Online or digital adult piano lessons?
December 25, 2014 1:56 PM   Subscribe

I played piano for over 7 years as a child, quit playing (we moved away from the piano), but stayed in choir well into my 20's.

I can still kinda read treble clef, as long as I don't try to figure out key signatures.

Fast forward a few decades - this year I bought myself a Yamaha DGX500 digital piano for Christmas (it was under $300, and I knew Yamaha make good electronic pianos). I fooled around on it, and downloaded the owners manual (which is daunting), and have been able to play all the major scales with my right hand with correct fingering.

Now - how do I go about re-learning how to read music and play? Difficulty level - I have a super-long commute (2 hrs each way), so only about 1/2 hour a day to practice, more on weekends. Because of the commute, I think it's doubtful I'll find lessons that would work for me, so I'm looking to online or 'digital' (DVD or online subscription) models.
posted by dbmcd to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Good on you, getting back into playing piano. You should be able to find a laid-back teacher for a Saturday or Sunday lesson, who will be delighted with whatever progress you're able to make in the time available. Music teachers for adults aren't in the business of making you feel bad about your progress (some may, but not the good ones).
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:09 PM on December 25, 2014

Here's a nice trick w/r/t/ key signatures with sharps, by the way: the last sharp (the rightmost) in the key signature is one note below the tonic of the key signature. The key of G has one sharp, F#. Consider the key signature with 4 sharps. That's E, and the rightmost written sharp is D#.

The corresponding trick for key signatures with flats isn't quite as easy: the last flat is an interval of a fifth below the tonic. F has one flat, and it's Bb. Bb has 2 flats, and the last is Eb, and so on.
posted by thelonius at 2:40 PM on December 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

Perhaps working your way through a Hanon book?
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:53 PM on December 25, 2014

Take a look at the Youtube channel of the UK magazine Pianist; they have some good-looking material about how to practice, fundamentals of technique, etc.
posted by thelonius at 7:04 PM on December 25, 2014

Best answer: Oh hai you has internet? I kid, I know you're probably looking for something a little more focused, but the best thing you can do is sit down and start playing the piano. 30 min/day is a great amount of time; watch a lesson, play through, practice the scale/song/pattern/whatever, just get your fingers used to moving again.
posted by disconnect at 7:11 PM on December 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have now six months of working through the Alfred piano for adults books and I can (badly) play the arrangement for Let It Go with fancy chords and all. I really recommend the book because you have a big printed page rather than a small iPad screen, and the Alfrd walks you through theory as well which was a good refresher for me (same as you, childhood lessons). I've just started the second book and will get proper lessons with a teacher when I finish this one. I practiced 20-30 minutes a day too and it was enough to see progress.
posted by viggorlijah at 8:12 PM on December 25, 2014

Best answer: The corresponding trick for key signatures with flats that the key = the second last flat in the key signature. You just have to learn that the one flat (Bb) is the key of F but that's easy enough. After that - if you see 2 flats (Bb and Eb), the second last flat is the Bb so it's the key of Bb. 3 flats (Bb, Eb, Ab) = Eb. And so on.

That doesn't help you with figuring out say, how many flats in the key of Gb and what they are, and it certainly doesn't help you play the darn thing, but at least you can glance at the key signature and know what key you're in.

Re practice - 30 mins a day is heaps, probably more than average actually. If you're not driving on your commute, try visualising. Look at the music, picture the keys and move your fingers accordingly. Not a substitute for real practice, but it'll definitely help your mind translate the notes from the page to the keys. Good luck!
posted by pianissimo at 6:21 AM on December 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the encouragement and for the links - Piano Nanny looks very promising. Some of the starting stuff is very basic, but it will be a good refresher for me.
I start practice today!
posted by dbmcd at 1:01 PM on December 29, 2014

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