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Taking beginning Piano & Music Theory classes, any tips?
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mybeatsrdope
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#1
20th October 2011
Old 20th October 2011
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Taking beginning Piano & Music Theory classes, any tips?

I just started taking Beginning Piano + Music Theory Classes, any tips? I finally made the right choice and started taking Beginning Piano and Music Theory at my community College instead of trying to get by on "playing by ear". I've learned a lot already and am going to take the Intermediate n Advanced classes after.

I wanted to know if you experienced players could give me some tips, like common mistakes beginners make, things you wish you knew when you first started, tutorials/videos that helped you, etc.

Thanks
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20th October 2011
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Cool! Just listen in whatever music you're listening to for the concepts you're learning in class. It will help you cement the knowledge and see how it applies to your genres. Some other good ideas are playing piano a little (it helps you see and physically engage with the concepts) and figuring out the melodies and chord progressions of songs you like (ideally by ear).

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21st October 2011
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Originally Posted by yosemitesam View Post
Cool! Just listen in whatever music you're listening to for the concepts you're learning in class. It will help you cement the knowledge and see how it applies to your genres. Some other good ideas are playing piano a little (it helps you see and physically engage with the concepts) and figuring out the melodies and chord progressions of songs you like (ideally by ear).

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Thanks bro good advice! I'm spending about 4 hours a week practicing in the Piano Lab at school, they've got some nice Baby Grands!

I encourage everybody to check out the Commubity Colleges in their area, I guarantee they have Piano classes for the low.
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21st October 2011
Old 21st October 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mybeatsrdope View Post
I just started taking Beginning Piano + Music Theory Classes, any tips? I finally made the right choice and started taking Beginning Piano and Music Theory at my community College instead of trying to get by on "playing by ear". I've learned a lot already and am going to take the Intermediate n Advanced classes after.

I wanted to know if you experienced players could give me some tips, like common mistakes beginners make, things you wish you knew when you first started, tutorials/videos that helped you, etc.

Thanks
I've been considering doing the same thing; been thinking about it for the past couple of years. I guess there is nothing to it but to do it. I need to get off my a$$ and get it done.
What are they teaching you in the Beginning Piano class?
mybeatsrdope
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21st October 2011
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Originally Posted by RWLKR View Post
I've been considering doing the same thing; been thinking about it for the past couple of years. I guess there is nothing to it but to do it. I need to get off my a$$ and get it done.
What are they teaching you in the Beginning Piano class?
Yup same here Ive been planning on doin it for a while but finally committed. I started to feel limited with "playing by ear" and noticed I was using the same few chords all the time lol.

We've covered a lot already, posture, hand position, reading sheet music, performing songs, rests, etc. Its been worth the $ already and its only 3weeks into the quarter.
I read Piano for dummies b4 class started up which gave me a head start. My advice is to sign up asap its a no brainer. Im learning above harmony, sine waves, intervals and all types of shit in my Music Theory class.

