View Full Version : Learning Keys Again

11-11-2008, 03:35 AM
I've really been contemplating picking up keyboard again (did a few years back in middle school but my heart wasn't into it back then, it was about the chicks :-) and have decided to give it a shot. Being a guitar player who has a decent knowledge of theory, what would y'all recommend I do to start getting back into keyboard? I'm thinking along the lines of getting a book and getting the basic keyboard techniques down again along with applying chords and the basic major scales back under my fingers. The keyboard I currently have is the same one I had back ten years ago, a cheap Casio 49 key 4 octave keyboard, but it should be good enough to get me started once again. Again, what do y'all recommend?

11-11-2008, 02:52 PM
Took up keyboard about a year ago. Banjo, Acoustic and Electric guitar before that. Here is the road I've taken, for what that is worth.

This road is all self taught, but if you want to play beautiful classical music by rote then there is probably a lady teaching that just down the block. However, that way will not help you play Happy Birthday with out the sheet music. I choose not to go that route and enjoy being able to wing Happy Birthday with out sheet music. If you feel this same way I'd suggest you invest in the book. How to play the piano despite years of lessons by Ward Cannel and Fred Marx. And then .......

1. Yep, it all starts with scales. Brush up on your fingering. Get the fingering down on how to run a scale, i.e. right hand going up scale you start on the thumb and sound these intervals 1, 2, 3, tuck the thumb under for 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Then coming back down you start with the little finger 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, reach over with the index for 3, 2, 1, Left hand is just the opposite.

2. Play block chords and one note melody. Brush up on your sight reading. Lead sheet music is the best way to go IMHO.

3. With lead sheet you will have to know how to make the chords because all you will have is the chord name, frankly, that is a lot easier than reading both the treble and bass clef at once.

Here is a chord generator:
However, chords on the piano are much easier than on the guitar. Here is a quick way to make your chords and not have to look them up:

Major = R + 4 + 3 R is the root note plus 4 means advance up scale four black and white keys then go up three more black and white keys -- for any major chord.
Minor = R + 3 + 4 = any minor chord
Diminished = R + 3 + 3
Now notice the extensions -- 6th is +2, Dominant 7 is +3, maj7 is +4....
Major 6 = R + 4 + 3 + 2
Minor 6 = R + 3 + 4 + 2
Dominant 7 = R + 4 + 3 + 3
Maj7 = R + 4 + 3 + 4
Diminished Dominant 7 = R + 3 + 3 + 3
Half Diminished Dominant 7 = R + 3 + 3 + 4
Sus2 = R + 2 + 5
Sus4 = R + 5 + 2
Slash chords = play the bass (slash) note with the left hand and the main part of the chord with the right hand. Or reach over with the right hand or just omit the bass note -- whatever

That will get you playing chords with lead sheet music. Sevenths are fancy enough for now.

4. Get some help. Inexpensive, but, good DVD - Learn and Play with Pete Sears. Expensive but worth it PianoMagic.com. Google Yoke Wong and see what she has to offer.

5. About this point you have to decide which way do you want to go. Play by rote or play by ear --- or play chord accompaniment. I'm going the chord accompaniment route. Just like rhythm guitar accompaniment with melody notes coming from your voice.

Good luck.

11-11-2008, 11:25 PM
appreciate the response man, that was a big help, I can still remember how to finger a one octave scale for both hands but that is about it. Will be checking out one of those books

11-19-2008, 08:29 AM
Hi Rocker,I feel if you know the basic keyboard techniques then it would be good for you.Because strong basic techniques gives you extra knowledge.

12-08-2008, 02:40 AM
I agree with the above. The only thing I'd add, is if at all possible GET A REAL PIANO! if you can afford the upkeep (one or two tunings a year) and afford the space (5'x3'). There are people out there who, no joke, are giving away free pianos because they don't know what to do with them, and just want someone to take them off their hands. Many of these could be firewood material, but often they are perfectly fine instruments for a beginner. Estate sales are great for this. Somebody dies, and boom! Free piano. Of course even if it's free, check under the hood for condition and expect to pay about $250 to move it unless you know a guy with a truck. If you're serious about it and your budget allows, a lot of piano dealers are suffering now and going out of business, so now would be a great time to buy. Steinway in New York just brought their ENTIRE inventory to Chicago on tour for the first time in history, and while I can't afford anything that fancy, it still pretty much speaks to the way things are in the business as a whole. Good luck!

You'll find that anything you practice on a keyboard w/o weighted keys will take far more time to "get under your fingers" than if you use the real deal, and then if the keys aren't at least close to standard size, switching up to a reg. piano will be harder than learning on piano and switching down to a smaller keyboard.