Best products from r/piano
We found 604 comments on r/piano discussing the most recommended products. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 1,044 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.
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1. Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 1
- Used Book in Good Condition
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2. Progressive Sight Reading Exercises: Piano Technique
Piano Method0793552621SG2745Piano Technique
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5. The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios & Cadences: Includes All the Major, Minor (Natural, Harmonic, Melodic) & Chromatic Scales -- Plus Additional Instructions on Music Fundamentals
- Scales Chords Arpeggios & Cadences - Complete Book Complete Book
- Scale, chord, arpeggio and cadence studies in all major and minor keys presented in a convenient two-page format
- Includes an in-depth 12 page explanation that leads to complete understanding of the fundamentals of major and minor scales, chords, arpeggios and cadences plus a clear explanation of scale degrees and a two-page guide to fingering the scales and arpeggios
- In addition, several "enrichment options" are provided with exercises such as harmonizing scales, accelerating scales expanding scales and much more! These excellent all-inclusive books teach scales, chords, arpeggios, and cadences at three different levels
- The FIRST book (#11761) accommodates the learning pace of younger students such as those in Alfred's Basic, Level 2
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7. Scales, Chords, Arpeggios & Cadences - Complete Book: Piano Technique - Includes all the Major, Minor (Natural, Harmonic, Melodic) & Chromatic Scales - ... Instructions on Music Fundamentals
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8. Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in Sixty Exercises, Complete (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics, Vol. 925)
- 116 pages
- Size: 12" x 9"
- Composer: C.L. Hanon
- ISBN: 793525446
- A collection of advanced piano solos by Charles Hanon
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9. Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course: Lesson Book, Level One (BK 1)
- * Introduction to Playing
- * C Position * The Grand Staff * Playing C-G on the Grand Staff * Introduction to Chords * G Position
- * Expanding the 5 Finger Position
- * Scales and Chords
- * Middle C Position
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10. Contemporary Music Theory - Level One: A Complete Harmony and Theory Method for the Pop and Jazz Musician
- 312 pages
- Size: 12" x 9"
- Composer: Mark Harrison
- ISBN: 793598818
- Both levels of the music theory lessons include reference appendices, a complete glossary of terms, and hundreds of written theory exercises with answers
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11. YAMAHA P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano With Sustain Pedal And Power Supply (Amazon-Exclusive)
- Amazon exclusive model includes power adapter and sustain pedal
- 88 fully weighted piano style keys simulate the feel of an acoustic piano and provide a quality playing experience
- Contains 10 different voices, including digitally sampled tones from real Yamaha acoustic grand pianos
- Dual mode lets you combine 2 voices together, like piano and strings, for an inspiring new playing experience
- Slim and stylish design with a depth of less than 12 inches, the P71 requires little space and weighs only 25 pounds
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12. Progressive Sight Reading Exercises for Piano [PROGRESSIVE SIGHT READING EXER] [Paperback]
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13. Play It Again: Piano Book 2: The Perfect Way to Rediscover the Piano
- ✔ EXTRA SET OF RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES + BATTERY CHARGER + LIFETIME WARRANTY - We provide you with 2 sets (4 total) rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Also, if you don't like the product or if something happens to it please return it for a full refund or a new one! No questions asked!
- ✔ COMBAT VETERAN OWNED COMPANY! I stand by and produce only the products that I use myself as a soldier.
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14. First Lessons in Bach, Complete: Schirmer Library of Classics Volume 2066 For the Piano (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics)
- 40 pages
- Size: 12" x 9"
- Editor: Walter Carroll
- ISBN: 1423421922
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15. The Real Book: Sixth Edition
- The Real Books are the best-selling jazz books of all time
- Since the 1970s, musicians have trusted these volumes to get them through every gig, night after night
- The problem is that the books were illegally produced and distributed, without any regard to copyright law, or royalties paid to the composers who created these musical masterpieces
- Hal Leonard is very proud to present the first legitimate and legal editions of these books ever produced
- You wont even notice the difference, other than all the notorious errors being fixed the covers and typeface look the same, the song list is nearly identical, and the price for our edition is even cheaper than the original! Every conscientious musician will appreciate that these books are now produced accurately and ethically, benefitting the songwriters that we owe for some of the greatest tunes of all time! The Real Books are the best-selling jazz books of all time
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17. Masterwork Classics: Level 1-2, Book & CD
Contributors: Ed. Jane Magrath / perf. Kim O'ReillySeries: Masterwork ClassicsInstrument: PianoLevel: Early Elementary / Early IntermediateGrade level: (1A/1B/2/3)
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18. Adult Piano Adventures All-in-One Piano Course Book 1: Book with Media Online
Softcover177 pagesSize: 12 x 9-1/4 in.Composer: Randall FaberISBN: 1616773022
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19. M Audio SP 2 | Universal Sustain Pedal with Piano Style Action For MIDI Keyboards, Digital Pianos & More
- Universal sustain pedal with chrome foot pedal for a natural, realistic pedal action
- Classic design with a conveniently located polarity switch for compatibility with all electronic keyboards
- Premium build with a robust, heavy-duty mechanism for uncompromised reliability
- Lightweight, ultra-compact aesthetic provides classic piano style sustain in portable footprint
- Specially designed rubber pads located on the pedals underside grips the floor and stays put while you play
So I'm a guy who had a very classical background starting with trumpet in school and went to a NOT Berklee like traditional music school. You can hear me bitch about how out of touch traditional academic music programs are with the reality of being a pro musicians frequently around here... so you've already got that advantage.
I didn't really take up piano seriously until 26 and sort of by accident due to circumstances. It's also when I started learning some of the real world skills that made me realize just how relatively shallow and empty traditional academia was. I compare it to getting a Comp Sci degree and spending 4 years learning how to program for punch cards and only then going out into the world of modern computers and smart phone apps and thinking, "Wait... wut?"
Anyway, that rant aside, I was a trumpet player and I actively gigged and such (in more classical settings) and then started up piano very late.
>Would I be shooting myself in the foot to “throw away” everything I’ve learned on other instruments to go full time with piano?
Well, no, you won't be throwing away anything. Also, DON'T throw away anything. One of the biggest things I've learned is that my versatility is what gets me employment. Piano is my main money make, but I still get gigs on trumpet. I literally sometimes play both at the same time. I've picked up other instruments to varying degrees over the years and get gigs on them. I often just get gigs where I'm playing multiple instrument and have become often the only person who could actually do a certain gig. You need someone to sing a one-to-a-part a capella piece, then lead some songs while walking on guitar... then play piano... then play organ. Well, good luck finding someone else with all of those abilities because everyone ends up feeling like being a jack of all trades is a master of none.
Well that's not how that work (the rest of the saying is something like "often better than a master of one"). Due to expectations you often don't need to be the BEST at anything because most audiences can't even tell.
Can you tell if someone is playing a Bb, C, Eb, or piccolo trumpet? I can. Does that fucking matter? Can I tell what gauge of guitar strings, or what pick thickness, or what pedal setup you're using on guitar by listening. Probably not, but you could probably tell a lot by just listening to another guitarist... does it matter? Not really.
