Learning to play keyboard

#1
Hello musicians!
After many years of regret for not learning any musical instrument I decided to learn to play keyboard.
So, one month ago, I bought CASIO CTK 4400 which I got information that it's good for beginners as it has touch sensitive keys.

I've learned notes, sheet reading (although still find some new marks from time to time), major chords, minor chords, augmented chords, diminished chords, SUS 2, SUS 4, and am still learning scales and chord progressions. I am only starting to grasp Circle of fifths/fourths..
What I am interested is the following: can you give me some tips for both hands usage? It has become boring using only one or two notes for bass (left hand) and I am still not good for harder pieces. :) Feel like I miss some crucial exercises or techniques to help me with this. I do not have a teacher, I learn by videos, tutorials and by trial and error, to some degree.

Besides playing and with time, I would also like to learn some basics of music composition so am also interested in music theory.
Btw, I am also learning a little bit how to play drums, although this happens once or twice a week, as I do not have them, but my friend does. Somehow think this helps me with rhythm knowledge for my keyboard playing.

Please feel free to give tips to anything you think is important, not just related to my question.
Thank you!
 

yumi

Padawan Learner
#3
Hi,
I can propose a creative approach of the musical practice, oriented keyboards/percussions. It can complement other methods,
knowing that depending on whether one seeks to reproduce an "ideal" or to discover "one's universe"... one does not prevent the other, it is part of the lesson, but the path to making a choice may present itself. You can try to please yourself, but the real pleasure is on the side of ensemble music, playing together. Music is of particular interest in the sense that it transcends universal values; it is therefore not about competition or anticipation: it is about accompaniment in order to cross the line together. From there flows the relative notion of harmony as well as the fact of learning at its rhythm. but not only.
the first concept to be approached is that of pulsation.
 

Laura

Administrator
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#4
I always found that working a bit more with the left hand alone helped. Then put it together with the right and go very slowly so you get it right. Do that over and over again and then gradually increase the tempo as the pattern imprints in your mind/moving center.
 

yumi

Padawan Learner
#5
....pulsation is at the heart of music, one can feel it as a cyclic movement, a breath. It is enough to draw a horizontal 8 with the index; like a line projected to infinity with a point of convergence. In this sense, balance is better perceived as a perpetual movement, an emotion too. Musical work and its memory are linked since what we could call "the corporal inscription of the spirit". Practical exercises to come...
 

Laura

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#6
....pulsation is at the heart of music, one can feel it as a cyclic movement, a breath. It is enough to draw a horizontal 8 with the index; like a line projected to infinity with a point of convergence. In this sense, balance is better perceived as a perpetual movement, an emotion too. Musical work and its memory are linked since what we could call "the corporal inscription of the spirit". Practical exercises to come...
Yumi, do you get up early in the morning in order to plan how to write/say things that are totally off-side and irrelevant to the context?
 

ScioAgapeOmnis

The Living Force
#7
I learned by listening to music and trying to play along with it. You need to learn a few basic chord progressions, like blues, circle of fifths, etc. Learn basic chords first - both major and minor. Then learn how to make those chords more interesting by adding extra notes into the chord which colors it’s character. Then as Laura said, practice it until you don’t have to think much when pressing the chords, your fingers just remember and it becomes more autopilot, and you just have to decide which cords you wanna press and how you wanna press them. Then focus on right hand, same thing - learn to do chords with it, but also learn scales that accompany those chords and melodies. Practice practice practice til the basics are second nature.
 

Zar

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
#9
I'm also learning to play keyboard and I found a very interesting instructor on youtube, Danthecomposer. I really like his approach to playing the piano and even his practice methods. One point he makes about using the hands is he teaches you not to even think of having two seperate hands but of having 10 fingers. And also to view the keys as the same color, not black and white, and recognizing/using patterns that allow you to play any song. He even mentions that you can learn piano through mental visualization in case you are using transit or have time but not a keyboard in front of you.

He has a variety of videos but his "How to become a pianist in ten lessons" gives you a very good approach to playing piano that should keep you busy for months and really improve your skills. Just be patient, practice, and progress through the videos when you have the efficiancy he suggest before going to he next video.

 

Laura

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#10
Thank you all. Maybe I am going too fast, I will try to slow it a little bit. :)
Like you said.. till patterns go autopilot.
If you are trying to learn to sight read, there is just nothing like practicing, practicing, practicing... exercises and so forth. If you are gifted with a natural ability to put chords together in clever ways and pick out tunes at the same time, then you have something I don't; all I could ever do was practice and drill it into the eye-hand interaction. Even now, when I play so seldom, once in awhile the old "body memory" comes back and I can play stuff that I thought was long gone from lack of application.
 

