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#1003939 - 08/27/06 06:30 PM How good is it possible to get?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I have been self teaching for a while and have finnally found a teacher willing to work with me,when the teacher saw that my hand could comfortable span 12 keys she was quite impressed and said she had never seen anyone do that before, howevever she soon learned how clumsy I was,At age 43 is it feasable to learn to pay classical music peices,How good is it possible to get?

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#1003940 - 08/27/06 06:35 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
In what units of measurement would you like us to answer your question?

;\)

Of course you can learn to play classical pieces.

(by the way, a comfortable span of 12 keys is very unusual)
_________________________
Sam

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#1003941 - 08/27/06 06:42 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
ShiroKuro Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3234
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Welcome to PW!

Yes, you obviously have very big hands! You might feel clusmy right now, but that will get better, so consider yourself lucky to have such a big reach.

You can get very very very good. 43 is not old. How good you get (and how fast you progress) will be determined by how, and how much, you practice. Time spent at the keyboard is very important, but how you spend that time is IMO even more important. Practice smart, and practice often, and you will see results.
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1003942 - 08/27/06 06:47 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I suppose I should clarify what i am asking,My goal is to play Fur Elise, moonlight sonata 1st movement for my own enjoyment and possible other,I am having at present I am working on Bach minuet in G major,i am having trouble with the trills and coordinated hand speed, Specifically what are the phisical and mental disadvantages of starting at a later age and what is your opinion of how to overcome them?

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#1003943 - 08/27/06 07:35 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
you'd feel play Moonlight 1st movement quite comfortable with a hand span like that, while i have to struggle to reach a 9th. you have advantage and would be good at piano for sure!

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#1003944 - 08/27/06 07:41 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
You could definately play those pieces if you work at it.

Rather than thinking of starting at a later age as a disadvantage, think of starting at an earlier age as an advantage.

When you're very young, your mind is growing very quickly. So if you learn piano technique as a little kid, it grows into your brain while your brain is developing, and you learn it relatively easily/quickly. When you are older, it doesn't come as easily, because you don't have that advantage of having your brain grow along with the music.

The truth is, playing the piano is hard, and it takes a long time, whether you are 4 years old or 40 years old. Something like Fur Elise or Moonlight 1st movement isn't so bad, but if you want to play Rachmaninov Concertos or Prokofiev Sonatas, it takes a very long time, even if you start as a kid. So then, if you start as an adult, maybe you don't get that far because you don't have the advantage of having a brain that is growing so rapidly as you are learning.

But that doesn't mean you can't learn - it just means it is going to take longer.
_________________________
Sam

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#1003945 - 08/27/06 07:53 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
ShiroKuro Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3234
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Vincent, there may be some "disadvantages" to starting as an adult, but remember that there are lots of advantages as well. To start with, you are playing piano because it was your own choice, and you have clear goals. These two elements alone give adults a huge advantage. Next, adults are very smart and can plan and be systematic, use these abilities to your advantage. And finally, when you are able to play these pieces, you have your whole life up to this point to draw on for expression and feeling, so you will be able to play wth an added element that many children are just to young to have. \:\)

Now, if you have a teacher, that should help speed things up a great deal. Does your teacher know that Fur Elise and the Moonlight are two of your "goal pieces?" If not, make sure you tell her. With your current struggles, get her to show you different practice tricks, ask her to share with you every practice technique she knows, so that you're not just "muscling" through and playing it over and over. You want to be clever about how you approach problems. If it's trills, she should be able to show you some exercises that will help you improve them. For hand coordination and speed, practice HS and HT, very very slow and then faster, back to slow and then faster than before.

