Anyone who plays the piano?

jackson56

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Hey guys,

Anyone who loves to play the piano? any tips on how to learn on your own? And also since we are in the modern world is this really applicable and can be done?

This article suggests that playing online piano, virtual piano or even piano apps can teach you the keyboard itself, any comments or reaction from those who know how to play.
 

Burps

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I grew up with a piano in my house. My mother taught me what the notes were on the keys. But I never learned to read except for the real basics and I couldn't really play much at all. One day my uncle gave me a 2 page printout he found at a yard sale that was one of those "Learn to Play Piano in 10 Minutes" type of thing.

Since I already knew what keys were what, the info in that printout was fantastic and helped a lot. What it taught made all the difference for me. Not that I'm now a good pianist, but I can fake it pretty well with chords and can play along with most songs in a song book or sheet music that show the chords.

The printout showed how to play 3 note chords, or triad chords. The great thing to know is that every major chord (with only three notes) has the exact same pattern, no matter which chord is played. The same is true for every minor chord. It's true for diminished and augmented chords as well. Learn that one pattern for the major chords and you're done for all major chords. Learn that one pattern for minor chords and your done. Same with augmented and diminished chords. So basically you learn just 4 patterns to make all those 4 types of chords. If you come across a 7th chord, just play a major chord and it will still sound okay because those 3 notes are still a part of the 7th chord.
 

jmpd_utoronto

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Do you have any music theory background? Like, are you already familiar with key signatures and scales and stuff? If not, you can for sure learn some of that from Youtube and online. If you are, though, just like drums, there's no substitute for a real live teacher. A good teacher will help you move through stuff faster, and also point out technical issues in your playing that you may not catch just from watching videos. And real time feedback is always super valuable.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I have been trying to "teach" myself for years. We picked up an upright a few years back and it's fun. I can do Happy Birthday and the Beatles' Day In the Life.....sort of! I can do like a classical intro, then into the song, then into a psychedic jam, then into a jazzy thing, then back into DITL.......not great but it's a lot of fun!

My 10 y.o. has been taking lessons for 3 mos and of course kicks my butt! He sits and plays and it's like - WTF, what is that? He just improvs and blows me away........in addition to playing guitar and singing in front of hundreds of people! Dang.......
 

Tornado

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It really, really depends on your goals and what you are trying to accomplish. I took piano lessons when I was in grade school. I learned the keyboard, proper technique for basic playing, how to move around the keyboard, how to read music, some really basic theory like triads and stuff. Basically, I was taught to play songs from reading the music from a page. Later in life, I studied some theory in college. I think that stuff is pretty important if you really want to play the piano.

In a popular music setting, you'd better know your chords. If you know your major scales, you can figure out the chords easily. But you REALLY need to know your major chords, minor chords, suspended chords, Maj7 and 7th chords, AND you need to know them in their different inversions too.

One of the best things you can do on your own is play songs from a chord sheet. You can find thousands of them on guitar song sites. You get used to which chords are most often played together in a given key, and how you will be able to move between those chords (this is where those inversions come in).

So, learn your 12 major scales. Learn all the major and minor chords in their different inversions. Play chord charts for popular songs. You will really suck at first, but you'll be surprised at how quickly you improve.
 

Burps

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For those who want to "fake it" like me, and don't desire to become great, here are the 4 "secret" triad patterns...(when I mention "notes", this includes all the black keys too). My wife, who doesn't know much about keyboards, thought I should mention that. The following is for the right hand only, but the left hand still has the exact same pattern, just with different fingers.

Every Major chord pattern...Play the first note of any chord you want. Let's take the C chord.
Press C with the thumb. Skip 3 notes and press, then skip 2 notes and press. (This will be C, E, G)

Every Minor chord pattern...Play the first note of the chord you want. Lets take the C chord again.
Press C with the thumb. Skip 2 notes and press, then skip 3 notes and press. (This will be C, E flat, G)

Every Diminished Chord pattern....for the C chord...Press C with the thumb and skip 2 notes and press, then skip 2 notes and press.

Every Augmented Chord....for C Chord...Press C with thumb and skip 3 notes and press, then skip 3 notes and press.

