ok.. it's time for piano lessons. Any ideas or suggestions?

Mar 17, 2012

  1. rekko

    74 posts
    Since Nov 9, 2007
    Hi all,

    I have finally woken to the realisation that I am going nowhere fast when it comes to making music! I am stuck in the (familiar to anyone!?) rut of spending nearly all my studio time tweaking presets and settings and have very little to actually show for my invested time. This is something that has actually got me quite down of late.

    Anyway, I have decided that it is time to learn myself the piano and what works “musically” (instead of just ‘note-bashing); and am curious as to whether anybody has any tips in what to actually study (theory? pop? jazz?) and what it is that I should be looking for in a teacher? If it helps, I am into both drum and bass and progressive house, and am looking at learning about chords, chord progressions etc. Would learning the piano “from scratch”, so to speak, be what I am looking for?

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated

    Any recommended teachers in London?

  2. techskunk Banned by DOA

    2,715 posts
    Since May 5, 2011
    I learned stuff by myself

    by 'fucking' around with chords and melodies

    now I basically know anything melody wise..

    however I'd love to know how to play the piano
  3. turbo_kobra

    1,619 posts
    Since Feb 24, 2009
  4. joemaki

    1,234 posts
    Since May 15, 2010
  5. SquirrelTamer

    2,998 posts
    Since Nov 11, 2003
    Piano lessons generally involve learning to read and play other people's sheet music, without any knowledge of why the music works or how to write your own. It'll be good for learning how to position your fingers and for getting your hands to work independently, but practising a piece of music that you don't like over and over for hours could get frustrating if you were wanting to learn the theory side of things.
  6. Diseva

    12,077 posts
    Since Apr 28, 2003
    Not sure, I think it depends on your teacher.
    I started lessons last year, and have covered lots of theory as well as technique. Has been enlightening.

    Would definitely recommend piano lessons, certainly been the best music related money Ive spent.

    Probably depends whether you're going for 'grades' or just to learn or whatever.
  7. aquarius

    1,141 posts
    Since May 24, 2005
  8. kajiotaku BXBL

    809 posts
    Since Dec 22, 2008
    Learning to play the piano is different from learning how to write for the piano.

    If you want to learn music theory (chords and whatnot) then you'll be better off just learning that. If you want to learn how to perform music that other people have played (and destroy your creativity for a while from playing simple songs over and over for weeks or months), then sure learn the piano.

    None of these actually require a physical teacher in need of pay, mind you. My piano class, while it has a wonderful instructor, mainly revolves around an adult piano learning book and we just do the exercises inside over and over. As for music theory, the Internet is absolutely littered with information regarding it.

    What I find helps, when you're just tweaking presets and not really getting much done musically, is to load up a piano or harpsichord and just write for that. It's a lot easier since it's a full sound and requires no tweaking, it's just already perfect and only requires musical input.
  9. rekko

    74 posts
    Since Nov 9, 2007
    Hey guys,

    Many thanks for all your replies. Yeah. the thought to just learning to play other people's music doesn't exactly feel me with joy and am definitely not interested in the whole 'grade' thing. I guess I am just looking at ways to be more creative/spontaneous - ie to just be able to sit down at my keyboard and knock out riffs/melodies/chords that can progress musically, rather than being stuck for hours in a 1 bar cul de sac.

    Kajiotaku - just saw your reply as I was writing this. I think that is a great point about learning the piano is a completely different thing from writing for the piano. What I want is to be able to "write" everything myself and not just perfect what somebody else has previously written. I think I may just have to delve deeper into the free web literature available to get up to scratch on my music theory and see what comes of it.

