(Part 2) Reddit reviews: The best books about pianos

We found 1,131 Reddit comments discussing the best books about pianos. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 360 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the products ranked 21-40. You can also go back to the previous section.

Top Reddit comments about Pianos:

u/Yeargdribble · 6 pointsr/piano

One thing you'll need to do is lower your expectations. You might be good at classical, but so many things in jazz are skills you just haven't really practiced and while the technical ability you're bringing will definitely help, a huge part of jazz is mental. It's a ton of theory in application in real time. It took you years to be able to play what you can on the classical side, and it's going to take years more to learn what you're wanting from jazz. So you're just going to have to start with some baby steps and slowly build from there.

Particularly for those coming from a classical background, I highly recommend this book. And I'd highly recommend watching this video a few times along side the opening bits of the book. An important thing early on is to get three note or 3-7 voicings down for your ii-V-Is. In the book they are explicitly written out in every key in both inversions. That will help your reading side, but like the video mentions, you should get to where you're not relying on the page as soon as possible. Try to write out a chart of the changes around the Circle of 4ths or find one online.

You need to be associating the chord symbols you see with the actual chords you're playing the way you would associate a written chord with how its played, but in a looser and more complicated way. First off, you need to be able to instantly identify the 3rd and 7th of any chord and just know it and know how the voice leading works between the chords. But over time you'll have an increasingly broad interpretation including lots of potential voicings, or extensions and alterations. You might read Dm7 and play Dm9. You might read G7 and play G7b9. You might read Cmaj7 and play CMaj13#11.

While the ii-V-I is the cornerstone and the i-VI-ii-V turnaround is common, you really need to learn how functions work so that you can do something like apply a diminished chord in place of a dominant or insert a tritone substitution, or insert the ii-V of a given chord to give it more motion. Pop lends itself more to memorizing short bursts of repeated progressions, but jazz needs you to know why and how it works more. The book I mentioned will get you started applying these concepts to lead sheets so you can take the info in the first few chapters and apply it directly to your Real Book for infinite practice and the book itself is using actual very common standards.

As for playing by ear, I heavily subscribe to the method that both Bert Ligon and Mark Harrison suggest. Don't go learning your intervals in isolation because that's not how music works. You need to learn to hear the individual steps of a scale as the relate to the tonic of the key you're in. The short version is that you should be able to feel do-mi-sol (1 3 5) as settle and home. Everything else wants to go to one of those and they all feel a certain level of settled or unsettled.

A point Bert Ligon makes it that students often want to play by ear, but can't even dictate the melody of a simple song like "Twinkle, Twinkle." If you can't do that, they you can't possibly expect to be able to pick out much more complicated concepts. He has a list of folk tunes and children's songs in his book Jazz Theory Resources that he recommends doing dictation of. Even without the list you could just pick some well known tunes and force yourself to write them down without a piano for reference. Bonus points if you can also notate the chord changes by ear (usually pretty obvious by the highly melody notes in such tunes). But slowly building from this and knowing what's happening from a theory standpoint will get you past the wild guessing phase.

You can actually get good at purely diatonic ear playing just by a lot of trial and error, but it's going to be very difficult to move past that without some much deeper theory knowledge.

I'd also recommend that any time you find a progression you like, pick a comping pattern and go play that progression in every key. The pure repetition will seal it in your brain aurally. But also, forcing yourself to do it in every key will have several effects.

  • You'll be better at playing in any key technically and identify your weak keys.
  • You'll be forced to consider the harmonic relationships in every key.
  • You'll get much better at transposing by forcing your brain to think in Roman numerals or functions rather than explicitly in one key.

    I'm sure you can tell me that I-vi-IV-V in C is C-Am-F-G, but how quickly can you tell me what it is in Ab? F#? Db? E?

    You can take that an extra step and pick simple songs (perhaps some of those your transcribed) and go play them in every key so you also are forced to think about the melodic notes as scale degrees rather than just note names and really understand their relation to the tonic of whatever key you're in.

    You might actually want to check out that Bert Ligon book. It gives a good review of the pre-requisite theory you should have (coming from common practice period background), covers ear training, and lays the ground work for jazz theory in a way that I think rivals the Mark Levine book that most jazz pianists endorse. The Bert Ligon book is a much more instructional book whereas the Mark Levine book is more of a deep reference book great for people who already have a pretty solid grasp on jazz.

    I also recently found this amazing book at a used book store and was surprised I'd never heard of it. It's full of great left hand comping patterns (in 3 and 4), right hand patterns, fills, progressions, and generally extra pizzazz for interpreting things from lead sheets. It's definitely not so much a jazz book, but it might be a good stepping stone for you since it involves the improv and comping without throwing you head long into the density of jazz theory and lets you get comfortable playing by ear in a more diatonic setting that you're likely more comfortable with.

u/Ninjaplease77 · 3 pointsr/musictheory

Read a theory book!!! Take a class!

Go to a used book store and buy a book. Also, you gotta get a basic book on scales and piano technique - I'm assuming you're a piano player - I suggest The First Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios & Cadences from the Alfred Basic Piano Library and it's only $6 or so!


A theory text book to check out is Music In Theory and Practice by Bruce Benward.... Not sure which edition the book is on at this point. I rather enjoyed working out of that book. I also, highly recommend The Complete Musician by Steven Laitz

Piano makes learning theory a little easier. Piano is a great instrument, but proper technique and theory knowledge is super super super super important.

Listen to soloistic jazz pianists and check out what their doing such as Keith Jarrett or Bill Evans. Their ability to develop ideas and expand on them is astounding. Older cats like Art Tatum would be cool too. My favorite pianist is McCoy Tyner. I reference jazz because of the improvisational aspect of their playing is great.

Also, find a song book by musican or a band or pianist that you really like, and learn the pieces! Take the techniques or things you like from those songs or pieces and put them into your playing. When I play the drums, I transcribe solos or grooves from the greats, and integrate the things that they're doing, into my playing. Copying licks.

A musician once said, "If you can't find something to work on, then you don't want it bad enough". And I think that's true. I think you really need to work on your theory chops though because not knowing the difference between a M7, a m7 and a Dominant is pretty important, and should be touched on.

