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piano as second instrument..best way to learn ?


vudoo

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I'm a drummer who also does scoring, producing....i want to get some suggestions from you keyboard players out there as what video/books i should check out to improve my piano playing skills.

i have no problems with harmony and music theory in general ( anyways, from what i can remember from my years of music in college ), but i'm sure there's always more to learn in this area.

Basically, i need to improve my piano playing ability in order to lay down my ideas with less fustration...Thanks

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vudoo:

I would recommend some lessons. See, there's a gazillion things with piano: finger shape, arm position, technique, etc., that I don't think can be leaned from books. From the tenor of your post, I'd say you probably got most of what the books are going to offer, now it's time to have a human correct the things that will improve your skills. Remember: no book can show you HOW you are doing it wrong, and once a bad habit is picked up, it's the very devil to get rid of. Believe me, that's experience talking there.

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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I second the suggestion about getting lessons. If you don't want to go the classical route, you'll probably be able to find a decent jazz/pop teacher by talking to the people at your local music store.

 

The other part of the equation is, practice every day. If you don't have a decent-sounding keyboard with a good keyboard action, get one somehow. (A nice piano still can't be beat!) The way to develop keyboard chops is not to flail around, it's to go through your scales and exercises on a regular basis, work on the pieces your teacher assigns until you've got them cold, etc.

 

--Jim Aikin

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Vuudoo

 

When I first saw the two earlier responses I whole heartedly agreed, but after I got home and thought about it, the response troubled me. I will say I agree but I also strongly disagree. Don't get me wrong, nothing can beat a good instructor, but finding a good piano instructor is not an easy task. Over my lifetime I've had seven piano instructors and I would only consider two of them good. Unfortunately I wasn't able to train with either for very long because I moved. That meant if I was going to pursue my study of blues piano, it would have to be independent being that I moved out into the middle of the desert. I knew this would be difficult, so I craved out 3 hours out of the day to practice 1.5 hours in the morning and evening. I purchased a 3 book series which included audio CD's with examples of each lesson. Over a 3 year period, using these books/cd's I became a monster without an instructor, I often return to LA to engineer and end up playing and my friends are just blown away. Posture and position is important, but I think its relative. I've watched over a 100 good pianist and all of them have a different form mostly based upon the style they play. Theres good programmed instruction out there if you look hard. If you must go without an insructor because of finances, time, or location I would give you 3 recommendations. Get a series which is released from a known music program/school, alot of this stuff models what is taught in their classes; buy a series that has accompaning audio CD(makes it very easy to tell if your playing something correctly); and lastly, find a series which is particularly anal when it comes to fingering. To me fingering is more important then positioning and posture. In fact what I have found is that proper fingering will force you to adapt proper postioning as your finger strength and dexterity increase. In closing nothing replaces a good instructor, but some of the greatest jazz and blues pianist learned by listening, observation, and plan old woodshedding, not formal instruction.

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Aside from getting your technique together with practicing and lessons, the most important piece of advice I can give is to transcribe. It's easy to do now with just about any audio editor- you can slow things down without changing pitch and loop areas. I don't mean just transcribe solos either. Try transcribing horn sections or strings. This will develop your ear as well as increase your vocabulary. And it will get your mind thinking in new directions which, of course, your technique will need to follow. Plus, you'll be spending more time at the keyboard http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

Maybe you can answer a question for me: as a keyboard player, what drum exercises would you recommend for creating hand interdependance? Any good books out there or exercises you practice?

Good luck!

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The Sudnow Method is the best thing I have found for starting. I'll see if I can find the website for you

 

Then I would get the National Keyfoard Workshop Series by Alfred Publishing. There are 3 catagories: rock, blues, and jazz. Each catagory has 3 books, for example, Beginning Blues Keyboard, Intermediate Blues Keyboard, and Mastering Blues Keyboard. It's $9.95 for the book only and $19.95 for the book with a CD. They also have the series on video.

 

Alfred Publishing also has a series called Learn from the Legends: Blues Keyboard (This has interviews and licks from Chuck Leavell, Reese Wynans, Dr. John and a section on B3 with Al Kooper). The Rock one has a B3 Section with Steve Winwood. Guitar Center carries the Alfred Publishing books. Their website is: www.alfredpub.com

Buddy

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Hey, I'm glad I found this forum. I have been visiting a guitar forum and it's helpful but full of immature teenagers and their silly, vulgar posts. Ugh.

 

And this is a great thread! Like Vudoo, I'm searching for a way to improve my very limited keyboard skills.

 

lrbreez mentioned the Sudnow method. The website is http://www.sudnow.com. I tell you what... they sold me! This looks PERFECT for what I'm looking for. This guy, David Sudnow, has some bigtime endorsements. I ordered the whole package. Here's what he offers. See the website for his description of what it's about. Click on "The Method."

 

His offer:

 

The Weekend Piano Seminar: The Sudnow Method MANUAL AND THREE CDs (Complete email support): $37.95 add $4 handling and shipping ($41.95)

 

The Video Overview: Thirty minute "over the shoulder" look at major concepts of course, Sudnow narrating on his hands: $12.00, add $2 handling and shipping ($14)

 

Two Tape Basic Supplement: On Stride Style, and The Blues - Two 60 minute audiotapes with pamphlet, $10, add $2 handling and shipping ($12).

 

If all three items are purchased at once, add $5 shipping (59.95 + $5 = $64.95)

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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Find a good teacher. Yes, there are some turkeys out there, but more often than not, it's the student who is the problem, refusing to follow instructions, asking "Why to I need to learn scales?" and other sophomoric questions. If the teacher IS indeed a turkey, switch to a new one. Good ones aren't THAT hard to find.

 

Suggestion 2 is to record yourself occasionally (once a week or so) to get some real feedback on the problem areas in your technique. This can be a cold slap in the face, but better to hear it and work it out than to expose you audience to it.

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  • 2 weeks later...
You should really get a good piano teacher who is familiar with many styles of music. I use Alfred's Adult piano method books and all my adult students progress at a good pace (depending on how much they practice)! You will move along faster if you know you have that weekly lesson coming up and if you are doing incorrect fingering, hand positions, etc., your teacher will tell you. Also, dynamics and pedaling on the piano/keyboard are very important and you need someone familiar with those techniques teaching you. Most of us professional musicians/teachers cringe when we see some of the 'talent' on TV playing without benefit of any training. It stills holds true that the more you know, the more you can do. I play in two bands (mine), am a music director/organist at a big church and have more than thirty students. Believe me, if I didn't have 12 years of classical piano lessons, I would be doing none of the above!
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Get a teacher, if only for a little while. And record yourself periodically, like dansouth says. Hearing yourself objectively is painful but instructive. I learned that lesson very late. There's something mesmerizing about playing a song, right foot asleep at the pedal, thinking everything's dreamy and just so "right."

 

Wrong! Learn to be your best critic.

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Hey Callen,

The Alfred blues series is real good. They don't hold back. You should check out the "Learn from the Legends" series. The author went out and interviewed the artist and shows examples of how they do things. The blues one is worth just for the Chuck Leavell stuff.

 

Hey Livemusic,

The Sudnow method is awesome. His approach is different. His book 'Ways of the Hands' is good.

Buddy

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