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    Thread: Teaching oneself to play the keyboard/piano

    1. Member Dr. Woo's Avatar
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      05-15-2012 11:31 AM #1
      For many years I've toyed with the idea of learning how to play the piano. I've always thought I meet some of the minor prerequisites: I have good hand-eye coordination and long, dextrous fingers (that's literally what she said), as well as a sense of rhythm and an ear for music.

      My big question is: Has anyone here had any experience with the myriad of "teach yourself to play piano" resources out there? Websites with free lessons, instruction books, teaching software that interfaces with a digital keyboard – there are tons of ways to go about it, I'm finding, and I'd love for someone to point me in the right direction.
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      05-16-2012 01:36 AM #3
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    3. Member patternagainst's Avatar
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      05-23-2012 12:22 AM #4
      Hey, Woo. I had the same urge you had about a year and a half ago. I was finishing up my last year of college and found out that they offered lessons. I ended up getting hooked up with this guy who's staying at the school doing lessons while he focuses on writing and performing for his professional career.

      My advice would be to take lessons. I lucked out and found a truly amazing teacher that i've become good friends with. Taking lessons has been one of the greatest things i've ever done in my life. I started going once a week and now I do twice a week whenever he's not performing or traveling. I just can't describe the intensity to which i've become even more passionate about music and learning. There's nothing like having a musical breakthrough in the hands of a truly wise teacher...and i've had many of them. From discovering the genius in Bach and all of the classical composers, to applying what you've learned to improvisation and more modern tunes, i feel like i have a deeper connection to music now than i've ever had in my entire life. I started taking lessons at the age of 23 and i'm 25 now. I always fiddled around with trying to learn bass and guitar earlier in my life but really never got anywhere. I tried some guitar DVDs but keeping up with them didn't last. Around the age of 18 my buddy had a Korg synth and i ended up buying a drum machine that we made a lot of cool patterns and songs, and that's where i became really interested in wanting to write or compose music. After always feeling stuck and having no idea how the language of music really worked, i decided to start taking lessons 5 years later. It really changed my life and i feel it's good for the soul. I play most every night and it's one thing i look forward to all day.

      As for learning material. When I started taking lessons we went over some very basic things about the piano, we reviewed some basic things on how to read music, and then he taught me a few quick easy kids tunes to keep me interested. After a few lessons we started working with this book "The McClintlock Piano Course" by Loren McClintlock. It's old and the website may not look flashy, but after almost finishing the first book a year and a half later, I really like the way the material is arranged. This first book has been taught to me with the goal of being able to sight read fluently in mind, and it also teaches you all of the different forms of rhythm and timing, and also develops your ear for pitch, color, and tonality. Once you can sight read extremely well, which is extremely hard and takes a lot of patience and dedication, you can play any piece of music in front of you, without ever having played it before...more or less. BUT, I have to stress like my teacher does that the whole idea is to be able to play by sound. Throw the theory out the window and just play with your ear. When you jam or improvise, you have no time to think, you have to express yourself through knowing the sound, not every good boy does fine trying to figure out what key you're in. But, of course, using the theory to develop my foundation and my ear playing by sound is much easier now.

      I really recommend it. I pay $160 a month for 2 lessons a week for about an hour each or more, but my teacher basically cuts me a huge deal and anymore it's like we're hanging out, unless he's totally kicking my ass with something new.

      I'm still not that great yet but my foundation is becoming very solid, which will only make the rest easier. It's like math, you can't do calculus without algebra, because algebra is the foundation. If you know it well, the calculus is a lot easier to do instinctively. I can jam and improvise way easier than I ever could before. I'm looking for more people to jam with all the time. This is my favorite song that I can play. I'm just about done with it as far as being able to play it all the way through. You'll notice that you may not like some of the classical stuff like Bach or Debussy or whatever, but when you learn to play it and hear it on a real piano you develop a real relationship with the song and understand what's happening.




      And maybe one day i'll be able to play this:
      Last edited by patternagainst; 05-23-2012 at 12:30 AM.

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