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Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus] #1995831
12/07/12 09:15 AM
12/07/12 09:15 AM
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Posts: 16,642
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by Im A Deus
Again, I really appreciate everyone's replies.

I'm in a financial rut at the moment and I am trying to decide whether or not it's important to convince my wife that learning piano is "worthwhile" for me - the price of a digital piano and lessons adds up quickly.

So this post strictly relates to the discovery of my apparent talent. (in Target!)

As mentioned in the OP, I learned to play 45 seconds of Mozart's Alla Turca in about 10 minutes from scratch and I am about 30 years old. I know the lighted keys helped but the patterns in the piece seemed obvious to me. There was a couple (girl-boyfriend) on the keyboard before I approached it and they could not play "row row row your boat" correctly.

I didn't mention it, but I am also able to figure out music based on my "musical memory" - which I now wonder if it is actually perfect pitch.

I am able to play back some pieces (albeit in a much more simplified manner) that I've heard in the past. Examples include the theme to movement 1 of Mozart's K 478 (GDDEbD) and Mozart - Klavierst├╝ck in F 33b (CCCBbABbCAF, etc.). Also Derik Paravincini's version of In the Hall of the Mountain King (@ 5:55)

I played the music then verified it was correct with sheet music (in the case of Mr. Paravicini I verified it with his video!)

Yes, I love Mozart (hence my forum name choice). And perhaps repeated exposure to his music has had a "memorization effect" on me but considering that I am a beginner with no formal training, is this a sign of talent? Should I press my wife to allow me to spend thousands of dollars pursuing this hobby/passion?

Based on what I've said above, with 1 being the skill of a monkey and 100 being the skill of Mozart himself, where on this spectrum would you place my ability/potential based on the information I have provided?

I appreciate honest answers, please don't provide me with anything but your honest opinions! Thanks!!



-------
On a side note, I've also started to compose music, using "MuseScore" based only on my understanding of "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (EGBDF)" and FACE as a means to map notes to the bargraph. I dont want to share my compositions as they are just getting started. I cannot even play the music I have composed - it is too difficult for me!! Yet somehow it comes to me while daydreaming.


Side note #2: Derek Paravicini is in a way the most amazing musical talent in the world; is he our generation's Mozart?


Without actually working with you there's is no way anyone here can answer that with any credibility. The only way to know is to try it out. Many teachers will offer trial lessons (even a free trial lesson to begin), so that may be worth investigating more, and from that lesson you can use that info to convince your wife it's worthwhile.

I recommend looking into renting an instrument if you decide to start up lessons. Many piano dealers will allow you to rent for 6 months and at that point your rent payments can be a downpayment on a permanent instrument if you stay with it. Usually there's no obligation to rent for the 6 months either, so you can cancel at any time if it doesn't work out. The rent payments vary from location, but around $40-60/month is what I've seen.

I think getting a trial lesson and looking into rental options is a great way to start out without a huge initial investment, and a great way to ease into it.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus] #1995851
12/07/12 09:48 AM
12/07/12 09:48 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,811
San Jose, CA
Jeff Clef Offline
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You've gotten useful advice, Im A Deuce. Those lighted-keyboard deals are fine--- as long as you consider them a child's toy and nothing more, for that is the short of it.

If you have a Sam Ash locally, you may also have a Guitar Center. Despite the name, they have pianos. Casio has released a new series which addresses (my impression of) the price point you are looking for. They are not the best, but you could do worse.

Kawai offers a more serious effort to combine a DP with an action satisfactory to real pianists (and a full 88-key range), short of taking out a second mortgage. They have models which have the form factor of a small upright and contain amp/speakers, MIDI and sound recording (some include some lesson software). Other models, such as the MP6 and MP10, are stage pianos, with serious feature sets but no amp and speakers, lighter-weight and for less money. Perhaps less wife-acceptable in appearance, if it matters, but then again, they retain some sale value if that's how it works out.

Roland and Yamaha also have models you may want to at least consider for comparison. If you own a set of good headphones, it will help you greatly to take them with you when you go shopping, if you're looking at digitals.

