View Full Version : Playing the piano...

05-31-2008, 02:49 PM
Is this something I can learn on my own?

I don't have money for lessons; I don't have a piano(although I have access to one).
My Mother played the piano--took a few lessons when she was in her 20's, then played for her own pleasure until she was well into her 80's. Unfortunately, I did not take the opportunity to learn from her when I could. Since her death, one of my favorite memories is of her playing her piano...I miss her tremendously and feel that it would provide a special connection to her if I could learn to play the musical instrument that she loved.

05-31-2008, 07:24 PM
You probably can learn to some extent on your own. However, to become truly proficient I would recommend that you get a teacher when you can afford to. A teacher will give you more discipline and help you with execises for your fingers and be a more objective listener than you or your family. At the very least practice, practice, practice. I taught myself to play from beginner books, but never got good enough to dare play for an audience. Never had the time to practice for the hours required to be really good. Guess I got sidetracked somewhere along the way. I had some natural ability for music when I was around 9 or 10. Taught myself to play a toy trumpet and my sister's song flute that she was taught to play in sixth grade. My real desire was the piano, but we didn't have space for a piano in our mobil home, nor the money for one. Finally got a piano as an adult, but had little time to practice between working full time, and household chores and two children.

Good luck.

06-01-2008, 02:13 AM
There is a fellow on YouTube, Lypur, that offers lessons here is link to his website How to Play Piano (http://www.howtoplaypiano.ca). Hope it helps :)

06-01-2008, 04:01 AM
The best way to learn is to get lessons from a professional, however if you put in the time and effort you can learn some proficiency on your own - particularly if you only want to play for your own pleasure and maybe you have a few simple songs you want to be able to play.
I've never taken piano lessons, but I can play some simple things for the following reasons:
1. I understand the basics of music theory, and a little bit beyond the basics - I play flute and sing and my directors have always beeen big on theory.
2. My grandparents have keyboard instruments (grandma and grampa have an organ, grandma has a piano) and my parents and uncles' old lesson materials (like a sheet that fits across the keys to show which key is which note)
My dad bought me an electric keyboard for Christmas several years ago so that I could mess around. Its not as nice as a real piano but its less expensive and takes up less space.
3. I have a decent ear so if I hit a wrong note I can fix it.
One thing that I have done wrong is that instead of learning to play right, I just memorize the songs I enjoy.
As a side bar, my kids will be forced to take at least a few piano lessons because I very much regret that I was never given the opportunity - my dad likes to play but remembered hating it as a kid, and my mom doesn't even like to play (I know she was proficient at one time only because there are signatures from her instructor stating that she had passed each level of lessons), so they chose not to make me take lessons.

06-01-2008, 04:08 AM
Thanks bjc, for the encouragement...

and Thanks to Dangles for the link. I visited the website and listened to the first 2 lessons and it actually makes sense so far, I am "getting" the theory part...I just hope I can get my hands to cooperate with the brain.

06-01-2008, 04:29 AM
jess_hawk: My goal in this whole endeavor is to be able to play Pachelbel's Canon like this guy:


As I watch the movements of his left and right hands, I realize that I will have to develop some serious compartmentalization between the left and right hemispheres of the brain to get my hands to move like his, seemingly so independent of each other and yet in concert with each other to produce the beautiful music....this, I think, will be the hardest part.

06-01-2008, 08:44 AM
You can so totally teach yourself to play the piano !! I taught myself how to play the piano and violin and then as I got better took lessons. I took all the music theory electives etc in school have semi perfect pitch and I don't really think that comes in to play until much later in the game. I guess pitch helps with the violin and other string instruments where notes are variable. My suggestion would be get a good Children's beginnner piano book - it will have simple lessons to learn the notes and how to use your fingers on the keyboard. Then as you progress there are some adult beginner books. One of the first "pieces" you learn in lessons is Fur Elise. If you want to play Cannon in D you will want to practice memorizing pieces and playing them. This is where having another ear in the room comes in handy - to make sure you hit all the notes. Personally I cannot play "busy" pieces like that with music in front of me b/c I inevitably look at the wrong measure and mess myself up.
Oh and you have to count....as annoying as it is as you progress you may want to purchase a metronome to keep you on beat.
Best of Luck - can't wait to see you on UTube !!

06-01-2008, 11:25 AM
:roflhard:...hey, if I'm as good as the guy in the UTube video one year from now, sure!...I'll put myself up there!
But for now, it's Lypur and Piano for Dummies for me!

