Piano World Home Page
Posted By: Kingkoala42 What to start with? - 09/16/20 02:42 AM
Hello Everybody,

I decided this year that I want to start learning piano. I'm not sure where to start so I have a few questions.

1. What should I start on for a piano? I do not have a lot to spend but I don't need much. I also do not have a lot of space so if I can get away with less than 88 keys it would be preferable. If not, I can still work with it.
2. Are there any books I should start with? I can't get a teacher so I think books will be my best option. If there is a better way to learn I am open to suggestions. I have some basic experience from band in middle school (not with piano specifically, just music in general). A lot of the music I want to play eventually is on synthesizer but I would like to learn piano first.
3. Is there anything else I need to start?

Also this is my first post here so if I'm in the wrong spot let me know.

Thank you everyone!
Posted By: EPW Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 02:50 AM
Well it does help if you give us a range in $$ you looking to spent. Please do not say a cheap as possible.

Most keyboards under 88keys are not weighted as should be for playing the piano. They are usually semi-weighted/synth action. Great for playing strings, organ parts but not for playing mainly piano parts. I have several smaller keyboards that I play pads sounds etc for worship service. If you're looking to really learn to play the piano my advice is get a 88 slab piano to start with.

Good luck in your search and welcome aboard smile
Posted By: scirocco Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 03:20 AM
If a teacher is not an option, one of the better online training apps will give you a foundation in the basics of reading, playing and just "learning how to learn" (break down into chunks, separate hands, slow tempo, progressively harder material etc.). I used Playground Sessions for a year before upgrading to an acoustic piano with a teacher. Looking back, I don't see any real downside in what it taught me. All the foundations were good.

Do be aware though that all that these sort of apps do is teach you to "play the right notes at the right time". There is a LOT more to playing piano than this but it is certainly a massive part of the whole deal, specially for a beginner.

They have an active Facebook support group who are responsive and a big user community as well.
Posted By: thepianoplayer416 Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 05:30 AM
A small keyboard that still has enough keys for learning is the Yamaha P-121. It's the smaller 73-key version of the P-125. I have an older model from the P-series and the sound is very good for home use. The keys is weighed like a traditional piano that I can learn a piece on it and play the same song on an acoustic piano no problem because the action is similar. These 2 are affordable keyboards with few sound effects but do a good job. I play in church with a music group regularly and love both the piano and the organ sound.

During the recent lockdown, I found that not every piano store in town allow people to try different keyboards. Some allow you to touch the ones on display as long as you put on hand sanitizer. Other stores you just order off their website and pickup at the store. I'm not going to spend $1,000 on a keyboard without trying it out first. With the P-121 & 125 at least I have experience with a similar model so I can just order and pickup at the store without trying.



I got myself the Alfred's Adult Piano Course Book 1 & 2. It's been a while since I used them but they are great for beginners. You can find video demos of all the songs in the Alfred learning series online.
[Linked Image]

A while ago I also got a free Reader's Digest song book with 100 old songs with easy left-hand accompaniment & chords which I still use from time to time. Having access to repertoire has never been a problem since I download all sorts of pieces online on top of the books I acquired for my weekly lessons with a teacher in group sessions.

Good luck...
Posted By: FloRi89 Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 06:38 AM
Originally Posted by Kingkoala42
Hello Everybody,

I decided this year that I want to start learning piano. I'm not sure where to start so I have a few questions.

1. What should I start on for a piano? I do not have a lot to spend but I don't need much. I also do not have a lot of space so if I can get away with less than 88 keys it would be preferable. If not, I can still work with it.
2. Are there any books I should start with? I can't get a teacher so I think books will be my best option. If there is a better way to learn I am open to suggestions. I have some basic experience from band in middle school (not with piano specifically, just music in general). A lot of the music I want to play eventually is on synthesizer but I would like to learn piano first.
3. Is there anything else I need to start?

Also this is my first post here so if I'm in the wrong spot let me know.

Thank you everyone!

