and chords to get familiar with other keys. For sightreading, I just try playing pieces that are a little easier for me, or old standards, or Christmas songs.

Have fun!
Kathy
Posted by: Brian Lucas

Re: Coming back to the piano - 11/05/12 02:12 PM

Welcome! My suggestion for people coming from other instruments is to try and apply what you know to the piano. So a song or lick you may have played on guitar can be played on piano. Connecting what you already know with a different instrument. This will help with the jazz and soloing part.

Scales are as helpful for piano as they are on guitar. Just try to make sure you're understanding the scale you are playing and not making it just a muscle memory thing.
Posted by: rockbadger

Re: Coming back to the piano - 11/05/12 07:02 PM

Thanks for the welcomes. Downloaded a copy of Chopin's Preludes Bm and Em which I'd semi-learnt before and my fingers/piano brain still seem to be working.

Any other suggestions? Technical exercises? I suppose I better work on the proper fingering for those flat scales.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Coming back to the piano - 11/06/12 04:33 AM

About finding suggestions for repertoire for your level:
Of course there have been plenty of threads about this in pianoworld already. You now might want to search for them by the "google custom search" function on the left top of the forum page (try something like "graded list" or "ranked list") and follow mentioned suggestions in there, or you might prefer to miss all those valuable opinions and simply follow my personal summary of all this:

Books (featuring a classification of pieces according to level of difficulty):
- Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire by Hinson
- Pianist's Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature by Magrath
- Handbuch der Klavierliteratur zu zwei Händen by Wolters (comparative reviews claim it to be ´better´ than the other two mentioned books, but you would need to understand german language to take advantage of it)

Online (featuring a classification of pieces according to level of difficulty):
- Piano Music by pianostreet.com

If somebody would know about better sources (more comprehensive, or more comfortable to use), please let me know, so that I could take your recommendations into account before posting my summary again to a thread.

[edit: added an important german book to the list]
Posted by: Maechre

Re: Coming back to the piano - 11/06/12 06:30 AM

SIGHT-READING

I'm using this website as a guide to my sight-reading progress. It has suggestions for levelled books to use to practise sight-reading.

I jumped into "Level 2" as I already had some sight-reading skills, skipping all that hands separate stuff, although those probably couldn't have hurt. I'm still working on Level 2, have been for almost a year now, and am looking at moving up to the next level, where there seems to be a wealth of exciting new music for me. I know the next level will be hard for a while, until it starts to click. But all the excitement comes when the music starts to come to you!

You may want to start with a sight-reading series such as the one I used, "Improve Your Sight-Reading!". You'd only need to take it up to about grade 3 or 4, and the books are very short. Then you'll want to move onto real music.
Posted by: rockbadger

Re: Coming back to the piano - 11/06/12 10:42 AM

Maechre - that looks like a useful website - thanks.

Marco - thanks - sorry to have asked something pretty similar to what has come up before - I didn't quite know what to search for and it wasn't included in the FAQ so I figured it was worth asking. But that has turned up some really useful resources - thanks.
Posted by: Lain

Re: Coming back to the piano - 11/06/12 11:05 AM

Welcome back to the piano!
Posted by: Starr Keys

Re: Coming back to the piano - 11/06/12 03:55 PM


Originally Posted By: Rockbadger
I'm about grade 5 level with my fingers but strong on theory and music in general (I'm a Music graduate).

I want to get better at pretty much everything - classical pieces, sight reading, jazz, left hand comping, soloing etc. I'm capable of teaching myself but need some resources/suggestions for what to play - particularly things that are available cheaply/for free.


I could have written the last paragraph myself since there isn't anything in it that isn't true for me (although my interest in classical is more about exercising certain muscles than for any real interest in playing it right now). I've been trying to keep a finger in all of those pies for over three years now.

If you're good at theory and can play by ear, you might want to checkout PW's own Elssa's piano styling tutorials (lots of runs and rolling patterns demonstrated by their use in great standards, which makes them more fun and practical than Hanon exercises IMO). Not exactly jazz but classic cocktail piano tricks of the trade for soloing and a great prequel to studying jazz since they use a lot of chord extensions and some altered chords. It's hard to go wrong trying out one of her video tutorials for $15-$20.

I look forward to following your progress, comparing it with mine and perhaps sharing tips about how to accelerate both.

Starr

P.S. if you should check out my youtube to hear the PX330, know that even though there's a picture of my acoustic on my most recent video for display purposes, I am playing the PX330 on it. Also, in the video before that (Summer Place) I use some auto accompaniment. And no, I don't always sing smile
Posted by: MusicaMusique

Re: Coming back to the piano - 11/06/12 04:03 PM

Congratulations! I hope to listen to your new music then!