    Again, thanks for the replies and also for the links - great stuff :D
  10. rekko

    74 posts
    Since Nov 9, 2007
    Turbo Kobra - that really is a great link. Thank you.
  11. Flonx

    803 posts
    Since Nov 13, 2009
    I can't play the piano, I can't read music. It's my handicap, but it is also my trump card. The way I fuck around with things, is in a way unique, a professional would laugh at my way of working, but it works for me and that's all what matters, so for me knowing and learning the piano is not necessary. Just fuckaround untill its good ! :tea:
  12. FlatFaced

    837 posts
    Since Jan 17, 2011
    the piano lessons and the music theory courses are really fresh and easy to understand...
  13. turbo_kobra

    1,619 posts
    Since Feb 24, 2009
    Dude is a legend.
  14. Skypear

    520 posts
    Since Mar 7, 2008
    Hanon exercises.[​IMG]

    Play 15 minutes of these exercises every day. IMO helped me get to grade 8 RCM.
  15. scubaninja7

    7 posts
    Since Apr 18, 2010

    This site has a free trial, I've been using it for a few months and really enjoy it. It seems the more I practice piano though the less I care about producing DnB, go figure lol.
  16. Normie

    45 posts
    Since Jun 17, 2011

    Basic, inexpensive and for someone just wanting an intro to playing, that works well, I highly recommend it. Couple this with the Music theory videos from groove 3 and for under 100 you will have enough, assuming you follow it seriously, to keep you busy for a LOOOOng time.

    You will also be presented with plenty of associated info you need to learn that's outside the scope of the PPT vids. Thats where the Groove 3 stuff comes in.

    I can't say enough good things about it. YES, you wanna bitch-slap him at times, but annoying or not, the dude can teach and makes concepts understandable.
  17. joemaki

    1,234 posts
    Since May 15, 2010
    take a note of this and ignore it having an understanding of progressions key signatures time signitures will benifit you greatly in the long run i started paino from a really early age of around 4 years old and with it i gained the knowledge of relative pitch so i can now listen to a song figure out its key and timneings from listening alone. plus it will make you more appreciative music in a hole new way.
  18. Normie

    45 posts
    Since Jun 17, 2011
    I spent years playing guitar 'by ear' as did a bunch of the guys I used to jam with. None of us could be bothered to buy a few books and learns some theory. That was for those classical nerds in school band..."We" rocked! Hendrix was no music scholar. He didn't need Juliard to be great!

    Of course we ignored the fact that the Randy Rhoads' and Malmsteens' of the world DID know theory.

    I learned and was able to do more musically in a few months of actual study than I did in years of winging it. Not that I'm destined for a Grammy mind you, but things are a lot easier to do and a lot faster now. A little knowledge goes a long way. Sure, you CAN do some incredible crap with the wing it method. But it also can waste a bunch of time when you have no idea where you're going or how to get there.

  19. rjisreal SmallTock Music

    178 posts
    Since Feb 7, 2011
    Don't know if it's already been mentioned yet, but there is an 'alternative' to music theory called intonation, I believe...that may be the wrong word. Basically, you use ratios to determine what frequency the next note is at. It seems more accurate than music theory, but its slower and you can't use it on a piano.
  20. rekko

    74 posts
    Since Nov 9, 2007
    Guys - thanks again for all the replies.

    Think I may lay off the actual 'piano lessons' with a tutor, and instead just invest some serious time into music theory.

    - Normie: will look into that Groove 3 tutorial.
  21. Lunat

    580 posts
    Since Apr 9, 2007
    I was in the same position than OP, so I thought about getting piano lessons but this:

    If I had taken lessons (I can't even afford it anyway), I would have wasted time in learning a skill that would have little to do with fixing my problem which was mainly a workflow problem.

    Now I just jam most of my stuff with my midi keyboard. It's not always in time, but I can fix it in a couple of clics, I can't play any kind of score, but that's something that is totally irrelevant to my goals. Am I a great piano player? Hell no. Does my current skill serve my main purpose? Pretty sure it is. Could I get some improvement by getting lesson? Probably, but I don't have the time, nor the financial resources.

