I've had my piano fo

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I've had my piano for a few days, now, and I've spent all my time just messing about with sounds and getting to know it as an instrument. I'd like to get some lessons, and I'm hoping for some advice on what sort of lessons, or teacher, I should look for. I'm in my 40s, and I've been a guitar player for nearly 30 years. Almost all of my stuff has been original material, played by ear. I played around on a piano for a few months when I was a kid (no lessons), and have done similar with various keyboards and synths over the years. My reading is at a rather elementary level, but I'm gradually getting to grips with it. I've been writing music on the computer for over ten years, using MIDI sequencer software in piano roll mode. Main reasons for getting a piano are... * I no longer play guitar seriously. * I need an instrument to use as a source of ideas. * To learn some piano favourites to play for pleasure. So, I have experience in writing and making music, I've been through the process of being a beginner on an instrument, and I can play well by ear but my reading is poor. I can pick out a tune on the piano, but it's slow going (because I'm still hunting for notes if playing by ear, and because it takes a while for me to translate dots on the staff to keys on the piano). I'd like to get to a standard where I can play the piano fluidly - I should be able to hit notes without having to think about it. Outside of the piano favourites, much of what I do will be improvised. I know that fluidity and reading will improve with practice, but I want to be sure that I don't learn a bunch of bad habits. Gotta get off to a good start, and some lessons would seem like a good idea - but this is something I know little about. I would have to say that I'm not attracted to the idea of of doing the grades (although a fair few of my 'piano favourites' are classical pieces). Are there teachers that specialise in lessons for adults that are already capable musicians on a different instrument? Or is this something that most teachers can readily accommodate? Am I right in thinking that the main aspects that I need to address are technical proficiency and improving my reading? Are there other things that I haven't thought of? Thanks in advance.
Last edited in 2017-06-07 18:08


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  • MichelleCheung

    When I tell people I 'play' the piano, they ask me what grade I am. That gives someone an idea what level I am at and what kind of music I am capable of playing. I have not even done grade 1 yet but can play a list of simple tunes designed for children and the more I learn and pick up stuff, the hard the pieces become, so the easy pieces become too easy and I move on to more difficult stuff.

    7th June, 2017

  • Animalski

    Scotch, no, it's a real piano (Rosler Rigoletto console from the mid-90s). The way I see it, the stuff of music is sound, and I think it's a good thing to explore the sounds that are available from a new instrument. With 200-odd strings, 88 keys, and nine possible pedal combinations (with some gradations in between), it seems to me that there are plenty of sounds - tonal colours - to be had. Sounds like piano teachers should be able to deal with me, so I'll check the local area and see who's available. I would say my guitar playing was pretty good. My main strengths were a good, clean technique, and a good ear for picking up a tune (like I said, it was original material and improvisation). I played acoustic and electric: vaguely folky/celtic stuff on acoustic, and lead & rythm on electric (mainly rock and funk). I did learn some stuff about scales and chords when I got started, but kinda dropped that after a few years. I eventually got to the stage where I could pretty-much play what was in my head without thinking. I'm in the UK. My misgivings about grades are that I feel that there's an element of playing stuff because it requires a particular technical standard, but isn't neccessarily a tune I like. It's also a bit hard to take an interest in exams, since I have no reason to 'get grades' in a career context - so there's no substantive motivitation to work for the exams. I bought a MIDI controller keyboard just before christmas, mainly for my MIDI writing activities (ie, a studio tool), and to play around with Hammond and piano sounds - it's taken a good 2-3 years for me to recognise that I'm no longer playing the guitar seriously, and this was an opportunity to try a couple of alternatives. I lasted two days on the Hammond sounds, and another couple before I just had to go and buy a footswitch to use as a sustain pedal. Eight days later, the deposit was paid on the Rosler, which was delivered exactly two weeks after the MIDI keyboard arrived.

    7th June, 2017

  • JamesBU

    Happy-gal - looks like I just need to find a teacher that is happy to include adults, so that's what I'll do. Cheers - and good luck to you, too.

    7th June, 2017

  • sgirl58

    Also: You don't say from where you're writing. "Grade exams" generally aren't done in the United States. If you do have some kind of electronic instrument rather than a piano, determine whether it has eighty-eight keys, whether it has simulated piano-like action (Does it have weighted keys? Is it touch sensitive?), and whether it has a sustain pedal. If it has at least these things, you can get by for a while, but you'll still eventually want to get a piano (or access to a piano).

    7th June, 2017

  • Grange Blues
    Grange Blues

    I've spent all my time just messing about with sounds....
    This suggests to me that you have some kind of electronic keyboard instrument rather than a piano. In any case, you are probably right in assuming reading and technical proficiency will be the main things you should address (depending how good a guitar player you really were). Your age and your experience at having played another a instrument will not be a significant obstacle to a good teacher unless you make it one.

    7th June, 2017

  • CarolBlackburn

    Hello I am in my 40s and started piano lessons about 9 months ago. I found a music school which had a good reputation. I don't think there are teachers specifically for adults. My teacher teaches children and adults so it makes no difference who they teach. We all learn and some are kids and some are adults. As for the grades... you dont have to sit the grade exams. It is entirely up to you. The teacher you find will teach you to read music properly and teach you to play the correct way, so regardless of the exams, you will learn to play the piano and enjoy it. Good luck

    7th June, 2017

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