Where should I start??? :-o


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So, my first keyboard (Yamaha PSr-373, 61 key) is due to arrive tomorrow.

As a complete newbie on keys I have absolutely no idea where to start. Scales. Learn some easy songs, chords? How about finger positions? Is there a standard (as there generally is for guitar chords) or should I just go with what comes naturally?
Does anyone have any recommendations for an online beginners course or something? I will probably be better following something like that - as one problem I had with guitar was that I literally just piddled around with loads of stuff - like learnt a riff, then jumped to something else without learning the entire song etc. (Youtube syndrome or maybe a bit of ADHD, lol)

I have had a quick look around on this forum and found that thread from 2013 but again I would not know where to start with all the stuff posted on there, no matter how useful.
How about sight reading? - should I start the long process on that. On guitar I was a tab man only and looking at youtube videos it seems the keyboard version of that are those scrolling (guitar hero style) keys videos. Not sure if that is the best way to learn to play. Though at the same time, unless I get books I doubt I will be seeing much sheet music on the internet.

Arrgghh. Help.
 
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What kind of music do you like and/or want to play?
Disregard, I looked and saw in your initial post about "How many keys":

"I would ultimately be trying to play pop and rock kind of music (including music from when the keyboard was most popular - like 80s stuff"

I recommend starting by learning the notes on the keyboard if you don't know them already, and then playing some scales and Hanon just to build some dexterity (you can find free resources online).

Jack Duxbury (sp?) at Andertons did a fun beginner series starting here:

HDpiano on YouTube has a lot of free videos to get you started (for the full lessons you have to subscribe to their website).

Ultimate Guitar has a lot of 80's stuff with keyboard parts that are pretty accurate, minus the fact that many times they're an octave high to accommodate their software and you have to be able to transcribe it down an octave, which can be pretty tough when you're new, but it gets you playing the riffs. Like HDpiano there's a fair amount of free stuff, but you have to buy a subscription to get the "official" versions. If you watch for their sales you can get yearly subscriptions pretty cheap, around $30 if I remember correctly.

Try playing some melodie by ear by pulling up the songs on YouTube or a streaming platform or from your own collection.

I also like Charles Berthoud's advice here:
Basically, mixing in having fun with some serious learning.

Once you get a little experience with the instrument you can decide from there how serious you want to get, which will help you decide your next steps.

Good luck, have fun, and let us know how you progress.
 
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The E series include lesson features you could try that.

Yamaha also offers two lessons, check out their website.

Apps like Flowkey and Playground sessions are also available but you may also like to checkout pianogenius dot com as he has a few free videos available and if you like his method then a subscription unlocks his series.
 
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Yamaha also offers two lessons, check out their website.

Ah, I just found the flyer for that in the keyboard box.

Needless to say I spent my first session just messing around with all the sounds like a kid.
I wouldn't say I have a great ear and also my last keyboard experience was playing on some cheap Casio back in school music class yonks ago, but I am impressed with the concert piano sound on the Yamaha I have.
 

Rayblewit

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Playing ACMP? 61 keys usually alludes to this.
Absolutely learn FINGERED chords. Not single finger!!! Right from the start. Forget single finger method. It will confuse you later on when you expand your ability to 7ths, minor7ths, dims, augs etc. .
Practise chord inversions. Right from the start.
Inversions are easier to play progressions in most cases and usually play close to the split point.

Yes, learn sight reading. When you have a repertoire of 100's of tunes. You will never remember all the chords or melody riffs on every tune. You will need the sheet music.

Practise every day and enjoy.
Ray
 
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Playing ACMP? 61 keys usually alludes to this.
Absolutely learn FINGERED chords. Not single finger!!! Right from the start. Forget single finger method. It will confuse you later on when you expand your ability to 7ths, minor7ths, dims, augs etc. .
Practise chord inversions. Right from the start.
Inversions are easier to play progressions in most cases and usually play close to the split point.

Yes, learn sight reading. When you have a repertoire of 100's of tunes. You will never remember all the chords or melody riffs on every tune. You will need the sheet music.

Practise every day and enjoy.
Ray
Hi, is there like a basic most used chords sheet for keyboard (with fingerings) - as there is for guitar (like with A,E,D, Em and a few others).
That is pretty much how I started on guitar . . I just practiced those chords, then chord changes, then as I discovered later I could then play buskers versions of loads of songs as they all seemed to use those same chords from that initial A4 sheet I had.