    Also don't make the mistake into thinking that music theory is complicated, the problem with most tutorials, lessons, books, is that they keep the latin jargon and stuff, huge waste of time imo.

    It's easy really: get a drum pattern, get a chord progression, use the notes from that chord/scale to write your bassline and your melodies. Tweak it until it sounds good, and voila.
  22. qwert678!!!! Helios Primus

    2,197 posts
    Since Jun 22, 2010
    I just bout a book Picture Chord Encyclopedia. This book has over 1,600 chords in it. I just practice those out of the book. Then listen to some music that I like that has really cool chords in it. Then I try to find the chords used and then just play around.

    Ghetto way but oh well.

    If you guys are looking for a good piano vst and standalone app to use while you practice, check out CVPiano.


    It's pretty rad and I use the standalone when I just want to play around.
  23. FlatFaced

    837 posts
    Since Jan 17, 2011
    that thing looks amazing : [​IMG]

    ezkeys by toontrack - http://www.toontrack.com/products.asp?item=125...i hope i would buy it soon,,,its exactly how i imagine harmony/melody helper and a piano all in one...and the chords are written also on top of the midi...

    another thing that i found when i was doing a little chord progression research is that one : http://www.synleor.com/improvisator.html...its super intuitive and tidy and it basically shows 2 rows of chord degrees min/maj and a lot more functions and when you click a chord it gives you suggestions that would continue your progression in a nice way and it even goes into modulations and what not...
  24. Soulstice

    745 posts
    Since Jan 18, 2010
    This is why there are so many shit tunes about, people think because they have a compter , they are all of a sudden a musician/producer/engineer!

    So yes, if you want to make 'music' then you will need to learn the instrument better.
  25. Normie

    45 posts
    Since Jun 17, 2011
    The Groove 3 vids are "Just the facts ma'mm" and dry as hell, but all the better because they skip the fluff.

    And for like $40ish USD, there are a billion dumber ways to spend that money. One of the best purchases I have made yet.

  26. Cardiff Bonger Genius

    Cardiff Bonger
    923 posts
    Since Jun 6, 2005
    I think you learn quick with a teacher, although you may need a keyboard with weighted keys to be able to practice quicker.

    Somebody mentioned practicing stuff you dont like, I just found out how much stuff I do like...you could even buy the microjazz beginners book, or bachs' easy childrens tunes...they are good....

    seeing how notes are laid out & how the simplest musical motif is used & developed can really help you.
  27. rekko

    74 posts
    Since Nov 9, 2007
    Nice to see the replies still coming in :tea:

    Been quite busy work-wise these past few days but in the short bursts I have managed to fire up the studio, I have really enjoyed just playing the keyboard, messing around with chords and what-not (such a welcome change to losing HOURS tweaking shit and getting nowhere!). I have also been listening to a lot more other styles of music lately outside dance and, for perhaps the first time, I have really been listening to what is going on in the music. Quite a liberating experience.

    Have a day off today and have got a copy of the groove 3 tutorial so look forward to firing that up and seeing what I make of it.

    ps I am also looking at learning about song structure and how to turn my riffs/chords into a chorus/verse/bridge - something which I literally have NO idea about - although that may be something for another thread!

    Hopefully one day I may come up with a completed track :smashed:
  28. Plaindialogue

    17 posts
    Since Jun 28, 2011
    I was in the same boat 4 years ago - relying on samples and having no music theory knowledge at all.

    So I tried 2 teachers who where useless and then found a proper jazz piano teacher. Long story short I can now get sketches and ideas going playing the chords myself/knowing lots of different ways to create different chord progressions whether it's soulful/jazzy/dark and moody.

    It gives you a real insight into how all music moves (not just jazz) so I would highly recommend it although it's hard work!

    I would deffo recommend going the music theory study route - learning piano just makes things a lot clearer although I had to start with theory behind nursery rhymes! You have to learn to walk before you can run :)

    I would go for it - best thing I ever did