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#2777296 11/01/18 04:07 PM
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Hi everyone!

I've never been much into music honestly but have always enjoyed listening to piano when its being played. I decided at 34 i wanted to learn to play and bought a Yamaha PSR-EW300 as my starting keyboard (76 keys). I bought Faber and Faber Adult All in One Course book 1, i'm on page 38 i believe (not home atm) and find myself dragging.. coming back every night for practice and just sitting there for an hour just slowly reading sheet music and doing some scales (need to start this more). My weak points are definitely reading sheet music (Bass Clef mainly). I've only been at it for 5-days and thats with about 1 hour of practice each day and i plan to join the local community college piano course in Spring (nothing available in Winter), i'd be doing this for some teacher guidance.

Does anyone have any suggestions for starting and getting good enough to enjoy comfortably, some music with the family?

Faber and Faber seems to be very slow but also a bit confusing at times and feels dragged on.... like pins and needles. I want clear exercises and breakdown of what to do, i feel like i'm just messing around / stumbling through with Fabers book and i don't feel like its teaching me anything because i don't understand the instructions and the way he explains things (sheet music i had to learn on YouTube, and hand numbering was learned through Google searches, and posture and hand positioning etc. was also learned on YouTube). My local music store has Alfred's Adult All in One (or the new Alfred's self-teaching all in One Adult book), and Hanon pianist in 60 exercises. Would these be a better alternative to spice and "fun" it up?

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Originally Posted by AdultStudent2536
Hi everyone!

Welcome.

Originally Posted by AdultStudent2536
...and Hanon pianist in 60 exercises. Would these be a better alternative to spice and "fun" it up?

LOL. I think that's the first time I've seen anyone use the word "fun" connected to Hanon wink


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Hanon is considered useless crap by many professionals...

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Just shows you two how little i know haha, however, I only brought that one up specifically because I keep hearing people recommending it on this forum though under Adult Beginners for new students.

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Originally Posted by AdultStudent2536
Just shows you two how little i know haha, however, I only brought that one up specifically because I keep hearing people recommending it on this forum though under Adult Beginners for new students.
That's because some people think it's good despite what the previous poster said. But I don't think you're at the stage where it would be appropriate.

I'd suggest also posting your thread on the Teacher's Forum because they'd also be very familiar with the different self teaching method books for adults. Don't worry about posting on two different forums. In this case, it makes perfect sense.

My other suggestion would be not to limit your choice of method books to whats available at your local music store. There are many online places to get music starting with Amazon.

Even Horowitz wasn't very good after one week of study haha... so be patient. The chances are very good that once you start taking lessons things will fall into place more clearly.

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Originally Posted by Schuberto
Hanon is considered useless crap by many professionals...

Ah, innumeracy at its finest. “Two out of three doctors recommend ex-lax. (Dr. Jones disagreed.)

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Originally Posted by AdultStudent2536
Hi everyone!

I've never been much into music honestly but have always enjoyed listening to piano when its being played. I decided at 34 i wanted to learn to play and bought a Yamaha PSR-EW300 as my starting keyboard (76 keys). I bought Faber and Faber Adult All in One Course book 1, i'm on page 38 i believe (not home atm) and find myself dragging.. coming back every night for practice and just sitting there for an hour just slowly reading sheet music and doing some scales (need to start this more). My weak points are definitely reading sheet music (Bass Clef mainly). I've only been at it for 5-days and thats with about 1 hour of practice each day and i plan to join the local community college piano course in Spring (nothing available in Winter), i'd be doing this for some teacher guidance. [........]
Thirty-eight pages in five days is moving pretty fast, especially at the very start. Getting some teacher input in the class you've signed up for will be helpful to you.

Until then, you might want to review what you've already done and pay close attention to counting and rhythm. A mistake a lot of beginners make (and I was one of them when I was going through the Alfred's Adult AIO) was playing the notes and not paying sufficient attention to counting (note lengths and rests), rhythm, dynamics, etc.--all the other things that, along with playing the correct notes, make music sound like music. I'm not saying this is you, but just that it's not uncommon. As for reading sheet music, that takes practice and time and patience. You will get there.

Welcome to PW and best of luck to you!


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I feel like once i'm able to play the sheet music and it sounds like the one on YouTube (Faber and Faber Adult Course 1 has most of their songs in the book on YouTube) i tend to move to the next page. At page 38 i'm stuck because now it has rests and a lot of chords i don't recognize and additional marks on the music sheet that are unfamiliar. This is why i felt like maybe this method book wasn't for me as it does a mediocre job (my opinion) on explaining things or perhaps it's assuming we already know even if its a beginner book. Maybe this book was meant to be used with a teacher to fill in the blanks. It doesn't even go over scales, arpeggios etc.

