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#1065183 - 06/15/04 02:19 PM Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
After reading the responses to the two threads about performance anxiety, I started wondering how many other adult beginners are here -- roughly defining "adult beginner" as people who took up piano as adults, regardless of how long you've been playing now. How has it gone, what has been easy, what has been hard, etc.

As for me, I decided to start my kids in piano almost 5 years ago. I had always always *always* wanted to learn myself, so I started with them, initially taking lessons every other week, but soon ramping up to weekly 45-minute lessons. I played clarinet in high school, I could type fast, so I figured piano wouldn't be too hard. Puh!

Anyway, now it has been almost five years. I'm still rather frustrated that I can't just pick up a piece of music and whip through it -- progress of any sort takes a long time and is quite a grind. I have all of these books of pop songs that I can't begin to play! Grrrr! I've ramped the practice time up to 45 minutes a day, and that does seem to help, but more would be better. I struggle mightily with chords and have decided this is the year I will finally whip them.

I've done two recitals each year (the first after I played for 18 months and could manage an actual song). I have serious performance anxiety -- it's a running joke in the studio! -- even though I don't have performance anxiety in other things in life. It is getting better, though.

I tend to like things that have a strong melody, and I've been playing through "Chopin: An Introduction to His Piano Works" because it came with a CD! I can't stand to play anything that sounds childish, so my teacher has tried to find pieces that sound harder than they are and sound adult at the same time.

My recital pieces in order have been:

1. Chopin Mazurka in G Minor (Op. 67, No.2)
2. Chopin Walz in A Minor
3. Chopin Mazurka in B flat Major (Op.7, No. 1)
4. Chopin Polonaise in B flat Major
5. Bach Prelude, No. 1 from The Well-Tempered Clavier
6. Beethoven Sonatina (Sonata) in G Major, Op. 49, No. 2)
7. Chopin Polonaise in A Flat Major

Next up is a Scherzo (sp?) by Schumann. Lots of fireworks in that piece -- I like that in a song!

Anyway, that's my story!

Cindy -- Estonia 190 owner after playing an old Kimball upright for the first four years
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#1065184 - 06/15/04 02:41 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
devils4ever Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
Hmmm....I know exactly how you feel. I took 2-3 years worth of lessons back before my now 12 year old daughter was born. I was getting decent but progess seemed slow. I was just transitioning from "Easy Classics to Moderns" to "Intermediate Classics to Moderns" when I quit because of my newborn.

Now, I'm starting lessons again. I'm looking for a teacher in my area. It still takes me quite a while to get good at a piece and I still make mistakes. It's rare that I play through without some wrong notes. My teacher seemed to not mind too much about wrong notes. He seemed more interested in keeping good wrist position and getting some dynamics into the music. Unless the music is REALLY simple, I have to play it for weeks before I can get the tempo up to where it should be.
_________________________
"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase

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#1065185 - 06/15/04 04:08 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
pianojuggler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
Well, I've pretty well spilled my guts on previous threads... Maybe we Adult Beginners need a forum of our own.

I started piano lessons three years ago at the tender age of 38. I played cello for a couple of years as a kid but gave it up when I got tired of schlepping the thing around...and I didn't like squeaky little violins...I was much more comfortable in a lower octave. One slight advantage it gave me was that I already knew about Bass Clef, since that's what cello music is written in. But I never learned about the Grand Staff until my piano teacher gave me a Music Theory for Adult Beginner Piano Students book.

As an adult I wanted to get back to music. I thought about trying the cello again. But at the time I got serious, I was travelling a lot for business, so I wanted something portable. I have also continued to play the recorder long after most people gave it up after suffering their year of recorder in 3rd grade. I have about a dozen recorders in all sizes from sopranino to bass.

It dawned on me that if I took up piano, I wouldn't need to carry one, because on looking around, pianos are everywhere (as we discussed in the thread Travel Pianos ).

Then I saw an ad for a used Kawai keyboard for a really good price. I bought it. I decided that instead of just diddling around on it, I would get serious...but the problem was finding a suitable teacher. I am a professional instructor myself, so I'm a very fussy student. I interviewed two or three teachers, none of whom had any experience with adult beginners. Some had experience with adults, but only advanced adults. And every one had experience with beginners, but usually in the 6- to 12-year-old range.

I started lessons at a local storefront music school. Bad move. I could never hear the piano I was playing, I could only hear the kid in the next room abusing a saxophone.

So I went on the hunt again. I found a very nice woman in my area who also teaches harp and had two other adult beginner piano students and several adult beginner harpists.


One thing that my teacher mentioned and that I know from studying languages is that there are areas of the brain that absorb new information quickly when we are young, but sometime in our teens, those areas start to close off. A five-year-old can start speaking another language after very little exposure to it. But for an adult, every new word is a struggle. Maybe it's because we have gone from innocent absorbtion to trying to make the new information fit an existing paradigm. Anyway, it's similar with music. As adult beginners, we are trying to forge new neural pathways that for kids are forming readily, but for adults, it's like drilling through solid granite.

And, as someone mentioned on one of the other threads, as adults, we are our own worst critics. We have very high expectations of ourselves. We get frustrated easily when a piece seems like it should be simple, but it takes weeks to get it up to tempo. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance. And practicing.

I never have to tell my teacher that I haven't practiced much (or at all) in a given week. She can tell. But when I can practice an hour a day, it really shows. On the other hand, she's told me that when an 8yo comes in and hasn't practiced, she knows that hanging out at the mall or playing video games outprioritized practicing. With the adults, it's the insane boss, finishing the tax return, or cleaning the basement after the sewer backed up that ate into our practicing time that week.

Where am I now? I just played my first Scarlatti piece in a recital, the Aria L423/K32. I'm starting to work on my piece for our Christmas recital...I figure six months may be even be a little optimistic for Wachet Auf.


Funny you should mention typing. I can type at least 80 WPM...in my youth I could do 120. Three years into it, I don't think that has much bearing on one's ability to play the piano. First off, there are a lot more things going on at once. I also have a pilot's license and have several hours in large commercial jet airplane sims. While flying a 747 is complex, you never have to do more than one or two things simultaneously.

When you are playing a piano, you have to read two lines of music, find the right notes with each hand independently, maintain rhythm and tempo, pedal, add dynamics, phrasing, and even turn the page every once in a while. It must be one of the most complex tasks in all human activity.


I'm thinking about starting to work on my Masters in the field of adult learning. I have a lot of first-hand material to work with.

I would like to hear about the different experiences that absolute beginners have compared to those of us who returned to the piano after taking but quitting lessons as a kid. I think the "retreads" have a leg up on us rank beginners. I want to know more.

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#1065186 - 06/15/04 04:14 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
ycul Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 1402
Loc: U.K.
Cindy,
I've just started reading My Lessons With Kumi by Michael Colgrass. It was recommended to me by a very nice lady-who's name I can't remember-from this forum There's tons of stuff in there to get your teeth into. I've only read about a quarter so far but I can imagine that if you follow a lot of the techniques they'll rub off very positively into other areas of your life aswell. I've also seen a few other books recommended in other posts that are probably worth a look.
I understand (I think) your nervousness in performing.
I've been a singer for 10 years or so now. I'd say that for the last year I've felt truly confident in what I do.
I started learning the piano exactly a year ago because I've always relied on other musicians to accompany me to get work. I saw it as a way to being independant. I started learning to accompany myself and quickly learnt to co-ordinate 2 hands and my voice. Trouble was I listened back to myself one day and it was rubbish. No touch. Since then I've been having proper lessons and started from the beginning. Really enjoyable.

It's a funny thing this performance anxiety. The thought of making a mistake/slip-up on the piano in front of people terrifies me and yet the fact that I make a few at every gig doesn't bother me in the slightest. I usually find it funny and it makes my partner laugh. And vice versa.
I read all the replies to your last post and the one that struck a chord with me was the one from Gb minor (or something like that). I'm sure that if you do keep at it, it becomes easier.
Remember, what you've done recently is a real achievement. Dwell on the positive. To perform a recital would probably have been unthinkable to you a few years ago. I think it's amazing. Well done and keep at it.
_________________________
How now, brown cow.

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#1065187 - 06/15/04 07:35 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18129
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
My recital pieces in order have been:

1. Chopin Mazurka in G Minor (Op. 67, No.2)
2. Chopin Walz in A Minor
3. Chopin Mazurka in B flat Major (Op.7, No. 1)
4. Chopin Polonaise in B flat Major
5. Bach Prelude, No. 1 from The Well-Tempered Clavier
6. Beethoven Sonatina (Sonata) in G Major, Op. 49, No. 2)
7. Chopin Polonaise in A Flat Major


Cindy -- Estonia 190 owner after playing an old Kimball upright for the first four years [/b]
Cindy: You're saying you went from the Bach Prelude no 1, to the Beethoven Op 49 No 2 and then to the Chopin Ab Polonaise, one of the more difficult of the Chopin larger works?

How did you manage that?

Curious ...
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#1065188 - 06/15/04 07:57 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
Lots of adult beginners here. I started last October at 43 and learned my first song (Silent Night) by Christmas. Unlike many adult "beginners", I've never had any previous music experience. With that excuse, I think I'm doing fairly well.

My goal is to practice an hour a day; but with work, yardwork, and completely gutting and renovating my main bathroom, I've made virtually no progress in a month. I've been lucky to practice enough to maintain the skills I've already learned.

I'm on the Alfred's Adult course. It's a good course but it tends to stick with three main chords in the left hand.

My teacher had me pick up Thompson's Hanon studies. John Thompson took the Hanon exercises and modified them to teach touch at the same time as learning the Hanon. Excellent course!

