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Learning on my own - need some input #2749416
07/05/18 04:15 AM
07/05/18 04:15 AM
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Morten Olsson Offline OP
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Hi all,

I bought a digital piano a a few months ago and have been practicing daily ever since.
The practice part is where I need some input.

Due to practical circumstances - work, small kids etc - I am unable to get an actual teacher at this time. I realise this is far from optimal but it is not something that I can change at this time.

I have been using a couple of iPad apps so far and if nothing else they have got me playing. At this stage I know the names of the keys, how to construct basic chords (major, minor, 7’s,, add6 etc) and I have learned to play some music that is pleasing to both play and listen to using Flowkey.

I have gone though most of the basic theory in Flowkey which has gotten me to where I am now. At this stage I mainly learn by memorizing - since the Flowkey app shows both scrolling sheet music and a video of an actual pianist playing the piece - I tend to end up just looking at the video instead of doing the hard work of learning from the sheet music.

What I would like to do now is progress both in my understanding of theory, my ability to read sheet music and of course in the actual dexterity and musicality required to play with confidence and feeling.

I put in about 30-60 minutes each evening and am prepared to keep putting in the work. I have a quite high tolerance for “boring” and repetitive activities as long as there is a point to them. I do find that I need to spend at least some of my practice time playing actual music that I like to listen to in order to keep motivated and actually enjoy myself.

Based on the above I would appreciate any recommendations on how to proceed from here. One book that keeps popping up is the Alfred All-In-One course - would going through this a way forward or are there other books or apps you would recommend ?

Best regards
Morten

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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749431
07/05/18 05:34 AM
07/05/18 05:34 AM
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Union SC
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Welcome morten, I’m a beginner and I’ve found Alfred’s to be pretty good. I’m focused on getting the fundamentals well grounded at this point in my studies. That tolerance for repetition is good to have in this endeavor. Keep us posted.


Alesis Coda Pro
PianoVideoLessons.com Currently Unit 4
Alfred Adult Piano 1-ebook version
Grateful Dead fan since 1987
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749444
07/05/18 07:09 AM
07/05/18 07:09 AM
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Hershey, PA, USA
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
Hi all,

I bought a digital piano a a few months ago and have been practicing daily ever since.
The practice part is where I need some input.

.....

Based on the above I would appreciate any recommendations on how to proceed from here. One book that keeps popping up is the Alfred All-In-One course - would going through this a way forward or are there other books or apps you would recommend ?

Best regards
Morten


"Difficulties deferred and challenges unmet will eventually return with a vengeance to bite one in the butt." (paraphrasing Chopin)
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749446
07/05/18 07:17 AM
07/05/18 07:17 AM
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Hershey, PA, USA
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The Alfred AIO series is basically a sound method - it presents music theory in small, easy to understand bites consistently throughout the 3 levels of instruction and the music covers a variety of genres and is presented in a slowing increasing gradation of difficulty that is easily handled by most beginning pianists - all things considered it's recommended without too much reservation. Many use the series in conjunction with other methods/sources, and it works nicely that way.


"Difficulties deferred and challenges unmet will eventually return with a vengeance to bite one in the butt." (paraphrasing Chopin)
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749447
07/05/18 07:26 AM
07/05/18 07:26 AM
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Tennessee
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This youtube teacher discusses and plays through Alfred and other popular piano method books. May be a good supplement for you if you are going self study.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIeSnI-BmRMkxURGZ7nHtzQ


Last edited by Chili_Time; 07/05/18 07:27 AM.

Started Playing October 1, 2017. First Lesson Oct. 17, 2017. Currently in Faber Accelerated Piano Adventures Book 2 For The Older Beginner. Yamaha P-115.
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749477
07/05/18 09:17 AM
07/05/18 09:17 AM
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Richmond, BC, Canada
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
Hi all,

I have gone though most of the basic theory in Flowkey which has gotten me to where I am now. At this stage I mainly learn by memorizing - since the Flowkey app shows both scrolling sheet music and a video of an actual pianist playing the piece - I tend to end up just looking at the video instead of doing the hard work of learning from the sheet music.