(Major 7th or CM7 C E G B, Minor 7th or Cm7 C Eb G Bb, Dominant 7th or a C7 C E G Bb <---- The interval between the C and the Bb is a minor 7th if that makes sense)

Music is great, there's always so much to do. I wish I could give more ideas, but I don't know what your goal is, what music you want to play, what your message is to give you more insight.

u/paqmanbiker · 4 pointsr/piano

Get the [Hanon piano book of exercises] (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0739017330/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_1L6XDbWW8375F), start on page 1 and practice those exercises every day for a good 5 to 10 minutes. They look really complex at first glance, but you'll realize that they're actually just simple little repetitive exercises that are easy to learn slowly, but as you speed them up and practice them every day they build finger strength in your underused fingers, and dexterity all around. I've been playing for 35 years and Hanon was a big part of training my hands.

As for practicing songs, have a handful that you work on that are easy for you, but then have one that's above your level that you really like, it will help motivate you to practice it. Then I typically take a few measures or a line and just drill one hand at a time until you can do each hand separately ok. Then put them together at a very slow speed. Use a metronome. I like to force myself to play that section perfectly three times in a row before I can up the speed on the metronome a few beats. Then I keep doing that until I can play that section perfectly faster than the recommended speed.

Good luck and don't give up! It may take years to master but you know what they say, "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

u/13ig13oss · 4 pointsr/piano

I'm going to teach you all the mistakes I made in hopes that you won't make them yourself, if you aren't getting a teacher. A teacher is easily the best route, no comparison, without one, you're going to have to work your ass off.

  1. Make use of every piano teacher on youtube, the best ones being Lypur,and Josh Wright. Their may be others, but those are essential.

  2. Watch ALL Lypur's videos on the "Learn How To Play Piano (NEW) " playlist and "LEARN FREE MUSIC THEORY". I say start with watching the first 5 of each in a week, and then 1 a week as they get more complicated. And take good notes, just like in school.

    3)You need to buy books. I would say to start off with Josh Thompson's first grade one and then buying other ones such as Hanon, which is a MUST, and some like this one.

    4)Eventually after about a few months of practice, you can buy introductory books to certain composers, such as these: Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. I wouldn't recommend the Chopin one, since his most easiest pieces can be quiet hard until you have a good 2 years of practice and playing in. And eventually Schumann's or Tchaikovsky's Album for the young, I don't know which would be better.

    5)This site is very good, and gives a nice breakdown of how you should spend your time practicing.

    6)And possibly most importantly, you have to find pieces that you like outside of books that you can learn. It's nice to learn little pieces that are in books, but the most satisfying feeling is playing a piece that you love.

u/ElectronicProgram · 6 pointsr/Learnmusic

Ideally, you'd find a Jazz teacher who can step you up from the basics, but, if that's not the case:

First, if your core music theory is not solid, take a few weeks to brush up on that. Make sure you understand and can play:

- Major Chords & Inversions (i.e. C E G for C Major)

- Minor Chords & Inversions (i.e. C Eb G for C Minor)

- Dominant 7th Chords and Inversions (i.e. C E G Bb for C7)

- Memorize the circle of fifths (though in 4ths, which is much more applicable in Jazz - this is just in reverse - C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb B E A D G) - this will show up everywhere in jazz, including the first book I'll recommend.

Now onto the jazz stuff:

  1. Learn Jazz Harmony first. This starts with Shell voicings and guide tone chords. An excellent book here is the Phil Degreg book "Jazz Keyboard Harmony" It starts with the most basic shell voicings and builds upon those voicings note by note, and explicit step step instructions on how to practice and what to practice with plenty of exercises and play along tracks.
  2. Once you learn a voicing type, pop open a fake book. Play tunes using those voicings. Grab software like iRealPro to have something to play along with. If you use shell voicings, play the melody in your right hand.
  3. Going beyond just harmony, use a backing track from software such as iRealPro and play the melodies. Start improvising little by little on those melodies. Learn your jazz scales and try a course like Gary Burton's Jazz Improvisation on Coursera (you can audit this for free) to go beyond just tinkering around. I would not recommending doing this course until you at least have shell and guide tone voicings down.
  4. If you don't have iRealPro or something similar, record yourself playing your own harmony in guide tone chords, and improvise your own melodies on top.

    I'm a hobbyist, not a professional, but this helped me immensely understand jazz quite a bit more.

    Obviously advice like "Listen to jazz and try to transcribe" is good too, but that will make you hit frustrating walls if you have nowhere to start. Also, do not get "The Jazz Piano Book" by Mark Levine - it's more of a reference text, NOT a step by step learning book - even if someone recommends it - it's not for beginners.
u/alessandro- · 1 pointr/piano

This is pretty good! It's impressive you were able to work that out by ear.

If you can learn to read sheet music, that will really help you out a great deal. If one issue you have is reading rhythms, you need to use a counting system. (The system I use is described in this PDF.) An excellent resource for reading rhythms is the book Rhythmic Training, which you can get inexpensively, especially if you buy it used. (Edit: note that this book is for professional/college level musicians, so if you can't get all the way through, that is completely OK. But going through the first few chapters slowly and steadily and clapping the rhythms is probably a good idea.)

For reading notes on clefs, you kind of just have to do it. It takes a lot of practice and will be slow going at first, but will get easier. One book for piano that includes both the very basics of music theory and some things on technique is Alfred's Basic Adult All-in-One Course. Maybe you could ask for Book 1 for Christmas, if you celebrate Christmas?

As far as technique goes, one thing I notice is that the index finger of your left hand is collapsing at the first knuckle (screenshot). That shouldn't happen. You might find this video (by piano professor John Mortensen) helpful on what your hand should look like when you play.

Good luck as you keep playing!

u/Bobb-o_Bob · 2 pointsr/piano

If you're looking for quality tools that a technician could use for decades, you'll want to spend the most on a tuning hammer with replaceable tips. The quality and price can vary from there, but that's a good basic guideline.