I'm using Alfred's Scales, Chords, and Arpeggios for scale work. One thing I did accomplish in the last month is the ability to "jump" through the C scale cadences without looking at the keys. That felt great when I was able to do that! I'm having a very difficult time with the arpeggios for some reason though. I think it's just a matter of time and finger memory taking effect.

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#1065189 - 06/15/04 08:01 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
PJE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/04
Posts: 28
Loc: United Kingdom
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
My recital pieces in order have been:

1. Chopin Mazurka in G Minor (Op. 67, No.2)
2. Chopin Walz in A Minor
3. Chopin Mazurka in B flat Major (Op.7, No. 1)
4. Chopin Polonaise in B flat Major
5. Bach Prelude, No. 1 from The Well-Tempered Clavier
6. Beethoven Sonatina (Sonata) in G Major, Op. 49, No. 2)
7. Chopin Polonaise in A Flat Major


Cindy -- Estonia 190 owner after playing an old Kimball upright for the first four years [/b]
Cindy: You're saying you went from the Bach Prelude no 1, to the Beethoven Op 49 No 2 and then to the Chopin Ab Polonaise, one of the more difficult of the Chopin larger works?

How did you manage that?

Curious ... [/b]
Could it be to do with there being 3 polonaises in Ab? ;\)

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#1065190 - 06/15/04 10:31 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Oh, Bruce! You flatter me!

The polonaises I did is one Chopin wrote at the ripe old age of 11. It takes all of 5 minutes to play it.
_________________________
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#1065191 - 06/15/04 10:36 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
devils4ever Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
There's another good point in this thread. How does I find a good teacher for adult beginners? Is there something in particular to look/ask for? I'm sure teaching adults is different than kids.
_________________________
"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase

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#1065192 - 06/15/04 10:52 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
That's a good question, Devils.

As for me, I think I just got lucky. I picked up the phone and started calling the parents of my daughters' friends. One of the moms was making all of the right noises (she wasn't obnoxious or pushy with her kids, but they were sticking with it and played well). Knowing nothing about hiring a teacher, I just met my current teacher and started working with her.

She teaches a few accomplished adults and lots of kids. She seems to *love* teaching me -- probably because an adult beginner is a challenge and a change of pace. It has worked OK for a couple of reasons. I'm quite bull-headed, so if I don't like something, I just rebel, which I suspect kids don't do often. She, in turn, seemed to enjoy finding pieces for me that would work. The only major difference of opinion we have had was that I think she wanted me to wait a bit longer to play in her recitals, but I wanted to do it sooner, and I did.

Anyway, that's how it worked for me. I'd love to hear what others have to say on this.
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

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#1065193 - 06/15/04 11:00 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Linda in PA Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 767
Loc: PA - USA
Well, I'm another adult beginner - started about 18 months ago. Recently completed my Grade 2 RCM exam and am now up to my eyeballs in Grade 3 material.

One of my ongoing challenges is voicing. Currently, I'm working on Tchaikovsky's Morning Prayer (Op. 39, No. 1) and am really struggling to bring out the melody. I worked through the fingering to try to use my longest fingers for the S with somewhat mixed resuts and a very crampy hand. This is just not coming very naturally for me. Would really like to hear from others who have struggled and overcome this obstacle.

ycul[/b]: I, too, find Michael's book to be quite helpful. Also think that Eloise Ristad's A Soprano on Her Head is enlightening.

I hope that all of you are enjoying your music. Good luck to all with your progress!

. . . Linda

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#1065194 - 06/15/04 11:26 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i am an adult beginner too. over 3 years ago, during my job break, i picked up the keyboard i had (which had been collecting dust for a long time), and decide to play it seriously. the 1st piece i tried was 'Fur Elise', which i had never played with both hands before. it took me a long time to get used to playing it with HT. finally i was able to play the 1st part of it through, which encouraged me to continue. so, i bought a beginner's piano playing book and went through it, and then started to learn more pieces, such as Mozart's K545's 1st movement, Beethoven's sonatina in G, CPE Bach's solfeggietto, Bach's muesette and prelude 1 from WTC-I. i progressed slowly for about 2 years, and never have had a teacher. since last year, i began to focus on pieces which help with playing skills, including Beethoven's op.49's 1st movement (and 2nd movement currently), Bach's prelude 20 (WTC-I)and invention no.4 & 13, plus scarlatti's K32. currently, i am learning Scarlatti's K25, Bach's sinfonia no.2 and op.49's 2nd movement. my near future learning list will include:

Beethoven:
op.79 1 & 3 movement (learned 2nd movement already)
tempest sonata (tried little bit of 3rd movement so far)

Chopin:
prelude no.7 (rework)
prelude no.4
an etude (yet to decide)

Bach:
a fugue (yet to decide)

hopefully, i could play all those in not very distant future.

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#1065195 - 06/16/04 02:02 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
I'm a retread beginner a couple of times over. I played clarinet when I was like 13 or 14 for one summer, sang in choirs (so I could read music) and then took some class piano when I was 18. Other than that I could just pick out melodies to accompany myself enough to learn a song. As an adult I took three years of lessons and then made a move to Idaho and basically haven't played for the last 10 to 12 years. I just started lessons again today! I was so excited and nervous too. I have been working on Chopin Nocturne Op. 72 #1 for years and wanted to play it for the teacher. I felt I did awful, but she liked it and was able to see what I can do and what I need to learn. I'm very hard on myself and always kind of feel like I'm a "fake". I really want to overcome that feeling. I can't read very fast, but I can memorize really well so I have a tendency to memorize and then stop reading the music. I hope to never let it go again. I don't want to get to the end of my life and say "I wish I had kept playing" I just want to enjoy it and become as accomplished as I can. It's hard to find the time to practice when you are tired at night after working. I teach and so I have summers off. That's why I decided to take lessons this summer. I hope I can make enough progress to keep my going during the school year and maybe just take a couple of lessons a month. But of course we decided to remodel and now I'm trying to squeeze it all in! Along with riding my horses as well! I figure if I improve enough I will really deserve that new Grand piano I'm dying to have! I committed to performing the Chopin at the end of summer, and I have always had terrible performance anxiety! Good luck to all of us!
_________________________
You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany

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#1065196 - 06/16/04 02:03 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
I'm a retread beginner a couple of times over. I played clarinet when I was like 13 or 14 for one summer, sang in choirs (so I could read music) and then took some class piano when I was 18. Other than that I could just pick out melodies to accompany myself enough to learn a song. As an adult I took three years of lessons and then made a move to Idaho and basically haven't played for the last 10 to 12 years. I just started lessons again today! I was so excited and nervous too. I have been working on Chopin Nocturne Op. 72 #1 for years and wanted to play it for the teacher. I felt I did awful, but she liked it and was able to see what I can do and what I need to learn. I'm very hard on myself and always kind of feel like I'm a "fake". I really want to overcome that feeling. I can't read very fast, but I can memorize really well so I have a tendency to memorize and then stop reading the music. I hope to never let it go again. I don't want to get to the end of my life and say "I wish I had kept playing" I just want to enjoy it and become as accomplished as I can. It's hard to find the time to practice when you are tired at night after working. I teach and so I have summers off. That's why I decided to take lessons this summer. I hope I can make enough progress to keep my going during the school year and maybe just take a couple of lessons a month. But of course we decided to remodel and now I'm trying to squeeze it all in! Along with riding my horses as well! I figure if I improve enough I will really deserve that new Grand piano I'm dying to have! I committed to performing the Chopin at the end of summer, and I have always had terrible performance anxiety! Good luck to all of us!
_________________________
You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany

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#1065197 - 06/16/04 02:03 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
I'm a retread beginner a couple of times over. I played clarinet when I was like 13 or 14 for one summer, sang in choirs (so I could read music) and then took some class piano when I was 18. Other than that I could just pick out melodies to accompany myself enough to learn a song. As an adult I took three years of lessons and then made a move to Idaho and basically haven't played for the last 10 to 12 years. I just started lessons again today! I was so excited and nervous too. I have been working on Chopin Nocturne Op. 72 #1 for years and wanted to play it for the teacher. I felt I did awful, but she liked it and was able to see what I can do and what I need to learn. I'm very hard on myself and always kind of feel like I'm a "fake". I really want to overcome that feeling. I can't read very fast, but I can memorize really well so I have a tendency to memorize and then stop reading the music. I hope to never let it go again. I don't want to get to the end of my life and say "I wish I had kept playing" I just want to enjoy it and become as accomplished as I can. It's hard to find the time to practice when you are tired at night after working. I teach and so I have summers off. That's why I decided to take lessons this summer. I hope I can make enough progress to keep my going during the school year and maybe just take a couple of lessons a month. But of course we decided to remodel and now I'm trying to squeeze it all in! Along with riding my horses as well! I figure if I improve enough I will really deserve that new Grand piano I'm dying to have! I committed to performing the Chopin at the end of summer, and I have always had terrible performance anxiety! Good luck to all of us!
_________________________
You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany

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#1065198 - 06/16/04 02:26 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
katie_dup1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 1838
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by teachum:
I hope to never let it go again. I don't want to get to the end of my life and say "I wish I had kept playing" I just want to enjoy it and become as accomplished as I can. [/b]
Yup......I must agree with you. I'm a retread too ....returned after a 26 year absence ..... I was demoted 3 grades & am finally ascending those musical steps again. My house is a mess, the lawn has dandelions, the laundry piles up, and I regret nothing b/c I'm playing again. Best of luck to you Teachum!