06-02-2008, 01:40 AM
Have you folks seen this, Pachelbel Rant (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM). This Kanon in D and Für Elise are a classical pianists nightmare, at least to a music teacher

Once you get the jist of things with Lypur, and you would like to get further in Piano, take lessons. Nothing beats a teacher :)

06-02-2008, 09:50 AM
OMG Danlges that RANT is awesome !!! When I was in orchestra we used break into quartets to play at weddings, baptisms etc and after a couple of years of playing Cannon in D for every wedding to come through Schenectady I grew to hate the song and didn't want to hear it or play it anymore and then....a good college friend asked me to play it for her wedding !! As an adult there are less opportunities for me to play so I am growing to like both Cannon in D and Fur Elise again (yeah, the piano teacher ruined that one for me)

06-02-2008, 10:23 AM
Dangles that is hilarious! My mom took piano as a kid( I on the other hand wasn't allowed to she hated it so much) and absolutely hates quite a few songs Canon being one of them. I'm forwarding this on to her!

06-03-2008, 01:04 AM
This Kanon in D and Für Elise are a classical pianists nightmare, at least to a music teacher What does this mean:??...difficult to learn?

06-03-2008, 10:00 AM

As I watch the movements of his left and right hands, I realize that I will have to develop some serious compartmentalization between the left and right hemispheres of the brain to get my hands to move like his, seemingly so independent of each other and yet in concert with each other to produce the beautiful music....this, I think, will be the hardest part.

Getting your left and right hands to think indepentantly of each other - lol, well the more you think about it, the more your brain will go "Eh.... what????"

The best thing to do is:

1) practise rubbing your tummy in circles with one hand and patting your head with the other hand at the same time.

And when you family are just about ready for calling the men in white coats... ;) practise doing different things on the piano.

If you get a good tutor book (like this (http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/061538/details.html) one) it will introduce you to doing both hands quite quickly - but steadily.

That website is based in the UK, but I am sure I read somewhere that book was available in the States. It's a good book, and I've used it for people who I teach.

Jacy - As for the theory part - this can be more complicated to get the hang of - but here is a website (http://www.musictheory.net/) that will help you with things like recognising the notes on the stave and other things.

The lessons bits - self explanatory, are quite easy to follow.
The Trainers bits - these are little tests that help you to recognise either note names or other things.

The utilities bit - well these are just clever bits for a little bit later on!

But have a play - with instruments, the only way to do it is to actually have a go!!

But good on you for trying. :yay: Set yourself targets - there's oodles of free sheet music out there on t'internet to have a play with, all different difficulties.

Find a piece of music you really want to play, whether for good time memories, or that you've just always wanted to play - get a fairly easy version if you can find one - and set that as your first target piece to add to your repertoire!!

Hope some of this helps - but go for it!!


06-03-2008, 01:01 PM
Thanks Eladine, for your encouragement!

I put 2 ALFRED Adult Basic Piano Course books on request at the library, I should have them by the end of the week.

I am also thinking about acquiring a piano keyboard, Amazon lists a few YAMAHA keyboards, any suggestions/comments?

06-03-2008, 02:05 PM
First of all, as well as checking out amazon, check out your local paper - there are always piano's out there (digital as well as traditional ones) that people have bought and erm, well... lost interest with.

Points for buying a piano: (I know I said piano, not keyboard!!)

If you haven't got the room / money for a piano, digital or otherwise then you are looking for a keyboard portable type one. If you should strike lucky and find a "piano piano", get it checked out by a piano tuner. Most tuners will go and appraise it for you if it's in their area - well, they do over here!! Lets face it, if getting a piano-piano, it's going to need tuning every 6-12 months and they like repeat business!
Whatever you get, make sure it has full size keys.
Make sure it has a full piano range of notes (about 88 the last time i counted mine!)
If possible get "weighted" keys - it will feel more like a piano! And, your fingers will get nicely strong! Having had a quick look at the keyboards on amazon - there's a whole range of them. Try and get no less than an 88 key one, semi weighted.... ok but try and get a fully weighted one. The reason for this, is that if you do ever go an play on a more traditional piano, your fingers will be used to the weight and action needed to get the sound you do at home.
Try try try and get a touch responsive keyboard - this means the harder you press the note, the louder the sound you get!
It really does depend on what your budget is, what room you have available etc etc.

Hope this helps! If I can be of any further help, pm me. :p

I bought my piano from a "House Clearance" business/shop. I paid I think about £300 for it back in 1997/98. It's walnut, in an art deco style and it's still going strong. (Fingers crossed!). It can be surprising what you find once you start looking. :)

'Tis extraciting though!!! :):):):):):):):)