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What To Learn? #2770864
10/09/18 04:14 PM
10/09/18 04:14 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
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Finn1996 Offline OP
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Hey everyone, new to the forum!

I've just recently started to get serious with practicing/creating music, and I must say that it's quite overwhelming starting from (near) the bottom. There are so many scales, chords and concepts to go through, and they're all different yet all related in some way (I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with this feeling lol). I'm the kind of person that works better with order and organization. So, I'm looking to make a list of all the essential concepts I should learn on piano, and what order should I learn everything in? I am trying to teach myself music theory, but I'm also trying to familiarize myself with the actual physical playing of the piano as well. So if I've memorized C Major, for example, I'll still play it over and over for a few minutes just to get comfortable with playing.

I'm going to write the list that I have out, and I will edit the list as suggestions and ideas come from you all (note that some can/will be learned simultaneously, also note that some are more geared to music theory while others are more geared to playing the piano):

-Major Scales
-Intervals
-Chord Codes
-Inversions
-Minor Scales (Natural, Harmonic, Melodic)
-Key Signatures, Circle Of Fifths/Fourths, Relative Scales
-Modes

For the "Chord Codes" section, I was having trouble finding a clear list of all the possible chords, so right now I only have major, minor, augmented, and diminished triads. So, if someone could post a list of all possible chord formations, that would really help me a lot! Also, please share any ideas for additions or changes to this list, whether I'm missing any concepts or if the order should be changed.

I'll also share my 2 hour practice routine that I currently have (I spend 1 week on each major scale for right now):

-Play C Major Scale (20 mins, 10 mins each hand)
-Play C Major Scale (20 mins, all 88 keys, switch hands in the middle)
-Play C Major Scale (20 mins, both hands simultaneously)

-Play Major Chords (White & Black, 10 mins, 5 mins each hand)
-Play C Major Chords (10 mins, 5 mins each hand)
-Play Major Chord Arpeggios (20 mins, 10 mins each hand)
-Play Major Chord Inversions (20 mins, 10 mins each hand)

A lot of that seems repetitive but the approach I'm taking is to be extra repetitive to engrave all the music theory in my head. I've heard a lot of people say it's better to learn songs and play around to see how things work and relate to each other, but I'm thinking it would be better to learn everything systematically and repetitively to set me up to be in a good position when I want to start learning more advanced things like chord progressions and melodies and improvisation, etc.

Basically, I'm trying to come up with a solid way to teach myself both music theory and playing piano in a way that is highly effective but isn't too boring. I want to create this method for myself, and then eventually start to teach it once I'm good enough.


Thanks in advance!

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Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2770877
10/09/18 04:49 PM
10/09/18 04:49 PM
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bennevis Offline
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My head is already spinning...... grin

But hey, if you enjoy doing all of that (bearing in mind all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl - but your 'play' may be someone else's 'work'), that's perfectly fine.

Personally, I'd follow this syllabus, grade by grade:

https://gb.abrsm.org/fileadmin/user_upload/PDFs/Piano_Syllabus_2019___2020_complete.pdf

Though I'm biased, because (knowing no better) I went through all that as a kid with my teachers, and it gave me all the skills to make me the pianist and musician I am now.


"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: What To Learn? [Re: bennevis] #2770880
10/09/18 05:09 PM
10/09/18 05:09 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,193
New York City
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted by bennevis
My head is already spinning...... grin

But hey, if you enjoy doing all of that (bearing in mind all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl - but your 'play' may be someone else's 'work'), that's perfectly fine.

Personally, I'd follow this syllabus, grade by grade:

https://gb.abrsm.org/fileadmin/user_upload/PDFs/Piano_Syllabus_2019___2020_complete.pdf

Though I'm biased, because (knowing no better) I went through all that as a kid with my teachers, and it gave me all the skills to make me the pianist and musician I am now.
I agree. Why try inventing your own syllabus when there are long established and respected ones and/or method books to choose from? Besides all the extra work/research it's almost impossible to do this successfully.

You should definitely try to get a teacher. If you cannot afford one then try and find a friend who is reasonably advanced or look for online resources. It's of crucial importance not just to practice a scale but to learn the correct technical aspects of playing one. This is very hard to do without a teacher.

Finally, your practice regimen seems doomed to bore you very quickly no matter how persistent you are. I think that alone means it needs changing.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2770883
10/09/18 05:20 PM
10/09/18 05:20 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,795
Florida
dogperson Offline
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Beginner practice should not be all scales and music theory. In fact, you should define what type of music you want to play (classical? Pop? jazz?) and work on learning to play that type of repertoire. Please do not re-invent the wheel, as you will be quickly frustrated and quit. If you will provide more information, you can receive some suggestions

As an aside, learning how to play does not give you the skills to teach...but I think the more you learn, you will realize that.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2770889
10/09/18 05:54 PM
10/09/18 05:54 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,290
Australia
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earlofmar Online content
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I would have probably thought a bit like this when I started nearly six years ago. I had to change as the information was just overwhelming and as the saying goes The more you know, the more you know you don't know. Take a much longer view and learn incrementally, it will be more satisfying.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2770895
10/09/18 06:25 PM
10/09/18 06:25 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,577
Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Quote
. . . I've heard a lot of people say it's better to learn songs and play around to see how things work and relate to each other, but I'm thinking it would be better to learn everything systematically and repetitively to set me up to be in a good position when I want to start learning more advanced things like chord progressions and melodies and improvisation, etc.


A danger in doing this:

. . . You'll quit, out of boredom.

