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Just a quick thank you to everyone who took the time to help me create the learning environment for my wife to take up at the age of 60 where she parked her learning at the age of 7. I hope I replied to everyone and appreciate the input. it was all read, listened to and used.

Also to update on progress to date. We have learned a lot in a short space of time.

Just to jot down what we have done so far in case it's useful for others starting out.

The advice to use a tutor was spot on. But of course required a bit of set up. The tutor is in Malta and we are in the UK. It works remarkably well. I copied a set up based on a piece of software called OBS and the now ubiquitous Zoom. Sounds complicated but was a simple step by step copy of what many tutors have shown on Youtube. Also both software choices were free and robust.

We use two Logitech Brio cameras ... one face to face and one overhead for the keyboard and hand positions. We started off using a boom stand for the overhead camera (which worked) but changing this right now for a ceiling rail system and a pantograph lighting holder. I think these things used to be quite expensive but in the new Covid/VC world, they have become Amazon commodity pricing. Surprisingly cheap and probably a lot cheaper again with a little ebay foraging which we would usually do. Think 90% of this set up came off ebay including the P515 piano.

Lighting proved to be quite a challenge, way more than I imagined. We have no windows or natural light in that room and the piano has to be placed in front of a fireplace. Looks nice but means the light throw is poor. Had to change bulbs above and get soft adjustable LED lighting in front of the cameras. It's OK but still quite blue and cold. A work in progress .... usable but not what it could be. Highly functional but in terms of experience more can be mined out. The tutor and student have no issue but I do :-)

I bought a budget USB Rode microphone which the tutor said made a significant difference over the Logitech ones.
Easy to set up and use. Again regular ebay fodder.

And we put in a budget pair of speakers with bluetooth and wired connections for the tutor playback connected to a small Intel Compute Stick. Essentially a PC the size of a small TV remote control that connects to a flat touch screen monitor via HDMI .... very fast, simple, small and modest priced (off ebay) and a budget Logitech Bluetooth keyboard with touch pad. Works very very well and small footprint.

Strangely although we followed the excellent advice provided here and bought a pair of Sennheiser headphones, these have not been needed so far.

The tutorial books suggested have proved excellent especially the Alfred one at present. The software based learning packages have not been used yet surprisingly. We have them (Flowkey on a Pixelbook) and they are midi connected and work nicely but she prefers the on-line tutorial sessions right now. Maybe they will add in over time. Flowkey has been used, she likes the structure, just prefers person to person learning.

And programmed and structured daily time allocated most definitely has been a key step mentioned by several folks and she is doing this. Indeed is loving the structure of it all.

So to summarise (in no particular order)

- The piano itself has proved to be the simplest & easiest part of the set up. Really very straight forward.
- The PC also very straight forward but positions, viewing locations & book stands etc has been a challenge.
- The software & multiple camera VC side has also been rather straight forward
- But lighting still proves an ongoing challenge as does neatness of cable management
- Tutorial books suggested have all met target & are used hard
- Software learning packages look great, easy to set up but have not quite found a place yet
- Remote learning is highly effective. Really very robust & comfortable

Should anyone need any product/part number/set-up details then of course no problem to provide those if they are helpful. Or indeed details of the tutor we are working with.

And again many thanks for the set-up steer from you all on pianoworld. It was absolutely key in getting a comfortable set up and creating a really user friendly environment that she is really enjoying and is really working nicely.

Last edited by Atacama40; 03/11/21 06:37 AM. Reason: added detail
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I have a teacher and at the moment we're connected through Zoom once a week. It's the closest I can get to 1-on-1 lessons.

I don't have too much experience with online programs. I can only tell you based on what I've seen. In the beginning (up to a year) if you rely on an online program, you learn to play the right notes and the program does a good job stopping you when it encounters a wrong note until you get it right. Counting with a steady beat is not something an online program is good at tracking. Other issues including seating position, hand posture & hand positions, etc. a teacher can tell you right away that an online program won't as long as you are hitting the right notes.

Recently (about 2 weeks ago) there was a Piano Marvel competition with many video submissions. There are many good amateurs who can play. Except for a few who started recently, the ones who play for at least a year are already very accomplished with good hand positions and the music flow very well. I don't know how many eventually got a teacher after using PM. The online videos don't usually include that information whether someone is only working with PM or he/she has a teacher along with using PM.

The last thing I want to comment is regarding headphones. There have been discussions on wireless headphones including Bluetooth. There seem to be a consensus that wireless headphones has a slight time lag. Some people might feel the delay is too great from the time you hit the keys to actually hearing the sound. I rarely use headphones even living in a building with neighbors around. For practicing if I need headphones, I'd use an extension cable which is cheap. I have a high quality Bose noise-cancellation headphones but rarely use it. I found that using earbuds with an extension cable to be cheap & unnoticeable. No wireless connection for sure.

