Just starting out - lookig for some advice

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

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Just starting out - lookig for some advice

Post by LauraBirch » 17 Aug 2011, 14:05

Hi, I'm 28 and never had a piano lesson in my life but I LOVE the piano and have always wanted to play. When I was a teenager my dad bought home a second hand piano that was 'free to whoever could take it away', he put it in his trailer and drove at about 2mph through the village to our house, every corner was torture, I was sure it was going to tip over and smash into a million pieces on the road, but it made it to our house in one piece.

My dad ha it in his mind to restore it (he loves working with wood) and sure enough he striped all the awful white paint off it to reveal beautiful walnut underath and a mother or pearl inlaid panel with leafs etc. The piano was doubtless worthless, neither pedal worked properly and a couple of keys were 'dead' and he never had it tuned (though it wasn't too bad despite the perilous journey it took to our house!), but I didn't care, I was in love and immediately started trying to play. I had played the cello up to this point, was grade 4 but gave it up because I hated my teacher. My main problem was/is that I never learnt to sightread, I have a very good memory for music and a good ear, so basically I played it a couple of times or heard it played and then I just played it from memory.

I do the same on the piano, though I remember my theory enough to write the notes C, B, A etc under the notes in music and I know all the sharps/flats and names and lengths of notes etc.

Then I came home from school one day and my dad had chopped up thepiano to make shelves because 'no one could play it anyway'!! I was devastated and I still feel guilty about that piano today, I feel like I owe it to it to learn properly! I know that sounds weird but to me the piano wasn't just a lump of wood or an instrument, it was almost lie a living thing. It just needed some love and maintenance!

I feel passionatly about the piano, the sound of a piano just reaches right inside me. I suffer from depression on and off and when I can barely put two words together to express how I'm feeling there is ALWAYS some music that can speak for me. I find playing very theraputic (regardless of how badly I play!)

At the moment all I have to play on is a casio with semi weighted keys that cost my husband over £350 when he got it for me. It not ideal but it's better than nothing, and I have access to the piano at my church. We are moving house in the next 8 months and he has promised me that if we have room, we will look at getting a 'real' piano and maybe I can have lessons - I can't wait!

other than messing about playing nursey rhymes for my son and stuff like that I can only play one piece of proper music - The Heart Asks Pleasure First by Michael Nyman. It is incredably significant to me because I was an mental helath inpatient for depression when I first heard it and it just 'spoke' for/to me and although it has taken me years of painful note by note learning, I can now play it (though probably badly to any properly taught persons standard, but it's good enough for me!)

So what I'm really wanting to know is, in the meantime while I'm waiting to move and hopefully eventually have proper lessons, what can I do to help myself? I don't want to just wing it like I did with the cello, I want to learn properly. I remember having to do loads of scales and arpegios on the cello, and I'm guessing I should be doing that on the piano to, but I don't know where to start?!

Any advice/words of encouragement?

Gill the Piano
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Joined: 25 Oct 2003, 19:39
Location: Thames Valley

Re: Just starting out - lookig for some advice

Post by Gill the Piano » 17 Aug 2011, 18:27

If you can afford it, there's no substitute for lessons with a proper teacher - find one who likes teaching adults. If not, try The Complete Piano player by Kenneth Baker - an excellent method for self-teaching. And keep popping in here for encouragement/chivvying/nagging/cheering on!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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