I practiced my third night for 6 hours straight and had wrist pain and side hand pain (i'm a paralegal 10hrs a day M-F and between typing on a different type of keyboard and then go to practice after for 6-hrs), I realized it was to much lol

Last edited by AdultStudent2536; 11/01/18 06:41 PM.
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That's dangerous.

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Originally Posted by AdultStudent2536
I feel like once i'm able to play the sheet music and it sounds like the one on YouTube (Faber and Faber Adult Course 1 has most of their songs in the book on YouTube) i tend to move to the next page. At page 38 i'm stuck because now it has rests and a lot of chords i don't recognize and additional marks on the music sheet that are unfamiliar. This is why i felt like maybe this method book wasn't for me as it does a mediocre job (my opinion) on explaining things or perhaps it's assuming we already know even if its a beginner book. Maybe this book was meant to be used with a teacher to fill in the blanks. It doesn't even go over scales, arpeggios etc.

I used to play everything until it sounded fine one time and then move on never to return. But after I got myself a teacher, I found that I could then not play the pieces I learned for her. The one time fine didn't allow me to become good at playing any of those pieces. These days, I play each piece well on 4-5 separate days, and then I consider it done and move on. The benefit is by the 4th or 5th day, I can usually play it one time only, and it is already good enough even on my first try for that day. So it goes progressively faster every day. Of course, do this doesn't stop me from learning other stuff. I just go back and review everything I had learned before, as I said a total of 3-4 times. (BTW, I'm referring to the method book pieces of 0.5-1 page each. Of course, longer repertoire pieces need to be played over and over because they are harder.)

Originally Posted by AdultStudent2536
I practiced my third night for 6 hours straight and had wrist pain and side hand pain (i'm a paralegal 10hrs a day M-F and between typing on a different type of keyboard and then go to practice after for 6-hrs), I realized it was to much lol

This is a quick way to end up having to drop (or wanting to) drop piano entirely.


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Welcome. Piano at 34, what will you kids think up next? Just realize that it takes time and before long you will be playing something musical. Ask questions on here for things that you don’t understand and let us know how you are doing.


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If you don't feel satisfied with the Faber and Faber books then there is no use persevering, especially if you are starting to feel frustrated. Although Alfred's AIO is not perfect I do like its structured approach. Additionally I have never felt using more than one method book is detrimental. Hanon is something you don't need right now (if ever), but I do recall a feeling of achievement when, although unable to play well even a most basic piece, I could knock out some Hanon at lightning (to me anyway) speed. You certainly don't need to buy a book - Hanon Online Here

Certainly starting piano on your own is a difficult undertaking, and I can only sympathise as I recall my early days a mere six years ago. While there can be quite speedy progress using a method book, there inevitably comes a time when you feel like you have hit the proverbial wall. This is quite natural and something to get used to as you move forward. There is no magic way to make learning piano fun, but I think we all get something out of the small improvements we find ourselves making as we move forward., so look out for those.


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How long does it take to learn how to play the piano? A long time. . Think of it as a marathon not a sprint. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself in the process, there is so much out there to play on the piano at all levels. The best thing to try and do is to enjoy where you’re at in the journey and not fixate on where you want to be. You’ll get there in time but since it’s going to take awhile to get there try and enjoy the journey.


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A number of years ago I got hold of a songbook "Hooked on Easy Piano Classics". The idea behind the book was based on the soundtrack "Hooked on Classics" from the 1980s with a medley of Classical pieces. The pieces are easy arrangements with melodies rearranged for beginners with an easy baseline. You can find all sorts of beginners songbooks under specific genres than just a beginner's learning series Book 1, Book 2... sort of thing.

The last time I was at a piano store, they already got a few Christmas songbooks out including carols and the Tchaikovsky Nutcracker from easy arrangements to advanced level. If you are into Pop, there are easy arrangements of songs by The Beatles, The Beach Boys and others. Should be able to get a few books for beginners.

The 1 place I usually look to download easy piano arrangements is www.8notes.com. They have a big enough section of easy piano pieces. Like you can find an easy version of the Pachelbel Canon.

Good luck...

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The way I see it you have two things going against you...the age at which you're starting to learn the piano, and your expectation to learn how to do so from a book.