So EVERY major chord has that particular pattern no matter what major chord it is. EVERY Minor chord has that particular pattern no matter what minor chord it is, and so on with diminished and augmented chords.

Once you are comfortable with those patterns and you have basically learned the notes in each type of chord, you can play the notes in any order you want. In other words, for the C major chord, for instance, you don't have to start with the thumb on C to play the C E G triad, But it can be played E G C or G C E. Of course the pattern will not be the same now.
 

dale w miller

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I play piano, but not in public. I read okay and because of that I’m able to teach myself just about anything.

If you have the basics of “every good boy does fine” , “Face”, “good boys do fine always”, and “all cows eat grass” and understand rhythms, you should be able to teach yourself just about anything that you want.

Edit: I forgot. You need to know the keys, but that is simple enough as everything repeats.
 

jlappin

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Hey guys,

Anyone who loves to play the piano? any tips on how to learn on your own? And also since we are in the modern world is this really applicable and can be done?

This article suggests that playing online piano, virtual piano or even piano apps can teach you the keyboard itself, any comments or reaction from those who know how to play.
I've tried really hard to learn piano and I can do "ok". Mine has mostly been gospel. This guy has been helpful if you are into that kind of thing.

https://apostolicpsom.com
 

Olderschool

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I took video lessons. Beginner piano player here. I play just about every week at my Church gig....
 
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cutaway79

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I've been teaching myself too, and having a blast! I wish I had started years ago (I tried starting multiple times over the past 15 years or so). I got a few of those "learn to play piano" books, and DVDs (when those were still a thing), and used them for a bit, but got bored/frustrated. Finally, a few years ago, I decided to give it another go. But this time, I decided to take the same approach that many (myself included) take with guitar... Look up a song I like, see what the chords are, learn the chords, repeat. That's it! Then you can at least jam along with some songs. And the more you jam, the more natural you feel, and the more you can comfortably explore boundaries. Then, when you want to learn another song, try to find something with at least one chord you don't know in it. Before long, you'll know a bunch of chords, and be able to fake a lot of stuff. If you're a drummer, you've likely already got the rhythm part down. Now it's just a matter of a little music theory and some muscle memory.

My ex was an awesome pianist/vocalist, and she taught me a few things that really helped make sense of some stuff in the beginning:

1. To play a standard major scale (I'll use C), for any key, start at the first note (C), then work your way up the keys as follows - whole step (D), whole step (E), half step (F), whole step (G), whole step (A), whole step (B ), half step (C) ***whole = two keys up, half = one key up

2. To build a standard major triad (chord), play the "1, 3, 5" notes - The first note, third note, and fifth note in the scale. For the C scale above, that would be the C (1), the E (3), and the G (5)

3. The chords in a standard major key go as follows (I'll use C again) - Major, major, minor, major, major, minor, diminished (Google that one. I'm still not sure how to explain it.). Which means that the C, D, E, F, G, A, B (from earlier), in chord form, would be C, D, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim (m=minor, dim=diminished).

(this part, I learned on my own)

4. Every major scale has a relative minor (the 6th note of the scale), which uses the same notes/chords, just starting from a different place in the sequence. The relative minor to the C above, would be Am. So the notes in the scale would be A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Chords would be Am, Bdim, C, D, Em, F, G. To build the minor scale, start with root note (A), then go whole step (B ), half (C), whole (D), whole (E), half (F), whole (G), whole (A). And the chords in any minor scale go in the same order listed for Am scale - minor, diminished, major, major, minor, major, major.

Hopefully, I've explained that well. The things above have been extremely useful during the learning process.

I can't sight read yet. But I'm starting to learn. I figure, music is a language (some say). When learning a language, we typically learn the basics of speech, then learn to read. Not both at the same time. It seems to me that having a solid working knowledge of the piano/keyboard will help the 'learning to read' process. Just like any language. Though I could be wrong, I don't know. Hahaha
 
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Old Drummer

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Well, no, I don't actually play the piano, but of course I know how to play it. Since I was a kid, my understanding has been that every musician, drummers included, must also play the piano. I believe, though I'm not sure, that it's even required in conservatories. My kid, a cellist and conservatory grad, is a heck of a good amateur pianist. It's just part of being a musician.

