Online ivory tinkling.
May 23, 2012 3:40 AM   Subscribe

Direct me to the best online piano lessons for someone who already has decent theory knowledge!

I'm a singer with half a music degree behind me, so I'm able to read music well - I just struggle with the hand-eye coordination required to play piano, and I'd love to get better! Ideally, I'd find a website that has sheet music for songs that slowly increase in difficulty, and skips out on the whole 'what is a crotchet?' part. Preferably targeted at adults (but beggars can't be choosers) and preferably free. Does anything like this exist? Thank you!
posted by lovedbymarylane to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I had a few years of lessons as a kid, and have been getting back into it by fits and starts, and at the point where I just wanted to read a lot of progressive easy pieces to improve my hand-eye coordination, I downloaded an old public-domain piano method for beginners.

I used the Beyer piano method, which is still widely used in Asia to teach piano -- it has some drawbacks (the pieces are all very similar stylistically, it doesn't introduce the bass clef or keys besides C Major until rather late) but I got a lot out of it.
posted by Jeanne at 5:23 AM on May 23, 2012

If you have a Mac, Garageband includes piano lessons for free..
posted by empath at 8:05 AM on May 23, 2012

The ABRSM (a music education/testing body) has a sightreading app for the iPad called SightRead4Piano. The pieces are really just small chunks and are graded by grade level. I don't think you can print them out though.

If you're willing to spend a little bit of money, the Improve Your Sight Reading! series from Faber is available on Amazon. It's graded according to difficulty and is pretty decent. I also supplement my sightreading material by pillaging used bookstores of all their old sheet music that seems to be written at a level that would be useful in sightreading. Lots of kids cast off their old method books and you can buy them pretty cheaply when you find them.

You're pretty much where I was at 3 years ago when I started to learn piano. I knew how to read basic musical notation but didn't have the hand-eye coordination. I will say that technical exercises - scales, chords, arpeggios - are an important part of the process in developing that hand eye coordination. You're going to be pretty surprised by how "weak" your hands are relative to the piano. There's a lot of general conditioning in your hands that you will have to do to get your hands up to the point that they can play well.

You didn't mention taking lessons from a real instructor. In my experience a bad piano teacher is no better (or worse) than learning from a book, but a good teacher is 10 times more valuable. As you move up levels in the music, dexterity and musicality become more important than just hitting the right keys at roughly the right time, and a great teacher will observe you while you're playing and help you to make the adjustments to continue to move up in levels.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions.
posted by sherlockt at 10:18 AM on May 23, 2012

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