It's like saying:

. . . I'd like to play baseball,
. . . . and I'm going to start by running on a treadmill and lifting weights in the gym,
. . . . . until I'm strong and fast enough to play baseball.

Life doesn't work that way, for most people. You may be one of the exceptions.

What happens more frequently, I think, is that somebody starts out by "just playing piano, with none of the boring theory and exercises",

. . . and then finds that, at some level, he _needs_ those things to improve his piano-playing.

I think "balance" is always good to keep in mind.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2770904
10/09/18 06:51 PM
10/09/18 06:51 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 21,752
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted by Finn1996
[...]
-Play C Major Scale (20 mins, 10 mins each hand)
-Play C Major Scale (20 mins, all 88 keys, switch hands in the middle)
-Play C Major Scale (20 mins, both hands simultaneously)

-Play Major Chords (White & Black, 10 mins, 5 mins each hand)
-Play C Major Chords (10 mins, 5 mins each hand)
-Play Major Chord Arpeggios (20 mins, 10 mins each hand)
-Play Major Chord Inversions (20 mins, 10 mins each hand)
[...]


This must surely be the shortest cut to "crash and burn" out of sheer boredom that I have ever heard. However organized or methodical you might want to be, no one should spend one hour a day on one scale, 40 minutes hands separate, then 20 minutes hands together, and then go on to another hour of chords and arpeggios.

Practicing scales may be important at a certain stage, but in the long run it teaches two things:
1) right-left hand coordination (which can come from pieces and simple studies) and
2) how to play scales.

Unless you have extremely poor hand coordination, don't spend any more than 20 minutes - OK, 30 minutes maximum, in any two-hour period practicing scales.

If you can't have a teacher - a very high priority at this stage, a necessity, even - find a progressive introductory method book that introduces you to some music along with the technique, simple though that music may be, and begin to enjoy the experience.


Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2770924
10/09/18 08:05 PM
10/09/18 08:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,977
Pennsylvania
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dmd Offline
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Finn:

All the negative reactions you are being bombarded with is coming at you with the years of experience that the members of this forum bring to the table.

You are new to this and you are full of enthusiasm and you are going at it with what you "know" about accomplishing goals.

You think that you just starting doing "stuff" that you have heard about or read about pertaining to playing piano and if you work hard you will accomplish your goal

The bad news is that it is not likely to get you there.

In fact, what you have outlined will most certainly end with frustration and failure.

It takes a long time (years) to learn the craft of playing piano and you need "fun" to be woven into the work you need to do or you will not survive.

As has been mention, there are already proven methods out there that work so your best plan should be to pick one of those methods and do what it "tells" you to do.

Along with that, a teacher should be a high priority at your stage of learning.

You are laying the groundwork for the years ahead of you.

If you screw that up, it will be difficult to attain the skill level you eventually will wish to reach.

AND …. left to your own devices (as in planning) you will screw that up.

So …. please get a teacher and do it the right way.

Good Luck to you


Don

Casio PX-160, Mix 5 Five-Channel Compact Mixer, DR 880 Drum Machine, Spacestation v.3 Powered Stereo Monitor
Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2770925
10/09/18 08:17 PM
10/09/18 08:17 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,631
Florida
cmb13 Offline
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Florida
I like lists also. I have some like this, including a thread I started on what I plan on working on. However, I don't spend more than 15-30 minutes on exercises, the rest on practicing whatever piece I'm working on or maintaining older pieces I've learned. So, as others have said, I would recommend learning to play music in addition to learning about playing music.


Boston 118 PE

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Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2770940
10/09/18 11:20 PM
10/09/18 11:20 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
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Pacific Northwest
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PianogrlNW Offline
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I admire your ambition. Try your program for a couple of weeks and be prepared to re-evaluate. You might want to think about learning the piano in terms of enjoyment rather than a forced march, especially if this is going to be a hobby during your spare time. If you decide to pursue this on your own without a teacher, check out the numerous posts on how members learn through established methods. No need to reinvent the wheel.



Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2770942
10/10/18 12:03 AM
10/10/18 12:03 AM
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Posts: 387
Toronto, Canada
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When it comes to major scales & arpeggios, at the moment you're just playing in C. A lot of beginner's book would arrange all their songs in C for learning purposes. As you progress in your playing, you'd find a lot of original songs are not in C. Recently I invited a few friends over and ran through 5 short pieces I learned recently. Each of the pieces is in a different Key including C, Cm, Ab, F & Em.

A lot of people feel they need to run through their scales & arpeggios for practice which is good. I'd limit my practice to just the scale & arpeggio of the song I'm working on. Today I'm playing a song in Em so I'll just run through the Em scale and the corresponding arpeggio.

By the time you're playing a longer piece like 5m or longer, you'd need a lot of time just working on different sections of piece so you don't have time to do anything else than just run the scale that the piece is in once or twice. You get into playing at a higher level, you should be able to play your scales by ear without the sheet music. In my music group, our conductor would often make everybody in the group play the notes in the scale of a piece we're working on by ear so that we know which notes are natural, sharp or flat.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2770994
10/10/18 07:19 AM
10/10/18 07:19 AM
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Moo :) Offline
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Nightmare!

I hope we have not scared off Finn.

It sounded a very motivated and inspiring post - followed only by doom and gloom !

I think being systematic is a great way to start and I’m not so sure that it was such a bad way to start.

If you want to start the standard method is to start with a method book and a teacher.

Some people in piano world think this is the only way - I made jokes now about it as people post the same thing and bash any alternative view and some threads go into ww3 / electronic wars !!

There are some strange methods to piano , eg Suzuki , which is often repetition and listening focused.

