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Posted By: Fly Boy Piano Learning Software - 01/10/16 03:25 PM
Hello, I am a beginner piano player, and want to improve my playing ability (particularly my sight reading). I don't have a schedule that allows regular sessions with a teacher, and wanted to know what people on this forum thought was the best piano learning e-course (either online or downloadable software) out there.

I see that Musiah and Piano Marvel have been discussed frequently. Right now I am leaning towards trying out Piano Marvel. Any other recommendations? Anyone out there have an informed opinion on Piano Encyclopedia? Thanks!
Posted By: Qazsedcft Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/10/16 05:01 PM
Hello and welcome!

For sight reading I think sightreadingfactory.com is excellent, but you can also get some sheet music and just do it. One thing to remember though is that 15 minutes every day is much better than 2 hours once a week.
Posted By: Fly Boy Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/10/16 06:45 PM
Great suggestion, I'll have to try that one out. Still waiting on my MIDI cable smile
Posted By: earlofmar Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/10/16 10:05 PM
Welcome to the forum Fly Boy, there is much to be said about learning piano and I would encourage you to research as much as possible by searching old posts on this forum. Why? because I think it is really valuable to understand the learning process and the various options if you are going to self teach.

Having said that it is my belief there is no optimum route (or program) that will help you to your goals. There are some bad routes like having absolutely no structure or idea what you are doing but in general it always come down to time, effort and a bit of discipline. PianoMarvel and Musiah are not the only interactive learning programs but if you pick either one it would be the right one for now. I say for now because our piano journeys will change as we grow and gain more experience and often quite quickly we see that something that seemed good is not working for us. Interactive programs may give way to method books, method books give way to graded compilation books or everything swept aside in favour of having a teacher (scheduling permitting). The only important thing right now it taking the first step into a structured learning environment. So good luck and I hope you keep us up to date with your progress.
Posted By: newnewbie0 Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/11/16 04:53 AM
I'm just starting too. I've been using pianomarvel.com for 3 weeks and I really like it. It has a free 1 month trial, no credit card required. The only problem with it is that it doesn't track whether or not you hold notes for their full duration. I also bought downloadable emedia piano software (under $40) and it is not as fun as pianomarvel.com, but it tracks how long you hold the key.
Posted By: Hendrik42 Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/11/16 09:55 PM
Hi Fly Boy, newnewbie0, welcome!

What is the operating systems you run? Just Windows? Linux? MacOS? Android, iOS?

I quite like Piano Maestro by JoyTunes (iPad) and there is also YouSician (Windows, Mac, iOS, ...) for practice. Both help with sight reading (Yousician even starts out before sight reading) and practice generally.

And I like to just attach my tablet, not having to move the laptop etc.

For just sight reading, there is also "Piano Tutor" for the iPad/iPhone.
Posted By: dmd Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/12/16 12:15 AM
I keep recommending this because I truly believe it is the best and most valid course available and it is very inexpensive.

http://pianoforall.com/

You won't be able to have the computer tell you which keys to press and for how long but you will know.

When you wish to move past the "video game" type of instruction, give this a look.

Good Luck
Posted By: jjs6067 Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/17/16 09:52 PM
I second the user above, PianoForAll is amazing. I've been using it for 5 weeks now and have noticed a major improvement. In fact, I've started a video series documenting my progress through the program, and talking about the pros and cons of using pianoforall.

Feel free to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0YoiTqQh9s

I should be posting another update tomorrow of Tuesday.
Posted By: Fly Boy Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 01:23 AM
Thank you for the input and endorsement concerning pianoforall, it has made me seriously look into it. The price is definitely alluring, and i watched a few of those youtube review videos -- very helpful!

Does anyone have any opinion on The Piano Encyclopedia? Their course, The Logic Behind Music, was featured on Forbes and their website (pianoencylopedia.com) looks fancy and all, but i wanted to know if there was anyone who actually tried it out.

Thanks again!
Posted By: TrevorM Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 10:06 AM
Originally Posted by Fly Boy
Thank you for the input and endorsement concerning pianoforall, it has made me seriously look into it. The price is definitely alluring, and i watched a few of those youtube review videos -- very helpful!


