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Topic Options
#2000850 - 12/17/12 07:28 PM Newbie Needs Advice
Colorado Mac Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/17/12
Posts: 5
Hi everyone. I am taking the plunge into piano - consider it an early New Year's resolution. I have always wanted to play piano.

I am 45 years old and have been playing guitar since I was about 14. So, I am already a musician but I have no experience with piano, very limited sight reading skills and a "street" knowledge of music theory. I am a self taught guitarist - no formal instruction, just books and stuff like that.

My goal isn't to become an accomplished piano player - I am just looking to have some fun, learn a few things and learn a new skill.

So, I purchased a Williams Allegro digital piano (being shipped to me now) and the eMedia Piano and Keyboard Method software. I figure that should set me up and help me get the basics down. If I complete the software course, I may consider live instruction. But before I jump in that deep, I can busy myself for awhile. Hopefully, my background with guitar will make this a lot easier than a brand new player.

Does anyone have any advice or thoughts on other resources/stuff I may need for the first several months?

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#2000858 - 12/17/12 08:02 PM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
Hedgeclipper Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/15/12
Posts: 6
I have found that piano requires a lot more rigorous music theory than guitar (especially if you are self-taught and don't like to read music). Of course, to learn classical piano songs and the like, you will need to learn to read music very well, but there are a lot of folk/pop songs which have simple music written for them where the chords are written in (as they are for guitar).

What I would suggest is printing out a circle of fifths:

(if you're a painter or an artist (like me!), the colours might help you understand it. Another nice thing you can do is draw a unicursal dodecagram and place keys on it's points)

Now tape that to your piano and learn every scale and basic triad (arpeggios too if you're feeling fancy)

Now think of a chord progression you like (either use the circle or take something you already know from your guitar playing) and play some chords that go with it in the left hand (from the triads you learned) and play some sort of a rhythm (from the scales you learned) in the right hand. Switch your left and right hand occasionally, as piano requires being more ambidextrous than guitar and JAM!

also, since you're a guitarist, learn the blues. You will need your blues chord progressions from guitar, some nice chords, some nice trills, all your pentatonic blues scales and this guy's: http://community.learnandmaster.com/uploads/gallery/album_405/gallery_26566_405_67528.jpg blues licks.

This is what I would recommend to transition from guitar-> piano
but later on I would recommend you learn to read music better and learn some songs. Try some Tom Lehrer sheet music. Tom Lehrer is a relatively easy and super fun to play pianist and you can hear him play all of his songs on youtube.

Edited by Hedgeclipper (12/17/12 08:09 PM)

#2000862 - 12/17/12 08:20 PM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014

Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I'd explore www.Piano-ology.com as well as the man's youtube channel to learn as much as you can about what piano technique is and how to acquire it so as not to learn bad habits (or at least try, as they're quite hard to get rid of) and if you're really enthusiastic, www.pianopractice.org to learn about good practicing habits and more.
"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."

#2000909 - 12/17/12 10:34 PM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
malkin Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 4165
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Have fun!

Finding a teacher you like working with will speed up your progress.
Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

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#2001000 - 12/18/12 04:11 AM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
I'm a newbie as well, having played guitar self-taught for a few years. So...maybe this post is not the way you should go about things smirk But I'll just post what I'm doing anyway.

It really depends what you mean by you wanting to "learn a few things". For me, my goals were clear. There are a number of songs that I wanted to learn, above general piano playing capabilities, and those are my end goals which I need to work towards. They are pretty complex classical songs so I guess it'll take me a few (or a lot of) years before I accomplish these. On this journey, I'm pretty sure I'll discover other avenues or directions in which to take my piano playing as well, since you just don't really know what's out there in the world of piano until we get exposed to the finer things.

Technique seems to be a lot more important than guitar. I've already hurt the muscle joint in right my elbow by not paying attention to basic posture and which muscles to use during key striking. Read the "Important Topics" link in the ABF forum, I'm currently reading that pianopractice.org book to get me some sort of info on HOW to practice, as I don't have a teacher (yet?) and a lot of other books just tell you to play things like 'Mary had a little lamb' or 'Jingle Bells', which I have absolutely no desire to play!

There are some youtube vids which I'm going through, check out Andrew Furmanczyk. It's pretty basic but it's a nice base, if you can survive his weird jokes and giggles...

I see there are some Hanon finger exercises which help strengthen the fingers which I will be looking at.

Basically I am hoping I will find my way by just moving step by step and scouring the forums for advice on particular things. Working on piano - for me - seems a bit open ended because you're not quite sure what you are really going to be interested in until you get the ball rolling and just start playing. You have already ventured on the self-taught path, so you will know the things to look out for etc as you learn to play.

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

#2001038 - 12/18/12 07:38 AM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
dmd Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 3129
Loc: Pennsylvania
You mentioned that you might get a teacher later after you have worked your way through some of the basics.