Some people here have progressed without a teacher at all in a variety of methods.

I personally grew and outgrew the typical piano education - 5 grades in theory as a child, 7 exams and played all the standard scales.

I perhaps now am not so standard and have not played a scale or arpeggio for several years so am open to ideas.

Hopefully we can have an update from mr Finn !

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771000
10/10/18 07:59 AM
10/10/18 07:59 AM
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As a 59 year old fresh beginner (started in June this year) I did not appreciate how hard it is to learn piano and had to re-assess my approach a bit with a goal of making a process that keeps me motivated. I can relate to having an organized list (I am a technical person), but can't relate to the focus on scales.....scales are no doubt an important subject but as a beginner there are more important skills like learning different types of independence or your two hands and learning rhythm, not to mention basic theory. You may have some of this under your belt already, but I see that alone as a 6 month effort to get to a decent level. Any average person will get somewhat bored and impatient in the early phases of learning and most drop out. I feel good about things because I have a great teacher (25 years experience and she has 4 other adult students), and she is helping me learn songs outside of the standard method work in parallel. So learning some basic songs outside of method I think helps a lot with motivation. Keep in mind, you have time on your side - if you can stick with it you are guaranteed success on some level. I like to keep in mind that 1 year from now I will be a lot better, and in 5 years someone will think I am really good!


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Re: What To Learn? [Re: Moo :)] #2771005
10/10/18 08:47 AM
10/10/18 08:47 AM
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New York City
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted by Moo
I think being systematic is a great way to start and I’m not so sure that it was such a bad way to start.
Being systematic is fine and no one was arguing against that. But virtually everyone felt, and rightly so, that the OP's self invented system was very poor.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771062
10/10/18 01:13 PM
10/10/18 01:13 PM
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Moscow, Russia
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Iaroslav Vasiliev Online content
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Concerning the exercises I think that practicing so much in one key is not efficient. I would advise to work in several keys each day and spend no more than 15-20 minutes on each key. And certainly you need to know exactly what sound you want to archieve by playing exercises and listen to yourself very carefully. Drumming on the keyboard is just a waste of time imho.

And beyond the exercises music reading practice is required and working on repertoire ('polished') pieces.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771191
10/10/18 06:00 PM
10/10/18 06:00 PM
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I pretty much did what the OP is suggesting. The first 3 or 4 months was 90% technical work 10% pieces. The only problem was that after taking up piano for 4 months I could barely play one single piece, even a simple one. I wasn't very good at scales either even though I had devoted so much time to them. One of the problems of doing a lot of technical work is you have to be extremely mindful of building tension into your playing. That's very easy to do as a beginner, thinking that hard work and sweat are somehow going to turn you into a virtuoso. You've got to be smarter than that.
I do like the idea of learning the scale/arpeggio that matches the piece that you are learning. Melanie Spanswick has a couple of books called 'play it again' and that is exactly what she does - gives you the scale and the arpeggio just before each piece.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771196
10/10/18 06:31 PM
10/10/18 06:31 PM
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Finn1996 Offline OP
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haha no I am not scared off, I'm actually loving all the responses, positive or negative, conversation is good! (shout out to dmd and Moo for being extra positive!). I'm realizing now that perhaps I should've better explained my approach and given a little more background on my goals and what I hope to achieve, so I will do that, since everyone seems to think my system looks terrible lol


First, I would like to say that I wasn't thinking this originally, but now after reading responses, although I do agree with basically everything posted, I'm also aware that there has to be a ton of bias from each poster (not necessarily a bad thing). I'm going with the assumption that everyone learns their own way, and since they learned that way, they will naturally think that that's the "best" or "only" way to do it. I kind of carry the same logic, as I want to develop my own method to teach others, after I prove that it works on myself. I also think there might be a lot of people here who were classically trained and they definitely might think that's the only way more than anyone. My goals in music are different from "the classical way", so if there are people who disagree with going against that way, I don't really know what to tell you lol.

Next, to anyone saying I need a teacher, I really don't think I do. I think I'm capable of learning on my own. I was thinking of seeing a teacher at some point down the road just to check to make sure I'm doing things right physically (posture, fingering, hand positioning, etc.). Other than the physical aspect of playing, I don't think I need a teacher. Why would I pay money for a teacher when I can use plenty of resources from online (Youtube, online PDF's, etc.) to compile my own "syllabus" that works for me personally? I've had vocal coaches and I find that teachers like to push their own view of things onto students, which is something I'm trying to avoid as a student. I think learning music and learning piano can be such a personal experience without a teacher. I'm not at all saying that having a teacher is bad, I think a lot of people could/will benefit from a teacher for sure, I just really don't have any interest in paying money and searching for the right teacher (just in case I find some and don't like them or what they teach or their teaching style), seems like a lot of time and money wasted on something I can just figure out myself and figure out a way that works best for me personally. I think if I need a teacher for a particular concept, I'm sure Youtube can give me all the help I need.

To those saying I need to play songs and gear my learning towards songs/pieces instead of learning music theory, I personally disagree.. strongly lol. I actually tried this first, and it didn't work for very long (but maybe I was trying things that were too hard lol). I'm a huge fan of C418's Minecraft Soundtrack, and I would love to be able to play every song from it. So, since everyone suggests learning by playing songs, thats what I tried to do. It was working, but overall, it was more frustrating than anything. Sure, now I can play a song or two from the Minecraft soundtrack, but I really wasn't LEARNING anything. I was just following along with the notes on a Youtube video. I was learning the song, but was I aware of the notes I was hitting? Not really. Was I paying attention to the chords I was playing? No. Was I paying attention to the RELATIONSHIPS between all the notes and all the chords? Literally not at all. I was literally just following someone elses playing, that's all. Learning songs is cool if that's all you want to do with music/piano. Learning songs is probably the last thing I'm trying to focus on, I'm trying to learn music theory by playing the piano (we'll get to this).