Regarding physical and mental disadvantages... Don't look at it in such a negative light, but think of yourself as an athlete, and do some "cross-training." Stretch before and after piano practice, walk and keep your circulation up (good blood flow to the brain is always good!) Take your health very seriously, make sure you get enough sleep and eat well. And, like the top athletes, visualize your pianistic success. Look over the score for the Minuet and visualize yourself playing those trills, give yourself a pep talk before you go to bed, and dream of pianistic progress!
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1003946 - 08/27/06 07:57 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
ShiroKuro Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3234
Loc: not in Japan anymore
By the way, just to respond to Sam's comments... Yes, piano takes a long time to learn and to advance. But I don't think it necessarily has to take longer for adults. Adults don't necessarily learn more slowly than children, if we are smart and practice effectively.

More importantly, it might take a long time to accomplish one's "goal piece," but in the interim, we can still enjoy the music that is at our current level. Vincent, you might want to play the Moonlight, but there are surely a lot of other pieces that you will enjoy playing. So even if it takes you several years to get to the Moonlight, more than likely, those will be years of fullfilling music. This is a journey, enjoy it every step of the way!
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1003947 - 08/27/06 09:39 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17698
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by PsychoVet:
I suppose I should clarify what i am asking,My goal is to play Fur Elise, moonlight sonata 1st movement for my own enjoyment and possible other, [/b]
If you continue practicing and taking lessons, you WILL be able to play these pieces.

I was very relieved when I saw this post, by the way. We occasionally get people posting a similar question but it turns out that they want to become a concert pianist or play those incredibly advanced concertos pianojerome mentioned. In which case we have to break it to them gently that that probably ain't gonna happen.

But becoming an advanced player capable of playing most of the classical repertoire is very much a feasible goal, even at the incredibly ANCIENT age of 43. (I'm 44. )

Because your goals are so reasonable, I suspect you'll be achieving them before you know it and then moving on to even more ambitious goals. \:\)
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1003948 - 08/30/06 06:14 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
Mike090280 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 159
Loc: Texas
Hi I am 25 and have been playing for 5 months. I would like to have the skill of a concert pianist. I would really like to play the advanced concertos that pianojerome is talking about. I am very dedicated to playing. I cant spend 8 to 10 hours a day everyday, but I do on the weekends. I get about 3 hours during the week. Are my goal too unrealistic?

Mike

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#1003949 - 08/30/06 06:22 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20761
Loc: Oakland
At the age of 43, you should have the maturity to play good pieces which are not too fast or too difficult, rather than concentrating on fast and difficult pieces that are not good.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1003950 - 08/30/06 06:30 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
Ishmael Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 255
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mike090280:
Hi I am 25 and have been playing for 5 months. I would like to have the skill of a concert pianist. I would really like to play the advanced concertos that pianojerome is talking about. I am very dedicated to playing. I cant spend 8 to 10 hours a day everyday, but I do on the weekends. I get about 3 hours during the week. Are my goal too unrealistic?

Mike [/b]
I don't buy it when people say young people, well kids, learn faster. I've seen many kids at their first or second years who still play easy children pieces. If you start at 4-5, then by 18 we know that you may become a concert pianist. So, if you start at 25, practice 4-5 hours a day in average (or 3-4 hours if you're practicing super-efficiently), I can't see any reason why you wouldn't be playing at a professional level at the age of 40.

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#1003951 - 08/30/06 06:37 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
Ah - hit the wrong button - sorry for the blank post
_________________________
"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro

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#1003952 - 08/30/06 06:48 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
saxguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/05
Posts: 163
Loc: New Jersey
Practicing efficiently is easier said than done. Even when you think you're being efficient you may not be. I highly recommend the book "The Practice Revolution" by Philip Johnston. There are some very good techniques to help achieve quality practice time.
_________________________
Bösendorfer 290

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#1003953 - 08/31/06 08:17 AM Re: How good is it possible to get?
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ishmael:
I don't buy it when people say young people, well kids, learn faster. [/QB]
Ishmael - I kinda agree, but I would add kids learn differently and just maybe better. As adults, we have "baggage" that short circuits the learning process. By this I mean if we are told to add 2 to 2 5 times in five steps, every one of us comes up with 10 almost instantly. A kid would actually go through the steps as directed because he/she is "learning" the answer, and in the process, learning the process. I have currently signed up for an on-line course that "insists" we go back to the begining and keep it simple. Go step by step, learn the steps for use later. I find it difficult to keep it simple even though I know it's the fastest way to my goals. A kid would not have this "barrier" to learning and would/might appear to be learning faster BECAUSE he/she will follow directions/instructions much better than I do.

