I'm a guitarist and know a good lot about music theory (don't know sheet reading tho, 'cause I'm lazy lol). I don't have THAT much free time and I know that learning a new instrument requires a lot of practice and study, and for the same reasons I didn't try piano classes (even tho I know a piano teacher), but I have a passion for piano and just a month ago I bought a MIDI controller from a friend and I use it to have fun with different instruments on Reaper/Reason. Soooo, can you guys give me some tips? Maybe online courses I could do on my own time? I'm the kinda person who needs some incentive to try something new, I tried to learn on my own in the past and got frustrated and just gave up. I can actually understand the theory behind piano chords, improvisation and everything but I can't develop the skills, mainly when we're talking about doing different things on each hand lol
I recently took a Keyboard class from Berklee Online. I am a guitarist and the class was required for a degree program, and going into it, like you, I didn't know how I was going to translate what I know on guitar to keyboard/piano.
So here are my thoughts/tips, and I suspect thousands of free lesson on youtube would have you doing these sorts of things:
- First, understand that the entire piano from left to right is one long chromatic scale, where black keys are sharps/flats, with white keys being key of C. Sort of like one long guitar string with up to 88 frets :-)
- Learn the C Major Scale and the triad chords that go along with it. On Piano this is easy. Just play the white keys! And playing triad chords amounts to understanding root position, 1st and 2nd inversion. So for a C Major Triad, just see the various ways you can play the notes C E and G within one octave, with one hand, and notice the patterns on the piano that come about. This will force you to also learn about shifting on the piano, since playing a 7 note scale will have you running out of fingers! So its not like guitar where you can stay in a position and readily play a scale. On piano, there are standard recommended fingerings for each scale, so just do a google search.
- Once you are getting used to C Major, add a key with one sharp or flat. So then try G Major or F Major so that you get the black keys into the game :-)
- Now understand that left hand is often playing bass (for beginners anyway!). So get used to playing a chord's root note with left hand while playing chords with right.
- Ok, you talked about playing with both hands at same time. This is just a matter of practice... After you go through the basics like I mention above, it is time to start playing some very basic music in key of C that has you using both hands. At first you'll want to play very basic stuff where left and right hand are playing similar rhythms.
Above is just meant to get you started...
Anyway, as far as exercises, etc, the book used in our class was the instructor's book, and it is called Piano Essentials: Scales, Chords, Arpeggios, and Cadences for the Contemporary Pianist. But he had us playing numerous short pieces of music which you won't find in his book. So you really need to combine exercises with actual music otherwise you will be insanely bored...
You'll find playing in different keys on keyboard is far trickier compared to guitar. We guitarists are lucky in that C Major, D Major, etc, all look the same physically on the fretboard. So we have same fingerings for a Major Triad barre chord regardless of root note. On piano, if you want to play in key of G, then you play the black key after F to get F# and that alone will change the fingering for the triads in G, compared to C... Yeah, I know - nuts!