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 Message Boards » » Learning to play the piano as an adult Page [1]  
Jeepin4x4
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has anyone learned to play the piano as an adult? I'm very interested, but also know that, like a 2nd language, picking up an instrument in adulthood can be very hard. So does anyone have experience with this?

1/21/2009 10:51:37 AM

ncstatetke
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you know what's the only thing better than a bunch of roses on a piano?



tulips on my organ!

1/21/2009 10:54:37 AM

bottombaby
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Adults do take piano lessons. I took lessons for 14+ years and my teacher occasionally had adults as students. They looked awfully out of place at her student recitals because there would often be 10 year olds who played better than they did.

1/21/2009 10:57:08 AM

pilgrimshoes
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yeah, i started taking piano at 15, did really well, but had the same deal ^

she made me play a recital, and got smoked by a bunch of 8 year olds

that alone was enough of a detractor and embarassment to stop, which i regret now.

I was really into music at that point, and wanted to further myself beyond guitars and wanted to learn more theory..

It was a bit akward to have this punk kid in a nine inch nails hoodie playing cats songs with a bunch of parents like O_O

make it a condition of lessons that you wont do that

[Edited on January 21, 2009 at 11:11 AM. Reason : e]

1/21/2009 11:11:26 AM

OmarBadu
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i took lessons for a year or two when i was a kid and then stopped but my little bro stayed with it - he plays amazing now and can pick up almost any song on the fly and play it - i've recently decided i want to learn the piano (i don't recall anything from my lessons) - my wife can play and has sung her whole life and is now taking guitar lessons - seems like i should learn something and the piano interests me the most

the only thing i'm somewhat waiting on is my little bro has nice keybaord he's going to give me - we just have to run into each other for the hand off - i live in ATL and he lives in DC

1/21/2009 11:16:47 AM

Dentaldamn
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i started playing guitar in high school.

should be the same thing.

1/21/2009 11:16:54 AM

Jeepin4x4
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oh god i would totally have a no recitals stipulation in my contract.

1/21/2009 11:22:35 AM

bdmazur
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I tried teaching myself piano...epic fail.

1/21/2009 11:42:05 AM

Willy Nilly
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Sorry to discourage you, but I used to be damn good, and now I'm struggling simply to catch up to where I was.
You should still try, though. Now that you can use one of those piano-teaching computer applications, I can only imagine how much easier it must be to learn the basic stuff.

Do you have any other music experience?
(You do know that you'll have to practice for at least 5 hours a week, right?)


Quote :
"I tried teaching myself piano"
Be careful with this. If your goal is to become good, you want to learn basic technique correctly the first time. Otherwise, you'll have to "unlearn" your bad technique before you can advance.

1/21/2009 11:53:50 AM

CalledToArms
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Quote :
"Be careful with this. If your goal is to become good, you want to learn basic technique correctly the first time. Otherwise, you'll have to "unlearn" your bad technique before you can advance."


this...is very important. I've played guitar for I dono maybe 10 years? (hard to say when I "started") and I am so backwards and inefficient on some stuff. I didnt start taking lessons until last year and to move forward from where I am I really had/still have to take several steps back on some things.

1/21/2009 11:58:51 AM

dyne
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i dont think its as difficult as learning a 2nd language, my mom learned piano around the same time i did, and did pretty decent. i think the harder thing is you wont have someone (i.e. parents) forcing you to practice all the time, you'll have to want it.

1/21/2009 12:31:00 PM

Jeepin4x4
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yeah these are all great points. and since i don't have easy access to a piano it would be even harder. Maybe i'll hold off until i get some disposable income and try to purchase a used full size keyboard or something. I know i'd devote my time to it if it were easily accessible.

1/21/2009 12:55:21 PM

CalledToArms
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decent keyboard with weighted keys ftw until you feel like you really want a full piano.

[Edited on January 21, 2009 at 1:01 PM. Reason : ]

1/21/2009 1:01:18 PM

PaulISdead
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I dont know this but i could see how if you were 40 years old something might be harder to learn but at 23 I think it comes down to focus and practice.

I taught myself some guitar at 18 but I practiced till my fingers couldnt take it.