If you're interested in Pianoforall, sign up to Udemy.com. It's on there and Udemy seem to *always* have sale on. Sometimes it's full price, but they'll email you a discount link. I picked it up for $10 a while ago.

I haven't really used it, so I can't vouch for how good it is, but just wanted to give you a heads up. smile
Posted By: Fly Boy Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 02:13 PM
Thanks for the tip, but $247 is not what i'd really call a discount.

https://www.udemy.com/pianoforall-incredible-new-way-to-learn-piano-keyboard/
Posted By: TrevorM Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 02:56 PM
Yup, which is why I suggested signing up. I've just received an email to tell me that I can get any course for £13 today.

This is the link in the email. I don't know if it'll work for you or not. https://www.udemy.com/courses/featu...y.4274645&data_h=0&utm_term=hero
Posted By: Stephen Hazel Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 04:19 PM
Hmmm, well if you don't have a schedule that allows regular sessions with a teacher, how do you expect to find time to do daily piano practice?

I'm a computer programmer, and learning piano from a book or video or software just seems pretty dumb to me when there are living piano teachers who can breeze you through everything in that book/video/software in the least amount of time possible. And a book will not teach you how to express yourself at the piano.

Playing piano is an art.

Software can't teach art.
Posted By: R_B Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 04:22 PM
WRT sight reading;

As we learn language we are taught to read and write in parallel.
This is also true in "traditional" music ed, i.e. students are taught to write on score paper alongside being taught to read from scores.

I have found that scoring software can serve this purpose, at least in part.
I copy pieces to (virtual) paper, which I could then print if I wanted to, I don't always want to.

I can also have the scoring software play it for me, much as a teacher would, so I can hear how it sounds.
(OK, so the subtleties aren't there and it won't teach me the supposed "meaning" of the piece)

Not saying that every beginner needs to rush out and buy a full version of Sebelius or Finale, but a trial or "light" version could help to fill a gap.

At least CONSIDER doing some writing as you learn to read.
Sure, there is a learning curve to the software.

This is also something you can work with if/when away from your keyboard/piano on a business trip.


Posted By: Fly Boy Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 05:51 PM
Awesome, that link seemed to work for me. Now how do I download the course? or is it streaming only?
Posted By: dmd Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 05:56 PM
Originally Posted by Fly Boy
Awesome, that link seemed to work for me. Now how do I download the course? or is it streaming only?


Well, that is too bad ... you are asking questions after you purchased it.

I think it is streaming only.

For the small difference in price, I would have purchased from the authors website.

However, streaming may work for you.

It is a very good course.

Good Luck
Posted By: dmd Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 06:00 PM
I just noticed that there is a 30-day money back guarantee.

If you are not happy with the streaming method, you could get your money back and then purchase the product from pianoforall.com

That is what I would do. I like to have it in my possession.
Posted By: Fly Boy Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 06:34 PM
Yea it seems that the pdf's and videos are available for download on a piece by piece basis, which I am okay with, not to mention the fact that the Udemy interface is kind of neat. The lessons are laid out neatly and in a manner that makes sense -- broken into little chunks. This is probably better than if I had just a bunch of pdf pages with imbedded video. There is also the community part of it as well, being able to discuss the course and see how others are liking it, etc. I think I'll give this method a try and if I don't like it i'll do what you said.

Posted By: jjs6067 Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/20/16 10:55 PM
The allure of an online course is the price point, at least for me. Piano teachers can be very expensive, and their methods may not be sound (no pun intended).

You're right in that you can't learn expression through a book. I also don't think that can be taught by a piano teacher, it's just something you have to develop as you evolve as a musician
Posted By: TrevorM Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/21/16 12:44 AM
Yes, I actually bought both the PDF version direct from the author, and later the Udemy course version, and the Udemy one is much easier to follow. I like that it's broken up into lesson chunks with the videos, and marks your progress as you go. But yes, as you say dmd, the PDF one will be there on my hard drive forever. smile

Again, I only used it for the first 10 steps or so. It looks like a great course, but I think I was after something that was less heavily chord-led at the time. I believe it deviates from chords and you eventually get into classics, etc, but I wanted something that mixed all of that in from the start.
Posted By: Qazsedcft Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/21/16 01:55 PM
Originally Posted by jjs6067
The allure of an online course is the price point, at least for me. Piano teachers can be very expensive, and their methods may not be sound (no pun intended).

