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O.K, little bit of clickbait there, but it's not far from the truth. X-mas holiday 2018 I sat before the C.Bechstein you can see in the video at my parents house and thought, there has to be an app to learn how to play the piano. And so I found Simply Piano and it kept me coming back to the piano for almost two years until I had finished all the courses they offer. (the last SP course at the time was The Entertainer you can see pretty much at the end)

It's only part of the truth though, because I only spent about 1/3 of my practice time with the app and the other 2/3 with a more traditional approach like scales. It helped me to stay motivated though, I can say with some certainty that I would have stopped practicing after some time without the app. The frist year is really dry as an adult beginner and the app does a fantastic job to keep you motivated.

Around the one year mark I started to get lessons from a teacher, in the video the first piece that was learned together with a teacher is "Melodie" from Schumanns "Album for the young". Now in hindsight I can see that my musicality started to get a lot better from that point. Overall I think my two year progress is pretty solid, my only regret is that my parents had their grand now for 25 years and I should have started playing a long time ago.

Here is the thing though, my final though on this that everyone seems to vastly understimate: When I was a kid there were no apps. Just really dry method books that didn't look interesting to me at all. My parents have a great teacher, but there was no playfulness about learning the piano at that time. To me as a child and later as a teenager it looked just boring and a waste of time. Don't understimate how much motivation those apps can provide. The best technique is going to get you nowhere if you stop playing because you aren't motivated.


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Congratulations on your journey! I think you're really good for having just started learning 2 years ago. Gotta admit, I quit a couple of times as well as a kid - I stuck through 4-5 years as a teenager and that gave me my foundation as I managed to get to ABRSM grade 7 but I was mostly bored to tears playing the songs my teacher assigned me.. and scales, arpeggios, etc. I wonder if there were apps like this in the 2000s would I have stuck with it? Who knows.

I always preferred playing pop music and would buy lots of books with the latest pop songs in them! It seems to me like it's so much easier to get into it now, with so many YouTubers putting together tutorials and free (or cheap) downloadable sheet music, etc. It used to be that I'd have to hunt down scores from the music store and it would be so hard to find what I wanted. Now I just login to some of the sheet music sites, click on download and start playing the piano with the score on my iPad.

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Originally Posted by FloRi89
Here is the thing though, my final though on this that everyone seems to vastly understimate: When I was a kid there were no apps. Just really dry method books that didn't look interesting to me at all. My parents have a great teacher, but there was no playfulness about learning the piano at that time. To me as a child and later as a teenager it looked just boring and a waste of time. Don't understimate how much motivation those apps can provide. The best technique is going to get you nowhere if you stop playing because you aren't motivated.
The trick is to keep motivated, by any means. But let's face it, if a kid isn't interested in making music (note: making music, not listening to music) nothing much will motivate him. It's getting harder these days, as, unlike a century ago (where for many people, the only way to get regular music in the home was to play it yourself, hence the popularity of 4-handed piano reductions and chamber versions of orchestral music), one only needs to go on YT to hear anything from Sinatra to Santana to Sibelius to Stockhausen. Some cultures of course expect strict obedience to elders and especially parents and teachers.....and eventually, when the kids have reached a certain standard, begin to enjoy the learning process and are motivated to keep going.

When I was a kid, I was indifferent to music (as were my parents) and there was never any music at home, unless it happened to be on TV. It was my teacher who set me on the road to becoming the (mediocre) pianist I now am - simply by playing (and introducing) classical music for me, showing me what I could eventually play if I stuck with it. Lovely tunes, luscious harmonies, snappy rhythms, dazzling finger & arm movements - all stuff that pricked up my ears (and eyes). Though the lessons themselves were fun (using a tried-and-tested method book full of cartoon creatures - the same book I'm now using with my own students, except that the cartoons are now in color), they were also meticulous: having shown me why rhythm is so important in music, she got me to count beats with everything I played for the first few months, which is why I never had any issues with rhythm ever since. (BTW, she never used a metronome.) Aural skills were shown to me to be part and parcel of learning to read music (- she sang the beats aloud, in pitch with the notes, and got me singing along too): another aspect of piano lessons that stood me in good stead later when I began improvising and playing pop music by ear.

Of course, I was fortunate to have such a great teacher to start me on the long road ahead, but I also had to be receptive to her teaching (despite my total lack of any musical aptitude).