A lot of you are also saying that my practice routine looks like the most boring thing in existence and I will quit because of it. I don't really think so, but you all are entitled to your own opinions of course! Allow me to explain though. I thought learning songs was a boring and messy approach. My two reasons for this are: 1) You have to start off easy and slowly play harder and harder songs. Easy songs are boring. I don't want to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I would rather just play scales. 2) Learning by playing songs doesn't always mean you will play songs you like, ESPECIALLY if you have a teacher! If I'm gonna learn by playing songs, I would want to play songs I know and love. I don't really want to play easy beginner nursery rhyme songs. I don't want to play Mozart's symphonies down the road. As far as songs go, I want to have the music theory knowledge to hear a song, then figure it out on my own. When you don't know music theory, and you're just learning it along the way, you learn things out of order just as they happen, that's way too disorganized for my taste. And when you're just learning songs, you have to go online and figure out the key, then you have to learn all the chords, etc. But if you already know music theory, you can figure the key out by the notes you hear, and you can assume the possible chords by the key, etc. Would you not agree that learning music theory first would make learning songs a whole lot easier and faster? Because that's the way I see it. I like to learn the rules of the game before I play.


So, this brings me to my background and my goals. As I have said in passing, my main goal is to learn music theory by playing the piano (I think most of you have the opposite view? Learn songs and learn music theory along the way of doing that? Yes?). I don't (necessarily) want to learn classical music. I don't want to learn a method book. I want to learn music theory. I want to learn the bones of the whole skeleton so that I can learn to play all kinds of songs and music. My method focuses on learning all aspects of music theory, and FOCUSING HARD on little increments one at a time (i.e. spending an entire week on one scale). I'm currently in college for the Music Industry program (I'm only 22), and one of my teachers says, "Do not practice it until you get it right, practice it until you can never get it wrong". I thought this was amazing, and I'm trying to make it the overall theme for my method, so I also took a step further with a sister quote, "Do not learn it until you know it, learn it until you cannot forget it". I want to spend a week on each scale/concept so that I will never, ever forget each one. But not only am I learning music theory, I'm also playing the piano! So, yes I am "boringly" playing the same scale for a whole week, but learning piano along with the theory allows me to spice it up: play it with my left hand, play it with my right hand, play it with both hands at the same time, play it all the way up the keyboard with both hands, etc. This way I'm learning music theory and how to physically play the piano at the same time. Hopefully now you are seeing how the method is supposed to work. ENGRAVE the music theory in your head, and have some fun with it by playing the same thing in a variety of different ways. You guys are saying that learning this way is boring, but to me its fun! Breaking it down into small, achievable goals is fun to me, it makes me feel like I'm actually learning music, and actually progressing in my learning. Learning songs made me practice at random times, made me give up quicker than I wanted to, etc. Organizing it out like this gives me peace in my order. I've set aside certain time increments for each concept, and that makes me happy. If I'm just playing songs, all I could say is "ah I don't really know much about music, but I can play these 20 songs really well". That's not very useful at all in my opinion. So, using this method, I think in about a year or so from now I will know all major scales, all versions of minor scales, most chords and inversions, all intervals, etc. Do you know how valuable that is? Do I have to stress how valuable that is compared to just knowing 50 songs? I'm sure those who are well trained in music know what I'm talking about. I think my method might be "boring" at first, but it will ultimately make me a music superhuman, which is what I'm really interested in: mastery. Once I achieve mastery of music theory, it will make what I really want to do IMMENSELY easier: creating music. You cannot have an easy time creating music by learning a method book, by learning your favourite songs, by learning everything Mozart wrote, etc. It doesn't work like that.


So, now that I've more fully explained my method that I'm creating, I would like to ask again: Does anyone have any more concepts/details to add to my original list? Every time I search something like "list of all chords", every list is different, some are unorganized, some exclude some chords, etc., so I thought it would be easier to ask piano people lol maybe I was wrong? Idk, I think I've started a good conversation here. If you don't feel like posting in the thread, that's totally cool, you can just PM your opinions or links, PDF's, videos, etc., that have helped you.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: dogperson] #2771198
10/10/18 06:37 PM
10/10/18 06:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
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Finn1996 Offline OP
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Finn1996  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Beginner practice should not be all scales and music theory. In fact, you should define what type of music you want to play (classical? Pop? jazz?) and work on learning to play that type of repertoire. Please do not re-invent the wheel, as you will be quickly frustrated and quit. If you will provide more information, you can receive some suggestions

As an aside, learning how to play does not give you the skills to teach...but I think the more you learn, you will realize that.



Why would I put myself in a box like that? That limits creativity immensely. I'm trying to focus on learning music theory so that I can learn to play all kinds of music.

As for your other comment, I actually totally agree, but I'm thinking about it like this: One can know how to play without teaching, but one cannot teach without knowing how to play. If I learn music theory as a whole, there is very little I couldn't teach. As for teaching in general, I plan on worrying about that when I get to that point. Right now I'm mainly trying to focus on learning music. Learning how to teach isn't really hard, just be friendly and clear with instruction. The teaching part isn't really hard to figure out lol

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Charles Cohen] #2771203
10/10/18 06:46 PM
10/10/18 06:46 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
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Finn1996 Offline OP
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Finn1996  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Quote
. . . I've heard a lot of people say it's better to learn songs and play around to see how things work and relate to each other, but I'm thinking it would be better to learn everything systematically and repetitively to set me up to be in a good position when I want to start learning more advanced things like chord progressions and melodies and improvisation, etc.


