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#1263531 - 09/06/09 02:59 PM Beginner and self-study
dude112 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 5
I'm new in this forum so hello.
I'm a student and want to learn piano/keyboard. I have absolutely no musical background so I'll be learning everything from scratch, aside from music class i had in highschool but that didn't have anything to do with playing instruments.

I bought an 88key keyboard (m-audio prokeys) to practice. Finances are a bit tight at the moment so i thought i'd try self study for the moment. Reading this forum I see everyone suggests getting a teacher to prevent bad habits but I simply don't have the finances atm.

Searching the internet for courses I came across a lot of reviews that sounded like adverts for products like:
Learn and master Piano, Piano for all, Rocket piano.

But in fora there is little bad spoken about these courses so i guess they deliver the goods. There have been testimonies in here as well about these products...

In my search I never came across alfred's books but they seem to be in very high regards here so I might look for those.
A friend of mine also has some Bastien books which I can borrow (also never heard of).

My goal is to be able to play casually and be able to play pop and film music without sheetmusic. I think it's called playing by ear? Searching for courses playing by ear i came across "The Secrets To Playing Piano By Ear" by Jermaine Griggs.

So my question is, what course would be best to play pop and film music without a sheet? Or is playing by ear actually a very high end skill that comes after mastering the piano at a certain level?

Advice would be much appreciated,

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#1263540 - 09/06/09 03:23 PM Re: Beginner and self-study [Re: dude112]
Mr_Lion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 189
Loc: United Kingdom
Why not learn how to read music? It doesn't take a great deal of time to grasp the basics and most pop songs are very simple chord progressions and can easily be picked up. The ones that aren't so simple may be to complex to figure out by ear, especially for the bass clef.

#1263549 - 09/06/09 03:37 PM Re: Beginner and self-study [Re: dude112]
Tyron B. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 15
Loc: UK
I've got the course book by Jermaine Griggs, and am slowly working through it. I also have his DVD courses (GK 101,202,300,500), all teaching how to play by ear. I had pianoforall maybe still do somewhere backed up, can't really give a review for that as I never really invested my time into it. I did at one point try Rocket Piano but out of ignorance returned it on first sight of sheet music, wanting only to play by ear. The book by Jermaine Griggs won't teach you how to read notes, but it'll give you the fundamental theory behind chords & progression and ear training, it has plays a lot of emphasis on knowing and being able to play(master) your scales.

Regarding your question to playing by ear, you will first of all need an ear, a musically sound ear(i.e picking out melodies/bass etc). Something that comes with listening & practice. You are going to need to know your intervals and be able to identify them; This is all in the realm of relative pitch. There are many programs out there that have exercises to help improve your ear such as earmaster. If you're aching to start, just jump on youtube; lookup some songs and begin to try and pick out the melodies on your piano, whilst the song is playing. It'll seem impossible at first but just keep going, eventually whether it takes an hour to a week, keep going!

I hope that I have given some sound advice, being new to the piano aswell. Oh and another the thing about buying online courses, is that you could buy them all and still not progress. Playing piano has to be a labour of love supplemented with diligent practice.

And one last thing, try getting a job to support getting tuition, doesn't have to be intensive, a saturday job should be enough to fund weekly lessons. That's what I'm trying to do.

#1263550 - 09/06/09 03:42 PM Re: Beginner and self-study [Re: Tyron B.]
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6364
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
There are several people here in the ABF who play only by ear. The piano magic course is popular with them, as well as with people who can read music but want to learn how to play by ear. If you use the search button at the top of the page you'll find many threads discussing this course.

The Alfred's books have threads on them here in the ABF that will help you along. Some of the people using them are in formal lessons, and some aren't.

Welcome to the ABF, and enjoy your piano playing experience.


Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

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#1263553 - 09/06/09 03:44 PM Re: Beginner and self-study [Re: jotur]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Dude 112 ... I've got a free lesson you might be interested in. New Age piano is used a lot in film music. Actually, you can think of it as a soundtrack. Just click my link to get the lesson.
Play New Age Piano

#1263852 - 09/07/09 04:58 AM Re: Beginner and self-study [Re: eweiss]
dude112 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 5
@ Mr Lion: I don't have anything against learning how to read music but my aim is to be able to play (solo) and improvise without using sheets. Of course it's a nice extra skill set but in the end I would like to be able to...

@ TyronB: That certainly is some sound advice and I know getting a teacher would probably be best and doable but i'd like to try flying solo first and maybe get a teacher down the line (although this way i might have to unlearn bad habits...what a dilemma).

@jotur & eweiss: I'll look into Piano Magic and New Age piano. From what I've read about PM in these forums it's courses are very unorganized which doesn't really appeal to me.

Is it best to jump in straight to learn piano by ear or would it be best to lay some groundwork with courses like Piano for all or L&M piano?

Oh and is there a big difference between alfred's basic adult course and the all in one? From what I gather the all in one contains theory which the basic does not. My friend has some books about theory so would that a good replacement?

Edited by dude112 (09/07/09 05:26 AM)

#1263854 - 09/07/09 05:24 AM Re: Beginner and self-study [Re: dude112]
NocturneLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Dantooine
You're on your way dude112.

But when you practice and sometimes feel discouraged, remember Anthony Robbins quote, "Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in five years."
"...music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." -Ludwig van Beethoven

#1263886 - 09/07/09 07:01 AM Re: Beginner and self-study [Re: dude112]
Tyron B. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 15
Loc: UK
Should you lay some groundwork? I would say yes but not with those courses, it'll eventually gather space on your hard disks as you head on to do some of your own stuff on the keys. However it is good to lay some foundation. I wouldn't know what the best foundation is as I'm sure everybody starts of different but I can tell you what I'm planning to do. My goal ultimately is to play by ear. I'm learning to read notes (not gonna bother with sight reading), so that I can make use of the hanon exercises and other technique books. I would say start of with scales(helps with being able to find melodies, transposing etc), know them back and front and up to at least two octaves; become intimate with them and one thing I've been adviced on is to know them by numbers so If I said the 2 of E you should be able to tell me in under 1 sec Gb. Then after that or at the same time learn the chords and how to build them of any scale degree and then progressions. Sounds like alot but we'll get there slowly but surely!

You might want to get a book on theory as well maybe the "Piano Handbook" would work or "Jazz Piano Book". I wouldn't know but they've been recommend before.

Be sure to always be working on your ear.

#1264400 - 09/08/09 04:50 AM Re: Beginner and self-study [Re: Tyron B.]
dude112 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 5
I've been researching a bit about ear training and it seems "relative pitch" would be the way to go but there are so many different programs out there both free and... not free.
The ones that popped out were Earmaster and The relative pitch ear training supercourse. Comments about the supercourse are mixed saying it works others say it doesn't... but there seems to be a consensus about it being very long winded and NOT straight to the point at all...
Couldn't find much comments on Earmaster only recommendations, which would imply it's good but without any explanation and doesn't really tell you if it's for perfect or relative pitch or something completely different.

Any recommendations on ear training programs for relative pitch?
I tried the search option but it's kind off hard to navigate. Did find a few threads but that just helped me to what I've written right here.

#1264468 - 09/08/09 08:58 AM Re: Beginner and self-study [Re: dude112]
Tyron B. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 15
Loc: UK
Well to find out more about EarMaster you could download the trial and use it for your self to see if you like it. You could also read the user comments on their website (http://www.earmaster.com/user-comments.htm)


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