Beginner's help needed

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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dazzza
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Beginner's help needed

Post by dazzza » 02 Jan 2012, 19:30

Just wonder if anyone can give me some advise on learning to play the piano i also should point out I am teaching my self, This is where I am up to I started out learning all the keys on the piano and the c scale across the piano , Having done that I then went on to try and learn to reading musicfrom sheet and put it to practice on the piano, I have know where near mastered this yet and I am only using the right hand when playing, I just keep trying to remember what the notes rather than how the music is played , I also read up on scales and chords now this is where I am confused I don’t want to try and learn to many different things yet , so my first question is what should I be focused on learning at this point ? Should I learn scales and chords before learning to read music?

Nutroast
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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Nutroast » 03 Jan 2012, 14:00

Hello and welcome!

It sounds to me like you need some structure in your learning and there are plenty that have worked out various ways of doing this and one of them will probably suit you. If you can't afford lessons, then following a good book will help guide you. Kenneth Baker's books are well thought of, so are Fanny Waterman and Carol Barratt. However, a good teacher is the best option and he/she may have a favourite book they like to work from. Good luck!

Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 03 Jan 2012, 15:46

dazza well done with the scales work. That shows remarkable persistence. I would never have so much patience with scales. They are necessary , don`t get me wrong , but I came to the point of learning the piano via many years violin playing and recent years teaching myself classical guitar. (Playing music in any key you like.) I had to work out how to do that myself.I was very methodical. You can do the next important thing while choosing a teacher. Get your left hand to play those scales too. There are charts on the net to show which fingers to start each scale. I have no problem with reading music but I have to absorb the physical positions of the keys .The lower music stave is still a dark jungle for me. I know that will improve very quickly so it`s not a worry. My left hand is still awaiting tuition while the right hand is getting used to things. As a violin player I have developed a longer reach with the left hand. That is exactly the size for a relaxed octave. The right is just a little short . The muscles will adapt over time. I don`t intend to do any dodgy stretching. I`m looking forward to having the piano tuned this month. Maybe I should start a log book to remind me of all the areas that can be improved. My first pieces to get my bearings are from the Songs Without Words.--Faith ( there`s a wonderful dark chord in that ), and a piece from Book Two of the Well Tempered Clavier. Prelude 1 BWV 870. I`m getting to love that B b note . That music was rescued from a scruffy old secondhand bookshop in Birkenhead. There is also a volume of Beethoven Sonatas that turned up under a temporary work surface in my daughter`s kitchen. It was there to keep the teapot level. I secretly confiscated it. The very idea!. Already I have delved into keys with 4 or 5 sharps. I realised something strange this week. It`s down to the way pianos are normally tuned. I remembered some time back after a short piece of piano music on tv --I said to my wife--"That piano was really well tuned". And she agreed. That`s the only time in my life I have ever said that to anybody --Ever! That`s worth saying here too.

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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Gill the Piano » 03 Jan 2012, 18:13

As Nutroast said, get a good book and/or a good teacher. I recommend Kenneth Baker 'The Complete Piano Player' for an adult working on their own; songs you know, not too fast in loading you with new info. If you go to a teacher, be guided by their choice of book. Whilst your application to scales is to be admired, there are easier approaches to take!
Good luck!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 04 Jan 2012, 13:32

I started making out some little worksheets for myself yesterday. The idea is to draw out the black note pattern first. The black notes in the key I`m learning get a red mark. Then the note in the scale is written on the "pattern" in red . Beneath that in black pen is the finger sequence for right hand and below that is the left hand sequence. So yesterday I was practising both hands for D major. The right hand sequence seen in the internet chart is ok for me .The left hand seemed awkward so I altered it. It started with a 2 .I changed that to a 1. I am getting used to the gearchange as thumb comes underneath . The hands are numbered in a mirror image counting outwards from the thumbs. I had to learn that. Can you imagine that? Really basic stuff for this forum. Then I tried to use the idea of avoiding thumbs and small fingers on black notes when playing a basically white note key .
Just to see how out of tune the real piano is I compared it to a very early Casio model . It seemed a long way out on the low notes but the Casio is only a short model so I doubt if those had stretched tuning. The real one dips down as you get lower.
I forgot to say--Add on the music notes below the diagram of the keys. (Both treble and bass staves) . That will cure the music phobia very quickly.

Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 06 Jan 2012, 13:42

Yesterday was the second day with both hands playing D major. Day one seemed easy. Day two was much harder. Can`t understand why. For dazza to help with the music side I realised one silly , but useful , piece of symmetry . I have never used the bass stave before so connecting to the treble is important. In fact , I saw a piano beginners book yesterday that only used the treble stave and nothing else . Looking at the top line of the treble stave --go to the next note up with a line through it---A. The middle line of the treble stave is --B. Between the treble and bass staves is one note with a line through it --C .Middle line of the bass stave is --D. Below all the bass lines the next note down with a line through it is --E. Even I can remember that sequence.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Gill the Piano » 06 Jan 2012, 18:56

Just remember that the two staves were once one Great Staff and that the link between them is middle C. And make life easier by learning lines OR spaces and work out one from the other, if you find mnemonics difficult.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 09 Jan 2012, 10:41

I think they should change the spelling to Menomics. Just the way Nuclear became Nucular.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Gill the Piano » 09 Jan 2012, 17:11

Nukuler is only used by merkins and trendies! Your comment re 'mnemonic' reminds me of the comment 'why is dyslexia so hard to spell??'
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 11 Jan 2012, 15:39

Yes I was in Mold one day .It`s a small Welsh market town. Just near the centre is a sign over the doorway."Welsh Dyslexic Society".That always amused me. If you ever go to Barmouth on the seafront there is a place to give dogs a drink of water. There is the tap on the wall . Above it is a board with a picture of a tap painted on it. Beneath the picture is the word "Tapio". For people who speak "Good Welsh and Fluent English "

Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 12 Jan 2012, 14:49

I am taking some short cuts to finding the notes in different keys. I memorise the black notes pattern used in each unfamiliar key and whether they represent sharps or flats.That makes an important difference.( Up or down , it`s a very basic formula ).Then ,sooner than I expected , I am keeping my eyes on the music while I feel the black notes . I had to check a few videos yesterday to see if those decorative Chopin runs in tiny notes are played with one hand or two. Bad news is --one. At this stage the keys still feel a bit lumpy compared to touching violin or guitar strings. 4 pm today my tuner arrives to work out the conversion to the Kirnberger tuning . I find the slow Bach 48 pieces in simple keys are good to learn as they have very continuous lines of notes which helps with learning the distances around the keyboard . I ordered a new copy of the whole set as I only have book two. I wanted to learn Number 8 Prelude book one especially as it sounded so cheerful. Then I discovered a very slow version played by Rosalyn Tureck. It`s really beautiful what she does to the piece. Some parts are so slow it`s as if the beats are being used as vibrato or trills . It gives a shimmering effect similar to fine ripples on water .The recording is on a record with a deep blue cover with her photo.

Jonathan the 2nd
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Re: Beginner's help needed

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 20 Jan 2012, 18:05

If you are teaching yourself it keeps the interest better if you learn the key , or scale , just before trying a tune rather than swallowing too much theory all in one gulp.
I am trying a piece in 6 flats and all I need to remember is B and F are the only white notes. Then double flats are a good game to add some interest. (More white notes). Good fun.
I should add that the white note "B" in this key should strictly be called Cb.

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