The ultra fine details and subtleties are over-empahsized and only noticeable to musicians trained VERY specifically in your area. You, as a trained musician probably can't pick up a ton of subtleties about different piano brands... certainly not by ear. So it just doesn't matter. Our audiences aren't people who are trained to be experts in our specific areas. It's usually lay people.
For fuck sake, you can be playing their favorite song... something they've heard 100 times from a recording and they still might not be able to tell if you completely fuck up the chords. Either that or they don't care.
Also, so much of your previous knowledge will transfer to piano, but honestly, a ton of piano stuff will end up transferring BACK to make you better at everything else you do by recontextualizing it.
> I’m really into funk, what are some of the comping tricks from a harmonic standpoint? I’ve been studying a lot of George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Richard Tee etc. but It’s just not coming together for me. Is it less about the function of a chord and more about the color in funk? Whenever I’m playing something like Superstition I have no problem using chords for their texture (maybe it’s easier on a clav?)
Honestly, this book is almost certainly beyond your technical level, but the answers are all there. You'll find lots of comping patterns very specifically for that. Funk is just hard to comp. It's a lot of very sparsely voiced stuff with extremely complex 16th note subdivision. Probably some of the hardest comping you can do. That book in general will give you a lot of good comping concepts for various styles.
Which brings me to a side note.
>Ive played a bit of bass too, and I’m comfortable gigging and sight reading at a pretty decent level on all three.
Sightreading or sight comping? I mean, I can sight comp basic chord charts on guitar and I can sightread almost anything on trumpet. But ask me to sightread on guitar and I'll give you a blank look. I've gotten good at both on piano, but for years I was just good at sight comping and my reading is only very slowly catching up with a lot of work.
The other thing is, while guitarists will rarely be asked to sightread you'll likely find that if you play piano, you will get asked to sightread a lot more.
As I was making a living playing in bands and doing more contemporary work, I just kept finding people that heard I played keys assume that meant I could just easily accompany a choir from a choral octavo on the spot. I could not. But I kept getting more traditional work thrown my way just because that's the expectation for pianists. To not learn to do that well is leaving a lot of money on the table.
I've always made it a point to try to never say "I can't do that." I'm never there, but I keep trying. That not only has opened more doors for me due to versatility, but the compliment I get most often is just how easy to work with I am because I'm very chill about just doing whatever combination of things and just making it happen in the moment without getting to freaked out about it (at least outwardly). This is a huge thing for networking. Apparently a lot of people really are fussy, limited, or picky about what they will and won't (can and can't) do.
This also means that you probably need to get comfortable playing on actual pianos with weighted keys. The biggest downside to piano compared to almost anything else is that you're at the mercy of the instrument at the venue in a lot of cases and that almost always means a piano. If you only play on unweighted synths, you'll gonna have a bad time. Synths are still great, but going weighted to unweighted is much easier than the opposite.
> How do I go about putting all that gear together in one signal chain? I work in live audio but everybody hooks up their own keyboard rigs, i just plug it all into a DI box.
That's highly personal, but honestly, it's not much different than the way you would do it with guitar (which can be very similar in how personal it is). I don't work with a ton of pedals because I use a Nord and have most of that stuff on board (because fucking bringing a bag of pedals and a laptop to every gig). Any effects you can just treat it like a guitar and run it between you and the DI box.
Some things like and expression pedal are just going to connect to the keyboard and not have anything to do with the chain and probably require the keyboard to support it though I'm sure some conglomeration of stuff could make it work somewhere down the chain to but I wouldn't want to deal with that sort of headache.
I would often run everything to an amp that I could use as a stage monitor and then use the main output from the amp to run to the DI box. At home I pretty much run everything directly to the mixer or through my looper and then to the mixer.
>Any pedals I should check out for keys/synth?
You can try out almost anything. For pure functionality of practice I just couldn't live without a looper these days. If you've got the cash, a bigger loop station over a ditto looper is just amazing. It can also be very useful for live gigging solo.
> As far as education is concerned, the free college thing doesn’t just cutoff once I get a degree. It’s valid for any undergraduate study. If I wanted to spend 10 years in school getting a degree in everything from composition to music business at 3 different universities I could.
While the atmosphere of a Berklee like school might give you more bang for your buck in just drinking in stuff from a lot of degrees (especially compared to a traditional school where a decade would still leave you clueless going into the real world of music)...I still think the most useful stuff comes from just getting out there and doing it.
Most of the most important stuff I've learned is just from experience and often the hard way. It's all about finding yourself in situations and suddenly realizing what skill set you actually need that you might not have picked up in school. Sometimes that's just because you're working with non-musicians who don't know what they fuck really want and what they are doing.
A lot of it will come from working with people who may have gone to more traditional schools and are super out of touch with what you're even talking about.
I mean, to be fair, a lot of this subreddit could talk to you all day about Chopin etudes and various concert pianist, but as soon as you start talking synths, signal chains, and DI boxes... they have no clue. Seriously, the amount of people who have advanced degrees in music but literally wouldn't be able to plug up a keyboard or guitar to an amp is insane.
But these are the type of people you run into in real gigs and getting the experience of how to work around all sorts of situations is super useful. So I highly recommend getting as much real world experience as you can where you're not always working with competent people.
You might be able to get some of that on the side while getting more degrees, but do be careful not to spin your wheels too much. Also, go check out /r/synthesizers
Can’t comment on the Hanon, but I do have a recommendation you may be interested in. I’ve been playing classical for a while, but in the last year decided to take jazz improv on top of it. There are a few things that if you really work at then will show stellar results.
First thing is chord voicing, these are truly your bread and butter as a jazz pianist. If you ever play in a group, then these will give you a great sound with many many options to choose from.
It would take a very long time to write out a bunch of voicings, but here’s an example. For major chords there are two main interchangeable voicings which we’ll simply refer to as A and B voicings..
-A voicing is formed by starting at the root, then moving up a major third, then building a minor 7th chord. For example C root, then E minor 7. If you look at it, you’re really just playing the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th. You can drop the root once you learn minor and dominance chord voicings, but seeing not only the expanded C major chord, as well as the chord writhin a chord (E Minor 7 within the C major 9) is extremely helpful.
-B voicing is a major third up from the root, then a minor 7th chord, finally inverted twice. This will give you another voicing option so you don’t use the same chords over and over. Now for any major chord, you have three options (Root, Rootless A, Rootless B).
There are more chord voicing beyond that, but that brief example should give you an idea of what’s out there. There are A and B voicings for Major, Minor, and Dominant chords, with Dominant chords having many many options.
For now I would recommend learning you major 7th, dominant 7th, and minor 7th chords in all 12 keys. Play the root an octave lower, then with both hands play the given rootless voicing above it. This will give you an excellent foundation to build from.
Next most important thing is Modes and Scales. Each chord has a corresponding scale with notes that will sound great over a particular chord. Again due to the vast array of options, I’ll give you a starting place to go from.
-Major chords can be paired with major scales. Pretty cut and dry.
-Minor chords will be paired with the mode Dorian. Dorian is similar to a minor scale, but instead of being formed with a flating the 3rd, 6th, 7th Of any major scale, it’s formed by flating the 3rd and 7th of any major scale. So D Dorian would be all white keys.
-Dominant chords can be paired either the Mixolydian Mode. Mixolydian is formed by flating the 7th note in a major scale. So G Mixolydian would be all white keys.