I guess having to learn chords on both left and right hand is going to be a lot trickier - especially on the less dominant (left side).

I just had to actually look up what a chord inversion was o_O
 
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Google “keyboard chord chart” and you get hundreds of permutations on the same to choose from.

It really is dead simple, take any Major chord and play it with your left hand C, E, G for a C Major, a three note chord is a Triad.

Now move and play an F Major, then a G Mayor.

Play them again and look at the number of unplayed keys between the C & E and the E & G and you will see in all cases 3 unplayed and 2 unplayed. This is the same with all Major chords, does not matter if the chord is a sharp or flat the number of unplayed keys between the played notes stays the same in a Major three note chord.

For a minor chord the middle note or 3rd move down a 1/2 step ie one note on the keybed, so the unplayed notes between the three played notes differ from the Major chord by being 2 & 3.

Get the Majors and minors off pat and then move on to 7th chords and then inversions.

C chord C E G so the root C is always the left note.

1st Inversion move the played C up to the next C so the chord left to right becomes E G C

2nd inversion moves the 3rd ie the E up to the next E and becomes G C E

That’s it, repeated practice will get muscle memory working.
 
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Does it really matter what fingerings I use for chords and also playing notes?

Sorry to keep mentioning guitar, but that is really the only reference point I have - when playing that there is generally a best fingering to use and almost exclusively taught (with a few exceptions according to taste and feel).

I guess this would form part of what is mentioned in the Charles Berthoud video posted here regarding "economy of motion"?
 
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I guess this would form part of what is mentioned in the Charles Berthoud video posted here regarding "economy of motion"?

You’ve hit the nail on the head. I remember about 40 years ago my piano teacher scribbling “ECONOMY OF MOTION!!” In big thick letters on my sheet music one time when my fingering became too convoluted.

The idea with fingering is to have your hands moving around as little as possible to help with your control, accuracy and ability to maintain correct tempo.
 
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I guess this would form part of what is mentioned in the Charles Berthoud video posted here regarding "economy of motion"?

Nail hit firmly on its head.
 
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I know this is classical music (which I did kind of imply I would not be playing as a rule).

But when I searched "easy classical-beginners songs" Erik Satie came up regularly - possibly as it is slow.

Anyway, when I looked at some videos it got me thinking about the economy of movement thing. Check out how this guy plays the piece (slowed down) on this video:


Any comments?

Initially I am thinking that the player is moving their left hand up and down the keyboard unnecessarily a lot of the time - when they could just play the bass note with the left hand and the chord with the right (when the melody is not playing).
 
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Yes with the left hand he could play the note but an octave higher, can I suggest you try it youself and you should hear that the tonal quality of the piece feels very different.

The low bass notes give a dynamic to the piece and they introduce harmonics that in turn complement the tonality of the piece.

I watched the video a couple of times and there are a few places where the right hand could play the chord but watch his hands carefully and you will see that there is a rhythm in the movement of his left hand which would be hindered if he interjected with playing the chord with his right, which in turn would interrupt the rhythm of the right hand movement.

The hardest thing I found coming from a guitar background is the independent hand movement, it does require a lot of practice.

It is also why someone asks what and how are you wanting to play as learning to play piano is very different from learning to play keyboard.
 
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I've done some reviews on online piano courses if you want to check them out at https://pianotone.ca/piano-course-reviews/

A couple that aren't crazy expensive and have some great content would be Arthur Bird's Piano Academy and PIanoforall. I also have reviews on there for Steve Lungrin's "Piano Man Approach" (fantastic course) and Piano in 21 Days (also good, but costs much more)
 

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The threads may be old and have a few deleted links, but music theory has not fundamentally changed in over 500 years.



Gary ;)
 
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I know this is classical music (which I did kind of imply I would not be playing as a rule).

But when I searched "easy classical-beginners songs" Erik Satie came up regularly - possibly as it is slow.

Anyway, when I looked at some videos it got me thinking about the economy of movement thing. Check out how this guy plays the piece (slowed down) on this video:


Any comments?

