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Re: Piano Learning Software
jjs6067 #2502467 01/21/16 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jjs6067
The allure of an online course is the price point, at least for me. Piano teachers can be very expensive, and their methods may not be sound (no pun intended).

It's ironic that complaints about the price of lessons come mostly from those who don't have them.

Originally Posted by jjs6067
You're right in that you can't learn expression through a book. I also don't think that can be taught by a piano teacher, it's just something you have to develop as you evolve as a musician

You won't believe how wrong you are until you actually get lessons with a good teacher. A good teacher can teach you a lot about musical expression. Expression is not just a fuzzy undefinable feeling for the music. It's attention to lots of little details: a little rubato here, lighter hand for those notes there, the left hand is slightly too loud, make it more legato, more even, etc. These are things you will never notice yourself until someone guides you through many pieces and tells you what to listen for. There are also the things that are better explained by demonstrating. An example from one of my first lessons:

Teacher: The notes are OK but you should try to get a better feel for the 3/4 time.
Me: What do you mean?
Teacher: Well, yours sounds like this <demonstration>. It's like you're playing DA..DA..DA.. You should play it more DA..da..da like this <demonstration>
Me: Ah I get it! <play>
Teacher: Yes, that's better.

The above is hard to really explain in a book. Yes, the point was to play stronger and weaker beats but it's more about feeling those strong beats than making them particularly louder or longer. Unless someone corrects you on the spot it's almost certain that you will get it wrong. This is just a very basic example from a complete beginner's lesson but even at that level there are many things that you do which can be called 'expression' and help turn plain notes into real music.

And there are also the technical issues that a teacher always watches for like: watch out for those collapsed joints, wrist a little higher/lower, don't tense up, less weight and a more finger speed, etc. It is beyond me how someone would get all those things right without a teacher.

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Re: Piano Learning Software
Qazsedcft #2502478 01/21/16 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
It's ironic that complaints about the price of lessons come mostly from those who don't have them.


I wouldn't call that ironic. The price is the reason they do not have them. It is a natural correlation.

You show me someone who complains about the cost of going to a movie in the theatre and I will show you someone who does not go to many movies.



Don

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Re: Piano Learning Software
jjs6067 #2502526 01/21/16 12:11 PM
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I'm with Qazsedcft.

Piano should be a lifelong passion. Don't skimp on your passions. Dive in.
A piano teacher should be a high priority.

You need a coach. Book learning won't cut it alone.

I mean, I am a guy who loves computers, has written a weird piano practice program,
and I also take piano lessons.

Software can make daily practice a little more fun.
(Especially if you just wanna play pop and can't stand standard notation like me.)

But it won't coach you, point out your shortcomings, hold you accountable,
or give you examples of the "nicer way". Nor get you along your path FAST.
(which is very different than some other piano dude's path)

And don't ever let software judge you. It can, but it shouldn't.
As you play piano alone, you think to yourself, you know, I'm BETTER than
I used to be. I'm not too bad! But you can't judge you.
You're biased. A piano teacher can see how far along your path you are.
She can see what you're capable of down the road right now.
You don't know that road.

Would you rather bumble along this road on your own hittin all the dead ends?
Or would you rather have a running partner who will speed you through the maze?

Would you attempt soccer without a coach?
You can learn to play the game on your own.
But calling yourself a soccer player without a coach - mmmmmm...

Find a teacher that you "click" with personality wise that can play at a level a ways above you. Try em for a couple weeks. See if there's that "click" between you. If there is, give yourself a couple months with this teacher and see how much more progress you make. You'll be VERY happy.


http://PianoCheetah.app - my weird piano practice program
Re: Piano Learning Software
Fly Boy #2502541 01/21/16 01:04 PM
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Stephen Hazel, I played soccer for many years. Without a coach. Just with friends and acquaintances, we would play indoors in the winter, and outdoors in the summer. Although we didn't compete in the English Premier League, I will still claim we were soccer players. Some of us actually were also in a team, for some time, with a coach, but not all.

Likewise, anyone who plays the piano as a hobby, is a pianist. (S)he doesn't have to have played in Carnegie Hall.