Now there are many MANY options just like with chords, but this will give you a very firm place to begin improvising. As an exercise to get you playing the right scales with the right chords, play in your right hand a particular scale up two octaves and a third, while playing in your left hand the corresponding chord every 8 notes. You’ll see it line up perfectly. When you can do that reliably at 80 bpm with you major, minor, and dominant chords/scales, you’ll be in a great places.
Last but not least is basic Roman numerals theory. If you know what Roman numerals sound good going to each other, then you’ll be in a great place to not only improvise, but to even write and improvise your own songs on the fly. Again, there’s a whole lot we could cover, but to give you a taste, we’ll talk about probably the biggest progression in Jazz. The ii-V-I.
If you break it down a ii-V-I is the culmination of what we’ve talked about so far in this post. First, why this progression. Well the V-I is a common pull in music. The dominant is one of the first in the overtime series, and it’s pull to I is extremely strong. Almost if not more in some cases powerful than the pull of a vii-I. That’s cool, but what about the ii? The ii-V is actually a very strong pull in its own right. So ii now leads us into V, which then takes us home to I.
For great examples of this in action listen to Afternoon In Paris, and Take The A-Train.
Now once you have those chords in place from earlier, you can fill in the minor 7th chords for the ii, the dominant 7th chords for the V, and the Major 7th chords for the I. So in the key of C this would look like d minor 7th for ii, g dominant 7 for V, and C major 7 for I. Once you can do a ii-V-I in every key, practice playing the corresponding scales while you ii-V-I. Or you could also add rootless voicings to the ii-V-I by doing ABA voicings (Minor A, Dominant B, Major A), or BAB voicings (Minor B, Dominant A, Major B).
I would highly recommend buying a copy of The Real Book. This is a set of over 150 standard lead sheets for famous and great jazz songs. Both songs I mentioned above are in the book. Take the book, find a song, and break it down using Roman numerals. After a while things will make sense as far as what chords go where, and things will really start to click.
If you’re interested in further reading, I would highly recommend The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine. This book covers many many topics, and will take you far. I like the book a good bit because by any topic, it will show a real excerpt from a jazz standard of a chord used so you can see how what you’re learning is utilized.
I know this is a lot to do, but just pace yourself. You can’t build a house in a day, but if you’re patient and diligent, the world of Jazz Improve is a fun and exciting one. Best of luck, and if you have any questions feel free to comment or shoot me a dm.
Hey there! :)
Your question is a VERY difficult one to answer, as it depends on a lot of variables concerning both yourself and the route you decide to take. However, the EASY answer is to say that you cannot achieve a masterful level of proficiency at the piano on your own. This does not hold true 100% of the time, but MOST of the time it's true.
That being said, you can certainly learn a lot on your own before being held back by your lack of a teacher. It will probably go slower, and take longer, and most importantly you won't know for sure if you're doing things correctly or not (this is the biggest thing) and also you won't have someone to ask questions. But it's of course better than nothing and I would never discourage you from it if it's your only option right now!
When I say that you can't know if you're doing things correctly or not, that really is a huge thing. That feedback which a teacher can provide is essential to knowing that you're learning things right. Teachers also can teach you things that will just be glossed over/skipped otherwise, they can guide you to various things that you'd never think of, and they can tailor your lesson plan to you and adjust it as needed.
Here's what you CAN do, right now:
The most important thing though, is that you need a lesson plan. Since you don't have a teacher to give you one, you need something to replace that. My suggestion would be to look up the Alfred's adult beginner lesson book. Click here for an amazon link to see it! You can just order it online, or find a local music store and look for it/ask for help finding it. Personally I shop at Evolas, I think they may be fairly local though (I'm in Michigan). A piano lesson book provides structured learning and will cover things that you need to know in an ordered way. Lesson books are not perfect; they don't take the time to explain things in TOO much detail because you're supposed to have a teacher going through it with you, and explaining things themselves. However they DO have some explanation of every lesson, and once you know what you're SUPPOSED to be learning about, you can always turn to google for more information about it.
The lesson book is my single huge recommendation to you. It's probably your best bet. It's by no means perfect, but I don't know what you can do better. You will have to pace yourself; do your best to make sure you understand a concept completely and learn the associated song well before progressing to the next lesson. Again, this will be difficult without a teacher but it's doable!
My source for all of this is that I've been playing piano for twelve years, and have been teaching for the past 3-4. I'm generally an observant, thoughtful person and this is the sort of thing that runs through my mind :). I would like to close by making you an offer... I will still maintain that you cannot do better than to get an actual teacher and take regular lessons. HOWEVER! Should you choose to seriously pursue this to the extent possible, I would like to help you as much as I can! So at ANY point, if you have ANY question whatsoever, you are free to PM me, and I will do my best to answer! I will teach you things that you're confused about or want to know more about, or anything at all that you can think of. So I'll essentially offer myself as a teacher over the internet. It's very limiting, but it may help you to have someone who you can ask those questions that hopefully you'll have :).
Good luck, whatever happens!
I live on the pacific coast so I can’t help with the teacher part but I have just started jazz piano about a six months ago after playing piano for a year, I feel that you should first familiarize yourself with piano in any way you can before moving into jazz and paying for lessons, once you’re experienced you should buy the sixth edition of the real book and learn how to read jazz standards. These are songs that are in the book (400+ songs) are classics that pretty much all experienced jazz musicians can pick up on and can play along to. It’ll only have the melody on the chords to go along with it, you should learn the melody and play it the way you feel is best and play around with it and then harmonize it with the chords. Once you get familiar with this you should try your best to solo over it along with the chords, you might sound like ass but you’ll have to practice to get an ear for soloing, eventually you’ll get better and pick up and learn techniques. One of my favorite jazz pianist YouTubers made a great video that gives a list of some of the easier jazz standards that are mostly in the real book, they are great for gaining a foundation in jazz. It’s important that you know how to play all types of chords to best play jazz standards, if you’re interested message me and I’ll send you directions for a good exercise for this. Lastly when learning jazz standards it’s best to listen to the song and the chord changes a lot first to get a feel for the song, learning the vocals also helps with expression. Once you get a foothold for all of these basics then you should look for a teacher, I suggest taking a few months before that.
I'm not too familiar with Handel's works, but progressing through Baroque music can be fairly straightforward and programmatic. This is especially true when it comes to Bach, who happens to be excellent for developing hand independence! I would recommend going starting with this book, then his Little Preludes, then his two- and three-part inventions, and then WTC I and II. The progression in difficulty isn't completely linear, as you'll find there will be a couple of pieces here and there (like the WTC I Prelude in C you learned) that are easier than the pieces from the book before. For the most part though, the pieces do get progressively harder. You probably won't find a lot of hand independence exercises until you get to the inventions, but there's plenty of great material to start with from the first two books alone that will prepare you. The inventions require you to voice multiple independent melodies, which can be pretty difficult for any beginner pianist.