Also get one of these:



[Edited on January 21, 2009 at 1:30 PM. Reason : .]

1/21/2009 1:30:13 PM

icanread2
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^^recommendations?

i, too, want to learn to play the piano

[Edited on January 21, 2009 at 1:32 PM. Reason : ]

1/21/2009 1:31:07 PM

sawahash
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I would say that as long as you have any form of musical background learning an instrument as an adult will not be hard at all.
The only thing I can see as being hard is if you tried to teach yourself to play at first and then go to an instructor only to find out that you've picked up some bad habits playing and you'll have to work on not doing those anymore.

Piano isn't really all that hard to learn, I guess the hardest is learning to read the music if you can't read music.
As long as you have an ear for music you can pick it up pretty fast.

1/21/2009 1:35:14 PM

Willy Nilly
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Quote :
"i think the harder thing is you wont have someone (i.e. parents) forcing you to practice all the time, you'll have to want it."
Oh yeah, you have to want it. Badly.
Also, children that are "forced" (i.e. very strongly encouraged,) by their parent(s) to take piano lessons, generally quit.

1/21/2009 1:36:27 PM

sawahash
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I learned so many instruments as a kid. It's cause I'd pick up one instrument, get to where I knew just enough to be able to look at music and sight read it if I wanted to be able to play it then I'd quit. My parents got so frustrated with me. By the time I quit trumpet they told me any other instrument I want to learn I'd have to buy myself.

1/21/2009 1:38:47 PM

NCSUWolfy
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i took piano when i was in 5th grade or so and quit after a year. i dont think i even learned how to read music, i remember using a shortcut somehow

i got a nice keyboard for christmas sometime during that year and ended up throwing it in with my moving stuff and have it set up in a room in my house now

i found a piano teacher on craigslist and im starting lessons in feb, def not going to do a damn recital though!

1/21/2009 2:06:01 PM

darkone
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Learning piano as an adult can be extremely difficult depending on the level of proficiency that you wish to obtain. Most difficult pieces come down to the quality of fingering technique and an adult just can't train their hands to do things like a teenager can. Most things are possible with practice, but I've noticed that in my own playing that there are some things that I just can't make my hands do no matter how much I practice. Of course, that may be more a lack of formal instruction as opposed to muscular coordination issues.

1/22/2009 12:14:43 PM

SymeGuy69
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Quote :
"QUALITY

FINGERING

TECHNIQUE"

1/22/2009 1:22:44 PM

Jeepin4x4
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just trying to serenade some bitches and make those panties drop.

1/22/2009 1:24:49 PM

WolfpckGrl17
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That happened to me. I used to take lessons as a kid back in the day for like 5 years and all of our recitals, the adults got shown up by the lil' kids.

But the winner was some teenager who played the organ and the piano, who apparently had a strict teacher that beat his hands with a whip and yelled at him if he didn't practice for like 4 hrs a day or something. He was awesome, needless to say.


I want to at least get back into it. I think it's the most beautiful instrument (almost other than bagpipe) there is. Oops, I forgot abou the saxophone, but the piano has it beat.

[Edited on January 22, 2009 at 4:46 PM. Reason : . ]

1/22/2009 4:46:03 PM

Restricted
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wtf man, wtf.

1/22/2009 4:58:26 PM

humandrive
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I've always played an instrument, but as an adult I learned to play the bagpipes. I found it rather frustrating and tedious, and a lot harder than the instruments I learned as a child. Not because of the instrument itself, but I just didn't have the learning advantage that I did when I was younger. Good luck with that.

1/22/2009 5:11:42 PM

Slave Famous
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I dabbled as a kid but never really got into it hardcore until high school

never had one lesson, but there was a piano in our dorm that we use to to fiddlefuck around on

We first tried to emulate rap beats; When that 2pac "Changes" song came out it was a race to see who could learn it first

Then we moved on to some classical pieces and 80's pop

I got to the point where I could hear a song on the radio and be able to play it by ear within 20 minutes or so

In college I didn't play for like 3 years straight except when i went home and whipped some shit up on my parent's old piano

But in the last couple years I've kind of re embraced it and gotten back, if not surpassed, my high school levels