What I would like to do now is progress both in my understanding of theory, my ability to read sheet music and of course in the actual dexterity and musicality required to play with confidence and feeling.


Congratulations on wanting to drop the crutches, and learn to walk on your own. IMHO, the first thing to do:

. . . Drop the crutches -- stop using FlowKey.

Alfred's (according to most accounts here -- I've never used it) would be a good place to start learning to play from a score.

A warning:

. . . "Playing with confidence and feeling" is a lot harder than it seems.

If your progress is slow, don't get discouraged. Just keep plugging away . . . your playing will improve, gradually.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749550
07/05/18 02:25 PM
07/05/18 02:25 PM
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Dublin
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The most important skill is ear training. Along with theory, it will make progress so much easier. You need to become a musician before becoming a pianist.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749557
07/05/18 03:02 PM
07/05/18 03:02 PM
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Southeast USA
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I've been at it for a month. I think for musicality one needs to be very solid on rhythm, have some feeling for dynamics and be a decent sight reader (i am sure there is more) - but this is what i prioritize the most right now. I'm doing the Alfred's Adult AIO with a teacher. If you do Alfred's don't go to fast - doing EVERYTHING it says and only advance if you have reasonably demonstrated the ability described. My teacher has to approve my demonstration (actually i will cover several new exercises each week and she will write in my log book what i still need to work on). It's harder to do it in front of my teacher as apposed to in my room by myself (a widely held sentiment). What you can do instead is record your playing then listen to it and then decide if you are good. Most say recording yourself has a similar effect to playing in front of someone.

If you are using a digital, it might help with your dynamics if you turn the volume up forcing you to play with a softer touch most of the time. For timing, I am (besides counting out loud) using Adam Small's 'Basic Timing for the pianist' - a book of exercises of increasing difficulty. It also helps with sight reading. Good Luck!


Progman
1997 Baldwin 'Classic' Console
Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749560
07/05/18 03:20 PM
07/05/18 03:20 PM
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Thank you very much for all the good advice and kind words.
I shall acquire the Alfred book and get cracking - just as soon as I finish the two pieces I’m currently learning with the ill adviced Flowkey app wink

John - would you mind going into a bit of detail on what “ear training” is ?

Thanks again.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749610
07/05/18 08:50 PM
07/05/18 08:50 PM
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In my opinion, Alfref's is the worst of the options. The approach is robotic, stilted, and leaves the left hand totally underdeveloped.

My favorite is the Russian Method, but you have to be in a certain frame of mind and have a certain degree of confidence to use it, given the overwhelming use of the other more common methods.

If I were to choose among the commonly recommended methods, I would choose Faber.

One other thing, never allow yourself to be bored. It is totally unnecessary. The key is to love what you are doing all the time.

Good luck!

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749666
07/06/18 04:26 AM
07/06/18 04:26 AM
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Hi Rich - thanks for chiming in.

I have yet to buy the Alfred book - would the Faber one you refer to be this:

https://pianoadventures.com/publications/adult-piano-adventures-all-in-one-course-book-1/

Or something else ?

In what ways would you say the Faber one differs from or improves on the Alfred one ?

Thanks again.

Last edited by Morten Olsson; 07/06/18 04:26 AM.
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749670
07/06/18 05:05 AM
07/06/18 05:05 AM
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The Alfred books (there are 3 of them, now even in a self-teaching edition) have been very good for me as a teacherless adult beginner. I went through them in my first 2 years, gradually adding other things, and I think they helped me a lot with basics in all genres (there's quite a lot of folk and blues and it really helps with rhythm) and overall direction. Okay, it's not very sophisticated, you start with rigid positions, simple keys, etc., which is something that not all instructors advocate, but you can easily add more layers of complexity by watching videos/reading articles by Neil Stannard, Shirley Kirsten, Graham Fitch, Josh Wright, etc.


