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Discussion Starter #1
I did not grow up with a piano in the house and have never had lessons. In fact, when I was a kid, it was probably my least favorite instrument as I associated it with soft rock and also classical music, which I considered boring at the time, but now love. If I would have been exposed to jazz and blues piano, I'm sure I would have had a different perception.

Nevertheless, it was always one of those instruments that I felt I should learn, especially now that I can no longer play guitar. The funny thing is, now that I've been practicing with a bit of regularity, I love it! I find it fascinating to discover different ways to move through chord progressions while voice leading by holding common tones between chords. I've also found that, other than saxophonists, I spend the most time listening to pianists. It's also a nice complement to sax, since I can play my digital piano late at night or after I've blown out my chops for the day. I only wish I would have started years ago, but as life does not come with a rewind button, one can only move forward.

So, does anyone have any tips on self-teaching? I could especially use some pointers on integrating both hands. I've reached the point where I can play simple parts with my left hand OR my right hand, but not both at the same time! :D
 

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Yeah, get some exercise books like Hanon, Czerny or Pischna. Get as many as you can find and play them endlessly for a couple of years. In your spare time, look at books on piano harmony and transcriptions.

I ran into videos with Barry Harris on Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's - Jazz Academy on YouTube. Definitely worth watching.

Good luck and if you're serious, don't plan on getting a tan any time soon.
 

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Congrats on starting piano! I'm also having a blast learning piano at a later age, after having played sax and flute for years. Ditto the sentiment: wish I'd started waaay earlier, but at least I started . . .

Self-teaching's cool, been there, done that on piano, too. Very rewarding, but if you're concerned about starting late on piano, you might want to consider speeding things up exponentially with a teacher.

There is a system, though, that's great with or without a teacher: Phil DeGreg's "Jazz Keyboard Harmony." He's given a lot of thought to teaching horn players how to play piano, and it's a blast to learn some voicings and start applying them to tunes on your own while continuing to work through his book.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good luck and if you're serious, don't plan on getting a tan any time soon.
I live in Portland, what is this "tan" you speak of? :mrgreen:

Thanks for the recommendations, I know virtually nothing about the standard classical curriculum. It's probably a good idea for me to practice some etudes to develop independence between my hands.

I don't have any aspirations to ever perform on piano, I'd be happy just to develop enough technique to comp with my left hand while playing melodies from lead sheets.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Congrats on starting piano! I'm also having a blast learning piano at a later age, after having played sax and flute for years. Ditto the sentiment: wish I'd started waaay earlier, but at least I started . . .

Self-teaching's cool, been there, done that on piano, too. Very rewarding, but if you're concerned about starting late on piano, you might want to consider speeding things up exponentially with a teacher.

There is a system, though, that's great with or without a teacher: Phil DeGreg's "Jazz Keyboard Harmony." He's given a lot of thought to teaching horn players how to play piano, and it's a blast to learn some voicings and start applying them to tunes on your own while continuing to work through his book.
Thanks! Nice to know there are others attempting this, too. While I'm sure that lessons with a good teacher would be beneficial, I'm a bit hesitant to start studying with someone simply because most of my available practice time is spend on the horn. I wouldn't want to waste their time or my money, but that could change down the road. I'll check out DeGreg's book. I have Mark Levine's book on Jazz Piano, but it's pretty advanced and a lot of it deals with theory as opposed to the basic application of technique.

One thing I'd really like to find is a simple charts of fingerings for two-octave blues scales. I know the notes, but would like to practice playing them as smoothly and efficiently as possible. This seems pretty fundamental, but most of the resources I've found seem to assume the student already has that covered.
 

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FWIW...
I started self teaching piano a couple of years ago (age 56) - to backup the sax learning. I didn't want to learn to play but to be able to navigate well enough to understand ideas and some theory.

After a pile of scratching around I picked the ebook - "piano for all". It looks a bit tacky but is just what I wanted and needed. It starts with chords and builds all kinds of exercises that also make music / musical sense.
It's quite cheep, has piles of video and audio demos. (Re your last post. It has a whole book on exercises but doesn't start there. But assumes nothing)

Despite my initial objectives, I'm getting to be able to play tunes, potter with the the blues etc... as well as vastly improving my hearing, timing and lots of stuff transfers to the sax. Indeed, it's so good that I upgraded from a very basic Yamaha keyboard to a properly weighted 88 key axe.

This material, or something else - really worth the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Awesome, thanks for the recommendations, lesacks! I'll definitely check them out.

I'll share one source that I've found helpful for others who want to learn jazz piano:

http://www.earlmacdonald.com/jazz-piano-lessons/

Earl's 4th lesson on the page (Left Hand Shells) gave me enough info to get started comping on simple standards.
 

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I'll share one source that I've found helpful for others who want to learn jazz piano:

http://www.earlmacdonald.com/jazz-piano-lessons/

Earl's 4th lesson on the page (Left Hand Shells) gave me enough info to get started comping on simple standards.
Nice material.

One problem [these days], worse with piano than sax, even; there's something new to practice everyday! For me, that's a great way to not progress!! Still, it all goes in the to-do list.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
One problem [these days], worse with piano than sax, even; there's something new to practice everyday!
Man, ain't that the truth! I'm going to need some additional lifetimes to get to it all.
 

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There is a system, though, that's great with or without a teacher: Phil DeGreg's "Jazz Keyboard Harmony." He's given a lot of thought to teaching horn players how to play piano, and it's a blast to learn some voicings and start applying them to tunes on your own while continuing to work through his book.
that looks really good (once one is over the basic groundwork, maybe)!
 

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Google mikrokosmos by Berlioz - it's like a video game, simple levels where each teaches just one simple extension of your capabilities, you hardly notice you're learning!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great, thanks for the recommendation!
 

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Nice links to those online tutorials.

For material I have been using:
The FJH Classical Scale book
The Source by Steve Barta - for fingerings not covered in classical scales books
Bachs 2 Part Inventions - popular with Jazz musicians, good for hand independence
Thelonious Monk Easy Piano Solos by Ronnie Mathews - great simplified arrangements that still retain the Monk style. There is also an Intermediate Book
Berklee Jazz Piano by Ray Santisi - has a lot of jazz piano concepts from basic to advanced.
A Modern Method for Keyboard Study by Jim Progris - hard to find. Contains progressive technical exercises for jazz keyboard.
Mikrokosmos by Bartok - contains progressive etudes with interesting 20th century harmonys.
Jazz Keyboard Harmony by Phil DeGreg - I just use the 5 note voicings from this book, that weren't covered in any of the above books.

I agree that hand independence is a major challenge. For me I may start spending some time playing lead sheets using rootless voicings in the RH and shells in the left, or voicings in the LH and melody in the RH, etc as suggested in the Earl MacDonald videos above.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the great list of resources, Ken!
 

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This series was recommended by several classical pianists.
They said when I can play Bach’s Inventions a tempo..... the fun begins.
Over a hundred different ways to strike a key .....they added.


 

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Here’s my two cents. I’m an adult learner on piano. I have Alfred’s Adult All-in-One Course Level 1 (Book). It comes with a DVD so one can see and hear the pieces being played. I found it a good place to start.
 
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