I also agree with the other poster, keep practicing your scales! There's a lot of different ways to improve your technique from playing scales alone. Learn all your major and harmonic/melodic minor scales. Learn to play them across multiple octaves, in parallel and contrary motion, starting from any key, in thirds, sixths, and tenths. Mix them up and play different scales in each hand at the same time. Play one scale in one hand at half the speed of the other hand. Play them at different dynamics, play them legato/staccato. The variety of ways you can improve your technique from just scales is staggering, not to mention it will be of immense benefit for improving your music theory and will help you run through scales much more quickly when you encounter them in a piece later on :)
Hey man, I'm kind of the in the same boat you are. By that, I mean
I used to play for about 7 years with lessons once a week, but I never really practiced much and put effort into it. At the beginning of this October, I started to take it up again and started playing every single day, making sure to do scales, play from Hanon, trill exercises, argpeggios, etc... and then moving on to playing my pieces. I play anywhere from an hour to seven hours a day depending on how I'm feeling instead of playing video games or watching tv and average about 3-4 hours a day. The last piece I had played before quitting a while back was Chopin's Nocturne Op.9 no.2, but it was an absolute wreck. I was able to completely refine it within the month of October and I moved onto other stuff. I tried tackling some Rachmaninov and Beethoven, but they were beyond my skill level for now so I decided to table them and I'm currently in the middle of refining Claire de Lune and taking another stab at Rachmaninov waltz I tabled. Claire de lune a fairly simple piece, at least technically, and if you've learned a basic George Winston song, it should be well-within reach. You might have fingering troubles with the chords and the key is a little hard to play in, but that's about it.
Practice your major and minor scales. They are a huge part of fundamentals that people overlook way too often. They help with fingerings and memorization of the keys on the piano.
buy a copy of this http://www.amazon.com/Hanon-Virtuoso-Exercises-Complete-Schirmers/dp/0793525446
it has a ton of exercises ranging from trill exercises, scale runs, arpeggios, chord trills, etc... Play a few of the first 10 exercises every day maybe 3-4 times and it's a great warm-up. It's immensely useful in building up your hand strength and stamina so doing it everyday is a must. Use a metronome while doing this because keeping tempo and not rushing/dragging will be very important. It also helps to monitor your progress as you get faster and faster. Play the exercises as fast as you can without messing up 3 times perfectly before moving onto the next tempo.
Break the piece into multiple chunks. They are pretty clear sections of the song so work on each section individually until you get each section down perfectly. Write down fingerings on tricky chords or runs so that you can remember them and not have to fumble around the next time you come across it. Take it nice and slow. Rushing it will only take more time in the end. I wouldn't worry too much about tempo and just worry about getting the notes right for now.
In the end though, getting a teacher is probably your best bet as they can give you more detailed instruction. What I said for you is if you're looking to pursue this without any instruction similar to what I'm doing right now. My goal by the end of this year is to be able to play Chopin Etude Op. 10 no. 4 by the end of this year practicing about 3 hours a day at least a tempo of 140 (I think I can do it). I currently am not taking lessons either, but I personally am not at the level yet where previous training hasn't covered me.
This is my goal for the end of the year if you're interested.
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.
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.
I know it's a contentious group of pieces, but I've had incredible luck with Hanon. If you can read music and play hands together, I highly recommend it.
I took lessons for 13 years, but since I've been in college I've been self teaching. I've always really loved piano and I have decent technique, but I never really learned things in a way that wasn't sloppy. I decided I wanted to change that, and I sat down and learned all 3 parts of Hanon exactly as instructed in the book. It's not a perfect method, but I play through it every day now and honestly my technique is miles beyond what it used to be. I wish I had learned as a beginner so badly it hurts.
So my suggestion to you is this: buy this book (http://www.amazon.com/Hanon-Virtuoso-Exercises-Complete-Schirmers/dp/0793525446/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1414561983&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=hanon), play through it every day (no matter how boring it may get) exactly as instructed. It takes a little under an hour to play the whole book at tempo, and I imagine you'll be preoccupied learning all of the etudes for quite a while.
I'm a firm believer that we can all craft ourselves into excellent pianists, and all I think you need to do that is repertoire and a will to practice and make a sound that you like. Once you have the technique from the Hanon down, you can get started on any number of pieces. Another very good method is Bela Bartok's Mikrokosmos, which my mean, Hungarian teacher made me slave away at for years. It comes in 6 volumes, the first of which is (http://www.amazon.com/Mikrokosmos-Pink-English-French-Hungarian/dp/1423493044/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1414562208&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=mikrokosmos).
If you were to learn a significant amount of the material from either of those methods, you would be a significantly better pianist. If classical piano isn't necessarily the route you want to go, you'll still be well served by either/or.
The most important thing is to play whenever the urge strikes you, in my experience. It becomes a bit of an addiction, but there's such a huge world of piano music out there that you'll never grow bored with it, and you'll certainly never run out of things to do. Best of luck.
>But for all other pieces that can't be played prima vista, how are you supposed to learn without memorising it? No matter how you use the sheet, past the first few playthroughs of a piece (or section of a piece), you will develop muscle memory for that piece (or section).
Muscle memory is not an inherently bad thing. It's bad if it's the only thing you have to rely on, which is the case by memorizing something by just repeating it over and over and over again until it sticks. What happens when you learn while keeping your eyes on the sheet, however, is that you link this muscle memory that you build to visual cues. The muscle memory is triggered by you reading a certain shape or passage on the page. This is much more reliable than is the case with rote memorization, when the muscle memory is triggered by the last notes that you played.
Not only is it much more reliable to create these visual cues, it's also very beneficial in how it allows for future growth. The next time you'll come across a shape or passage on a page of music, the muscle memory that you linked to that visual cue gets triggered, and you can either play it instantly without thinking, or you refresh that which you've learned earlier, which allows you to execute it with very little additional practice required.
See this as building a (piano playing) vocabulary. This is what will eventually allow you to prima vista sightread. You can't expect yourself to just do something if you never learned how to do it.
>So even if you're looking at the sheet the whole time, you're not actually sight reading it, in the prima vista sense, but simply using the sheet as a reference whilst your muscle memory does the work.
Yes and no. You are relying on the muscle memory that you built over your last days of practice, but that doesn't mean you aren't reading. You're not identifying everything like you would when you're prima vista sight-reading, but you're still reliant on the sheet to play the correct notes. That's enough to gain future benefit out of it.
>Yet when I learn pieces, I generally look at the sheet whilst playing. I just inevitably find that, past a point, I stop reading the sheet and just use the general shape of the sheet as a sort of visual cue for my muscle memory.
Welp, that perfectly summarizes what I just said. This is good! This is what you want! It's like when you're reading a book, as you get better you stop reading individual words and instead start (automatically) grouping certain words, or reading while being mindful of the general context of the text.
>I'm under the impression that this is a bad way to learn.
I understand that you think this, but I think you needn't worry. For a bit of personal context, I've been playing for 1 year and 9 months now, and only yesterday started practicing my prima vista sight reading. This has been the first time I've ever focused on playing something first time, in tempo, without preparation, and without pausing for mistakes. I learned my pieces (and still learn) in a way which is similar to the way you describe. For my prima vista sight reading, I use this book (which is often recommended here), and I could play the first 40 pieces effortlessly. That's material that would've taken me at least a few days to get down a year ago.