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia - http://youtube.com/sinophilia
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Richrf] #2749678
07/06/18 05:44 AM
07/06/18 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Richrf
In my opinion, Alfref's is the worst of the options. The approach is robotic, stilted, and leaves the left hand totally underdeveloped.

My favorite is the Russian Method, but you have to be in a certain frame of mind and have a certain degree of confidence to use it, given the overwhelming use of the other more common methods.

If I were to choose among the commonly recommended methods, I would choose Faber.

One other thing, never allow yourself to be bored. It is totally unnecessary. The key is to love what you are doing all the time.

Good luck!


I agree with Richrf. I have Alfred's (don't use it at all anymore) and I have Faber's Adult Piano Adventures - the entire sets of Books 1 & 2. I actually enjoy Faber!! I am also looking into the Russian Method, and have bought the books. Research the Russian Method and you might be pleasantly surprised. Have fun in your journey!

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749684
07/06/18 06:33 AM
07/06/18 06:33 AM
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Thanks yet again :-)

The Faber's books look neat.
I looked up the "Russian method" - all I found initially was a discussion from this very forum that said it was a more technically oriented approach to learning. Out of interest which specific books are you talking about ?

Really looking forward to picking one or the other and digging in.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749857
07/06/18 07:44 PM
07/06/18 07:44 PM
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I use the Faber book and really enjoy it. But I'd probably enjoy any of the books because I just love playing.


Started Playing October 1, 2017. First Lesson Oct. 17, 2017. Currently in Faber Accelerated Piano Adventures Book 2 For The Older Beginner. Yamaha P-115.
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749865
07/06/18 08:13 PM
07/06/18 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
Hi Rich - thanks for chiming in.

I have yet to buy the Alfred book - would the Faber one you refer to be this:

https://pianoadventures.com/publications/adult-piano-adventures-all-in-one-course-book-1/

Or something else ?

In what ways would you say the Faber one differs from or improves on the Alfred one ?

Thanks again.


Faber has several videos on YouTube explaining the approach he uses in his book. I think it is a very good idea to watch these videos so you have some foundational knowledge of the method you may be adopting. I like his approach. It makes sense to me.

As for the Russian Method, you may want to glance at some of the videos that are based on this method. It may be of interest to you or may not. The online course that I took for $33 a month was a fair price. Unfortunately, it is no longer available at that price. The books themselves are wonderful and teach a very well rounded curriculum. However, as I said, you have to have to be in a certain frame of mind to adopt and enjoy the approach. For me, I am not interested in tunes, but rather to develop a real connection with my instrument. Thec Russian Method suits me. Currently I study by myself and very much enjoy to freedom to explore.

Hope this helps.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749866
07/06/18 08:21 PM
07/06/18 08:21 PM
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Can look into online instructions to supplement playing by the book. Found a YouTube channel a while ago "Piano Lessons on the Web". You can find lessons on music theories, playing techniques, sight-reading tips, etc.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750147
07/08/18 12:50 AM
07/08/18 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
. . .

John - would you mind going into a bit of detail on what “ear training” is ?



PMFJI --

"Ear training" develops a varied collection of skills, over a wide range of difficulty. Examples:

. . . Teacher plays two notes sequentially, asks "What's the interval between the notes?"

. . . Teacher plays two notes at the same time, asks "What's the interval between the notes?"

. . . Teacher plays a scale, asks: "Major scale or minor scale?"

. . . Teachere plays a triad, asks: "What kind of triad ?" (e.g. major / minor/ diminished)

. . . Teacher plays a four-note chord (e.g. Fmin6), asks: "What was that?"

. . . Teacher plays a triad, asks: "What inversion?"

