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Plink Plink: I Want to Learn Piano

HewnHewn Registered User regular
edited March 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'd like to learn the piano. I have the most basic musical training, such as being able to read notes, but beyond that I'm an absolute novice. Obviously lessons are the likely the best and fastest route, but there are a handful of other items for which I thought you could provide input.

Keyboard:

I'd like to learn on a keyboard for it's size (full piano not practical for me), noise level (ability to wear headphones or reduce volume), and computer shenanigans (such as hooking up to cool editing software on the computer).

Can anybody recommend a keyboard that would be a pleasure to play and learn on, but not entirely break the bank of a beginner who could not appreciate all of it's intricacies until years down the road?

Software:

Any essential software for learning or mixing that are essential? I'm using a Mac.

Online resources:

Any gems out there that would steer me in the right direction?


Thanks in advance!

Hewn on
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Steam: hewn

Posts

  • BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you can, go for lessons for at least a month. You'll learn the basics and it's a good resource for starting out.

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  • cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Businessman!Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm going to hijack and say everything the OP said, except Windows peep here.

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    I pronounce it bee-log. Most recent entry: VIDEO GAMES: GUNPOINT, OR A SCIENTIFIC STUDY ON WHAT HAPPENS WHEN GLASS MEETS TROUSERS.
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  • KlorgnumKlorgnum Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I don't have any specific recommendations for a keyboard as I haven't played piano in years, but I remember my teacher saying it was more or less essential to have weighted keys on a keyboard so it felt like you were playing an actual piano. Something you might want to keep in mind.

  • LoneIgadzraLoneIgadzra Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Lessons.

    I dunno about the keyboard situation though; that is a bit tricky. There are a whole lot of skills that go with playing piano that are hard to practice on a keyboard, and to do it right without having an actual piano you really need a full-size weighted keyboard - and even then, it won't really be the same.

    You can definitely learn the basics of not tripping over your fingers on a non-weighted, small, crappy keyboard, because that's what I did, but it's something you grow out of very quickly if you're serious at all.

    To be a "keyboard" player do you need to be a "piano" player? I have no idea what the answer to this question is, but I do know that being a piano player means I can play a keyboard.

  • FuzzywhaleFuzzywhale Registered User
    edited March 2009
    The international sheet music project: http://imslp.org/wiki/Main_Page is a wonderful resource. Two selections in particular available there I would recommend are:

    Hanon's T'he virtuoso pianist' will give you iron fingers by the time you are done with it. I was not raise on it but my piano playing friends were and they swear by it and are much better than me.

    I was taught through 'doctor gradus ad parnassum' another set of nice instructional etudes etc.

    I would hotlink right to the pieces but the site doesnt seemt to allow that.

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Lessons are going to be key, at least in the beginning. Technique and fingering are very important and if you're just teaching yourself to play the notes you will develop lots of bad habits.

    If all you care about is playing synth in an 80's cover band or mixing your own stuff on a computer, a keyboard is fine. If you want to actually play piano music, you need to learn on an actual piano. Even if it's an electronic one. In the long run it will benefit you immensely if you learn on the real thing. If space is an issue, consider something like this, which runs about $1400 USD. I'm sure you could find something cheaper, but you are really going to want something with a real piano keyboard if you're learning piano.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 a.k.a. Nubmonger/Antaeus#1352, 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion Oakland, CARegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you're in college or near a community college, you can probably gain access to the music rooms, some of which will have a piano in them for practice purposes. Pianos are prohibitively expensive to purchase and maintain, especially in comparison to a keyboard, so don't let the purchase price hold you back. A keyboard ith weighted keys is better than having nothing to practice on at all, so I'm going to play the devil's advocate and say: Make the investment in real piano lessons, and try to find a good keyboard that mimics the feel of a real piano. See how far you get, and if you start becoming serious, I'm sure you'll discover more resources out there, or become far more interested in investing in a full-fledged piano.

    But yeah, if you want to do the real thing, you have to learn on the real thing. Unfortunately the real thing is $Texas.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.
  • HewnHewn Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Yeah, the part about weighted keys and such is exactly what I was looking for. Something that is a high quality "electric piano" (is that the proper term here?).

    Will learning on a full-size weighted keyboard really be such a disaster if I want to play a piano?

    cathSIG.jpg
    Steam: hewn
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Hewn wrote: »
    Yeah, the part about weighted keys and such is exactly what I was looking for. Something that is a high quality "electric piano" (is that the proper term here?).

    Will learning on a full-size weighted keyboard really be such a disaster if I want to play a piano?