Here is one of your best bets for finding quality equipment available to the public. Generally, everything on that page above the nylon tuning hammer (S-4) is considered apprentice-level, because having a longer exposed steel rod allows a slight amount of flex at the shaft, and a longer handle prevents that. The extension lever is the lever many if not most technicians swear by, but is more expensive.

A different option is scour eBay for vintage Schaff or Hale tuning hammers, where you can find very high quality tools for a lot cheaper than retail. I got a steal on a Hale extension lever for under $30 that way.

Besides the tuning hammer itself, you will only need a small assortment of rubber mutes, a wool temperament strip or two, and possibly a good A fork.

As far as learning, there are few online resources that really go into detail on the process of learning aural tuning. The well-known Reblitz book does have a good section on tuning, but even this should only be a supplement to a wealth of information needed to truly understand the process.

Another good tool to use is the computer program Tunelab, for which there is a fully functional free trial that can be used indefinitely with only small intermittent pauses. It's good for beginning to learn to manipulate the tuning hammer without going wildly off base, and it's another useful tool to supplement an understanding of tuning theory.

This is a big investment, but if she is serious about learning the trade, the tools are well worth their price in utility, and once she trains to a competent level, they will quickly pay for themselves.

u/OnaZ · 11 pointsr/piano

Best place to start is to find your local chapter of the Piano Technician's Guild and start attending meetings. As a whole, piano technicians are a pretty awesome bunch who are always willing to share their knowledge.

A good book to get you started is Piano Servicing, Tuning, and Rebuilding. Most public/university libraries will have a copy of this. This book isn't necessarily up to date with modern practices, but it'll give you some idea of overall concepts and techniques.

I would also find a copy of The Piano Book which will give you a nice overview of the piano and the piano market. This one is often in libraries as well.

I would strongly suggest Piano Parts and Their Functions which is full of diagrams that will get you speaking in the same language as other piano technicians.

The Wonders of the Piano: The Anatomy of the Instrument is a great overview of the whole piano design and construction process but it may be tricky to find.

For education beyond the PTG, you have a couple of options. Many technicians learn via home correspondence courses. The most popular course is Randy Potter's Course. It takes a certain kind of individual to really learn from these kind of courses. Many pair a course like this with an apprenticeship which helps to fill in gaps in education. Your other option is to attend a trade school. There are a number of piano technology schools in the US which are a great way to jump-start your career.

With regards to tools, there are a few things you have to have and then many more that you start to collect over time. To solve about 95% of problems, you need about $1500-$2000 in tools. Just to get started, expect $200 - $500. Your most important tool is your tuning lever. Avoid apprentice tuning levers. They are cheap but they will slow down your learning significantly.

Feel free to ask more questions. There are a handful of techs lurking in /r/piano :).

u/asteroid3000 · 6 pointsr/violinist

ALWAYS start out slow (any piece that you're playing should be a piece you're comfortable playing both slow and fast), and don't freak out if there's 572156th rests. I always listen to a piece on Youtube (if there is one), and mark up my score.

I've been playing for 8 years and I am still honing and sharpening my feel and pulse. Don't ever freak out-you're a beginner with a very common problem.

Like @ttovotsttnt (how do you tag people pls halp), metronomes are a great tool to help with rhythm and pulse. Get a cheap one-with a dial, or a one where you push buttons to adjust.

Finally, SIGHT-READING! A very, very good way to hone your feel and pulse is to sight-read rhythms. Get this book (https://www.amazon.com/Rhythmic-Training-Robert-Starer/dp/0769293751) to help you. I use this once every time I practice as a warm-up. Left hand as beat, right hand as rhythm. (For a challenge, say the beats as you use your hands too).

I wish you the best of luck in succeeding in vioWINNING at life.

u/DTKsh2r · 2 pointsr/piano

I play mostly classic myself but this book is a great way to get into jazz: http://www.amazon.com/Peterson-Exercises-Minuets-Etudes-Pieces/dp/0634099795

I′m sorry I can′ t help any further. But I assure you that this book is really good for learning off beat etc. Pardon my grammar.

Oh and this is a great set of free tips and exercises: http://www.tjjazzpiano.com

Free lessons!

u/PiggyWidit · 3 pointsr/piano

As you go along, definitely read Alan Rusbridger's Play it Again: Against the Impossible

It's a book by the former Guardian newspaper editor who is also a pianist - he's an amateur who attemps, like you are, to learn the Ballade in a year. It's a great, motivating, interesting read, and it has many tips to help you along the 'Ballade challenge' :)

Good luck!

u/AdlerAugen · 1 pointr/piano

I don't yet own any of her music, but one of my professors has pointed me in the direction of Dianne Goolkasian-Rahbee for this sort of music. She's published by FJH. Here's her bio page on FJH's site, which has a link to her music published there. To my understanding she writes many pieces with the goal of exposing students with less experience to 20th century compositional techniques. Looking her up in Jane Magrath's The Pianist's Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature, Magrath mentions of Goolkasian-Rahbee's Pictures, Op. 3
> Contemporary writing that is imaginative and fits the hand well. Performance directions are included and creative instructions for improvisation on the given score are sometimes included. Should be better known.

Best of luck.

u/motdidr · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Just FYI too, this book series (this is level 2 but find level 1 first) is basically what your teacher would probably use. It's awesome and you could probably follow along by yourself, but having a teacher is awesome. Try find a smaller music shop and ask about lessons, mine are only $30 each (once a week). Not too bad but even if you could afford one or two a month, you'd progress better than you'd expect.

u/gtani · 1 pointr/jazzguitar

Yeah, that's rough. I've had that with guitar, bass guitar and especially viola. Do you have a teacher? Somebody that watches with a trained eye and knows how you practice and can tell you to hold back, that's the most important is not to be on some multi year timeline to some exalted goal, but focus on what you can do in the next 20 minutes.

This book can help, the reviews are pretty credible: https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Less-Hurt-Prevention-Musicians/dp/1423488466. One thing i think she talks about is looking at other lifestyle factors, how you hold steering wheel or bike handlebars, power and especially manual tools, computer keyboard/mouse, sleeping on your arm etc, and don't overdo the NSAIDs (doctors frequently encourage using both tylenol and advil by saying they're eliminated by different organs, I think you can play into more damage doing this).