. . . Teacher plays a C, then plays some other pitch, asks "What's the pitch of the second note?"

. . . Student closes eyes, teacher plays a note, says "Play the note a major third above that."

And so on.

I disagree with John. I think that "playing skills" and "ear training skills" develop together, rather than "ear training" being needed before you start to play. But if you want to be a musician, you must consciously develop your hearing skills, as well as your playing skills.

A story:

I wanted to join a choir, for which an audition was required. I spent lots of time with my teacher, working on things that she expected to be tested, and I thought I was well prepared. At the audition, everything was going fine, until the choir director decided to do something nasty:

. . . "OK -- I'll play the soprano / alto / bass parts of this hymn, and you sing the tenor part."

_That_, I wasn't prepared for. It tests two skills -- the ability to sight-read a line, and the ability to "hold one's own part" against other voices. That second skill is partly "can you sing?", and partly "can you listen, while you sing?"

I did OK, but it was a memorable <gulp> moment.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750284
07/08/18 07:01 PM
07/08/18 07:01 PM
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Twin Cities
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Here is another avenue for self-teaching along classical lines:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6urkeK7KgD4M9FI4JqF_rU6bZ6srK3Ry

This is a playlist of 45 videos that go with a set of pdf books you order from the woman who is teaching. She is well qualified, as her bio will show.

I don't need to go into a lot of detail because you can watch a couple of the videos and decide whether it is suitable or not.

Tony

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750345
07/09/18 06:40 AM
07/09/18 06:40 AM
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I recommend using three or more methods concurrently. I would put Faber and John Thompson (not so good on its own, excellent as a supplement) above Alfred's. I have heard good reports - from teachers - of the Music Tree method. I haven't seen or used the Bastien or Hal Leonard methods but understand them to be better than Alfred's (or not worse). Alfred's is the most popular but that's it's strongest point.

I would include Beyer Op. 101 as a supplement if you're going the classical route.

The Suzuki method itself requires a teacher but the source material is excellent from level two and up. My choice of method without a teacher would be the text of John Thompson's Modern Course up to volume three with the pieces from the Suzuki method from level two and up, supplemented with Beyer Op. 101 and, perhaps, The Music Tree.


Richard
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750365
07/09/18 08:14 AM
07/09/18 08:14 AM
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Romania
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Mosotti Online content
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If money is not a problem, I think you should really try to get a teacher. If there's no one there to correct you (and the books and youtube won't correct you), you will develop some nasty habits which will be very hard to get rid off. I also have a small kid, he was 2 months old when I started with the lessons, but I found a teacher close to work, so I just make a detour on the way home.

You can also try these:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0793551218/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0793525675/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0793525578/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Also you should really stop learning pieces by looking at hands and Synthesia and crazy scrolling apps that teach you piano in "3 weeks" and start learning to read smile

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Mosotti] #2750380
07/09/18 09:04 AM
07/09/18 09:04 AM
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Posts: 1,765
Italy
sinophilia Offline

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Originally Posted by Mosotti
...you will develop some nasty habits which will be very hard to get rid off.


Please, this is a myth that gets perpetuated ad libitum, but it's not necessarily true - certainly not for everyone. And there are a lot of people who studied with teachers all their life and still have so-called bad habits.

Defining bad habits is another challenge in itself, because we're all different and in the end, all that matters is that it sounds good and it doesn't hurt. Maybe we should focus on good habits, good advice - and there's plenty of that out there, from teachers and other fellow students.

Of course having a (good) teacher is better. But nasty habits? Honestly I don't think I have any. Maybe normal human tendencies that prevent us from doing what's best all the time. But you keep yourself in check and you'll be fine.


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia - http://youtube.com/sinophilia
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: sinophilia] #2750386
07/09/18 09:32 AM
07/09/18 09:32 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,765
Florida
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
Originally Posted by Mosotti
...you will develop some nasty habits which will be very hard to get rid off.


