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Piano Playing TB'ers: Help a Newbie!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by mz91, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland
    I was searching around for a Keyboard for some time now for recording purposes etc. And my Uncle has a really nice Yamaha Piano that he isnt using. Ive asked about borrowing it to use it for a number of reasons. And looks like i can have it for the time being :hyper: .

    First off, i think i read somewhere here that it would be easier to learn theory with a piano handy. Basically because you could see the relationships of the notes easier. Plus it would probably be easier to hear the difference in chord tones (ie major minor etc.)

    Secondly i could use the piano as a songwriting tool. I keep trying to pick up the guitar but its just to damn small! Cant start anything with them small strings! :D . I want to use the piano lay down simple melodies on which i can later play bass.

    For those of you with Piano experience.. What do you recommend for someone starting out? I guess i need to start learning how to voice chords on the piano and that learning to read the treble clef is probably a must.

    I am not sure how hard piano is.. For those of you that are also Bassists first and foremost did piano playing aid your bass playing? I am hoping to be able to transfer the theory learnt on bass to piano and vice versa..

    Im sorry if this post seems a little unclear. Its just that i am really keen on jumping into this piano playing thing. But am lacking in guidance as to where to "start".

    I am not sure how "hard" piano is as an instrument... I am hopeing its easy to start on and to get a grip on theory.

    Anyways, hopefully this was somewhat clear.. Any help would be appreciated! :help:


  2. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    I'm also starting out on piano and theory, so I'm subscribing to this thread.
  3. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Like many instruments, keyboard is easy to get started on, but hard to get good on. Most lessons are aimed at teaching you to read grand staff and reproduce old written pieces. If you can find a good book on the theory approach, say, learning the very same things you were just mentioning, you will gain much from it.

    But, first a note of caution.

    I had a friend( my former drummers fiancee) that could play anything you put in front of her on piano. She had performed at the opening of museums before she was twelve years old.

    But by the time I met her, she had no love for her instrument. She was burnt out on an instrument that she was seriously skilled at. This just breaks my heart to think it. And all because she had never been shown how to improvise. She had actively been prevented from learning to play by ear. It still makes me sad to think of it. She was amazed by my 'ear abilities' and mine were only so-so at the time.

    As with any new instrument, you will progress faster with lessons, but make sure you don't get stuck with a traditionalist, 'Do-only-what-is-already-on-paper' teacher. One like that could actually leave you less advanced than you already are.

    If anyone has recommendations for good books in this vein please tell us. I can always take more theory instruction too.
  4. Bard that sounds like my wife. A small part of why I fell for her (among her many other features) was because she played-- indeed she was a performance major in college. She hasn't gone near a piano in at least five years, nor has she had the desire. The situation with your friend's teachers sounds almost exactly like that with my wife's.

    One thing you should remember is that a piano keyboard is not like a guitar fretboard-- you can't just learn one pattern and have that be your scale. There are at least three or four different fingering patterns you need to learn in order to play all 12 major scales for example.

    If you are dead set on learning yourself, seek out The Contemporary Keyboardist by John Novello (yes, the guy from Niacin). It has all the scales and chords in it, but also some hints on using harmony as a basis for improvisation.
  5. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    I am sure that i will be teaching myself. Still a student so i wont be able to afford lessons.

    And i have never been one to play just whats on paper. But its a very good point. I can see how someone would be frustrated. An Intrument is such a beautiful way of expressing oneself and discovering your inner creativity. Its really sad that these two woman were only allowed to play someone elses music, instead of discovering their own!

    I am still tryint to organize getting the intrument to my house.. I will get my cousins together to help me move it!

    Im really looking forward to this.

    Thanks Fulcrum for the book tip. Ill see if i can get it here in europe which i strongly doubt.

    Keep em' Coming!

    Cant be this is everyone on TB that plays the Piano.


  6. Would piano enhance your bass playing ? QUOTE
    In fact 1/4 of my practice time is at the keys
    And Yes learning the piano will enhance your bass playing
    It will help you understand Theory and make it alot clearer especially hearing chords and understanding its context
    Although it won't aid in bassplaying techniques ( some may argue the point ) it will be an asset to your ears.
    So if you understand theory then you can transfer it to any instrument but then the problem is you have to learn the technique to play it
    So even getting a book on Music Theory as well as the others that have mentioned would be of a benefit
    So good luck and may the musical force be with you.
  7. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    A little off topic but.....

    Some piano players are freakin' robots! My college is probably around 75% Asian, and as you all know, non Americanized Asian people typically (or stereotypically) are great musicians. Chinese, Vietnamese, Chinese (I think) and probably some others like Lau Asian (not sure if that is right...) are tone based languages, so from birth, they are meant to have good ... damnit i have to go
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I <3 the pi.
  9. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Hey Smash, what beginner books would you recommend for piano?