    No, if you get something like the Roland I posted you won't be able to tell the difference. They are made to mimic the feel of a real piano, and respond accordingly to allow you to play from pianissimo to fortissimo. You'll have to buy a pedal and stand, and should probably get a piano bench as well.

    http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.aspx?ObjectId=857&ParentId=87

    Like I said, this will run you around $1400 USD, but is a reasonable facsimile of a real piano.

  • cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Businessman!Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    For a newbie, 1400 bucks is a steep install price.

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    I pronounce it bee-log. Most recent entry: VIDEO GAMES: GUNPOINT, OR A SCIENTIFIC STUDY ON WHAT HAPPENS WHEN GLASS MEETS TROUSERS.
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  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    For a newbie, 1400 bucks is a steep install price.

    Pianos are expensive. Obviously if you find something used on eBay it's going to be cheaper. Pianos aren't like band instruments that you can pick up a student version of for $300. Most people who learn to play piano have the benefit of growing up in a house that has a piano. I stand by my original statement that if Hewn is serious about learning to play piano (as opposed to mashing some chords on synth in a cover band) he needs to have something approximating a real piano to practice on. Some cheap Casio from Best Buy with springy keys and no action isn't going to help him in the long run.

  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Seconding the idea that if you'd like to learn piano properly (or at least in an easier manner), actual pianos are far better than keyboards. Keyboards are great for dicking around on, but their key weight, lack of pedals in some cases, number of keys (only really detrimental when you're playing higher level music) can really be a bitch.
    Yeah, the part about weighted keys and such is exactly what I was looking for. Something that is a high quality "electric piano" (is that the proper term here?).

    Will learning on a full-size weighted keyboard really be such a disaster if I want to play a piano?

    It really depends on the keyboard. I've had about 15 years of playing piano, and in that time I've probably only found one or two keyboards that I can comfortably say feel like an actual piano. The rest of them have some quirks or tendencies that require you to slightly alter your playing which, if you started learning with that, would make the transition from keyboard > piano harder.

    If you wish to go the keyboard route, find one that: a) is a full-length keyboard, none of this cut-the-top-and-bottom-octave-or-two-of-keys-off crap that I've seen time and time again, and b) get a pedal (you won't use it early on, and actually should learn not to use it early on, but later it's near mandatory unless you're solely playing Bach).

    Oh and find a sturdy keyboard stand naturally, and something to keep your music up (the other problem about keyboards, if you're playing long pieces, your music stand tends to hold 4-5 pages max whereas an upright can comfortably fit all 6-8 pages. This won't be a problem for you for a long time).

  • HewnHewn Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm actually pleased it's as cheap as $1400. I was expecting a higher price tag for something reasonable.

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    Steam: hewn
  • DachshundDachshund Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I started piano 4 months ago on a Casio CDP-100 that I purchase off craigslist for $300. It is a weighted 88 key digital piano. I practiced on a real piano during lessons once a week for 8 weeks. The casio was decent enough for practicing, but had loud action (the keys were too heavy and rattled as they returned to their un-depressed position after you took your fingers off) so I sold it for $300. I then bought a really old Roland EP-77 for even less ($200) and it kicks mucho butt. It simulates the piano experience so much better.

    You do not need an expensive piano to start. You can resell a digital piano that is in good condition for no or little loss. There is always some guy whose kid is starting lessons and needs a piano.

  • HlubockyHlubocky Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I posted a thread a week or two ago about needing a digital piano for my fiance. We went to Guitar Center and tested them all out and ended up buying the Yamaha YPG-635 for about $800. It is full size, weighted keys, a bunch of features, etc. Also, it is great for me, as someone who just wants to learn how to play the songs I love to sing and play on the guitar on the piano, since it has a feature where you type in the chord you need by name (e.g Dmin) and it will tell you how to play it.

  • EndaroEndaro Weyland Consortium Building a Better WorldRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    roll-up piano

    Yeah...That is a horrible idea. Sure it's portable, and probably cheap, but it's also probably even worse to learn on than a non-weighted keyboard. And it shows, that kid has some horrible technique.

    freelancer_zps76131532.png
  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you have a Mac, do you already have Garage Band then?

    If you get yourself a decent keyboard, on top of lessons or without you could give this a whirl, especially if it's already on your computer. I haven't tried it myself but it seems like it could be fun practice.

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Despite being a proponent of electronic music, if you're looking to learn "an instrument," I would steer clear of having it involve your computer. When you're just getting started, the biggest hurdle is to get into the habit of practicing, and having to dick around with your computer in order to do so introduces a major impediment to simply practice.