Please, this is a myth that gets perpetuated ad libitum, but it's not necessarily true - certainly not for everyone. And there are a lot of people who studied with teachers all their life and still have so-called bad habits.

Defining bad habits is another challenge in itself, because we're all different and in the end, all that matters is that it sounds good and it doesn't hurt. Maybe we should focus on good habits, good advice - and there's plenty of that out there, from teachers and other fellow students.

Of course having a (good) teacher is better. But nasty habits? Honestly I don't think I have any. Maybe normal human tendencies that prevent us from doing what's best all the time. But you keep yourself in check and you'll be fine.


Although I’ve always had a teacher, I would agree with this post. In order to succeed as a self learner, you need to have discipline to learn skills in a systematic way. Sinophilia has done that. Be patient, learn skills, record yourself visually and audiotally....., and be critical.

I would use the technique books of Hanon, Czerny and Schmidt with caution. Poor technique can lead to injury


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750423
07/09/18 11:18 AM
07/09/18 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
Originally Posted by Mosotti
...you will develop some nasty habits which will be very hard to get rid off.

Please, this is a myth that gets perpetuated ad libitum, but it's not necessarily true - certainly not for everyone. And there are a lot of people who studied with teachers all their life and still have so-called bad habits.

It is not a myth, and what you say, that people studying with a teacher might also develop bad habits is not an argument. The role of the teacher is to correct those things, but it's up to the student to apply the teacher's advice.

Originally Posted by sinophilia

Of course having a (good) teacher is better. But nasty habits? Honestly I don't think I have any.


Was this confirmed by an experienced piano teacher / player? I'm not a teacher, I'm a poor beginner, but looking at your videos I can say that your fingers are too flat and you play too close to the keyboard margin. Because of that you don't properly articulate your fingers and you don't press the keys with the tip of the fingers but in most cases with the whole front of the finger. Please compare your fingers in your Traumerei video with this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHlfNYY1YIY

Ignore that it's Lisitsa (I just got the first result) and look for example where her thumb touches the keys and where your thumbs are touching the keys (almost falling off the keyboard). Also observe how she presses the keys, especially the black ones, with the tips of her fingers. This creates better control and a better sound quality. Look at her hand form and then check your hands, see any difference? It's not very visible in your videos but it seems that you play a lot from the wrist and not using the fingers.

Now this is a problem I also have and I try to correct it, but in my case is mostly because I have a digital piano where it's much harder to press between keys and also the black keys are hard to press. I've ordered a better digital piano with a better action (hopefully) smile

Originally Posted by Mosotti

Defining bad habits is another challenge in itself, because we're all different and in the end, all that matters is that it sounds good and it doesn't hurt. Maybe we should focus on good habits, good advice - and there's plenty of that out there, from teachers and other fellow students.

It's not hard to define bad habits. Here's the definition: bad habits are those habits that will prevent you to progress at some point or even worse, will have your hands severely damaged.

Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by sinophilia
[quote=Mosotti]...you will develop some nasty habits which will be very hard to get rid off.

I would use the technique books of Hanon, Czerny and Schmidt with caution. Poor technique can lead to injury

You don't injure yourself if you follow the teacher's advice. For example the first advice I got was to stop everything if I feel any pain. That is a good advice, right? smile

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Mosotti] #2750437
07/09/18 12:25 PM
07/09/18 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Mosotti
Originally Posted by sinophilia
Originally Posted by Mosotti
...you will develop some nasty habits which will be very hard to get rid off.
Please, this is a myth that gets perpetuated ad libitum, but it's not necessarily true - certainly not for everyone. And there are a lot of people who studied with teachers all their life and still have so-called bad habits.
It is not a myth, and what you say, that people studying with a teacher might also develop bad habits is not an argument. The role of the teacher is to correct those things, but it's up to the student to apply the teacher's advice.
I certainly agree with this. The degree of "nastiness" is not that important. It's pretty unlikely that one will not learn some incorrect ways of playing without the help of a teacher, especially in the first few years. So if one can afford it and has sufficient time to practice it makes a lot of sense IMO.

