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Can't find any piano teachers here: What should I practice on a piano?

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Post by jwburks Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:04 pm

I should say that I'm not completely new to music, but my primary instrument has always been the guitar. I took guitar instructions from someone who was *very* good at it, and had been playing for 20+ years. He was quite famous around the area, and probably still is (I moved away). With him, I learned a lot about scales, music theory, and what-have-you, so I know how that all works. The circle of 5ths, the circle of 4ths, arpeggios, chord construction and formulas, practicing with a metronome. I've been doing that for years, have been in a band (still am). I'm not saying I'm tired of the guitar, but I've also been dabbling in the piano for years. And as disciplined as I get with the guitar as far as practicing goes, I must say that I simply cannot find a piano teacher around here. I found one place--a music store--that had a piano instructor, and they were there and I walked up to ask if they'd teach me, and they ignored me and walked off...

So with the guitar, I know what to practice, and I know how to practice. But with the piano, I don't even have a *clue*, so I started with just learning songs. I can read music, well... I can't just look at something and play it without ever having heard it, no. But I know what it all is, except for, well, a lot of things I will surely learn in time (mostly the italian stuff). But I have a foundation to build on. Anyway, with the guitar I practiced scales, arpeggios, rhythm, licks, etc. For the piano, I wouldn't even know *how* to practice a scale, or what is best to practice on a daily basis. I don't have a repetoire, I don't have squat.

I learn songs, I write songs. Yes I've been writing songs on the piano for a while now (a wHile). But these songs would be so much better if I had more style and technique, I am sure... and I don't even know what to do. I just found this site, so I will look around and see if there is anything like this, but I'm glad I did find it. Because I need help! Life's too short to keep looking for a teacher... in this little backwater *mumble grumble*...

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Post by VictorCS Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:20 pm

Theory is basically the same on both instruments, and when you get to know the piano you'll see
it's pretty much the same, but you dont have to pick the strings, but hit the keys...

About practicing, you'll just do the same, practice whatever you do on the guitar on the piano. Remember you've playd alot of guitar,
so you got the basics. I do ( did, keyboard is broken ) mostly scales, rythm and arpeggios, and alot of improvisation.
If I wasnt practicing a song. This is basically what I do on the guitar too.

And ofcourse trying to figure out songs by ear, and composing own songs...

Piano scales:
http://www.pianoworld.com/fun/vpc/piano_chords.htm
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Post by Thomandy Fri Sep 05, 2008 8:08 pm

Great Vic Smile
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Post by jwburks Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:53 pm

So you only do one octave? On the guitar (I preferred the 3-notes-per-string version of most scales) you do almost 3, ascending, descending, legato, staccato, and not to mention the melodic patterns... should I apply all of that, too?

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Post by VictorCS Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:31 pm

When I practice scales I practice them from the left to the right on the piano, so I cover the whole piano.
I usually also do 2 octaves ascending/descending, so I get the feel on how it turns...

Havent done much legato and staccato, and the melodic pattern gets washed away by improvisation.
Scales are also much easier to memorize on the piano. Since it pretty straight forward,
it's like one long string with black and white paint, the guitar range over 6 strings, making it kinda hard to skip from C major to D major...

You've been playing for 20+ years, so you probably know the scales, but if you start with piano
scales and guitar scales at the same time as I did, piano scales is so much easier.
( Didnt really now anything about scales before 5-6 months ago ^_^ )
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Post by jwburks Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:08 pm

My former teacher had been playing for 20+ years and was a Berklee graduate :-P I have been at it for 12 years, but I can still tear it up. I know speed and accuracy come only with time and dedication. For scales on the guitar, I practiced with the metronome, at first, at a general pace, but then I turned into a perfectionist and slowed the speed *way* down, and gradually built up speed. I think I will do the same for piano, but I don't expect to be able to play worth a crap for a long time. And the reason I ask about piano scales is because most things (the few I have found, even on the internet) show only one octave, played with the fingering of 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5, then back down again. If you play with that fingering, how do you play more than one octave unless you make a huge jump?

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Post by VictorCS Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:03 am

jwburks wrote:My former teacher had been playing for 20+ years

I mixed the information lol!

12 years, I've only done guitar for 1 year and 8 months.... Try to find your own fingering, the one that's the most comfortable, ofcourse some fingering is pretty much 12312345,
but with some scales there are better ones ( especially if you go higher than 1 octave ). You'll have to adjust your fingering when playing more than one octave,
I cant really try myself right now since I dont get my digital piano before next month. But the most important thing is that your fingering is comfortable,
and feels "speedy", and has as little movement as possible ( you dont play scales like this: 1 5 1 5 1 5 1 5 1 ^_^ ).

My fingering playing the Harmonic Minor, C scale:
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3
C D D# F G G# B C D D# F G G#

This fingering feels natural for me, as you can see, it's just a pattern that keeps repeating, and my pinky stays out off it....

How I would play one octave:
1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5
C D D# F G G# B C

A metro is almost a must, great way to increase speed and flow Cool
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Post by jwburks Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:59 am

Oh I agree! I don't think I could live without my metronome, although I have a few and none of them go below 40 bpm. Actually I found a web page that is basically just a metronome and it can go at any speed: www.webmetronome.com

I have to say that name is very original :-P But that noise can get on your nerves like nobody's business...

So, I should use whatever fingering is comfortable... would you believe this is the exact same thing my guitar instructor told me about scales? :-))))))) I somehow thought the piano would be more demanding about fingering, but if I did it once, I can do it twice. That's pretty funny though. I wonder what Beethoven would have said about this? Probably would have hit us...

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Post by 07dwarves Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:26 pm

WOW! The two website links given in this thread are jewels! Thank you Victor for the chords link and thank you Jwburks for the metronome link.

I appreciate the tips!

Cheers!
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Post by VictorCS Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:29 pm

You're welcome Cool
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