Can you play piano painlessly? I would keep that as a backup if you can, you can try really light action MIDI controller keys w/velocity sensitive instead of piano action weighted keys to ease teh strain. And .008 strings on a solidbody, low action, tune down half step, the tone will leave a lot to be desired but you'll be playing.

u/CrownStarr · 1 pointr/piano

(FYI, people won't see your responses unless you click "reply" on their posts directly, rather than using the box at the top)

Check out Oscar Peterson's Jazz Exercises, Minuets, Etudes, and Pieces. I've only played a couple (in a separate book), but they were great. Everything is written out for you, so no improvisation or theory knowledge is required, but they're a great way to start feeling what playing jazz piano is like.

u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/piano

yes. John Thompson grade 1 and 2. River flows in you and other eloquent songs for easy piano, yiruma the best reminiscent 10th anniversary(easy piano), easy piano(Disney), some kiddy books, the art of playing pianoforte by clementi , gymnopedie no 1-3. The young pianist choice. I prefer something more progressive, something slightly more difficult than easy piano. I have practiced the grade 1 stuff a bazillion times and prefer not to go to the same old pieces. Probably grade 1 pieces, those that I never read before, or a new song which is readable for me. Like I want to progress slowly to a higher level.

Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation




u/doranws · 3 pointsr/piano

The Jane Magrath Masterworks Classics series is good for compiling pieces by great composers (from Bach to Bartok and Kabalevsky) in a fairly steady progression. Also, they usually come with a CD so you can listen to the pieces in the book.

If you can play the Chopin 28/7, then [level 3] (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0739009656/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687462&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0739006770&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0HCK1QPEXYAVCB7ZJVZW) or [level 4] (http://www.amazon.com/Masterwork-Classics-Level-Valery-Lloyd-Watts/dp/0739007548/ref=pd_bxgy_14_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=02C9AET8VQVJFXXFBF9G) seem like a good fit.

P.S. Bach wrote at least 48 preludes, so it's helpful to mention which specific prelude of his you've played if you want more detailed advice.

u/AndMarmaladeSkies · 2 pointsr/LifeProTips

I do see free pianos periodically on Craigslist and in the other “PennySaver” classifieds. I’m in New England, and that helps, since a lot of older U.S. pianos were made in New York, Boston, and vicinity. In particular, I see large upright pianos from roughly 1870-1930 which was a tremendous production era for American pianos. These pianos are heavy and often neglected, and they are free because the cost of having them professionally moved can be prohibitive. So yes, strong people with dollies, ramps, and a UHaul can indeed score themselves free pianos.

My preference would be for people to restore these instruments, but I suppose that repurposing the wood is better than seeing these in a landfill. My piano is well over 100 years old, and my son and I learned to repair it ourselves. The mechanisms are fascinating yet fairly simple once you understand them. Usually the free ones have some non-working keys, missing ivory, and some damaged wood, all repairable. A cracked cast iron frame or pin block is usually not worth the effort.

On the harvesting, one of the more valuable parts are the real ivory keys.

P.S. Good book if anyone wants to learn about piano repair.

u/demontaoist · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

From a purely musical perspective, from that of the professional musician, it's offensive to hear amateur "DJ's" claiming they have musical skill. And it IS musical skill. I used to go to Clubs when I was in conservatory, to Tunnel and Twilo and Roxy. There was a marked difference between DJ ProducersBoyToy and Danny Tenaglia or Junior Vasquez. Yes, there is a talent, a sense for something that goes beyond music, but it is conveyed through music.

It is music, and it's a skill. Probably an extremely talent-dependent skill, but you're not going to convince me DJ's never get better and sensing and feeding the crowd's energy over time.

The DJ RandomTools at bars these days... if you can't even match a beat, if you can't make a continuous rhythm or a flow that makes sense... you may as well let iTunes take care of playing your playlist.

Some of the greatest DJ's couldn't match beats? Or didn't as an aesthetic choice? Or couldn't because they took one pill too many?

If you can't match beats, buy this book:


Just looking at it the image makes my eyes water. It's legendary. I think every music school/department uses it. If you can get 1/4 way through this book, matching beats will be nothing.

u/I_Actually_Hate_You · 5 pointsr/organ

The best way would be to take lessons with somebody. I'd say check some local churches, see if they have an organ, and see if they have an organist who gives lessons.

In terms of technique, you can certainly develop your keyboard skills on a piano, even if you ultimately want to play the organ more. In fact, practicing hand parts of organ music alone on the piano can be better than practicing on the organ since the action is so much heavier on a piano. So, if you happen to own a piano or even a cheap keyboard you can start to practice scales and whatnot.

EDIT: But of course, when practicing organ parts on a piano DO NOT use the sustain pedal, as an organ has no such thing. If you want a note to keep sounding you have to keep holding it.

Also, The Organist's Manual is a great book of exercises and short pieces, plus some technical information about the organ.

u/Anthony5555 · 6 pointsr/WeAreTheMusicMakers

If you really want to learn how to program beats like Atoms for Peace you should start by studying rhythm and syncopation exercises. Their music is all about layering dense syncopated beats and comes from decades of practice. Before you can create beats like that you need to be able to conceptualize them in your head. It doesn't have to have anything to do with a drum set either. Here's a good book to start out with that you can do with just your hands and feet:


After a while you'll start to hear recurring patterns in all the music you listen to and they will become easier to recreate and expand upon.

u/napswithdogs · 2 pointsr/Thritis

I’ve had RA for more than 25 years (basically my whole life), and coincidentally began playing piano the same year my symptoms appeared. I became a string player about 6 years later. I have recently quit teaching music in public schools. I’m a string player and no matter how independent my kids were I’d always end up tuning a few instruments every day, many of which were crummy “violin shaped objects” that were extremely difficult to tune. I had hand surgery last year and had to learn to do it differently, and it sucked. I adapted in lots of ways, and my singing got a lot more accurate pitch-wise because I would often sing instead of play in class. Between that and having kids demonstrate things when they were doing really well I managed to avoid a lot of playing.

