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#2180749 - 11/11/13 08:44 PM Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions)  
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joms Offline
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Hi,

I am from the Philippines and I'm an absolute beginner in piano. I am rather old at 41yrs old but I am very interested to learn the piano. I have a few questions though, namely:

1) What are the advantages/disadvantages of learning the piano by using the Do Re Mi method as against the C-D-E-F-G?

2) I am also currently studying acoustic guitar (1month now). Will it be a bad idea to learn Piano and Guitar at the same time? I have around 2hours practice time each day and I'd like to devote an hour for guitar and an hour for piano.

3) How would you know if a music teacher is a good one? I initially started thinking of doing self study with the piano but I've read that I might learn bad habits if i don't get a piano teacher who would teach me the proper way to play. Is this true?

4) If in case I do decide to just do self study, what are the bad habits that I should look out for in playing the piano?

5) If in case I do decide to go self study, what online sites are great for this? Is there any site which are equivalent to jamplay or guitartricks for guitars? It is ok for me to pay so as long as it is a really good site but it would still be better if it would be free. (someone pointed out that another good free resource is Lypur's youtube site - Furmanczyk Piano Academy)

6) What beginner book would you suggest? Is Alfred's Basic All in One book the best there is? In our country, the popular book being used by piano teachers is John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano: First Grade Book. Is Alfred's better than Thompson?


Note though that I do not intend to turn into a pro. I only do this for myself as I find it relaxing and I love the music that I hear. Hopefully, I can play fluently some day during parties and family gatherings.

Thanks and sorry for all the questions

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#2180758 - 11/11/13 09:35 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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Well to jump in on number one what are you going to call the sharps and flats?
Better to learn the proper names for the keys. There are only 12 possibilities after all.

#2180768 - 11/11/13 09:56 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: Schroeder II]  
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joms Offline
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what do you mean?

Aren't there both sharps/flats for both do/re/mi and C-D-E? I'm really a beginner so please enlighten me.

There is a Do sharp and C sharp right?

#2180774 - 11/11/13 10:19 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do-Re-Mi

If you want to learn to play the piano (or the guitar), learn the C-D-E method.


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#2180781 - 11/11/13 10:37 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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Originally Posted by joms
I initially started thinking of doing self study with the piano but I've read that I might learn bad habits if i don't get a piano teacher who would teach me the proper way to play. Is this true?

Yes. Not only that, you will likely injure yourself.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2180787 - 11/11/13 10:56 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: Psychonaut]  
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Psychonaut - can you expound on this ? Why is it better to learn the C-D-E method as against the Do-Re-Mi if I want to learn to play piano?

Thanks

#2180826 - 11/12/13 12:54 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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I am just another beginner, but some obvious reasons are that a lot of written material and video tutorials will refer to the letter names. For example, the C major scale isn't commonly called the Doe-major scale. A C7 chord isn't called a Doe-7 chord in the literature or in a video tutorial.

#2180830 - 11/12/13 01:49 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: Sand Tiger]  
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Originally Posted by Sand Tiger
I am just another beginner, but some obvious reasons are that a lot of written material and video tutorials will refer to the letter names. For example, the C major scale isn't commonly called the Doe-major scale. A C7 chord isn't called a Doe-7 chord in the literature or in a video tutorial.

In the English language, yes. In other countries you will hear and read "Do 7" and "Do majeur". The RCM repertoire books are bilingual, and you will see this all the time. Same if you turn to radio to the French channel, where you'll hear the announcer say that this piece was in "La mineur".

#2180838 - 11/12/13 02:43 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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Is there anything more to Do-Re-Mi vs C-D-E except note names, something that justifies calling them separate "methods"? I remember being taught Do-Re-Mi in elementary school but since starting the piano I use C-D-E. They kinda merged now I do not have trouble using either. So I do not think it's very critical but then again I'm a beginner.


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#2180844 - 11/12/13 03:09 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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There are two Do-Re-Mi's. One of them is just the note names as used in some countries, and there is no difference. The other is "movable Do solfege" which is used to express scale degrees, as in the Sound of Music.

#2180849 - 11/12/13 03:54 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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Originally Posted by joms
what do you mean?

Aren't there both sharps/flats for both do/re/mi and C-D-E? I'm really a beginner so please enlighten me.

There is a Do sharp and C sharp right?



Yes, of course there is. Many European countries use the do-re-mi system rather than the C D E system.
My first piano teacher didn't speak English and my lesson were in Italian. We spoke of "bemolle" for flats and "diesis" for sharps.

