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#2253159 - 03/27/14 04:39 PM Need help with practice/songs (beginner)
Resareck Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/14
Posts: 2
I'm a beginner pianist with some basic knowledge of music theory.
Basically I can read notes and accidentals and rests.

I can continue to learn theory with the 7 berklee music theory books.
I'm struggling to find enjoyable and somewhat simple songs to learn.
I've been practicing the theme song for the super Mario bros but it's use of three or Moore fingers at once is overwhelming.

I'm totally into jazz/blues/classical ,

I've also been practicing two different finger methods

One I believe for scales , moving down a keyboard using my thumb for transition

The other I believe helps singers practice
Play 1st skip second play through to pinky/thumb then start back on the 2nd as the 1st and repeat.

I'm playing a bit of improv, mainly newbie playing on 3 scales and playin around

I think I'm asking for knowledge so I can learn on my own untill I can afford a tutor
What I need

1. Songs that will keep my interest , even slightly ( much like the beautiful fur Elise by Beethoven) but, that I can practice ;maybe for different reasons such as sight reading or comprehension.

2.tips hints and strategies on practice and study

3. What I might need to learn next , or emphasize on

4. Your opinion(positive)

5. Extra info and resources

6. Information on different paths of study for musicians and paths related to jazz/blues/ and soul

7. Extra information for those learning piano as a foundation to learn more instruments

It's all a bit of a mess, but I'm stagnating on my creative growth, and I need help

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#2253244 - 03/27/14 07:41 PM Re: Need help with practice/songs (beginner) [Re: Resareck]
earlofmar Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 3035
Loc: Australia
Too many difficult questions for me to answer with my inexperience but could I suggest these couple of things for material which are simple enough to play, sound good and can be used for sight reading

Tychokovsky - Op 39 - Album For the Young
Gurlitt - Op 101 - Album Leaves for the Young

Both available at http://imslp.org/

2.tips hints and strategies on practice and study - Play everything slowly and accurately, have a daily practice schedule and keep track of your practice with a spreadsheet or diary of some kind.

3. Your Opinion - don't be in a rush to play complex pieces. Spend plenty of time on the easy stuff and refine your skills.

5. Extra info and resources - see here, here and here
Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.


#2253373 - 03/28/14 03:27 AM Re: Need help with practice/songs (beginner) [Re: Resareck]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 6508
Loc: Italy
There are also many threads in this forum about getting started. If you look in the "Important information" thread stickied at the top of this forum you'll find a number of links to discussion threads that may help.

#2253765 - 03/28/14 11:55 PM Re: Need help with practice/songs (beginner) [Re: Resareck]
Resareck Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/14
Posts: 2
I'm sorry, I was a bit childish about those questions, anxiety took over me.
I'll add those pieces to my list and check out that section.
I've so far been able to make it a part of my routine to play with my piano and practice but also have fun.

I've been watching a few videos to help with fundamental building that I need ( time signature, circle of fifths,)
And will be taking notes and practicing my general knowledge and comprehension , ( spent some time with simple and combination signatures )

After some time I think the circle of fifths would be an important gateway to improve and enjoying music on the spot while making it all into a practice at the same time.

I have a notebook with some sheet music, and I'll add scales that I need to work
on . That will also help with above.

If anyone has suggestions,or things to keep in mind. along with what was previously said, I'm all ears again. For now I'll check out that mysterious section of helpful information xD

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#2253845 - 03/29/14 08:26 AM Re: Need help with practice/songs (beginner) [Re: Resareck]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 15475
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Do actively look for a piano teacher. The sooner, the better. Sometimes people think that they'll get a head start or get the basics out of the way before they invest in lessons, but the problem is they will learn bad habits that the new teacher will have to undo, thus adding to the overall time it will take them to get where they want to be.