1. Don't settle for less then 88 keys, you will regret it. The cheapest option are pianos like the p-45 that cost around 400€. Or you buy a master and a VST, if you have an iPhone you can get an M-Audio Keystation, the Ravenscroft 275 and adapter for around 200€. The Keystation only has semi-weighted keys though, but considering the price it's probably the best bang for your buck option.

2. That's going to rub a few people the wrong way: It's 2020, your best option for self learning are apps and online courses, not books. We don't live in the early 20ies anymore, books are a nice addition and I like to play from them, but there is ZERO interaction with a book. Apps can't help with musicality, but at least they can check if you play the right notes in the right tempo. Here are a few popular options:

Apps:
- Piano Marvel: More classical approach, great if you want to go the more traditional route
- Simply Piano / Yousician: Gamified approach, great if you want a more modern approach and are interested more in pop music then classical
- Flowkey: Has it's own approach, also very modern. Very good music library with all the classic originals you would learn otherwise.

Online Courses:
- Pianote.com: Very modern approach, highly regarded by students. Focus more on Pop, Chords and improvisation. More expensive then the other options though
- PlaygroundSessions.com: Don't know much about that unless that it's popular

And there are many, many more, I just listed the most common options. The only real advantage ab book has, is that it's really cheap.

3. 88 keys and a place to start learning is really all you need to get going. Motivation and time probably are factors not everyone thinks about. You will have to keep this up for years with daily practice for at least 30min if you want to get anywhere.
Posted By: Qazsedcft Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 06:48 AM
Originally Posted by FloRi89
We don't live in the early 20ies anymore, [...]

Actually, we do. grin

But in all seriousness, I kind of agree with you. If you don't have a teacher then an app can at least point out errors which you might not notice otherwise.
Posted By: FloRi89 Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 06:52 AM
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by FloRi89
We don't live in the early 20ies anymore, [...]

Actually, we do. grin

But in all seriousness, I kind of agree with you. If you don't have a teacher then an app can at least point out errors which you might not notice otherwise.

You are right, we absolutely do live in the early 20ies :D, seems I have to get used to that.
Posted By: earlofmar Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 09:27 AM
Originally Posted by FloRi89
1. Don't settle for less then 88 keys, you will regret it. .

Totally agree as you may outgrow anything less in a year. I started off with a Yamaha P-105 (I think the P-45 is the current model) and it was good for at least four years. Weighted keys are a must and Kawai also offer an entry level piano of equal quality (prices differ from country to country)

Like many before me I started off with the Alfred All In One series (all in one because it includes theory and other useful information). I am not going to rave about it but it was a good start.
Posted By: dmd Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 12:03 PM
This is on sale now and is a great place for a beginner to start ....


https://www.udemy.com/course/pianoforall-incredible-new-way-to-learn-piano-keyboard/

It is all you will need for months.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 02:38 PM
I agree that you really need to give us a budget in order for folks here to recommend a digital piano in your price range, although I do agree to get the best 88-key, weighted, digital piano you can afford. Otherwise, you’ll grow out of it quickly.

As for books, the two most popular ones in this forum are Alfred’s All-in-one and Faber’s Adult All-in-one. Both publications have their own thread here where you can go and ask questions. I personally did Faber’s Adult All-in-one Book 1 and I thought it was very good, so I will recommend that one, especially if your long-term goal is classical music.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0882...binding_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=

https://www.amazon.com/Adult-Piano-...67543&sprefix=faber+adukt&sr=8-1

Personally, I do not prefer subscription-based apps. Although they are more modern, my learning style still prefers reading a book, with explanations that I can flip back to often for a refresher. With videos and apps, you can rewind or do over and over again, which is good or annoying, depending on your point of view. I had subscribed to Piano Marvel for a year and it was “fun” for a while but I grew beyond it quickly. And if you’re like me, who isn’t on the subscription service daily to make good use of it, subscriptions can get costly quite quickly. Books are inexpensive and you never have to pay for it on a monthly basis. I’m not cheap (in case you might think so lol), as I take piano lessons with a teacher now, but I just found monthly subscriptions not right for my learning style. To each his own.

