The journey is starting...


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I did my introductions in the Introduction thread.

Today, I received the Yamaha GTX 660, and have it set up. Still waiting on the seat and a couple other things.

So, right now I'm investigating what online tools to use for learning. I am a complete beginner. (I had Accordion lessens, but that was so long ago I don't remember any of it).

One gentleman in another thread told me that the keyboard comes with 3 months of Flowkey. I haven't see reference to that yet. Maybe I will when I register the keyboard.

So, candidates so far in no particular order are:

In another post, I read that The Kenneth Baker The Complete Keyboard Player series was a pretty good method. Not certain yet I want to invest into a lot of reading.

I'm leaning toward Playground Sessions, based on very little investigation.

If anyone has any thoughts to add, I look forward to hearing.

I'll post back in this thread about decisions, and thoughts as I move into it.
 
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Add Simply Piano & Skoove to your list of Apps to checkout.

As you get Flowkey free for three months it should be a no brainer to make use of it at least for the free trial period.

 
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Add Simply Piano & Skoove to your list of Apps to checkout.

As you get Flowkey free for three months it should be a no brainer to make use of it at least for the free trial period.


I agree. Thanks for the link. I expected for there to be info on that included with the unit, and there was not.

I was thinking maybe when I register it it would tell me then, but it appears I need to register it at Flowkey,

I will have my first practice session today, with Flowkey.

I was going to go up in my previous post and add those to the list. Turns out this forum apparently does not allow editing if it has been responded to. I participate in a lot of forums, and have not found that to be the case in any of them.

Thanks again.

Roger
 
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Well today I started my sessions in Flowkey. I went through it for about an hour and a half, and got through the first three chapters on right hand and into the second on the left hand.

I will say one thing a little bit frustrating with Flowkey is that you got to have your microphone on on your computer and it listens to if you're hitting the right keys before it goes on. I found that very often it didn't hear one of the keys I played, sometimes even after a couple hits. I tried changing volume on the keyboard, as well as the speed of what I was playing. Neither really seem to help.

Another thing that sneaked up on me is that I was anticipating practicing with headphones on, so that nobody else has to hear this crappy stuff I'll be playing :). But given that this lesson needs to hear what I'm playing to move through it I cannot use the headphones.

To my surprise on the treble side, right hand, I was able to read the music a little bit, a lot better than I thought I would. That might harken back to my days of playing accordion 50 years ago. But the base and left hand the reading is not something I am immediately understanding. I'm going to have to practice certainly more with the left hand with reading music let alone playing it.
 
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Today I worked more in Flowkey. Got to the 2 hand intro. I still found the 'not hearing the note' from the computer to be frustrating. It just got worse when playing both hands.

So, I decided to sign up for a 7 day free trial of Playground Sessions. I find it much better, and less frustrating.

What's Better:
  • A lot less arrows to press to go to the next screen.
  • The practice went at a regular pace, at their default tempo. But you could change the tempo to suite your own speed capability. It would mark the notes that you errored on, whether missing it, timing wrong, or whatever. What I did on some of the exercises was slow it down to 100 BPM (114 was their default). When I got 100% on that I took it to 105, then to 114.
I thought some of the intro stuff was better. (That of course is personal opinion).
What I didn't like:

  • The count for the timing was confusing. My understanding, (maybe wrong), is that the 4 over 4 meant 4 beats per bar. The count started as: 1,2,3,4,1,2,set,60. But..., the tune they played that you were playing to had only 2 beats per bar. Was pretty confusing at first. I finally just did the beat in my head of 1,2,1,2,...and that helped.
Personal things that needed practice for me: I found that I probably need to turn the computer up louder. Without hearing the background music I was playing too (my keys played were louder and made hearing the background music hard). As a result of that if I happened to be off by a bit on my timing, it really screwed me up.

I put in an hour on Flowkey, and an hour and fifty minutes on Playground. It was more satisfying, and doing the exercises over was easier, it seemed.
 
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Today's practice took me to a longer exercise, so it was a bit harder to get 100%.

Interestingly one thing that was a problem for me is that when I was practicing it at the default beat of 114, it played accompaniment, and in the first half of the exercise, that accompaniment caused real issues with me keeping time. It sounded like it was not on beat. It would throw me off my timing. (I played it once and watched, and it was on beat), I guess my mine would want to follow the beat of the accompaniment, and maybe my 1 count was on a different note from the accompaniment. That shouldn't be the case.

On the second half, I could follow with it.
 
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3dc

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Today's practice took me to a longer exercise, so it was a bit harder to get 100%.
That is the main problem with piano apps. You are supposed to learn any piano part at slowest tempo possible (60 bps) first before playing at full tempo. Also you are supposed to learn one or two bars max at time. Finally several repetitions with left hand and right hand. I suggest you take time. Write down notes in a separate notebook and practice offline without the help of the app. Learning piano is not a racing game but persistence and precision game.

Just a suggestion. Take care. :)
 
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That is the main problem with piano apps. You are supposed to learn any piano part at slowest tempo possible (60 bps) first before playing at full tempo. Also you are supposed to learn one or two bars max at time. Finally several repetitions with left hand and right hand. I suggest you take time. Write down notes in a separate notebook and practice offline without the help of the app. Learning piano is not a racing game but persistence and precision game.

Just a suggestion. Take care. :)
Thanks for the tips.

I will say that the app did sad you suggest. It would to 2 bars, her me do it, then 2 more, until ultimately it does the whole thing.

