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Topic: Getting started - From every aspect  (Read 2456 times)

Offline VladTemplar

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Getting started - From every aspect
on: December 06, 2004, 01:42:27 AM
Allright everyone. I know you probably hate threads like this, but they come around every now and then I suppose.

I am currently a Freshman in college, and will be moving into an apartment with lots of room in the spring. I have always wanted to learn how to play the piano, I dabbled into it when I was younger and just never caught on (I had a VERY strict teacher). I feel its time for me to get a hobby that I can be proud of that doesn't involve a computer or singing, and becoming a pianist is a great route since it ties into my love for singing.

With that, I must deal with the following issues.

1. Where to start
2. What piano to get
3. Find a good learning method
4. Not go bankrupt

I am far from rich, and monetarily I am limited. Ive been considering purchasing a Yamaha digital piano, but I fear that this is a huge investment (a good one with AWM and DSS going past $2000) and I am simply afraid to spend that much money to start a hobby. Obviously, buying an upright is no less (but rather greater) of an investment. Simply put, I am at a loss.

Any advice you can give me would be more than appreciated. I am going to have a lot of downtime during the summer, and I think starting to learn the piano would be a great avenue.

Thanks in advance,
Dan

Offline jazzyprof

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #1 on: December 06, 2004, 05:57:11 AM
Regarding what piano to get, for about $1000 you can buy the Yamaha P120, an excellent digital piano with weighted keys and great sounds.  If that's still too much money, try the Casio Privia PX400, on sale for $750.  It got very good reviews in Keyboard magazine.  Some online places I've bought keyboards from: www.emusicgear.com and www.sweetwater.com

Next, find yourself a teacher.  If your college has a music department, you can get lessons on the cheap from starving music students. :)  Ask one of the music professors to recommend a student teacher.
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy, next to my wife; it is my most absorbing interest, next to my work." ...Charles Cooke

Offline VladTemplar

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #2 on: December 06, 2004, 06:25:31 AM
Regarding what piano to get, for about $1000 you can buy the Yamaha P120, an excellent digital piano with weighted keys and great sounds.  If that's still too much money, try the Casio Privia PX400, on sale for $750.  It got very good reviews in Keyboard magazine.  Some online places I've bought keyboards from: www.emusicgear.com and www.sweetwater.com

Next, find yourself a teacher.  If your college has a music department, you can get lessons on the cheap from starving music students. :)  Ask one of the music professors to recommend a student teacher.

Pardon my ignorance here, because there is a lot of ignorance in me when it comes to pianos. I know that I want to get a good piano to start with, and ive noticed that this one only has one pedal. I knowof the una corda pedal and the muting pedal in the middle and the right pedal. Wouldn't it be best for me to get a piano with all of these. So that I don't have to buy another piano later on down the road? This piano will be with me for many years, so I want to do it right the first time.

As for a teacher, I might be able to get one in the fall. I know of a girl that is willing to teach me what she can, but the summer will probably be mostly me.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #3 on: December 06, 2004, 08:08:23 AM
It is also possible to rent a piano. Some dealers will rent you a piano (either digital or acoustic) for one year, and at the end of the year you have the option to buy the piano. If you decide to buy it, the rent you paid counts towards the cost of the piano. This gives you a chance to see how serious and committed you are and if it is worth the investment.

Have a look here for a description of what the pedals actually do.

https://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2209.msg18698.html#msg18698

In a digital the middle pedal will not be a mute, but will simulate the sostenuto pedal of a grand. The model you have seen may have just one pedal but most likely it will have plug-ins for the other two pedals (which you can add later – so make sure you can do that).

If you want to accompany yourself while singing, and I am assuming you mean pop music here, then have a look at:

Cannel & Marx – How to play the piano despite years of lessons (Chappel)

It will give you a very good idea of what is involved.

If you are more inclined towards classical, then start with Chang’s online book:

https://members.aol.com/cc88m/PianoBook.html

And of course read the whole forum. :P ;)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline shas

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #4 on: December 06, 2004, 11:08:30 AM
Get an Upright if you have the space. I'v got an excelent Casio Privia which is realistic to play but as far as developping my technique an touch nothing compaires to an acoustic piano. I'm in England so the prices are probly a bit different but I picked up a lovly 'Rosemon' upright for about £250 (you do the math but that can't be more than $400). It's got a heavy touch but I think thats good for building up stamina, and a lovly tone.
Sharma Yelverton

Offline MarkAllison

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #5 on: December 06, 2004, 01:44:48 PM
I'm a newbie too, only been playing a couple of years. I have an upright piano and a digital piano which I bought recently. IMO digital pianos are vastly inferior to a good acoustic piano, but they certainly have their place.