Which is why, as a teacher now, I only take on kids who actually want to learn. And I don't use apps. I don't even use a metronome.


"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."
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Originally Posted by bennevis
But let's face it, if a kid isn't interested in making music (note: making music, not listening to music) nothing much will motivate him. It's getting harder these days, as, unlike a century ago

They would be motivated, if it wasn't for that god damn nintendo switch. To adults it's just videogames, to kids it's like cigarettes. grin

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I think you've made wonderful progress Florian, and it is obvious you are going to keep progressing very well. You have the engagement, the motivation, discipline and talent to get great enjoyment from this.

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
Originally Posted by bennevis
But let's face it, if a kid isn't interested in making music (note: making music, not listening to music) nothing much will motivate him. It's getting harder these days, as, unlike a century ago

They would be motivated, if it wasn't for that god damn nintendo switch. To adults it's just videogames, to kids it's like cigarettes. grin

Or you make an app that uses the same mechanics as a game but for learning how to play wink.

Originally Posted by KevinM
I think you've made wonderful progress Florian, and it is obvious you are going to keep progressing very well. You have the engagement, the motivation, discipline and talent to get great enjoyment from this.

Thanks Kevin, I appreciate that.

Originally Posted by sharra
Congratulations on your journey! I think you're really good for having just started learning 2 years ago. Gotta admit, I quit a couple of times as well as a kid - I stuck through 4-5 years as a teenager and that gave me my foundation as I managed to get to ABRSM grade 7 but I was mostly bored to tears playing the songs my teacher assigned me.. and scales, arpeggios, etc. I wonder if there were apps like this in the 2000s would I have stuck with it? Who knows.

Yea I kind of wonder the same thing, but at least you got those 4-5 years as a teenager. Laying some foundations there helps a lot I think, even if you come back later. Or do you feel that didn't help you much as an adult?

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Great progress Florian!

I think there is a large element of circumstance or luck involved too. I remember as a child when my family visited some friends. The adults talking at the dinner table bored me to death so I went to another room and found a keyboard. I remember how I played some random nice melodies for the whole 2 hours that we were there. I was completely captivated by this instrument. But somehow my parents didn't pick that up and nothing came out of it. I only rediscovered the piano again in adulthood and I still have this strange obsession where I can just sit there for hours and forget about anything around me. I always wonder what would have come out of it had I started lessons back when I was 12.

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Originally Posted by FloRi89
Originally Posted by EinLudov
They would be motivated, if it wasn't for that god damn nintendo switch. To adults it's just videogames, to kids it's like cigarettes. grin

Or you make an app that uses the same mechanics as a game but for learning how to play wink.
A game designed to teach music vs a game designed to addict you. I want to believe an addictive piano teaching game is possible, but even then it's unlikely to win in a battle of attention against a thoroughbred addiction game. laugh

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Nice progress and congrats for sticking to learning how to play the piano.

Of course I want to hit you over the head with a wet noodle for having such a nice piano when living with your parents and not taking attention of the opportunity given you wink (jk)

Sometimes we don't realize the opportunities given to us when we are young.

Peace laugh


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Originally Posted by FloRi89
Yea I kind of wonder the same thing, but at least you got those 4-5 years as a teenager. Laying some foundations there helps a lot I think, even if you come back later. Or do you feel that didn't help you much as an adult?


Oh that foundation made all the difference, I think! Because after I quit, I continued playing on my own - even when I moved to college, I went a couple of years without a piano and then ended up buying a Yamaha Clavinova (cheaper, lighter, easier to move, etc. for a college student) and just played for fun, mostly just songs that I liked. Some classical but mostly pop, jazz, rag, etc. Not having to start from scratch makes a huge difference - I haven't had any classes in a very, very long time.

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This is an interesting discussion. While I never used a piano app, I started by playing popular songs, and within a few months, improvising arrangements to them. I was able to figure out the melody and would check the chords online, combining both in a number of ways to make arrangements of my own. I would also try to improvise. In that way, I was playing something slightly different every time I sat down at a piano, and it was also quite a thrill. I would try to play Impromptu arrangements of songs for my friends, and there is nothing quite like nailing something on your first try -- and since they were my friends, they didn't care if I messed up, so there was no pressure.

I think that allowed me to progress tremendously fast. My idea has always been to learn something at a rapid pace and to find fun ways to go about it -- in combination, they provide incredible motivation. It was almost addicting, and I would often play 6-8 hours each day, just on my own.