As for why piano is part of being musician, I believe the answer is really just knowing music theory, which is easiest to understand on the piano. In theory, you can learn music theory on any instrument or no instrument at all, but it's easiest on the piano (and almost everyone else knows the piano too). You want to understand how key signatures work, how chords are structured, what chord progressions are, and so on. Whether or not you actually get good at playing the piano is probably optional, but of course you should understand it.

As for how I learned, my mom did sentence me to a few months of basic piano lessons in about the second grade, and between those and basic music instruction in elementary school, I guess I've always known how to read music. In fact, I chuckle that when people started using the # sign on telephones and calling it the pound sign, I was confused. To me it is the sharp sign.

Years later I went to a music summer camp as a drummer but where keyboard classes were required of everyone, and after that I took a few months of formal piano lessons again voluntarily. They didn't take--I wasn't actually going to play the piano--so I quit. However, I gave it another try for a short spell.

I also generally had a piano in the house, and every now and then would figure out how to play a simple song. I used to play and sing my kid to sleep at night, though it wasn't a complicated song at all. I could look at sheet music and figure it out, but my fingers were never good enough to play it well and I was too indifferent to practice.

I do though remember a time when one of those music journalists who writes reviews was over, I mentioned something to her about the chord progression or some such thing in a song, and she didn't understand what I was talking about. I took her over to the piano and showed her. She went, "Wow, I never knew that." I thought, "So much for the morons who believe they can review bands," but didn't say it. In my opinion, you just really should know this stuff if you're in the business.

Though, I can't say that the piano has ever helped my drumming. I do believe that drummers are all the time changing cymbals or from the hi-hat to a cymbal at the wrong junctures in songs, and if they understood better how songs are structured they wouldn't do this. On the other hand, you should be able to hear these changes without needing to understand the theory beneath them, and if a drummer doesn't hear them, no amount of theory will compensate.

Piano just makes you a musician--though I wouldn't worry about playing it well (unless you want to). Sign up for a music theory class at your local community college and you'll be 80% of the way there.
 

moodman

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I'm self taught, played keys in a band briefly (Farfisa). I can solo in several keys and I write bass lines for my original tunes. A keyboard player in one of my first bands was taking theory from Dave Baker, so we all learned the triads, circle of 4ths and 5ths, pentatonic and diatonic soloing etc. I love to play, do every day before or after drum practice.
You can learn the pentatonic from the black keys, then move it to whatever key you want to play in. The diatonic just adds a couple of notes, when chords change, to that.
 
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Seb77

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Yep, the whole sh'bang. My parents had me learn claisscial piano before I was allowed to take drum lessons... you can imgaine how much fun that was. These days I gretafeul for it. Later, I maily studied drums, but also had some piano lessons and theory in the jazz context. Not very good at soloing, but comping works ok.

It's intersting to hear about the various leanring concepts. The traid structures are no secret, but it's great if the theory has been unlocked toyou.
Funny to hear those "FACE" "7Good boys..." etc. tricks, I never had anything like that, just the letters and the keys. These days, you can use youtube and all the chors/lyric libraries online. What a great time to learn instruments.

A teacher howerver is good to chek on your technique, you want to be able to have control over the volume of each finger, leagot playing, pedalling etc. not to mention scale fingerings (there are some tricks, too ;) )
 

jptrickster

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Classically trained as a young’n Marius Santucci Eastman School of music. Started playing when I was 5. First formal Recital pictured ‘68 I was 11, me on the left in my sporty checkered jacket lol. Drums won out though! I could play some mean arpeggios and scales all over he place. Happy I worked my ass off, musical theory education of a lifetime.
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kdrumSTL

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If I taught drums more (or at all!) piano would have to be a requirement. I took piano lessons 1st-5th grade, really hated the lessons, but got into drums in 6th grade because so many people wanted to play drums, so my middle school required piano experience to be a drummer. I didn't really get back into piano until I started understanding jazz in high school, and then I really started to love the keys.

I know a ton of drummers that are technically great, but they really don't have any clue of how to listen to and respond to the music that they're playing. Learning to hear chord progressions, chord resolutions, and song forms is so incredibly important.
 

Philly James

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I have a digital upright, and it’s fun to mess around, although you need to play everyday if you want to advance. I bought a couple beginner books, and I refer to this website for chord fingering:

 


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