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#1015430 - 11/09/04 01:26 PM Am I doing the right thing?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Hi, I'm a piano beginner. I have had lessons for two months. I have no prior experience playing any musical instruments, but I read music alright (I used to sing).

I'm using two etudes books which are designed for beginner-intermediate students (1 or 1.5 years of prior experience). This is because the teacher thinks that my music reading is fine, my sight reading is fine, and I'm very good at coordinating both hands. I find myself handling these pieces OK (they are mostly easy and short classical pieces, e.g. some of Bach's Minuets), with 20 munites or so of practice everyday I can usually handle 2 or 3 new pieces a week.

But I'm a little concerned as to whether this will have adverse effects in the long term, whether going too fast might not be a good way to build a solid foundation. My teacher thinks it's OK because the basic things one needs to learn (fingering, phrasing, dynamics, etc.) are the same whether one learns from "real" piano pieces or from exercises specifically written for students (such as Hanon and Czerny). But a couple of my friends think I should slow down and start doing more basic stuff like Hanon. I do want to, in the future, not only be able to just play piano, but play classical music well (using amateur standards of course). Has anyone had similar experience? Can I skip Hanon and the like and still learn well?

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#1015431 - 11/09/04 02:44 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
Nahhh.. you'll be fine. Sounds like you are doing great.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#1015432 - 11/09/04 02:56 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
you are doing great, i think, and you don't have to do hanon to play well.

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#1015433 - 11/09/04 03:07 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Your friends are brainwashed. You don't need Hanon to learn technique; you can learn it quite nicely from real music.

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#1015434 - 11/09/04 03:48 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Thank you all so much for your reply. And what you said is very encouraging. I'll just keep playing the real music then.

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#1015435 - 11/10/04 07:04 AM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
mound Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 782
Loc: Rochester, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by childofparadise2002:
But a couple of my friends think I should slow down and start doing more basic stuff like Hanon. I do want to, in the future, not only be able to just play piano, but play classical music well (using amateur standards of course). Has anyone had similar experience? Can I skip Hanon and the like and still learn well? [/b]
Hi and welcome! Yes, I agree with Bob Muir, your friends are, as nice and otherwise smart as I'm sure they are, unfortunately brainwashed and just plain wrong about this. Hanon is a complete waste of your time, and potentially dangerous to you physically because its whole premise is seriously flawed.. Don't even aspire to it "in the future" just ignore it forever. I'm not going to go into why in this response, it's well documented elsewhere.

The goal in all of this is to play actual repertoir. All the technique you need can be learned from actual repertoir, if you organize your learning of it in progressivly more difficult pieces, where the technique from one acts as a foundation for the new technique in the next. It sounds like you have found yourself a good teacher who understands this and isn't just pushing methods and archaic exercises on you because he/she doesn't know any better. Stick with this teacher, tell your friends who believe in Hanon (probably because their teachers pushed it on them) to do some research of their own, and keep doing what you're doing, it sounds like you are on the right path. Enjoy!

-Paul
_________________________
"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer

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#1015436 - 11/10/04 02:00 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Paul, thank you for the information. It's encouraging. I will definitely keep doing what I'm doing. I've been enjoying my learning experience very much and I sure hope piano will give me many years of joy.

By the way, I'm using the "Celebration Series" of piano repertoirs, I really like it...

I will pass your comments to my friends, too, see how they take it...

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#1015437 - 11/11/04 12:14 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Wow! You're not just progressing. You're *flying!*

Way to go!

And welcome!
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

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#1015438 - 11/11/04 06:20 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
pixie dude Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/23/04
Posts: 14
Loc: California
Hi
I would love to learn piano this way--what are the names of the books so I could try to find them?
My girls have been playing our new piano and I am getting envious \:\)
I want to play too !!
Thanks for any information.
_________________________
pixie dude

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#1015439 - 11/11/04 06:47 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
"I would love to learn piano this way"

I'm confused, what way are you talking about?

I would recommend a teacher, hopefully one who isn't tied up in Hanon and method books. But method books aren't too bad for the first six months.

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#1015440 - 11/11/04 07:18 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
pixie dude Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/23/04
Posts: 14
Loc: California
Sorry, I don't know why you are confused?
I mean the way she is learning piano and was just wondering the names of the books she was using. In your earlier post it sounds like you completely understand.

"You don't need Hanon to learn technique; you can learn it quite nicely from real music"

That is the way I want to learn.
_________________________
pixie dude

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#1015441 - 11/11/04 09:56 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
WCSMinorCircuit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: California
trust me, you don't need hanon. But it'd be nice for you as a beginner to use it because it supplements learning good music.