This is certainly the "proper" way to learn here it Italy.

That being said, if you are in a primarily English environment the CDE system is more common (and frankly I find it easier).




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#2180861 - 11/12/13 04:57 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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As mentioned above, in Italy and many other European countries we use do-re-mi. I find it more intuitive because it starts from what I perceive as the "first note" (C) and not from the middle (A). Also, if you're doing solfège, it's easier to sing syllables than single letters. I started on the piano using English method books, so I got used to A-B-C very quickly, but I can't help thinking that letters are quite dull and not musical at all.

In the end, it makes no difference whatsoever.


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#2180863 - 11/12/13 05:09 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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About bad habits, teachers, etc.

IMHO, if you are free to do what feels more natural for you, and you're not taught a specific "method", you might very well end up using the most efficient gestures and play in a way that's the most suitable for your body and your hands. But you need to be very careful and avoid tension at all times. When difficulties arise, try different approaches until you find the best one for you, the most natural. But even with a teacher, you still need to pay attention, you can't just think that they will do everything for you. Your teacher won't be able to watch you all the time, and he/she certainly doesn't feel what's going on in your body. Some may be convinced that a certain way of playing fits all, which might be even more dangerous than learning alone.

Just my opinion.


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#2180901 - 11/12/13 08:13 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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Either method can work no doubt. I'm just now learning solfege and finding it very difficult after a lifetime of CDE. In my theory class we sing in solfege and going up and down the scale makes my mind trip up. Especially more than one octave. There are syllables for all the half steps. I can see where it eventually helps with intervals but I wouldn't say it's ideal for piano.


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#2180909 - 11/12/13 08:38 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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Originally Posted by joms
Hi,

I am from the Philippines and I'm an absolute beginner in piano. I am rather old at 41yrs old but I am very interested to learn the piano.

I'm a very young 42 years old, and started seriously at 40, so not far off...

Originally Posted by joms
I have a few questions though, namely:

1) What are the advantages/disadvantages of learning the piano by using the Do Re Mi method as against the C-D-E-F-G?


I'm Spanish and use the Internet to learn new pieces. It's almost impossible to find tutorials using the Do-Re-Mi, so I have had to get used to the C-D-E instead. If you want to teach yourself you might have to do the same thing. It's quite confusing at first, but you'll get used to it in a couple of weeks.

Originally Posted by joms
2) I am also currently studying acoustic guitar (1month now). Will it be a bad idea to learn Piano and Guitar at the same time? I have around 2hours practice time each day and I'd like to devote an hour for guitar and an hour for piano.

Cannot comment as I'm only learning piano, but it seems that quite a lot people are learning several instruments at the same time.

Originally Posted by joms
3) How would you know if a music teacher is a good one? I initially started thinking of doing self study with the piano but I've read that I might learn bad habits if i don't get a piano teacher who would teach me the proper way to play. Is this true?

It is. Word of mouth is the best way, I'm sure that you can find people who is learning piano, or whose kids are, and can recommend you a teacher. You can also ask about his/her studies and experience, and many give a free first lesson, so you can also check if you can "click". I started learning with a teacher, just to make sure that I would get the basics, and then it came to a point where it simply wasn't worthy because being dyslexic I was just hiting my head against the music sheet without being able to advance. Since then I'm self taught. She was very nice and a good teacher for others, but with no experience with dyslexic people and I felt I was wasting my time.

Originally Posted by joms
4) If in case I do decide to just do self study, what are the bad habits that I should look out for in playing the piano?

For me posture, hands, strenght, and making sure that you are using an adjustable stool and that it's at the right height for you. That's ergonomics and if not right it might hurt your back and joints. Then as per piano playing, a bit of help with fingering, sense of rythm, introduction to basic music theory and start getting the difference of expressions so that you recognise when the piece sounds flat even though you hit the right notes. But fingering for instance is many times a matter of trial and error. It seems that because I'm dyslexic and my funny space and direction sense I'm a bit "original" about fingering, but I understand that everyone will end up finding the right fingering.

Originally Posted by joms
5) If in case I do decide to go self study, what online sites are great for this? Is there any site which are equivalent to jamplay or guitartricks for guitars? It is ok for me to pay so as long as it is a really good site but it would still be better if it would be free. (someone pointed out that another good free resource is Lypur's youtube site - Furmanczyk Piano Academy)

I really like Lypur's videos, he's a very nice guy putting a lot of effort into transmitting his knowledgment. Good piano and theory lessons... and free!
Then there are also lots of tutorials for specific songs and pieces in YouTube. Just make sure that you do both the piano and music theory so that you'll understand the music and piano lingo. Then also learn some pieces you like so that you can see progression. If you feel that you are actually getting to play something you'll get motivated to continue learning.

