Help?

Technique, methods and advice for learners

Postby 76-1137910644 » Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:00 pm

This is going to be an odd request, so I won't be surprised if no one can help.

Basically, I've had a Casio CTK -491 electric piano in my room for at least three years. I went and took lessons, but I didn't learn much. It worked like this. Parents shell out $50 each lesson and the teacher just goes and buys a book and reads what the book says and answers any questions I have. I wasn't learning much, so I stopped taking lessons.

Now, music has been a rather big part of my life. Since I've got this $100+ piano in my room, I was wondering if anyone knows of a book, or a website that explains how to play the piano. I recently got a laptop, so I could have my laptop right next to me with the piano in front of me.

I'm not a complete idiot. I know where 'middle C' is, but I can't really read music because I don't know the majority of the notes. I only know all the notes from middle C all to way to G, including sharps and flats.


If anyone can help, thanks.
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Postby Stretto » Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:33 pm

For $50 per lesson, you should be getting a lot more out of it. How long did you take lessons from your teacher? There's a lot of great articles here on the Piano Education Page in regards to teaching yourself or finding a qualified piano teacher. Here are a few links to those articles to get you started:

Learning to Play the Piano

Piano and Music Software Reviews

Teach Me Piano

I provided the last link, "Teach Me Piano" because I ran across that particular software recently in trying to find information on connecting my keyboard to my computer. I haven't personally tried any software for learning to play the piano, but the advantage to that particular one is that the cables needed to connect your keyboard to your computer are included with the software as a kit (it comes with a USB MIDI Cable) so it may be a place to get started. At least you'll get your keyboard hooked up and a little piano learning software along with it. I'm not sure if there is other learning to play the piano software that comes with the cables or not but this one was recommended to me as a way to get my keyboard connected to my computer along with some software. Other than that, if teaching yourself doesn't get you where you want to be in playing then you may want to eventually find a different teacher and eventually get a weighted keyboard or acoustic piano (there's articles on the site also regarding what to look for in a keyboard and/or piano).

Ask back any questions you want in trying to learn how to play.

Welcome by the way!




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Postby Stretto » Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:36 pm

The last link I provided for some reason doesn't work. I'll check on trying to fix it a bit later but you can find the link under the Piano and Music Software Reviews link. When you pull that up look for it under Piano Teaching software.
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Postby 76-1137910644 » Sun Jan 22, 2006 4:16 pm

It was awhile ago, but if I recall correctly it was about an hour and a half.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Sun Jan 22, 2006 4:30 pm

Stretto wrote:The last link I provided for some reason doesn't work.

Now it does! :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Stretto » Sun Jan 22, 2006 5:43 pm

Landus wrote:It was awhile ago, but if I recall correctly it was about an hour and a half.

Wow, an hour and a half lesson at $50 a lesson, a lot more should be happening during that time than reading what the book says to you and answering questions. Do you remember how far along you got in the book? What book was it?

I only give 40 min. lessons but am always running out of time to fit in what I want to teach. Was she having you do any excercises, theory, ear-training, music listening? What pieces of music were you learning? A teacher at that price and that amount of time per lesson should have a thorough knowledge of proper technique and cover a thorough amount of technique, also be going over your music like a fine tooth comb, going over theory, ear-training, perhaps some music listening, etc., and have some added benefits outside of lesson time like lots of performance opportunities via recitals, groups, or competitions, etc.

After about a year of learning on an unweighted keyboard and/or trying to teach oneself, most people I've heard of doing one or both usually end up going ahead and finding a qualified teacher and getting either a good weighted keyboard or acoustic piano. If you don't feel like teaching yourself gets you as far as you would like, I would really encourage you to try another teacher.




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Postby Beckywy » Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:19 pm

$50 for 90 min lesson is pretty inexpensive.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby 76-1137910644 » Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:20 pm

"Was she having you do any excercises, theory, ear-training, music listening? What pieces of music were you learning?"

It was a he, and he just had me do what was in the book. No ear training or music listening. Also, I don't recall any pieces of music being learned.


I should mention I live in relatively small suburb in New York. There isn't many places that teach how to play the piano.
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Postby 76-1137910644 » Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:22 pm

"$50 for 90 min lesson is pretty inexpensive."

If I had actually been learning anything, I would agree.

But obviously you haven't read the part where all I did was play stuff in a book, which by the way didn't seem to be a book for beginners.
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Postby Stretto » Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:49 pm

On the cost, I guess I should have checked where you lived. Maybe it is not so unreasonable even for a "less qualified" or inexperienced teacher depending on where one lives. Where I live, you better be pretty darn good at $50 per lesson. I guess it's probably not so unusual in other areas. Of course, this is all speculation as I haven't asked around much. But I've heard the rate for teachers at a couple music stores, a music school, and what I was charged one summer by someone with a doctorate and it was much less. Again, I live in a part of the country where cost of living overall is considerably lower although that's changing.

I guess cost is kind of secondary as the main issue is that you didn't learn much regardless. Do you think you will try to find a teacher to help you out or are you going to try to teach yourself?




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Postby 76-1137910644 » Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:52 pm

I ended up looking into schools that have teachers that teach the piano.

It appears that one of the middle schools near where I live has a program sponsered by the school district.

It's affordable, so I'm going to look into it.

I'd like to thank anyone that posted help, especially Stretto. The links you posted helped a bunch.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:16 pm

Landus,
Welcome!
Here in Mass most rates are $25.00 a half hour. But it really doesn't matter if you were not learning, you were not getting your money's worth. If you can find the right computer program, you probably can learn on your own. If you can find a good beginner book - an Adult book, you can do the same. Alfred Publishers have a fairly good adult book as has Bastien- an "Older Beginner Book". Check with the music store and they can tell you the best sellers. Some books come with CD's which may help.
Good luck.
I cannot help with computer programs but others on this site can.
Joan
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Postby Stretto » Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:07 pm

Well, I guess I've learned that $50 for an hour (or in your case an hour and a half) isn't all that unreasonable for cost especially in certain geographical areas. I will stop speculating on fees unless I have more facts. I do think overall costs are less here (but with more moving here prices are going up too).

Again, though, especially in an hour and a half time, that should be plenty of time to cover more facets of music.

Post back as to what you find out and if you find a teacher you are learning a lot from.
:)




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