A buddy and I spent a weekend recently learning almost the entire Beatles One album; My "Eleanor Rigby" is second to none

I don't really have the room in my place now to get my own piano but I try to keep playing often enough that I can be competent till I get a bigger place with my own baby grand where I can really ball out and become a maestro of sorts

Its definitely my favorite instrument, despite my woodwind plastered pics on here

i'd offer lessons gratis since we're both in charlotte but since I never had them myself my style is pretty unorthodox and i'd probably do more harm than good to a relative novice



[Edited on January 22, 2009 at 5:29 PM. Reason : x]

1/22/2009 5:18:28 PM

Chop
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recitals are the #1 reason i quit piano back in the day. i've never understood the point of making kids go through that experience. is it just to prove that the parents are getting their money's worth?

but yeah, like anything, learning piano as an adult is going to take a little more effort.

1/22/2009 6:31:10 PM

dyne
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well, recital is like a goal that you work towards. kinda like a ballet recital, or the "big game". every thing needs an end point to work up to.

1/22/2009 7:10:31 PM

joe17669
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i say go for it

regardless of how good you become, if it's something you enjoy it's worth it.

on that note, i took piano lessons starting when i was about 6 or 7 and stopped at 12 or 13 when i got my banjo. after that I took banjo lessons. I was pretty good at both.

1/22/2009 7:50:23 PM

Walt Sobchak
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same here Willy Nilly, i was pretty solid high school... stopped playing in college and now I'll never be as good as I once was, it is pretty damn hard to just pick up, but it can be done.

1/22/2009 10:48:22 PM

Willy Nilly
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Quote :
"and now I'll never be as good as I once was"
Don't say that....
....keep at it.


Quote :
"i've never understood the point of making kids go through that experience"
Because if you don't, you may forever fear performing for others. Some may be happy just playing for themselves or making recordings, and that's just fine -- but really, what's the point of learning to play an instrument if you're never gonna perform?

Think about how much it would suck if you were really good at playing....
...until someone else comes in the room and your nerves get shot and you can't play anymore.
I once performed for 1500 people, and I still get a little nervous performing for even 1 person.


[Edited on January 23, 2009 at 6:12 AM. Reason : ]

1/23/2009 6:04:44 AM

Chop
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^i suppose. that's all fine and well if you are training to become a performer. but what's wrong with playing music for the sake of playing music? i've been playing some sort of musical instrument since i was 6 or 7, but its always been for the personal enjoyment of making music, either alone or with others. i've never cared for the spotlight. i think some kids get turned off by being forced into the performance aspect, others really flock to it.

[Edited on January 24, 2009 at 1:04 AM. Reason : .]

1/24/2009 1:03:03 AM

simonn
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for a while i really wanted to get a keyboard that i could plug into my computer and buy a piano teaching software suite. i really should do that.

1/24/2009 2:03:31 AM

jprince11
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how is piano different from other instruments then? or are you saying you it's hard to learn all instruments as an adult

1/24/2009 3:10:41 PM

Chop
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^you only play one note at a time on a lot of instruments and either play the melody or part of the harmony. with guitar you may or may not play up to six notes at once and may play the melody, harmony, rhythm, or all three at once. with piano, you could theoretically play >10 notes at once and be doing melody, harmony, rhythm, or all three. so yeah, i could see it being more difficult.

1/24/2009 3:29:19 PM

Igor
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YES i had one back in da nineties. the only thing that is more gangsta than that is my accordion.

Jesse, it's never too late to start practicing.

I picked up the damn accordion after 8years of not playing. almost like learning all over again. but im getting somewhere.

1/24/2009 11:19:14 PM

ncsuallday
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Thought I'd bump this for anyone who is considering piano lessons.

I'm 30 and I've played guitar since I was little but never was never formally trained. I'd say I'm a pretty damn good acoustic rhythm player but I really don't care for scales, soloing, electric guitar, etc. I'm more into the folk rock, Americana, singer songwriter, etc. type of stuff.

I started voice lessons to go along with my playing and thought that it might be beneficial to take piano to go along with my vocal exercises. My voice teacher referred me to a great teacher from her church and I started playing piano for the first time in May. I bought a Yamaha P-115b keyboard right off the bat and I've been working with my teacher (a super sweet old lady that has an impressive Juliard background) for about 45 minutes a week at $15/hr. There are days that I don't practice, and days that I play for a few hours at a time. I'd say generally I put in 4 hours a week unless I'm off work.

