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Piano Lessons #2796221
12/28/18 03:21 PM
12/28/18 03:21 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 7
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wildfig Offline OP
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How more effective are private lessons compared to online or reading books etc?
thanks, from adult beginner

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Re: Piano Lessons [Re: wildfig] #2796230
12/28/18 03:32 PM
12/28/18 03:32 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by wildfig
How more effective are private lessons compared to online or reading books etc?
thanks, from adult beginner

From one who first learned for 4 months online/self-teaching, then got a teacher, I'd say that for me, it was significantly more effective. Also, it is much better for piano technique than in almost any other area of piano learning, especially if you are already a self-starter and capable of learning things by yourself.

Because piano technique is so apparently hard to teach through books and videos, it does seem that a lot of piano method writers avoid it entirely. For example, a number of online piano learning sites don't say even one word about technique (example: www.pianomarvel.com), and I know method books also give it short shrift in general (I don't believe Alfred spends more than a few words on it). There are a lot of Youtube videos on piano technique, such as this one, but speaking first hand, it is hard to internalize it and get it right without feedback from a teacher.

On the other hand, I've heard of teachers who teach no almost no technique at all, nor hardly give any feedback. Well, in that case, it seems to me then to just be guided learning of repertoire, and I wonder to myself how different that could be than learning by oneself via Synthesia, for example... Thankfully, my teacher is not one of those sort because while guided learning of repertoire could be good for some, I doubt I would find it interesting or helpful.


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Re: Piano Lessons [Re: wildfig] #2796247
12/28/18 04:18 PM
12/28/18 04:18 PM
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Posts: 550
Greater Chicago Metro Area
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EPW Offline
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If you can afford them, run don't walk and sign up. You might have to go through a few teachers in the early going to find one that clicks with you but a good teacher is worth her/his weight in gold. Learning the proper technique early will save you tons of relearning down the road. It is so much easier to feel a students arms hands fingers when playing for tension then through a Skype video smile

As Tyrone said above it can be hard to get the right feedback from a video. But at the same time a good teacher can be hard to come by. But realize at first, if you have no experience you have to go by the teachers guidance. Just don't be afraid to ask questions when you have them. That is what the teacher is there for. If they don't answer you then know you might have to look for a new teacher.


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Piano Lessons [Re: wildfig] #2796259
12/28/18 04:48 PM
12/28/18 04:48 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,883
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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There are benefits from learning with a teacher that far outweigh instructions found in books or even in online lessons:
- Immediate feedback on technique and interpretation. A text or a video might tell you to execute a certain passage or phrase a certain way, but the feedback tells you whether you have achieved what was suggested or not. Further feedback and instruction can help you get it right.
- Perception: Too often when we play, we hear what we want to hear or what we think we hear, not what we are actually playing. To counter this mis-perception, a good teacher can encourage various approaches that will help us not only to reach the goal suggested by the teacher but also help us to refine our listening skills. Our listening skills and our ability to hear what we play become more and more important as we advance.
- Fingering: An important aspect of piano playing is fingering. A book or a video might suggest or even dictate fingering for a passage, but fingering is not a "one size fits all" proposition. Hands come in all different sizes and shapes and a fingering that may work for one may not work for another; inappropriate fingering may even hinder progress. A good teacher will help find the fingering that best suits the individual student.
- Equipment: A Skype video may be more helpful than a non-interactive video in assessing a student's playing, but assessing interpretation, including balance and voicing, is limited to the quality of the transmission which, in some cases, may not be ideal. If either the student or teacher (or both) is using the mic and speakers in a computer or laptop next to the piano, many subtleties of sound and interpretation will be lost.
- Relationship: Once a good teacher is found and a good match between teacher and student is made, a relationship develops that helps make lessons more efficient: the teacher learns the student's learning style and the student learns what the teacher expects and gears his/her practicing accordingly. I am not sure that a similar symbiosis - or as potentially effective a one - can be developed with an online identity.

Some thoughts to consider ....

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Piano Lessons [Re: EPW] #2796287
12/28/18 06:03 PM
12/28/18 06:03 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 961
Portland, OR, USA
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Osho Offline
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Originally Posted by EPW
If you can afford them, run don't walk and sign up. You might have to go through a few teachers in the early going to find one that clicks with you but a good teacher is worth her/his weight in gold. Learning the proper technique early will save you tons of relearning down the road. It is so much easier to feel a students arms hands fingers when playing for tension then through a Skype video smile


+1.

No video will ever tell you what you are doing wrong. A good teacher is absolutely necessary for that purpose.

It is important to meet a few different teachers, even try lessons with a few of them for couple of months each. It may take some time to find a teacher with whom you work well and can get better. Well worth the time to experiment with different teachers.

So, as others have said, if you can afford it - highly recommended.