A time may come when you will wish to have both an AP and a DP. Beginning students and their wives can seriously benefit from having a model which offers headphones. In time, there is no substitute for a good acoustic piano. However it falls, buying the best instrument you can (instead of trash, or a cheap toy), will come back to your good.

Good luck to you--- I'm hoping it works out all the way around.


Clef

Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus] #1995884
12/07/12 11:19 AM
12/07/12 11:19 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,572
Canada
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Learning to play the piano involves more than being able to play a melody. That is also what makes it fascinating in the long run and why working with a teacher or at least getting into good studies is worthwhile. The abilities that you have in the raw of being able to pick out a tune are just a beginning. You will learn to hear more finely and listen for things which right now are still invisible to you. Your early playing will probably seem like junk to you as you know and hear more, and to me those greater abilities are more rewarding than being able to play the tune of any piece. Meanwhile piano also involves skills (technique). If you seek out a teacher, look for someone who is interested in teaching you how to play and develop you as a pianist, rather than promising you quick results in well loved music.

The lighted keyboards might have gotten you to pay attention to the keys and the notes, so that you focused on the right thing and then used that from then on. Otherwise the effect is more like that of trained seals pushing the right horns to the nod of their keeper for a fish. That's probably why the other people couldn't do "Row Your Boat".

Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus] #2207926
01/04/14 09:59 AM
01/04/14 09:59 AM
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Mac1 Offline
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Hi

first post. I did a Google search of this topic and it landed me here, although I've been gleaning useful info from this site for years.

I just wanted to say that IMHO this lighted key thing is probably (certainly) very harmful. As others have said, it's like Guitar Hero but with the deception that it's a learning tool, which of course it is, but learning absolutely the wrong way.

It's perhaps good to learn the right way, no? smile

Of course these types of keyboards need to be considered, as short cuts should be used whenever possible for economy, its just that this is going way to far.

Having said that, i'm not sure if small children could benefit from these, especially if learning a conventional way would not work, do to motivational issues, or attention problems. I don't have kids, but I can imagine various scenarios. In this case they might be very useful, but I would not just drop one of these on a child without exhausting other options.

Last edited by Mac1; 01/04/14 10:02 AM.
Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus] #2209281
01/06/14 12:24 PM
01/06/14 12:24 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 579
Spanish living in UK
evamar Offline
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I have recently got myself a second hand 73 keys lighted keyboard by Casio. My reason for this is that being dyslexic sight reading is extremely hard for me and I normally end up just seeing dots flying around the page, not notes.

Saying this, I'm still trying to read music the traditional way and have gone back to basics both in music theory and piano playing.

I will be using the lighted keyboard along with Synthesia simply to quickly learn to play pieces I like, which I'll immediately play on my CA65. I need to feel that I can progress in a practical way, as it takes me far too long to get to sight read and play pieces the hard way.

Yes, I'm maybe cheating, but otherwise I would end up giving up something I really like if I only did the traditional learning way. I'm combining both.

For me the main problem with the lighted keyboards is the cheap action especially compared to the amazing action of the CA65. They might be okay to quickly learn to play something, but you need a decent dp with weighted keys to properly practice the pieces and learn the dynamics and make them sound like real music. It doesn't have to be a new one, there are plenty of good second hand dps around so that you can have it both ways. I quickly hide the keyboard on top of a wardrobe and the stand folds under a sofa, so it's only visible when I use it.

But at the end, this way you can only memorise the pieces, it's completely muscle memory. Playing Simon, as somebody said.

Very helpful for me, due to my problem reading music. But harmful if the only thing to play what you learn on it.


Last edited by evamar; 01/06/14 12:38 PM.

Serious since Dec 2013. March 2014, Kawai CA95!

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Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus] #2218515
01/21/14 11:25 PM
01/21/14 11:25 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 966
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An old thread, I know.
The OP has probably moved on to a higher level by now, but for others who might be curious I came across a similar "gadget" today.

This
http://www.thepianomaestro.com
seems to overcome most of the objections raised about keyboard actions.

It only covers 4 octaves, but by the time a beginner gets out of that center zone they would most likely no longer have use for it.
For about $140 - plus a laptop of some sort - plus whatever "piano" you already have, can get access to, or decide to buy for its other attributes.