Basically I started out with an adult learner book that does a good job of building fundamentals and teaching you how to read sheet music. The songs were pretty out of touch but they tied in with the weekly lessons and the theory. I also starting learning scales from day 1 and I also asked a lot of questions about musical theory. There were a lot of things I knew from playing guitar but didn't know what they were formally called or the mathematics/theory behind them. Eventually I asked if we could deviate from the book for a bit so I could actually learn some pieces and that has helped me to stay interested and learn techniques that are more advanced than I am but then be able to circle back around to the theory/book and fill in the gaps with more applications.

So in ~7 months I now know all of my major scales and their flats, can play said scales in both hands separately and simultaneously, can read sheet music, can sight read easier stuff fairly well, have pretty good control of 3 finger chords in both hands, can do four finger chords, know the theory behind minor and major scales, can do a bit of improvisation, can do some more advanced techniques, etc. My first piece was Bach's Well Tempered Clavier in C. Right now I'm working on jazz improv for Christmas songs.

Piano has been infinitely rewarding for me as a musician. I wish I had learned it first and will definitely have my children (should I have them) learn piano first. It has improved my ear for music beyond measure and has really helped both my singing and my guitar playing. I find it to be very relaxing and it's such an intuitive instrument compared to guitar.

So yeah if you've made it this far and are considering piano - do it! There will be days where you'll feel totally lost and days you just won't want to play but it always seems to peak after those plateaus. Having a teacher really helps you stay focused, to be able to ask questions, and to keep you on track and accountable.

1/2/2017 11:00:35 PM

Maverick1024
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My girlfriend was apparently amazing at piano as a kid and wanted to get back into it. I've heard her sit down and play songs at parties that were unbelievably complex, so I knew she had skills.

I found a badass Yahama digital piano on Craigslists and got it for her for Christmas. I also got her the Beatles anthology songbook -- her favorite band -- so she'd have something to play.

She was so damn excited .... until she realized she couldn't remember how to site-read music. She was pretty bummed.

She's now taking piano lessons with a lady from her church, and she's already dreading the recital. Will report back.

1/3/2017 12:17:02 AM

ncsuallday
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good luck to her! - performance is a totally different world. if she (or anyone) really dreads that aspect of it, I'd say just don't do it. there's nothing wrong with learning music (or anything) for the sake of enjoying it on its own.

1/3/2017 9:44:58 AM

shoot
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Just bought a piano during Christmas week. Gonna do it.

1/3/2017 9:33:16 PM

ncsuallday
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^nice! good luck. with a teacher or by yourself?

this is the book I use

https://www.amazon.com/Adult-All-One-Course-Lesson-Theory-Technic/dp/0882848186/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483539214&sr=8-2&keywords=alfred%27s+basic+adult+piano+course

1/4/2017 9:14:24 AM

shoot
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Try by myself first. Then teach my daughter.

1/4/2017 9:15:35 AM

KInge21
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I use to love piano practice because my teacher had a trampoline in her back yard.

1/7/2017 11:45:54 PM

A Tanzarian
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^^^ +1 for Alfred's

1/8/2017 2:37:37 AM

shoot
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Yes, Alfred's series is so good, first published in 94 and still popular today.
Google books offers free review of its first 32 pages. I can get a brief idea about what the learning process should be.

1/31/2017 3:22:49 PM

ncsuallday
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The first 32 pages are basically like three months worth of lessons so that's not a bad way to test the water

1/31/2017 4:44:46 PM

shoot
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I just looked through the content page and it tired me out already.

2/1/2017 9:20:28 AM

ncsuallday
Sink the Flagship
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try to do like 1-3 pages a week. don't get discouraged

2/1/2017 9:32:55 AM

shoot
All American
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Start from cutting finger nails and sitting properly.

2/1/2017 11:13:02 AM

PaulISdead
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OP, was this idea inspired by a particularly exciting trip to a dueling piano bar?

2/3/2017 1:04:58 PM

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