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#1065199 - 06/16/04 01:08 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
sleepingcats Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 982
Loc: Oregon
I took 3 years of lessons on a rented piano while I was in high school (25 years ago!). Then life just took over with college, work, moving to another state, not having a piano, being on a budget, etc........

I've had a digital piano for 3 years and just practiced occasionally, but last December, the piano bug bit me and I met with 8 different piano teachers of all experience and teaching styles. If was difficult to choose since I know each had something to offer, but I chose one I'm happy with. I also decided to enroll in the Adult Group Piano course at the local community college. I will start the last of 3 classes next week. It has been an extremely good experience to be in this class. Although I am ahead of several in speed and knowing my scales, I am behind them in the theory, chord progressions, etc. I'm thinking of taking music theory to enhance my knowlegde and keep my brain active.

My husband encouraged me to buy an acoustic piano so I began my search........with a budget, of course. It was a lot of fun. I was going to purchase a 44" Yamaha upright, but decided on the 48" Yamaha U1 - the difference in sound was so significant. I love the U1, and love the feel of an acoustic. I still have the digital for evening practices.

I wish I had started back up sooner, but at least I'm doing it now and can't get enough of it!

Best of luck to all of you retreads like me!

sleepingcats
_________________________
"Cats make purrfect friends"

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#1065200 - 06/16/04 02:54 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
MLT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 356
I have been learning for about two years and am on my second teacher because of a move. I like my new teacher and took some time in finding somebody that felt right. With adults, the teacher you pick is really more of a partnership than when you are a kid. I also had to find a teacher that would agree to meet for 45 minutes every other week instead of weekly which can be hard. Like everybody who works and has families I just cant do more than that and still maintain a life. My wife and I alternate every other week so she does not mind. I practice around 30 to 45 minutes per day and that works OK for me.

When I took up playing, I thought the piano was kind of a solo activity, just me banging away. Its nothing like that. Playing piano is really interactive which is wonderful to introverts like myself. Whether at lessons, recitals, or just playing away with my wife or daughter, its really great interaction with people. It has also surprised me how much my family has gravitated away from the TV and towards the piano. I take that as a really good thing.

My progress is dismally slow although it does have moments that remind me its imminently worthwhile. I know I will never be great at the piano and I can live with that, knowing that most great pianists wouldnt be very good engineers either. Some days though, I do wonder what it would be like to be on stage somewhere, in a tuxedo, with a really big piano, playing perfectly in front of tons of admiring people, solely creating a thing of such beauty that people could not help but to stand and yell bravo!! and maybe chicks would throw their undies at me or something. . I doubt great pianists have similar aspirations about maximizing the efficiency of a traffic intersection. Such is life. Anyway, Im getting off topic.

Kirk

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#1065201 - 06/16/04 04:26 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
BruceD Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by PJE:
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
[qb] You're saying you went from the Bach Prelude no 1, to the Beethoven Op 49 No 2 and then to the Chopin Ab Polonaise, one of the more difficult of the Chopin larger works?

How did you manage that?

Curious ... [/b]
Could it be to do with there being 3 polonaises in Ab? ;\) [/b]
Duh! Do I feel stupid? Yes, I do!! \:o

What was I (not) thinking when I posted that one! Cindy - forgive me!

In my (pretty feeble) defense, let me just say that my Pollini recording, my Rubinstein recording and my (old) Peters edition give only the Op 53 and the Polonaise-Fantasie Op 61 as being in Ab. I did not know of the earlier one.

Ah, yes. That's what we're here for: to learn!

Sheepishly!
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#1065202 - 06/16/04 05:51 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Bernard Offline
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Loc: North Groton, NH
 Quote:
After reading the responses to the two threads about performance anxiety, I started wondering how many other adult beginners are here -- roughly defining "adult beginner" as people who took up piano as adults, regardless of how long you've been playing now. How has it gone, what has been easy, what has been hard, etc.
Something I learned from my last teacher was not to try suppressing the feelings of fright (or terror!) because they are an aspect of me. The best approach according to her, albeit probably the most difficult, is to stay with the feelings while centering and focusing. That's not very easy at first and it takes practice. It's also kinda scary. That's why I liked her monthly group get-togethers. They were an opportunity to practice living with my fear. I am a little discontented that at the moment I have no outlet for practicing in front of people. (I'll get a change June 26th though... Yeah! NE Piano World party at BeeLady's!)

I don't really like to label tasks "easy" or "hard" because it's irrelevant--each task is what it is. Is climbing Mt. Everest hard? Is walking across the street easy? It doesn't matter. It's the doing and mastering that matters. That's how I like to look at it. (But some things are really hard! Oh yeah.)

Probably the most time consuming thing for me as an adult beginner has been gaining use of muscles that had remained in a state of unuse or misuse for 30 to 40 years. The process of regaining my self has been one of enormous joy and I don't know what I would do if I had to stop playing the piano.

I started lessons 13 years ago when I was 34, but I could "play" somewhat before that since I was self taught as a youngster and played around with piano until I was about 20. I could also read music when I started because I had 7 years of oboe lessons in school. (They say playing oboe makes a person crazy because of all the pressure that builds up in the head from it being a double-reed instrument!! I guess that explains it!)

Another thing I find difficult as an adult student is keeping learned pieces in memory. It seems that there's so much stuff to learn in new pieces that I let learned pieces fall by the way side. If I want to play them again, I need to spend at least a couple weeks getting them back in memory.
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#1065203 - 06/16/04 06:10 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
pianojuggler Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by teachum:
I can't read very fast, but I can memorize really well so I have a tendency to memorize and then stop reading the music. [/b]
Teachum, out of curiosity are you in Cd'A?

I do this, too. By the time I get a piece memorized, there as many things scribbled on the page by my teacher and me as there were notes to begin with. After a while, I stop "reading" the music, and I'm paying attention only to the notes. Then I wean myself off of the notes, and the piece is completely in my head.

I don't know if this is a good thing or not. My sight-reading stinks. I try to get my teacher to do sight-reading exercises, but I wish we'd do more of them.

Everything takes time, I guess.

 Quote:
Originally posted by MLT:
...in a tuxedo, with a really big piano, playing perfectly in front of tons of admiring people, solely creating a thing of such beauty that people could not help but to stand and yell bravo!! and maybe chicks would throw their undies at me... [/b]
I had never had that image in mind when I started piano lessons... But now that you mention it...

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#1065204 - 06/16/04 07:40 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
teachum Offline
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Boy am I embarassed! My post went on three times! I'm really not that egotistical. I was having troubles with my connection and didn't think it was going through and kept hitting the button. Ooops!

Pianojuggler - I am in Spirit Lake, north of CDA.

It's fun to read about everyone's experiences learning as an adult. I think I'm going to do great with my new teacher. I plan on taking weekly for the summer and then hopefully, a couple of times/month during the fall and winter when school is in session. That should keep me focused and goal oriented.

I am really enjoying working on the Clementi Sonatinas. They are not difficult, but they sound great and fun and bouncy. I bought Czerny and Bach inventions for 2 and 3 parts. Any thoughts on those, anyone? Several of the pianist interviews in Cooke's book mention them as good for technical skills and reading practice.
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#1065205 - 06/16/04 09:18 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Balparda Offline
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Registered: 03/12/04
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I kind of consired myself a 'kinda-adult begginer'. I started aboout 4 months ago, at the age of 18. Med school doesn't leave me that much time to practice, but I still manage to get about 1 hour a day, a bit more on the weekends.

So far, I've learned completely two of my own compositions, called 'Crypt' and 'At the End of the Rainbow' (you can check out some of my works at http://www.sibeliusmusic.com/cgi-bin/search.pl?com=advancedsearch&ComposerName="Jon%20Balparda"&Arranger="Jon%20Balparda"&or=1)

RIght now, I'm working on a piano solo arrangement of Evanescense's Bring me to Life, and a Nobuo Uematsu (sp?) song called 'Walt for the Moon'

I feel like I'm not advancing that quick, due to the fact that I'm not a kid anymore, and, as has been said before, you learn stuff easier the younger you are.

Right now, I'm trying to find a good teacher. I used to have one, but what we did in our classes was:
1st Class: Practice the C scale *for the whole 45 minutes*
2nd Class: Practice the G scale *for the whole 45 minutes*
3rd Class: I go to him with a song I would like to work on, and he said we were not gonna play anything at all until I could play ALL scales. Practice the D scale *for the whole 45 minutes*
4th Class: Ask the teacher if he's kidding when he says we won't play ANYTHING before I have memorized ALL scales; he sais he's never spoken more seriously. Practice A scale *for the whole 45 minutes*
5th Class and up: I never show up again...

Man, this teacher could kill anybody's desire to play... He wasn't really nice and polite, either...


-Jon
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#1065206 - 06/16/04 10:02 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
devils4ever Offline
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Registered: 04/12/04
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Back when I was taking lessons for the first time, I did scales after a couple of months. I practiced one scale for the week along with 2 other pieces, then we moved on to another scale. It only took a few months to go through all the scales and then I never did them again. Actually, I never minded doing scales. I found them to be a challenge like anything else. I agree though, doing ONLY scales, especially for beginners, will kill any enthusiasm.

BTW, my teacher never let me practice them hands together, always one hand at a time. Not sure why.
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#1065207 - 06/16/04 10:43 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Jeffrey Offline
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Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Just to share my experience. I started playing piano at 37, about 4 months ago. I feel I've gotten a fairly progressive teacher, given the posts above. We've spent the last 2 months on jazz and blues basics - 12-bar blues shuffle, reading from a fake book (just did 11 and 13 chords this evening), voice leading and chord voicing, chord inversions, and we will start some simple improvisation techniques for next lesson, and then learn about modes.