If you have plans to get a teacher, do so. Certainly improvising is not a bad thing and you can continue to do that and learn theory while you are searching, but avoid learning pieces that you really want to learn (like Fur Elise) because you will ruin them for yourself. When you learn a piece, whether with good technique or not, your body assimilates that into the subconscious - meaning you don't have to think as much about it, your fingers just do it that way automatically whenever you play that piece. We call that "muscle memory". Well, if you have a piece learned incorrectly in muscle memory, you have to completely not play that for a long time - for some 6 months is enough, for some a year or two. Only then can you relearn it correctly. It is very, very hard to try and undo muscle memory without forgetting first. Best to go at it right the first time.

Also, it seems you are a bit scattered in your goals. You talk about wanting to do jazz/blues/soul but then go on to mention learning pieces like Fur Elise, which is classical. These are very different styles. Nothing wrong with that, but my suggestion is if you want to play some classical too, learn in a traditional classical way. You will learn to read and sightread, learn lots of theory, and most importantly, learn a good playing technique (assuming you have a good teacher). Once you get to a certain level of playing (around intermediate level), then you can start branching out into some jazz or blues.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2253857 - 03/29/14 09:34 AM Re: Need help with practice/songs (beginner) [Re: Resareck]
dmd Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 3127
Loc: Pennsylvania
You really need some firm direction. You are in the "jumping all around" stage where you are frantically trying to learn things too fast.

Getting a teacher would be your best solution.

If not that ... then, probably a good starter piano book (Check with your music store) and then just go through it page by page and not in a hurry ... do it slowly and very well. Then you will begin to build a base of skills with which you can utilize later in playing some of the pieces you wish to play.

Slow and carefully wins this race.

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#2260316 - 04/11/14 03:55 PM Re: Need help with practice/songs (beginner) [Re: Resareck]
Oddsox Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/01/14
Posts: 13
Loc: Pasadena, CA, USA
Resareck, first don't feel bad, I feel the same way you do. LOL I could have posted that same question.

I love classical, grew up listening to my mom play it and played classical guitar when I was younger, (but never went beyond VERY beginner level). But I'd love to play some Jazz, Mingus or Ellington like something from Money Jungle, then again I like blues too. hehe It's hard in the beginning when you want to play it all, but you're skill isn't there yet.

If you don't have a teacher sometimes you can find someone nice at a local music store that will help show you some easy books or sheet music.

My teacher has me working on "Someone like You" by Adele, but it's not really fun, not too mention kind of a downer of a song. hehe The first FUN song I've been able to play was "Everything is Awesome" from the LEGO movie. hehe I was at the music store buying flash cards and found the sheet music. Although my GF was surprised I could play it in about an hour, it was a REALLY easy version. I Googled/YouTubed and found a few more advanced versions and am now I'm working one of them.

So if there is a song you'd like to play, search YouTube, people are posting easy versions of songs on there and often include a link to download a PDF of the sheet music.

A good book of beginner classical songs is by James Bastien called "Easy Piano Classics." My mom used to teach with this, it's still too advanced for me yet, but if you can look at a copy of it in a music store and you might find a couple songs you can play, now. It assumes you've completed Book 1 of the Adult Piano Method books.

for JAZZ: I haven't bought it yet, but someone mentioned "The Best Jazz Standards Ever" by Hal Leonard. There are two versions so make sure you get the one labeled (Easy Piano Songbook).

Links to books on Amazon


If you find any you books you like, especially any easy Jazz, please share.

Lastly, how do you link the Berklee music theory books?
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine
RFC 1925 Fundamental Truths of Networking, Ross Callon

#2260635 - 04/12/14 10:25 AM Re: Need help with practice/songs (beginner) [Re: Resareck]
Silver Keys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/13
Posts: 241
Loc: Upstate N.Y.
Basically, what everyone else said. I would add...

You mentioned scales. Make sure use get a book on scales because correct fingering is important. I have "The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios & Cadences" by Alfred.

You may also want to consider "Easy Piano Classics" by James Bastien. You don't really indicate how far along you are, but I was able to play pieces from this book within my first few months of piano lessons.

Finally, take heart! You are not alone. I remember telling my teacher early on, that I can't wait to be able to just sit down and play something!
So much music and so little time!
1916 Mason & Hamlin BB
Yamaha P155


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