Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 1

Category: Music
Author: Willard A. Palmer, Morton Manus, Amanda Vick Lethco
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by diyage   2019-11-17

I would suggest finding some sort of book or course that could take you through the basics. For example,

this book is a pretty popular one for adult beginners to start with. It will run you through all of the basics you need (fingering, scales, chords, etc.) to become a proficient player.


I'd also recommend getting The Hannon Exercises as these are a great way to practice fingerings, build up speed, learn scales, and prepare to play really anything.


Other than that, you should be diligent and consistent with practice. You should practice every day for a set amount of time (I'd start with 30 minutes, but if your serious about being a good piano player rather than average, make it an hour at least). Be sure to warm up, always practice the basics, and set time aside for learning new theory and techniques before spending time practicing the pieces you want to play. I'd also suggest that you incorporate sight reading as this is a valuable skill for any piano player. You can get books with sight reading exercises or you can find random pieces of music at your level to do this with.


The books I mentioned aren't free (you could probably find free versions of the Hannon Exercises however) but I think that the investment is worth it if you are serious about learning the piano.

by Emperor315   2019-11-17

I came to Piano after roughly 15 years on the guitar, tried a few books, online resources etc and found the book linked below to be the best. Great pace IMO. Good luck!!

by Emperor315   2019-11-17

It seems perfectly clear you are not here for help. You're attacking people who are trying to help you. I am certain if you worked your way through absolute beginner stuff, you would develop the skill. If you are actually here for help, here's a recommendation from personal experience to assist.

by subderberry   2019-07-21

Welcome to the club. I'm 31 and ALSO trying to learn keyboard (on a 61 key MIDI keyboard).

From what I've seen there are courses (some free, most are paid) on udemy. Then there's also youtube.

Honestly, finding a teacher would be your best bet, but the second best free method is this:

Find a WELL RATED piano for adults book on amazon, take the Table of Contents and find videos that teach those topics.
Just a random pick from the top rated ones:

OR, get a curriculum from a piano school and go searching online based on that.

Found this one in a few mins of google search:

Time is really the biggest issue. If I can find a way to "success" (say, playing Fur Elise somewhat properly) I might even make a guide on this.

by ThePianoTeacher   2019-07-21

Books are your best friends! A standard go-to is Alfred’s method for Adult Beginners.

Go through it religiously, page by page. It teaches a lot of basics that will allow you to understand the instrument and music.

Sincerely, The Piano Teacher

by Very_legitimate   2019-07-21

The piano sub often recommends course books if a tutor isn't an option. The Alfred's Adult Piano Course is the most recommended one I've noticed. It's cheap and easy to find online. I got it and have only worked a bit through it but it seems really good

I have the digital copy of

by aaathomas   2018-11-10

You’ve got to have a piano or at least a keyboard. Once you get one I’d recommend this piano book: Adult All-In-One Course: Lesson-Theory-Technic: Level 1 It covers a lot of the basics and is pretty straightforward. Teaches chords, hand positions, note names, different styles, and etc. if you ever need any help shoot me a pm! Best of luck.

by tit_curtain   2018-11-10

B&H has the px160 with stand, pedals, and bench for $450 new.

Guitar center has a lot of used digital pianos. They price them to be competitive with used listings on ebay. Looking through listings on guitarcenter and sold listings on ebay might be as close as you'll get to a blue book value.

PX150 and PX160 have the same action, either would be fine to start on. Getting a yamaha p115, kawai es110, or roland fp30 might be a better fit for some, but the level of improvement is not huge. Unless you really dislike the casio tone, either keeping the px150, or selling it to get the px160 bundle I linked above, would leave you with a perfectly fine instrument to start out on.

A teacher is recommended, but if you go with method books, faber adult all in one or alfred adult all in one are fine to start with.

If you get to the end of the third alfred book and can play through the pieces in the 'ambitious sections' at the end of the book, you might want to consider an upgrade. Until then, don't worry about it. A PX150 is just fine.

by dftba-ftw   2018-11-10

Lol are you me?