It's ironic that complaints about the price of lessons come mostly from those who don't have them.

Originally Posted by jjs6067
You're right in that you can't learn expression through a book. I also don't think that can be taught by a piano teacher, it's just something you have to develop as you evolve as a musician

You won't believe how wrong you are until you actually get lessons with a good teacher. A good teacher can teach you a lot about musical expression. Expression is not just a fuzzy undefinable feeling for the music. It's attention to lots of little details: a little rubato here, lighter hand for those notes there, the left hand is slightly too loud, make it more legato, more even, etc. These are things you will never notice yourself until someone guides you through many pieces and tells you what to listen for. There are also the things that are better explained by demonstrating. An example from one of my first lessons:

Teacher: The notes are OK but you should try to get a better feel for the 3/4 time.
Me: What do you mean?
Teacher: Well, yours sounds like this <demonstration>. It's like you're playing DA..DA..DA.. You should play it more DA..da..da like this <demonstration>
Me: Ah I get it! <play>
Teacher: Yes, that's better.

The above is hard to really explain in a book. Yes, the point was to play stronger and weaker beats but it's more about feeling those strong beats than making them particularly louder or longer. Unless someone corrects you on the spot it's almost certain that you will get it wrong. This is just a very basic example from a complete beginner's lesson but even at that level there are many things that you do which can be called 'expression' and help turn plain notes into real music.

And there are also the technical issues that a teacher always watches for like: watch out for those collapsed joints, wrist a little higher/lower, don't tense up, less weight and a more finger speed, etc. It is beyond me how someone would get all those things right without a teacher.
Posted By: dmd Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/21/16 02:35 PM
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
It's ironic that complaints about the price of lessons come mostly from those who don't have them.


I wouldn't call that ironic. The price is the reason they do not have them. It is a natural correlation.

You show me someone who complains about the cost of going to a movie in the theatre and I will show you someone who does not go to many movies.

Posted By: Stephen Hazel Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/21/16 05:11 PM
I'm with Qazsedcft.

Piano should be a lifelong passion. Don't skimp on your passions. Dive in.
A piano teacher should be a high priority.

You need a coach. Book learning won't cut it alone.

I mean, I am a guy who loves computers, has written a weird piano practice program,
and I also take piano lessons.

Software can make daily practice a little more fun.
(Especially if you just wanna play pop and can't stand standard notation like me.)

But it won't coach you, point out your shortcomings, hold you accountable,
or give you examples of the "nicer way". Nor get you along your path FAST.
(which is very different than some other piano dude's path)

And don't ever let software judge you. It can, but it shouldn't.
As you play piano alone, you think to yourself, you know, I'm BETTER than
I used to be. I'm not too bad! But you can't judge you.
You're biased. A piano teacher can see how far along your path you are.
She can see what you're capable of down the road right now.
You don't know that road.

Would you rather bumble along this road on your own hittin all the dead ends?
Or would you rather have a running partner who will speed you through the maze?

Would you attempt soccer without a coach?
You can learn to play the game on your own.
But calling yourself a soccer player without a coach - mmmmmm...

Find a teacher that you "click" with personality wise that can play at a level a ways above you. Try em for a couple weeks. See if there's that "click" between you. If there is, give yourself a couple months with this teacher and see how much more progress you make. You'll be VERY happy.
Posted By: TheodorN Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/21/16 06:04 PM
Stephen Hazel, I played soccer for many years. Without a coach. Just with friends and acquaintances, we would play indoors in the winter, and outdoors in the summer. Although we didn't compete in the English Premier League, I will still claim we were soccer players. Some of us actually were also in a team, for some time, with a coach, but not all.

Likewise, anyone who plays the piano as a hobby, is a pianist. (S)he doesn't have to have played in Carnegie Hall.

While I agree having a teacher is the best way to progress, it's not the only way. For many it's not an option for financial reasons.
Posted By: Stephen Hazel Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/22/16 05:19 PM
I don't mean to say you can only call yourself a piano player if you have a teacher.

A lot of people have done fine without.