After I practice a piece for a while and it is ready to be performed, no headphones. I like to hear how the sound would project naturally in the room with the volume changes.

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Originally Posted by Atacama40
Originally Posted by MarieJ
I'm just curious - after having had so much input regarding research and purchases, will you be joining your wife on her piano-learning journey, or will she be going it alone?

Interesting point. And indeed has been discussed ... at length :-)

I'm keen not to swamp her return the piano and said that. You may imagine that met with some scorn and I am thinking about maybe doing some parallel learning.

Have to confess it does appeal. I'm not great at disciplining time but it does appeal.

You’ve certainly put a lot of time and energy into creating a comprehensive learning environment! With that project completed to your satisfaction, you may be casting around for a new one - time now for that 'parallel learning' you mentioned? smile


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Originally Posted by Snowstorm
In my opinion, do it the right way.

Take lesson from a program like ABRSM or Trinity (I'm doing RCM).

I don't suppose you could explain what these things are, could you ?


Don

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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by Snowstorm
In my opinion, do it the right way.

Take lesson from a program like ABRSM or Trinity (I'm doing RCM).

I don't suppose you could explain what these things are, could you ?


What?

It would help if you would have quoted my whole post.

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Originally Posted by Snowstorm
In my opinion, do it the right way.

Take lesson from a program like ABRSM or Trinity (I'm doing RCM).

You always know what you will work on and always play songs at your level.

You don't have to do the exams.

When I started less than a year ago, I went the self taught route and I was all over the place.

Then I got private lessons from a teacher without a program and he was all over the place.

Finally, went for a teacher that teaches a program and I am making so much better progress and I always know what I will be working on that level because it is all in the books of that level.

I know many people had success without going this route. Good for them!!

I will get criticize for this, no matter what I'm sticking to my guns on this.

I don't suppose you could explain what these things are could you ?

Is that better ?


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Actually, I don’t feel like explaining.

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ABRSM, RCM, Trinity, AMEB, erm.. Rockschool are graded syllabi from different examination boards. Admittedly a 10 second google search could have told you as much.

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Originally Posted by Snowstorm
Actually, I don’t feel like explaining.

laugh


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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by Snowstorm
Actually, I don’t feel like explaining.

laugh

Since I know you are familiar with exam board syllabi, I don’t think that was your question. Could you rephrase your question? 🙄


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Quote
. . . Had to change bulbs above and get soft adjustable LED lighting in front of the cameras. It's OK but still quite blue and cold. A work in progress .... usable but not what it could be. . .

I suspect that OBS has "color-balance" controls that would fix the "blue and cold" color balance of the LED's.


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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Quote
. . . Had to change bulbs above and get soft adjustable LED lighting in front of the cameras. It's OK but still quite blue and cold. A work in progress .... usable but not what it could be. . .

I suspect that OBS has "color-balance" controls that would fix the "blue and cold" color balance of the LED's.

That's interesting Charles. I have to confess I'd not explored that possibility.

Today I'm installing the Pantograph rail and mount for the overhead camera that I mentioned. It was started but not completed. It's proving more problematic than I thought. Not because of the unit itself but ironically because of the original room lighting which has become in the way .... a re-wire of that today before finalising the new installation.

It also reminds me that I was going to automate OBS such that it automatically starts up .... trying to make the process as non-tech and distracting as possible. I found a routine to do that.

I will investigate that interesting option and come back on that Charles .... it's an interesting idea I'd not thought of.

The room is still terrible lighting wise (in experience terms) and as such when we refresh that room (previously a dumping ground and office/ebay prep area) ..... me thinks that will be sooner rather than later and will warrant another post in it's own right.

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Originally Posted by MarieJ
Originally Posted by Atacama40
Originally Posted by MarieJ
I'm just curious - after having had so much input regarding research and purchases, will you be joining your wife on her piano-learning journey, or will she be going it alone?

Interesting point. And indeed has been discussed ... at length :-)

I'm keen not to swamp her return the piano and said that. You may imagine that met with some scorn and I am thinking about maybe doing some parallel learning.

Have to confess it does appeal. I'm not great at disciplining time but it does appeal.

You’ve certainly put a lot of time and energy into creating a comprehensive learning environment! With that project completed to your satisfaction, you may be casting around for a new one - time now for that 'parallel learning' you mentioned? smile

You giving me no place to hide Marie :-) .... and indeed the wife keeps making the same gentle arm twist.

Well there is still a short list of things to do to get 'project piano' fully ticked .... and those continue within the hour. And I think that is going to expand into 'project office and piano lighting' shortly.

But I have to confess to still having feeling a slight pull towards the piano seat.

I need to make the transition from 'tour manager' to 'performer' :-)

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