But don't forget, it's all about the music. Technique is secondary.
_________________________
curiouser curiouser
Shameless self-promotion
Stalk me

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#1015442 - 11/11/04 10:49 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
"That is the way I want to learn."

I don't know of any method courses that use unsimplified music for the plan.

At least until you know enough about music, you need a teacher to decide which pieces you are ready to learn. As I said, it may be that method books will be what your teacher selects. In hindsight, I would accept that for the first six months. Your tolerance may be shorter or longer.

"But it'd be nice for you as a beginner to use it because it supplements learning good music."

Sorry to differ Joseph, but Hanon didn't do a darn thing for me except waste time that I could have spent learning repertoire.

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#1015443 - 11/11/04 10:57 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
Luckychwee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 231
Loc: Singapore
Hi Bob, how about Crzney ops 599 ? My teacher recommended this to me !
_________________________
An apple a day keep the doctor away,
A smile a day chase your sadness away,
A chat a day drive all loneliness away,
And a prayer a day never keep our Jesus away
And let's praise our Lord, our King, our God all the way ....

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#1015444 - 11/12/04 08:28 AM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
"how about Crzney ops 599"

Czerny's Op. 599, (if THIS is the piece you're talking about), is a nice and simple beginnning beginner piece. Kinda of a catchy little tune. It's a method piece, but like I said, for the first six months of lessons (more or less, depending on the individual), you need method pieces to help figure out where your fingers go, how to read the score, and play to tempo without taking too long to learn the piece.

When you're beginning, you need very short and easy method pieces because they provide very fast feedback and close to instant gratification. When starting out, you want some quick positive reinforcement that your fingers are actually doing something musical.

After you get to the point where you're sick of method pieces, and you'll know it when you do, then you can start asking for pieces that are somewhat more substantial. Once I have a teacher again, a piece will require one of two requirements for me to learn it:

1. I have to love it enough to want to add it to my permanent repertoire; or

2. It has to teach me technique that will lead to a particular piece that I want to add to my repertoire.

For example, say I want to add the 2nd movement to the Pathetique Sonota to my repertoire. The teacher might say that this movement has a tricky this and a difficult that and before you start learning that piece, you might want to learn this etude or that prelude which sounds nice and teaches the technique easier/better than the Pathetique does.

But if the teacher says, "I want you to take on these exercises because they'll improve your *overall technique*". Then I'd say, "Sorry, I pass".

I'm nearly 45 years old. There are too few years left to waste hours on technique exercises that I don't enjoy and may not even be effective. Or even if one of them is effective in teaching a particular technique, it may be technical skill for a piece that I have no interest in ever playing anyway.

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#1015445 - 11/12/04 11:06 AM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
Wow! You're not just progressing. You're *flying!*

Way to go!

And welcome! [/b]
Thank you so much for your encouragement!!!

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#1015446 - 11/12/04 11:18 AM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
 Quote:
Originally posted by pixie dude:
Hi
I would love to learn piano this way--what are the names of the books so I could try to find them?
My girls have been playing our new piano and I am getting envious \:\)
I want to play too !!
Thanks for any information. [/b]
I'm using two books right now.
1. The first piano repertoire album, by James Bastien.
2. Celebration Series, Etudes, Book 1.

I like both books, but the second one has more comtemporary music, which is my favorite. I think I will keep using books in this series.

But of course these are not conventional textbooks for beginners.

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#1015447 - 11/12/04 11:36 AM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
pixie dude Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/23/04
Posts: 14
Loc: California
Childofparadise

Thank you so much for the names of the books. I realize these are not conventional textbooks, but I am looking for something different.

Good luck to you !!
_________________________
pixie dude

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#1015448 - 11/12/04 11:50 AM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
WCSMinorCircuit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: California
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Muir:

Sorry to differ Joseph, but Hanon didn't do a darn thing for me except waste time that I could have spent learning repertoire.
Yeah, it didn't do a single thing for me either, but for a friend of mine it did wonders. So I guess it depends on the person too.
_________________________
curiouser curiouser
Shameless self-promotion
Stalk me

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#1015449 - 11/13/04 07:38 PM Re: Am I doing the right thing?
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
 Quote:
Originally posted by pixie dude:
Childofparadise

Thank you so much for the names of the books. I realize these are not conventional textbooks, but I am looking for something different.

Good luck to you !! [/b]
You know what? I bought Celebration Series Piano Repertoire and Student Work Book this weekend (both are level 1). Wow, they are so good. I just have to say that I'm truly grateful to those who contributed to this series. If you are interested, check it out.

Good luck to you, too.

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