If you don't have anyone nearby to consider in terms of noise levels (pianos are VERY loud), then don't hesitate and go for an acousitc. If, however there are people nearby that you will affect, then you might want to try the digital first. I MUCH prefer my acousitc over my digital piano in terms of sound and touch, but the digital allows me to practice until late in the evening and I can also record my playing easily via the soundcard on my PC.

I own a Yamaha U3 and a Yamaha CLP-120.

Offline VladTemplar

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #6 on: December 06, 2004, 08:29:51 PM
It looks like im going to have to go with a digital, an upright in an apartment complex simply will not go over well. They might enjoy me playing from time to time if I were good, but since I most obviously will not be good, I had better stick to a realistic feeling digital.

So I ahve been told that the P120 and CLP-120 are good. But which of these should I go for? The price differences are not too great.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #7 on: December 06, 2004, 09:00:31 PM
It looks like im going to have to go with a digital, an upright in an apartment complex simply will not go over well. They might enjoy me playing from time to time if I were good, but since I most obviously will not be good, I had better stick to a realistic feeling digital.

So I ahve been told that the P120 and CLP-120 are good. But which of these should I go for? The price differences are not too great.

Before you run out and buy the P-120, check out the PF-500. It is the cousin of the P-250, which is a step up from the P-120.

And definitely, under all circumstances, play those digitals before you buy any of them.

Offline VladTemplar

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #8 on: December 06, 2004, 09:53:07 PM
I think what I may end up doing is trying to find a teacher in the music school here, and then practice on the acoustic pianos that my school has. I mean, tis Baylor for crying out loud, I was listening to a Steinway last night and the practice rooms all have grand pianos. So surely there is one I can practice on that someone won't mind me using.

I understand the need to play on the piano before I buy it, which is where I am hesitant yet again. This is a lot of money, and I cannot even play the piano to see if I like the feel. Hopefully I can find someone to help me in the school.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #9 on: December 06, 2004, 10:19:50 PM
I think what I may end up doing is trying to find a teacher in the music school here, and then practice on the acoustic pianos that my school has. I mean, tis Baylor for crying out loud, I was listening to a Steinway last night and the practice rooms all have grand pianos. So surely there is one I can practice on that someone won't mind me using.

I understand the need to play on the piano before I buy it, which is where I am hesitant yet again. This is a lot of money, and I cannot even play the piano to see if I like the feel. Hopefully I can find someone to help me in the school.

If you are in Houston, just go to a GuitarCenter. They should have pretty much all Yamaha models for you to play around on to your hearts content.

Offline VladTemplar

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #10 on: December 07, 2004, 01:15:24 AM


If you are in Houston, just go to a GuitarCenter. They should have pretty much all Yamaha models for you to play around on to your hearts content.

Im actually 6 hours away from there. Baylor is in Waco, about an hour south of Dallas.

Also, I am being told by a former music teacher that I might want to consider a Kurzweil, since I always like compiling different sounds and so forth to make intresting arrangements. They do have weighted keys and the sound is pretty realistic, and the cost is around the same as the CLP-120. So that raises a whole new argument.

Sigh, this is difficult.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #11 on: December 07, 2004, 01:37:21 AM
Im actually 6 hours away from there. Baylor is in Waco, about an hour south of Dallas.

Yes, there are several Baylor campuses. Anyway, why don't you make a trip to Dallas then?

BTW, it shouldn't take you more than 3.5 hours to get from Waco to Houston ;)

Quote
Also, I am being told by a former music teacher that I might want to consider a Kurzweil, since I always like compiling different sounds and so forth to make intresting arrangements. They do have weighted keys and the sound is pretty realistic, and the cost is around the same as the CLP-120. So that raises a whole new argument.

Any advanced keyboard can do that. It comes down to personal preference. Definitely, check them out first. :-\

Offline VladTemplar

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #12 on: December 07, 2004, 01:55:16 AM

Yes, there are several Baylor campuses. Anyway, why don't you make a trip to Dallas then?