Sure it is a crutch, but it is cheap enough to try, maybe motivate a child with, could be carried around.
Gift it or discard responsibly if it doesn't work out (-:

Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: R_B] #2218630
01/22/14 09:06 AM
01/22/14 09:06 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,642
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Originally Posted by R_B
An old thread, I know.
The OP has probably moved on to a higher level by now, but for others who might be curious I came across a similar "gadget" today.

This
http://www.thepianomaestro.com
seems to overcome most of the objections raised about keyboard actions.

It only covers 4 octaves, but by the time a beginner gets out of that center zone they would most likely no longer have use for it.
For about $140 - plus a laptop of some sort - plus whatever "piano" you already have, can get access to, or decide to buy for its other attributes.

Sure it is a crutch, but it is cheap enough to try, maybe motivate a child with, could be carried around.
Gift it or discard responsibly if it doesn't work out (-:
If your purpose is to get someone to sit down and make a sound it's great. But their mind won't benefit from it like learning to play piano for real. It's like painting by numbers, and piano isn't really that hard for beginners to pick up.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Morodiene] #2218638
01/22/14 09:34 AM
01/22/14 09:34 AM
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Posts: 966
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R_B Offline
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by R_B
An old thread, I know.
The OP has probably moved on to a higher level by now, but for others who might be curious I came across a similar "gadget" today.

This
http://www.thepianomaestro.com
seems to overcome most of the objections raised about keyboard actions.

It only covers 4 octaves, but by the time a beginner gets out of that center zone they would most likely no longer have use for it.
For about $140 - plus a laptop of some sort - plus whatever "piano" you already have, can get access to, or decide to buy for its other attributes.

Sure it is a crutch, but it is cheap enough to try, maybe motivate a child with, could be carried around.
Gift it or discard responsibly if it doesn't work out (-:
If your purpose is to get someone to sit down and make a sound it's great. But their mind won't benefit from it like learning to play piano for real. It's like painting by numbers, and piano isn't really that hard for beginners to pick up.


I can't represent the graphics arts community, but I suspect they view painting by numbers with GREAT disdain.
My view is very much that if it gets a brush in someone's hand because it now looks SO EASY then it may not be all that bad.

Some will get bored, some will try painting on blank paper.
Copying initially, perhaps creating something original at some point.
Point is it may make the piano more approachable, is cheap enough, etc.
Not for everyone, not a substitute for a good teacher, but hopefully a gateway.

I am probably going to get one of these for my grandchildren.
They see me play (poorly) and I think this could work to get some of them to at least give it a second (and/or third) try.
A couple of tunes, then maybe I hide it (-:

Training wheels ? maybe they just reduce the scary factor and we learn to get by without them.



Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus] #2218660
01/22/14 10:13 AM
01/22/14 10:13 AM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,382
western MA, USA
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hreichgott Offline
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western MA, USA
It's a fun toy, but the reason it's detrimental is it trains us not to listen. If working on a lighted keyboard we are thinking hard about where the lights are, not about what sound we are creating. Early ear training at the piano is recognizing when you have the sound you want, and when you have some other sound. The sound needs to be the positive or negative feedback from hitting the note.

Also with little kids, the lighted keyboard implies that the piano by itself is not interesting... normally a piano, especially if an adult in the house often likes to make sound on it (even simple sound), is quite interesting!

I can only imagine a lighted keyboard being useful for someone who cannot hear pitches at all, i.e. cannot tell that "Mary Had a Little Lamb" played E D C D E E E is any different from "Mary Had a Little Lamb" played E E E E E E E E.


Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

Working on:
Cabaret (whole show)
12+ variations from classical ballets
Verdi: Stabat Mater
Copland: Appalachian Spring
Tangos and other fun music for piano duo

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Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus] #2218686
01/22/14 11:36 AM
01/22/14 11:36 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,210
Virginia, USA
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TimR Offline
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Virginia, USA
When my kids were small, elementary school age, we had a basic unweighted (though touch sensitive) keyboard in the den. It was mostly useful for finding pitches, checking intervals on a vocal, etc. (When the kids got older and took lessons we upgraded.)

