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Where does one start?

Posted By: MidnightSwooner

Where does one start? - 02/10/13 05:55 AM

Or I guess restart is the better wording. I'm a guy of many hobbies, but have been quite bored w/most of them recently. After a personal string of events I find myself needing to find something I could pour a good amount of time into that I would enjoy. As a kid my mother forced me to take piano lessons, and I hated them, or at least that's how I acted. I actually enjoyed them, but got frustrated as I was never any good.

Anyhow fast forward to now and I feel this is something I want to pursue again. I just feel totally lost. I'm basically starting from scratch and looking for advice on either how to proceed, things to look at, or any sort of direction on do's/dont's.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Posted By: 4evrBeginR

Re: Where does one start? - 02/10/13 07:31 AM

Do you already own a piano? Do you see spending money on lessons or do you plan to learn on your own?

If you don't have a piano, don't make the mistake of so many by starting with one of those toys with 61-keys or 76-keys.
Posted By: Michael_99

Re: Where does one start? - 02/10/13 07:45 AM

For about $500 you can buy a digital 88 weighted keys keyboard that you can play/practice 24 hours a day 7 days a week to start.

After that the tough problem is making sure you practice daily. If you work an 8 hour day, get home and have dinner by 7, practice 8, 9, 10, time for bed for another day - you can easily see that sitting on the piano bench is a precious time.
Again, Welcome.
Posted By: Bobpickle

Re: Where does one start? - 02/10/13 09:46 AM

Originally Posted by MidnightSwooner
As a kid my mother forced me to take piano lessons, and I hated them, or at least that's how I acted. I actually enjoyed them, but got frustrated as I was never any good.

You may wish to first address this misunderstanding of how improving works (as an adult, it's easy to know in general terms how to improve a skill, but when it comes to a musical instrument, "common sense" is often wrong) at the piano so as to avoid growing disenchanted or frustrated like so very long ago. This can either be learned by trial and error, through working with the assistance of a teacher, through a lot of reading, or through a combination of the above. You'll want to aim to learn enough so that you can eventually be your own teacher in whatever you wish you pursue, but reaching this point can take a lot of time and hard work.

If you have the time, money, and dedication to seek out a teacher, see these two links here:

Books that come to mind as worth reading here include the following three (two and three can be viewed free online at the attached links):

1)Seymour Bernstein With Your Own Two Hands: Self-Discovery Through Music

2)Heinrich Neuhas The Art of Piano Playing (free: www.scribd.com/doc/50933117/Neuhaus-Art-of-Piano-PLaying)

3)Chuan C. Chang Fundamentals of Piano Practice (free: www.pianopractice.org)
Posted By: Sand Tiger

Re: Where does one start? - 02/11/13 12:35 AM

Do you prefer a certain type of music? Classical, jazz, popular songs? If pop songs, do you plan to sing while playing, or have someone else sing while you play?

Do you have a piano or access to a piano? Do you plan to hire a teacher?

How much time do you want to commit? 15 minutes a day? An hour a day? More? Do you learn better from books, or video, or audio? Answering these kinds of questions will give folks a better idea as to what to suggest.

A red flag is that you mentioned other hobbies and getting bored. Unfortunately that also happens to a lot of musicians. Piano tends to be time intensive, and for almost all, frustrating at times. The rewards tend to out weigh the frustrations, but more than a few people give up because of the negatives.
Posted By: MidnightSwooner

Re: Where does one start? - 02/11/13 08:22 PM

Thanks for the info...I guess I'm once again guilty of putting the cart in front of the horse, as I've not really thought a lot of things thru as in how much time I plan on putting into it and how I plan to go about it. I do not currently have a piano, but have several friends that do. I'm not against buying something to learn on, but was hoping to get started first to make sure it's something I'll enjoy like I think I will. Heck, I might be setting myself up for failure already by giving myself that out and not committing big up front. I've also been the kind of person to try to do things on my own, but again, that maybe why sometimes I don't reach certain levels with things or end up getting frustrated.

I don't forsee issues with setting aside time to play and practice. Work schedule can change day to day and long days/hours are the norm, but once I'm home it's just me and the cats, so I'm wide open then. I look forward to being able to block some specific time off, as having a more constructive outlet will help me out w/some of the others thing I've been battling.

I guess I need to sit down and be real w/myself and what I expect to accomplish and make up a game plan that is realistic and that I'll stick to. I'm sure I'll have some more dumb newbie question as things go, so I appreciate the help so far.
Posted By: SoundThumb

Re: Where does one start? - 02/12/13 02:05 AM

Hey MidnightSwooner,

Here's a somewhat contrarian suggestion for you to consider and reject as you see fit. DO buy a cheap $100 or $200 61 key keyboard and go out and get a beginner Suzuki method book. It will teach you a few simple left hand chords and chord progressions. In a matter of a few weeks, you will be playing little tunes and making real music for yourself. At that point, stop and evaluate how much fun you are having. If you find that you can't wait to get home each day and get back on the keyboard, then you know you have the bug and need to get more serious. Now if you want to get serious, decide if you want to go in the keyboard/synth direction or the traditional piano direction and proceed accordingly.
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