Even though I'm just two days in, I dare conclude from this that the method that you describe works splendidly for improving both your reading and for preparing you for prima vista sightreading. You might be trying to sightread material that's too hard, or you might simply be starting on it too soon. From what I've gathered from some teachers online (whose opinions I greatly respect), prima vista sightreading is something which you should start after 1 or 2 years of study. You've still got plenty of time to get more comfortable with reading, which will automatically happen as long as you keep learning while keeping your eyes on the sheet.
I think after three years that seems feasible if you have a pretty good teacher to help get you there. My main advice, however, is to find lots of pieces that are easier than those two for the in between period that you love just as much.
We're very lucky to play the piano because many of the world's greatest musicians have been playing and writing for our instrument for the fast few hundred years, which means there's a huge variety of material written at lots of different levels. Books like the [Masterworks Classics] (http://www.amazon.com/Masterwork-Classics-Level-Alfred-Editions/dp/0739006770/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1452604892&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=masterworks+classics) series have lots of good material at different levels and it comes with a CD so you can listen to all the pieces to decide which one you like.
Besides the "classics," there are loads of great pedagogy teachers writing music nowadays, most of which sounds very satisfying and isn't too hard. [Martha Mier] (http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Rags-Blues-Elementary-Intermediate/dp/0739075284/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1452605076&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=jazz+rags+and+blues), [Dennis Alexander] (http://www.amazon.com/Splash-Color-Contemporary-Awareness-Performance/dp/0739013165/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1452604982&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=splash+of+color+piano), [William Gillock] (http://www.amazon.com/Lyric-Preludes-Romantic-Style-Pieces/dp/0874876494/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1452605098&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=william+gillock)...
My point is, it's great that you have goals!! But listen around and try to find other pieces that you love just as much as those that you listed that you can play earlier. Alternatively, you can find [simplified versions] (http://makingmusicfun.net/pdf/sheet_music/clair-de-lune-piano.pdf) to hold you over until you get to the real deal.
Piano teacher for 5 years here. This is more or less a directly copy and paste from a previous comment of mine.
Obviously, I'm going to recommend you find a teacher as soon as is possible if you really want to advance. BUT there are a lot of things you can do on your own to learn effectively.
I hope this helps a little. Remember that you have just started and you have to crawl before you can walk. Take it easy and make sure you understand everything before moving on to the next step. Good luck and have fun!!
Mark Levine's Jazz Piano book super comprehensive (maybe overkill for you)
IMO the theoretical way to approach "embellishment" (i'll call it "improv" from here) is to use harmony and learn what notes sound good over the harmonies you are playing. For beginners it's easy to match scales with certain chords/chord progressions.
Since you already seem to have listening skills I'll get right to it. For any given song, what harmonies are you playing (usually left-hand)? What are the relationships between the chords?
For example, let's say your arrangement has a chord progression Cm-Ab-Eb-Fm.
Do you recognize this immediately as a i-IV-III-iv in C minor? The Ab in particular suggests I can play any melody over this 4 chord progression using the C minor natural scale (C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb)
The next part is learning how to simply play melodies within a scale. If you are already OK with just improvising freely then this should be easy. If you find it hard to "let go" then I suggest practicing scales endlessly. That is, start on any note in a scale, move in any direction (up or down the piano), then reverse direction at any time, and repeat this until a "scale" exists not in an octave-to-octave sense but as a harmonic idea across the whole keyboard.
For a completely different example, let's say you're doing something like Bb-Gb-Eb (Nirvana, "In Bloom")
There's not an easy "scale" that fits over all of these. In the Bb bar, I could play something in Bb major, and over the Gb bar I could play something in Gb major.
It might be interesting to note that Bb and Gb major share a Bb, Eb, and F, and you could use these notes as easy "pivot" points to transition from one scale to another.
I'm kind of rambling now but anyways. Overall, you need to know the harmony of your music, and what melody notes will sound "good" over the harmony that you are playing. To go beyond that, transcribing what you think sounds nice is always an excellent way to practice the feel of improvising (and if you plan on improvising a lot in the future, you should transcribe EVERYTHING)
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!
Thing is, that sort of thinking doesn't really work too well in jazz - there isn't really "repertoire" in the same sense as in classical music. Some standards are more complex than others, sure, but the difficulty is really what you make of it. In jazz, you generally work from what are called "lead sheets", where all you have is the melody and the chords. Here's one for When I Fall in Love. Pretty simplistic, right? Here's Oscar Peterson playing it. The lead sheet is the basic framework for what he's playing, but all the embellishment and runs and extra chords and everything is just coming from him. So you can't really say whether When I Fall in Love is an "easy" standard or not.
As for how to learn, the single best way is to get a teacher. But if you just want to start dabbling, I would suggest getting some books of transcriptions of famous jazz pianists, just to start getting the feel and sound of it in your mind. Those books will have real performances transcribed note-for-note, so you don't need to know how to read lead sheets or improvise to play them. I would also check out Mark Levine's Jazz Piano Book to start learning the theory behind it all, and a Real Book to start practicing with. If you're good at teaching yourself things, the combination of those two books will give you years and years of material.
But I want to re-emphasize that getting some kind of teacher or mentor will help enormously. It's good for classical music, as you know, but jazz is even more like learning a foreign language, because it's improvised. If you just want to dabble for fun, that's fine, but if you get serious about jazz, find someone to guide you, even if it's just an hour a month.
This book has solid overviews of the various playing styles, including for left hand
For improvisation, you are not going to sound good right away. What it sounds like you are doing is basically exercises, just running pentatonic scales over chords - that will sound very exercisey. "Okay, Cm7, playing C minor pent, okay, F7, playing F pent..." etc. What you want to do is look ahead to the notes in common and work on your ear training around that. So, instead, you might go: "Okay, Cm7, gonna play C - Eb - F - G, then the F7 comes up and you continue to A - C - D - F....
Basically, point is you can still play pentatonics, but try to create runs and melodies that move over and through the chords, not just shifting the scales once per chord.
It's not something you think about - you want to get used it and how it sounds so that you can focus on using a combination of ear and theory to make musical sounds and shapes that you want, and the fabled melting away of the notes and chords happens.
As rough as it is, you gotta do that kind of thing in all keys as well. It really opens up the piano and reveals secrets of how things work.
Also, listen a lot and try to play along with your favorite recordings. Take a class / find other improvisers who are at your level. It helps so much.
Final thing is, there is more to improvisation than getting the notes right. A solo with wrong notes and great rhythm and lot of passion is much more interesting and listenable than a solo with all the "correct" notes and no feeling and just running uninspired rhythms. Try soloing with just roots and fifths of the chords and see how much fun you can have. Try soloing with absolute abandon and let your hand just flop around and see what kind of interesting sounds you can make. Prepare your mind to forget about the notes...that's the eventual goal (even though you can still be strategic about scale degrees and chord tones and such).
Good luck and have fun!
I started 2 years ago, @25yo. This is how I progressed.
Step 1: I picked up Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course: Lesson Book, Level One and played out of it for about a month. At the end of that month I felt confident enough to play for my grandmother, who inspired me to begin. She encouraged me to go go no further without the instruction of a teacher
Step 2: Got myself a teacher. We began mostly with scales and exercises, then moved on to Keyboard Musician. This book is made up of smaller pieces ranging in difficulty, and incorporates some theory.