A danger in doing this:

. . . You'll quit, out of boredom.

It's like saying:

. . . I'd like to play baseball,
. . . . and I'm going to start by running on a treadmill and lifting weights in the gym,
. . . . . until I'm strong and fast enough to play baseball.

Life doesn't work that way, for most people. You may be one of the exceptions.

What happens more frequently, I think, is that somebody starts out by "just playing piano, with none of the boring theory and exercises",

. . . and then finds that, at some level, he _needs_ those things to improve his piano-playing.

I think "balance" is always good to keep in mind.




I agree with you in saying that balance is important, yes. However, I disagree with your analogy.

It's actually more like saying:

-"I'd like to play baseball"
-"Instead of picking up a bat and a ball and going to a field and trying to figure out the whole game by myself"
-"I'll pick up a book and spend 10 minutes learning all the rules, that way when I get my friends together and we go to a field, we'll have a pretty good idea of how it works, and we can actually enjoy playing the game"


Sure, no one wants to spend that 10 minutes grabbing a book and reading through a bunch of rules, its boring, but that is how understanding of subject is acquired. You must understand all the "boring" fundamentals before you can have fun and be creative with intention (because "having fun" and "being creative" using trial and error is unintentional, it works, but its aimlessly wandering). You can go out and do a "trial and error" method all day long all year long, but I guarantee it will be harder in general, and "what you're supposed to do" won't be entirely clear, and you'll miss things that you would've have easily caught if you just read the rules. Trial and error is necessary in the process of learning, but using it as THE process of learning is a terrible idea in my opinion.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771207
10/10/18 06:54 PM
10/10/18 06:54 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,084
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by Finn1996
haha no I am not scared off, I'm actually loving all the responses, positive or negative, conversation is good! (shout out to dmd and Moo for being extra positive!). I'm realizing now that perhaps I should've better explained my approach and given a little more background on my goals and what I hope to achieve, so I will do that, since everyone seems to think my system looks terrible lol


First, I would like to say that I wasn't thinking this originally, but now after reading responses, although I do agree with basically everything posted, I'm also aware that there has to be a ton of bias from each poster (not necessarily a bad thing). I'm going with the assumption that everyone learns their own way, and since they learned that way, they will naturally think that that's the "best" or "only" way to do it. I kind of carry the same logic, as I want to develop my own method to teach others, after I prove that it works on myself. I also think there might be a lot of people here who were classically trained and they definitely might think that's the only way more than anyone. My goals in music are different from "the classical way", so if there are people who disagree with going against that way, I don't really know what to tell you lol.

Next, to anyone saying I need a teacher, I really don't think I do. I think I'm capable of learning on my own. I was thinking of seeing a teacher at some point down the road just to check to make sure I'm doing things right physically (posture, fingering, hand positioning, etc.). Other than the physical aspect of playing, I don't think I need a teacher. Why would I pay money for a teacher when I can use plenty of resources from online (Youtube, online PDF's, etc.) to compile my own "syllabus" that works for me personally? I've had vocal coaches and I find that teachers like to push their own view of things onto students, which is something I'm trying to avoid as a student. I think learning music and learning piano can be such a personal experience without a teacher. I'm not at all saying that having a teacher is bad, I think a lot of people could/will benefit from a teacher for sure, I just really don't have any interest in paying money and searching for the right teacher (just in case I find some and don't like them or what they teach or their teaching style), seems like a lot of time and money wasted on something I can just figure out myself and figure out a way that works best for me personally. I think if I need a teacher for a particular concept, I'm sure Youtube can give me all the help I need.

To those saying I need to play songs and gear my learning towards songs/pieces instead of learning music theory, I personally disagree.. strongly lol. I actually tried this first, and it didn't work for very long (but maybe I was trying things that were too hard lol). I'm a huge fan of C418's Minecraft Soundtrack, and I would love to be able to play every song from it. So, since everyone suggests learning by playing songs, thats what I tried to do. It was working, but overall, it was more frustrating than anything. Sure, now I can play a song or two from the Minecraft soundtrack, but I really wasn't LEARNING anything. I was just following along with the notes on a Youtube video. I was learning the song, but was I aware of the notes I was hitting? Not really. Was I paying attention to the chords I was playing? No. Was I paying attention to the RELATIONSHIPS between all the notes and all the chords? Literally not at all. I was literally just following someone elses playing, that's all. Learning songs is cool if that's all you want to do with music/piano. Learning songs is probably the last thing I'm trying to focus on, I'm trying to learn music theory by playing the piano (we'll get to this).

A lot of you are also saying that my practice routine looks like the most boring thing in existence and I will quit because of it. I don't really think so, but you all are entitled to your own opinions of course! Allow me to explain though. I thought learning songs was a boring and messy approach. My two reasons for this are: 1) You have to start off easy and slowly play harder and harder songs. Easy songs are boring. I don't want to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I would rather just play scales. 2) Learning by playing songs doesn't always mean you will play songs you like, ESPECIALLY if you have a teacher! If I'm gonna learn by playing songs, I would want to play songs I know and love. I don't really want to play easy beginner nursery rhyme songs. I don't want to play Mozart's symphonies down the road. As far as songs go, I want to have the music theory knowledge to hear a song, then figure it out on my own. When you don't know music theory, and you're just learning it along the way, you learn things out of order just as they happen, that's way too disorganized for my taste. And when you're just learning songs, you have to go online and figure out the key, then you have to learn all the chords, etc. But if you already know music theory, you can figure the key out by the notes you hear, and you can assume the possible chords by the key, etc. Would you not agree that learning music theory first would make learning songs a whole lot easier and faster? Because that's the way I see it. I like to learn the rules of the game before I play.