I do agree with dmd’s recommendation for the Piano For All course from the Udemy platform. When that platform is on sale, the courses there are ridiculously affordable, at less than USD$15 per course, which is there for you forever, no need to pay for it monthly, and is good quality. I don’t know why it’s not recommended more. Although don’t buy it at regular price. That course costs $200 when I click on it now, which is their regular price. I got it for free because my workplace gives me free access to some Udemy courses and it’s pretty good IMHO. I did follow some of their courses for other instruments and they were good too.

At the end of the day, there are many, many options at many different price-points, that will suit many different styles of learners. You might want to browse around and see which you prefer, then ask more specific questions about them.
Posted By: dmd Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 02:59 PM
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I do agree with dmd’s recommendation for the Piano For All course from the Udemy platform. When that platform is on sale, the courses there are ridiculously affordable, at less than USD$15 per course, which is there for you forever, no need to pay for it monthly, and is good quality. I don’t know why it’s not recommended more. Although don’t buy it at regular price. That course costs $200 when I click on it now ...

When you click on the link I provided it should show the sale price of $17.99

That is what I see when I click on it.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 03:07 PM
Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I do agree with dmd’s recommendation for the Piano For All course from the Udemy platform. When that platform is on sale, the courses there are ridiculously affordable, at less than USD$15 per course, which is there for you forever, no need to pay for it monthly, and is good quality. I don’t know why it’s not recommended more. Although don’t buy it at regular price. That course costs $200 when I click on it now ...

When you click on the link I provided it should show the sale price of $17.99

That is what I see when I click on it.

When I click on it, it shows me CAD$199.99. I know that site is weird like that, depending on who clicks it, and when, it’ll show you a different price. But I’m a member so their sales for members vs non-members is different. I think when OP clicks it, it should show the sale price. $17.99 for that many hours of piano education is a steal.
Posted By: dmd Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 03:12 PM
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
$17.99 for that many hours of piano education is a steal.

It definitely is.

The material in there very well presented and illustrated.
Posted By: mizmar Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 03:52 PM
Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
$17.99 for that many hours of piano education is a steal.

It definitely is.

The material in there very well presented and illustrated.
Also available as download for about $50. As pdf with embedded video and audio (not all pdf readers support that). I thought it was great - I wanted the chords and rhythm first approach.

For KB. The op says they're interested in synth, eventually. Is a weighted, 88 key KB a good ideas / necessary as such? I appreciate "playing piano" is a specific thing; but I reckon you can do most of PFA on any keyboard 66 keys or above.
Posted By: No Expectations Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 07:02 PM
My 2-cents-worth as a beginner:

Instruction books are bigger, less eye fatiguing than apps, & you can easily flip back to review terminology or polish up skills. You can make pencil marks & write notes. You'll be working with an instruction book for at least 6 months - how much would an app subscription cost over 6 months?

I like Pianoforall a lot (got it for $28), but it is all chords & rhythms for the first 2 chapters (as far as I've got so far.) It's all stuff I want to know, no complaints in that regard, but I found practicing chords & rhythms for a long time to be hand fatiguing. As a supplement to Alfred's All In One adult course, though, it's fun. Alfred's is a more traditional approach where you learn to read music, learn about fingering & terms & symbols. But the songs can be a bit nursery schoolish while you're learning the elementary things, so it's nice to have Pianoforall to switch to for variety. Glad I'm doing both.

I started out with a 61 key unweighted keyboard, but switched to full 88 weighted keys digital piano after 4 months to learn better dynamics. Huge difference between the two, & it's taken me two weeks to adjust to the "real" keybed.
Posted By: dmd Re: What to start with? - 09/16/20 07:18 PM
Originally Posted by No Expectations
My 2-cents-worth as a beginner:

Instruction books are bigger, less eye fatiguing than apps, & you can easily flip back to review terminology or polish up skills. You can make pencil marks & write notes. You'll be working with an instruction book for at least 6 months - how much would an app subscription cost over 6 months?