Step 3: Practice, practice, practice. I have been at it for two years. I try to practice on my lunch break on every business day, typically for 45 minuted to an hour. Which usually means I get 3-4 days of good practice in a week. Its not enough but I have been able to make progress, and am definitely glad I made the commitment.
I am now choosing bigger pieces to play, typically spending a month or two on each, but I always have 3-4 things going at once. Here are some examples of what I am currently playing or have played: example 1 (1st movement only), example 2 (not me playing ;) ), example 3
Of course you could be looking to go a different route. Many people learn to play by ear and skip the whole reading music part. Learning to read music has been one of the hardest parts for me. Anyway that you do it, just do it. Good luck to you.
Rather than trying to understand theory/progress yourself, you might want to consider having a conversation with your child's teacher to talk about progress, and with your child to talk about enjoyment.
If she is enjoying herself and the teacher is happy with her progress, then I think that's all you really need to know.
Here are two small things you can listen for as a layman
Is she learning the piece by trying it over and over and over again from the beginning and struggling through to the end, or is her teacher breaking it up into chunks for her, and she is practicing those smaller chunks? She should be doing the latter. The main part of learning is learning how to learn. Her teacher should be actively coaching her on how to have a successful practice session.
Also, is she simply playing what she knows over and over and over again, or is she working on new pieces, or new parts of a piece of music? It should be the latter.
A good way to very generally assess progress is to ask the teacher how many pieces she has learned. If she has only worked on 2 or 3 pieces in the entire first year, I would say that is a warning sign that she needs a new teacher. If she is progressing through a method book and has sampled a collection of many smaller pieces, that is a good sign.
If you do want to take a more active role and understand more of what she is learning, start learning your child's method book or pick up Alfred's All-In-One Level 1: https://www.amazon.com/Adult-All---One-Course-Lesson-Theory-Technic/dp/0882848186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1473689244&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=alfred%27s+all+in+one+adult+piano+course+level+1 . This book will teach you the notes, terminology, and will introduce you to the challenge of learning to play that your child may be encountering.
Best of luck!
There is a core set of basics that are common - e.g. understanding music notation, rhythms, time signatures, scales/keys, chords, being able to read and play hands together, etc. However, here are some differences I can think of off the top of my head:
One book that seems to get recommended a lot for learning pop/rock piano is Mark Harrison's Pop Piano Book. Although if you're a beginner, that probably still moves too fast. I don't know of a good comprehensive resource.
The best way to improve is to practice effectively/efficiently. I came to the conclusion that the only way I could control my usual 'random' approach to my hourly practice time was to plan it out up front. I adapted some advice from Graham Fitch to come up with a routine based around setting myself goals (e.g. get the Right Hand of xyz up to n BPM, learn the fingering of abc ... anything really). I then work out what practice strategy I think will help me achieve that goal and every day I work through my 'goals' rather than my 'pieces'. Here's a video on how I plan my practice time.
Then, find yourself some good YouTube resources. Personally, I'm a big fan of Paul Barton, Pianist Magazine and Josh Wright. I also watch things by Nahre Sol and Cedarville Music. Of course, there are almost limitless 'teachers' on youtube, I just prefer these because they seem to have the appropriate 'pedigree' so I'm more inclined to trust what they say.
Finally, having some kind of course to follow I've also found can be helpful. I use (as a supplement to my other pieces) a course by Melanie Spanswick called Play It Again Piano ... might be worth you having a look at. Unless you can find a good teacher who will help you pick out good things to learn. I think the trick is to have one or two things that might be well beyond your ability that you are prepared to work on progressively over a year or more, some other things that you expect to learn rather more quickly and perhaps one or two things that are more a challenge to you memorising the music than learning how to actually play it if that makes sense.
Everyone is right about getting a teacher, particularly for the basics and more advanced concepts as well. I personally started playing through a high school class for a semester then was taught all over again by a guy from my church.
Since then however I have been playing on my own (with books) and learning by ear as well. Here are my recommendations
I was in the same boat a couple of moths ago, went to musical school from ages 6-13, stopped when I moved to another country. Haven't touched piano for 6 years. Decided to get back into it, bought a digital piano 2 months ago.
For key signatures, I recommend practicing scales and arpeggios, acquiring this book can certainly help. For music theory, I highly recommend checking out Dave Conservatoire. He has made a bunch of videos about general music theory.
Sight reading is something you pick up with experience, a good exercise is to sightread absurdly easy pieces (start with grade 1). I was never much into sight reading, but I do have this PDF which might be helpful. There should be plenty of sight reading exercises on the web.
I am not sure what you mean by this, is it training relative pitch or improvising on spot and playing exactly what you have in mind you want? I seem to improve both of these things while transcribing music into a score. I guess composing could work as well. I started out painfully slowly, (took me 5 hours to transcribe first 20 seconds of Come on Eileen). But, just like any skill, you will get better at it with experience. The software I use for ranscribing is called Sybelius, but if you can not afford it (or if you do not support pirating) there are free alternatives.
Arguably, the most important thing is staying interested. Playing scales, learning music theory, listening to the same song 50 times because you can not figure out a chord or timing can be extremely boring at times. So playing a piece that truly challenges your hands will reward you much more than practicing tedious scales.
I've been playing for a long time now, and have never experienced this thing which you term 'piano culture'. Of course there are competitive people in every field—from music to lawn-mowing, probably—, but do you have to associate with them? Absolutely not.
It should not be at all challenging to find a teacher who is willing to teach away from the exams. You may find that you want to take them down the line, or see how well you're progressing by practicing material from the grades. This is fine, as is staying away from them altogether.
At the end of the day, if you want to learn: learn. Self-teaching is not frowned upon at all, it's just more of a challenge and, on average, you probably won't progress anywhere near as quickly as with guided instruction. If your enjoyment motivates you to learn solo, then do that. Lots of great musicians have, and will continue to.
Edit**: If teaching yourself is your favourite option, I recommend the Alfred's Basic Piano Course series! Best of luck :)
Lol are you me?
Your story is scary close to mine, I took lessons from 9-12 and just started to try and get back into around 23.
I can tell you what I did, I'm still kind of figuring it out myself:
I bought a P115 (600$), I didn't have the option to use my old unweighted piano as it broke many years ago, I could have gone with the P45 (450$) but recent college grad with decent paying job so I said fuck it and dropped the extra 150$ based on this subs recommendations.
That being said playing on a decent weighted keyboard is infinitely more enjoyable than playing on an unweighted keyboard; I think if I had had something like a P45/P115 (they use the same key action so they feel the same) I would have stuck with lessons as a kid longer. It is just so much more enjoyable to sit and play at.
As for getting back up to speed I try and practice 30 mins ~ 1 hour a day in 15-20 min sessions.
I usually do a Hannon Hand Exercise then I do a scale/cords ( I'm just working my way through major and minor scales one per day).
I bought Alfred's All-in-One Adult Beginner Course and blasted through the first 3/4ths of the first book and now try and do one little chunk (lesson and associated song) a day or over the course of 2 or 3 days based on it's difficulty.
I try and sight read something new everyday and really focus on technique and dynamics, so I'm working my way through Kabalevsky's 24 Pieces for Children one piece a day, nice and slow, focusing on dynamics, technique, and tempo.