Type "piano tutorial" and "music theory" in Youtube theres a bunch of vids...
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15th March 2013
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I am a jazz player, and so naturally I think that the greatest benefit to studying theory is then turning around and using it to express what you want to express.
Music is a language. Use it as the medium to say what you want to say.
It's cool understanding the ins and outs of a Mozart sonata, but the big payoff is in learning to express yourself.
So my advice is... don't let it just be theoretical. Take that knowledge and create. Don't just learn what secondary dominants do, but use them, and use them, and use them, until they flow from your hands so naturally that you barely have to think about it.
Learning how to read books is great, but learning how to form your own sentences and express your own feelings is so much more vital.
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15th March 2013
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I am a jazz player, and so naturally I think that the greatest benefit to studying theory is then turning around and using it to express what you want to express.
Music is a language. Use it as the medium to say what you want to say.
It's cool understanding the ins and outs of a Mozart sonata, but the big payoff is in learning to express yourself.
So my advice is... don't let it just be theoretical. Take that knowledge and create. Don't just learn what secondary dominants do, but use them, and use them, and use them, until they flow from your hands so naturally that you barely have to think about it.
Learning how to read books is great, but learning how to form your own sentences and express your own feelings is so much more vital.
+1, and IMO ear training/learning songs by ear off the radio and singing (even if the pitch is good and the tone sucks). The main thing is to accelerate the growth of the mind/ear/muscle memory connection. It's possible to get sidetracked by how deep the theory and technique go but at the end of the day it's having the musical ideas and being able to make them real that matter the most.
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15th March 2013
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Congratulations! I think you made a very wise decision.
Work hard, practice, read and listen to everything you can get your hands on, ask questions, and I guarantee you'll see results. Best of luck!
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15th March 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by songplat View Post
Music is a language. Use it as the medium to say what you want to say.
It's cool understanding the ins and outs of a Mozart sonata, but the big payoff is in learning to express yourself.
So my advice is... don't let it just be theoretical. Take that knowledge and create. Don't just learn what secondary dominants do, but use them, and use them, and use them, until they flow from your hands so naturally that you barely have to think about it.
Learning how to read books is great, but learning how to form your own sentences and express your own feelings is so much more vital.
Yes, absolutely. The amazing part is that learning both the theory and practice of music is a big feedback loop. You learn how the theoretical stuff works, then you apply it to your own work. That increases your understanding of the theory, and gives you a greater appreciation for other music. Then that inspires you to work harder on your own music.
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16th March 2013
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i suggest learning the more modern chord style of playing
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16th March 2013
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It's great that you've decided to learn more about piano and music theory. Your increased knowledge will only serve to allow you to make better music. As someone who has taught piano and music theory lessons for just over 25 years at the largest private conservatory in the US, I have a couple of suggestions for you. First, you've found a great way to start your piano studies, but ultimately, you will be best served with private, one on one instruction. A good teacher will also integrate continued music theory studies into your piano lessons. Look for a teacher who is classically trained, and one who is a member of professional teaching organizations like MTNA, National Federationof Music Clubs, or the Piano Teacher's Guild. Finding someone who is nationally certified (NCTM) is a really good idea as well. Even though your ultimate goals may to involve playing or writing classical music, learn to play it, because it will help you build the technique which will allow you to play anything you want to play later on. Play plenty of scales, and be sure to check out finger exercises by Hanon and Czerny when your teacher says you're ready. You're probably doing it already, but be sure to practice a lot of Aural Skills and ear training. This will allow you to let your ideas flow from your head (and heart!) to your fingers. Good luck, and remember that it is the journey to get the skills that is the important part; actually having the skills is not as enjoyable as you might imagine....
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16th March 2013
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The only tips I have are to soak up as much as you can, and to take notes (obviously not in piano lol). Not only will they help you reinforce what you're learning, but in a few months/years/decades if you get a little rusty you could always go through your notes and go "ahh yeah! i remember that now!" you know?
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17th March 2013
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Originally Posted by secret secret View Post
It's great that you've decided to learn more about piano and music theory. Your increased knowledge will only serve to allow you to make better music. As someone who has taught piano and music theory lessons for just over 25 years at the largest private conservatory in the US, I have a couple of suggestions for you. First, you've found a great way to start your piano studies, but ultimately, you will be best served with private, one on one instruction. A good teacher will also integrate continued music theory studies into your piano lessons. Look for a teacher who is classically trained, and one who is a member of professional teaching organizations like MTNA, National Federationof Music Clubs, or the Piano Teacher's Guild. Finding someone who is nationally certified (NCTM) is a really good idea as well. Even though your ultimate goals may to involve playing or writing classical music, learn to play it, because it will help you build the technique which will allow you to play anything you want to play later on. Play plenty of scales, and be sure to check out finger exercises by Hanon and Czerny when your teacher says you're ready. You're probably doing it already, but be sure to practice a lot of Aural Skills and ear training. This will allow you to let your ideas flow from your head (and heart!) to your fingers. Good luck, and remember that it is the journey to get the skills that is the important part; actually having the skills is not as enjoyable as you might imagine....
I'd rather take lessons from a little old church lady on organ or a haggard blues man. At this point classical pedagogy only begets more classical pedagogy, IMO.