I am not fluent in any of this, of course, also the only classical pieces I can play even ok are Bach's Minuet in G and a simplified Fur Elise. We have spent less time on perfecting simple classical pieces, and more time on learning fake book reading and chord inversions (I can do triad chords and most root position 7-chords by sight, but I still have to think about most inversions.)

I asked him if I was "missing" something by not starting in the traditional way of playing classical scales and then perfecting simpler classical pieces. His response was that I probably lag behind in those classical skills, but have more skills on jazz and reading from a fake book, than someone of my experience who took a more traditional route. I said I wanted to continue with the modern stuff for a few months, and then maybe backtrack to some more traditional classical pieces and learn the technique and fingering for them. He was fine with that.

Do other adult beginners learn the way I am (a modern fake book approach, not much simple classical or scales), and are there any opinions pro or con, on the method I am describing? I will say that piano lessons are more fun than I imagined this way, and I really feel I am learning a lot of piano playing and theory, but lessons are very different from what I imagined they would be.

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#1065208 - 06/16/04 10:53 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
devils4ever Offline
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Jeffrey,

My first teacher only taught classical. So, I never learned jazz, blues, or pop. I can't read from a fake book, I need to see every single note to play. There is no improvising in classical. You play what you see and that's it. (Well, maybe in the cadenzas.) I'm not sure which is better. I'm looking now for an teacher to start again. I might look for one that can teach blues or jazz as well as classical.
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#1065209 - 06/16/04 11:49 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
signa Offline
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Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
 Quote:
I am really enjoying working on the Clementi Sonatinas. They are not difficult, but they sound great and fun and bouncy. I bought Czerny and Bach inventions for 2 and 3 parts. Any thoughts on those, anyone? Several of the pianist interviews in Cooke's book mention them as good for technical skills and reading practice.
Bach's 2/3-part inventions are definite for improving skills, especially finger work. most of them look simple on notes, but it is not easy to play well. they are meant to be study pieces (mainly for composition), but yet some of them sound extremly beautiful. among what i have learned, 2-part invention no.4 is easier than no.13. currently i am learning sinfonia no.2 (3 part), which is not quite difficult except a few bars with RH trill and melody together. anyway, it is a good learning experience if you try to play any of them.

I never played Czerny, but as i read somewhere it is not recommended by a lot of people, and it is solely for improving skills on playing Beethoven's sonatas.

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#1065210 - 06/17/04 10:30 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
pianojuggler Offline
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Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 1515
Going the fake book route is fine if that's what you want out of your playing. Not everyone wants to play classical music. That's the cool thing about being an adult. You get to make choices about what and how you want to play.

After four weeks of nothing but scales, I would have quit, too. I hope I would have quit and found another teather, not just quit.


If you're looking for me, I'll be out on the web looking for a Scarlatti fake book.

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#1065211 - 06/17/04 10:36 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Alexbp Offline
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Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston
Great to hear everyone's experiences, I see that many people started piano as adults. Its very inspirational. I started last October at age 23 with no previous music playing experience. I took a month or so of lessons at around 18, but with college life and all didnt have possibility to practice. Although i have been extensively listening to alot of the piano repoertoire since about 16.

From the fist lesson I started learning with the traditional classical approach of scales, arpeggios along with the pieces. Everything that I learn and my teacher gives me is from the classical repertoire. As far as scales go, since I started, practiced 1 scale a week in the circle of fifths Cmaj,Amin,Gmaj,Emin.. etc., majors and minors and did all the arpeggios of main and 7th cords with their inverstions for each scale. I also play each scale in third, tenth and sixths interval, hands together in common and opposite directions. I am on my second round of scales, but this time we do it chromatically, Cmaj,Cmin,C#majC#min..etc. I also recently started to play thirds and Octaves for each scale. I find that scales and arpeggios help alot with learning just about any repertoire.

I try to practice at least 1.5 hours a day to advance as I would like, and try to practice sightreading for at least 10 minutes a day. I have learned up to now the following pieces, but, some of the earlier pieces I don;t remember all the notes anymore \:\)

Chopin Prelude #7 A maj.
Fur Elise (regular version)
Bach 2 part Invention #8 Fmaj
Mozart Rondo a la Turca
Chopin Nocturne #20 C#min
Czerny Etude #13 for Velocity from op. 740
Beethoven Sonata Op. 14 #2 Gmaj Movement 1
Right now learning Bach Prelude & Fugue Book 1 in Emaj.
When i finish learning the P&F my teacher would like to start me on Liszt's Gnomenreigen etude, she says I am technically ready for it.

We work alot on the quality tone and my teacher pays alot of attention to details and not just notes. Learning the notes is just the fist step in all the pieces, then we work alot on the quality and make sure the pieces sound as they should.

Alex.

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#1065212 - 06/17/04 11:17 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
I have a question, Alex. Are these arrangements or are you doing the original works? I ask because Mozart's Turkish Rondo is screamin' hard, and I can't imagine playing it after 5 years, let alone after 5 months.

Dang. You guys are inspiring me. I'm going to have to really get after it!
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#1065213 - 06/17/04 11:28 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
signa Offline
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it seems to be all original works Alex is playing. very impressive after only short period of time!

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#1065214 - 06/17/04 12:10 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
jdsher Offline
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Registered: 02/20/04
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Loc: Plano, Texas
Great thread Cindysphinx, I still think there ought to be a seperate folder just for us adult beginners to support each other. I started taking lessons last September. My wife signed up our son for keyboarding at his school and that got me thinking about fufilling a life long dream of learning to play piano. I decided to call up my son's keyboarding teacher and ask her if she taught adults. She did, and now she is my teacher. We have a great time at lessons. We discuss music, theory and anything I am interested in. It's funny what happens when two people who are passionate about music get together. I started with the Faber & Faber book and have moved on to learning several pieces. I am working on Traumerei by Schumann, I love this piece and I can play it through just not with good tempo or voicing. I wrote my own arrangement of Shepherd's complaint (the original version is way too hard) and am almost there with tempo, voicing is still hard. I am also trying some Bealtles arrangements that are great, but two hands playing disperate melodies is so tough for my brain. I practice about 30-45 minutes just about every day. I think everyone here knows that sometimes things come up and we can't carve out the time. I go to lessons weekly for about an hour. I must admit that I am obsessed with the piano, I can't stop thinking about the it and the feeling that comes from making my own music.
Jon
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#1065215 - 06/17/04 12:45 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Alexbp Offline
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Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston
CindySphinx,
The works that I mentioned I learned are all original. Rondo a la Turca is challenging especially the middle section with the "runs" , it took me about a month and a half to learn that piece. Perhaps not at the tempo that you hear in the recordings, but all the notes and phrasing were there. I plan to lelearn that piece in some time again along with the rest of that sonata K331.

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#1065216 - 06/17/04 02:58 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
BruceD Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Alexbp:

Chopin Prelude #7 A maj.
Fur Elise (regular version)
Bach 2 part Invention #8 Fmaj
Mozart Rondo a la Turca
Chopin Nocturne #20 C#min
Czerny Etude #13 for Velocity from op. 740
Beethoven Sonata Op. 14 #2 Gmaj Movement 1
Right now learning Bach Prelude & Fugue Book 1 in Emaj.
When i finish learning the P&F my teacher would like to start me on Liszt's Gnomenreigen etude, she says I am technically ready for it.

Alex. [/b]
Does it not amaze anyone else - almost to the point of disbelief - that here is someone who, having started the piano at age 23 with no previous playing experience and who "tries to practice 1.5 hours a day", has, after eight months, learned the repertoire listed, is currently studying a Bach Prelude and Fugue (3-voice) and is now ready for a Liszt etude?

The E major Prelude and Fuge are RCM Grade 10 and the Liszt Gnomenreigen is ARCT - Performer's, no less!

How does one develop ten year's worth of technique in eight months?

I ask you ...


The mind, as they say, boggles, unless, of course, the leg is being pulled!
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#1065217 - 06/17/04 04:11 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Rick Offline
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Posts: 559
Loc: Chicago
I agree Bruce. And that opus 14, no2 is no walk in the park either! But I can't honestly imagine what the incentive would be for some totally anonymous person to lie. So I don't know what to think about posts like these.

Rick

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#1065218 - 06/17/04 04:19 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Frank R Offline
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Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
I am wondering the same thing. I have been playing for 1.5 years and practice EVERY DAY 1.5-3 hours and am just now working on Chopin's Edude, Opus 10, 3. Makes me wonder if I'm really slow.
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#1065219 - 06/17/04 04:19 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Bernard Offline
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Registered: 07/06/01
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Loc: North Groton, NH
Let's not forget: some people are gifted. Alex has said they are not all up to tempo. I think it's exciting.
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#1065220 - 06/17/04 04:37 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
pianoloverus Online   content
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Bernard:
Let's not forget: some people are gifted. Alex has said they are not all up to tempo. I think it's exciting. [/b]
I wouldn't called being truly ready to play the Liszt Etude after 8 months "gifted". I would call it progressing at a rate that Kissen, Josef Hofmann, and even Liszt himself did not achieve. Even playing the Beethoven Sonata mentioned after 8 months is something that maybe one in five thousand people *might* be able to do.

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#1065221 - 06/17/04 04:55 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Mikester Offline
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What does it really mean to be "technically ready to play Liszt Etude"... if it's being able to play a few scales at 132 on the metronome, or arpeggios running up and the keys then I argue that most pianists are "technically ready to play Liszt Etude".

