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Jeanette

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#1
I'm in trouble with hubby, I seem to have agreed to purchase a secondhand Yamaha PSR S900 Keyboard :)

So if I'm going to learn it seriously and not just mess around can anybody recommend any good books to start with for self tutoring or am I really best taking lessons?

Jx
 
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159
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Birmingham
#2
When I first started playing many years ago I originally taught myself the basics from a course of books called ‘complete piano player’ by Kenneth Baker There’s 5 books if memory serves me, they take you right from the very beginning, what the keys are called, where middle c is etc and start off with simple melodies and gradually work up to reasonable if somewhat short tunes, but at the end of the course with plenty of practice you’ll be able to comfortably play with hands together and be able to explore and understand a wider variety of music books, also YouTube has some great tutorials, however as with most endeavours a little guidance from a good teacher can make a huge difference, depending on what you would like to achieve, if you’re happy to simply play a few tunes for your own pleasure then self teaching is a fun way to get started but should you wish to take it further I would recommend getting a good teacher, however i have friends who are quite competent that are both self taught and have had music teachers so really either way is good it just depends on what suits you, but most importantly have fun along the way
 

MikeMorrell

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#3
IMHO, you're best off taking lessons, Jeannette, at least to start off with. Just like learning to play sax :). I gave up on piano after only a couple of months of lessons having previously played around with it for many years. The furthest I got - self taught - was playing fairly simple arrangements of tunes like Satie's Gymnopédie No.1: slow, with plenty of time to find notes/chords. The biggest challenge I found wasn't the notes or chords - I already knew where they were - or even reading two staves at once. I was used to playing classical guitar from sheet music: playing supporting notes from chords asynchronously with melody lines, melody lines shifting from upper to lower notes, etc.

The biggest eye opener for me on piano was learning to change 'hand positions' and using specific fingers to play specific notes in that hand position. OK, I didn't get very far, but my tutor was able to watch me play and point out (for example) that I'd used my second finger to play a note in a certain hand position (because it felt quicker/easier) instead of the 'recommended' third finger. At the very basic level I was playing at, which finger I used didn't make much difference to how the tune sounded. But these 'bad habits' would undoubtedly have become a limiting factor further down the line. We never reached the levels of finger pressure, using pedals, etc. But as in playing sax, it's not 'finding the notes' that are biggest limiting factor, it's how you use your body and expression to play them.

There are undoubtedly excellent beginner's books and video's on 'how to learn piano' but IMHO there's no substitute for a tutor watching how you play (where you tense up, where you take too much (or too little) time to change hand positions, etc. The major benefits of a tutor (for all musicians) are IHMO that:
  1. There is a method: what needs to be learned now before other improvements become possible
  2. You get personalised advice that helps you progress (at your own tempo) as quickly as possible and helps you avoid 'bad habits' that will be more difficult to unlearn further down the road.
If you can afford it, a tutor is always valuable. Having said that, most of what I learned on guitar was self-taught. But I started at the age of 12. The 0lder we get, the more 'support' we need from tutors :).


Mike
 

Keep Blowing

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#5
I'm in trouble with hubby, I seem to have agreed to purchase a seconhand Yamaha PSR S900 Keyboard :)

So if I'm going to learn it seriously and not just mess around can anybody recommend any good books to start with for self tutoring or am I really best taking lessons?

Jx
What would you recommend to a Keyboard player wanting to learn to play the Saxophone, that's probably the answer to your question
 

MandyH

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#6
I started by using “Alfred’s basic Adult all-in-one course.”
It was great to start with, and got me used to reading the bass clef a bit.
But then I realised I needed more help from a real interactive tutor, so I found a tutor who lived twice as far away as my sax tutor (it takes me 10 mins to walk there rather than 5!) and I have found that much more helpful.
I think knowing that you have a lesson every week is good for “encouraging” you to practice little and often all week.
And I can discuss with him “why” these fingers ... etc
I am finding learning piano WAY harder than learning sax, but 20 months in and I am still loving it!
 
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#8
Thanks all, my tutor plays keys so I guess I can start with him for guidance but I still need to spend time on sax with him :)

Jx
My music teacher is currently teaching me both sax and piano too, so it’s twice weekly now instead of once, as you already have a rapport with your current tutor it’s a bonus as you don’t have to worry about breaking in a new one ;)
 

Jeanette

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#9
My music teacher is currently teaching me both sax and piano too, so it’s twice weekly now instead of once, as you already have a rapport with your current tutor it’s a bonus as you don’t have to worry about breaking in a new one ;)
Very true, he can also use the keyboard to accompany me which should be fun :)

Jx
 
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Manchester
#12
Piano adventures books are great. They are for kids but have a great selection of tunes. They sell them in books that also have music theory in with them so you can do both.

My daughter did them with not huge amounts of practice and got to grade 2 in 2 years.

Good luck. The piano is a tough instrument but helps massively with your understanding of notes and their visualisation.
 

Jazzaferri

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#13
I find the most difficult thing (for me) on piano (I played from 6-12 and had to play for my jazz diploma) is hand separation. To be able to play a rhythmic comp with the left and explore with the right.

I think it a wonderful adjunct to any single note instrument as it visually conceptualizes the harmony. If I didn't play guitar as well as I do I would spend way more time on piano Enjoy your journey with it @Jeanette and @MandyH .
 

Jeanette

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#14
I think it a wonderful adjunct to any single note instrument as it visually conceptualizes the harmony. If I didn't play guitar as well as I do I would spend way more time on piano Enjoy your journey with it @Jeanette and @MandyH .
I don't expect to become competent but if it's fun and adds to my learning it will be worth it :)

Jx
 

MandyH

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#15
I don't expect to become competent but if it's fun and adds to my learning it will be worth it :)

Jx
I started in the hope that it would improve my understanding of music theory, especially harmonising. I really struggled through ABRSM grade 6 theory, and felt that not playing a Concert pitch harmonising instrument held me back.
That might just be a personal thing. But I have definitely had a few “eureka” moments on the way - especially where the piano music has confirmed something that I had already learned the theory of.
I am still hoping it will improve my sight-singing ability. At the moment, whenever I pitch a note, it is with an Eb transposing instrument pitch. That doesn’t matter too much for relative pitch, but it’s not very useful for absolute pitch!
 

Jazzaferri

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#17
A drum machine or metronome is your best friend in timing. Practice slowly playing right on top the beat, and once that is mastered play around with playing on the frontside and backside of the beat.
 
#20
Congratulations on your purchase of the PSR S 900 looks like a fun instrument to have...you can be a one woman band...


I have a Yamaha PSR GX756 which has served me well over the years.

Somebody asked Sonny Rollins how to become a better saxophonist and Sonny replied "Learn to play the piano".

Greg S.
 
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