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#2252050 03/25/14 07:18 PM
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Hi there,
I have been playing guitar on and off for 30 years and I have always wanted to learn piano. After much research I took the plunge and bought a Kawai MP6 that I pick up tomorrow!

When I was a kid learning guitar I was very impatient, mix that with some natural ability and I went on the wrong track of learning how to play without really studying the instrument. By pushing too hard and fast I developed sloppy technique and because of this feel like I never reached my real potential. I want to avoid this with the piano and put in the painful hours of re-developing my dexterity, timing and rhythm.

So the questions are should I get a teacher right away and avoid playing the piano without the guidance of doing it right or can a book like the Alfred’s adult beginners be OK to start with? Are there other good books that teach proper technique in a development course? Is it better to spend a great amount of time playing scales instead of learning song in the beginning?

I can’t wait to get started and I know this will be a long road, but I am sure I will enjoy it and I know I can learn some songs right away, but I am afraid of learning improperly. So what is the secret sauce to success in the long haul?

Thanks a bunch!

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Originally Posted by JRT
So the questions are should I get a teacher right away and avoid playing the piano without the guidance of doing it right


IMO, yes. The right teacher is a godsend.


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While some may say you can do it without a teacher, the safest approach is to find a teacher you enjoy working with and try your best to stick with it. It will not be easy and there will be times when you feel like you are not progressing as fast as you expected. However, considering your musical background, if you keep at it, you will probably develop into a very good pianist.

Good Luck



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You can do the Alfred All In One course on your own, this course seems to be the most popular method on this forum. See this link, however there are other methods available and I think the next most popular is Fundamental Keys.

However I also agree that having a teacher as early as possible is a great idea, not only will they stop you developing bad habits a teacher will move your forward or hold you back when needed. This should lead to a faster development overall and deeper understanding of music. Having said that finding the right teacher requires research and an understanding of your goals which may be vague at the moment. There is a current thread on this forum here you should take a look at.

If you go for a teacher you might want to hold off on the Alfred's just yet, and allow the teacher to best direct you. This also applies to scales which some people here think should not even be started in the first year and definitely should only be a small component of your practice time. Hope to hear more on your progress and decisions.


Surprisingly easy, barely an inconvenience.

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Thank you all for the help and links. Instead of getting some books I will get a teacher asap and go that route. Hopefully I can find the right one off of the bat. Just like guitar my tastes in piano are quite wide as I like everything from classical, jazz, blues, contemporary, to classic and southern rock. I figure the right teacher can help with the fundamentals and that feeds into all styles.

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If there was just one thing I could do differently again, with respect to piano, it's to get a teacher earlier. No point in waiting in my opinion!


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If you can, get a teacher as early in the journey as possible. Been there, done that, on early self-teaching. Same one regret as Andy.

Welcome to the forum. Have fun with this great instrument.


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I think definitely get a teacher they can teach you a lifetime of experience that a book won't give you and also to physically see what they are showing you is always helpful as a beginner.

Make sure you write down a list of what you want to get out of your lessons before your first lesson and a selection of songs and music you most want to learn. This always helps give the teacher an idea about your personality and what you want to achieve. smile

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I have a similar story, with many years of unguided exploration on the guitar, and a choice to begin piano as an adult in my mid 30s. I went with a recommended teacher right away and it's proved to be quite helpful in unexpected ways. Much of the intellectual territory you can pursue on your own: theory, practice structure, etc., but a teacher can set you on a healthy course in regards to the physicality of your playing: posture, gesture, all the 3D motion that goes into playing an essentially linear instrument. In short, without a teacher you could develop any number of bad physical habits. It's expensive, but I recommend finding one as soon as you're able. Happy playing and keep at it!


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Nikproctor,

That is exactly what I have been wanting to avoid. I just need to find the right teacher. Does anyone know any in Richmond, VA? I called Richmond Piano, but I have not heard back from them yet.

I got my MP6 today and man is it sweet. It feels and sounds great so I tinkered for a bit and now i am reading through the manual.

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I hacked on different instruments for many years... I should have got a teacher to learn proper technique, etc. You can do your own personal learning on songs/styles/techniques that interest you in tandem with the basics... and your teacher can help you with those issues as well.


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I agree. Of course, all this having been said, if the choice if between unguided playing and not playing, play!

Remember above all else to relax when you're at the keyboard, or to learn how if it doesn't come easily. Play through your entire arm, as if from puppet strings tied to your shoulders, and then through your whole body. Loosely arch your hands, imagine an orange in each. Consider giving your motions curves, finding fluid forms to play even the simplest songs. Breathe.

Frustration can mean you're breaking through a barrier, sometimes slowly. Your pace is the only one that matters. "Comparison is the thief of joy." -T.R. It's common for musicians to be plagued by occasional doubt, but it passes, over and over again.

Also, if you can, find a teacher. smile I'm sure there are numerous wonderful people in Richmond who you'd feel right with, put it out there!

(I'm a tuner's apprentice, so I'd be unfaithful to my craft to not say that while your digital piano may be delicious and handy in its own way, there's nothing like the feel you acquire by directly engaging that many-levered, spring laced, peeweehermanesque contraption of wood and felt and leather between your fingers and the strings. There's nothing like the sound, either, and a decent upright could be bought for about what you'd get for returning the MP6. wink I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.)


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Originally Posted by JRT
So the questions are should I get a teacher right away and avoid playing the piano without the guidance of doing it right or can a book like the Alfred’s adult beginners be OK to start with? Are there other good books that teach proper technique in a development course? Is it better to spend a great amount of time playing scales instead of learning song in the beginning?

I can’t wait to get started and I know this will be a long road, but I am sure I will enjoy it and I know I can learn some songs right away, but I am afraid of learning improperly. So what is the secret sauce to success in the long haul?

Thanks a bunch!

If you had never learned another instrument, my advice might be different, but I will now say only this: you've learned one instrument. Ideally, you've discovered some things (both right and wrong) about the process you took learning that instrument. Now, as you approach the piano, seek those practices that help you continue to discover the right things, while avoiding the bad things. wink


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Originally Posted by JRT
Nikproctor,

That is exactly what I have been wanting to avoid. I just need to find the right teacher. Does anyone know any in Richmond, VA? I called Richmond Piano, but I have not heard back from them yet.

I got my MP6 today and man is it sweet. It feels and sounds great so I tinkered for a bit and now i am reading through the manual.


I'm passing on to you a suggestion I got here at Piano World when I was looking for a teacher this winter: check out your local community colleges (or colleges and universities). Many of these have music programs and many offer lessons to the community at large. I signed up with a local community college for lessons as a non-degree student (the equivalent of auditing).

The lesson costs are quite reasonable. The teacher will be someone who has experience working with adults (ages ranging from just out of high school to retirees). The teacher will in all likelihood be at least half-way decent because the community college doesn't want to wreck its reputation. Sign up with a teacher rather than a student (though this can work as well).

For someone like me, with no experience of the local teacher scene, this route was a good way for me to get started. It might work for you as well.

Good luck!


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