Got yourself a keyboard for beginners (click here to read a brief buying guide with recommendations if you haven’t purchased one yet) but not sure where to start learning to play? Learning to play an electronic keyboard for beginners is pretty much similar to learning piano, in terms of the hand movements and music theory required, so piano courses would help you a lot. Of course, the main differences between an electronic keyboard and a piano are that you have a lot more features and instrumental sounds to play around with, and the feel of the keyboard is likely not as nuanced or expressive as a true acoustic piano. Because the features vary from one keyboard to another, it’s always best to consult your keyboard’s manual to figure out how to activate certain settings (such as the sustain option which I mentioned in an earlier post).
To start off, for the keyboard beginner on a tight budget, I can first of all recommend you take a look at a few FREE video lessons on Youtube. The best ones I’ve found are by Andrew Furmanczyk (username lypur on Youtube). The series starts off with very basic helpful lessons. Here’s the first part of the video series:
One of the main advantages of having an electronic keyboard over an acoustic piano is the wide range of instrumental sounds you have at your fingertips, as opposed to just the grand piano tone. If you ever get bored practising the same sections over and over again, try switching to some exotic instrumental tone and it might just breathe life back into your practice sessions!
Another advantage is the “sustain” feature available on many keyboards (look up your keyboard’s manual if you’re not sure yours has one or you don’t know how to activate this). If you don’t have a sustain pedal, you can still play piano pieces and have them sound pretty good by just turning on the sustain feature on your keyboard and playing as usual. The sustain feature simply extends the length of each note you play instead of cutting off abruptly. Another trick is to change instrumental tones; some instrumental tones (such as strings, flute and organ) naturally will have longer sustain than others.
One of the most common reasons or excuses for dropping out of playing piano or keyboard is that the person feels they are just not naturally talented at it, or that they feel they simply don’t have the coordination required to play with both hands simultaneously. Some teens even think they started playing too late to be any good, when there are adults around who’d successfully learned to play well starting in their late 30s, 40s and even 50s.
Here’s the thing: yes, it may take you longer (if you’re unlucky: potentially much longer) and you might possibly require a lot more dedication and hard work than some so-called naturally-talented people. But if you are truly passionate about learning the keyboard or piano, or if it has been your lifelong dream to play well, this should not be a reason to give up!
You might have seen ads for the Rocket Piano course a few times if you’ve been visiting piano or keyboard-related sites. Having tried it myself over the past few months thanks to the many positive reviews around, I can say that it’s definitely well worth the money. Here’s my own personal review of it.
Rocket Piano Review – What is Rocket Piano?
First, what is the Rocket Piano course? It’s essentially a set of books and audio/videos created by a group of piano teachers who have a total combined experience of 30 years teaching, playing and performing. It is supposed to help you self-learn the piano or keyboard. It’s advertised as being suitable for beginners, intermediate players and even advanced players.
There are currently several online keyboard courses you can purchase as a beginner. Should you buy them, or just go the traditional route of offline keyboard/piano classes?
The main advantages of online courses vs offline are the convenience and the cost. A typical offline one-to-one piano teacher will cost $15 for just half an hour. A typical beginner course takes up to 4 1-hour lessons, so that’s $120 for just a beginner course (and that typically means the basics of music theory). If you take up lessons to the advanced level, you can expect to pay well into the thousands.
If the teacher specially travels to your home, you can add in their transport costs as well. If you live in an area where such teachers are scarce, then these transport costs can add up to be very significant in the long run. In addition, you are pretty much bound by the timings agreed with the teacher in advance, and cannot simply pick up learning from where you left off “as and when you feel like it”.