I still gig and teach privately, but I don’t play on days I really hurt. Sometimes there isn’t any amount of technique modification or perfection that can help. Also, if my fingers are swollen enough I find it difficult to play in tune and accurately, not to mention the pain.I’ve read all of the recommended books for avoiding performance injuries in musicians (Janet Horvath and Nancy Taylor are authors you should check out if you haven’t already), and I’ve spent a lot of time working the tension out of my playing. I had a bunch of little nodules pop up on my fingers in the last year and quite frankly they scared the bejeezus out of me. My rheumatologist suggested that one of them might be due to the way I was holding my baton but due to elbow pain I spent a lot of time teaching my kids to play like chamber musicians and I didn’t wave the stick if I didn’t have to. I think it’s more likely from my bow hold, which I spent years working on and is otherwise comfortable at this point so it’s not going to change. My mom’s hands were in terrible shape the last 15 years of her life, and I’d like to preserve the use of mine for as long as I can. I spent a lot of time in therapy for my left hand post-surgery last year, too.

Leaving public schools has helped with the fatigue aspect of the RA, tremendously. It’s important to remember that autoimmune arthritis isn’t solely a disease of the joints. Fatigue, brain fog, etc are all common symptoms that can be difficult to manage. Unfortunately it wasn’t uncommon for me to pull 12-14 hour days multiple days in a row, and sometimes work 6 or 7 days a week. It was exhausting. Teaching is exhausting, period, but being a music teacher is extra exhausting. I’m planning to go back to school in January for something else because I don’t see myself returning to the classroom.

Anyway I’m glad you found so many ways to adapt and continue to pursue your passion. Good luck to you, and check out those authors if you haven’t already. Nancy Taylor is an incredible musician and also a licensed occupational therapist, so she knows what she’s talking about! Janet Horvath’s book is excellent as well.

Nancy Taylor

Janet Horvath

u/LURVE_DEM_TITTIES · 1 pointr/piano

This might be miserable at first, but if you want to get the maximum amount of development for your composition, I recommend these two books:


^ This comes with cadences. Learn to play scales, arpeggios, and cadences. All of them.


^ This book will teach you pretty much everything you'll want to know about harmony and composition. Highly recommended.

u/npcee · 3 pointsr/piano

I think besides straight metronome practice getting a book like this might help https://www.amazon.com/Rhythmic-Training-Robert-Starer/dp/0881889768

Robert Starer also has a more basic book that you could purchase prior to this one, the premise of it is he gives you a bunch of rhythms slowly progressing to be more and more difficult and you should clap/tap them while counting out loud and do this away from the piano, it's possible that even though you're counting out loud while playing you might be getting carried away focusing on the melody causing you to slow down and speed up. If you do some of these exercises everyday away from the piano you'll develop a pretty good inner pulse and understanding of rhythm without needing a metronome.

It's also possible you just haven't mastered the hard parts thus making the whole piece unsteady and inconsistent in which I recommend playing the piece no faster than you can play the hard parts until you ramp up everything to the same tempo, it's way better being able to play the entire piece at an absurdly slow pace like quarter note =40 as apposed to playing the piece the at quarter note = 120 and dropping down to 86 then 100 then 95 or whatever if you get me.

u/TrebleStrings · 1 pointr/violinist

You shouldn't have major technique issues if you are taking lessons and your teacher believes you are ready for that piece. It could be something subtle that your teacher won't see unless you say something, so I wouldn't rule it out completely, but I wouldn't call it the most likely suspect. How do you cross strings? Do you use your whole arm, from the shoulder, so that each string has its own hand and elbow level, and keep your elbow on the same plane that the wrist passes through when its in a neutral position? Does your wrist move with your bow strokes? Is your hand relaxed, with no death grip on the bow? Are your fingers close together on the stick and not wrapped around it in a claw hold? Are your pinkie and thumb bent? If all of that is true and your teacher has not corrected anything, and you are not tired after an hour of practice and do not experience pain or new mistakes that would point to you stumbling over yourself due to exhaustion, then my gut is that it has nothing to do with kinesthetic aspects of your technique but rather with your lungs.

We don't talk about breathing much when learning to play the violin because, unlike vocalists and wind and brass musicians, our lungs don't directly power our instruments. However, especially when we play something high energy with fast string crossings, our bodies need more oxygen. Otherwise, you default to a metabolic process called lactic acid fermentation, a form of anaerobic respiration (feeding your cells without oxygen). As a very short-term solution, lactic acid fermentation is a good way for your body to get emergency energy. However, if you use it for longer periods of physical activity, the byproducts of that process build up in your muscles, and it will result in pain until your body can break it down.

Weight lifters typically do not lift weights seven days a week. They have rest days, or they will focus on different parts of their body on different days, to allow themselves recovery and prevent pain and injury. They also have to know how to breathe and work in activities that are naturally more aerobic, like running or swimming or yoga, to compensate.

Violinists could actually learn a lot from weight lifters and other athletes. We need to learn to breathe, perhaps by building something that encourages it into our exercise routines. We need to learn to breathe while we play, give ourselves a slow warmup, and take breaks if we are tired or experience pain. Since ideally we do practice everyday, we need to learn to have a different focus each day, vary our routine so we don't end up with repetitive strain injuries.

Here are some books that cover these ideas, if you are interested:





u/saichoo · 5 pointsr/piano

In addition to a teacher, there are:

  • Mastering Piano Technique by Seymour Fink (video.) A good resource of various movements we can do to achieve our musical goals.
  • What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body by Thomas Mark. Helps to update the conception of your whole body, not just the fingers, hands and wrists.
  • The Craft of Piano Playing by Alan Fraser. Start with the section on Natural Hand shape first.

    Other technique books I haven't read or had a glance at:

  • On Piano Playing by Gyorgy Sandor.
  • Abby Whiteside on Piano Playing.
  • The Art of Piano Playing by Heinrich Neuhaus.
  • Chopin: Pianist and Teacher: As Seen by His Pupils. An insight to how Chopin taught.
  • Twenty Lessons in Keyboard Choreography by Seymour Bernstein.
  • The Physiological Mechanics of Piano Technique by Otto Ortmann.
  • The Visible and Invisible In Pianoforte Technique by Tobias Matthay.
  • The Art of Piano Playing by George Kochevitsky.