Or maybe in your case you have students making relevant modern records?
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18th March 2013
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I'd rather take lessons from a little old church lady on organ or a haggard blues man. At this point classical pedagogy only begets more classical pedagogy, IMO.

Or maybe in your case you have students making relevant modern records?
And old organ-playing church ladies (presumably playing gospel, rather than Bach or Langlais from the context of the rest of your remarks) and haggard old blues men do not simply beget more musicians in their own image?
It has been my experience that blues purists are (often) just about the most conservative musicians on the planet. (Again, that's an observation, not a criticism.) I've come across some who even look down their nose at bebop and funk as "whippersnappers' music." There are certainly exceptions, of course, but that's the general vibe I've gotten. Many classical musicians, on the other hand, are surprisingly open-minded, especially the younger ones.

A hip-hop person who wants to learn music theory and acquire some keyboard skills would, in my opinion, probably be best served by learning jazz. Good jazz musicians with taste and open ears have all the tools necessary to play funk, soul, and blues. Most of the better jazz musicians do end up studying classical music at some point in order to further develop their technique and expand their harmonic vocabulary. The basic terminology jazz musicians used is ultimately derived from classical theory and at the beginning stages, you're not learning jazz or classical, you're just learning music.

I've taught classical theory to hip-hop musicians before. There's usually a steep learning curve, and it will take some time before you would get to material that is immediately directly applicable to your musical interests. It definitely pays off in the end, however.
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18th March 2013
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Practice! Class time is not practice time, practice on your own of you want to see results.

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18th March 2013
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Practice! Class time is not practice time, practice on your own of you want to see results.

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+1,000,000,000

This is essential if you want to gain from your lessons.
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19th March 2013
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And old organ-playing church ladies (presumably playing gospel, rather than Bach or Langlais from the context of the rest of your remarks) and haggard old blues men do not simply beget more musicians in their own image?
It has been my experience that blues purists are (often) just about the most conservative musicians on the planet.
I suppose they do but the tradition from a church organist is more relevant to how people are making records than western theory, especially rap records. Put bluntly, the traditional *theory* I learned at school was outright racist. If there is 20th century music in that class, it's not Stevie Wonder, who pushed more boundaries and did more things I care about musically then Shostakovitch or John Cage did.

Your experience and mine with classical studies varies greatly though, so maybe you run in circles where the legit players are more open minded, and theory teachers get into the wholestep down stuff. Only really saying there are a lot of great musical traditions out there, classical included, but relevant to making records in today's climate an approach that weights doing it by ear far higher than book smarts would more useful IMO.
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19th March 2013
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19th March 2013
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You guys really know how to make stuff overly difficult. Racist music theory? Let's head back toward realityville: Music Theory Cheat Sheet | The Bis Key Chronicles
Ok so in what reality is Gandalfe the retired engineer slash internet sax dude making relevant modern records?
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19th March 2013
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Congrats on researching some random dude whose page came up when I googled music-theory-cheet-sheet...
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Congrats on researching some random dude whose page came up when I googled music-theory-cheet-sheet...
So what is your link? I think I got one of those link spam things again...
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19th March 2013
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It's just a simplified rundown of the most basic ideas of music theory for songwriting.

http://biskey7.files.wordpress.com/2...g?w=695&h=1739

Beginners get discouraged enough, and all this talk of classical training and jazz chords are way too much for someone just starting out, in my opinion.
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19th March 2013
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The best tip that i can offer is to practice. It doesn't matter how u get the info. If you don't practice what you are not use to doing, you will not improve. My advice is to get uncomfortable with something until it becomes comfortable. Then move on to the next thing you're uncomfortable with.
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19th March 2013
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The best tip that i can offer is to practice. It doesn't matter how u get the info. If you don't practice what you are not use to doing, you will not improve. My advice is to get uncomfortable with something until it becomes comfortable. Then move on to the next thing you're uncomfortable with.
This I think we can all agree on.
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19th March 2013
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Yes I think that says it all really.
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20th March 2013
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The basic thing you should know is chord resolution. People are not playing the complex chords they used to play in the golden era of r&b.
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