But having a piano teacher is definitely the best way to go if ya can.
I think FEW piano players will argue with that.
Posted By: lotal Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/22/16 07:08 PM
I consider myself mostly self-taught; I have been self-studying for about 45 years on and off. But I had formal lessons with teachers in childhood till the 2nd grade, therefore I can compare. It is now when I observe the whole journey that I may draw some conclusions. My verdict is that it is virtually impossible to learn piano playing from scratch without a piano teacher. The beginning stage, at least a year or two, should be done under supervision of a teacher. Starting from the 2nd grade by myself, with some basics already ingrained, I bumped in all kinds of walls and pits and got injuries in both hands. It was a slow, rough and frustrating road, before I found solutions for many issues. I just cannot comprehend how one may pass the hazardous maze of tricks and traps by oneself alone. Simply said, I just do not believe it is realistic to learn by yourself. One would come to get some prompt and weird finger juggling skill untill ending at a velocity wall, but might that skill be called musical piano playing?

It is not the matter of financial reasons. It is whether you will play piano or not. Without a teacher, you develop a strange game of your own, which only you and your loving family may call piano playing. Like this example of a person who had been teaching himself from scratch for 70 (!) years. You may try to find a teacher in another country for skype lessons, where rates may be drastically lower, and take one lesson a month. It may be as low as one lunch meal of yours. Even an unqualified teacher may be hundred times better than no teacher at all. Or send you prerecorded practice videos for just a short written response from a qualified teacher. Be inventive, but you just need a feedback and individual context guidance!

It does not actually matter which online piano course you take, as it is a secondary matter. Recently I visited a Chinese piano forum and google translated this page with advices for adult self-learners. It was enlightening experience how owing to our mentality we circle around secondary matters. The Chinese folks perhaps have their own mentality, that is why the problem shows itself. Please try translate this page by yourself and you notice how they discuss there that you better not smoke, put flowers nearby, hang a mirror, do not play during rainy days, and even deeper below they altogether switch to what should they eat before (or after). The same is with searching for the “optimal” piano course and paying too much attention to this search. Any decent course will do if you are diligent with it, because it is not the information of the course which is most important, but your own active thought about and during your practice. And again, its value is relative because of lack of feedback.
Posted By: zrtf90 Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/22/16 07:49 PM
Originally Posted by lotal
Any decent course will do if you are diligent with it, because it is not the information of the course which is most important, but your own active thought about and during your practice. And again, its value is relative because of lack of feedback.
I tend to agree with the reasoning behind the student's own thinking being more important than the course but disagree with the feedback idea. Music is its own feedback so the more actively you listen to professional recordings and the more you record and listen to your own playing and make critical judgements on the differences the greater are the benefits of self teaching really and is undoubtedly better than having a bad teacher.

What matters in self-teaching is the amount of research needed into learning methods, listening to the body, trying to emulate the sounds of professional playing and a creative approach to problem solving. Too much repetition, especially of "technical" work like Hanon and scales without sufficient understanding of their purpose, shortcuts to second best results and insufficient planning, measuring and comparison of results are the typical drawbacks but even these aren't avoided by some teachers.

Actually, self-teaching is best when you have a teacher. Analysing what it is that the teacher brings to the lesson and trying to duplicate it and develop that skill will help enormously.

For some the piano playing isn't even the end goal and the slower progress is no disadvantage. The discipline of learning and just following the path is enough to satisfy some and the greater the intelligence and experience of the student in other fields the better the results will be. There are so many more resources available these days that weren't there when I was young that self teaching isn't such a poor choice. Though I still don't think software does it.

Posted By: TonyB Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/22/16 08:45 PM
Here is one person's experiences being largely self-taught.

This directly from Michele McLaughlin's web site:

When I was 8, my parents took me to see George Winston in concert. We were right by the stage, on the left hand side, I could see his hands so clearly and closely and I was mesmerized. I remember thinking a wide-eyed “WOW!” and I thought everything about George and his music and being up on that stage playing for a concert hall full of people was just super cool.