So, I think we agree. Any of us can learn anything to any level we want, if we do the work. As adults, it sometimes appears to take longer because, in reality, we need to re-learn so much as we go.......


BTW, the answer is 12.......

OK OK - the real answer is 4 - add 2 to 2 five times comes out to 4 each time - 2 plus 2 is always 4, no matter how many times you do it.....
_________________________
"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro

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#1003954 - 08/31/06 08:41 AM Re: How good is it possible to get?
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
I don't know. I think that my 8 year old daughter picks things up more quickly than I do. I am progressing faster than she is because I can practice more (I can concentrate for a longer period of time), and because I have more experience with music and learning in general, and can figure out how to approach things better, and I don't get frustrated so quickly. BUT, given a small task to master, she can learn it in far fewer repetitions than it takes me. I think that at our current trajectories, she will pass me in a few years.

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#1003955 - 08/31/06 12:19 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
rockpeter Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 607
Loc: Montreal Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by Laura D:
I don't know. I think that my 8 year old daughter picks things up more quickly than I do. I am progressing faster than she is because I can practice more (I can concentrate for a longer period of time), and because I have more experience with music and learning in general, and can figure out how to approach things better, and I don't get frustrated so quickly. BUT, given a small task to master, she can learn it in far fewer repetitions than it takes me. I think that at our current trajectories, she will pass me in a few years. [/b]
Ok heres the plan...If she starts getting better, keep her locked in her room and you continue practising.....This should enable you to keep the lead.. ;\)

Peter
_________________________
Ok..Ok... If you don't want your Steinway give it to me !!!!

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#1003956 - 08/31/06 06:18 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
I gave up encouraging my spouse to learn to play because I don't want to share my piano!! I'm glad my kids have grown and it isn't an issue any longer!!! How DO you parents of kids taking piano lessons do it! I know that obviously the kids come first... Piano*Dad, for example. From the posts I've read, your son is on his way to becoming quite the pianist. He must practice a lot. How do you fit in time for your own practice?
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#1003957 - 08/31/06 06:22 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
P.S. If you are starting totally from scratch as an adult I believe it is most important to "enjoy the journey," be patient and have fun!!! I think that if you focus too much on the goal of becoming professional you'll miss the adventure along the way.
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#1003958 - 08/31/06 07:29 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
Reaper978 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1325
 Quote:
Originally posted by Sandy Moore:
P.S. If you are starting totally from scratch as an adult I believe it is most important to "enjoy the journey," be patient and have fun!!! I think that if you focus too much on the goal of becoming professional you'll miss the adventure along the way. [/b]
Easier said than done when you see 7 year olds playing Beethoven concertos with ease. I still have trouble "enjoying" the journey, but I suppose when I look back on it after I've become very proficient, I'll have said the same thing. The work required is tremendous, but if you practice enough and practice right, your skills will move along quite quickly.

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#1003959 - 09/04/06 06:46 PM Re: How good is it possible to get?
Laura D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 176
Loc: Pennsylvania
Peter and Sandy,
I find that I sort of resent the time my daughter takes on the piano, when I could be practicing, and also the time I spend working with her, which should be a good part of every practice session (she is doing Suzuki). I feel rather guilty over it, and do try to make sure she gets her time in, but I confess that she would be progressing faster if I were concentrating harder on her practice sessions. So I guess I don't even need to lock her in her room. \:\)

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