I am wary of these people who proclaim they can play Liszt and this and that when really what they do is they can play a small stretch of Liszt at half tempo with mistakes and little artistic interpretation. I'm not specifically pointing my finger at Alexbp, but in general to people who say, "I've taken one year of lessons and I can play Hammerklavier".

If these people claim to make the progress they made why don't they hook up a cheapo microphone, record a sample and Wow us with the Liszt B minor Sonata they just "mastered."

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#1065222 - 06/17/04 05:24 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Well, for what it's worth, when I say I can "play" a piece, I mean I can play the entire piece to tempo with reasonable expression such that I could perform it at a recital. That's what I assume Alex meant.

I too would love to hear Alex play, though. A rate of progress like that is truly inspiring and means that someone with a tremendous gift straight from God is among us!
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#1065223 - 06/17/04 05:58 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Alexbp Offline
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Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston
I see that my post has generated some questions. I really would not like my posts to sound like someone with little experience bragging about their repertoire, please dont consider those as such.

I would like to emphasize, that I am not playing the Liszt etude at this point, this was merely a suggestion that my teacher has made for the future after I finish the piece I am working on.
this might be in a few months.

The reason why she says i am ready for it is becasue the Czerny etude that I play, has a technique that prepares one for such things encountered in Liszt's Gnomereign. I have not yet attempted to learn Gnomenreigen, so i really have no idea how it will go. But I trust her judgement, she is a professional pianist.

As far as the other pieces go I play them, indeed, maybe i dont play them up to tempo of the recordings of professional pianists, but its not at very slow pace where the piece falls apart, I would call it reasonable tempo, and yes I try to play with correct phrasing and expression. Quality of tone and expression is my and my teacher's first priority in these lessons. I would not say I can play something unless my teacher has commented that the piece sounds like as it should.

I have been listening to piano repertoire for a very long time extensively and have an idea what pieces should sound, perhaps this helps my progress. I am extremely motivated in piano and quite surprised that some find my progress hard to believe with dedicated practice of 1.5 hours a day and very high motivation.

I would love to post recordings for critiques, and will do so if I can get some recordnig equipment.

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#1065224 - 06/17/04 06:39 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Linda in PA Offline
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#1065225 - 06/17/04 08:43 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
newpianoplayer Offline
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Registered: 11/12/01
Posts: 362
Loc: CANADA
This is a great thread. I have been taking lessons for almost 3 years. Im in RCM grade 5 for practical piano and grade 2 theory. Im not anywheres ready to tackle some of the pieces Ive seen in earlier posts. I have always wanted to play the piano. When I was growing up I would call local piano techers and ask them to come to my house and try to talk my parents into allowing me to take lessons. We had an old untuned upright piano that I would try to imitate popular songs on.Then in late 2000, through a twist of fate I was able to purchase a Yamaha Clavinova and a small Yamaha upright. I started out learning on my own with Jump Musics Piano Discovery Software. I really thought piano lessons were only available for children. Then I went to a Yamaha Music School for 5 months where they used Alfreds Adult All in One series. My teacher suggested I switch to the RCM programme. My first RCM teacher didnt think adults were capable of learning to play the piano. After finding a teacher who took adults, I worked through the preliminary, grade 1 and grade 2 in 4 months. Grade 3 took 9 months and in grade 4, 18 months as I wasnt able to focus or practice consistently. Grade 5 is progressing much more smoothly. I cant express how much I am enjoying this journey. I feel like Im reliving a part of history when I m learning a Baroque or Classical piece.
I have only performed in 3 recitals. Two were in someones home and were attended by my teachers adult students. The first one was in a festival. Each performance has been better than the last. I have to simulate the recital experience in my mind many times before the actual event. A real challenge for me is adapting to different pianos. The piano I played on at my first recital had very loose keys. By the time I was on the second line of my piece, my fingers were flying off the keyboard. I had to restart 4 times before I could control the tempo. This experience has made me nervous about playing in front of an audience of strangers.
I wish I had started earlier, but Im here now and am not looking back. Ive noticed in the last year as the pieces have become more difficult and after a layoff from my job, I am not practicing as much as I was. My teacher thinks learning to play an instrument is serious work and should not be approached as fun. Im having lots of fun.
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#1065226 - 06/17/04 09:22 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Bernard Offline
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Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
Linda, I don't get it. What's so funny?

Why all the nay-sayers? Does no one have vision any more? It may turn out we're having our legs pulled, or not. I, for one, am enthralled to have this opportunity of believing Alexbp is telling it like it is.

More power to you, Alexbp! And if I turn out to be wrong, good on me!
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#1065227 - 06/17/04 11:18 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
signa Offline
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Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
Beethoven's op.14.2 is more of an intermediate level piece, while op.14.1 is supposed to be much easier. so, it means Alex is now at that level, which is, believe it or not after 8 months, a fact. i would like to believe it. why don't we admit somebody could advance more quickly than others? besides, if you take a lesson everyday or even every other day with a good teacher for 8 months, it doesn't sound like so unreachable.

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#1065228 - 06/18/04 09:39 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Alexbp Offline
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Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston
Hi All,

I made some recordings yesterday with a basic sound recorder in the P.C. Would anyone know a website or someplace i can host these files so i can post a link to listen to them. The files are approximately 3.5 and 1.5 mb.

Alex.

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#1065229 - 06/18/04 10:13 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Alexbp Offline
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Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston
I found a place to host the recordings. I recorded them yesterday with a built in microphone of the pc on the sound recorder. I will attempt to post the links.

Czerny Etude Op. 740 #13, for Velocity :

Czerny Etude

Beethoven Sonata Op. 14 #2 in G Movement 1:

Sonata Op. 14

There are some memory slips towards the end of the sonata, sorry for that. I welcome any comments/suggestions/critiques.

Alex.

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#1065230 - 06/18/04 10:23 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
jdsher Offline
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Registered: 02/20/04
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Loc: Plano, Texas
Alexbp: I am receiving an error message that the site could not be found. Could you double check them and let us know.
Jon
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#1065231 - 06/18/04 10:44 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Alexbp Offline
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Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston
Oh, the feature works only for yahoo members, ok i am trying to figure something out....

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#1065232 - 06/18/04 11:53 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Alexbp Offline
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Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston
Ok, another attempt to post my recordings, maybe it works this time.

Beethoven Sonata:
Sonata Op. 14 #2
Czerny Etude:
Czerny Etude

Alex.

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#1065233 - 06/18/04 01:44 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
signa Offline
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Registered: 06/06/04
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it's not bad at all, Alex, although it may have proved the point from some people that you are not quite polished or ready for the prime time yet. nevertherless, it is impressive for one having only less than one year study. there are not many people who could do this within one year, me included!

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#1065234 - 06/18/04 01:49 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
signa Offline
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Registered: 06/06/04
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how can i delete this?

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#1065235 - 06/18/04 02:31 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Frank R Offline
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Registered: 07/16/03
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Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
I was able to hear the recording on jukebox. Very nice. I am just amazed and blown away that anyone can play like that in such a short period . At five months of playing 99.9% of people are playing very very easy tunes. I hate to be a pesimist but with all due respecit, I think I smell a rodent. I hope I'm wrong on this one, if so, apologies are in order.
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#1065236 - 06/18/04 06:08 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
That's pretty good, Alex. I've never heard those pieces before, but they sound nice.

Here's what I don't get, though. You say you've had no previous musical training. But it takes a bit of time even to read two lines of music well. How'd you manage it so quickly, as you said you were playing these pieces just weeks after you started, IIRC?

Anyway, I'd love to know more about how you're coming along so well. How often do you take lessons? How long are they? What pieces and exercises (Hanon, etc.) have you worked on in addition to the chords/scales work you described? What books do you use? Do you work these pieces up hands together right off the bat?

And would you mind recording the Turkish Rondo for us? I was looking at the music just last night, hoping to have a go at it sometime next year. Maybe!

Cindy
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#1065237 - 06/18/04 07:04 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Mikester Offline
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Alex, I can say that I believe that you've been playing for 8 months. The two samples you posted are what I consider "decent" for 8 months, though it's not surprising. Your pedal use is good. The scale technique can use some metronome work. Use your ears on the left hand notes, be careful not to drown out the melody. The samples lack musical depth but that comes with experience. Truth is, the samples you played are what I would expect my students to be able to play in their first year. Left hand usage is minimalistic and straightforward. Right hand notes are scales and variations. I'm glad you are motivated and you have a love for music.

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#1065238 - 06/18/04 09:02 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
plays88skeys Offline
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Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 3091
Loc: Richmond, VA
Coming very late into this discussion. Another adult retread student. Had lessons for four years as a child, started taking again 7 1/2 years ago when I was 45. Had to start from scratch as I'd forgotten how to read music. Not as accomplished as Alexbp, but I was playing Bach's Minuet in G after three months of lessons, and played it in my first recital. (I actually have an mpeg of that performance, but I don't know how to post it) I was absolutely driven and obsessed to advance and worked very hard. After 2/12 years my repertoire consisted of Chopin's Waltz in B minor Op. 69, no. 2; Durand's Waltz in E Flat Major; the first movement of Mozart's K.331 (excepting the 2nd and 6th variations) and Bach's Invention in A minor.

Then something happened and I don't know how to politely explain it -- my focus got fuzzy and my memory came and went at times along with terrible bouts of heat. I've not ever been able to advance at the speed I was making earlier on. It's like part of my brain rewired itself and closed off some parts. Learning pieces has been very hard work for the last five years or so and there are times I don't think I've progressed at all since 1999. Has anyone else hit a wall like this?