    Your mileage may vary. These books I haven't read are often very expensive or out of print, so you may need to go to a library.
u/tommyspianocorner · 3 pointsr/piano

I'd say the Ballade is more challenging than the Etude ... it focusses on many different techniques. That said, why not give it a go after 10 years' learning. You might like to read Play It Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible - available on Amazon - the story of Alan Rusbridger's plan to learn this Ballade in a year (mixed with other interesting bits of his very full life [he was the editor of the Guardian at the time]). It is splattered with hints on this Ballade given by some very well known pianists and is in any case an interesting read.

There are also a few masterclasses on it ... one of which given by Rubinstein on the piece ... just search on YouTube and you'll find them.

u/Joename · 4 pointsr/piano

I recommend the Masterworks Classics books. They are complete pieces from the standard classical repertoire, not adaptations or arrangements like in the Alfred's lesson books. If you sped quickly and easily through the Alfred's Level 1 book, I suggest you can start with a later Masterworks Classics book. Perhaps, Book 3: https://www.amazon.com/Masterwork-Classics-Level-Book-CD/dp/0739009656/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469628208&sr=8-1&keywords=masterworks+classics

Oh, and it's never too late for some Bach. Selections from Anna Magdelena's Notebook can be found easily on IMSLP, here for instance. http://imslp.org/wiki/First_Lessons_in_Bach_(Bach,_Johann_Sebastian)

Though if you're looking for something a bit easier to read, the Schirmer edition of this book is not expensive at all. Just a few bucks on Amazon.

u/kikibell · 2 pointsr/piano

I play mostly classical, with the exception of hacking out a few favorite songs by ear. I'm the same as you, my left (non dominant) ring finger is my weakest, my far. Not just in piano, but in typing too. When I picked piano back up earlier this year, I started focusing more on technique. I got this book, which focuses on strengthening each finger individual, and I've noticed a big improvement. I'm not as likely to just skip over my ring fingers when playing a new piece.

u/meepwned · 1 pointr/Guitar

Timing is the most important, and often the most neglected skill as well. If you can play in time, you can hang with a band, even if you can only play one note. Don't just learn how to feel time, learn to count it and communicate it as well. Practice playing with a metronome until you go crazy, practice figuring out strange or complex rhythms. Practice taking phrases from music or even sounds that you hear and writing out the rhythm to them.

Also, become best friends with the rhythm book

u/Keselo · 1 pointr/piano

Lots of research and personal experience.

Up until last month, I was constantly running out of things to play because I played a high quantity of pieces, but I was limited in what I could play due to me not being a very good piano player. Except for the Swinstead and Gurlitt Op. 140 and 205, I've played at least some pieces from every book on the list, thus I'm able to accurately judge the difficulty of these pieces.

I've found a lot of material by reading through Jane Magrath's book on repertoire for beginners, my teacher provided me with some suitable material, and I recently bought pretty much every book from ABRSM's collection of 'Easier Piano Music'.

u/Peace_Love_Happiness · 2 pointsr/organ

The Organist's Manual by Roger E. Davis is considered the holy grail of organ-playing at my university. Just about every student has their own, since it has a really solid selection of pieces with and without pedal, and entire chapters dedicated to how to practice with feet and hands (Separate and together). It also has very technical and useful appendices on how the instrument works and how stops differ. Couldn't recommend the book enough.

Aside from that, it's just a matter of finding out how you learn on organ. Some do hands and feet separate, and some just tackle music all at once (hands+pedal). CrownStarr's comment on expression and registration is spot-on too - I'd recommend finding as many different recordings online as possible once you get a feel for what kind of pieces you like. There's a massive difference in style/registration between, say, Biggs/Alain/Richter.

u/pianoboy · 2 pointsr/piano

Well, besides getting a teacher, there are a number of books/resources you could get. The problem is that you have holes in your knowledge from not playing so long, and no one knows what exactly you do know and what you don't, so there's no one place to "dive in". You may want to start with the more beginner resources and just skim through the parts you think you already know.

You might want to get a piano method book, which will guide you through beginner concepts to more advanced in a logical fashion. Pianoworld Discussion

Here's a popular beginner method book which is mentioned in the above thread: Alfred's All-in-one Adult Course.

Or if you want a more comprehensive reference that covers a LOT more in one book, a lot of people like this: Piano Handbook: Complete Guide.... But read the lower-starred reviews to see why many people think it's not necessarily a good book for a beginner to use.

See our FAQ links under What to practice for the pianopractice.org link and music theory links and more (You'll want a good grounding in music theory to start learning jazz piano).

Our FAQ has lots of links on getting started with Jazz, and there's an extra link in my comment here:

u/quiteabitdicier · 2 pointsr/bassoon

The numbness is unusual, but it also seems unlikely that you managed to do permanent damage to your muscles in a single weekend. I second the suggestion to play for very short periods of time, several times a day. Don't go all the way until your lips are numb; stop as soon as you start feeling off, even if that means just one scale at a time or something like that.

You might also want to take this opportunity to really optimize your use of your air and embouchure. If you are pinching the reed too much, holding lots of tension in your face or shoulders, or have poor breathing habits, that will all decrease the amount of time you can comfortably play for. Talk to a private teacher about improving your embouchure, and you could even consult an Alexander Technique practicioner to sort out other inefficiencies in how you play. If you have access to a library that can order them, or even want to buy them, the books Oboemotions by Stephen Caplan and Playing Less Hurt by Janet Horvath might be helpful for you!

u/Patrickann777 · 2 pointsr/piano

I received a book of all of Chopin's Nocturnes, Preludes, and Waltzes for Christmas. I'd definitely recommend this book, there's tons of materials for extremely experienced pianists and for early intermediate pianists. There's also some helpful fingerings in the book as well. Anyway, here's a link to the book, there is so much you could do with it.


