Is it worth learning the piano?
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:51 PM   #1
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Is it worth learning the piano?

Alright, hear me out please - it's my time at stake here!

So last year I retired from being a bassist in a band and started my own solo project. Got myself some speakers, audio interface a DAW and all that.

Then I got myself a Launchpad and an Impulse 49 keyboard. The main reasons I got the keyboard is because of the pitchbend wheel, faders, assignable knobs and the tactility of playing the instrument (velocity sensitivity and aftertouch). The thing is that I come from a fretted instrument and whenever I had to change key I would just shift my box/pattern up or down the neck. Whenever I need to change key on a keyboard I have to learn a whole new shape because of the goddamn black keys being the way that they are. That is just way to much muscle memory to build for my liking.

Then I downloaded Launchpad95 scripts and you can have your notes laid out on the controller just like the strings on the bass (you can have button rows tuned in 5ths) and it works perfectly for me as I can easily recognise and play chord patterns and the shapes don't change when you shift the key! It's not velocity sensitive though...

So I got the expressiveness with the keys and familiarity/logical layout with Launchpad and I decided to invest some time into learning keys. Then Novation bring out the news that the next Launchpad is going to have velocity sensitive pads.

So I just abandoned my keys and I'm waiting to get the new Launchpad because I honestly do not see the point of keys as an interface.

Does anyone else feel that the keyboard layout is an outdated thing? I feel that learning all the scales in all of the keys is a waste of time on a piano, considering you only need to learn one pattern on a grid/fret layout as opposed to twelve with keys.

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Old 05-03-2015, 11:17 PM   #2
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

I don't think it neither a "waste of time" nor "an outdated thing"..but more a case of what works best for the individual. Sure..the extra keyboard skills would be a nice to think to have and master..but if it's totally going against your work-flow and bugs you that much, then it's really a no-brainer to stay doing things the way you are at the moment.

By the sounds of it, you've really given this some thought and looked into how you can make it work for you..and come away with the best choice for yourself already..and that's great..as in the end, it's all about the music we make and not what use to make it.

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Old 06-03-2015, 02:10 AM   #3
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

There are a lot of new, cool ways to play music with all the new controllers, but I don't think learning piano is "outdated". If you don't want to, don't. But I think it is still a valid way to record a performance in an ITB setup.

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Old 06-03-2015, 12:52 PM   #4
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

of course it's fucking worth it learning the piano. it's the greatest thing to learn on the goddamned planet.

people who think learning the piano is a waste of time blow my fucking mind. jesus fucking christ.

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Old 06-03-2015, 03:10 PM   #5
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

Most musicians find it easier to learn another instrument. My dad for example. Amazing on the guitar. He can go over to the piano and play anything by ear.

I started playing the piano at a young age so I have no idea what it would be like to not play it. It's definitely worth the effort imo. I plan on learning the drums. I know for a fact anything you learn will improve your abilities and perspective and will give you a new dimension to see music in.
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:17 PM   #6
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

Yeah, I mean I can play it by ear no problems, it's just when it comes to playing chords I get frustrated because their shapes vary from key to key.

I'm still going to learn it as I sit in front of it every day, I'm just gonna dedicate more time to playing the Launchpad.
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:21 PM   #7
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

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Yeah, I mean I can play it by ear no problems, it's just when it comes to playing chords I get frustrated because their shapes vary from key to key.

I'm still going to learn it as I sit in front of it every day, I'm just gonna dedicate more time to playing the Launchpad.
Just dedicate a few minutes (10) every day and learn a new scale or song at a time. Learning the piano is a progressive art of daily practice. Over time you will learn things just with a little practice each day.
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Old 06-03-2015, 03:39 PM   #8
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

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Originally Posted by Bo Rumba View Post
Does anyone else feel that the keyboard layout is an outdated thing? I feel that learning all the scales in all of the keys is a waste of time on a piano, considering you only need to learn one pattern on a grid/fret layout as opposed to twelve with keys.
I think this perception depends on which way you've come at it. I've learned strings and keys alongside each other growing up, so I see the benefit of both. But really, in terms of the diatonic scale, the keyboard combined with a computer is much easier than any stringed instrument because there's nothing to learn. Just use the white keys. Then just transpose to whatever key you want to play in.

The other thing is that it's really not hard to learn every key starting from C by travelling round the circle of fifths. So to switch it up from C to G it's just one key's difference. Honestly, without the simplicity of the keyboard, I would never have learned as much theory as I have, nor would I be as easily able to pick up new instruments and quickly grasp how to play them.

And really, the scales aren't that hard to learn. Practise enough and you'll find your muscle memory kicks in based on where you place your hands.

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Old 06-03-2015, 04:22 PM   #9
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

It's just so obvious that having at least basic, meat-and-potatoes theory/keyboard technique will benefit anyone ... It's a pretty darn well designed system.

I don't know how it can even be a debate.

ANd yeah as Jaded said, once you break that first wall of practice hours and feel the scales under your hands, you will start looking forward to investing more time in practicing, chipping away at the mountain of gold, as I like to put it, because you will know that it pays off and that your brain can do awesome shit if you let it wire itself up for the task.
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:14 PM   #10
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

Like...I won't even say that I "know" any theory...but it is so goddamn easy on piano/keys. As has been stated. You literally have to know almost nothing and you can do a ton almost w/o thinking.

As I said, sure there are cool new toys to play music on...but the piano is pretty much the perfect system for writing/playing western music--especially if the keys are connected to a computer that can create an infinite number of sounds.