Anyway, I'm so glad to find so many who are also re-discovering the joys of playing piano. Someone asked earlier about how to find a teacher. I suggest asking your piano technician for three references. That's how I found my wonderful teacher.

Current repertoire is small -- Chopin's Nocturne #21 in C minor, a Bouree from a Bach English Suite, Beethoven's adagio from Op. 13, the variations movement from Op. 57 and the menuetto from Op. 31 No. 3 and Chopin's Mazurka Op. 68 No. 3. I know I'll never play many of the pieces that stir something within me, but I'm proud of all I've been able to accomplish so late in life.
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#1065239 - 06/18/04 11:39 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Alexbp Offline
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Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston
Hi All, thanks for the comments and critiques.

Cindy,
the way I started to learn pieces is literally bar by bar the way I could. Yes, i could not really read the notes well, very slowly and tediously, and even now my sight reading is not very good. Basically every week my teacher assigns me part of a piece, few lines or half a page or a page or so. I did not start learning the Beethoven sonata right away. In fact I started it about 3.5 months ago.

I first practice it hands separately if its difficult, if not I try to read slowly hands together and so on until i dont need to look at the music score. In case of Bach pieces, I fist must learn each hand separately well, before joining them.

I have a very good teacher who is also my aunt. She is a pianist trained in a conservatory in Russia, and has a lot of experience performing and teaching students of various levels. My lessons are usually about 2 hours every week, but there is really no time limitation, we spend as much time as necessary. Even though I only started playing last October, I grew up around music and started listening to it extensively a long time ago, and still listen to it alot. As a kid, my parents did not insist that I learn music, since i was involved in other activities/sports, although I do sort of regret of not starting earlier.

I do not use other exercies or Hanon, besides the traditional scales and arpeggios and etc.. We don't use any method books, just pieces from the classical repertoire. My teacher has a method which is customized individually for each student. She assigns pieces which she sees will work for the student, so there are no general guidelines.

I will post a recording of the Turkish rondo, but I have to bring it to a reasonable shape first. I actually haven't played it in a few months , so I don't even remember all the notes well. The recordings I posted is in my recent repertoire.

Alex.

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#1065240 - 06/19/04 01:59 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Dreamaurora Offline
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Registered: 01/23/04
Posts: 228
Nah, there are many more adult or late starter prodigies than we realise in this world.

Take a look here:

I can play Tchaikovsky\'s 1st concerto after 1 year

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#1065241 - 06/19/04 12:20 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
mykinator Offline
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Registered: 05/15/04
Posts: 87
Ha! Right ... I would like to see that!

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#1065242 - 06/19/04 12:34 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
teachum Offline
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Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
Alex's teacher's methods sound a lot like my old teacher (who was a Juliard graduate). I never did any work out of methods books, it was always real music. I could read music,(not very fast) but like Alex, I have always tended to work just a few measures at a time, hands separately with a lot of counting and memorize as I go. It seems to work for me. Now though, I am seeing that in order to do some of the more technical work in pieces, I need more scales and arpeggio work. A good example is the 11 note run on the Chopin Nocture op. 72 #1 I have been working on. If I had done more work with chromatic scales, the fingering on that run would have come naturally. At this point in my musical ed I'm willing to back up a little, work on simpler pieces and get some more skills under my belt. I'll save those darn Schubert Impromptus for later!!!
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#1065243 - 06/19/04 06:02 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5602
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Ok all you adult beginners, now you have
your own forums!

Adult Beginners Forum
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#1065244 - 06/19/04 06:49 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Woo-Hoo!

Thanks *so* much, Frank!

Cindy -- who suddenly can't think of anything to talk about ;\)
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#1065245 - 06/19/04 06:51 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
ChickGrand Offline
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Registered: 05/02/03
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Loc: Midwest U.S.
Cool!

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#1065246 - 06/20/04 05:09 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
johnmoonlight Offline
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Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 2384
Loc: Lancaster, pa
Great thread and thanks for the "Beginners Forum" Frank!
I'm sort of an oddity, I think. I have never taken a single lesson. Just started teaching myself about 2 years ago and went right to the pieces I wanted to play. I've struggled a bit but have really enjoyed it. I'm currently working on Bach fugue no. 2 book one WTC.
I keep telling my wife that I really do need to take lessons at some point. Recently a patient came into the ER and as I was stitching up her kid we started chatting. She has the last name of a famous pianist and I asked if she realized that. Not only did she realize it but she was also a piano teacher. She has not taught for a couple of years since her children came along.
I was surprised when she offered to give me lessons, FOR FREE! She said she always gave free lessons to adults because it ended up generating more business when they end up bringing their kids in for lessons.
She said that she is very excited about the possibility of giving me lessons.
BTW, do you all think this is appropriate? The first thing my wife asked when I told her was, "Is she pretty?" Of course I said, "NO!" but to tell you the truth, she is very attractive. What the heck should I do?
Thanks for any input...
_________________________
While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

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#1065247 - 06/20/04 06:27 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
ChickGrand Offline
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Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3240
Loc: Midwest U.S.
 Quote:
Originally posted by johnmoonlight:
...I'm sort of an oddity, I think. I have never taken a single lesson. Just started teaching myself about 2 years ago and went right to the pieces I wanted to play. I've struggled a bit but have really enjoyed it... [/b]
We're in the the same boat. I sometimes think it's that upturned lifeboat that floated off the Titanic at the end, but...

I bought my first new piano about 25 years ago, and for about a year I worked hard as time permitted, teaching myself. But time rarely permitted. When I quit my busy job 2 years ago, I immediately bought the Chickering concert grand (along with a digital and another small grand and sold the upright) and got serious about the effort now that I have the time, so I'm really at the two-year point myself.

Like John, I went straight to the pieces I want to play. (The first piece I tackled 25 years ago was Lecuona's original "Malaguena", which I realize was rather insane, but I actually did learn a lot from it and finally now can get throught it all quite well.) When I resumed 2 years ago, I picked back up with that piece, LVB Op. 27,2 (all movements--my most refined piece and which none of my neighbors ever want to hear again) and some of LVB's shorter works, DeBussy's "Suite Bergmanesque" and "Reverie", Satie's Gymnopoedies and Gnossiennes (favorite learning ground), some Schubert short stuff like "Standchen", a few Chopin preludes (including "that ugly one"), three tough old heavily synchopated Latin showpieces, lots of old standards, recently some Gottschalk, and most fun of all, lately a bit of original composition which I've had the discipline to notate in Finale. I'm having fun every single day, even as some aspects on some days can be frustrating. But some days I know I've made incredible progress (it helps to do piano and nothing but all day and everyday as much as possible and in that, I am very fortunate to have been able to make that time at this stage of life).

I am now pleased with the consistency of my most polished pieces, now played perhaps a thousand times each and practiced bar by bar far more. I'm a tough critic, but have to admit today's 27,2 consciously amazed even me (first time I felt that, though I know I've done it truly well perhaps twice otherwise). I've finally learned to manage the subtleties and complexities of voicing very predictably with lots of subtle gradation in tone/volume and have a good handle on ebb and flow through them and they've very nearly stopped being conscious work, so much so I become almost listener rather than player. And I realize I'd never have achieved those subtleties without having bought a truly good piano.

But where I see myself right now is having just established a good foundation, sort of being in a place now where I really can learn more quickly (and that I am learning more quickly is such a relief as I tackle some of Gottschalk's difficult stuff). I've learned lots of technique among the 100 or so pieces I play, and practice them in groups with a specific technical skill as the focus for the day each day. I have books on theory and read them in bed at night when I'm not studying scores, usually leaving one under the pillow for quick access, if not the dim hope of osmosis. So I see myself as really just at the end of the beginning, but with some of the skills I need to move forward.

I just discovered today that the 18-year-old kid across the street has been taking lessons and playing for two years. We decided it will be nice to have someone at a similar point along the path to talk to. (I had wondered why my old tech showed up over there but never remembered to ask them or the tech till today--I'd never seen a piano, but there house is rambling huge.)

I record my practice regularly for a more objective listen after, making notes during playback. Sometimes the recordings surprise me when I notice something I'm doing very well even while I'm noticing areas for improvement. I have a good ear and I know what's right or wrong when I hear it. And if it's wrong, I'll find a way to make it right.

My happiest day a couple of months ago was when a neighbor asked me what CD I'd been playing that morning, saying "It was great!" And I was able to say that was me, live. (And that neighbor is a PhD piano/cello player.) So I am happy with progress as a self-taught player. I think it can be done. That doesn't mean I won't hire a teacher at some point. Maybe at 50. But that would spoil my goal to be the first barefoot self-taught 70-year-old to debut at Carnegie Hall. I just can't play with shoes on. I can't gauge the subtle amount of pedal with shoes on (and I do use them very judiciously, and all three, sometimes at the same time. I wish I had my avatar's feet. ). Being tall, shoes add just enough height to interfere with my favored postion and cause my knees to rub the keybed (thinking about getting much larger castors).

I frequently play in just boxers and a tee. (I'll make sure I have on my best ones if I ever attend a P.W. party and find I just can't play dressed otherwise.) I have to have all my pockets empty. Anything in them just throws me off. And no tight sleeves.

So you could graduate into that habit at home, John, practicing in your boxers, so if your wife catches you that way at your lessons, you can say you just can't play with all those clothes on.

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#1065248 - 06/20/04 08:09 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Johnmoonlight and Chickgrand,

I am absolutely amazed that anyone can teach themselves using difficult pieces as a starting point. I think my head would have exploded had I tried it! Heck, there have been many times when I did think my head would explode. I had a very difficult time building independence of the hands.

John, that offer of free lessons is interesting. If money is an issue, I'd say go for it.