The YT performance of Traumerai mentioned by Mosotti does show some very basic things that might have been corrected by a good teacher. The first one I would mention is the rhythm.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: sinophilia] #2750440
07/09/18 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
Originally Posted by Mosotti
...you will develop some nasty habits which will be very hard to get rid off.


Please, this is a myth that gets perpetuated ad libitum, but it's not necessarily true - certainly not for everyone. And there are a lot of people who studied with teachers all their life and still have so-called bad habits.



Of course having a (good) teacher is better. But nasty habits? Honestly I don't think I have any. Maybe normal human tendencies that prevent us from doing what's best all the time. But you keep yourself in check and you'll be fine.

I disagree. But that's also tempered with what you hope to achieve.

I know of only one person who's played for decades, and never had a teacher. He can't read music, and plays entirely by ear, and by copying others by rote. His technique wouldn't pass muster in the ABRSM grade 1 exam: he cannot play a simple scale evenly, at any speed, because he has to twist awkwardly to get his thumb beneath.

Does that matter? Not to him - what he can't play, he simply doesn't. His rep is almost entirely RH melody (using almost exclusively fingers 1, 2 and 3: he shifts his whole hand across) and LH chords.

And he's never had any injuries. So, he's fine, by any standards.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750445
07/09/18 01:09 PM
07/09/18 01:09 PM
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Certainly having a teacher is no guarantee of not developing bad habits, but self-teaching and not developing bad habits is the exception, in my opinion. With self-teaching, in order to not develop some poor habits (poor technique), you need to have a fair amount of knowledge about playing before you even start. Few beginners have this (or even know to look for it).

Before getting a teacher, I self-taught for several years using Alfred's AIO, and, yes, I have some bad habits that still haunt me. I regret now that I waited so long to get a teacher.


Three method books for self-teachers have had regular followers here on the ABF. One is the Alfred Adult All-in-One books, another is the Faber Piano Adventures series, and a third is Fundamental Keys. Any of these will teach you the basics in a graded manner (the pieces get harder as you move through the series). None is perfect; using several of them together is not a bad idea. Learn to read music notation. It will open up a world of music. Learn to hear music. It will open up a world of music as well. Above all, don't be in a hurry and do strive to enjoy the process. Best wishes on your progress!


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750513
07/10/18 02:33 AM
07/10/18 02:33 AM
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Whatever. You made it, you turned this thread into the same old argument about teacher or no teacher!

The OP just asked advice on how to learn without a teacher, is it so hard to understand?


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To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750533
07/10/18 06:23 AM
07/10/18 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Masotti
I'm a poor beginner, but looking at your videos I can say...
And going by what you said, you know nothing about playing the piano! Or watching videos! Most of your post is just wrong - all, in fact, except the bit about ordering a better digital piano, which I can't verify.

I'll charitably assume you misunderstood the defining bad habits part.

I played piano for around ten years before getting a teacher, I had no issues that needed correcting and I reached Grade 8 (ABRSM) within a few short years.

Having a teacher speeds up the rate of learning and may include (depending on the teacher) some postural benefits, a wider variety of technical solutions and better musicianship. It does not reduce the frequency of bad habits or poor playing. In many cases it takes the problem solving out of the student's hands and makes them teacher dependent, reducing their ability to advance on their own.

I'm not against having a teacher, per se, and Mrs Crotchet down the road might be fine for the average child beginner but the better you are at applying intelligence and discipline to the problem the better the teacher needs to be to make a good match.

Hanon, Czerny and the like are the sources of many unhealthy playing techniques. Only a fool would recommend them to someone self-teaching. They are better aimed at those with already good technique, aiming at a conservatory or potential career on the platform and with appropriate teachers behind them.

