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No pedals . . .
#2400946 03/21/15 10:52 AM
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Hi!

I'm new to this forum, but I have been learning to play piano on my own for some 8 or 9 months now (with the help of Alfred's adult beginner piano course). I'm at the end of book 1 and checking out the beginning pieces in book 2. I've only got a digital piano with no pedals, and when the pedal was introduced in book one, I skipped its use (by playing those songs without it), and that's what I've been doing ever since.

Now I'm beginning book 2, and am concerned as to how the absence of piano pedals is going to affect my learning process. And that is my question to you all. I'm not in a position to buy the pedals at this point, and I really want to know what I'm missing. Could you guys possibly tell me something about that?

I live in a place where I'm the only one with a piano, or the passion to learn it, so I'm really looking forward to learning tons of piano related things from you all and improving my playing technique!

Thank you!

Maths

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Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2400950 03/21/15 11:01 AM
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I don't know what kind of piano you have, but you really only need one pedal to get started, and that's a sustain pedal. Most digital pianos have a dedicated jack for a sustain pedal. Unless you're concerned with half-pedaling, a simple one like this will probably do the trick:

http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Sustain-Pedal-Action-Keyboards/dp/B00063678K/




Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2400952 03/21/15 11:02 AM
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Pedaling is a key part of playing the piano. On the other hand, learning to play with finger legato is important too. But by book two, yes you need a sustain pedal.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
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Re: No pedals . . .
Andy Platt #2400974 03/21/15 12:10 PM
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What piano do you have? There are a couple types of pedals and which dp will deterine which type.
What type of music do you want to play? Pedal would not be ccritical for Bach and you can make good progress on Haydn and Mozart with the understanding you will have to relearn quite a bit. Romanic music would be hard to learn without a pedal.


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Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401026 03/21/15 04:51 PM
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A pedal is a must, even for a complete beginner. The one David linked to is good because it will work with any keyboard. (I carry one as a back-up).

If the pedal you're looking at isn't switchable, you'll just need to know the brand of your keyboard. The polarity is sometimes switched on keyboards, meaning some are +/- and others are -/+. All keyboards of the same brand will usually have the same polarity setting. If you plug a pedal in and it holds notes when you release the pedal and stops them when you press it, you have the wrong kind. That's why I like the switchable ones. They're normally only $5 more.

It's not a big purchase, so I'd say go ahead and get one and then you don't have to worry about it anymore.


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Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401043 03/21/15 06:27 PM
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Children learn all the way up through advanced music before growing tall enough to reach the pedals. If you choose your repertoire accordingly, you won't need the pedal. Most if not all of the Suzuki repertoire is pedal-optional, depending on how you feel about leaving pedal out of a Chopin waltz or Granados dance smile
Pedal is really only crucial for some Romantic pieces that depend on one set of notes being sustained while the hands move to another location on the piano, and certain later composers like Debussy and Takemitsu who use pedal as a built-in aspect of composition.
Once the student grows tall enough, or gets an instrument with pedals, pedal can be added to lots of music as another dimension of sound production.

By the way, have you checked to see if your digital has a place to plug in a sustain pedal? Plug-in pedals can be had for $25 or so.


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Beethoven - Diabelli Variations Op. 120
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Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401109 03/21/15 09:49 PM
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It is only a matter of time before it will become essential, yes you can play repertoire to work around it but why would you want to do that. I managed without a pedal in my first year but by the second it was a must for 50% of the pieces. I only have a modest Yamaha P105 dp that can only take one pedal (sustain) and that is all I need.


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Re: No pedals . . .
hreichgott #2401181 03/22/15 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by hreichgott
Children learn all the way up through advanced music before growing tall enough to reach the pedals.


Another reason to also have a digital. The pedal's on the end of a wire, so you can put it up on blocks as high as your children need.

As to the original question, yes, go buy a pedal. It's a worthwhile exercise to try finger legato, and you should continue to do it regularly. But it shouldn't be the only thing you ever do.



-- J.S.

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Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401207 03/22/15 06:59 AM
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The model of pedal that David links to is the one I had for my first Yamaha electronic keyboard when I had it (gave it subsequently to a friend), and it's a good, solid model, far superior to the cheap plastic thing that had originally come with my keyboard. It connected to a quarter-inch jack socket on the back of the keyboard. By now, you should be thinking of getting familiar with the pedal. I found it tricky at first, as I hadn't realised that when you lift off the pedal is as important as when you engage it, so there's a synchronisation skill to be learned in bringing your foot in to play with your hands. But like all skills, facility becomes acquired through practice. The first piece I remember finding it really useful was 'Over the Rainbow' in the Alfred book, where the sustain gave me time to move my hands to the next position in order to pick up the flow of the melody, a very satisfying moment for me when it actually worked. It's not an expensive item, so it'll cost you little to get one.

Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401223 03/22/15 08:23 AM
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Hi!

Thank you all SO much for replying! It feels amazing to be a part of such an active and helpful community!

From your replies I've decided that you guys are right that I should buy a sustain pedal. I looked into my piano manual and found out that Yamaha FC4 or FC5 is compatible with it. I'm wondering which one would be best for me? I checked out the link that David gave, and I have no idea if that padal is the best option or the ones in the manual. Could you please guide me as to how to decide?

I'm really thrilled to have so many helpful people around here who have such knowledge about piano. It feels great to have people who can advice me. I look forward to learning a lot from you guys.

Once again, thanks a ton for helping me!

Maths

P.S. I have a Yamaha PSR 270 keyboard.

Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401240 03/22/15 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Maths
From your replies I've decided that you guys are right that I should buy a sustain pedal. I looked into my piano manual and found out that Yamaha FC4 or FC5 is compatible with it. I'm wondering which one would be best for me? I checked out the link that David gave, and I have no idea if that padal is the best option or the ones in the manual. Could you please guide me as to how to decide?


Get either the FC4 (if you're intent on having Yamaha original) or the M-Audio SP-2 that David recommended (probably as good as the Yamaha and less expensive). Both of these will give you the feel of a real piano pedal.


Steinway A grand (1919), Richard Lipp grand (1913), Yamaha P2 upright (1983), Casio PX-150 digital (2013)
Re: No pedals . . .
MRC #2401245 03/22/15 10:35 AM
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The Yamaha FC4 and the M-Audio pedals are pretty much classic designs that look like pedals, whereas the FC5 is more like a foot switch than a pedal, and the FC5 is what came with my first digital piano. Didn't like it, plugged in the M-Audio instead. It didn't tend to skid along the floor the way the FC5 did.

Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401271 03/22/15 12:04 PM
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Thanks a lot for replying, MRC and Purkoy.

I'm not specifically interested in buying the Yamaha original pedal. It looks like the M-audio pedal will work fine enough. It's actually less expensive then the original, like you said, so right now it seems to be the best option for me. If both the original and M-Audio work equally well, then it's no use buying the expensive original one. So I'll probably get it at the earliest possible opportunity.

Thanks for guiding me! I'm really glad I got your advice in time. smile

Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401272 03/22/15 12:05 PM
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If you have a Yamaha piano but it doesn't support half-pedaling, the M-Audio will be just as good as the FC5 and half the price. The only thing you may have to do it flip the polarity switch on the pedal. I agree with Purkoy - my first piano came with an FC5 and it isn't anything in style or feel to a real sustain pedal. I replaced it with the M-Audio.

Re: No pedals . . .
David Farley #2401294 03/22/15 01:34 PM
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I don't think my piano supports half-pedaling, so I'll definitely buy the M-Audio pedal. It seems to be the optimum choice, both in terms of price and performance. Thanks for the info!

Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401551 03/23/15 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Maths

Now I'm beginning book 2, and am concerned as to how the absence of piano pedals is going to affect my learning process. And that is my question to you all. I'm not in a position to buy the pedals at this point, and I really want to know what I'm missing. Could you guys possibly tell me something about that?



You should start using a pedal in pieces as soon as you can and I think you miss a lot if you don't. This is an essential part of learning piano. Once you start using it, you'll never want to stop smile

Last edited by Celdor; 03/23/15 04:26 AM.

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Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401585 03/23/15 08:12 AM
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And congratulations on finishing volume 1 in 8 months!


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: No pedals . . .
PhilipInChina #2401638 03/23/15 11:24 AM
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Thanks!! smile

Although I've finished it, I can't say I played all the songs flawlessly- I've been learning on my own and have never had a teacher, so obviously I can't judge my own performance. Also, I skipped the pedal use, and it will be a while before I get a pedal from somewhere and learn (from book 1) to use it.

Besides, I haven't been able to play the bonus songs, so I haven't finished the whole book, in a way. I find those songs a bit too difficult, and they aren't even on the cd that came with the book. Have you had any experience with Alfred's books?

Re: No pedals . . .
Maths #2401664 03/23/15 01:03 PM
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Of course you can judge your own performance! Check other people's recordings on Youtube and record yourself. That's the way to learn without a teacher. Also, check the threads on the Alfred course here on PianoWorld, many people are using or have used these books, myself included.

Re: No pedals . . .
sinophilia #2402068 03/24/15 11:29 AM
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Thanks Sinophilia smile I didn't know there were special threads on Alfred's books. I'm checking them out now and they look really useful and will certainly help me a lot with my learning.

I haven't recorded myself yet but will be doing soon, now that I know. It seems like a good way to judge yourself through recording- I'm glad you told me. This forum seems to be very helpful and I'm already learning so much stuff. I can't help wishing I had known about it when I first started learning piano!

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