Originally Posted by joms
6) What beginner book would you suggest? Is Alfred's Basic All in One book the best there is? In our country, the popular book being used by piano teachers is John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano: First Grade Book. Is Alfred's better than Thompson?

Albert's is very popular. I tried to follow if but I have given up sight reading because of my dyslexia, so somebody else can comment on this.
I follow Piano4All, which is a very good and cheap piano course for self learning, very practical too.

Originally Posted by joms
Note though that I do not intend to turn into a pro. I only do this for myself as I find it relaxing and I love the music that I hear. Hopefully, I can play fluently some day during parties and family gatherings.

Thanks and sorry for all the questions


That is exactly my goal: to play for myself the music I like... and occasionally to "torture" others into listening to my playing wink


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#2180927 - 11/12/13 09:14 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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There are many people here who are self learning very successfully. They don't usually speak up because (I think) then the people who think you HAVE to have a teacher start becoming unglued and the topic starts going downhill.

However, it's certainly possible to teach yourself without causing injury, it's done successfully all the time.

Using a teacher is certainly a good way to learn but it is not the only way.



Last edited by Roger Ransom; 11/12/13 09:16 AM.

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#2181025 - 11/12/13 12:56 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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This is the top of the page of a Canadian RCM book, on scales. This should answer some of the questions about names.
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#2181155 - 11/12/13 05:17 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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@1 I believe it's better to work with relative pitch and I think the do-re-mi system would fit that. c-d-e instead seems to refer to absolute pitches instead of relative.

But I usually do harmonic analysis and rarely do note counting. In harmonic analysis I use I-II-III etc in relative pitch.

@3 yes learning bad habits should be avoided. Maybe you can tell from the feedback that you get.



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#2181248 - 11/12/13 08:43 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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Thanks for all the replies.

What are the top 5 bad habits that I should watch out for? (or more if you can tell me more). How do i also solve this?

I've read that you should use a chair wherein you can adjust the height but what should be the proper height? Any diagrams that could help? Thanks

#2181278 - 11/12/13 09:49 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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One basic rule of piano seating is that you want to be at a height where your elbows and your hands on the keyboard should be in the same perfectly horizontal plane. Or more simply, you want each forearm to be horizontal, not tipping upward or downward.

Also you want to be seated far enough back that your right hand can reach toward the left end of the keyboard (crossing in front of your body), and your left hand can reach toward the right.

Some people like to always sit with their navel pointing at the D just above middle C. That way you can develop a consistent proprioceptive sense of where all the other keys sit in relation to that fixed center.


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#2181373 - 11/13/13 03:01 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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tangleweeds - that was a superb post !!! Thanks very much!

On a side note, do you guys know of a very small keyboard that i can bring to the office to practice when no one is looking? LOL Its ok if it only contains like less than 20 keys or so. Im just a beginner so it would be enough at first. I need it to be small so I can hide it right away if need be. Also, I need it to have a headphones output.

Hopefully, I just want to memorize the do-re-mi or C-D-E and what keys i should press on my left/right hand. Im sure it will take me a lonnngggg time before getting that down so it will be worth it to get a small keyboard for the office. (Maybe as big as a keyboard for computers or even smaller). Is there such a keyboard? Thanks

#2181384 - 11/13/13 04:22 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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I suppose that won't be a good idea (20 keys is nothing). It would perhaps be easier to practice scales and rythm at work:
My teacher has asked me recently to start practicing scales, counting and rythm using the Guida Teorico Pratica Vol 1/2 (one book) by Pozzoli.

I suppose there are other books, however you don't need a piano for it. Just something to tap on (and count out loud of course).

You could then scan it and read it from your pc screen wink


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#2181465 - 11/13/13 09:38 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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How about 25 keys like the Alesis Q25 or the Akai LPK25? I just wish the keys would feel like piano keys and not keyboard keys.


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Last edited by joms; 11/13/13 10:20 AM.
#2181482 - 11/13/13 10:28 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: wouter79]  
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Originally Posted by wouter79
@1 I believe it's better to work with relative pitch and I think the do-re-mi system would fit that. c-d-e instead seems to refer to absolute pitches instead of relative.