I like Pianoforall a lot (got it for $28), but it is all chords & rhythms for the first 2 chapters (as far as I've got so far.) It's all stuff I want to know, no complaints in that regard, but I found practicing chords & rhythms for a long time to be hand fatiguing. As a supplement to Alfred's All In One adult course, though, it's fun. Alfred's is a more traditional approach where you learn to read music, learn about fingering & terms & symbols. But the songs can be a bit nursery schoolish while you're learning the elementary things, so it's nice to have Pianoforall to switch to for variety. Glad I'm doing both.

I started out with a 61 key unweighted keyboard, but switched to full 88 weighted keys digital piano after 4 months to learn better dynamics. Huge difference between the two, & it's taken me two weeks to adjust to the "real" keybed.

I think a book (Alfred's or some other) and the Piano For All course on Udemy would make a great combination. Do a little of this, a little of that ...

That can help you retain your sanity. LOL ...

Sometimes the SAME OL ... SAME OL ... can get mentally fatiguing.

And the good news ... it would be very cost effective while providing a very good beginning to your journey.
Posted By: Kingkoala42 Re: What to start with? - 09/17/20 11:16 PM
Thanks everybody!

I already bought the Udemy course to make sure I got it before the sale was over. I'm also going to get an Alfred's adult all in one. All I need now is a piano. They Yamaha p-45 seems to fit for me, however, it's towards the top of my price range. Is there anything that I would be able to get for less that will still last me a good while?
Posted By: dogperson Re: What to start with? - 09/17/20 11:23 PM
Hi King
You might want to post your question about digital pianos on the digital forum. Give your price range and wish list. Stick to an 88 key weighted piano.

There’s even a ‘ prices paid’ ongoing thread there

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1201029/digital-piano-prices-paid.html#Post1201029
Posted By: scirocco Re: What to start with? - 09/17/20 11:29 PM
The P-45 is the lowest cost / features in the Yamaha range. Anything lower than that is a keyboard, not a DP. Competing brands will be similarly priced. You may be able to save a bit by buying second-hand.

How much getting a DP vs a keyboard matters depends whether you want to learn just to play the right notes at the right time on a keyboard, or to develop skills that would be transferable to an acoustic piano.

It’s hard enough to do that transfer from a low cost DP -I think it would be a real struggle from a spring-weighted keyboard.
Posted By: WeakLeftHand Re: What to start with? - 09/17/20 11:30 PM
Originally Posted by Kingkoala42
Thanks everybody!

I already bought the Udemy course to make sure I got it before the sale was over. I'm also going to get an Alfred's adult all in one. All I need now is a piano. They Yamaha p-45 seems to fit for me, however, it's towards the top of my price range. Is there anything that I would be able to get for less that will still last me a good while?

Looks like you’re all set!

Personally, I wouldn’t go anything less than the P-45.
Posted By: VictorVP Re: What to start with? - 09/17/20 11:40 PM
Hello, I'm trying to decide between a Kawai kdp110, and a yamaha CLP-635, in my country, both of them are like the only 2 available from good brands, and at this time I can't go visit the store and try them myself, which is why I'm looking for opinions between these two. I know that it is not a "reasonable" comparison considering the price, but as I said those are the only 2 available. So pretty much Im looking for opinions specifically in the action and piano sound. I know the kdp110 has the RCHII action, and the yamaha the GH3X. So between those 2 actions which one is better for you??, despite their own place in each brand range. And also, the second area is the piano sound, which has the richer and greater piano sound? I know the yamaha has 2 piano sounds, but still in youtube videos I found the sound coming from the kdp110 a little bit crispier and clearer. So what is your opinion? Thanks so much for the help. Greetings from Perú!
Posted By: No Expectations Re: What to start with? - 09/18/20 12:30 AM
Great, kingkoala, hope you enjoy your piano journey! P45 sounds like a fine choice, imo.
Posted By: Kingkoala42 Re: What to start with? - 09/18/20 12:35 AM
Hi Victor,