After that I spent months learning how to play his songs by ear. I would put the CD in, listen to a few measures, and then plunk it out as best I could. Before long, I was playing entire George Winston tunes, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was also learning how to play. See, I never took lessons. Well, that’s not entirely true, I did take lessons for a very brief moment in time and I hated it. Lessons took all the fun out of playing. Lessons made playing the piano a miserable, horrible, unpleasant chore, and that just didn’t work for me. So instead, I just learned to play by listening to other musicians, and it wasn’t long before I was composing my own songs.

Here is one of her tunes:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9UzFC-nNz8

It seems to me that there is more than one path to get where we want to go. In speaking of her experience with lessons, there could be many reason for that. I have heard from a number of people who voiced similar experience with childhood lessons. I take from that simply that there are all manner of teachers, some less suitable for teaching children than others. I have no disagreement with the positive points people have mentioned here about getting a "live" teacher, but instead am simply pointing out that for some, another path might work better for them, for whatever reason. Most people I have met who had this sort of childhood experience with lessons, never went back to the piano, and that is a terrible shame.

Tony
Posted By: Qazsedcft Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/22/16 08:46 PM
Originally Posted by zrtf90
I tend to agree with the reasoning behind the student's own thinking being more important than the course but disagree with the feedback idea. Music is its own feedback so the more actively you listen to professional recordings and the more you record and listen to your own playing and make critical judgements on the differences the greater are the benefits of self teaching really and is undoubtedly better than having a bad teacher.

But it's very hard to develop that skill of critical listening without guidance. I definitely listen to music differently now than before I started lessons.

Originally Posted by zrtf90
What matters in self-teaching is the amount of research needed into learning methods, listening to the body, trying to emulate the sounds of professional playing and a creative approach to problem solving.

That is indeed true. Even with a teacher you have to constantly re-evaluate your own learning processes and methods. What works now might not be enough in a few months and you need to be open to fresh ideas.

Originally Posted by zrtf90
Actually, self-teaching is best when you have a teacher. Analysing what it is that the teacher brings to the lesson and trying to duplicate it and develop that skill will help enormously.


That's a great way to put it! thumb

Your teacher is a guide but most of the work is actually done outside lessons.
Posted By: dmd Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/22/16 09:05 PM
Originally Posted by zrtf90
For some the piano playing isn't even the end goal and the slower progress is no disadvantage. The discipline of learning and just following the path is enough to satisfy some ...


I think you have defined me to a tee. I enjoy the process and the end result will be what it is. All I need to keep me going is the sense that I am moving in the right direction and I am making some progress. I have no sense of frustration because I have no expectation of a particular result. I have a goal but no time period associated with that goal. I am retired and if I realize the goal, great ... if not, fine.

Posted By: TonyB Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/22/16 09:28 PM
Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by zrtf90
For some the piano playing isn't even the end goal and the slower progress is no disadvantage. The discipline of learning and just following the path is enough to satisfy some ...


I think you have defined me to a tee. I enjoy the process and the end result will be what it is. All I need to keep me going is the sense that I am moving in the right direction and I am making some progress. I have no sense of frustration because I have no expectation of a particular result. I have a goal but no time period associated with that goal. I am retired and if I realize the goal, great ... if not, fine.



To me, this is the perfect attitude for approaching a long term commitment such as learning piano. Being also retired, I am likewise enjoying the journey.

I do have goals, such as get the scales, chords, and arpeggios into my hands so they really "know" the keyboard. I also know what kind of music I want to play, and now understand what I need to get into my hands to be able to play it. So now, I can relax just as dmd describes and let it unfold. Every day, I see progress. It is really interesting watching my hands learn to traverse the piano keyboard, and improve in doing so, day by day.

Tony

Posted By: R_B Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/23/16 12:15 AM
I followed the above link to Udemy.
Price for piano4all was $247.
I created an account, then ignored them.

Next day a bunch of "special" offers came by e-mail - each at $24.
The day after that they offered piano4all at $24.

Hmmm, this almost suggests that they have trouble even GIVING IT AWAY laugh

For what its worth, etc.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/23/16 12:27 AM
Originally Posted by R_B
I followed the above link to Udemy.
Price for piano4all was $247.
I created an account, then ignored them.

Next day a bunch of "special" offers came by e-mail - each at $24.
The day after that they offered piano4all at $24.

Hmmm, this almost suggests that they have trouble even GIVING IT AWAY laugh

For what its worth, etc.


