In short, I've been playing the piano for about 15 years, started when I was 6. I always either learned by hearing, seeing how other people play and generally just doing my own thing and learning at my own pace. My repertoire isn't all that extensive; so far it's Pachelbel Canon in D [yah yah everybody seems to hate it but it's still my favorite] (http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/store...1587476&page=00 ) fairly advanced version. I also know a lot of the staples like Fur Elise, 1st movement to the moonlight sonata, a lot of the Turkish March and some various songs like Titanic and whatever else I wanted to learn to play. I also improvise a lot, make up my own melodies and generally just have fun when I bang on the keys.
Problem is right now there are a LOT of songs I want to play, the most ambitious one is the Heroic Polonaise Opus 53. That song is way above my current skill level and trying to learn it note by note would take me probably ten years if I practiced every day for three hours. I can read music to an extent but once a lot of flats and sharps are thrown in there I get thrown off. Keep in mind, I've never had lessons and while I have a very good sense of rhythm and tone, I don't necessarily have a good fundamental knowledge of things I should.
So whats the next step do you guys think? I want to get better, a lot better, and I'm willing to put in the time (and money if necessary) to improve. I'd like to think I have potential getting this far without lessons. Obviously I'd want to start with an instructor but I wouldn't even no where to start...and the last thing I want to be doing is scales for hours on end when my fingers are already quite nimble. I would like to keep to classical but some pop songs wouldn't be bad to know
You say you get confused when a lot of sharps and flats come in, but also that you play the Moonlight 1st. That piece is in C# minor (4 sharps) and uses double-sharps (much more confusing, to my mind). Are you sure you aren't selling yourself short? Or are you just saying you feel clumsy reading through complicated music?
Anyways, if you want to get better, you might not actually need lessons, but you'll almost certainly improve faster with a good teacher than without, as I'm sure you realize.
Having come so far on your own, I think that you have a LOT of potential, but at some point lessons are really necessary. You may be able to improve on your own, but that more than doubles with a good teacher. Esp. with sharps and flats. . .and I noticed that you said you don't want to be practicing scales over and over again. That will actually help you more with your confusion about sharps and flats.
If you came this far on your own, then I think that you'll do even better with lessons. All things have their limit, and at this point, you're testing your self sufficiency's limit. Good luck!
Have you looked at www.playpiano.com. Duane Shinn has a TON of cds to learn piano at home. He also puts out a free newsletter with lessons you get once a week.
Also go to the lessons section on this website. You'll have to work...
Practice, practice, practice.