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How to learn about music?
Old 06-13-2007, 01:41 PM   #1
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How to learn about music?

I unfortunately never learned to read or play music, but both of my yound kids are obviously interested. Assuming I can find the time, how do I get started learning to read music? To play, I assume lessons would be the way to go?
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Old 06-13-2007, 01:55 PM   #2
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Lessons would be good in terms of learning to play the instrument correctly, and not picking up bad habits. Learning to read is 90% practice.
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:04 PM   #3
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90% practice on an instrument, or 90% practice in reading? Keep in mind, my level of knowledge is appproximately zero.
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:22 PM   #4
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I learned more in three months of guitar lessons than I had in a year playing by myself. Granted, this was before I had easy access to the internet. But honestly after three lessons, I felt like it was getting to be a bit much for a dude who just wanted to pick a guitar around a campfire. There are a lot of good sites for learning guitar, etc., but there are also a lot of bad ones. If you want to get lessons, many places allow you to start with three lessons or so. This way you can decide after that time if it really is something you want to learn, and you don't have to sign on for weekly lessons for a year.

If someone I know wanted to learn guitar, I'd let them borrow one of mine for a couple months and point them to a couple websites. If after that time they were still interested, I'd probably tell them to take a few lessons. It's really how involved you want to get. I just like to be able to pick with other people in a casual setting. That's enough for me.

*Edit: Should've been three month's of lessons, not three lessons.
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:36 PM   #5
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Before you learn to read music, you want to figure out what instrument you want to play. Guitar music is different from piano music and both are different from cello music.

Then you can attempt to go to the library or search the Internet for a DIY learning method.

Best method is to take lessons to learn not only how to read music, but how to interpret music, and how to have good posture with your instrument.
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
I unfortunately never learned to read or play music, but both of my yound kids are obviously interested. Assuming I can find the time, how do I get started learning to read music? To play, I assume lessons would be the way to go?
How old are they? Do them a big favor, pay for competent music lessons. I was lucky, my mom had a teaching degree in piano...........

After I progressed on the trombone,I moved beyond her expertise and got private lessons.........

Picking an instrument has a LOT to do with it. Most people start with piano or electronic keyboard to begin with, then move to others.

Stay away from the string instruments unless your child is VERY focused on it. There are hard to master and painful to listen to early on..........
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Old 06-13-2007, 03:07 PM   #7
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90% practice on an instrument, or 90% practice in reading?
I meant that most of your benefit will come from sitting down and reading the music and playing it on the instrument.

To understand what those spots on the music page mean, would take you an hour or less. It's very simple. If you just want an intellectual understanding of it, so that you'll have the answer when your kids ask "Dad, what's this note?" you can learn that yourself on the Internet.

To be able to see a page of music and play that music on an instrument n real time is what takes a lot of time. And, of course, that's what's most rewarding.
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Old 06-13-2007, 03:17 PM   #8
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For many instruments, lessons and learning to sight read are crucial. For guitar, lessons are important, but reading not so important. However, learning some music theory - scales, chord construction, etc. - would be helpful.

If you can learn a handful of chords, and learn to make chord changes smoothly and accurately, you can play so many folk, rock, and country songs that you'll have trouble remembering all the words...

(Voice of experience...)

Example: key of G - G, C, D; throw in Em and Am for good measure

Take It Easy, Tequila Sunrise, Lyin' Eyes - Eagles
Hang - Matchbox 20
Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound, OD'd in Denver, Family Tradition - Hank Jr.
Lucky Man - Emerson, Lake, and Palmer
Slowdown - Dierkes Bentley
Who'll Stop the Rain - CCR
Wrapped Around Your Finger - George Strait
etc.
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Old 06-13-2007, 03:23 PM   #9
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i had years of lessons in piano & guitar. i can read music, i can play individual notes by ear. but when it comes to chords or, more precisely, combining chords with notes you might as well throw a baseball at me. i just don't catch on.

i think there's something more to playing music than memory or technical knowledge. whatever it is, it passed me by.
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Old 06-13-2007, 03:32 PM   #10
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You could learn to read music just by singing. As HFWR says, learning some music theory is very helpful. Guitar and piano are good for learning music and learning chord construction. Piano is good because so many kids start music on the piano. Electronic pianos have come down in price over the past few years and don't take up the kind of room a standard piano takes. Plus, the different sound options make it fun to practice. (For example, you can sound like a standard piano, electric piano, pipe organ, etc.). I have been giving beginning piano lessons to some relatives and I have noticed that the adult piano books out there are pretty good at moving people along, not using totally stupid songs, and throwing in enough theory so you understand a bit about how western music is structured.