For what it's worth, there is an entire thread devoted to PianoForAll

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2169640/1.html
Posted By: DoreenH Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/23/16 01:52 AM
Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by zrtf90
For some the piano playing isn't even the end goal and the slower progress is no disadvantage. The discipline of learning and just following the path is enough to satisfy some ...


I think you have defined me to a tee. I enjoy the process and the end result will be what it is. All I need to keep me going is the sense that I am moving in the right direction and I am making some progress. I have no sense of frustration because I have no expectation of a particular result. I have a goal but no time period associated with that goal. I am retired and if I realize the goal, great ... if not, fine.


I agree with this. I am 64 and have tried to find a teacher that can help me play some old favorite songs. But the teachers here in my rural area are all geared to young students who will continue for years. In the end, a good teacher is one who makes you want to keep playing piano. I dont want to spend 7 lessons in a row, going over the same song that I dont even like. After 4 years of lessons, I now just teach myself and I have a journal.
At the top of the journal is this entry to myself:

Motivation Motto - I will ask myself after each session:
- Was it fun
- did I improve in any way, and in what area
If I can answer yes to this every time I practice, then I know I am on the right track.
Posted By: R_B Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/23/16 02:31 AM
Thanks Dogperson,
I read that thread, not to dump on anyone, but the comments are very similar to many threads where new purchasers proclaim their new found enthusiasm.
OK, I do it too laugh

I was intrigued by the $247 vs $24 deal - BTW the price was $39 three or four years ago.
Posted By: jjs6067 Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/23/16 11:04 PM
I agree with this. Having a teacher is the best route, but I've been making great progress with the software I have.

When I graduate physical therapy school I will probably invest in a teacher, but for now seeing as I have no income, pianoforall seems to be doing just fine.

Are there things to look for in a good piano teacher, or is just experience basically?

Posted By: TonyB Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/23/16 11:48 PM
Originally Posted by R_B
Thanks Dogperson,
I read that thread, not to dump on anyone, but the comments are very similar to many threads where new purchasers proclaim their new found enthusiasm.
OK, I do it too laugh



This is what people in the forums see, and is probably the primary reason for the cynicism about self-teaching courses. We all do it - the excited post about the shiny new course we just bought, and then the deafening silence that follows - until we get the next shiny new course, never mentioning what happened to the last one.

Worse, few who have taken any of these courses seem to ever post that s/he actually finished the course, providing a link to some playing that shows how well s/he fared as a result. I can think of only a couple of people who have posted about being successful in some such course. Swingin Barb, who actually did learn to play standards via the Sudnow method and Seaside Lee who learned to play by ear from the Piano Magic web site. Both provided links to videos of their playing. From among all the many posts about this or that course, having only two people prove success is a very low average.

I am including myself in this group of people who chronically start and stop a variety of these courses. I have been on a good path for some time now, but would rather be able to post myself actually playing something worthwhile before making any pronouncements about it because all I have really done in the past is waste a lot of words in posts about courses I did not finish either.

I suspect that the percentage of people who go to a "live" teacher and succeed at learning to play is FAR higher than those of us who go it alone. That isn't to say that there is anything wrong with self-study courses, but instead that human nature seems to reward those who put themselves in a position in which they have to produce (i.e. show up prepared every week). When going it alone, it is all too easy to just not do the work one day and then the next, and the next...no one else will ever know or care.

Tony

Posted By: jjs6067 Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/24/16 12:02 AM
I agree in that I imagine a lot of people stop trying to learn via whatever program they decided on getting. Whatever reason it happens to be, its a shame that it does happen.

I, personally, do not want to share that same end so I have started a video series documenting my progress. It's kind of 1/2 review of the program and 1/2 progress of my playing, so that it can give others an idea of what to expect. Regardless, it's a way to keep myself accountable so that I don't fall off the wagon.

My latest video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xqayKVSn9g.

