So I'm going to learn piano...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by BrianShort, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    I've decided I'd like to learn the piano. I've wanted to know how to play for several years, but never actually felt like learning. Now I finally do. I've been researching digital pianos recently, and since the only brand the local music shop sells is Korg, I am planning on picking up a Korg SP-300. I've tried out the SP-200 they had in the shop, and it sounded pretty decent to me, although I did prefer some of the Yamaha P120 samples I downloaded off the net a bit more. However, since I'm in an isolated community, it will be much more convienent to buy locally.

    I am planning on taking lessons from a teacher, but I thought at first I'd try teaching myself. Does anyone have any favorite beginner lessons books for adults? I've heard Alfred's is good, but are there other similar series out? Any other recommendations, suggestions, etc?

    Brian
     
  2. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

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    I've been playing the piano for 15 years now so I can give you some advice regarding playing and rehearsing, although some of it may be a bit advanced - then just save the advice for later, don't rush.

    1. Play scales. Practice scales every day. All kinds of scales: Chromatic, blues etc.

    2. Play different genres, especially classical. I've played a lot of Michel Camilo and Chick Corea also.

    3. Learn to play a melodi with both hands, both different melodies and simultaneous (not a beginners exercise).

    4. Practice finger positioning. Think about this and practice it so you use the same postitioning each time.

    Hmm, that's what I can come up with right now. There might be more to add, and I can't really help you about lesson books, sorry! [​IMG]
     
  3. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    And learn to play by ear. You need to know that you're playing a note. I've seen a lot of people try to play who had no musical sense, and would hit a wrong note and not know it. Play rationally.
     
  4. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    Brian,

    Here is my advise. If you want to be a pianist, then, by all means, learn scales, take lessons, and follow the standard method. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. I wish I had stuck with it as a child.

    If you want to learn to make music, then I would suggest learning from a different standpoint. There are many wonderful keyboards that allow you to make great sounding music, without the years of training necessary to become a pianist. Auto accompniant keyboards, learning keyboards, follow lights, etc., will allow you to learn to play, learn notes, learn chords, but will make music that is pleasing, rather than the 2 years of simple piano songs you will play in the traditional method. If you have a local piano/organ shop, they can surely recommend someone who can teach to that method. I worked for a major piano/organ store years ago, and I know that older people are rarely interested in spending the time it takes to learn piano "properly". It can be very frustrating. They simply want the fun and joy of making music.

    And, IMHO, there is no better piano or keyboard around than Yamaha (yeah, I know, Steinway is better, but then again, who can afford a Steinway). The digitals are great sounding, sturdy and fun to play.

    Have fun. From one keyboardist to a future keyboardist, knock em dead!
     
  5. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I agree with what Randy said (except the Yamaha being the best keyboard - Roland ROCKS! [​IMG]), but the frustrations can be your downfall. I'd also suggest maybe getting one of those play along Keyboards too, unless you are really committed to sticking with the lessons.

    The most frustrating thing for people who want to learn an instrument (that aren't starting as kids) is to want to become good, fast. This is why I've never been able to play guitar, I picked one up too late in life and kept getting frustrated when I couldn't play it right away.
     
  6. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    I suggest you learn to play the piano. Learning "piano" is too difficult a language! [​IMG]
     
  7. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Peter, F - C - Ab - C# - D - E - B....Oh wait,

    Translation: "You're right".
     
  8. Mark Shannon

    Mark Shannon Screenwriter

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    I played the piano for about 4 years, and finally decided to stop taking lessons about 2 years ago ($23 per group lesson is too expensive... if it were 1 on 1, it would be worth it. Those were about $30-40 though)

    Well going into grade 11, I relized that I still needed to take an arts credit, so I opted for Music class. Having the knowledge I got from piano is so helpful, because, playing the Alto Sax, it's easy for me to sight read, and get a grasp of all the notes.

    So even if you don't stick with it (but please do) it'll always come in handy.
     
  9. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Brian:

    Congratulations. I can't imagine what my life would be like if I didn't play the piano.

    Are you committed to the digital piano? Nothing--not the best hammer-action digital keyboard I've tried--beats the feel of a decent acoustic piano. Experiencing the percussion of an acoustic is, I think, vital to developing your playing style.
     