In this day and age of instant everything, new adult piano students seem to expect to be playing all 29 pages of George Gerswin's Rhapsody in Blue their first year of study, which is hardly possible, and when this reality surfaces nothing but frustration is the result - all because they didn't want to engage in years of study through hard work...they want everything now, because well, some piano salesman, infomercial, self teaching book, or a 3rd year piano student on a discussion forum told them they could do it. Rubbish. To the contrary, a young student, i.e., at age 5, has no such unfounded expectations, and they usually have an adult overseeing their progress (read: sometimes pushing them against their will) to nudge them along, who see to it that these young students, even though they proclaim that scales and exercises are boring and seemingly insignificant, trudge along at their parents and teachers request, either progressing nicely, or doing poorly.

You see, despite what you read here, there is an unspoken staunch reality that not everyone can learn to play the piano. The same can be said of anyone wanting to learn how to paint photo realistic images with oil paints, or to become a neurosurgeon, both of which require years of study coupled with excellent eye/hand coordination, a certain "hand" if you will, which not everyone possesses, nor do they wish to engage in the hours of study and practice that's required, followed by more study and practice, to acheive the goal of playing the piano or operating on a patient's spinal cord while peering through a microscope. And with the word "play" being the operative part of the word "playing", it's a word which covers an aweful lot of area, from the beginner to the advanced player...

...consider the word "paint"...on the surface, one doesn't give the word much thought, but when it comes to the person who's applying the product, a huge difference is revealed, i.e., the difference between a housepainter and a portait artist; both are considered "painters", with the housepainter shmearing and spraying simple colors to protect or beautify an underlying surface, which generally doesn't take a college degree to learn and where some overspray, runs, or drips aren't much of a concern, while the portrait painter uses the entire color palette and works meticulously for hours and hours using their years of learned, deliberate, and absolutely precise actions and movements of their brushes and knives to create a lifelike and therefore realistic work of art. And you can be sure that the latter didn't just pick up a copy of "Oil Painting Portaits for Dummies" off the shelf at Barnes & Noble and have their first and second works arrive at Sotheby's auction house in NYC being offered for $50 million opening bid each, one month or even years after purchasing the book...

My own experience regarding my failed attempt at learning to play the violin in my youth is a classic example of what I'm trying to convey. Did I have dreams of playing the violin solo from the 4th movement of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade my first year? If I knew of it at the time I'm sure I would have! But unfortunately, after 3 grueling years of lessons, I imagine due to my left wrist configuration, it became clearly apparent that I simply could ~not~ perform vibrado, which is an absolute essential part of playing the violin. This, coupled with the fact that it sounded as if I was cutting my poor rented ½ size violin in two when I played it, the realization was in...I just couldn't do it.

Did I go off stomping my feet in a childish display or require counceling because I couldn't play the violin? No. Did I have all these piles of self teaching manuals and books and complete strangers telling me "You can do it!!! You can do it!!!"? No. I had a respected and honest teacher, and even he recognized that I couldn't do it, finally suggesting to my parents that they cease spending money on my violin lessons.

I don't believe in the facade of sugar coating anything, so the above may sound harsh or condescending to some, especially those who insist on furthering this untruth that anybody can learn anything, but I'm not being unkind; I'm simply conveying honest realities.

If you have the least expectation of seriously learning to play and enjoy the piano, the latter of which is your ultimate goal, please do yourself a favor and find a respected piano teacher in your demographic to teach you, instead of expecting to learn from the promises uttered from between the covers of a book...


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Originally Posted by DrewBone
The way I see it you have two things going against you...the age at which you're starting to learn the piano, and your expectation to learn how to do so from a book.

In this day and age of instant everything, new adult piano students seem to expect to be playing all 29 pages of George Gerswin's Rhapsody in Blue their first year of study, which is hardly possible, and when this reality surfaces nothing but frustration is the result - all because they didn't want to engage in years of study through hard work...they want everything now, because well, some piano salesman, infomercial, self teaching book, or a 3rd year piano student on a discussion forum told them they could do it. Rubbish. To the contrary, a young student, i.e., at age 5, has no such unfounded expectations, and they usually have an adult overseeing their progress (read: sometimes pushing them against their will) to nudge them along, who see to it that these young students, even though they proclaim that scales and exercises are boring and seemingly insignificant, trudge along at their parents and teachers request, either progressing nicely, or doing poorly.

You see, despite what you read here, there is an unspoken staunch reality that not everyone can learn to play the piano. The same can be said of anyone wanting to learn how to paint photo realistic images with oil paints, or to become a neurosurgeon, both of which require years of study coupled with excellent eye/hand coordination, a certain "hand" if you will, which not everyone possesses, nor do they wish to engage in the hours of study and practice that's required, followed by more study and practice, to acheive the goal of playing the piano or operating on a patient's spinal cord while peering through a microscope. And with the word "play" being the operative part of the word "playing", it's a word which covers an aweful lot of area, from the beginner to the advanced player...
[...]
My own experience regarding my failed attempt at learning to play the violin in my youth is a classic example of what I'm trying to convey. Did I have dreams of playing the violin solo from the 4th movement of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade my first year? If I knew of it at the time I'm sure I would have! But unfortunately, after 3 grueling years of lessons, I imagine due to my left wrist configuration, it became clearly apparent that I simply could ~not~ perform vibrado, which is an absolute essential part of playing the violin. This, coupled with the fact that it sounded as if I was cutting my poor rented ½ size violin in two when I played it, the realization was in...I just couldn't do it.