Whenever someone approaches me on how to learn the piano, I suggest that they do something similar. Learning dozens of popular tunes, such as the Godfather theme, or the Game of thrones opening, or whatever is in vogue at the time, will automatically open up an interested audience. So whenever you finish one of those, you can just play away and people will join you, so you feel like you've actually acquired a useful skill.

I think that finding something which hooks you at the beginning is crucial -- you'll presumably learn things properly in the long run, but motivation is a fickle beast, and you want to be on its good side. High motivation and energy can translate into incredibly effective practice sessions.

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FloRi89 - Excellent progress. I'm very impressed. Good wrist action, nice dynamics, good even playing, good technique with wrists and curved fingers.

As an aside, you like a lot of the same tunes I do at those levels. Seems more like 3 years+ progress in 2 years. Do another vid after you complete your 3rd year. I'll probably be shocked at how much progress you make by then.

Pat on the back,

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Great progress! And most important, you seem to enjoy it. You are on the right track, keep it up smile


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My congrats.
You have found your way.
I wish I had found mine, but right now I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere.

The main ingredient is enjoying what you play.

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Great progress.

I found many of the same issues learning piano as a child. At age 5 tried a few lessons but didn't work. At age 11 a cousin who took lessons showed me a few pieces out of a beginner's book. The first piece has 2 lines with repeated chords for the LH. Looked difficult enough to put 2 hands together. After that there was no motivation continue. Computer programs that you work you way up from the basics didn't exist.

There was a lot of exposure to Classical music at home and always an LP playing Beethoven, Mozart & Haydn next to Elton John. Coming from a non-musical family, nobody had the inclination to learn an instrument. Everybody thought that you need to be really good to make something out of music.

Once I was at a gathering. At least half the people in the room took music lessons. There was a keyboard at the corner. When asked who would volunteer to play a tune nobody wanted to show-off his/her playing. At another party a few people sang in a church choir. I was playing an arrangement of "O Holy Night" on a keyboard and heard singing in the background. Some people have no interest in music and treat lessons as academic exercises. Their parents paid for the teacher and the piano. Once they stop taking lessons the piano becomes another piece of furniture.

The motivation to continue:
People are living longer. Many of us are taking up new hobbies later in life which would delay the onset of dementia. Another motivation is sound recording... spending time to experiment with different ways of playing in order to get the ideal sound. The next thing is to be able to play songs the way you want (not by the score exactly) and even your own arrangements.

Good luck...

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Really good!
It got me looking at on-line piano apps. Interesting comparison here of some apps, but oddly enough not including Simply Piano. It may be useful to somebody!


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Nice progress! :-)
You inspired me. I joined Piano Marvel yesterday, seems like a good alternative too.

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Originally Posted by Relaxing_Music
Nice progress! :-)
You inspired me. I joined Piano Marvel yesterday, seems like a good alternative too.

Yes it's great, I also tried it. I specifically liked the sigh reading challenges, those are great!

Thanks everyone for you kind words, that really means a lot to me.

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The recordings of the acoustic pianos really do sound excellent, I really enjoyed the C Bechstein. The acoustic yamaha also sounded good. I think the digital yamaha sounded best when playing Gymnopedia 1. The virtual piano used for Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen was a good choice, that was nicely done.

Jumping in on your thread Florian, I noticed you had a couple of goes at Mad World. I didn't say anything earlier because I was waiting for the ABF (Adult beginners forum) transcription recital to be out where I had submitted a recording of Mad World.

Mad World on Vimeo

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Originally Posted by KevinM
The recordings of the acoustic pianos really do sound excellent, I really enjoyed the C Bechstein. The acoustic yamaha also sounded good. I think the digital yamaha sounded best when playing Gymnopedia 1. The virtual piano used for Von Fremden Ländern und Menschen was a good choice, that was nicely done.

Jumping in on your thread Florian, I noticed you had a couple of goes at Mad World. I didn't say anything earlier because I was waiting for the ABF (Adult beginners forum) transcription recital to be out where I had submitted a recording of Mad World.

Mad World on Vimeo

Yes I'm working on a third version with a little bit different chorus :D, I love that piece. Nicely played, I like the sound of VSL a lot, but they are too resource heavy for my 2011 iMac that is connected to the computer. Maybe if I update the hardware at some time.


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