Your story is scary close to mine, I took lessons from 9-12 and just started to try and get back into around 23.

I can tell you what I did, I'm still kind of figuring it out myself:

I bought a P115 (600$), I didn't have the option to use my old unweighted piano as it broke many years ago, I could have gone with the P45 (450$) but recent college grad with decent paying job so I said fuck it and dropped the extra 150$ based on this subs recommendations.

That being said playing on a decent weighted keyboard is infinitely more enjoyable than playing on an unweighted keyboard; I think if I had had something like a P45/P115 (they use the same key action so they feel the same) I would have stuck with lessons as a kid longer. It is just so much more enjoyable to sit and play at.

As for getting back up to speed I try and practice 30 mins ~ 1 hour a day in 15-20 min sessions.

I usually do a Hannon Hand Exercise then I do a scale/cords ( I'm just working my way through major and minor scales one per day).

I bought Alfred's All-in-One Adult Beginner Course and blasted through the first 3/4ths of the first book and now try and do one little chunk (lesson and associated song) a day or over the course of 2 or 3 days based on it's difficulty.

I try and sight read something new everyday and really focus on technique and dynamics, so I'm working my way through Kabalevsky's 24 Pieces for Children one piece a day, nice and slow, focusing on dynamics, technique, and tempo.

Lastly I picked two songs I wanted to work on that are just slightly above my current level and maybe a little bit below the my level when I quite all those years ago. The way I practice those songs is by picking out the hardest measure and working on it nice and slow, hands apart and together, then work on the next hardest measure, and so on and so forth.

So that's what I'm doing, maybe you can find a nugget of help in all that, I did a fair amount of research on how to practice and what to practice ( had some really boring days at work lol )

by thepieproblem   2018-11-10

You could get lessons, but they cost quite a bit for very little progress, imho.


That's the book I started out with. It's a pretty good one for beginners, teaches you about chords, how to read music, theory, etc...

There's also apps, like Yousician or Simply Piano (good one because it's just piano stuff) that can help you refine what you learn from books or lessons.

edit: sorry about the super long link btw

by wolfanotaku   2018-11-10

>How far can I get in 2 years, assuming I stay serious? Been doing a lot of research and reading through the FAQ's, but don't understand a progression guide. Like when do you move up to lvl 3 from level 1, when do you move up to higher levels in general, etc. And how much time does it usually take?

In 2 years with out a teacher, if you really do stick with it, you'll learn a number of pieces that you've learned from scratch each time and not really have the skill of playing the instrument more the skill of playing those pieces.

Levels with numbers like that are usually associated with a specific grading system and every one is different. ABRSM is one of the more common ones around here. A lot of people just use Novice, Beginner, Early-Intermediate, Late-Intermediate, Advanced as student levels. How everyone progresses from one to the other changes based the person. You don't really just become "early-intermediate" one day, instead you kind of gradually work into it. I didn't self-teach, but after 2 years I was just starting "Early-Intermediate" rep.

The Alfred's that always gets recommended is this one.

by Yeargdribble   2018-11-10

The Mark Levine book is not a good beginning book for a jazz pianist.

Jazz is not a good starting point for a pianist... experienced musician or not.

When taking up secondary instruments, no amount of theory knowledge or musical understanding will help you fast-forward toward technical facility. A lack of technical facility on piano is going to cripple you trying to get into jazz and the Levine book being such a brutal book is going to exacerbate the problem.

The 3 note voicings you're trying to learn shouldn't be an area of brute force physical rote memorization. The technical aspect should be a non-issue before you start. Ultimately these (and most of jazz) are a mental thing. It's how fast your brain can chunk together large amounts of information and move between keys.

You should be able to instantly say what the 3 and 7 of any chord are. That's enough of a strain with you also having to fight with a lack of coordination in your hands.

If you aren't already very technically capable of playing cadence exercises (I-IV-V) and aren't already rock solid at naming the notes of triads, you're going to absolutely drown trying to do 3-7 voicings in jazz and just a few pages over in that book it's going to get worse adding 9s and b9s.