While I agree having a teacher is the best way to progress, it's not the only way. For many it's not an option for financial reasons.


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Re: Piano Learning Software
Fly Boy #2502839 01/22/16 12:19 PM
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I don't mean to say you can only call yourself a piano player if you have a teacher.

A lot of people have done fine without.

But having a piano teacher is definitely the best way to go if ya can.
I think FEW piano players will argue with that.


http://PianoCheetah.app - my weird piano practice program
Re: Piano Learning Software
Fly Boy #2502896 01/22/16 02:08 PM
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I consider myself mostly self-taught; I have been self-studying for about 45 years on and off. But I had formal lessons with teachers in childhood till the 2nd grade, therefore I can compare. It is now when I observe the whole journey that I may draw some conclusions. My verdict is that it is virtually impossible to learn piano playing from scratch without a piano teacher. The beginning stage, at least a year or two, should be done under supervision of a teacher. Starting from the 2nd grade by myself, with some basics already ingrained, I bumped in all kinds of walls and pits and got injuries in both hands. It was a slow, rough and frustrating road, before I found solutions for many issues. I just cannot comprehend how one may pass the hazardous maze of tricks and traps by oneself alone. Simply said, I just do not believe it is realistic to learn by yourself. One would come to get some prompt and weird finger juggling skill untill ending at a velocity wall, but might that skill be called musical piano playing?

It is not the matter of financial reasons. It is whether you will play piano or not. Without a teacher, you develop a strange game of your own, which only you and your loving family may call piano playing. Like this example of a person who had been teaching himself from scratch for 70 (!) years. You may try to find a teacher in another country for skype lessons, where rates may be drastically lower, and take one lesson a month. It may be as low as one lunch meal of yours. Even an unqualified teacher may be hundred times better than no teacher at all. Or send you prerecorded practice videos for just a short written response from a qualified teacher. Be inventive, but you just need a feedback and individual context guidance!

It does not actually matter which online piano course you take, as it is a secondary matter. Recently I visited a Chinese piano forum and google translated this page with advices for adult self-learners. It was enlightening experience how owing to our mentality we circle around secondary matters. The Chinese folks perhaps have their own mentality, that is why the problem shows itself. Please try translate this page by yourself and you notice how they discuss there that you better not smoke, put flowers nearby, hang a mirror, do not play during rainy days, and even deeper below they altogether switch to what should they eat before (or after). The same is with searching for the “optimal” piano course and paying too much attention to this search. Any decent course will do if you are diligent with it, because it is not the information of the course which is most important, but your own active thought about and during your practice. And again, its value is relative because of lack of feedback.

Last edited by lotal; 01/22/16 02:12 PM.
Re: Piano Learning Software
Fly Boy #2502910 01/22/16 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by lotal
Any decent course will do if you are diligent with it, because it is not the information of the course which is most important, but your own active thought about and during your practice. And again, its value is relative because of lack of feedback.
I tend to agree with the reasoning behind the student's own thinking being more important than the course but disagree with the feedback idea. Music is its own feedback so the more actively you listen to professional recordings and the more you record and listen to your own playing and make critical judgements on the differences the greater are the benefits of self teaching really and is undoubtedly better than having a bad teacher.

What matters in self-teaching is the amount of research needed into learning methods, listening to the body, trying to emulate the sounds of professional playing and a creative approach to problem solving. Too much repetition, especially of "technical" work like Hanon and scales without sufficient understanding of their purpose, shortcuts to second best results and insufficient planning, measuring and comparison of results are the typical drawbacks but even these aren't avoided by some teachers.

Actually, self-teaching is best when you have a teacher. Analysing what it is that the teacher brings to the lesson and trying to duplicate it and develop that skill will help enormously.

For some the piano playing isn't even the end goal and the slower progress is no disadvantage. The discipline of learning and just following the path is enough to satisfy some and the greater the intelligence and experience of the student in other fields the better the results will be. There are so many more resources available these days that weren't there when I was young that self teaching isn't such a poor choice. Though I still don't think software does it.