Osho


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Re: Piano Lessons [Re: Osho] #2796294
12/28/18 06:20 PM
12/28/18 06:20 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 543
Virginia
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DFSRN Offline
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Virginia
Osho, I have friends who told me I would like to take lessons, but there too expensive. However, they have boats, campers, expensive cars, nice vacations, it depends what the person's priorities are. Your right, lessons are well worth it, I would not be where I am without going on 5 years of lessons.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: Piano Lessons [Re: wildfig] #2796312
12/28/18 07:55 PM
12/28/18 07:55 PM
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Richrf Offline
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Effectiveness is a function of goals, but I have none when it comes to piano or any art that I practice as a hobby.

Given this, I find learning by books and videos far more enjoyable because: I am learning art the pace I want, in the way I want, and I get to to experiment in different ways depending upon what I learn and feel. Overall, it is a very relaxing and creative avenue for learning.

Re: Piano Lessons [Re: Richrf] #2796324
12/28/18 09:33 PM
12/28/18 09:33 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,864
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Online content
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
Originally Posted by Richrf
Effectiveness is a function of goals, but I have none when it comes to piano or any art that I practice as a hobby.

Given this, I find learning by books and videos far more enjoyable because: I am learning art the pace I want, in the way I want, and I get to to experiment in different ways depending upon what I learn and feel. Overall, it is a very relaxing and creative avenue for learning.


That is the great thing about music, or most things for that matter. There are numerous methods/ways to learn by and the key is to find the one that works best for you, as an individual!


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Re: Piano Lessons [Re: wildfig] #2796332
12/28/18 09:57 PM
12/28/18 09:57 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 28
Colonia, NJ US
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JimB1 Offline
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Colonia, NJ US
Well I am starting piano lessons next week but I currently play flute and guitar so I have some experience in learning from books or Internet vs having a teacher.

I’m sort of musically dense. I didn’t have a lot of exposure to music as a kid and pretty much ignored what there was. I tried chorus and trumpet in elementary school like a lot of kids but just didn’t get it so I dropped them after a few months and decided music wasn’t for me. I didn’t even buy my first CD until I was in high school and my first stereo system until I was 17. I never tried my hand at making music again until I was in my late 20’s mainly because it was something I had failed at and wanted to take another shot at it. I’m kind of a masochist that way smile

The biggest issue I have found is that you have to find a teacher that is good for you. I have had several teachers, none were bad per se but some I was just not able to learn from. It’s not necessarily they weren’t good teachers but they weren’t good for me. I know some people are going to have differing opinions but I learned more on my own in the two years I didn’t have a guitar teacher then in the first two years I had one. I did eventually find a teacher that works for me and I have gotten far better with him than I did on my own.

So basically I guess I am saying be picky when choosing an instructor. Just having an instructor, even one that is highly recommended with a lot of experience as a teacher, doesn’t guarantee success but having a good instructor that teaches in a way that works for you and you like can make a world of difference.

-Jim


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Re: Piano Lessons [Re: wildfig] #2796363
12/29/18 01:21 AM
12/29/18 01:21 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 2
Northeast Iowa
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Carillon Offline
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Northeast Iowa
I think self taught students are more likely to fall off from practicing than students with teachers. People practice more often and more consistently, partly because otherwise it'd be a waste of money to be paying for lessons. This becomes more of an issue over time when the initial excitement of learning the instrument wears off. Consistency is very important, otherwise you spend a lot of time playing catch-up, trying to get back to the level you were at previously.

Re: Piano Lessons [Re: wildfig] #2796364
12/29/18 01:27 AM
12/29/18 01:27 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 95
Italy
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Angelos58 Offline
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Italy
pianomarvel.com is full of technique and exercises and sightreading and eartraining and classical pieces chopped and minced.
And you can upload your pieces and choosing how to practice them.


I was very skeptical of pianomarvel.com and for a long time I did not even try the free period. But when I finally decided to try it I found out that it is a very useful tool.

Last edited by Angelos58; 12/29/18 01:32 AM.
Re: Piano Lessons [Re: wildfig] #2796370
12/29/18 04:02 AM
12/29/18 04:02 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 50
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MrCatMissMew Offline
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It's best to have a teacher right from the very beginning - single notes.

A teacher will make sure you develop a technique that will mean you can play complex pieces, and you'll be set goals ahead of every lesson for the next one.

If you attempt to teach yourself, it's really hard for a teacher to address "bad habits".

Get the best teacher you can afford, and travel a fair way to get to them if you need to!

With a supportive and positive teacher you'll go much further, much more quickly!

Re: Piano Lessons [Re: MrCatMissMew] #2796408
12/29/18 08:08 AM
12/29/18 08:08 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 17
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Azariah Offline
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I'll give you my feedback from a slightly different perspective. I train dogs in obedience. There is one school (Fenzi) that has very skilled online teachers that are exceptional at giving feedback to submitted videos. The cost of this is similar to what a private lesson would cost. It's more convenient for me as I am disabled so traveling to a class and then attempting to work my dog fir that period of time is physically impossible. There are lots of nuances to dog training. Easily as many as learning the piano. Submitting well done videos to a teacher that is good at video teaching is a model that works for this. Just watching videos online and trying to practice does not work. I suspect the same is true with piano lessons.