So, this brings me to my background and my goals. As I have said in passing, my main goal is to learn music theory by playing the piano (I think most of you have the opposite view? Learn songs and learn music theory along the way of doing that? Yes?). I don't (necessarily) want to learn classical music. I don't want to learn a method book. I want to learn music theory. I want to learn the bones of the whole skeleton so that I can learn to play all kinds of songs and music. My method focuses on learning all aspects of music theory, and FOCUSING HARD on little increments one at a time (i.e. spending an entire week on one scale). I'm currently in college for the Music Industry program (I'm only 22), and one of my teachers says, "Do not practice it until you get it right, practice it until you can never get it wrong". I thought this was amazing, and I'm trying to make it the overall theme for my method, so I also took a step further with a sister quote, "Do not learn it until you know it, learn it until you cannot forget it". I want to spend a week on each scale/concept so that I will never, ever forget each one. But not only am I learning music theory, I'm also playing the piano! So, yes I am "boringly" playing the same scale for a whole week, but learning piano along with the theory allows me to spice it up: play it with my left hand, play it with my right hand, play it with both hands at the same time, play it all the way up the keyboard with both hands, etc. This way I'm learning music theory and how to physically play the piano at the same time. Hopefully now you are seeing how the method is supposed to work. ENGRAVE the music theory in your head, and have some fun with it by playing the same thing in a variety of different ways. You guys are saying that learning this way is boring, but to me its fun! Breaking it down into small, achievable goals is fun to me, it makes me feel like I'm actually learning music, and actually progressing in my learning. Learning songs made me practice at random times, made me give up quicker than I wanted to, etc. Organizing it out like this gives me peace in my order. I've set aside certain time increments for each concept, and that makes me happy. If I'm just playing songs, all I could say is "ah I don't really know much about music, but I can play these 20 songs really well". That's not very useful at all in my opinion. So, using this method, I think in about a year or so from now I will know all major scales, all versions of minor scales, most chords and inversions, all intervals, etc. Do you know how valuable that is? Do I have to stress how valuable that is compared to just knowing 50 songs? I'm sure those who are well trained in music know what I'm talking about. I think my method might be "boring" at first, but it will ultimately make me a music superhuman, which is what I'm really interested in: mastery. Once I achieve mastery of music theory, it will make what I really want to do IMMENSELY easier: creating music. You cannot have an easy time creating music by learning a method book, by learning your favourite songs, by learning everything Mozart wrote, etc. It doesn't work like that.


So, now that I've more fully explained my method that I'm creating, I would like to ask again: Does anyone have any more concepts/details to add to my original list? Every time I search something like "list of all chords", every list is different, some are unorganized, some exclude some chords, etc., so I thought it would be easier to ask piano people lol maybe I was wrong? Idk, I think I've started a good conversation here. If you don't feel like posting in the thread, that's totally cool, you can just PM your opinions or links, PDF's, videos, etc., that have helped you.





Way to go! thumb

You have nothing to learn from us.......


"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: What To Learn? [Re: bennevis] #2771209
10/10/18 07:00 PM
10/10/18 07:00 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 1,070
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
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NobleHouse  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 1,070
In the Ozarks of Missouri
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Finn1996
haha no I am not scared off, I'm actually loving all the responses, positive or negative, conversation is good! (shout out to dmd and Moo for being extra positive!). I'm realizing now that perhaps I should've better explained my approach and given a little more background on my goals and what I hope to achieve, so I will do that, since everyone seems to think my system looks terrible lol


First, I would like to say that I wasn't thinking this originally, but now after reading responses, although I do agree with basically everything posted, I'm also aware that there has to be a ton of bias from each poster (not necessarily a bad thing). I'm going with the assumption that everyone learns their own way, and since they learned that way, they will naturally think that that's the "best" or "only" way to do it. I kind of carry the same logic, as I want to develop my own method to teach others, after I prove that it works on myself. I also think there might be a lot of people here who were classically trained and they definitely might think that's the only way more than anyone. My goals in music are different from "the classical way", so if there are people who disagree with going against that way, I don't really know what to tell you lol.

Next, to anyone saying I need a teacher, I really don't think I do. I think I'm capable of learning on my own. I was thinking of seeing a teacher at some point down the road just to check to make sure I'm doing things right physically (posture, fingering, hand positioning, etc.). Other than the physical aspect of playing, I don't think I need a teacher. Why would I pay money for a teacher when I can use plenty of resources from online (Youtube, online PDF's, etc.) to compile my own "syllabus" that works for me personally? I've had vocal coaches and I find that teachers like to push their own view of things onto students, which is something I'm trying to avoid as a student. I think learning music and learning piano can be such a personal experience without a teacher. I'm not at all saying that having a teacher is bad, I think a lot of people could/will benefit from a teacher for sure, I just really don't have any interest in paying money and searching for the right teacher (just in case I find some and don't like them or what they teach or their teaching style), seems like a lot of time and money wasted on something I can just figure out myself and figure out a way that works best for me personally. I think if I need a teacher for a particular concept, I'm sure Youtube can give me all the help I need.