Lastly I picked two songs I wanted to work on that are just slightly above my current level and maybe a little bit below the my level when I quite all those years ago. The way I practice those songs is by picking out the hardest measure and working on it nice and slow, hands apart and together, then work on the next hardest measure, and so on and so forth.
So that's what I'm doing, maybe you can find a nugget of help in all that, I did a fair amount of research on how to practice and what to practice ( had some really boring days at work lol )
NOOooooooooooooo. DO NOT GET THE YAMAHA P45B, instead, consider the Yamaha P115. The reason is because the P45B comes with only 64 polyphonic voices while the P115 comes with 192 polyphonic voices. This makes a HUGE difference when playing piano! Especially when you get to more advance pieces.
I was in the same position as you last black friday as well and I choose the P45B at first because of it's price. It was pretty bad and some notes would just cut off at certain points (related to the polyphonic voices)! So I returned it and got the P115 and have been loving it ever since. The only thing I wish it had was a note display cause I started out as a beginner.
I took a look at the Kawai ES100 and it has 192 polyphonic voices as well, which is good, but it doesn't seem to have as much button settings as the Yamaha P115 does. I would suggest you look up the manuals for both to see all the settings both have. Some have hidden settings which use a combination of a function key + note key.
FINALLY. DO NOT MAKE YOUR DECISION OFF OF THE PEDAL. You can easily get a $20 pedal off of Amazon which is already better quality than both pedals you listed combined.
In conclusion, because I love my P115, I will recommend that over the Kawai. Hope this helps in your decision!
EDIT: Extra read up on polyphony.
EDIT 2: Me performing one of my favorite songs on the Yamaha P115.
I run a discord serve aimed at helping people that are new at piano, but if that doesn't work for you I also recommend these sites.
MusicTheory.Net - to give you the overall idea of what music theory should be.
PianoLessonsOnTheWeb - for overall piano lessons. Not much seen into this guy personally, but what I have seen is pretty good.
Bill Hilton - absolutely awesome youtuber that provides some good ideas and techniques on what to do
Michael New - Overall really good at describing music theory.
Alfred's - Overall one of the most highly regarded beginner series known out there. Highly recommend.
Paul Barton - Overall to be amazed by his godly voice/humbleness and his overall playing (inspiration)
Discord - Shameless plug of my very own discrod server!
I'd go for a digital piano/keyboard. The primary thing you need to look for is that it has weighted keys so that it replicates the feel of an acoustic keyboard.
I was fortunate and stumbled across a used dp-105 for $300 on craigslist. I had been researching and shopping for a bit over a month. If I didn't end up finding the dp-105, I would probably have gone new with a dp-71. The dp-71 based on reviews is identical to yamaha's dp-45, which is their entry level weighted keyboard, and from my research the lowest I'd consider going. The dp-71 is an amazon exclusive partnership with yamaha and is $50 cheaper and comes with a sustain key, so seems to be a superior deal to the dp-45. You could go cheaper with williams brand I think they've got some semi-weighted keyboards for under $300, but if you really want a good experience learning piano I probably wouldn't do anything less than a dp-45.
If you buy used, make sure to bring headphones to test the audio output and test all the keys to make sure they sound ok. I'd also recommend going to a guitar center to feel out a few different keyboards, my local one had a dp-45 and it felt pretty good.
There was another reddit thread about searching for a new piano I found useful, I'll let you know if i find it again.
/u/improvthismoment is right about how jazz is generally learned, but if you prefer to sight read insead of lifting from recordings, there are lots of great jazz transcriptions out there that can help develop your style and vocabulary. The World's Best Piano Arrangements has a generic sounding name but is a pretty dynamite book that has taught me a lot.
If you're interested in getting going with real jazz piano, The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine is a classic that has kicked off many great jazz piano journeys. Good luck!
PX780 is an awesome digital, I love the Privia series.
I would recommend this book as well as the second book, it's compiled by Melanie Spanswick a fantastic pedagogue it is specifically marketed for people that are returning to piano, it has a wide range of pieces within different styles beginning from grade 1 - grade 8 I believe the last piece of the second book is Rachmaninoff's famous prelude op 3 no 2 in C sharp minor. There are also practice tips along the way on how to practice the pieces, since you said you played for a while when you were younger I think these two books would be a great approach to get you back into shape instead of having to start from scratch via some adult beginner books.
Good luck my friend!
You should get a piano bench that is adjustable. I started with the one linked below, although I'd shop around as the price may have jumped up. I don't remember spending 50 dollars, but considering it's lasted 6 years I guess it was worth it. It's not 100% adjustable since it has "levels" and you might end up needing a height between levels. The acoustic piano benches that are fully adjustable cost $200+ though. A bench at the proper height will help avoid back pain after playing for a little while.
Scales are good to learn, you can do this as a warm up. I just listed two that seem to come up often and only had a single black key in them. I wouldn't recommend learning only scales as that would get boring. My teacher would have me do one scale as a warm up and when I could play it two-octave, hands together, including the 3 primary chords and inversions, and the arpeggio (the book we used had all of these on one page) then we'd move to a new one.
Now I'm going back and playing the scales of any pieces I'm working on at the time during warm-up. I do 4 octaves contrary motion. So it starts out normal then half way left hand starts going back down and right hand keeps going up. When right hand hits the 4th octave it starts going down and left hand starts going up again. Makes them feel fresh. I can learn scales faster than pieces so soon I'll have to start rotating scales in that aren't tied to pieces.
Edit - this is the new book I use for scales. The old one was fine but this had a little more info in it. There were some sections at the beginning that explained how scales were formed before getting into the usual big list of all of them.
Well, if you're really interested in playing piano for the long run and not just starting and quitting, you should get something nice. Because if you get something cheap and want to go further you'll probably regret it.
On the cheaper side, there's the Yamaha P-45 or the P-71 (They're the same thing) https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01LY8OUQW/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1509807635&amp;sr=8-3&amp;pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&amp;keywords=P71&amp;dpPl=1&amp;dpID=41La5-9h9WL&amp;ref=plSrch
The keyboard that my teacher has at lessons is a P-105. It's pretty good, probably better than the 45, but a bit more expensive. It may be a little old though idk. https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-P105B-88-Key-Digital-Piano/dp/B009DER0MA
I've also seen a lot of people on here getting the P-115. It may be something you want to check out too. It looks exactly like the P-105... Strange
I haven't gotten to play on them, but I've also heard really good things about the Kawai CA-67 and the CA-97. These are quite a bit more than the Yamahas I showed you but are a lot better quality. The two models are the same but the 97 has a better sound quality. It actually has a acoustic soundboard. You may be able to get these online or maybe at a store nearby. https://www.thomannmusic.com/kawai_ca_67_sb_set.htm?sid=a9519d05780fcfba15d9ee3e0fd56b33&amp;ref=prod_rel_356373_0
I think they just came out with newer models of these though. The CA-78 and the CA-98.
Anyway, here's some different options but definitely check out the FAQ on this subreddit. There's a whole page dedicated to this stuff.
Since you don't have any musical background, a great place to start is learning how to read sheet music and general music theory. A great website for you is http://www.musictheory.net/
Under lessons, you can learn a ton about sheet music.