Of course it doesn't have much context unless prior videos are watched, but I am excited to see how I progress as I keep posting videos. My goal is to keep posting videos until I finish the program, and then beyond that, it's up in the air.
Posted By: TrevorM Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/24/16 12:38 AM
FWIW, this is the only recording I made while learning with Musiah. About a month in, I think. I stopped because I got a new piano and it was too far away from my computer to play.
https://soundcloud.com/antikewl/largo

Ironically it's the same piece I'm working on right now in Piano Adventures 2B. smile
Posted By: Ulven Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/24/16 08:51 AM
I think that going for lessons or not can depend a lot on the learner. For example, does this learner mainly wish to play chordal stuff to play in a band, do they have a very good natural ear for music and are self-critical and studious with the ability to research well, or are they already an experienced musician on other instruments and understand the "language" of music to a relatively high level?

If someone just wants to play chords to do backing in a band and be self-taught like many a rock musician, they can certainly succeed at that. Classical is a bit of a different creature though.

I would expect anyone can learn the piano to a reasonable intermediate standard at the least if they are careful to watch out for bad habits and learn to instill good ones, researches accordingly, and is honest and self critical of their skills. Using audio and video recordings of themselves to analyse and find weaknesses would help them a lot too.

If they also make use of a good teaching method and always look to improve the way they do things through research, know how to organise a proper, and flexible practice schedule, then I'd expect they could do fairly well. Listening to and analysing a lot of different pieces, especially the differences between interpretations of the same piece can educate a lot too (certainly for learning that piece), as well as listening to music attentively in general.

For those who are brand new to music though, and want to learn things like classical music well on piano, then finding a good teacher is likely the best idea. But, if you have the right ear and approach, who knows?

I have decided to see how I will fare without a teacher. I just got a digital piano the start of this week and will be ready to get stuck into it now I am just about recovered from the flu (the worst kind, uggh) and I can get practicing properly. I have 14 years experience playing bass guitar and several with acoustic and electric guitar. I'm largely self-taught, but spent a few years having formal teaching in college and I am used to auto-didactic study.

I've loved piano for so many years but never got round to playing it; I have listened to lots of piano pieces by many composers and players but only now at 28 am I taking the plunge.

With my background I could probably make a decent go at learning piano by myself and can learn at my own pace (which I would like to be quick but careful and accurate). By the time I reach a high intermediate level, I might want to find a good teacher though to look at what I do, and iron out any deficiencies and open up new doors.

I will be using Alfred's Basic Adult All-in-One Course 1 through 3 as my base, and I think I might document my progress on YouTube and how I approach learning auto-didactically and how I organise my studies; all comments and constructive criticism would be welcome for any performances.

Anyway, pleased to meet you all. Sorry for the mini-essay!
Posted By: lotal Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/24/16 09:44 AM
I believe that keeping a progress diary on YouTube - I much liked the jjs6067’s reviews - is very sound idea and lies somewhere in between learning with a teacher and without any. It is a kind of attempt to create a dialogue (even with yourself) and receiving feedback on yours efforts from others. This was just not possible in the past and is a technological breakthrough. I recon it is a must for any self-learner.

Originally Posted by Ulven

By the time I reach a high intermediate level, I might want to find a good teacher though to look at what I do, and iron out any deficiencies and open up new doors.

I may not agree that the proper time to look for a teacher is at a high intermediate level. If a teacher may be considered, it is the early beginning stages that he/she is most critical, while his importance lowers with time. I may not help but to direct again and again to the Bernhard’s posts on that: here and here.
Posted By: Ulven Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/24/16 11:05 AM
Originally Posted by lotal
I believe that keeping a progress diary on YouTube - I much liked the jjs6067’s reviews - is very sound idea and lies somewhere in between learning with a teacher and without any. It is a kind of attempt to create a dialogue (even with yourself) and receiving feedback on yours efforts from others. This was just not possible in the past and is a technological breakthrough. I recon it is a must for any self-learner.

Originally Posted by Ulven

By the time I reach a high intermediate level, I might want to find a good teacher though to look at what I do, and iron out any deficiencies and open up new doors.

I may not agree that the proper time to look for a teacher is at a high intermediate level. If a teacher may be considered, it is the early beginning stages that he/she is most critical, while his importance lowers with time. I may not help but to direct again and again to the Bernhard’s posts on that: here and here.