Richard
Re: Piano Learning Software
Fly Boy #2502925 01/22/16 03:45 PM
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Here is one person's experiences being largely self-taught.

This directly from Michele McLaughlin's web site:

When I was 8, my parents took me to see George Winston in concert. We were right by the stage, on the left hand side, I could see his hands so clearly and closely and I was mesmerized. I remember thinking a wide-eyed “WOW!” and I thought everything about George and his music and being up on that stage playing for a concert hall full of people was just super cool.

After that I spent months learning how to play his songs by ear. I would put the CD in, listen to a few measures, and then plunk it out as best I could. Before long, I was playing entire George Winston tunes, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was also learning how to play. See, I never took lessons. Well, that’s not entirely true, I did take lessons for a very brief moment in time and I hated it. Lessons took all the fun out of playing. Lessons made playing the piano a miserable, horrible, unpleasant chore, and that just didn’t work for me. So instead, I just learned to play by listening to other musicians, and it wasn’t long before I was composing my own songs.

Here is one of her tunes:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9UzFC-nNz8

It seems to me that there is more than one path to get where we want to go. In speaking of her experience with lessons, there could be many reason for that. I have heard from a number of people who voiced similar experience with childhood lessons. I take from that simply that there are all manner of teachers, some less suitable for teaching children than others. I have no disagreement with the positive points people have mentioned here about getting a "live" teacher, but instead am simply pointing out that for some, another path might work better for them, for whatever reason. Most people I have met who had this sort of childhood experience with lessons, never went back to the piano, and that is a terrible shame.

Tony

Last edited by TonyB; 01/22/16 03:50 PM.

Roland V-Grand
Re: Piano Learning Software
zrtf90 #2502926 01/22/16 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
I tend to agree with the reasoning behind the student's own thinking being more important than the course but disagree with the feedback idea. Music is its own feedback so the more actively you listen to professional recordings and the more you record and listen to your own playing and make critical judgements on the differences the greater are the benefits of self teaching really and is undoubtedly better than having a bad teacher.

But it's very hard to develop that skill of critical listening without guidance. I definitely listen to music differently now than before I started lessons.

Originally Posted by zrtf90
What matters in self-teaching is the amount of research needed into learning methods, listening to the body, trying to emulate the sounds of professional playing and a creative approach to problem solving.

That is indeed true. Even with a teacher you have to constantly re-evaluate your own learning processes and methods. What works now might not be enough in a few months and you need to be open to fresh ideas.

Originally Posted by zrtf90
Actually, self-teaching is best when you have a teacher. Analysing what it is that the teacher brings to the lesson and trying to duplicate it and develop that skill will help enormously.


That's a great way to put it! thumb

Your teacher is a guide but most of the work is actually done outside lessons.

Re: Piano Learning Software
zrtf90 #2502934 01/22/16 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
For some the piano playing isn't even the end goal and the slower progress is no disadvantage. The discipline of learning and just following the path is enough to satisfy some ...


I think you have defined me to a tee. I enjoy the process and the end result will be what it is. All I need to keep me going is the sense that I am moving in the right direction and I am making some progress. I have no sense of frustration because I have no expectation of a particular result. I have a goal but no time period associated with that goal. I am retired and if I realize the goal, great ... if not, fine.


Last edited by dmd; 01/22/16 04:05 PM.

Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer
Re: Piano Learning Software
dmd #2502940 01/22/16 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by zrtf90
For some the piano playing isn't even the end goal and the slower progress is no disadvantage. The discipline of learning and just following the path is enough to satisfy some ...


I think you have defined me to a tee. I enjoy the process and the end result will be what it is. All I need to keep me going is the sense that I am moving in the right direction and I am making some progress. I have no sense of frustration because I have no expectation of a particular result. I have a goal but no time period associated with that goal. I am retired and if I realize the goal, great ... if not, fine.



To me, this is the perfect attitude for approaching a long term commitment such as learning piano. Being also retired, I am likewise enjoying the journey.