I personally have added on a half in person lesson for myself after my daughters lesson.

Re: Piano Lessons [Re: wildfig] #2796419
12/29/18 08:46 AM
12/29/18 08:46 AM
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bennevis Offline
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Most people who have never played a piano (other than tinkling a few keys when they come across a keyboard in a shopping mall) have no idea how technical it actually is. And this applies especially to those who have played a guitar or other instrument. After all, almost all other instruments require different movements with each hand, or even require a 'third hand' (woodwind, brass) to make the sound - how difficult can it be to make music with a "ready-made" sound on an instrument using just two hands and their attached digits, making similar kinds of movements? (As for the pedal, well, it's just up & down......isn't it? Easier than walking.)

No wonder far more people give up piano than give up guitar, after starting learning (with or without teachers) - and let's not forget that the vast, vast majority of guitar players (including myself) are self-taught. Unlike most pianists.

I'd say - if anyone is intent on playing the piano well, you need a good teacher. Right from the start, before you develop bad techniques and habits that will hamper - if not stymie - further progress. And be prepared for the long haul.

But if you just want to dabble, and maybe play a few chords to accompany someone else, don't bother with a teacher. Because you're talking about years - not weeks - of good instruction.


"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: Piano Lessons [Re: JimB1] #2796445
12/29/18 10:07 AM
12/29/18 10:07 AM
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Posts: 233
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TomInCinci Offline
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Originally Posted by JimB1


The biggest issue I have found is that you have to find a teacher that is good for you. I have had several teachers, none were bad per se but some I was just not able to learn from. It’s not necessarily they weren’t good teachers but they weren’t good for me. I know some people are going to have differing opinions but I learned more on my own in the two years I didn’t have a guitar teacher then in the first two years I had one. I did eventually find a teacher that works for me and I have gotten far better with him than I did on my own.

So basically I guess I am saying be picky when choosing an instructor. Just having an instructor, even one that is highly recommended with a lot of experience as a teacher, doesn’t guarantee success but having a good instructor that teaches in a way that works for you and you like can make a world of difference.

-Jim




I could not agree more. One on one instruction has some unique aspects.

I had a guitar teacher once who was preparing me for a group performance. I was appalled to find that the whole process was so loose that no one could even give me chord charts. The songs were well within my ability (just rhythm guitar on some old rock) but memorization is tough for me. I'll memorize a piece eventually but if I don't start out doing it correctly it will take 3 times as long to get it right. I remember sitting with him when I was clearly upset and feeling the pressure, and having him tell me the songs were 'simple'. He was totally clueless that his seemingly innocent statement was only upsetting me more, totally. Nobody needs to be reminded that they are a musical idiot. Those of us who qualify know it. My point? One day my instructor was out and they put me with a young guy who had a master's degree in teaching. He zeroed in on every thing I was having trouble with and when I didn't understand something he tried different things until I got it. The right instructor is worth far more than what is actually charged.

Last edited by TomInCinci; 12/29/18 10:10 AM. Reason: attempting literacy
Re: Piano Lessons [Re: wildfig] #2796456
12/29/18 11:12 AM
12/29/18 11:12 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,433
Owen Sound, Ontario
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You need to get off to a good start and good direct instruction is the best you can do. So, worth it if you plan to take seriously. Books and reading are good for theory but won't improve your playing ability in the least.

Whatever discipline you choose (classical, jazz, pop etc.) good instruction in the beginning is important. If you end up playing a long time as many of us here have, then it becomes less likely that you will always have direct instruction. Online tutorials, video instruction and educational forums, like here, can be of good value when you don't have direct instruction.

In addition to having good vibe with Teacher, try to find one that teaches what it is you want to play.Teachers are most beneficial when you are starting and when you are specializing. If jazz becomes specialty, get a jazz teacher. If pop is specialty get a non-classical teacher. Most Teachers will be classical.

Re: Piano Lessons [Re: Carillon] #2796537
12/29/18 03:35 PM
12/29/18 03:35 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 543
Virginia
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DFSRN Offline
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Virginia
Taking lessons I feel like I have go prepared, your right is would be a waste of money if I did not practice. I hear my teacher play and it makes me more motivated, like I want to play like that. The more I advance the more motivated I am.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: Piano Lessons [Re: bennevis] #2796539
12/29/18 03:37 PM
12/29/18 03:37 PM
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Posts: 543
Virginia
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DFSRN Offline
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Virginia
“There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.”

― J. S. Bach


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: Piano Lessons [Re: DFSRN] #2796549
12/29/18 04:01 PM
12/29/18 04:01 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,303
Midwest USA
Stubbie Offline
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Originally Posted by DFSRN
“There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.”

― J. S. Bach
Easy for him to say.....


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In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

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