To those saying I need to play songs and gear my learning towards songs/pieces instead of learning music theory, I personally disagree.. strongly lol. I actually tried this first, and it didn't work for very long (but maybe I was trying things that were too hard lol). I'm a huge fan of C418's Minecraft Soundtrack, and I would love to be able to play every song from it. So, since everyone suggests learning by playing songs, thats what I tried to do. It was working, but overall, it was more frustrating than anything. Sure, now I can play a song or two from the Minecraft soundtrack, but I really wasn't LEARNING anything. I was just following along with the notes on a Youtube video. I was learning the song, but was I aware of the notes I was hitting? Not really. Was I paying attention to the chords I was playing? No. Was I paying attention to the RELATIONSHIPS between all the notes and all the chords? Literally not at all. I was literally just following someone elses playing, that's all. Learning songs is cool if that's all you want to do with music/piano. Learning songs is probably the last thing I'm trying to focus on, I'm trying to learn music theory by playing the piano (we'll get to this).

A lot of you are also saying that my practice routine looks like the most boring thing in existence and I will quit because of it. I don't really think so, but you all are entitled to your own opinions of course! Allow me to explain though. I thought learning songs was a boring and messy approach. My two reasons for this are: 1) You have to start off easy and slowly play harder and harder songs. Easy songs are boring. I don't want to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I would rather just play scales. 2) Learning by playing songs doesn't always mean you will play songs you like, ESPECIALLY if you have a teacher! If I'm gonna learn by playing songs, I would want to play songs I know and love. I don't really want to play easy beginner nursery rhyme songs. I don't want to play Mozart's symphonies down the road. As far as songs go, I want to have the music theory knowledge to hear a song, then figure it out on my own. When you don't know music theory, and you're just learning it along the way, you learn things out of order just as they happen, that's way too disorganized for my taste. And when you're just learning songs, you have to go online and figure out the key, then you have to learn all the chords, etc. But if you already know music theory, you can figure the key out by the notes you hear, and you can assume the possible chords by the key, etc. Would you not agree that learning music theory first would make learning songs a whole lot easier and faster? Because that's the way I see it. I like to learn the rules of the game before I play.


So, this brings me to my background and my goals. As I have said in passing, my main goal is to learn music theory by playing the piano (I think most of you have the opposite view? Learn songs and learn music theory along the way of doing that? Yes?). I don't (necessarily) want to learn classical music. I don't want to learn a method book. I want to learn music theory. I want to learn the bones of the whole skeleton so that I can learn to play all kinds of songs and music. My method focuses on learning all aspects of music theory, and FOCUSING HARD on little increments one at a time (i.e. spending an entire week on one scale). I'm currently in college for the Music Industry program (I'm only 22), and one of my teachers says, "Do not practice it until you get it right, practice it until you can never get it wrong". I thought this was amazing, and I'm trying to make it the overall theme for my method, so I also took a step further with a sister quote, "Do not learn it until you know it, learn it until you cannot forget it". I want to spend a week on each scale/concept so that I will never, ever forget each one. But not only am I learning music theory, I'm also playing the piano! So, yes I am "boringly" playing the same scale for a whole week, but learning piano along with the theory allows me to spice it up: play it with my left hand, play it with my right hand, play it with both hands at the same time, play it all the way up the keyboard with both hands, etc. This way I'm learning music theory and how to physically play the piano at the same time. Hopefully now you are seeing how the method is supposed to work. ENGRAVE the music theory in your head, and have some fun with it by playing the same thing in a variety of different ways. You guys are saying that learning this way is boring, but to me its fun! Breaking it down into small, achievable goals is fun to me, it makes me feel like I'm actually learning music, and actually progressing in my learning. Learning songs made me practice at random times, made me give up quicker than I wanted to, etc. Organizing it out like this gives me peace in my order. I've set aside certain time increments for each concept, and that makes me happy. If I'm just playing songs, all I could say is "ah I don't really know much about music, but I can play these 20 songs really well". That's not very useful at all in my opinion. So, using this method, I think in about a year or so from now I will know all major scales, all versions of minor scales, most chords and inversions, all intervals, etc. Do you know how valuable that is? Do I have to stress how valuable that is compared to just knowing 50 songs? I'm sure those who are well trained in music know what I'm talking about. I think my method might be "boring" at first, but it will ultimately make me a music superhuman, which is what I'm really interested in: mastery. Once I achieve mastery of music theory, it will make what I really want to do IMMENSELY easier: creating music. You cannot have an easy time creating music by learning a method book, by learning your favourite songs, by learning everything Mozart wrote, etc. It doesn't work like that.


So, now that I've more fully explained my method that I'm creating, I would like to ask again: Does anyone have any more concepts/details to add to my original list? Every time I search something like "list of all chords", every list is different, some are unorganized, some exclude some chords, etc., so I thought it would be easier to ask piano people lol maybe I was wrong? Idk, I think I've started a good conversation here. If you don't feel like posting in the thread, that's totally cool, you can just PM your opinions or links, PDF's, videos, etc., that have helped you.





Way to go! thumb

You have nothing to learn from us.......


grin

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771210
10/10/18 07:06 PM
10/10/18 07:06 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,977
Pennsylvania
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dmd Offline
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Well .... good luck to you.


Don

Casio PX-160, Mix 5 Five-Channel Compact Mixer, DR 880 Drum Machine, Spacestation v.3 Powered Stereo Monitor
Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771211
10/10/18 07:12 PM
10/10/18 07:12 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,795
Florida
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Last edited by dogperson; 10/10/18 07:17 PM. Reason: Irrelevant to OP
Re: What To Learn? [Re: bennevis] #2771214
10/10/18 07:21 PM
10/10/18 07:21 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
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Finn1996 Offline OP
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Finn1996  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by bennevis

Way to go! thumb

You have nothing to learn from us.......