  10. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    How much would a cheaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap acoustic piano cost?

    --
    H
     
  11. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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  12. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    When I was taking keyboard lessons, my teacher asked if I had ever tried to figure out songs by listening to them. I pretty much laughed in his face because I thought there would be NO WAY I could do that. He told me to try it and see. I was AMAZED that I could actually do it.

    Always remember not to listen to your fear and lack of self confidence, you may surprise yourself. [​IMG]
     
  13. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Price of a cheap acoustic? Well, it varies greatly, depending upon brand, used/new, etc.

    But, a decent digital can cost the same or more than a decent acoustic. If there wasn't some other compelling reason to buy the digital, I'd go acoustic.
     
  14. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    I would suggest starting out with a few lessons. You will need to know some basic information (hand position, where is middle C, etc.). Once you have the basics down then you can progress at your own speed.
     
  15. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    Is learning to play a musical instrument like learning a language? Studies show that humans have a tremendously easier time learning multiple languages while they're still young (under 13?) and that adults who take up a foreign language never grasp it as well, as the brain is not "hard-wired" for the new language.

    Or is learning an instrument the same as learning how to cook? (I.e., it doesn't matter when you start.)
     
  16. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Brian, I would think it's the same as learning a language. When you're young, your mind is still developing, so it's probably easier to aquire new information rather than when you're older and your mind is stuck in it's ways.
     
  17. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for all the replies. I'm set on digital for 3 reasons.

    Price - the one I'm looking at is around $1000, I don't really want to spend any more, since the cost of lessons will add up over the course of a year, two years, three years... [​IMG]

    Portability - I know I'll be moving within a year. While an acoustic would be really great, I don't want the hassle of moving one. Once I am settled somewhere a bit more permanently, and I'm a bit more adept at playing, I'll start looking at buying a real piano

    Quiet - I can practice with headphones and not be self conscious about my playing, and I won't disturb anyone if I want to play late at night.

    I'm going to really force myself to stick with it, and learn a new skill/talent. I think I do have some musical ability. When I was a kid (maybe 10 or so, I don't recall), I actually was able to pluck out the first few notes of the Star Wars theme by ear. I just hit keys until I found the one that sounded right, then movied on to the next one. This was without knowing what notes I was playing, so I think I'm able to tell if a note is wrong or not, if I already know what the piece is supposed to sound like.

    Brian
     
  18. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

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    Brian, buying digital is a very good idea for the reasons you mention. What brand of digital piano seems to be a matter of taste. Try how they feel and sound to you - most digital pianos these days are quite good.
    My only advice when buying a piano is to choose one with heavy keys - this can be frustrating in the beginning, but it will ultimately make you a better pianist - and it's no joke! [​IMG]
     
  19. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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  20. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    Boy, I wish I had a dollar for everytime I had the "digital vs. acoustic" arguement when I was selling pianos.

    Don't forget about one other advantage of digital: No tuning needed. An acoustic needs tunings, sometimes as often as twice a year, depending on the environment and quality of piano.

    How much for a cheap piano? From a music store, probably round a grand for anything of any quality. From an individual, it's a crap shoot. And, by the way, there is no such thing as an "antique" piano. It's just an old piano. Unless there is something remarkable about it (owned by Liberace, built by Mr. Steinway, in the movie Cabaret) then older pianos are no more valuable than newer pianos. However, pianos do gain in value. A piano that was purchased new for $800.00 in the 70's can be sold in a store for $1500 - $2000.00 today, depending on condition. But there is no significance to the age of a piano.

    When you look for an acoustic, the main thing to check is the soundboard. That is the large sheet of wood on the back of the piano, behind the bracings, which amplifies the sting vibrations. It should not have any cracks in it. Cracks will cause buzzing of notes, and a diminished tone to the piano. Also, look at the felt on the hammers. Are they still in good shape? Round, clean, or are they mishapen, missing? Lastly, the pegs which hold the strings need to be tight. Ask the last time the piano was tuned, and then check the tuning. Pegs that have gotten loose will not hold tune. If a piano doesn't hold tune, forget about it.
     

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