If you're working with movable do, then relative pitch is emphasized. If you're working with fixed do, then that's essentially like the c-d-e system except with different note names, and I don't see how that's any more or less of a support for relative pitch than c-d-e.


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#2181488 - 11/13/13 10:34 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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A small practise keyboard will do more harm than good. A static surface, like a desktop may be better.

Spend not more than thirty minutes each day on a real keyboard doing many different actions (playing melodies as opposed to playing Hanon, scales and other finger exercises) then let sleep intervene. Long hours of repetitive actions without sufficient variety before the brain has found the best physical touch and action is what may lead to injuries and poor technique.

A good idea may be to play simple melodies alternating the middle finger of each hand. This encourages playing from the arm instead of the finger. The piano is a dynamic instrument and should be played with weight from the arm. Organ and Harpsichord are not dynamic and are played with a still hand and finger action.

The basic technique is to rest the weight of the arm on the pressed key. Changing from one finger to the other is a subtle shift of the weight through the wrist so that there's a straight line between the elbow and the contact point of the playing finger on the key.

A horse can sleep standing up because there is no muscular involvement in keeping the joints in place. The playing mechanism from the elbow to the pads on the fingers should be the same. A doorbell is pressed, typically, with a still hand not a finger movement. The muscles of the chest, back and shoulders are large and strong and can control the actions very finely.

Regarding piano stool height, the forearm may point downward. The important point is that the wrist joint allows maximum facility of the fingers. Bending the wrist, either upwards or downwards, reduces that facility.



Richard
#2183810 - 11/17/13 10:02 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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Bump

#2184341 - 11/18/13 07:43 AM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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@joms, why the bump? There's a number of replies..


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#2184714 - 11/18/13 06:51 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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I'd echo a lot of what others have already said, and I'd emphasize that you should ideally use at least one of *both* systems: fixed and movable.

Fixed systems help to provide a standard "grid," upon which all pitches are "fixed." This is important because it puts everyone using it "on the same page" as they create and/or talk about music.

Movable systems allow us to remove the "grid," and look at music in a generic way. This is very eye-opening, because we start to see that many of the same things are happening in a generic sense, regardless of what actual key you're in.

It's kind of like movies (or literature, etc.). It can be relevant to talk about individual characters in individual stories, but it's also possible (to an extent) to think in generic terms about people in stories: the main character, the love interest, the wisecracking friend, whatever it is. Saying "the guy usually gets the girl in the end" is kind of like saying "(movable) ti usually goes to do." There's a similar connection between roman numeral chords and "lettered" chord symbols.

In addition, what you choose to use can depend on whatever your goals are, too. For example, if you're interested in improvising melodies, I'd say that (movable) solfege is extremely helpful. It gives you a unique, movable, and memorable name for each pitch. (At more advanced levels, using numbers can be easier).

A while back I wrote a brief explanation of how/why solfege is important to improvisers. If you're interested you can check it out here: http://www.betterpiano.com/archives/what-is-solfege .

Best of luck in your studies!

James



Last edited by JamesPlaysPiano; 11/18/13 06:56 PM.

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#2184725 - 11/18/13 07:09 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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Polyphonist Offline
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Polyphonist  Offline
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New York City
Originally Posted by joms
Bump

Why?


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2185335 - 11/19/13 07:50 PM Re: Help: Do Re Mi vs C-D-E-F-G (plus other questions) [Re: joms]  
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SoundThumb Offline
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SoundThumb  Offline
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The small keyboards like you have in mind are useful for learning the note names if used in conjunction with some software that flash up notes on the staff. They are also a lot of fun for playing little tunes to yourself or maybe even learning about chords. However, you probably won't get much more use out of them. To learn to play the piano, you have to learn to reach to the right spot to press the key. With a compressed keyboard, your are limited. Also, you must face the fact, one of the most difficult things about learning to play piano is developing hand independence. That really only develops with hours and hours of actually playing two handed music. I'm not trying to dampen your enthusiasm, rather just be sure you understand that the little keyboards are an aid, but the real work must be done at a full sized keyboard.

You asked about specific bad habits. From my experience, a really bad habit is thinking that reaching to the right place and pressing the key at the correct time is the goal. My teacher spends a good deal of time explaining all the different ways I should be pressing the keys based upon the score and even when a particular piece was written. I taught myself to play for a few years and then got a teacher. After 6 years of lessons, she is still correcting me and I regret all the poor habits I developed.

Good luck, you are at the start of a great journey.


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