I do have goals, such as get the scales, chords, and arpeggios into my hands so they really "know" the keyboard. I also know what kind of music I want to play, and now understand what I need to get into my hands to be able to play it. So now, I can relax just as dmd describes and let it unfold. Every day, I see progress. It is really interesting watching my hands learn to traverse the piano keyboard, and improve in doing so, day by day.

Tony



Roland V-Grand
Re: Piano Learning Software
Fly Boy #2502976 01/22/16 07:15 PM
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I followed the above link to Udemy.
Price for piano4all was $247.
I created an account, then ignored them.

Next day a bunch of "special" offers came by e-mail - each at $24.
The day after that they offered piano4all at $24.

Hmmm, this almost suggests that they have trouble even GIVING IT AWAY laugh

For what its worth, etc.

Re: Piano Learning Software
R_B #2502977 01/22/16 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by R_B
I followed the above link to Udemy.
Price for piano4all was $247.
I created an account, then ignored them.

Next day a bunch of "special" offers came by e-mail - each at $24.
The day after that they offered piano4all at $24.

Hmmm, this almost suggests that they have trouble even GIVING IT AWAY laugh

For what its worth, etc.


For what it's worth, there is an entire thread devoted to PianoForAll

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2169640/1.html

Re: Piano Learning Software
dmd #2502998 01/22/16 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by zrtf90
For some the piano playing isn't even the end goal and the slower progress is no disadvantage. The discipline of learning and just following the path is enough to satisfy some ...


I think you have defined me to a tee. I enjoy the process and the end result will be what it is. All I need to keep me going is the sense that I am moving in the right direction and I am making some progress. I have no sense of frustration because I have no expectation of a particular result. I have a goal but no time period associated with that goal. I am retired and if I realize the goal, great ... if not, fine.


I agree with this. I am 64 and have tried to find a teacher that can help me play some old favorite songs. But the teachers here in my rural area are all geared to young students who will continue for years. In the end, a good teacher is one who makes you want to keep playing piano. I dont want to spend 7 lessons in a row, going over the same song that I dont even like. After 4 years of lessons, I now just teach myself and I have a journal.
At the top of the journal is this entry to myself:

Motivation Motto - I will ask myself after each session:
- Was it fun
- did I improve in any way, and in what area
If I can answer yes to this every time I practice, then I know I am on the right track.

Re: Piano Learning Software
Fly Boy #2503006 01/22/16 09:31 PM
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Thanks Dogperson,
I read that thread, not to dump on anyone, but the comments are very similar to many threads where new purchasers proclaim their new found enthusiasm.
OK, I do it too laugh

I was intrigued by the $247 vs $24 deal - BTW the price was $39 three or four years ago.

Last edited by R_B; 01/22/16 09:32 PM.
Re: Piano Learning Software
Stephen Hazel #2503273 01/23/16 06:04 PM
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I agree with this. Having a teacher is the best route, but I've been making great progress with the software I have.

When I graduate physical therapy school I will probably invest in a teacher, but for now seeing as I have no income, pianoforall seems to be doing just fine.

Are there things to look for in a good piano teacher, or is just experience basically?



Yamaha P-45
Re: Piano Learning Software
R_B #2503286 01/23/16 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by R_B
Thanks Dogperson,
I read that thread, not to dump on anyone, but the comments are very similar to many threads where new purchasers proclaim their new found enthusiasm.
OK, I do it too laugh



This is what people in the forums see, and is probably the primary reason for the cynicism about self-teaching courses. We all do it - the excited post about the shiny new course we just bought, and then the deafening silence that follows - until we get the next shiny new course, never mentioning what happened to the last one.

Worse, few who have taken any of these courses seem to ever post that s/he actually finished the course, providing a link to some playing that shows how well s/he fared as a result. I can think of only a couple of people who have posted about being successful in some such course. Swingin Barb, who actually did learn to play standards via the Sudnow method and Seaside Lee who learned to play by ear from the Piano Magic web site. Both provided links to videos of their playing. From among all the many posts about this or that course, having only two people prove success is a very low average.

I am including myself in this group of people who chronically start and stop a variety of these courses. I have been on a good path for some time now, but would rather be able to post myself actually playing something worthwhile before making any pronouncements about it because all I have really done in the past is waste a lot of words in posts about courses I did not finish either.

