Learning to play the piano/read music ... how hard?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by shadowritten, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. shadowritten

    shadowritten
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    I want to play an instrument before I die (save your crude jokes for the 'smut' forum ... ), but I don't want to take one up ( ... same rule applies about crude jokes ... ) if it's likely to be ridiculously hard (... ehem ...) for a 32-year-old who's never been musical in his life.

    Any sane advice, other than, 'Just give it a shot'?

    TIA
     
  2. Adrenochrome

    Adrenochrome
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    You could always settle for making sweet music with shadowwifey :thumbsup:
     
  3. Miyazaki

    Miyazaki
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    i wouldnt mind makign sweat music with shadowifey!"!!

    seeing as guru wifey kicked me iunto spare room for tonight!! :(
     
  4. shadowritten

    shadowritten
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    Damn! Knew I shouldn't have posted this thread tonight ...
     
  5. GaryB

    GaryB
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    Maybe you should have ended your post with "Sensible answers only please"
     
  6. shadowritten

    shadowritten
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    Yeah, but I'm a sucker for punishment, me!

    So yes, sensible answers only, please, as Gary says ... :nono:
     
  7. Slimchandi

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    Start with the piano. If you want to learn, being able to visualise the keyboard as a reference in all music is very useful. It's something I will never forget, no matter how much the ability to play has left me.

    There isn't much getting around the fact that for a while, your playing will sound pretty crap (unless you're a modern day Mozart), but stick with it. Practise because you enjoy playing, not because you have to do another 30m this week!
     
  8. GaryB

    GaryB
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    I have an interest in any sensible answers as I was thinking of trying to teach myself to read music & play keboards too.

    I can play "London Bridge Is Falling Down", but that's the limit of my musical repertoire, so I guess I have a bit to learn.
     
  9. Miyazaki

    Miyazaki
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    eastenders is really easy on keyboard

    we got taught that in year 7!!!!!!
     
  10. shadowritten

    shadowritten
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    Thanks, Slim.

    I'm prepared for it being hard work - this doesn't deter me. But if it's going to seem like an Everest just to produce a basic, coherent melody, then I'm not sure I can deal with that.
     
  11. shadowritten

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    I once did half the first movement of Beethoven's Moonlight sonata guessing my way through by ear, if that sounds promising?
     
  12. oxygenuk

    oxygenuk
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    just make sounds with the fiddle you've had all your life ;)
     
  13. Adrenochrome

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  14. shadowritten

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  15. Jules

    Jules
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    I'm a pianist.

    If you want to learn quickly, easily and with enjoyment.....forget learning to read music! It takes years of practice, its boring and limits your playing style.

    But, you can teach yourself to play a simple tune with both hands (basic chords in the left hand, melody in the right) in just a few hours.

    I had piano lessons as a kid, but they taught me little of what I can do now.
    I learned from improvising, and a desire to be able to play along with stuff I listened to.

    You don't need a Grand Piano to get started (though I do have one).
    For a few quid you can buy a MIDI keyboard and some software for your PC.

    I now write my own music, and with the power of PC I can produce some quite professional sounding mixes.

    I'm very grateful to my folks for encouraging me to play when I was young.... though I didn't think so at the time! ...and I'd recommend it to anyone.
     
  16. pjclark1

    pjclark1
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    You are too old to learn the piano
    At 32 learning to read music is fairly easy, learning to play the piano is imposs.
     
  17. shadowritten

    shadowritten
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    Hmm ... big difference of opinion in the last two posts - thanks, guys.

    PJ: Why would learning the piano be impossible at 32? I'm not talking concert standard here; just getting a nice tune and a bit of harmony would be a satisfying start.

    Jules: Thanks for your perspective. What method (if any) would you suggest I try to pick up the basics needed to get started?

    Thanks again!
     
  18. Bernard Barnett

    Bernard Barnett
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    I have two suggestions. 1 - Buy a book called Learn to Read Music (I think you can get it through Amazon) and have a read to see whether it stimulates you to continue, or discourages you. 2 - If the former, take piano lessons - assuming you can afford it - from a teacher who's willing to take novices. I disagree with Jules on the difficulty of learning to read - the basics can be picked up pretty quickly. I'm also amazed to read that you're too old at 32 - as long as you have reasonable dexterity, you're never too old. I hope you succeed because the ability to make your own music is truly wonderful, even at a moderate level.
     
  19. Solomon Grundy

    Solomon Grundy
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    on a piano? playing treble and bass? That's pretty good. I would say learning the piano will be a challenge.

    I started playing it at 4 years old...gave it up at 14 after my first teacher was run over by a French bus on the Zebra Crossing and my next one was sent down for tax evasion...

    Haven't played a note since but was at grade 7 level...
     
  20. jenic

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    lol! me too
     
  21. Jules

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    I suppose it depends on the instrument.
    Reading music for a recorder, flute or similar instrument is much easier because you only need to read 1 stave and 1 note at a time.

    Reading music for the piano requires reading 2 staves and many notes at once in each hand at the same time. It is much harder to master, and if you're starting from scratch later in life it could really put you off.

    - The first thing I'd learn is the names of the notes on the keyboard
    - Stick to playing in the key of C major to begin with (no black notes)
    - Loosen and strengthen up your fingers by practicing lots. Strong wrists and fingers come in very handy in every day life too.
    (I'm only 5'6" and 9 stone, but I've had 18 stone rugby players screaming in pain after challenging me to a hand wrestle!)

    The musicians channel on Sky used to run beginners tuition classes for the piano... might be worth checking it out.

    Failing all that, you should learn the way that keeps you most interested.
    Progress will be slow at first, but once you've got the very basics under your belt you can almost teach yourself by fumbling around.
     
  22. DJT75

    DJT75
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    I can read music, I can fiddle with the ivorys but putting the two together & at the tempo it's supposed to be - No chance.

    Just tinker around & you'll pull something off, I did the same with guitar & managed to piece together a few sounds. Piano is easier though
     
  23. shadowritten

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    Thanks for all the advice guys. It's given me some interesting food for thought ...
     
  24. Pbryanw

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    Have you considered the Guitar as well. I used to play before my left hand got injured. I can still strum and pick but unfortunately can't play the notes. Anyway the good thing about guitars is that they're cheaper then a piano and a lot more portable. They also grow with you. At first I started just playing rhythm amd then I progressed onto fingerpicking. Like most musical instruments it's best to learn some theory but I was quite happy to stay at the same level so was content to strum the latest songs or fingerpick some Simon & Garfunkel. It took me a year before I could play well and that was at Uni. where nearly everyone played one. How quickly you learn is up to you though. As I said before I was quite content to strum but friends of mine learnt about theory and went on to play in amateur bands/ learnt to play really well.

    I must say I really miss just being able to pick up a guitar and strum a song from beginning to end. It's a guaranteed stress buster. Play a loud song if you're stressed out, a soft song if you want to relax. Whichever instrument you learn to play I'm sure you'll be glad you did. :smashin:
     
  25. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    I found it a bit like when I was learning to drive - at first, I couldn't manage to simultaneously judge the revs and think about changing gear with my left hand (remembering to use the clutch), whilst observing the traffic, taking notice of signs and steering where I wanted to go.

    I started learning piano when I was 37 and found it challenging, but fun. It's very rewarding when you start to be able to play "grown-up" music and it actually sounds ok.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     

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