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Old 06-03-2015, 05:30 PM   #11
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

I agree with the rest of this thread; if you're using a DAW with an interface that just so happens to look like an instrument you might not be a fan of, why not learn a bit about how to play it and go from there?
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:36 PM   #12
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

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Originally Posted by Jaded View Post
But really, in terms of the diatonic scale, the keyboard combined with a computer is much easier than any stringed instrument because there's nothing to learn. Just use the white keys. Then just transpose to whatever key you want to play in.

The other thing is that it's really not hard to learn every key starting from C by travelling round the circle of fifths. So to switch it up from C to G it's just one key's difference.
exactly. so i'm pretty confused by this question. if you're a bassist, then you most likely started out playing guitar (because, really, who wants to be a bassist from the get-go? most of the bassists i know ended up playing bass because there were not enough bassist around, since everyone wanted to play guitars). and guitar is much harder because of the shift from the perfect 4th interval between most open strings to a major 3rd between G and B string in particular (in standard tuning, which is what most people use). piano is much easier by comparison, since the intervals actually correspond to the physical keys. want to go 6 steps up? count 6 keys. which with guitar you would probably want to use adjacent strings, rather than going up 6 frets on the same string, so that stuff gets confusing fast. and you can also play the exact same interval/triton/chord/whatever in multiple places on the neck. which is not the case with piano. there's only one way to play something (i mean, within the exact same octave).

so it should be much easier to pick up the piano than any kind of a stringed instrument. is it worth it? totally. personally, i'm planning on getting an 88-key controller next year and diving deeper into it (i'm focusing on learning drums this year).
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:44 PM   #13
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

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who wants to be a bassist from the get-go?
I started from bass guitar.

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Old 06-03-2015, 05:45 PM   #14
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

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I started from bass guitar.
and i suggest you seek immediate medical attention.
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Old 06-03-2015, 06:30 PM   #15
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

I also started with bass (being 'easier' than the guitar is a gross generalization), although I began on upright in an orchestra, so that may not count. But I don't want to get off topic here.

As others have said, knowing the piano is a valuable skill regardless of how much you use it to actually play the music you write. A lot of people 'speak' piano, and damn near every music studio/practice space will have something with a piano interface. It's great to be fluent on the piano.

That being said, I suck at piano, and I wish I didn't.

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Old 06-03-2015, 06:50 PM   #16
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

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being 'easier' than the guitar is a gross generalization
but it only has 4 strings? how hard can it possibly be?

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Old 06-03-2015, 06:51 PM   #17
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

I can't tell how many times I've heard people say that in complete seriousness.
People are funny.

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Old 06-03-2015, 11:46 PM   #18
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

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and i suggest you seek immediate medical attention.
Well, haha - very funny. I'll have you know that the doctor man said that as of next month, once a week, I'll be allowed to go outside in public. Under strict supervision, of course, but I've gotta admit - that's some serious progress for me!

Seriously though, I started with bass because I actually liked playing it more than guitar. And when I did eventually get a guitar I actually tuned it all in 4ths as it was pissing me off no end. So essentially I just like the uniformity of the layout which is something that pianos don't have. And since I got those scripts for Launchpad the piano has just been sitting collecting dust pretty much...

Anyhow, you guys convinced me to take it a bit more seriously. Like it was said it's a ubiquitous piece of gear that you'd find in any studio and like UCoB said there's only one way to play something, which is something I didn't even think of.
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Old 07-03-2015, 08:36 AM   #19
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

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and guitar is much harder because of the shift from the perfect 4th interval between most open strings to a major 3rd between G and B string in particular (in standard tuning, which is what most people use).
I've never heard anyone who plays both say this. The bass is a much more challenging instrument to play than the guitar. That's why everyone plays guitar dude.

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and you can also play the exact same interval/triton/chord/whatever in multiple places on the neck. which is not the case with piano. there's only one way to play something (i mean, within the exact same octave).
Well you can play the exact same chord in different ways on a keyboard as well. A good example is a Maj7 chord. You can play it as is: 1 3 5 7 or you can omit the root: 3 5 7, or invert it: 3 5 7 8. That's three ways to play the same chord on a keyboard in one octave.

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although I began on upright in an orchestra, so that may not count.
Totally the same thing bro.

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Anyhow, you guys convinced me to take it a bit more seriously. Like it was said it's a ubiquitous piece of gear that you'd find in any studio and like UCoB said there's only one way to play something, which is something I didn't even think of.
Yeah dude, there's a reason that electronic instruments typically include a traditional keyboard or its approximation. But there are many ways to construct things on a keyboard. That's partly why they're so favoured for composition, because it's very easy to try multiple variations of the same passage. It's just simply more efficient than any other musical instrument.

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Old 07-03-2015, 05:17 PM   #20
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Re: Is it worth learning the piano?

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I've never heard anyone who plays both say this. The bass is a much more challenging instrument to play than the guitar. That's why everyone plays guitar dude.
what i meant is i think guitar is much harder to pick up than PIANO, not bass.

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Well you can play the exact same chord in different ways on a keyboard as well. A good example is a Maj7 chord. You can play it as is: 1 3 5 7 or you can omit the root: 3 5 7, or invert it: 3 5 7 8. That's three ways to play the same chord on a keyboard in one octave.
.
i'm not talking about voicings or omissions. you take that 357 chord and there could be 3 different places on a guitar neck where you can play the EXACT same chord. whereas on the piano, there's only one way to play that 357 chord in the same octave.

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