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Thread: types of learning for piano

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    Default types of learning for piano

    I'm self-taught and I have a question of the importance of learning the naming of chords vs just playing the notes.

    In other words, why should I care what key a certain piece is in vs just playing the notes. As long as you play the notes and dynamics correctly isn't that the bottom line?

    I remember while playing double bass (9 years) in the orchestra it was about learning the music and playing each note in tune, learining fingering and position, marking unusual sharps/flats, etc. I never worried about what key we were playing in.

    Is piano different that I should be learning that?

    I'm using the Faber for older students with the individual books and jumping around with three books is getting on my nerves, such a hot mess.

    Any book that would just teach the music itself? Or again, is this picking up bad habits?

    I read that learning via positional playing isn't good, what other book teaches nonpositional playing?

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    Find a private tutor, you will have many bad habits if you don't.

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    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    If you're playing tonal music, which I assume, knowing the keys is a crucial part of playing the notes. With stringed instruments you just change your fingering position, but on a piano it's more technical to know which combination of white and black keys to use. If you're using beginner books and learning positional playing, I think that's an important step to learning how to move around the piano without a guide. If you can do that already, you could ignore the guides, but learning the keys is crucial before that.

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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babygranddreamer View Post

    In other words, why should I care what key a certain piece is in vs just playing the notes. As long as you play the notes and dynamics correctly isn't that the bottom line?
    It's the difference between reading fluently and spelling each word out. You get the same content, but the effort involved in spelling out is immense. The first step is being able to read a single melodic line on either clef. If you know the key and can play the scale and the arpeggios you have an immediate advantage because you know the possible sequences and good fingering. As the music becomes more complex then it helps to recognise the chords in all their inversions and forms e.g. if you look at Chopin's Mazurka Op 7 No 1 in B flat the left hand looks horrible until you realise that it's a basic B flat F7 sequence of chords. That helps you work with it and get it up to speed ( it's written at a crotchet beat of 150!)

    As somebody else said, get a tutor and ask them to help you.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by babygranddreamer View Post
    I'm self-taught and I have a question of the importance of learning the naming of chords vs just playing the notes.

    In other words, why should I care what key a certain piece is in vs just playing the notes. As long as you play the notes and dynamics correctly isn't that the bottom line?

    I remember while playing double bass (9 years) in the orchestra it was about learning the music and playing each note in tune, learining fingering and position, marking unusual sharps/flats, etc. I never worried about what key we were playing in.

    Is piano different that I should be learning that?

    I'm using the Faber for older students with the individual books and jumping around with three books is getting on my nerves, such a hot mess.

    Any book that would just teach the music itself? Or again, is this picking up bad habits?

    I read that learning via positional playing isn't good, what other book teaches nonpositional playing?
    Understanding the keys will help you understand the piece, and what the composer is doing. This will ultimately lead you better at composing, improvising or understanding the song as a whole. It's not too difficult to learn the keys and it will help a whole lot. Technically you can survive sight reading without knowing the key signatures but it would be greater hassle in the long run
    Last edited by Aloevera; Aug-10-2018 at 04:39.

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    Perhaps is it an idea that you take a theory book or piano books with theoretical explanations, try it out a little, and find out for yourself how pleasant and easier it is to play music with some understanding of basic music theories? People can tell you how sweet sugar is, but as long as you do not taste it yourself, you will never know its sweetness... As a child I had the privilege of having the most beautiful solfege (practicing to read the very first notes while you sing the melody with the accompaniment of chords which the higher the level the more difficult it became) books, and because the chords were incredibly beautiful, I just LOVED to practice both singing, learning theory and playing the piano. I sincerely hope that you will also discover the fun and the beauty of making music while understanding the relationship between the vertical and the horizontal lines.... Best wishes.

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    Senior Member eugeneonagain's Avatar
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    One of the benefits of having a teacher is that it relieves some of this burden because the teacher can point out these things as you go along. Instead of you having to work out, or read about, how something is in a certain key and then modulates to another key or how a chord is inverted, the teacher will just mention it as you go.

    This varies from teacher to teacher. I had two piano teachers and the second was more thorough with regard to theory, plus I was older by then. Even then I have learned many new things on my own, but I wonder if this would have been more difficult had I not had all the basic things pointed out to me by a teacher.
    "Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognises genius."

    Sherlock Holmes - The Valley of Fear.

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