You have that backwards.

You should get a teacher while you work through the basics. That is where you form your foundation for continued development.

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur

#2001043 - 12/18/12 08:01 AM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
Barmybird Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 11
Loc: UK

I'm only a newbie too, so no advice, except Congrats in taking the plunge! You'll love it!!xx

#2001069 - 12/18/12 09:20 AM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
wouter79 Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 4793
+1 on getting a teacher

Also I recommend to stay away from Hanon particularly if you are teaching yourself. His instructions are misleading and can lead to injury.

#2001096 - 12/18/12 10:43 AM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
Colorado Mac Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/17/12
Posts: 5
Thanks for all the good advice. I appreciate it and know I will be getting some good information at this forum.

I am going to wait to get a live teacher for awhile for two reasons:

1. I already have my "main" instument (guitar) and consider myself a guitar player. For now, learning a bit about piano, theory, etc. will be a hobby for me. I am not sure how far it will go, so I want to ease into it and take it at my pace for the beginning. If I get hooked, I will look for a teacher.

2. I taught myself guitar and am most comfortable learning that way. I know that may not be the best way to go, but for now it is a hobby and I am not taking it too seriously. This is a fun quest for me.

#2001196 - 12/18/12 02:09 PM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
spanishbuddha Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 3013
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Colorado Mac

So, I purchased a Williams Allegro digital piano (being shipped to me now) and ....

Oh dear. Send it back or any enthusiasm will be sucked out of you. Then ask for a recommendation in your budget range over on the DP forum.

#2001235 - 12/18/12 03:26 PM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
floydthebarber71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/12
Posts: 178
Loc: South Africa
I bought some 61-key Casio thingy when I decided I wanted to learn piano. I don't regret it.

Self-taught renegade - Kawai CL-36

#2001384 - 12/18/12 08:33 PM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
Colorado Mac Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/17/12
Posts: 5
Spanishbudda - you are entitled to your opinion on the Williams DP I bought, but I have read many, many positive reviews on it. In particular, they stated it was a great choice for a beginner. I don't expect it to compete with a Steinway.

Floyd - I agree with you. You can learn with anything halfway decent, if you have the desire.

#2001408 - 12/18/12 09:42 PM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
Michael Taylor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/11
Posts: 381
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
I started with a Yamaha DP.....lasted about 4 months. Going from a DP (for practice) to an acoustic (for lessons) was a bear. I now own an acoustic. I've looked at a few other DP's but can't find any that feel "right." I'd love to get another so that I can practice at night, but I haven't had any luck.
Piano obsession started November 2010.
Ragtime Butcher
Kayserburg U123

#2001599 - 12/19/12 08:19 AM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
Dazzie2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/12
Posts: 82
I have been teaching myself for nearly a year now and probably picked up alot of bad habits, and I also played guitar first before really wanting to try to learn piano. I also had the e piano media for computer which was quite useful but I really did not enjoy playing most of the songs if im honest. Now I know other people might not agree but when it comes to sight reading I hate it and it is not fun . So I stopped sight reading for sometime. I don’t want to play classical music I mostly play pop or rock. I have found learning chords just like I did on my guitar was very helpful also you find a lot of pop and rock songs use the same chord progression, so really is they a need to go out and even buy a piano song book for pop and rock . So do i really need to learn to sight read but I have to admit I do a bit of sight reading still or have just started to but I am not sure where or if I will use this skill . Just lately I have also been using free software online to help ear training for intervals so I am hoping this also helps .

Edited by Dazzie2 (12/19/12 08:20 AM)

#2002346 - 12/20/12 07:37 PM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
Foxes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/12
Posts: 36
Look up "lypur" on youtube for around 40 hours worth of lessons, he's pretty amazing, covers everything.

#2002470 - 12/21/12 04:28 AM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Foxes]
MrPozor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/12
Posts: 61
Loc: near Paris, France
Originally Posted By: Foxes
Look up "lypur" on youtube for around 40 hours worth of lessons, he's pretty amazing, covers everything.

I second that. His humor is a bit strange but apart from that, his lessons are extremely well done and educational.

He also has a website:
Currently learning:

Equipment: Petrof 118 L1

#2002640 - 12/21/12 12:15 PM Re: Newbie Needs Advice [Re: Colorado Mac]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
The only thing I will add is that if the instument has weighted keys, that is good, but even if it didn't learning to play the piano is all about sitting on piano bench everyday practicing.

Don't we all know lots of people who have a baby grand in their living room and nobody plays it. While some teenager is playing his cheap keyboard 16 hours a day- he is getting better eveyday working with what he can afford. I have never played a steinway, of couse, but most of us could adjust to a steinway in the same way that if we had to play a cheap springloaded keyboard, we would do whatever we had to do to keep practicing everyday.


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