Piano: How to get from where I am to this level of proficiency

(7 Posts)
CookieDoughKid Fri 03-Jul-15 22:03:04

I've recently taken up piano again after a 10 year break. I passed grade 3 piano exam in the past but that was 10 years ago. I've learning again and can comfortably play elementary music scores that my 7 old is playing.

I'd LOVE to be able to get to this level - that's my long term aim - see this song by Passenger on YouTube . I want to study and learn contemporary music and some well known classics.

What do I need to do to extend learning? I'm currently self-taught and playing my dd's music (which is very limited) but somewhat afraid to go any more harder as don't want to feel discouraged. Should I take lessons at this point? Thanks for reading.

Ferguson Fri 03-Jul-15 22:31:45

I have replied on many Keyboard / Piano queries, so if you search on my name and relevant 'key words' you should find a few things.

As a TA, I taught 'informal' music for twenty years - Keyboard, recorder, percussion.

Do you have an acoustic piano, or digital?

The ABRSM do a lot of music for all Grades, as well as Theory books, and 'Theory in Practice' for each grade, where you write answers to various questions.

Is DD having lessons? At school, or private, and what Grade is she on to?

I think you have to try and overcome your 'fears' and believe that music is not outside of the reach of a literate, numerate adult, with a certain amount of effort, regular practice, and listening critically to ALL music, not only stuff you like, but harder things.

If you could really play the sort of music you WANT, what would it be? (Imagine magic lets it happen, and don't hold back!)

I'll look back in a few days, with links and more specific suggestions.

littlehouseinthebigwoods Fri 03-Jul-15 22:36:16

Personally I'd really recommend taking lessons of you can. It is so much easier when someone with experience is guiding you and setting you manageable goals. I think self learning is good to a point but with an instrument like the piano a good teacher (ask around for any recommendations) will get you so much further! Good luck.

CookieDoughKid Fri 03-Jul-15 22:46:53

Thanks for the reply. Really appreciate it and I will definitely look at your previous posts. We have a basic digital keyboard at home which is fine for now. We will have to upgrade to a more expensive digital piano in the future. I think for now, we will keep on the digital side due to the practicalities of it but hopefully, also get to practise on acoustic as well if we ever get a chance to find an acoustic piano.

I love the pianist Ludovico Einaudi which has a very 'clean' sound to his playing. I love pop music but really good ones like the singer Adele and John Legend. My music taste is unfortunately very Radio1 and Radio2 (pop/rock/RnB) and want to expand more into classical - beyond the Vivaldi tunes that get played at the proms.

I guess where I am stumped is what kind of music sheets should I be looking to buy? Should I just go for 'easy piano' versions of music that I like? And what path I should look into doing to get myself to the next level?

I don't really have interest in taking exams - I suffer badly from nerves and just want to play for myself. I wasn't all that impressed with the choice of music offered by ABRSMs 10 years ago (horribly boring for the grades I had to sit). However, I know I would probably advance quicker if I followed the ABRSM exams sad

CookieDoughKid Fri 03-Jul-15 22:47:50

Agree - I think at this point I may well need to invest and get a decent piano tutor onboard who can help me with a path....

Ferguson Sat 04-Jul-15 20:05:08

Hi -

I didn't know Ludovico Einaudi, but just had a listen on YouTube, and although he's not someone I would get really 'keen' I can understand why you like him.

You say you have a 'basic keyboard', but can you tell me more about it, like the make and model number? Do you play it as a Keyboard, that is is with left hand accompaniments and 'automatic' features; or more as a Piano, where your left hand has to do more work to make your own accompaniment?

You could make some progress from Tutor Books, and that would probably be adequate for the kinds of music you have mentioned, but obviously having a teacher to explain things, demonstrate proper fingering, and correct mistakes is better, but will be expensive, but better to tackle more 'challenging' music.

You might consider Bach is 'too heavy' or 'too difficult', to listen to or to try and play, but a piece like this is almost as 'relaxing' as things you have mentioned, and has more musical 'value':

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KQW2YnCUrE

Maybe you haven't considered Jazz, but this piece by Bill Evans is also relaxing:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv2GgV34qIg

Someone I like is Michel Camilo, but this is definitely NOT relaxing:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mkLoSqqvq8

Tell me about your keyboard, and what you think of these pieces.

boogiewoogie Sat 04-Jul-15 23:59:20

Hello OP,

I think you would be better off getting a teacher who can give you proper guidance about your technique and how advice on avoiding bad practice. A living breathing teacher will also give you clear, directed guidance and help you progress faster than if you were to struggle on your own.

Have you looked at the sheet music for the piece that you linked in your post and tried to play it on the piano?

First, I think you need to become familiar with your scales and arpeggios to learn the broken chords that features quite heavily in the piece.

There are some piano studies and exercises such as Hanon, Donyhani and Czerny to help develop speed and dexterity but again, this should be used under the instruction of a tutor.

As far as sheet music is concerned, there is no shame in purchasing easy versions of proper pieces to start off with but make sure that it's something that you will use frequently as buying sheet music can become an expensive habit!

Good luck. Learning the piano is very rewarding.

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