Edit: You can also get it Spiral-bound ;D

u/laufiend · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

Play It Again by Alan Rusbridger. Anyone's who's played (or attempted) Chopin's G minor Ballade should read this, for the insightful and often hilarious commentary on the challenges of learning this piece.

Also, not a book, but a webcomic. Don't Shoot the Pianist is a lot of fun! (the official site seems to be down right now, sadly)

u/Xenoceratops · 2 pointsr/musictheory

I'm leaving out a lot of foundational material of course, and so far we're only talking about root position chords. But yes, this is a simplified yet expandable way of looking at four-part writing.

But you're always going to run into people who have problems with any system. Complaints I can see for the above approach:

  1. "Not everybody plays a keyboard instrument." Keyboard-style harmonization is useful for conceptualizing voice-leading, regardless of context. And, you know, not everybody is four people who can sing SATB arrangements.

  2. "This information isn't presented in the generalized form we get from SATB rules." Scientism rears its ugly head again. Most things in music are not reducible to a general formula, and a hell of a lot of it is based on conventions. (And, actually, voice leading can be generalized to an extent. Leah Frederick had developed some voice leading applications of geometric theory. See this presentation from last year's SMT meeting and this presentation from the year before. Derek Remeš also presented an interesting taxonomy of texture in figured bass realization in 2017.)

  3. "You have to learn the rules twice with this method." Not really. There are differences between keyboard-style and SATB-style voice leading, but they feed back into each other.

    And there are other complaints that are usually lobbed at music theory curricula or music theory as a field generally, but I won't enumerate them here. What I'm presenting here is a form of figured bass pedagogy, which students are notoriously (and wrongly, if you ask this theorist) resistant to.

    Keyboard harmony classes are not as common as they once were, for various reasons. Joel Phillips (co-author of The Musician's Guide to Aural Skills) teaches theory and musicianship with a strong attachment to keyboard skills and technique, but I don't know of other curricula that are structured this way. I'm sure they're out there.
u/PianoWithMe · 1 pointr/piano

This is the best book I have ever used. It grades so many pieces (you will never finish playing) and has a few sentences explaining the piece or what it's about. Extremely useful index by historical period and composer, and find what pieces are accessible to you.

u/Bertanx · 5 pointsr/piano

I got this one recently and am having great fun with it:

Chopin Complete Preludes, Nocturnes & Waltzes: 26 Preludes, 21 Nocturnes, 19 Waltzes for Piano (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics) https://www.amazon.com/dp/0634099205/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_bkkqybDPYTAZX

u/jdromano2 · 4 pointsr/piano

A fake book is a book of tunes that just contains a lead sheet, with only the melody and chords (usually). Best example is of a fake book is (wittily named) The Real Book, which pretty much any jazz musician uses religiously.

To the OP: There is absolutely no substitute for taking legit lessons from a teacher who specializes in jazz. If you can play jazz well, you can play any non-classicaly genre (and it sounds like you already know how to play classical anyways). In the absence of good jazz instruction, you need to just play a shit-ton of chord voicings in every key and mode you can think of until you can fire off voicings for any chord progressions without having to move your hand all over the piano after every chord. If you want an especially good resource to teach you how to do this, the book I learned on is here. It gets boring as hell, but be able to do anything in that book from memory, and you'll have a really solid foundation for comping chords and putting a decently embellished melody over them.

Oh, also learn how to walk a bass line.

u/scrumptiouscakes · 2 pointsr/piano

> There are also people who appreciate a more conservative view towards "classical".

I've never denied that. Nor am I denying a space for that kind of view. As I've already told you several times before, my issue is not with your definition per se, but your attempt to portray that definition as synonymous with "classical music".

> pieces and composers that are routinely performed worldwide as per the standard classical piano repertoire for performances, recitals, concerts, or competitions.

Ah yes, the institutional theory of art. The trouble with this definition is that it's circular - "It's classical because it's in the standard repertoire, and the standard repertoire exists because it's made up of pieces that are classical". Even if this sort of definition was meaningful, it still wouldn't provide much evidence to back up your view. A quick look at just a partial list of upcoming performances of works by, for example, Schoenberg, shows that these composers receive plenty of performances. To suggest that they are not part of the "consensus", runs counter to the facts, and is frankly insulting to the performers I mentioned in my last post. I'm still waiting on an answer about them, by the way. There's even an entire year-long festival in London at the moment celebrating 20th century classical music, with everything from Adams to Zappa.

Now, you might come back and provide examples of other lists of performances from the same website which show that, for example, performances of works by Mozart are more frequent, or that performances of Xenakis are less frequent. Even if I set aside the complex set of historical biases, artistic prejudices and financial concerns which account for this, I can still provide counterexamples which undermine this point. Take the list of upcoming performances of the works of CPE Bach for example. This is a man who quite literally wrote the book on "classical piano". Mozart supposedly remarked that "He is the father, we are the children". Not only that, but the 300th anniversary of his birth is coming up next year. And yet his list has fewer performances on it than Schoenberg's (50 vs. 87 at the time of writing). So by the definition that you've just provided, CPE Bach shouldn't be included within the bounds of "classical piano" either. Hopefully that gives you just one small illustration of how this sort of definition quickly becomes ridiculous when actually applied to the real world. Counting performances doesn't tell us what is and isn't "classical", it mainly just shows us which composers happen to be popular with audiences at any given moment.

It doesn't matter how many times you shift your definition, I can keep coming back and showing you what's wrong with each one, because your basic premise remains the same - it's a premise which is at best misleading. Either start a new subreddit with an accurate name for the content you want, or modify the rules of the existing one to make the name accurate.

u/beiaard · 3 pointsr/organ

I think Wayne Leupold has something on playing 18th century lit, and I think I own it, even. But I can't vouch for how good it is. The standard historical document -- at least to my mind -- is C.P.E. Bach's Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments.

u/Metroid413 · 1 pointr/piano

Perhaps loosely related is the book "Play it Again: An Amateur Against the Impossible". Link here. It's about an editor from the Guardian who (against most ideas of best practice) tries to learn Chopin Op. 23 in a year as an amateur pianist.

u/darth_holio · 2 pointsr/Learnmusic

Alfred's All-in-One Adult Course book is really great, though if you only have 61 keys you'll have to cut some corners. I still highly recommend it.

