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#1033356 - 01/05/09 12:31 PM Any string-players turned piano players?
Enrique100 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/05/09
Posts: 6
Hello all!

I've been reading the forums with much interest for a while and finally decided to make my first post!

I don't know what triggered my latent interest in the piano, but I have played the violin for 20+ years, including fairly advanced instruction (even was concert master of the college symphony) but somehow I always just wanted to play the piano. I grew up with a cheapie keyboard in the house, and learned some basics, but somehow playing on that thing never kept my interest up for very long. It just wasn't real. I remember at school (even in college!!) anytime I saw a piano in the corner I would always try to sneak a couple minutes to play a few chords, scales, etc.. (before I got too annoying for everyone else in the room!!) but never really knew how to play. Violin was always my main instrument and the one I was always encouraged to pursue by my parents. And though I'll admit it was fun at times, I'm still not convinced I ever LIKED it!

So that's my intro - but more to the point, I'm curious if anyone else here has any extensive experience as a string player and then picking up the piano with no prior instruction. I'm planning on getting a teacher to get me started right, (I do appreciate the value of a teacher at all levels of performance) and have been looking at various piano methods and instruction books. I'm definitely more interested in the classical repertoire (especially the romantic period), but I am realistic - I know I'm not going to be playing Rachmaninoff's piano concertos any time soon!! (at least not on the piano!!)

So I was hoping to open up a discussion if there are others out there who were in my position once - what challenges did you face after switching to the piano from strings? What areas did your learning really accelerate in because of your prior music experience? What areas were more difficult? How quickly did you progress relative to your expectations? Any tips or words of wisdom you could offer?

I'm having a little difficulty doing even the simple task of unlearning my hard-wired finger numbers!! (NO, 1 is NOT your index finger anymore!) Or learning the bass clef without reverting to treble clef.

But I love it so far - and I hope to join all of you as a legitimate piano player one day!!

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#1033357 - 01/05/09 01:06 PM Re: Any string-players turned piano players?
billyshears66 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/25/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Dracut, MA
Welcome Enrique. I'm a string player, but not the sort I think you mean. I play guitar, and self teaching the piano (not due to not wanting a teacher, but funding issue). I did play the cello in school for a few years and got quite good... was even able to pick up the bass and viola for some songs to cover if needed. I honestly wish I stuck with it, but you know how kids are... it wasn't "cool" to be in the band. Stupid me.

My biggest challenge when switching to piano from guitar was that it wasn't as easy. I think it is the two hand doing different things part, to be exact. With the guitar, they fit together mainly, with the piano, it isn't always that way.

My past experience with cello has helped with reading music, mainly the bass clef. Treble is slightly harder, but coming well. Though, I mainly play from ear. Rhythm is easier too. My understanding of chord/scale structure has helped figure out songs too.

I feel I've progressed faster than I had hoped, but my goals are probably different than you. I have no desire to play classical, which is usually strict by the book. I enjoy playing loosely and free.

My only tip and words of wisdom is to enjoy the journey, its a blast!

Again, welcome!
1905 Geo P. Bent Orchestral Grand Upright "Crown" 35415

#1033358 - 01/05/09 05:35 PM Re: Any string-players turned piano players?
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Enrique - I had to respond to your post because I am a pianist with serious string envy!

Seriously, many times I have wished that I could trade whatever facility I have for piano, lock, stock and barrel for the same ability on violin or cello!

As a college student I started violin and viola, even getting to the point where I could be the worst violist in the college/community orchestra, but it was obvious that it was, (in the words of the head of our music department) a complete waste of time for me to play the strings rather than the piano.

I envy the intimate relationship string players have with their instruments (you get to play your own instrument all the time!), the ability to play in an orchestra, and the fact that you all look so cool carrying your instruments around! (ok that's silly but I really do!)

I believe you are on the right path to becoming as good as you can on the piano. Congratulations!
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

#1033359 - 01/05/09 05:42 PM Re: Any string-players turned piano players?
Rickster Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 10363
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Enrique100, and welcome to the forum.

I don't play the violin, but I do play the fiddle a little. \:D

I also play the guitar and 5-string banjo a little too. The piano is different animal though. I agree with Billy, the "hands apart/separate" instead of together is the most difficult part.

But, like you, I have fallen in love with the piano for some reason. I wish I had taken an interest in the piano years ago.

Take care, and enjoy your new musical adventure!

Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel


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