SlipNet

The Force is Strong With This One
#11
Very interesting little thread. I bought a little electric piano/clavinet a while back and this thread has given me that nudge to explore a new hobby. I'm noting the work that needs to be put into learning good habits when playing. I'm a total noob so practice is the key and the more I put into it, the more I'll get back from my efforts.

In this crazy world there's a need for some compensation and what better way than to learn a new skill in the arts? I for one am sold on the idea. Thanks to all of you who have contributed on this thread. :)
 
#12
I'm also learning to play keyboard and I found a very interesting instructor on youtube, Danthecomposer. I really like his approach to playing the piano and even his practice methods. One point he makes about using the hands is he teaches you not to even think of having two seperate hands but of having 10 fingers. And also to view the keys as the same color, not black and white, and recognizing/using patterns that allow you to play any song. He even mentions that you can learn piano through mental visualization in case you are using transit or have time but not a keyboard in front of you.

He has a variety of videos but his "How to become a pianist in ten lessons" gives you a very good approach to playing piano that should keep you busy for months and really improve your skills. Just be patient, practice, and progress through the videos when you have the efficiancy he suggest before going to he next video.

Thank you Zar, great channel, I will certainly check it out.

If you are trying to learn to sight read, there is just nothing like practicing, practicing, practicing... exercises and so forth. If you are gifted with a natural ability to put chords together in clever ways and pick out tunes at the same time, then you have something I don't; all I could ever do was practice and drill it into the eye-hand interaction. Even now, when I play so seldom, once in awhile the old "body memory" comes back and I can play stuff that I thought was long gone from lack of application.
I do not think I am gifted, only thing I can feel (hear) is if the note went up or down. :D
Hard practice shall it be.
 

T.C.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#13
If you're wanting to make things more interesting for your left hand, look for a music book that contains songs that either you just really like already or songs that are at least generally well known (like a 'Beatles' collection or something). You'll want to get one that has the chord names written above the bars (often for a guitarist to use) and the melody written on the staff.

Use your right hand to play the melody and use your left hand to play the full chords/triads.

At first, play the chords as 'block chords', just pressing down all three notes at the same time. Once you've learned what the chords are for the song you can begin to 'break' the chords. The best know type of broken chords are called arpeggios. Do an online search for the term 'broken chords' and 'arpeggios'.

This means instead of playing all the notes of the chord together, you play them one note at a time. For example, if you're playing a C major chord with the left hand, playing the notes C, E and G with fingers 5, 3 and 1 respectively, you would play C(5) then E(3) then G(1).

You can either play that 'ascending' sequence over and over in a loop, or you could play C(5), E(3), G(1), E(3), C(5), meaning you have ascended and descended.

Your aim is to find an arpeggio pattern that suits the rhythm of the song and play it in a repetitive loop with the left hand while you play the melody with the right hand.

If you want to hear an example of how this sounds, do an online search for the 'Toy Shop Piano Scene' from the film 'Big' starring Tom Hanks. That is an exact example of what I've described above.
 
#14
Your aim is to find an arpeggio pattern that suits the rhythm of the song and play it in a repetitive loop with the left hand while you play the melody with the right hand.
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I've done some basic arpeggio exercises, but will try this as well.
I found sheets for game of thrones, so I will see how this goes: Game of Thrones, Easy piano
Does someone know what does mark from 65 to 69 means? (number 8 with lots of lines)
 

aragorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#15
I've done some basic arpeggio exercises, but will try this as well.
I found sheets for game of thrones, so I will see how this goes: Game of Thrones, Easy piano
Does someone know what does mark from 65 to 69 means? (number 8 with lots of lines)
That means that you should play those measures one octave lower. Usually you mark an '8vb' at the start of the dotted line to indicate that it should be played an octave lower, and the dotted line is placed below the staff. In this case there's no 'vb', just the '8' but the dotted line is below the staff, so it means the same thing. So, in this case it means that the left hand (not both hands) notes should be played an octave lower.

If the dotted line with an '8' is above the staff, it means...you guessed it...that it should be played an octave higher (all the measures that the dotted line covers). Usually, in that case there's an 'va' after the '8'. These markings are done to make it easier to read, otherwise you must use a lot of extra helping lines below/above the staff.

Hope this helps. Good luck with the practicing!
 
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