If money isn't an issue, though, then I'd be a bit wary. Kind of how I'd be wary if a doctor offered to treat me for free or a lawyer wished to take my case for free as a means of drumming up business. My experience in searching for a teacher is that some of the best ones have a full schedule, and it is hard to wrangle your way into their studio at all.

The way I found my teacher, FWIW, was by calling the parents of my kids' friends, asking them if they knew any piano teachers. This led me to a parent I knew casually, who had two kids taking lessons (one seriously enough to seek admission to conservatory). I liked the way she described the studio of this husband-and-wife teaching duo -- and she seemed to know a lot about what types of teachers to avoid. We've been with the husband-and-wife studio ever since, but getting the benefit of the husband's instruction for recitals, rehearsals and monthly group classes.

Anyway, I have an opinion about whether it would be beneficial to take lessons, even if you are progressing brilliantly like you are. I have found that having a teacher has helped quite a lot in actually getting certain things right. Even though I read well and have a good sense of rhythm, I will still make errors that my teacher will catch. Also, both teachers are fanatics about fingering, frequently altering the suggested fingering in a piece for one reason or another. They frequently disagree about appropriate pedaling, and they've been able to show me techniques for certain skills -- most recently trying to teach me to almost shake my wrist during a fast trill rather than push each key down independently.

Anyway, if you decide to hire a teacher, I'd take the time to find the right one. You'll be with him/her for a looooooong time!

Cindy -- chuckling at the image of Chickgrand in his altogether making beautiful music at the piano, but who totally understands the bit about the shoes
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#1065249 - 06/20/04 10:39 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
sleepingcats Offline
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Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 982
Loc: Oregon
Chickgrand,

I know what you mean about playing barefoot. We don't wear shoes in the house (Japanese & Hawaiian style) so I practice barefoot. I also usually wear shorts and a comfortable loose top/t-shirt while at home, so when I go to my lesson, put on my jeans, a nice top, and shoes, it's feels so odd. Maybe that's another reason I don't perform my pieces as well for my teacher as I do at home!

There are teachers out there who go to the student's home for lessons, so maybe you could find one of those.

That's great that you've progressed so far on your own!

sleepingcats
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#1065250 - 06/20/04 08:13 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
johnmoonlight Offline
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Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 2384
Loc: Lancaster, pa
Chick, enjoyed your story! In my case I went straight to Moonlight sonata first movement. And I was hooked. I figured that if I'm this passionate about a piece, I must be able to play it. Well it was at least partially true. I felt as though I knew exactly how it SHOULD sound which seemed to make it a bit easier. So now I just look for pieces that I'm passionate about AND that aren't too difficult.
Cindy, thanks for the advice. I don't know what to think of her offer. Money is not an issue. We just seemed to click...maybe that's where the problem is. Damn, I think I'm attracted to her.
Ok, so it's NOT a good idea to take lessons with her...is that what you're thinking? But she has such a nice body(she's a near world class swimmer) and a great smile...I can see I'm digging myself a hole here...nevermind. Forget I asked.
_________________________
While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

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#1065251 - 06/20/04 11:01 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Balparda Offline
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Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 48
Loc: Colombia
Speaking of 'Moonlight'... How difficult is it? I've never actually tried it, but doesn't seem that difficult. I've been playing for about 5-6 months... Will I be able to play it?

-Jon
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#1065252 - 06/21/04 11:23 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
devils4ever Offline
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Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
Balparda,

I don't know what level you're at, but I think it's a bit more difficult than it sounds. I've had 2-3 yrs of lessons and I had trouble with it. Of course, everyone is different.
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#1065253 - 06/21/04 01:28 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Balparda,

I think it might depend on the size of your hands, actually. I have been taking lessons for five years, and I had a go at "Moonlight Sonata." I got through the first page OK and then bailed out because the stretches were ninths and they really bothered my hands.

It is harder than it looks, IMHO. Worth it, though.

Good luck!

Cindy -- who is *stoked* because she is off to lesson in which she'll receive two new Schumann pieces to start on
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#1065254 - 06/21/04 03:06 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
smidgeon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 12
Loc: England
I've been really enjoying this thread and reading everyone's experiences!

My first experience learning the piano happened when I was about 5 years old. My mom was trying to teach me what a semibreve looked like. "It looks just like a potato", she said. "But I don't WANT it to look like a potato!" I said, and threw a tantrum. I screwed up the piece of paper that the offending semibreve was drawn on and threw it on the floor. And that was the end of my childhood association with the piano. I did however play the violin, which I loathed. I also dabbled with the guitar as a teenager, so when I finally did take up the piano I had a small amount of musical knowledge.

I started playing six years ago when I was 31. I really wanted to learn to play but did not see how I could as I lived in a tiny one-room flat with neighbours on all sides. Then one day I woke up and the answer plopped into my head. A digital piano! Earphones! That very same week I bought a Yamaha P200, the most expensive thing I'd ever bought and my pride and joy. Since then I've been very fortunate: My business has improved and I've been able to buy a "proper" piano and move to a house with enough space to accommodate it.

Johnmoonlight and Chickgrand - I think it's great you're teaching yourselves. I've always preferred teaching myself to being taught, although with regard to piano I did decide to get a teacher. As a late starter I wanted to learn quickly and I thought I would learn more quickly if I had a teacher than if I had to discover it all myself. But in hindsight I think the teachers I had hindered my progress more than they helped it. I always get nervous when people jump in and say "you must get a teacher or you'll get bad habits" because in my experience teachers can instill as many bad habits as they prevent. And - one teacher's bad habit is another's preferred technique!

That said, I have a great teacher now. When I was with my previous teacher there was a trill I couldn't play. "In time you'll be able to play it" my teacher said. There was a piece I had practised and practised and thought I knew really well, but every time I played it I would randomly stop. She told me to "keep practising and in time you'll be able to play it".

My current teacher commented that "in time" we'd be in the grave! That trill I couldn't do? He watched my hand, told me the trill wasn't working because one of my fingers wasn't working, made up a quick exercise for getting the non-working finger to work and within minutes I was playing the trill! The piece that was getting stuck? He made me learn it hands separate (neither of my other teachers had been fans of hands separate) and he made me learn where each note / chord *had come from* as well as where it was going to. It was an amazing awakening - I realised that I actually didn't know the piece at all. No wonder I was getting stuck!

I see my current teacher perhaps five times a year and work by myself the rest of the time. I find this better than the weekly lessons I was having before, partly because I like working by myself and partly because I found a week was too short a time for me to be ready for another lesson.

Right now I'm working on Scriabin's Etude Op.2 no.1. I've seen it described on this forum as "easy" but I'm finding it really hard! I guess it depends what level you're viewing it from. Also Rachmaninov's Prelude Op.3 no.2. Yes, THAT prelude. Sorry, but I love it. Also prelude no 6 out of WTK book 1 "to get my fingers moving". And Scarlatti's sonata K141 which I love.

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#1065255 - 06/21/04 08:58 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I took lessons from 8 to 10. I must have been pretty good because I won a city wide competition and played Rhondo alla Turca. I missed the last note or chord, but everyone clapped wildly. My mother had me quit to take organ lessons which I hated so I quit studying all together...

I started playing again after college. I bought a piano for 350.00. I read a biography of Chopin and it said that he wrote the Etudes to teach his students, so I decided to learn the etudes, and started practicing... I loved it. I would practice till my fingers fell off if I could. I am busy with business support and as a mom now, but I just bought a piano and soon I'll start looking for a teacher. I have only polished-learned 3 etudes completely. I have a host of pieces I would love to perfect with someone's guidance. I've yet to find someone I can click with..
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#1065256 - 06/21/04 09:49 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
cathys Offline
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Registered: 04/10/03
Posts: 917
Loc: Virginia
Gee Frank thanks so much for our own forum, what a wonderful idea. I know I've told my story before but I guess I can do it one more time. I don't know if you would call me an adult beginner; I'm more of a "retread" as someone in an earlier thread coined it. I begged my parents for lessons and finally around 5th or 6th grade they finally caved and I hung with it through Jr High until I got into my brain-damaged teenage years and quit lessons. Even though I quit I continued to kind of fiddle whenever the mood hit off and on into present day. I had lots of popular music that I would pick up from time to time and try to bang out on my old Acrosonic. It wasn't until my middle son started lessons (a little over a year ago) that I started thinking about getting back into learning mode and taking lessons too. We both started with a wonderful teacher from our church and shopped around for a new piano.
I am so glad that I'm back. It makes such a difference having a teacher (for me it keeps me focused on goals and successes - instead of just fiddling with the same songs indefinitely). She is able to point things out that I don't hear until then (of course then it's how did I miss that). I have really rediscovered my love of piano and I am discovering so much classical music I never looked at before. I find myself constantly looking for pockets of time to practice and manage to get in at least 1.5 - 2 hrs per day.
I find myself using piano to try new experiences - like getting over my shyness and fear of performing in front of people. (That should help with public speaking too - right? Like if the ground didn't open up and swallow me and I didn't keel over and die playing piano, surely I should be able to just talk in front of others ;\) )

I really love the idea of taking special requests from/for my mom.
In a little less than 2 weeks I will be playing a prelude set at my sister's wedding - no pressure there (not) but at least it's family and I think the rules say they still have to love me even if I screw up. Anyway my mantra is "its only the prelude - no one will even be paying attention."

Apple - I think finding someone you click with enhances what you gain from the teaching experience and that's what I've found with my teacher. She is fantastic with my son as well, really has a way with children (I hope that's not why we click). It's funny I will go and buy some music and bring it to my lesson and either she will have the same thing she was planning on starting with me or she will say that is exactly the type of thing I wanted you to try next, we really are on the same wavelength.