Did I go off stomping my feet in a childish display or require counceling because I couldn't play the violin? No. Did I have all these piles of self teaching manuals and books and complete strangers telling me "You can do it!!! You can do it!!!"? No. I had a respected and honest teacher, and even he recognized that I couldn't do it, finally suggesting to my parents that they cease spending money on my violin lessons.

I don't believe in the facade of sugar coating anything, so the above may sound harsh or condescending to some, especially those who insist on furthering this untruth that anybody can learn anything, but I'm not being unkind; I'm simply conveying honest realities.

If you have the least expectation of seriously learning to play and enjoy the piano, the latter of which is your ultimate goal, please do yourself a favor and find a respected piano teacher in your demographic to teach you, instead of expecting to learn from the promises uttered from between the covers of a book...
If you read (or re-read) the original post, you'll note that the OP is five days into playing, has a teacher lined up, and is asking about things to do in the interim. Way too early (and mis-guided, imo) to talk about your "honest realities," which are in fact are simply harsh and condescending judgements.


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Originally Posted by AdultStudent2536
I feel like once i'm able to play the sheet music and it sounds like the one on YouTube (Faber and Faber Adult Course 1 has most of their songs in the book on YouTube) i tend to move to the next page. At page 38 i'm stuck because now it has rests and a lot of chords i don't recognize and additional marks on the music sheet that are unfamiliar. This is why i felt like maybe this method book wasn't for me as it does a mediocre job (my opinion) on explaining things or perhaps it's assuming we already know even if its a beginner book. Maybe this book was meant to be used with a teacher to fill in the blanks. It doesn't even go over scales, arpeggios etc.

I practiced my third night for 6 hours straight and had wrist pain and side hand pain (i'm a paralegal 10hrs a day M-F and between typing on a different type of keyboard and then go to practice after for 6-hrs), I realized it was to much lol

You're already heading towards burnout, as well as injuries - after 5 days??

Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes ten years to 'build' a pianist. (I'm serious).

And - seriously - I recommend you get a method book designed for children, not for adults. I have a friend whose teacher used John Thompson's Easiest Piano Course (which is slow but sure) with him, when he started piano lessons at sixty. When you listen to him play now, you'd never guess that he'd never touched a piano until a few years ago, when he retired. Because he developed a strong foundation in the basics early on (from day one) and was patient and never tried to sprint before he could stand (which is basically what you're doing now), he's now able to play - and understand what he's playing - like someone who started lessons at six rather than sixty. The book is easy enough for adults to learn all the basics (and it has exercises for the student to do to make sure you understand what you're learning), and that will stand you in good stead when you start lessons. Start with Book 1, of course.

Get the basics right for now: learn to count beats yourself - aloud - rather than rely on copying someone on YT. Copying someone by rote is a sure way not to understand what you're doing. For instance, everyone 'sort of' knows the rhythm in 'America' from West Side Story (and 'sort of' sing it), because everyone has heard the song umpteen times. But hardly anyone knows how to clap the rhythm if they see it written on the page (and I mean just the rhythm, not the notes).

Forget about wanting to do everything at once. There have been plenty of people in PW who tried to do what you're doing, and they've all gone. You're not in a sprint race. Learning piano is like running an slow but steady ultra-marathon, with plenty of time to savor the view along the way. You'll be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to understand & speak a new language (music) if you learn it from its alphabet up, and take your time.....


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Hi Stubbie
Thanks so much for your post; I totally agree these are harsh and condescending judgements. In addition, I believe anyone can learn to play the piano.... we may not all reach an advanced level, but the ‘goal’ should be making music with our own two hands, and there is wonderful music st every level.

What does it take to learn? Patience with ourselves, and seeing this as a long-term, enjoyable journey. This is truly a case where the hare wins the race. I need to remind myself everyday to celebrate the successes... and they do come, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. We can all find the joy in what we are able to play.... no matter what it is !

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Originally Posted by dogperson
This is truly a case where the hare wins the race.



I think you meant tortoise.


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Originally Posted by John305
Originally Posted by dogperson
This is truly a case where the hare wins the race.



I think you meant tortoise.


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