And this guy has tons of free lessons, if you can deal with his particular teaching style which is rather long winded and full of bad jokes. (That's not a criticism, he's great at what he does)

u/captain_d0ge · 2 pointsr/piano

If you want to learn how to sightread, I suggest you check out:

u/Starbucks_Jazz · 1 pointr/piano

Hanon Exercises are great


u/dawnbreaker100 · 1 pointr/musictheory

"Mastering Piano Technique: A Guide for Students, Teachers and Performers" by Seymour Fink, gives great advice and tips on technique. Here is a link to check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Piano-Technique-Students-Performers/dp/0931340462

u/ouselesso · 2 pointsr/videos

Just my two cents, sounds like you are practicing wrong. Grab Alfred's Piano Method, go lesson by lesson and go silly slow. You'll be reading pretty fluent in under a year I guarantee it.

EDIT: Meant to link Level 1

u/MusicalPolymath · 1 pointr/musictheory

Okay the obvious question is: Does he have access to a piano?

If the answer is yes, then this is good for beginners to self teach a bit: https://www.amazon.com/Adult-All-one-Course-Alfreds/dp/0882849956

u/blindluke · 1 pointr/piano

There are multiple sources:

u/wolfanotaku · 2 pointsr/piano

For beginner stuff, if you really aren't caring about authenticity or any of that you could use: http://www.free-scores.com/ It is a community site, so most of the stuff on there is arranged by users of the site. You can filter by difficulty and instrumentation and there's a lot of beginner reductions of stuff. Not all of it is great or even good, but it's free to sift through and just look for stuff to practice reading music on.

There are also out there a lot of method books that have sheet music that is gradually more difficult. A common one that is suggested around here is Alfred's Adult All-In-On Piano.

u/erus · 9 pointsr/musictheory
u/Zinnuvial · 1 pointr/Trombone


I've got both of those books, and I'm doing almost exactly the same thing that you are! I added in the Rhythmic Training so that I could still be doing things related to music when I don't feel like unpacking my trombone.

I plan on finding/making some flashcards that have the slide positions and alternate ones too.

So. It sounds like we're in the exact same place, I think? There's that page in the front of the Rubank's method that you can use to walk through the exercises. We could maybe go through that and hold each other accountable?

u/Taome · 2 pointsr/piano

You might want to try etudes such as Burgmuller's 25 Progressive Pieces, Op. 100. IMSLP (free) | Amazon. The BachScholar channel on YouTube has a playlist of all 25 pieces so you can see if you like them.

u/thegreatalan · 7 pointsr/piano

I like this one a whole lot: Complete Preludes, Nocturnes & Waltzes: 26 Preludes, 21 Nocturnes, 19 Waltzes for Piano (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics) https://www.amazon.com/dp/0634099205/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_7OVPBbN1N403W

It's also extremely affordable.

u/Dude_man79 · 1 pointr/organ

My instructor has me play from the Davies Organists' Manual.

u/EntropyOrSloth · 1 pointr/piano

I've seen some positive recommendations for this book but haven't used and don't own.

u/WNBA_Team · 2 pointsr/piano

From a classical perspective, you should be able to start with Masterwork Classics level 3 or Keith Snell's Piano Repertoire series (Baroque/Classical, Romantic, Etudes) level 2. Nothing's stopping you from trying out the other books in the All-In-One series even if they're not as highly reviewed.

u/GoldmanT · 0 pointsr/piano

I bought this one - not done much with it yet but all the material is in there, and while the first few chapters seem like hard work it'll pay off later on:


u/keakealani · 1 pointr/musictheory

I'm not sure if this is quite what you're after, but you might find C.P.E. Bach's treatise on keyboard instruments to be instructive - from what I recall, there are segments about keyboard accompaniment in there.

u/civ_iv_fan · 1 pointr/piano

alfred's all-in-one method (amazon link here) is solid. i complained about the music being too silly in another thread, and that does irritate me, but it is a solid method.

coming from guitar, piano can be intimidating. but everything about music can be learned from piano, so every musician should play it.

u/mage2k · 2 pointsr/piano

If you're going to ignore everyone telling you to get a teacher, which you really shouldn't, get yourself a copy of this, start from the beginning, and work your way through it.

u/Pianobyme · 3 pointsr/piano

Hmm, there isn't a simple answer to that. For theory, the idea of "level 5" is arbitrary, because I don't know what system you are using. PM me and I can ask you a few questions to give you a better sense of where you are with theory, but basically if you are getting into theory that is so advanced that you never are able to apply it and look for it in your rep, then you can probably rest easy, but there's no harm in continuing to learn more.

With technique, it's not WHAT you practice, it's HOW (which is why "teacher" is really the only correct answer here). Technique is primarily for learning the shapes and gestures that you'll find in rep, and secondarily for learning the notes of scales, chords, cadences, etc. Example: you can play a C Major scale with all the right notes and fingers, but you should be feeling for a loose arm so that the weight of your arm transfers from one finger to the other within a hand position, using a circular gesture that comes from the upper arm in order to do so seamlessly and with good legato, and working on shifts of your position that minimize the thumb "crossing under" or 3 "crossing over." For block chords and inversions, you should focus on dropping from above with loose hands (don't prepare your shape on the surface of the keys or even in the air) and letting go from the shoulder so that all that weight goes into the drop. Russian Broken chords and chromatic scales can train rotation, arpeggios are a combination of a few different gestures.

Again, much of this is best with a teacher who knows what they are doing technically (which is not all of them), but you can teach yourself a bit with either of the Books below. The Peskanov books also have a great layout and variety of exercises in them, but ignore his instructions printed in the books for the most part. Start with Piano Olympics level 1 or 2. Always stay loose, use your weight, not your fingers.

A few resources:
-Mastering Piano Technique, by Seymour Fink
-20 Lessons in Keyboard Choreography, by Seymour Bernstein
-Piano Olympics, by Peskanov and then later The Russian Technical Regimen