    Especially when you're going over technical exercises and they're boring and hey the PA forums are right there.

    I would suggest a stand alone digital piano, as others have mentioned, as they're relatively less expensive, and put more emphasis on the feel and sound of a *piano*, rather than loading it up with synthesis, trumpet samples, or whatever. If you had more background, or were looking for something less specific, then that might be an option, but if you're looking for a piano, focus on the piano aspects.

    My wife has commented to me that in the area here there are a lot of cheap acoustic pianos, typically uprights, that are very cheap on Craigslist. The universal attribute is that they all need a tuning, which costs between $50-$200 or so (I'm told). If you found a good deal on CL and then spent some money getting it tuned up, you'd have an instrument that you could play and would have the feel & sound of a piano because, you know, it's a piano. Could be worth a look. If you don't have the size, or you don't want to deal with offloading a piano if you decide it's not your thing, definitely go the digital piano route.

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  • JebuJebu Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I picked up a Korg SP250 recently for a little over $800 recently and I'm very happy with it. It's full size with pressure sensitive weighted keys, headphone jacks, and lots of other nice features, and very portable with a collapsible stand. That was basically the cheapest electronic piano I could find that had everything I wanted.

    I'd definitely agree with everyone here that even just a month of lessons will help a lot to avoid beginner mistakes with fingerwork and technique. I took lessons as a kid so it all came back to me pretty quickly, but without that training you can make a lot of mistakes without even knowing it.

    The simplest and best way to practice is to do scales, chords, and arpeggios every day for at least a half hour. I use this book whenever I practice, but you don't necessarily need to buy it if you know the scales already.

  • HamjuHamju Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I have a Yamaha P-120 and am very happy with it. Doing a quick Google search I came across the P-140 for about a $1000. If it's of comparable/better quality than the P-120 then I'd say go for that. It's got really nicely weighted keys (I liked the Yamaha better than some other keyboards I tried, including one or two Korgs), full 88 keys, 14 different voices, some effects stuff, and jacks for pedals, headphones, midi out etc.

    kekekesigshortercuzthinsacunt.jpg
  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I agree and disagree about mixing things up with the electronics, Eggy.

    If they are not learning proper technique then it's no good, of course.

    But if it helps them practice and generates interest in practicing, it's a pretty sweet tool.

    I've given drum lessons for quite a few people that looked into them because of Rock Band for example. They're more than happy to learn the "real technique" and so long as they're not completely out of form I encourage them to practice Rock Band in addition to just the rudiments and all. :)

    That and I look forward to completing my MIDI -> Rock Band convertor. :D

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  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Endaro wrote: »
    And it shows, that kid has some horrible technique.

    It could have something to do with him being a little kid. :?

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Infidel wrote: »
    I agree and disagree about mixing things up with the electronics, Eggy.

    If they are not learning proper technique then it's no good, of course.

    But if it helps them practice and generates interest in practicing, it's a pretty sweet tool.

    I've given drum lessons for quite a few people that looked into them because of Rock Band for example. They're more than happy to learn the "real technique" and so long as they're not completely out of form I encourage them to practice Rock Band in addition to just the rudiments and all. :)

    That and I look forward to completing my MIDI -> Rock Band convertor. :D

    I think it's great if you're not really looking to play an instrument. We're on the same boat as far as generating interest goes, and yeah, GarageBand rocks it for getting people who previously had no interest in music, or were musically inclined but not playing, to actually get into putting stuff together and thinking about songs and music.

    My point is more that if you're interested in an instrument, and playing that instrument well, tethering it to a computer creates a distraction and another hurdle to just practicing when you get the muse. I kind of see all of the myriad options you can get with VSTs, plugins, and whatnot, similarly -- if you're trying to learn to play Piano, but GarageBand lets your keyboard sound like a bass guitar, you'll probably get distracted and plink around with a bass guitar sound for a while, or fiddling with a simple synth, or what have you.

    Not that it can't be great fun, but that's a different purpose. That's all.

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  • ascannerlightlyascannerlightly Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Endaro wrote: »
    roll-up piano

    Yeah...That is a horrible idea. Sure it's portable, and probably cheap, but it's also probably even worse to learn on than a non-weighted keyboard. And it shows, that kid has some horrible technique.
    portability = maybe carrying it with you in the car and/or backpack = more chances to pull it out and practice

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  • LackadaisicalLackadaisical Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Classes. I signed up for beginning piano at my local community college. It worked fairly well, got to play on the equipment for free, gained access to practice rooms and it started out with basics.

    Running total of about $15.

    It's a warm feeling when you realize that people share your views...
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray raped food.
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