Initially I am thinking that the player is moving their left hand up and down the keyboard unnecessarily a lot of the time - when they could just play the bass note with the left hand and the chord with the right (when the melody is not playing).

Just a quick update. I kind of started to learn the above piece (though I did say that I will not be aiming to play any classical music).
Anyway, I kind of got the first few bars down and the flow of the bass, then I decided to give up as it seems a bit difficult - plus there is a bass note which is not on my keyboard So I kinda had to miss if off (the low B at 1:25mins in - which is just a semitone lower that the lowest C on my Yamaha 373) which seems like bad form.
Also I am not sure if there should be an ideal way to play chords but the chords used in the piece I was playing with my left hand fingers 5,4 and 2 (which is kind of what felt more natural) but it was not what the guy in the video was doing (I do not want to get into bad habits).

Anyway, I do not know if I am just useless or being a bit impatient, but after practicing approximately 6 hours a week (1hr per day for 6 days) for 5 weeks I really cant really do anything, apart from a few bars of Sartie. I did go through some of the beginner links posted here.

Is that bad? I know that 1 hour a day (with the occasional missed day) isnt exactly ripping up trees, but . . .hmmmm.

Maybe I should try for an easy song to get my confidence up?
 
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Part of the learning process is getting your brain used to the actions, what it does is to create neural pathways or another way of looking at it is muscle memory.

Only repetitive actions can help this develop, scales etc.

So just keep at it and you will get there.

Also keep it simple, don't try to learn Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in Bb minor or if you do go with the simple version.

There are plenty of books our there that are for the likes of a Yamaha E series, Kenneth Baker does them. Chords left hand and simple melody lines with the right. Put on a Style to suit and you can belt out a recognisable song fairly quickly. This will do your confidence a power of good.
 
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Just a quick update. I kind of started to learn the above piece (though I did say that I will not be aiming to play any classical music).
Anyway, I kind of got the first few bars down and the flow of the bass, then I decided to give up as it seems a bit difficult - plus there is a bass note which is not on my keyboard So I kinda had to miss if off (the low B at 1:25mins in - which is just a semitone lower that the lowest C on my Yamaha 373) which seems like bad form.
Also I am not sure if there should be an ideal way to play chords but the chords used in the piece I was playing with my left hand fingers 5,4 and 2 (which is kind of what felt more natural) but it was not what the guy in the video was doing (I do not want to get into bad habits).

Anyway, I do not know if I am just useless or being a bit impatient, but after practicing approximately 6 hours a week (1hr per day for 6 days) for 5 weeks I really cant really do anything, apart from a few bars of Sartie. I did go through some of the beginner links posted here.

Is that bad? I know that 1 hour a day (with the occasional missed day) isnt exactly ripping up trees, but . . .hmmmm.

Maybe I should try for an easy song to get my confidence up?
Gymnopédie No. 1 may be slow, but I wouldn't consider it a beginner piece, mostly because of how much you have to move your left hand.

61 keys is somewhat limiting, especially when it comes to classical, so you'll need to expect that you'll run out of keys sometimes when attempting a classical piece. For pop/rock tunes 61 keys is usually sufficient.

You'll likely find a few recommendations on which fingers to use for chords and playing melodies, but it ultimately comes down to what works best for you. Just keep in mind that some techniques were developed over time because they work better for things that will come later. I personally tend to use (left hand) 1, 2, 3, and 5 for four note chords like Cmaj7 (1 being the thumb), and 1, 2, and 5 for three note chords like C or Cm.

30 hours is barely getting you to the point where you might have an idea of where you want to start focusing your attention.

Yes, try learning some easy songs that can help get your confidence up. Do a web search for easy pop or rock songs for piano. Many results will have melody and chord charts to guide you through. Try to use your ears to figure out the melody. You'll normally have 3-4 chords to play in the left hand. Focus on a simplified melody and just "comping" the chords (banging out some simple rhythms), and play along with the recording. Nothing wrong with comping three chords and playing the melody as a beginner, or even just comping the chords along with the recording at first. You'll enjoy it and you'll learn some things during the process.

P.S. You'll likely find some chord charts that don't sound right when playing along with the recording. There's a good chance they may be in a different key so you may need to search for the correct key. Sometimes a recording is slightly sharp or flat compared to standard tuning. Not much you can do about that as a beginner. In that case you'll want to find something else.
 
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