Learning to play the piano! Any advice?
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HuoYuanJia

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Hi fellow headphone fans,

my wife used to play the piano quite well as a child. She wants to pick it up again so we just ordered a digital piano.
I want to take the chance and learn to play myself.

She will probably be playing 2 hours/day, but best I can squeeze out on weekdays is 30mins and then a bit more on the weekend. Do you have any secret tips to maximize my progression? What helped you the most?

Cheers for your advice!
 
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baskingshark

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Hi fellow headphone fans,

my wife used to play the piano quite well as a child. She wants to pick it up again so we just ordered a digital piano.
I want to take the chance and learn to play myself.

She will probably be playing 2 hours/day, but best I can squeeze out on weekdays is 30mins and then a bit more on the weekend. Do you have any secret tips to maximize my progression? What helped you the most?

Cheers for your advice!
Hi I've been playing the piano for around 30 years now, TBH, I found the starting very difficult. I was just a kid then and was forced to do music lessons by my parents, and I found the exams and practice a big chore and really was discouraged. I didn't practice much as a kid and was kicked out of my first music school hahaha. I gave up piano for a couple of years after that, but then one day I decided to play music for the fun of it, so I reenrolled in another school. I realized music was much more interesting without grades and exams, and picked it back up. Thereafter with the "fun" aspect back, I managed to do the exams with a motivation and end goal and passed those.

Looking back, I think theory and practice are important, but passion is most important. Piano is not easy at the start, but the foundations like theory, practice and scales have their role. It is of course easier if u have a music theory background or have played another instrument before. Piano gets much easier once u pass the steep early learning curve. I read an article that music is best learnt at an early age (some brain development thingy), and beyond a certain age, stuff like perfect pitch cannot be easily trained (unless u have this trait running in the family genes), but don't let that deter u. If u have the passion, that can overcome a lot of things, and you have an added benefit of having a family member that can teach u piano.

In general most of us learn piano in 2 tracks - a theory and a practical track. The theory track teaches u the basics of music and is pretty mundane but these basics will help u if u learn these foundations well. Stuff like reading music notation, learning chords and scales etc. The practical track is where the actual playing is and is generally not as mundane. I have friends who did not learn theory at all, but can still do well in the practical track.

So most pianists in my country use the Yamaha or ABRSM or Trinity syllabus for these 2 tracks for piano. It is best to get a formal music teacher/music school to learn these 2 tracks. Though I think your wife may be able to teach some of these too. U can buy theory and practical books from the above 3 schools for these.

Another easier option if you are starting as an adult with no theory foundations, is to use chord sheets; there are many found online and youtube which are free. So it skips playing music notation, but just playing music with chords/triads. Much easier to pick up, though you might not be able to play melody notes on the right hand with chord sheets. I know some musicians in my church band that use this method. U can play with a band or act as an accompanying pianist for a singer, but u might not be able to play solo parts/melodies with this method.

For both the chord sheet and formal music method, most of us start with easier keys like C major (which don't involve the black keys on a piano), and slowly learn other keys with more black keys. In fact, I know some pianists in my band that used the chord sheet method to learn music and can only play in C major (they use a transpose button on their digital keyboards to play in other more difficult keys). I know purists will scowl at that idea of "cheating" to only play in C major and not learning their theory properly, but I'm not judging anyone, music is for the enjoyment of the one playing!

With the chord sheet method, later when u get more advanced, u can train relative pitch (even without perfect pitch), so u may not even need notation to play and can improvise on the spot. That's a higher level skill that uses your hearing to train u to hear and recognize chords, it would take about 3 years or so to do that and basically works on the basis of math, hearing the bass note change intervals up or down.

So once u have the passion, the next real secret for both the sheet music method and formal music training is that piano is mostly muscle memory (unless u have perfect pitch), so after a few months of practice u will get better and better. Good luck in your endeavour friend!
 
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HuoYuanJia

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Thank you very much for the detailed response, @baskingshark! I appreciate it.

My wife is a terrible teacher, unfortunately. Very impatient. She didn't help me learn Chinese either, though it only took me 3 years to pass HSK5. She was still not satisfied and complains I'm too bad. :D

We have decided (well, she...) to purchase some tutorial videos for 200+ € which both of us can watch on their own. After the first lesson I can't really say yet which teaching method the teacher applied, but it starts off with theory only. Gives me some time to learn reading notes until the piano arrives in a few days... I am aware that this will be a challenge, but so far I am mostly excited about the journey ahead.
 
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Thank you very much for the detailed response, @baskingshark! I appreciate it.

My wife is a terrible teacher, unfortunately. Very impatient. She didn't help me learn Chinese either, though it only took me 3 years to pass HSK5. She was still not satisfied and complains I'm too bad. :D

We have decided (well, she...) to purchase some tutorial videos for 200+ € which both of us can watch on their own. After the first lesson I can't really say yet which teaching method the teacher applied, but it starts off with theory only. Gives me some time to learn reading notes until the piano arrives in a few days... I am aware that this will be a challenge, but so far I am mostly excited about the journey ahead.
Great that u are very motivated!

I think that we can't escape from a bare minimum of theory when u are first starting out in piano. It is dry and boring and has a steep learning curve, but it will benefit u down the line when u get more advanced, and u will realize why certain chords or melodies go on to a next chord/melody note. Though I think for just pure music enjoyment, it isn't necessary to go on to do very high grades for theory, just something like theory grade 3 - 5 should help a lot already, the rest are diminishing returns TBH.

Though, i have met friends who have composed nice songs and improvise very well on the piano with zero theory knowledge. So they just jumped into the practical track without learning theory. I guess it is possible too. At the end of the day, the most important is that u are having fun and enjoying the piano.

Let us know how your piano journey goes! Wishing u to have great fun!
 
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Looking back, I think theory and practice are important, but passion is most important. Piano is not easy at the start, but the foundations like theory, practice and scales have their role. It is of course easier if u have a music theory background or have played another instrument before. Piano gets much easier once u pass the steep early learning curve. I read an article that music is best learnt at an early age (some brain development thingy), and beyond a certain age, stuff like perfect pitch cannot be easily trained (unless u have this trait running in the family genes), but don't let that deter u. If u have the passion, that can overcome a lot of things, and you have an added benefit of having a family member that can teach u piano.
I cannot emphasize this enough. I learned piano at a young age (with an instructor) and later self-taught guitar, so I have some experience with learning instruments. While theory and mechanics are important, you won't make any progress unless you're enjoying what you are doing. Make sure you don't burn yourself out learning music theory and mechanics, give yourself some fun-time with learning some songs or making your own music. Of course, don't neglect theory either. Once you have a strong grasp of the basics, you'll be able to pick up stuff a lot faster!
 
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Learning to play the synthesizer is easier than the piano. Most models are equipped with comfortable headphones and a volume control system. This will allow you not to disturb neighbors during classes.
To master the minimum skills, you need to acquire a good tool and set aside some time for classes. Playing the synthesizer involves fairly simple hand coordination. During the execution of the parties, only the right brush is involved. The left just helps to adjust the arrangement of the melody.
It is important to understand the device and the functions of the synthesizer. The notes on the black and white keyboard are located a few octaves, as well as the piano. The upper part of the tool is the control panel. It contains buttons, toggle switches, controls, display, speaker system. Having studied in detail the purpose of each element, you can play melodies in different genres, rhythms, and styles.
 
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