Teach me the piano.
November 17, 2013 6:08 PM   Subscribe

I have loads of free time and would really like to use it in a positive way. I want to be more musical and have always been attracted to the piano. I spent a few years in middle school band playing the tromobne but haven't done anything musical since (I'm 27). I've been pondering the idea of buying a keyboard and searching for some software or resources for self-learning. Does anyone have any good recommendations for a young adult who wants to learn the piano?
posted by sewellcm to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
As the daughter of a pianist (who teaches piano lessons as well as playing for various churches and groups), I feel obligated to advise piano lessons. No amount of software can teach you how to play a piece *musically* beyond simple technical proficiency.

Many, if not most, of my mom's students use keyboards. The most important thing is to find one with weighted keys that feel like a "real" piano. Beyond that, a teacher could certainly point you to what will work best for your budget.
posted by sonika at 6:24 PM on November 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

I agree with sonika. There are a very few rare individuals who can progress without a teacher. The improvement in my guitar playing by taking classes outshines all the years of self-taught.
posted by blob at 6:38 PM on November 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love self-teaching even though it can be so much reinventing the wheel.
In learning a language, just as in music, you can find a million online courses and youtube videos. But there will be some sounds in it that you can't hear, as you didn't grow up around them and your ears aren't tuned to them. So you won't even notice you are getting those sounds wrong and you need a native speaker. In the absence of a formal teacher I feel the second best is being in touch with the culture where that language is spoken, meaning going to recitals, open mics, ... wherever you have a chance of meeting fellow piano learners and other music learners at your level. Who knows by now there is a forum where people upload every week what they have practised and give each other feedback (I'm still waiting for someone to invent a cross of GuitarHero, music teaching software and WoW).
posted by yoHighness at 3:18 AM on November 18, 2013

Get a teacher (spend some time getting one who suits you), and make sure you really have time for practice. If you can't do that, you're throwing your money away.
posted by monkey closet at 4:01 AM on November 18, 2013

Definitely get a teacher first - if you develop any bad habits early on it can be very hard to undo the damage. Once you've got the basics down you can learn on your own, by reading sheet music, playing by ear, watching YouTube videos, improvising...

What works for me is finding a song I really, really like, downloading the sheet music (musicnotes.com or google), and working on it until it sounds good.

Whatever path you take, keep at it and keep challenging yourself with harder material. Good luck!
posted by fix at 5:07 AM on November 18, 2013

Teacher definitely. I was doing books and all, and I didn't realize my posture and how my fingers were bent incorrectly etc causing pain. No problems now that I'm conscious of stuff like this.

PS: If you want to play the *piano*, please get something with weighted keys. I played on a budget midi keyboard the first few months with my piano teacher, we were both somewhat frustrated as I couldn't get the dynamics right on his grand piano. Finally bought a digital piano and my dynamics control took a quantum leap forward.
posted by TrinsicWS at 7:37 AM on November 18, 2013

Another vote for a teacher. I just started playing to learn how to play the piano a few months ago, and having a teacher makes a huge difference. I already know how to read music and can play the guitar, but my teacher points out things like my posture, when I'm not paying attention to dynamics (that would be always), and having the appointment motivates me to practice.

That said: I'm using the Fabers' Adult Piano Adventures, among others, and it's good.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:42 PM on November 18, 2013

P.S. You're an adult, not a "young adult." You should know this if you're going to look for a teacher, otherwise you're going to have some confusing conversations.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:44 PM on November 18, 2013

I am a 37 year-old piano self-learner and am really enjoying it. I would highly recommend the Alfred's book series. I'm on the third book and it been great fun all the way. Recognizable tunes and a smooth steady progression of skills.
posted by huckit at 3:14 PM on November 18, 2013

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