My first instrument was violin, so it is not like it is necessary to start on something like a piano but IMHO you can sound half decent on a piano far before you would sound half decent on a violin. Or a clarinet. Etc.

It is fun. Go enjoy yourself.
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Old 06-13-2007, 04:01 PM   #11
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If you anticipate that you (or the kids) might become seriously interested in playing an instrument, I agree with the folks who said to get a good teacher from the beginning. It's much easier if you don't have to retrain bad habits later on. Even if it's just for fooling around, I think I'd probably take a few beginner's lessons to get started on the right track.

Learning to read music doesn't necessarily need a teacher though.
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Old 06-13-2007, 04:01 PM   #12
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My first instrument was violin, so it is not like it is necessary to start on something like a piano but IMHO you can sound half decent on a piano far before you would sound half decent on a violin. Or a clarinet. Etc.

It is fun. Go enjoy yourself.
Or a trombone..............
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Old 06-13-2007, 05:21 PM   #13
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Or a trombone..............
That way you can play the slobberin' blues on the bone-a-phone...
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Old 06-13-2007, 06:58 PM   #14
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Learning to read music doesn't necessarily need a teacher though.
try this website to get you started. You can click on lessons to learn about it and then click on trainers to quiz yourself.

Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net
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Old 06-13-2007, 07:55 PM   #15
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Brew -

You are lucky to be close to great jazz. I saw TONS of jazz clubs in NYC - I was in heaven. Even if you don't learn music, your kids will at least have access to so many great places to hear/see music being played.
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Old 06-13-2007, 08:10 PM   #16
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I never learned to read music or play an instrument when I was young. At the age of 42, I joined the choir at my church. I can now read music, but I still can just barely pick out my vocal line on the piano.
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:24 AM   #17
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as a piano player, I also wanted to find an instrument that was more portable.

enter-----the accordion!!!

ok, ok, I've heard all the accordion jokes. But they are a good instrument for learning to sight-read, and chord theory as well. They pack in a case and go with you. They work quite well for folk music, and jazz. and, of course, polkas but I don't know any of those (except beer barrell polka which seems to be a mandatory request among the crowd I hang out with).

I recently purchased a significant improvement an electronic accordion with headphones. I find it useful when practicing to not have to worry about what it sounds like to others.

if you can get past the social stigma, I highly recommend it!
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Old 06-14-2007, 12:47 PM   #18
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One reason I like guitar is the portability. I have an old beater acoustic I use to drag around, with no fear of something happening to it.

Take a gander sometime at Willie Nelson's guitar...

"You know you can't touch that stuff,
without money or a brand new car.
Let me give you some good advice, young man.
You'd better learn to play guitar..."

John Mellencamp
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Old 06-14-2007, 03:18 PM   #19
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Take a gander sometime at Willie Nelson's guitar...
Willie was on the Ralph Emory Show a week or two ago. He said he's had 'Trigger' for about 40 years! He's getting his money worth out of that it!
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:26 PM   #20
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The backbone of any musician's education revolves around the ability to play the piano, or in this electronic age, the keyboard. It combines note reading, score reading, the coordination of the brain to the hands and the coordination of both hands playing together. When you learn that you have a better understanding of how melody relates to harmony. A degree program in music usually requires a piano proficiency test. That doesn't mean everyone who has a music degree is a great piano player. It means they have the ability to play at an elementary level with two hands making music.

For your kids it could be the beginning of their exploration of music and who knows they may stick with the piano or go on to play another instrument. But when you have the piano background it gives you a better understanding of all of the elements of music mentioned above and more as you progress. A background in piano is also invaluable to people who love to sing and learn music either on their own or in a group.

Many children today get interested in music in elementary school and learn to play an instrument. This is also a good way to go. If they don't enjoy practicing they usually lose interest. If they don't have a good teacher they also tend to lose interest because the music programs in schools are not designed to give individual help which is vital. A private teacher is the only way to go to learn to read and play music.
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