This morning I spent the whole hour and half on one exercise. I would play it slow, then faster, and do so at each speed until I got 100%. When I got to full speed, the accompaniment threw of my timing.

The offline without the app I do plan to do. But I don't have any music, let alone exercises, from which to practice.

One thing in really trying to focus on is learning to read the music.

Thanks again for the input. I appreciate it.
 
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An hour and a half on one exercise is way, way to long. You are learning the muscle memory method.

Forget the App for now and use good ole sheet music.

Set up a practice routine with it broken down into time slots

Noodle around for five minutes, improvisation. This will loosen up the fingers.

Spend 5-10 minutes learning and practicing Scales, do not practice more than three different Scales in a single session. Playing scales has multiple benefits, you learn the Scale and you practice the correct finger crossing techniques.

Spend five minutes looking at the sheet music and visualise the notes and how you are going to play them.

Set the metronome to 60 bpm and play a few bars RH only, do this two or three times then repeat with LH only, again repeat two or three times.

Then play both hands, yet again two or three times.

Repeat the above on a higher bpm.

Spend no longer than fifteen minutes on this exercise.

Take a break at least every 1/2 hour.

Ensure you have good posture at all times.

Do search the forum as practice routines have been covered many times and what works for each of us is different hence you will develop a routine that works for you.

The next time you use the sheet music, practice what you did previously then add in sone more bars. Eventually you will kearn the piece and your speed will increase, but again it is important not to over practice a single piece. Learning multiple pieces at the same time will develop your reading technique faster than learning a single piece.
 
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@Biggles.. Thanks so much for the advice. I will take it to heart.

I've been thinking about how to mix it up. I might do a bit of the online and then take off from there and follow your thoughts.

I agree that was likely too much. The thing I was struggling with was getting the timing right when it played at 114 and had the accompaniment. As the accompaniment came on, it was soft, and it really threw my timing off. More of the practice time focused on that.

I really appreciate your input.
 
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Oh BTW, one other thing I thought about practicing is playing soft and then Ioud. I want to be able to master being able to be consistent with soft playing and louder. I presume there may be a name for that, but I don't know what it is.
 
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The offline without the app I do plan to do. But I don't have any music, let alone exercises, from which to practice.
One thing in really trying to focus on is learning to read the music.
Thanks again for the input. I appreciate it.
A little "public secret" if I may:
You actually don't read music notes - you learn to recognize them. A big difference many music text books fails to mention. :)
The best way to achieve that really fast is by writing music notes down - on paper and by hand. So whatever music you are practicing in your app take some time to manually write it down in a handy notebook or on A4 paper. After 10 or more songs you will develop memory muscles to recognize music notes on the fly. By doing that you will also learn out about specific notes patterns. Check this YT video to learn more:
 
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I'm in a similar position as the OP, and am trying to evaluate all the common piano/keyboard tutorial software & online systems right now - Piano Marvel, FlowKey, Yousician, Simply Piano, Piano Planet, Skoove & Playground sessions, and a variety of YouTube based instructors. So far the ones I favor from the above are Piano Marvel, FlowKey & Piano Planet (have subscriptions or have purchased modules).

I am a total noob on keys though I have played guitar most of my life, but am self taught and am not a good music reader (yet). I'm starting from ground zero on keys and trying to force myself to learn to read music. I'm slogging through the "Child Level" lessons on Piano Marvel, mostly because of my lack of experience on keys and lack of reading ability. It does seem to be a good system for learning the basics and does note recognition fairly well using MIDI or bluetooth (need to have a MIDI to bluetooth unit such as the one from Yamaha).

Skoove, Simply piano & Yousician were OK but all had some things that I didn't think were great so I dropped them. I haven't tried Playground Sessions yet but I will probably try it for a month to see if it is better than Flowkey or not.

I really like the concept shown in the video in post #12 above. The "Landmark System" makes a lot of sense to me and seems to be quicker to use than the mnemonic systems (Every Good Boy Does Fine) that we were all exposed to in the past. I bought a fairly cheap tutorial series on this from the author of this video that's on Udemy. They have a ton of courses on a variety of subjects. They're always listed for really high prices like $199, but are almost always "on sale" for like $11.99 or something like that.

Another sight reading revelation I ran across recently but haven't had time to dig into in any depth yet is reading chord notation by reading "Note Clusters" . Looking at scores with a lot of chord figures, I always thought "I'll never be able to read that in real time". I saw this YouTube video that explained that when you see a "Cluster" of stacked notes, you don't have to "read" all the notes, you read the bottom note, and you learn to recognize the other notes by their position (or interval) from the bottom note. So for instance, if you see a chord figure with the bottom note being on middle C, and 2 notes above it on the next 2 lines, it's simply stacked thirds so its a C Major.

That was a real revelation for me and I can see where that makes sight reading chords a lot easier and faster. I know that that's a very simple example but I think that will really help once I learn to recognize the basic chord shapes.
 
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Add one more online piano lesson program to your research. Piano In A Flash taught by Scott Houston the Piano Guy from PBS. You can participate in a long and very detailed free webinar to see if its for you. Warning its a bit bit pricey but at the end of my webinar the price was discounted quite a bit. I took the lifetime option which was less than a year of private guitar lessons when I first started playing back during the second ice age.

I almost went with Playground Sessions, a couple of negative reviews turned me away and a little bate and switch when I learned neither Harry Connick Jr or Quincy Jones didn't actually teach the courses. Yes, probably too good to be true. But still. Nice price though. Good luck.
 
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One thing you all will probably find is that there is not one website or system that will suit everyone.

It is a case of finding a learning process what works for you.
 

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