One day I noticed the keys had scotch tape applied so they could be numbered.

They'd found some kind of quiz game where you had to guess a song by drawing a card with a sequence of numbers and playing it on a toy piano. Since the toy was broken they improvised by converting the keyboard.

There was no skill building, but they had fun and stayed interested. The lighted keyboard seems much the same to me.


gotta go practice
Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Mac1] #2219098
01/22/14 09:06 PM
01/22/14 09:06 PM
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California
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Michael Martinez Offline
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California
Originally Posted by Mac1


I just wanted to say that IMHO this lighted key thing is probably (certainly) very harmful.



No. Much more harmful is relying on written music to guide your playing.

What's good about lighted keys is that it allows you to make a direct connection between your brain and the instrument. You want that direct connection because you want your ear to learn the sound of each particular configuration (chord etc) on the keyboard. In other words you want to *internalize* as much as possible.

There was some other thread where someone mentioned that one of the famous jazz pianists (Erroll Garner?) learned to play by watching the old player pianos (the ones with the roller thing).



Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
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Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Michael Martinez] #2219286
01/23/14 08:15 AM
01/23/14 08:15 AM
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R_B Offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
Originally Posted by Mac1


I just wanted to say that IMHO this lighted key thing is probably (certainly) very harmful.



No. Much more harmful is relying on written music to guide your playing.

What's good about lighted keys is that it allows you to make a direct connection between your brain and the instrument. You want that direct connection because you want your ear to learn the sound of each particular configuration (chord etc) on the keyboard. In other words you want to *internalize* as much as possible.

There was some other thread where someone mentioned that one of the famous jazz pianists (Erroll Garner?) learned to play by watching the old player pianos (the ones with the roller thing).


Interesting that someone learned to play (at least in part) by watching piano rolls as they rolled(pun intended) and the player sounded.
I am now wondering how much controversy raged over that 100 or so years ago (-:

Synthesia presents a display a bit like an upright player piano, ...now that I've looked it up in another window I think it was probably a deliberate goal.
This;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySrUS7hTxIQ
and similar might just motivate a youngster if put on a laptop and propped over a piano keyboard - more likely they would ask for a different piece, but it could set bait.



Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: R_B] #2219311
01/23/14 09:16 AM
01/23/14 09:16 AM
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Posts: 16,642
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by R_B
[/quote]

I can't represent the graphics arts community, but I suspect they view painting by numbers with GREAT disdain.
My view is very much that if it gets a brush in someone's hand because it now looks SO EASY then it may not be all that bad.

Some will get bored, some will try painting on blank paper.
Copying initially, perhaps creating something original at some point.
Point is it may make the piano more approachable, is cheap enough, etc.
Not for everyone, not a substitute for a good teacher, but hopefully a gateway.

I am probably going to get one of these for my grandchildren.
They see me play (poorly) and I think this could work to get some of them to at least give it a second (and/or third) try.
A couple of tunes, then maybe I hide it (-:

Training wheels ? maybe they just reduce the scary factor and we learn to get by without them.


Interesting that as an artist you don't think highly of painting by numbers, but the same is ok for piano? What is scary about piano? I can't recall the last piano student who came to me scared of playing. Perhaps you are projecting onto others what you feel as an adult? Adults are different, but I still don't think playing this way helps them overcome whatever reservations they have. Most adults love the idea enough to overcome their initial fears.


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Re: Lighted Keyboards - Helpful or Harmful? [Re: Im A Deus] #2219445
01/23/14 01:31 PM
01/23/14 01:31 PM
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I don't regard myself as ANY sort of an artist, though that is beside the point.

I think that IF paint by numbers motivates a child (or an adult) then that is probably fine.
I think there is a possibility that on the basis of their experiment they might decide that painting is not for them. In such a case the community of formal art training may have lost a potential student - if only they had started in a "REAL" art class, etc.

The advent of the ball point pen was widely predicted to ruin anyone's chances of developing even half decent handwriting.
Maybe that is still being argued, but I think the sharpening of quills is no longer taught (-:


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