Start somewhere else. Use an Alfred book to work out basic piano skills. Get a book of technical fundamentals to work from.

Eventually move on to a better book for introducing jazz concepts . Maybe after all of that is done, you can move on to working out of the Levine book. Honestly, this will probably take you a minimum of a year depending on the amount of music knowledge you have going in.

by tit_curtain   2018-03-19

How about get a book like one of these

or an app like this:

and just skim through the stuff you already know. But at least skimming the page to make sure you know everything you need to could be a good idea. Skimming seems easier with a book than with a video. So if you get a section where they introduce 8th notes, you'll know the theory already. But still good to play through the short song segments they have demonstrating it, because at that point you're practicing piano too, not just music theory. If you want something really personalized to you, then yea, a teacher is your best bet.

by tit_curtain   2018-03-19


Discussion, summary of some parts here:

Taubman technique

Plenty of beginner piano videos like this one:

All in one method books can work well too, plenty of others.

Plenty of overlap in these links. Try some out, figure out what works best for you. One important thing you can miss not having a teacher is sitting and moving the right way so you don't hurt yourself. With nobody to critique you as you go, a few different videos, careful reading beforehand, and doing your best to be mindful of any tension and discomfort that develops is advisable. That way you figure out when you're sore and need to reevaluate your style with a few days of minor discomfort instead of a couple months. Certainly possible to get by without a teacher. But with the right teacher you might be able to get a lot out of a lesson once every month or two.

by isuckatpiano   2018-03-19

Ok this is the path that nearly everyone recommends and (I really would too) so I'll go through the ups and downs.

Get this book

Then go through the lessons with this guy

That's the cheapest way to learn piano. He's got dozens of complete method books that he teaches through.

Downside, the alfred books aren't super inspiring pieces. However they teach you the fundamentals VERY well. For $10 you can't beat it. You'll know all your scales, key signatures, hand independence, chord theory, and most importantly you'll be able to sight read. There's three levels. It'll probably take two years to go through all 3 and that's ok! After you finish the first book start adding in some Repertoire pieces from IMSLP

by Yeargdribble   2017-08-19

What /u/TNUGS said is absolutely right. I think it's a mistake that a lot of experienced musicians make when learning a new instrument and piano is a particularly problematic one.

It's too easy to want to hit fast forward because you're ahead of the curve and you're probably more ahead of the curve than most. It's too easy to overlook fundamentals with that mentality though.

One problem with people who are very good and have years of experience is that they have so long been divorced from a time when certain concepts are difficult, they have trouble empathizing with them and teaching through them. Pianists tend to be the worst because they start so young that many problems are fixed before they are even old enough to be self-aware; and beyond that, most people don't bother becoming pedagogically aware.

I've been were you were and probably asked the same question a few times and it honestly has gotten me into trouble. I played trumpet at a professional enough level in college to be gigging frequently. When it came to piano I inadvertently glossed over a lot of stuff. I'd often look at a page and think, "I already know that."

Well, what I should've done is read it anyway. I should've played an exercise that looked too easy. If it was too easy, then little was lost. If it wasn't, I just diagnosed a whole in my skillset.

An example of personal hubris

I'm a career musician now and piano is my primary money maker. There are tons of things that I just didn't realize I was bad at. My sightreading in particular was always terrible. I would try sightreding things that were too hard for reasonable practice. I could sightread almost anything on trumpet. I could read bass clef fine. I didn't know what I was missing as I kept trying.

Ultimately I ended up working out of this book where every single exercise was a five finger pattern and most had the right and left hand doing the exact same thing. Keep in mind I was actively making a living playing music before humbling myself to this point. Working on reading stuff at that level bridged so many gaps I didn't realize I had. I would've looked at it and said, "pfft, I can do that. It's obviously easy. It's all quarter notes." But there were tiny coordination problems and decoding problems I didn't realize I had even though I was playing infinitely more technically complicated stuff and had a deeper theory of understanding than even most degreed and professional musicians I worked with.

