I am a computer engineering student who has access to piano's at my school almost 24/7. So why dont learn to play? I am willing to work hard and planning to get a good base starting this summer, that means, spending up to 8 hours of playing everyday this summer. I am used to breaking things into parts and learn them methodically. How should I start with piano? I have played a bit here and there, meaning trying a bit of Hanon, chords and so on. I am not asking for shortcuts, just trying to avoid stupid tracks. All suggestions are heartwarming, books, exercises, and so on ...
I assume you're asking how to get started playing the piano on your own?– BabuMay 3, 2012 at 21:28
Thanks, very helpful. I like Jazz, so I will look into the book. I think focusing on pieces is smart, it is something concrete to do. How much emphasis should be put into learning sight reading? Is this the way to learn a piece, through notation or do I break it into parts by hearing?– user29163May 4, 2012 at 6:29
I advice you to also take lessons for the basics. A lot of piano autodidact piano players had very bad usage of finger/body placement which could eventually result in hand/neck/back problems!
For the rest.. just look for the right music to learn. It does not really matter what songs but when you want to learn to play the piano you will likely end with classical music.
Also, when doing some kind of online lessons.. practise something until perfected 100% and then proceed to the next step. Usually you want to progress too fast resulting in bad skills and timing. Try not to go too fast and pauze often. You are planning to go play 8 hours a day! This cannot be very good for a beginner. Better to do 2 or 3 sessions and target a specific thing during a session.
I second Ramon's suggestion to get at least a few lessons to make sure you've got your posture correct.
After that, focus on pieces not exercises. Get a few volumes of Easy Classics to Moderns and World's Favorite Piano anthologies. Start with Mozart. The melodies will train your ears (and keep you interested), while the technique should develop naturally (if you follow the fingering, indicated by numbers next to the note-heads).
At first it might take you the whole day to learn a piece, note by note, right hand, left hand, both hands. Resist the temptation to start over from the beginning every time you make a mistake (how ever will you get to the end if you indulge this habit?). After a whole summer, you could have a dozen little Mozart pieces under your belt; maybe even Fur Elise, too.
If you are into jazz or any genres that uses traits from jazz you might want to get "The Jazz Piano Book" by Mark Levine. You will have to decide if it is over your head or not, but it will keep you busy for a life time.