So, what .. you have nothing to add or say?

I'm obviously not trying to be a dick or anything, I'm just explaining my mindset and the way I see things and the way I plan on learning this stuff. I never said "let's have a contest to see who's method is the best". I never even asked for a critique on my method lol I was literally just asking for extra music theory information and a list of chord codes to add to my list of concepts. If all you guys do is play songs you know, and know nothing about music theory, maybe this was the wrong place to go. I assumed a piano forum would be more educated than that.

If you have nothing to add or say, then you're right, I guess I do have nothing to learn from you.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771229
10/10/18 08:12 PM
10/10/18 08:12 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 266
Chicago
J
John305 Offline
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Chicago
Originally Posted by Finn1996
Originally Posted by bennevis

Way to go! thumb

You have nothing to learn from us.......



So, what .. you have nothing to add or say?




You’re new here so you wouldn’t know that bennevis ALWAYS has something to say smile


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771232
10/10/18 08:23 PM
10/10/18 08:23 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,951
Midwest USA
Stubbie Offline
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Stubbie  Offline
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You're in college, in a Music Industry program, and you want to learn music theory. Have you taken the Music Theory courses your college offers?


[Linked Image]
Re: What To Learn? [Re: Stubbie] #2771233
10/10/18 08:28 PM
10/10/18 08:28 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 266
Chicago
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John305 Offline
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Chicago
Originally Posted by Stubbie
You're in college, in a Music Industry program, and you want to learn music theory. Have you taken the Music Theory courses your college offers?



Haven’t you read his post, he’s beyond such mundane concepts such as having a teacher. A teacher would only slow him down by getting in the way of his hubris.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771234
10/10/18 08:40 PM
10/10/18 08:40 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,979
W
Whizbang Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Whizbang  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
W

Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,979
Originally Posted by Finn1996
I'm going with the assumption that everyone learns their own way, and since they learned that way, they will naturally think that that's the "best" or "only" way to do it


"You have taken 394 hit points of damage from Wall of Text."

Your assumption above is not true in my case. I know that I could learn more efficiently. I also know that I am kind of lazy. So I have to learn in the way that works for my personality.

Would I be a much better pianist today if I did all the best things in regards to meticulous dissection of pieces, careful isolation of passages, study of theory and improv, ear training, sight reading and memorization, scale work, arpeggio work, study of inversions, study of four part harmony, study of voice leading?

No doubt.

But this misses the fact that I might not be a pianist at all today if I'd been forced to do all that. I think most people who have replied to you believe that, while you might have a regimen that might provide you some key technical fundamentals, you've set yourself up with a system that is so psychologically unrewarding that it would be impossible to sustain long term.

The critique and skepticism you are seeing here is not because people want to discourage you and see you fail. It is because we want you to succeed!


Whizbang [Linked Image]
amateur ragtime pianist
https://www.youtube.com/user/Aeschala
Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771237
10/10/18 09:19 PM
10/10/18 09:19 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 266
Chicago
J
John305 Offline
Full Member
John305  Offline
Full Member
J

Joined: May 2018
Posts: 266
Chicago
I agree with everything Whizbang just said, especially the very last line. I hope the young one has the wisdom/humility to see it.

Extra credit for your Dungeons and Dragons reference.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2771252
10/10/18 10:12 PM
10/10/18 10:12 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 85
Texas
J
jandz Offline
Full Member
jandz  Offline
Full Member
J

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 85
Texas
Hi Finn. Welcome to the forum! I have a few things to add to what the others have said.

First, in defense of the folks who’ve cautioned you on your approach, remember that for most of them that advice comes from years and years of watching beginners with big dreams set themselves up for failure by trying to do too much too fast. Learning any instrument takes a lot of time and the piano is no different. There are no shortcuts.

That’s not to say people here aren’t biased in their ideas about how one should learn. Some are, others not so much. But what you have heard here so far has very little to do with that.

Next thing. The advice of a teacher. You’ll find that while this forum advises everyone to do that, not everyone does for their own reasons. But most beginners who wish to play complicated music of any stripe are better served with a teacher, mainly to prevent injury. Teachers are worth worlds more than that, of course, but injuries at the piano are common and some can be serious and lifelong. Unlearning a bad habit is far more difficult than learning correctly in the first place. Not a show stopper, just something to keep in mind.

Last thing. Scales. I am a beginner too and not very good at the instrument so take my advice for what it’s worth. I found scales to be more useful as I have grown and played more complex music than when I was playing them early on. Probably the best thing I heard was advice from one of the greatest natural pianists that ever lived, long dead of course. He advised new pianists to work through D-flat major in the left hand and B-major in the right prior to the others. Those scales naturally place the long fingers on black keys and the shorter ones on white. It also is easier to learn passing the thumb this way, giving you more control and more grounding in your playing. C-major, according to this pianist, was the most difficult one to do anything with. So naturally he wrote an incredibly fast etude using it, right? That aside, this is but one more thing to think about.

I’m an advocate of doing the thing that keeps you playing. Being at the keyboard is the most important thing to learning. As long as you’re able to do that then you’re probably doing it right. As I have grown, most of the things I thought I’d do in practice have changed as my skills and needs have changed. Be careful not to box yourself in. Make sure you can adapt as you change with time to be sure you keep coming back and playing.

All the best in your journey,
-j

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