As a complete newbie here, thank you for the links. I will definitely study them. I have been considering finding a teacher for evaluation on the technique side of things: to make sure my movements are as efficient as possible and not doing something that might later cause injury. I had thought to first study many close up piano videos of accomplished pianists actually teaching, and analyse their hand movements, how tense they are at times, the angles of the wrist and so forth; but a teacher, if good enough, can do it directly for me and identify my problems when playing a piece. At least I still have the mentality of doing things with the least effort to get the maximum outcome to keep my stamina up in bass and guitar which will be somewhat transferable. I understand in piano playing that gravity has a strong part to play which aids in that.

The problem is, finding a good teacher, and one that either travels, or is close to me, is not guaranteed. A friend of mine in Norway who is self-taught as a pianist and had played for two years and did some fast stuff, went to four different teachers mainly to ask about technique and they were all clueless as to what he meant, even after explaining if he were doing anything wrong with his hands which could cause later injury they just didn't know. They could see he could play the pieces as they were meant to and that seemed good enough for them.

In any case, I will carefully study the content of these links and consider my position. At least I could try and find a skype teacher for technique and critique for a while, perhaps. Will need the right setup but it is doable. It may be interesting to see how far I can get in 3 or 4 months.
Posted By: lotal Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/24/16 11:31 AM
For one, I am much curious to follow development of self-learners, starting from the scratch. Especially how their thoughts evolve and if their attitudes change. So, please keep your public diaries going on and let me know how things go. Perhaps I should subscribe on such YouTube channels and blogs, but only those where opinions are expressed after all.
Posted By: Ulven Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/24/16 12:06 PM
Originally Posted by lotal
For one, I am much curious to follow development of self-learners, starting from the scratch. Especially how their thoughts evolve and if their attitudes change. So, please keep your public diaries going on and let me know how things go. Perhaps I should subscribe on such YouTube channels and blogs, but only those where opinions are expressed after all.


Well, I will try and do a performance video a week or two, a video of my approach to it all, any research I have done, exercises I have done and so on, as well as my feelings as to how things are going, the problems I face and how I will overcome them or how they might have been easier if I had a teacher etc.

When I make the channel and post the first video, I will let you know. To me it will be an interesting experiment, especially to take everything I have learned, and have learned from a formal teaching context about how to further teach myself and apply it to learning a new instrument from scratch, and one of the most deep, and nuanced instruments there is, not to mention difficult! At least I will be doing this as a musician already so I know how rhythm works, it is more the mechanics I need to worry about. Certainly for the earlier stuff.

Thanks again for the links though. I think I might reference aspects of them in videos which will be made, and see if I can compare experiences and so on. smile
Posted By: Ulven Re: Piano Learning Software - 01/24/16 02:55 PM
Oh yeah, getting back on topic of online piano learning software or set programmes of videos, I signed up to the piano course on Skills Success a month or so back when I knew I was getting the piano.

"Normally" it is $199 for the course, but I got unlimited access for the princely sum of $10 as part of some Black Friday nonsense through Groupon. Had a look through it just now. Seems reasonable(ish, and very ish) for 10 dollars, but I note there is another Groupon code for it, along with a bunch of other discount codes.

If you type in "skill success piano groupon" you can get it for £16, $19, or $25.

Here is the course itself:

https://www.skillsuccess.com/course/piano/

And here is the curriculum:

http://www.skillsuccess.com/course/piano/?action=curriculum

One has to question a course where they teach a portion of the theme to Dvorak's The New World Symphony, only to be followed two lessons later with how to play chopsticks. I think the guy got hungry at that point when he was throwing lists of his little 5 minute videos together. Even the scales and chords videos are around 5 minutes each.

The only decent parts are some of the very end pieces which are basically versions of pieces like Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1 and a couple of other decent tunes, along with some not so decent tunes played through Synthesia with the score on top of it.

It is the laziest course I have ever seen. The only way they can evidently sell it is by saying it is normally about 200 dollars and that people actually buy it, but you can get it for a super price of (insert-low-enough-sum-for-impulse-buy-here) for a limited time only.

You could find better collections of YouTube videos than this easily. If you ever come across a company called "Skills Success", please know that its only success is effectively being like one of those sites with supposedly amazing and heavily discounted programmes, ebooks, or videos, with garish coloured lettering surrounding it on a white background, but this wears the website equivalent of a cheap business suit. Avoid.
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