I suspect that the percentage of people who go to a "live" teacher and succeed at learning to play is FAR higher than those of us who go it alone. That isn't to say that there is anything wrong with self-study courses, but instead that human nature seems to reward those who put themselves in a position in which they have to produce (i.e. show up prepared every week). When going it alone, it is all too easy to just not do the work one day and then the next, and the next...no one else will ever know or care.

Tony


Last edited by TonyB; 01/23/16 06:49 PM.

Roland V-Grand
Re: Piano Learning Software
TonyB #2503288 01/23/16 07:02 PM
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I agree in that I imagine a lot of people stop trying to learn via whatever program they decided on getting. Whatever reason it happens to be, its a shame that it does happen.

I, personally, do not want to share that same end so I have started a video series documenting my progress. It's kind of 1/2 review of the program and 1/2 progress of my playing, so that it can give others an idea of what to expect. Regardless, it's a way to keep myself accountable so that I don't fall off the wagon.

My latest video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xqayKVSn9g.

Of course it doesn't have much context unless prior videos are watched, but I am excited to see how I progress as I keep posting videos. My goal is to keep posting videos until I finish the program, and then beyond that, it's up in the air.


Yamaha P-45
Re: Piano Learning Software
Fly Boy #2503295 01/23/16 07:38 PM
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FWIW, this is the only recording I made while learning with Musiah. About a month in, I think. I stopped because I got a new piano and it was too far away from my computer to play.
https://soundcloud.com/antikewl/largo

Ironically it's the same piece I'm working on right now in Piano Adventures 2B. smile


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Re: Piano Learning Software
Fly Boy #2503368 01/24/16 03:51 AM
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I think that going for lessons or not can depend a lot on the learner. For example, does this learner mainly wish to play chordal stuff to play in a band, do they have a very good natural ear for music and are self-critical and studious with the ability to research well, or are they already an experienced musician on other instruments and understand the "language" of music to a relatively high level?

If someone just wants to play chords to do backing in a band and be self-taught like many a rock musician, they can certainly succeed at that. Classical is a bit of a different creature though.

I would expect anyone can learn the piano to a reasonable intermediate standard at the least if they are careful to watch out for bad habits and learn to instill good ones, researches accordingly, and is honest and self critical of their skills. Using audio and video recordings of themselves to analyse and find weaknesses would help them a lot too.

If they also make use of a good teaching method and always look to improve the way they do things through research, know how to organise a proper, and flexible practice schedule, then I'd expect they could do fairly well. Listening to and analysing a lot of different pieces, especially the differences between interpretations of the same piece can educate a lot too (certainly for learning that piece), as well as listening to music attentively in general.

For those who are brand new to music though, and want to learn things like classical music well on piano, then finding a good teacher is likely the best idea. But, if you have the right ear and approach, who knows?

I have decided to see how I will fare without a teacher. I just got a digital piano the start of this week and will be ready to get stuck into it now I am just about recovered from the flu (the worst kind, uggh) and I can get practicing properly. I have 14 years experience playing bass guitar and several with acoustic and electric guitar. I'm largely self-taught, but spent a few years having formal teaching in college and I am used to auto-didactic study.

I've loved piano for so many years but never got round to playing it; I have listened to lots of piano pieces by many composers and players but only now at 28 am I taking the plunge.

With my background I could probably make a decent go at learning piano by myself and can learn at my own pace (which I would like to be quick but careful and accurate). By the time I reach a high intermediate level, I might want to find a good teacher though to look at what I do, and iron out any deficiencies and open up new doors.

I will be using Alfred's Basic Adult All-in-One Course 1 through 3 as my base, and I think I might document my progress on YouTube and how I approach learning auto-didactically and how I organise my studies; all comments and constructive criticism would be welcome for any performances.

Anyway, pleased to meet you all. Sorry for the mini-essay!


Adult Beginner on piano (started 19 Jan 2016); 14 years' experience playing bass guitar, and several years on guitar.

Kawai ES100, mainly played through a set of AKG K550's. Perils of thin walls and flatmates. wink
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