Anyway I look forward to sharing experiences here and learning from all the other beginner's and retreads out there.

Cathy

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#1065257 - 06/21/04 10:22 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
I have a question, Alex. Are these arrangements or are you doing the original works? I ask because Mozart's Turkish Rondo is screamin' hard, and I can't imagine playing it after 5 years, let alone after 5 months.

Dang. You guys are inspiring me. I'm going to have to really get after it! [/b]
Cindy - you have a pretty impressive repertoire.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1065258 - 06/21/04 11:04 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Gee, Apple, that means a lot coming from you!

Hope you're liking the new Estonia. I sure like mine!
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

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

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#1065259 - 06/21/04 11:33 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i just pretend to be good.

I am enjoying the piano..very fascinating to have a new piano to play with.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1065260 - 06/23/04 12:32 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Hammerklavier Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/03
Posts: 46
I am 24 years old and is a retread too! Showed signs of interest on an electronic keyboard when I was about 5 years old and my papa brought me to lessons at the local community centre 2 years later. Big mistake. It's cheap no doubt, but most of the lessons offered in community centres are more geared towards recreational purposes. Not much structure within the lessons and from what I remembered, I was only told to play the pieces on my book without any useful guidance. I wasn't even taught scales. Without them, I couldn't understand the rationale behind the key signature. It was such a torture in those days. To make matters worse, I can only practise on a keyboard as my father wasn't sure whether a piano is necessary and also whether I will be playing in a few years. As expected, I gave up lessons after 2 years or so without getting anywhere.

It was until about 2 years ago when I got inspired by my friend. He's 3 years younger than me and is already a rather well accomplished pianist. I thought to myself then, "I could have been him".

Messed around with the keyboard for a year before deciding it's time to get serious. I don't want to make another mistake again! Got myself a piano last year before taking up private lessons from my another friend's teacher. Have never look back. MY first lesson was such a humbling experience. We were clapping our hands and playing pieces like "When the saints go marching in" from the Bastien Adult Piano Course. Looking back now, just what a year this has been!

It's so nice to have our own forum. I hope we can hear from more people and keep our little corner alive! Thank you Frank for making this happen!

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#1065261 - 06/24/04 01:03 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
DaleH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/24/03
Posts: 49
Loc: Central Massachusetts
I'm 53 years old and have been learning piano for almost 5 years, though I'm not an absolute beginner having played violin (and later viola) since the age of 8. I studied music in college for a couple of years and then decided I wasn't cut out for all that practicing and changed my major.

Over the years I occasionally wished I could play the piano - to stand in as a rehearsal pianist, to play chamber music, and to accompany my church choir and play hymns. In 1999 I bought a piano and asked our church music director if she would take me on as a student. It has been a wonderful, eye-opening (ear-opening?) experience.

It was frustrating at first to be a beginner on one instrument when I was already competent on another, but I enjoy playing the piano and enjoy practicing the piano; practicing the viola was always a chore. Two years ago, I quit playing the orchestra I'd been in for over 20 years in order to have more time to practice the piano. I'm still playing the viola in a couple of musical theater groups and in a string quartet, but 95% of my musical energy goes to the piano.

My teacher is wonderful. She is exacting without being mean about it. She is teaching me to be musical (I didn't know that could be taught!) And she has a real knack for choosing suitable pieces for me to work on - they are challenging and beautiful.

At the most recent student recital I played the B-flat two-part invention and a Chopin mazurka. It's a long way to the Dvorak quintet, but I'm really enjoying the journey.

Dale

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#1065262 - 06/28/04 09:35 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
Even though the "Adult beginners" forum doesn't show on main forum page, I WAS able to recall this thread from my Favorites, which is nice to know. (that urls saved from the old forum connect correctly to the new forum)

Just thought i'd shake this tree to see what happened to it.

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#1065263 - 06/29/04 09:49 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
folly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 19
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I am a new poster, currently retaking piano lessons for 6 months now. I was also a former piano player as a child, with a little over a year of piano lessons at age 11. My former teacher used the Schaum series, and I got as far as the "D" book, or grade 2 1/2. My current teacher is fantastic. We use classical pieces that I am interested in playing and some supplemental etudes from the Celebration series book. Returning to the piano after 26 years has been a challenge. I am glad that there is a forum here for adult learners. \:D

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#1065264 - 07/02/04 10:12 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
cht Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 118
Loc: Coeur d'Alene, ID
Yet another story....

I started learning when I was about 54, and I am 58 now. I can remember my dad struggling with Debussy over his old Steinway upright, and now I get to follow suit. My piano is a 1923 Baldwin grand, and although the hammers need to be replaced ('way too hard), the sound is fine with me. My problem is keeping with a practice schedule. My favorite music is "new age", which I include Liz Story, George Winston, and the like. Very melodic stuff. I share the same frustration that I see again and again on the forum, that is just getting one piece really right. I tend to "mess around" with one thing, then "mess around" with the next. Might be adult ADD, who knows ?? I have come to realize that, as an adult, you are who you are. I am never going to get very good at this, and if I can't enjoy the journey and make what music that I can, then it is time to move on to something else. I have no gift, no talent, just sheet music and a piano. Nothing worthwhile is easy.

Chuck
Coeur d'Alene, ID
_________________________
cht

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#1065265 - 07/02/04 10:29 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Kitagrl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 95
Yes this is cool to get together with other adult learners! I, too, missed a good chance to learn as a kid and wish I had...but better late than never! I am 29 and have been taking them for about a year and a half now. It's getting better, but its very humbling to start out in a Kindergarten/first grade book, that's for sure! Espeically when, by ear, I can make it sound like I have been playing longer than I have. But to put music in front of me and have me play it...well...you can tell I've only had lessons a year. LOL.

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#1065266 - 07/02/04 10:31 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
sleepingcats Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 982
Loc: Oregon
Chuck,

I, too, like New Age like George Winston, Yanni, David Lanz, Michael Allen Harrison, and Enya. I've seen them all in person except Enya. Of couse I love classical music as well.

I'll be starting with a new teacher in August who is a classical pianist, but who also teaches other styles including New Age. I can't wait to start and get re-inspired with a better teacher.

sleepingcats
_________________________
"Cats make purrfect friends"

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#1065267 - 07/04/04 05:50 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
Cryptkeeper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/04
Posts: 114
Loc: Belgium
Great stories everyone. I like reading this.

I'm 24 now and my story starts at the age of 12. It was then that my parents bought me a small keyboard (about 3 octaves I think). I could not read notes or anything but it was just for messing around with.
The keyboard gathered dust for a couple of years untill I found it agian and put it in my room. I must have been around 21 I think.

I'd put the keyboard in my room with the idea of starting to learn how to play it. I searched on the internet untill I found a site that teaches you to read notes.
This was the beginning of my love for music. I could play very small pieces of songs and I felt wonderfull.
After learning to read notes better (I was reading notes first by counting lines, not by their names) I got to play one full song and some bits and pieces of other songs.

I then found that the time was right to get me a better keyboard, so I bought one. It was a big improvement (66 keys, larger keys,...).
I played on that keyboard for about a year and in march I bought a digital piano and this Thursday I have my 4th piano lesson.

I was afraid that if I took the lessons I would have to unlearn bad habbits but it was okay. My theacher just told me to put my hands diffirent (more curved).
The lessons are fun, I've allready learned alot of new things concerning music theory. She is teaching me using a book called "the european piano method" and every lesson so far I have to play some stuff and she teaches me some music theory. It's a good combination I think.

Here is a link with some of my recordings. These songs are recorded before I took lessons.
http://www.gamingforce.com/forums/showthread.php?p=613590#post613590
_________________________
Sorry about the mistakes...

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#1065268 - 07/08/04 05:04 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
HermanM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/04
Posts: 117
Loc: Newport, VA
First, I must issue the obligatory thanks to the board admins for providing this forum - I relied heavily on pianoworld for my piano purchase (wound up with a new Yamaha U1, fwiw), and now find myself registering to join in on the fun.

I just started taking lessons in March after a long time away from music. Was an accomplished trombonist in high school and college, and regret putting it down to this day. Too many years to invest before the old chops would get back up to speed to make picking it up any fun. Guess that's one of the nice things about piano - with just a little bit of work, one can make some really nice sounding music on the piano (even the simplest pieces can sound so good!).

At any rate, I can not explain how fullfilling studying the piano has been for me! I both dread (performance anxiety) and fondly anticipate my lesson (bi-weekly now during summer, back to weekly again in Sep). I hope to play a simple Bach Minuet tomorrow for friends who are dropping by - must find more ways to overcome this performance anxiety, so why not abuse my good friends by having them listen to me fumble through some Bach?

Anyways, I've really enjoyed this thread, and just had to through my two bits in. All for now.

HM
_________________________
I played it better at home.

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#1065269 - 07/08/04 05:51 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?
sleepingcats Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 982
Loc: Oregon
Welcome to the Forum HermanM!

I love your quote "I can play it a lot better at home!" That's exactly true for me too! At least it was with my teacher with whom I had my final lesson with this week. She was my first teacher when I started up piano again in December but I realized I needed more in a teacher. Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to play better for my new teacher starting in August.

I have a U1 too! Just got it in January, and had it tuned a couple of days ago. The tuner said it sounds beautiful. I love to practice with the lid propped up those couple of inches.

Isn't it great to play? I'm so glad I started again. I hope my enthusiasm never goes away. It's one of the few things I really look forward too.

sleepingcats
_________________________
"Cats make purrfect friends"

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