    I've been meaning to pick up some rudimentary key skills, but I'm always overwhelmed by the number and variable quality of methods out there.
  10. mattmcnewf


    May 27, 2004
    wouldn't it be funny if some genius on piano had no ear training and then all of a sudden went blind. he wouldn't even be able to play a tune.
  11. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland
    Thanks again for the replies thus far...

    Hmm, Smash, you mentioned that you arent learning the treble clef.. How do you manage to continue to play withought it. I would guess that all the beginner books you have will be written with the treble clef no?

    I guess that will be something time consuming. starting to learn all the chords! I will definately need a book or a website of some sort that shows the chords on the piano.

    Did any of you have any speacial (practice) methods to drill the different chords in your head. Or is it simply a question of sitting down and memorizing it!?

    Looks like i will be trying to move the Piano this Saturday. Smash, havent seen your piano yet.. Care to post a pic? plllleeaaasseeee!!
  12. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland

    Wow! The piano looks sweet! Looks to be in great condition.

    And the Mp3 is nice too.. I like that weird sound that starts at about 00:30! : )

    Good Stuff!

    Cant wait! How did you put affect on it though? Your Piano must have some sort uf an output huh? To bad, the one im getting isnt digital! So i wont be able to record!

    Maybe later i can get a cheap midi keyboard! : - )
  13. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland

    Just called the guy that is letting me borrow his truck!

    Looks like i have to wait till next Saturday!!


    : - (
  14. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland

    I Finally got the Piano on Saturday and Damn! those things are really heavy.. It took 5 of us to get it to the 3 floor :p .

    I am really really happy with it though... I have started to print out sheet music and try figure it out.. I guess i will have automatically learned how to read the treble clef when its all over.. For now im learning some coldplay and alicia keys :D .
    Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise are also things im working on!

    I cant get over the sound of the piano. Its really amazing!

    I will see if i can get my hands on that book here in europe.. Or anyone know any american sites where you can order internationally that has that book in stock?

    Thanks in advance.


  15. Ehh... by "tone" languages that doesn't mean words have different pitches. For example, there are 5 tones in Mandarin Chinese:

    (the numbers to not relate to the tone -- sorry, I forgot my tone numbers)

    1. Straight tone. Say the word all one pitch, maybe like you were singing it.
    2. Going down. Say it like you would say "Pow!" Make your voice go down abruptly.
    3. Going up. Say it like it's the ending word in a question.
    4. Going down and then going up. First make your voice dip down lower and then at then end come back up.
    5. Neutral. Words in this tone are short and quiet. Not everyone acknowledges the mysterious 5th tone as being one of the tones.


    Now, back to the original topic. Being primarily a keyboardist, I have some suggestions:

    1. Acoustic Pianos

    Kawais are my ultimate favorite. Especially Kawai grands. Then again, some Yamaha grand pianos are pretty good, but not all. The general rule of thumb is to stay away from white pianos (oops, sorry mz91). White pianos are usually the cheaper ones made in Japan or something. Trust me. Every single white piano I've played on (and I've played on a LOT) totally sucked and sounded cheap. Pick a piano that you're going to like later when you get better at playing.

    2. Keyboards

    The best keyboard for realistic feel and sounds is the Roland FP3 or FP5. For sounds the Roland RD150 (or whatever number) is excellent. Yamahas are also pretty good.
  16. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland
    :spit: Cold man, cold... Hehehe, im just kidding...

    Well being that i have no idea what a good sounding piano is supposed to sound like i wouldnt know if i got a good one or just a crappy "white" one.. Im happy though.. And in this case maybe "ignorance is bliss."

    It is made in Europe though.. just checked :p

    But why would the color of a Piano matter? Its just the coat..doesnt whats underneath count.. I was on the Yamaha site, and the piano that i have comes in black too.. Would that mean the "black" one is mysteriously better because of its coat? ;)
  17. Well, if you like the piano, that's great! If you like the sound and feel of it, that's all that matters.

    Why does the color of the piano matter? I do not know. As I said, every white piano I've played I've disliked. Maybe it's just personal preference, though.

    Unrelated question: Why is there more white keys than black keys on a piano? Obviously the inventor(s) were racist. :)

    ...but then again, a few really old pianos (or maybe they were fortepianos or pianofortes or harpsichords) had black white keys and white black keys...
  18. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland
    Fulcrum & Smash,

    Thanks guys, just ordered myself a copy of the Contempory Keyboardist.. Will post my thoughts once i recieve it...

    Smash, what you working on currently?

  19. mz91


    Apr 19, 2002
    Zug, Switzerland
    En epic eh???
    Sounds good! Make sure to send me a copy when your done!
    Im going to work on the blues lesson here http://www.8notes.com/piano/.
    Gotta start somewhere! Cant wait for the book.. It will take a couple weeks though : - (.