There's an active post in the forum now about a Pischna study. It has taken a potentially difficult passage from a piece of music and changed it into a repetitive, mind-numbing exercise on the stupid belief that frequent repetition up and down the keyboard will fix the problem. Many teachers use the same formula. That's no way to solve problems. Piano playing is a mental activity not a fingers game.

A wide ranging repertoire is the source of good piano technique for the first few years at which time technique can be bolstered with scales and arpeggios - though not all piano styles will benefit from them equally.


Richard
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: zrtf90] #2750565
07/10/18 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by Masotti
I'm a poor beginner, but looking at your videos I can say...
And going by what you said, you know nothing about playing the piano! Or watching videos! Most of your post is just wrong - all, in fact, except the bit about ordering a better digital piano, which I can't verify.

I'll charitably assume you misunderstood the defining bad habits part.

I played piano for around ten years before getting a teacher, I had no issues that needed correcting and I reached Grade 8 (ABRSM) within a few short years.

Having a teacher speeds up the rate of learning and may include (depending on the teacher) some postural benefits, a wider variety of technical solutions and better musicianship. It does not reduce the frequency of bad habits or poor playing. In many cases it takes the problem solving out of the student's hands and makes them teacher dependent, reducing their ability to advance on their own.

Not for the first time, you're talking a load of tosh.

Just because you've been lucky, and probably have some inherent talent, doesn't mean that everyone else will. Extrapolating your own experience to everyone else is simply idiotic.

A good teacher will ensure that any bad habits are nipped in the bud before they have time to get ingrained - like those of my friend that I mentioned earlier. Fortunately for him, he has no interest in classical music. But what if I had gone the same way as him and then discovered in my middle age that I've developed a love for Mozart? I well remember my first teacher having to correct my finger & hand positioning several times over many lessons and giving me specific pieces to develop 'weak' fingers. All things I'd never have known was a problem.......until I started playing more advanced pieces, and realised her wisdom.

Of course, I don't have your musical and technical talent. I'm sure you always know when you're about to become sloppy, and nip yourself in the bud before that happens. Or you're so talented that you never come close to developing sloppy habits, because you're able to analyse yourself constantly.

Quote
There's an active post in the forum now about a Pischna study. It has taken a potentially difficult passage from a piece of music and changed it into a repetitive, mind-numbing exercise on the stupid belief that frequent repetition up and down the keyboard will fix the problem. Many teachers use the same formula. That's no way to solve problems. Piano playing is a mental activity not a fingers game.

A wide ranging repertoire is the source of good piano technique for the first few years at which time technique can be bolstered with scales and arpeggios - though not all piano styles will benefit from them equally.


Again, you're talking through your hat.

Piano playing is a technical activity, not a mind game. Do you know of anyone who learnt to play piano simply by thinking or meditating? Did anyone ever learn to play fluent scales by thinking about them? Many of the world's great virtuosi past & present developed great technical skills (and revelled in them) long before their musicianship caught up, and that's the way it has to be if you want to reach the top. (Neuhaus mentioned that Richter was a 'banger' in his youth). How can one apply musicianship (whether innate or acquired) if one doesn't have the technique to express it? Gaze up at the ceiling in rapture while playing sloppily? Write a book? (Er, yes. There're quite a few of those around).

"The technique is the expression" - Horowitz.

All teachers stress focused practicing (and time spent on it) - lots of it, consistently, daily - at the piano. Some famous ones even advocate mindless practicing for specific technical problems in order that they can be executed easily without having to think about them.

And scales & arpeggios are an important part of classical technique, therefore they should be started quite early on if classical music is one's goal (and of course, with a teacher). Within the first few months of starting piano, in fact. All reputable piano exam boards for classical music - ABRSM, Trinity, AMEB, RCM - require them from the earliest grades. Do you know better than them?

On the other hand, if you just want to play what you can play, forget all that.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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