BTW, it shouldn't take you more than 3.5 hours to get from Waco to Houston ;)

Any advanced keyboard can do that. It comes down to personal preference. Definitely, check them out first. :-\

Ahh sorry for the confusion. I know I should just go listen to some keyboards and get a feel, but im afraid i won't know what im looking at. Thats the biggest problem. I need somewhere I can go (be it a website or elsewhere) to inform me about pianos and keyboards and what to look for and so forth.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #13 on: December 07, 2004, 02:55:01 AM


Ahh sorry for the confusion. I know I should just go listen to some keyboards and get a feel, but im afraid i won't know what im looking at. Thats the biggest problem. I need somewhere I can go (be it a website or elsewhere) to inform me about pianos and keyboards and what to look for and so forth.

Well, start out with this forum and read through all the posts dealing with digitals. Then check out company websites, e.g. www.yamahasynth.com (look at the P and PF series), Kawai, Roland, etc. Then, google for "Yamaha P120 + reviews" or whatever brand/model you are looking at. Talk to the people around you what they have and how they like it. Bring an experienced friend to the store and have him/her evaluate the candidates. Check out other forums, e.g. www.chopinfiles.com or www.pianoworld.com. And once you have a clearer idea of what might work for you, come back with specific questions. Have fun shopping around.

Offline jazzyprof

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #14 on: December 07, 2004, 04:17:04 AM
Check out the keyboard reviews at www.harmony-central.com.  For example, here are a bunch of user reviews on the P120:https://www.harmony-central.com/Synth/Data/Yamaha/P120-01.html
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy, next to my wife; it is my most absorbing interest, next to my work." ...Charles Cooke

Offline MarkAllison

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #15 on: December 07, 2004, 08:33:23 AM


Ahh sorry for the confusion. I know I should just go listen to some keyboards and get a feel, but im afraid i won't know what im looking at. Thats the biggest problem. I need somewhere I can go (be it a website or elsewhere) to inform me about pianos and keyboards and what to look for and so forth.

OK, when testing digitals do these tests:
Hit the keys hard, then soft - listen to the difference
Play staccato notes
Hold the notes down and listen to the decay - the CLP-120 sounds rubbish at this
Hit the bass note, then  play all the others, does the bass get cut off?

If I were going to ONLY purchase a digital piano and not have an acoustic then I would spend a bit more on it and look at either the CLP-150 or CLP-170 as they sound so much better, but still way inferior to a good acoustic.

Offline VladTemplar

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #16 on: December 07, 2004, 09:52:55 PM


OK, when testing digitals do these tests:
Hit the keys hard, then soft - listen to the difference
Play staccato notes
Hold the notes down and listen to the decay - the CLP-120 sounds rubbish at this
Hit the bass note, then  play all the others, does the bass get cut off?

If I were going to ONLY purchase a digital piano and not have an acoustic then I would spend a bit more on it and look at either the CLP-150 or CLP-170 as they sound so much better, but still way inferior to a good acoustic.


Ahh, thank you very much. Are there any other quality tests like this that I can do? Im going to make sure and memorize these before I go to a store and and start playing around.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Getting started - From every aspect
Reply #17 on: December 07, 2004, 10:44:04 PM


Ahh, thank you very much. Are there any other quality tests like this that I can do? Im going to make sure and memorize these before I go to a store and and start playing around.

There are lots of tests, and you will have to decide how important certain features are to you. For example:

Most importantly:
Is the sound pleasing to you? Make sure you know about how to adjust it to make it more pleasing.
Is the action acceptable?

Also important:

Does the keyboard allow attaching up to three pedals with the typical functionality? Does it allow half-pedaling?

Does the keyboard allow fast repetition of single notes?

What is the polyphony? (32 is usually sufficient, but higher can be helpful if you are a really fast player).

If it has speakers, are they strong enough to reproduce the sound of the keyboard? Often the sound is better than it sounds (pun intended)! Connected to a high-end stereo system, a digital is often amazingly powerful in producing good piano sounds.

Is there good connectivity to computers? Not just MIDI and Line-out, but USB (or even firewire)

I would recommend reading the manuals of some candidate digitals. They can usually be downloaded from the manufacturter's website. This will give you an overview of what features are available in modern digitals. Then decide which one you must have and narrow down your selection. Finally, go to a good store and try them out.
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