I've since made immense progress. Essentially I kept trying to build the 40th floor of a building on the preceding 39 floors and wondering why it was so unstable. It was literally a few bricks on the first floor.

Benefits to other instruments

I've actually improved a lot in my trumpet playing since I matured to this point too. Many things I took for granted in my playing and fundamentals, I've taken time to review and realized how many things could be improved in terms of efficiency and clarity. So many "close enough" concepts getting cleaned up has resulted in a trickle down effect on so many other aspects of my playing.

It's amazing when you're good at an instrument how inefficiently you can get away with practicing. But since I'm years behind on piano and often taking gigs outside of my comfort zone, I've had to learn to practice more efficiently. Applying that back to trumpet (and also onto other instruments I've picked up or already played) has had a shocking effect. So just because you can get away with practicing inefficiently doesn't mean you should allow yourself to.

Also keep in mind that your perspective of theory from a melodic instrument to a harmonic instrument will be very different. You shouldn't gloss over the theory either.


Alfred is probably the best place to start. Just don't be in a hurry to get done. Make sure you're actually mastering concepts.

The sightreading book I mentioned above is probably would probably be super helpful and you should start sightreading daily as soon as possible. It's very different on piano and will take a lot of time to get good at because you can't cram it.

For pure technique, this book is great. As an advanced musician you'll probably feel most at home here hacking away at pure technical drills.

For some supplemental to Alfred, this would be a good bit of Czerny to work on.

by Yeargdribble   2017-08-19

>Should I bother with playing hands-apart-pieces at all, or only play hands together? And should I play the really easy stuff (max 2 note per treble and clef bar at the same time) until I can somehow read 1 bar ahead of my playing?

For sightreading practice I would stick to HT stuff and just find appropriate material. If you can't read it HT, it's probably too hard. Of course some of the level 1 material out there literally only have one hand playing at a time and if that's appropriate, so be it, but if you're taking existing music and trying to read it HS you should probably find something easier. I spent way too much time trying to play a lot of HS stuff.

I'd only recommend HS if you're having trouble with something more difficult for technical reasons. For many people technique can hold back reading because if you can't execute it technically, then you can't read it no matter how good your real-time decoding is. My usual remedy for that is learning as many small pieces as possible. Basically things that are above your reading level and would only take about a week of prep. These can clean up a lot of small technical limitations and open up your reading. But I'd assume your technique is above average. Still, it's something to keep in mind.

>Lastly, I can only find all the notes blindly (or while looking at sheet) when my hands are stationary, but as soon as I move one hand in a different starting position I get lost. I guess this will also improve over time?

Yeah, this will get better, but you have to be very conscious to force it. This is where a lot of beginner and graded sightreading can help. These very slowly add concepts. So very slowly adding just the stretch of a 6th after a lot of 5 finger stuff, then maybe 7ths and octaves, but never with a jump of more than a 3rd at a time or anything weird with finger crossings. Method books like Alfred's are great for this because you can slowly build on the concepts and diagnose what your problems are.

When you know exactly where the problem is, you can think about it with great focus and just force yourself not to look down and to really feel the distance your trying to cover. You're basically developing better proprioception this way.

Additionally, the idea of learning one (or several) pieces that you can polish in the space of a week will give you the perfect level of music to focus on keeping your eyes on the page and not on your hands.

by pandrice   2017-08-19

I would highly suggest investing the time and money in Lessons. You will improve much faster under the guidance of a teacher (even just once or twice a month) than by yourself. If you absolutely refuse to go this route, however, I would suggest getting "Alfred's Basic All-In-One Piano Course Book One" ( . Go through this book and the others in the series (I think there are 3 total) and by then you should have enough technique under your fingers to be able to learn whatever songs/tunes/pieces you want.

Speaking as a professional musician (classical trumpet player) I can't stress enough the value of practicing scales and other "boring" technical exercises. These fundamentals are the building blocks of virtually all the music you'll ever play and the more you practice them, the easier it will be to learn new music. Good luck and happy practicing!