To be honest, I'm not a great Piano player. I just recently picked it back up. I do, however, have a musical background and even with the information I have, it is still difficult to pick up. I don't have a teacher but I will eventually get one whenever money isn't so tight. Piano isn't something you learn how to play overnight nor is it something you can "master". You can always improve and there is always something to learn.
The last piece of advice I could give you is buy a workbook! It's especially helpful. I personally recommend:
Good luck and have a blast on this new journey you're about to embark! Remember, don't give up! You got this!
Get a copy of Mark Harrison's pop piano book. It has a fairly unique take that I found quite useful. The first 100 pages seem pretty dry but some of the "drill" exercises are really good and translate very well to the kind of licks you're looking for in a variety of genres. It's definitely a step above most "learn to play [shitty renditions of] blues/pop/jazz in 21 easy lessons" books.
100 ultimate blues riffs is ...okay but worth getting ahold of and playing through. It also some ideas you could steal.
The short version is that it's all about the pentatonic, baby. Learn it. Love it. Live it. That famous solo in the Allman brothers "Jessica", the piano outro in "Sweet Home Alabama" and the crazy keyboards in "Frankenstein" are all largely built on pentatonic and blues riffs.
music theory on youtube
see if you can hook up your instrument to a computer or get a modest priced/used one that can and get synthesia
pickup this book; you can take the cdrom that comes with the book and load those midi files into synthesia. This will allow you to ensure you are doing the exercises in the book correctly
Learn the landmark system (instead of the typical Every Good Boy Deserves Chocolate and FACE methods of learning the Treble Clef
I also recently had this book recommended to me but it has not arrived yet
I just started using this app to train my ear to identify notes
My method so far about 8 months into learning. My best friend is a professional musician (lives far so can't help me practically) and unlike some opinions floating around he was very encouraging of using Synthesia as long as I continued to pursue actual music reading in parallel. There is a button on Synthesia to show the sheet music so you can do both. That said sitting with just the book or a piece of music that is familiar in front of you and forcing yourself to spend some time with it alone is very fulfilling and will come slowly as you work with all of these materials. Good Luck!
You could practice just tapping out rhythms with your fingers on the desk to start with, in time to a metronome or drum beat. Accent the first beat, then practice accenting different beats. Obviously, you have to continuously listen to the metronome, and correct your tapping if you get out of time. Being able to get back into time is something you need to practice and improve.
Don't worry about forgetting pieces you've learnt - it's a fact of life. Once you have a piece as good as it'll get, make a recording for posterity and move on. You can keep pieces as part of your "repertoire" if you want, but you'll still need to work on them from time to time, and to be honest it gets boring keeping pieces you've already learnt in maintenance mode. So learn new stuff.
It's hard to recommend pieces since I don't really know your level, I started a long time ago, and I'm not a teacher. Like I mentioned, Hanon Part I is good as an exercise (kind of alternative to scales - use for warming up). Something like First Lessons in Bach seems to have good reviews. If you just want an individual piece, try "Prelude in C Major" - you should recognize it. Good luck.
It is really best that he tries out the various possibilities before you plunk down the money for one. For example, the YPG-235 only has 76 keys (full size is 88). Can he really make do with that? Which one does he like the feel of the keys best? Which one sounds best to him? Does he really need/want the hundreds of extra voices on the YPG?
Alexis digital pianos are basically beginner pianos mostly meant for parents who don't want to spend a lot of money to see if their child will like playing piano. They are cheap and sound like it, tend to have quality issues, and definitely are not suitable for busking.
For your price range, my suggestion would be the Yamaha P-45 (or Amazon's "exclusive" version, the P-71 ). Keep in mind that you will have to spend another $30 or so for a stand (which should at minimum be double-X style, not a single-X which are wobbly).
I hope this helps a bit.
Scales would be the obvious place to start. Work on one scale every week for the whole week. Find a resource online for proper fingering or pick up a cheap resource like this. Hands slowly separately. Then hands slowly together. Work with a metronome.
Try to find a teacher as soon as you can. Even a few formative lessons (1 to 3 months) will do wonders for your playing down the road and give you the best possible chance to develop good technique.
Music flashcards are good. Back in my day they were actually on paper, but nowadays there are apps which do a better job. Make it a priority to be comfortable reading music.
Now that you have your keyboard, I strongly urge you to examine your chair height. Most people sit too low and this starts causing extra wrist tension. Look for the forearms to be level or sloping slightly downward toward the keyboard.
Good luck! Take it slow, don't expect anything to come quickly. Be patient. Have fun!
Try to find some used pianos.
and also your local craigslist/letgo/offerup
also on amazon:
It comes out to $330, maybe 380 with tax.
For the Prime Store Cash back you need to get the amazon store card (a credit card, you recieve 5% back on all amazon purchases, but sometimes, like for instruments you can recieve 10% back.) and for the Harmony discount you go to the product page and press the call me button and ask for the Harmony promo code. The %of the code varies between 5% to 18% so in total you can save 15% to 28%
As others are saying, I think you're going to be hard-pressed to put together a solid audition in six weeks if you don't have any jazz experience. But you've got four years, right? There's no reason you can't go out your sophomore year. If you really want to get into jazz piano, I recommend checking out Mark Levine's Jazz Piano Book. Each chapter represents months, if not more, of practice, but you'll have a very strong foundation to build on if you keep with it.
I think going out for choir would actually be a great idea. Singing in harmony with others is one of the most satisfying musical experiences you can have, and it's GREAT ear training. Plus, there's no reason you can't continue playing solo repertoire, right? If you hang out in the music department a bunch, you might even be able to pop in on jam sessions or start a band with some like-minded musicians. Not to mention what's out there if your school is near a major metropolitan area.
It's hard to find stuff on Jazz Theory on Google for sure, much less recommendations for music transcription. I really can't think of a good place to start with regards to the songs you should try to transcribe, but there are books I've used that have plenty of suggested reading/listening listed. Hopefully you don't already know about these...
The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine (it can be kind of pricy, here's a link to it on Amazon) which has a whole regimen of listening suggestions in its curriculum, focusing a good amount on jazz harmony, and melodic improvisation.
I learned a lot about jazz chords and voicings from
MiracleVoicings by Frank Mantooth. Working through these books will help you understand better how to approach jazz chords, which should help you better conceive of what you're hearing when you try to transcribe them.
EDIT: The book has been republished as Voicings for Jazz Keyboard by Frank Mantooth
B&H has the px160 with stand, pedals, and bench for $450 new.
Guitar center has a lot of used digital pianos. They price them to be competitive with used listings on ebay. Looking through listings on guitarcenter and sold listings on ebay might be as close as you'll get to a blue book value.
PX150 and PX160 have the same action, either would be fine to start on. Getting a yamaha p115, kawai es110, or roland fp30 might be a better fit for some, but the level of improvement is not huge. Unless you really dislike the casio tone, either keeping the px150, or selling it to get the px160 bundle I linked above, would leave you with a perfectly fine instrument to start out on.
A teacher is recommended, but if you go with method books, faber adult all in one or alfred adult all in one are fine to start with.
If you get to the end of the third alfred book and can play through the pieces in the 'ambitious sections' at the end of the book, you might want to consider an upgrade. Until then, don't worry about it. A PX150 is just fine.