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How can I effectively learn how to play the piano if it is simply impossible for me to get a teacher?

I'm 17 years old, and I took it upon myself to learn the piano. However, I am not sure where to start, especially with regards to getting things 'right' (i.e. posture, etc.) and of course actually hitting the right keys and stuff.

My goal is to at least be a semi-competent (hobbyist) pianist.

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Learning piano without a competent teacher results in bad habits, and having bad habits is worse than having no habits. There are probably a few people who are self-taught and who can play medium-level compositions without making other people cringe, but I'm yet to meet one, or see one on youtube. I would just wait to save up money to get a teacher. –  Mischa Arefiev Dec 13 '13 at 18:44
@MischaArefiev Its not so much about the money, but more so of locations and conditions I have that does not permit me to get a private teacher. –  Secret Dec 15 '13 at 5:30
There are many great musicians who've learned to play piano by themselves without a teacher. Well, they didn't strive to become pianists but just innovative, creative musicians. –  loungelizard Dec 18 '13 at 8:01

3 Answers 3

Effectively, you could learn piano by starting with the basics.

Piano Lessons

First, I would suggest learning the notes on the piano:

(1) (2) (3) (4)

Then learning the intervals:

(1) (2) (3)

Then learn some chords:

(1) (2) (3) (4)

After you've learned the notes, intervals and some basic chords, you'll be able to play some (simple) songs you might like. So, just look up for a song's music sheet (or tab).

For the correct posture, take a look at these:

(1) (2) (3)

Personally, I prefer books to learn music. That's not really necessary; you could learn online. But I would suggest getting a beginners book for piano. It might help you.

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Not sure how tab is going to help on piano. –  Tim Dec 13 '13 at 12:37
For instance, when a song i being played in guitar pro (not the best software, I know),it offers you a small window with a virtual piano which shows you what keys to press. (This might not be exactly a tab, but I didn't know what else to call it). –  Shevliaskovic Dec 13 '13 at 12:43
Yes, it's not a bad idea. Don't know what it's called either... –  Tim Dec 13 '13 at 12:45
Wow. I think playing piano (even at the «semi-competent hobbyist» level) is 1% hitting the right keys and 99% everything else. –  Mischa Arefiev Dec 13 '13 at 18:35
Well, you could define everything else in an answer –  Shevliaskovic Dec 13 '13 at 18:39

You can use Learn and Master Piano lessions, which is very helpful for learning piano without any teacher and within a very less time. I am learning from it for last 7 months and found it very helpful.

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I want to tell you that YES! You can totally learn to play piano using YouTube, Google and music store resources completely and BETTER than with personalized instruction. Let me encourage you by telling you this: In six weeks, I have taught myself all major and relative minor scales in four octaves hands unison. I've taught myself how to read music from flashcards well enough to learn Bach's Prelude 1 and Moonlight Sonata (first 20 measures) and a couple of Schumann pieces. I know all the chords in major, minor, diminished, augmented, V7 and 7th in root position and both inversions and I've memorized the cycle of fifths in every regard. And the kicker? I'm 50 years old next month!
Here's the thing though: I discovered by accident that Piano is my PASSION. I've resisted it all my life but now embrace it. IF piano is NOT your passion, you must expect limited results. You'll know--You simply will. Let's say it is. One of the ways it will show is, you'll want to practice ALL THE TIME, as much as you can. This is the biggest factor for success, with or without a teacher. It doesn't matter how much you "say" you want it. You have to SHOW, with your actions, that you want it. I think you'll do MUCH better without a teacher because, #1. Instructions are very expensive. #2. Most teachers are interested in keeping you coming so they intentionally go much slower than you could. #3. Teachers teach voodoo BS about common physics. Things like "thumb under", total wrist rotations, massaging the keys and high hand arching. All TOTAL CRAP and lies!
Here's directly HOW to teacher yourself piano: 1. Buy music notation flashcards and read them at least 30 minutes everyday until "you get it". You'll feel it inside when you "know" the note you see. Avoid ALL that crazy phrases for notes stuff. It's worthless. Just remember "GBD FACE". It works on BOTH the lines and the spaces and you need nothing else. No matter where you start in "GBD FACE" you know what comes next, and THAT's the only secret to learning to read music. Learn the intervals! All with flashcards and sheet music. 2. Study Rhythm AWAY from the piano and AT the piano. Rhythm has to come from inside you so, looking at a keyboard expecting to get it is useless. Slap, snap or tap count to your favorite songs. Read rhythm patterns. This is hard and it sucks so, stick with it. 3. Learn the major scales in MORE THAN one octave, Starting with C#, not C. Learn 'C' second, not first. Skip right over the one-octave scale practice. That's another "keep you here forever" teacher invention. Go up to four octaves as quickly as possible. Smooth, even, SLOW. 4. Learn the relative minors and their scales to match the major keys. 5. Learn the cycle of fifths. It's extremely easy and takes about 1 hour. Just remember the word "BEAD" it happens in both sharps and flats and key signatures. You know how to spell "BEAD" right? Okay, here's the flats: F-B-E-A-D-G-C and here's the sharps G-D-A-E-B-F#. {BEAD is backward in sharps}. One hour. You'll never forget it. 6. Find an easy song you LOVE! You have to LOVE it. Get the sheet music and learn to play it. EVERYTHING starts with one song in your piano career. Here's the thing: One of your favorite songs has more music in it than an entire "Method" book.
7. Skip all the method books because they ALL suck. It would take you YEARS to get through them or, you can learn everything they teach on your own in less than one year. 8. YouTube. AVOID the "voodoo BS" videos about how to sit, breathe, and hold your hands while playing. This is the greatest gift you can give yourself learning the piano. Watch the ones which PLAY what you want to play. Compare notes with common sense and what you see with your own eyes watching Concert Pianists play. Are they doing that Voodoo BS? No! And neither should you! It's all about Fun, enthusiasm and pride, not fear, rules and religion, which is all a teacher has to offer you. 9. DEMAND one improvement to your ABILITY, not your playing, every day. "Today, I internalized the note 'a' on the treble clef." or, "Today, I'm able to play the C major scale without gaps."

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