I am new here so I can't really help you decide. You might get better or more responses if you start a new thread in the digital pianos forum.
Posted By: Kingkoala42 Re: What to start with? - 09/18/20 03:28 AM
Thanks again everybody for the feedback! Sounds like I'll pick up a P45 and I'll be set.
Posted By: earlofmar Re: What to start with? - 09/18/20 04:23 AM
Originally Posted by Kingkoala42
Thanks again everybody for the feedback! Sounds like I'll pick up a P45 and I'll be set.

I got my P-105 in a pre-Christmas sale. Its a little early for such sales but you can ask at your local store.
Posted By: mizmar Re: What to start with? - 09/18/20 06:33 AM
Why not look for second hand, if you don't live somewhere too isolated?

Sure, this year's models are huge advances, never better technology; but they where 5 years ago as well.
Posted By: Animisha Re: What to start with? - 09/18/20 08:30 AM
This one would be cheaper: https://www.amazon.co.uk/SDP-2-Stage-Piano-by-Gear4music/dp/B019HEAED2
Posted By: scirocco Re: What to start with? - 09/18/20 09:34 AM
Originally Posted by Kingkoala42
Thanks again everybody for the feedback! Sounds like I'll pick up a P45 and I'll be set.

You really can't go wrong with a P-45.

If you quit piano, you'll be able to sell it for a large chunk of what you paid for it to any parent that has a kid starting piano, doesn't want to fork out for an acoustic, and knows the name Yamaha as good. Probably the teacher they've been taking to has a Yamaha acoustic upright.

If you carry on with piano it will be good enough for you for the first couple of years.

And even if you find you absolutely love piano and want to get an acoustic or high end digital as soon as possible you can either sell it or keep it for things like sight reading apps.
Posted By: frankelda Re: What to start with? - 09/18/20 10:43 AM
That's great that you want to play the piano, good choice! wink

You have made a wise choice picking up a digital piano with hammer action.
Without that, you won't be able to learn how to press the keys correctly.
If you are tight on your budget, check out used digital piano (not too old).


About the lessons, I don't think books are the way to go nowadays.
As mentioned already, there are very good online apps (I have listed what I think are the 11 best apps on my website if you want to check out in my signature).
The good thing is that you can try for free a few of them and see if you like it.
Of course it will depend on which music genre you want to play.
I have made a table to try to help you to choose.

There are also alternative ways, such as taking private lessons with a teacher online.


You can find good videos on YouTube as well (I can recommend you a few and I am making a few myself to help beginners like you to get started).


The main advice I would give is to practice regularly, even if it is not for long.
Make it an habit, a part of your daily routine like brushing your teeth (well hopefully! :D)

If you do that, you will make progress quickly.

Don't hesitate if you have any questions.
Posted By: treefrog Re: What to start with? - 09/18/20 03:22 PM
Originally Posted by Kingkoala42
Thanks everybody!

I already bought the Udemy course to make sure I got it before the sale was over. I'm also going to get an Alfred's adult all in one. All I need now is a piano. They Yamaha p-45 seems to fit for me, however, it's towards the top of my price range. Is there anything that I would be able to get for less that will still last me a good while?

There’s a saying that I like and often follow.

Buy the best and you'll only cry once.

I think that in your budget range, this is the best.
Posted By: Paul Radziwill Re: What to start with? - 09/22/20 10:38 PM
Hi there, you might be interested in my interactive course for absolute beginners and self-taught learners.. The course will teach you how to read and write music to the level expected by Grade 1 of the ABRSM and Trinity syllabus. The course is designed as an alternative to private tuition.

https://www.ottantottopianoschool.co.uk/interactivecourses
© Piano World Piano & Digital Piano Forums