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#1073424 - 12/02/04 11:22 AM worst piano lesson ever
devils4ever Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
Well, last night I had the worst piano lesson ever! \:\( It wasn't the teacher, it was me. I just could not play.

I've been working on "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" and Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring". I fumbled terribly through both. I hit wrong notes, slowed the tempo, stopped, etc. Basically, did everything wrong or badly.

I'm not sure why. I wasn't particularly nervous or tense or anything. Both pieces are at the edge of my ability, but this was downright embarrassing.

Has this happened to anyone else? Please tell me next week will be better!
_________________________
"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase

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#1073425 - 12/02/04 11:45 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Yeah, like every lesson. Although I can't say that I've nailed all of the pieces before I have my lesson, they tend to be worse at the lesson. Problems that didn't surface while practicing suddenly pop up. I don't feel particularly nervous at my lesson, but the feel of a different piano somehow throws me.

I guess I'll have to postpone my Carnegie Hall debut....
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#1073426 - 12/02/04 12:04 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
devils4ever Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
markb,

My pieces are always a work in progress. The piano definitely was a factor. The upright at home has a much lighter touch than the grand at my lesson.
_________________________
"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase

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#1073427 - 12/02/04 12:06 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
It was one of life's ironies that some of my worst lessons were the ones I thought I had prepared particularly well...

Ken

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#1073428 - 12/02/04 02:09 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
That's happened to me, too. I open my book and stare at the music like I've never seen it before! I'm not using this as a figure of speech... it's like I have some weird sort of amnesia.

The other one that drives me nuts is when you work on a difficult passage and finally get it, only to have another, different one that was completely under your control go out into the ozone.

You're not alone!

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#1073429 - 12/02/04 07:07 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
Sugarbush Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/04
Posts: 26
Loc: Toronto
I'm not going to make you feel any better, but boy have you all made "me" feel better. I can relate totally....every lesson. Just as one said, if you think you've "nailed it", sure enough when you're "under pressure ( for me anyway) at THE LESSON, I screw it up. I usually try and pick out tricky spots but by the time I have my lesson, one would never know it. "Amnesia " like was mentioned, is dead on. I guess it's just typical. I've talked about these things with my own teacher and she just smiles and moves her head affirmatively !! So we just press onward and try not to be discouraged. However, I guess I'll never see the likes of a great performance hall. Take care everyone and keep smiling and just enjoy the music.These professional performers put in 8-10 hour shifts to play like they do. We all have other lives as well, or at least I assume most of you do.

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#1073430 - 12/03/04 04:04 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
Me too!! I feel much better. After 2 and 1/2 years with the same teacher (was an absolute beginner at 44) I'm finally a little less nervous but still do much better at home. I also find that if we start with some of the exercises rather than repertoire that I've been working on, it helps the nerves and I'm a little more relaxed come time to play actual pieces. I also have the same problem when I concentrate on practicing the difficult passages - the "easy" ones suddenly cause problems they never did before....Thank heavens for a very patient teacher!!
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#1073431 - 12/03/04 04:49 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
Most students resort to something like "I did this perfectly at home" when something won't work at a lesson. I think the change in touch of the piano is something of a valid reason as well as knowing the teacher is listening somewhat critically to the playing so nervousness intervenes. We had juries yesterday and some of the students were crying before they left the room. Visible shaking of the hands was evident as well.

What should a student remember? Just that--you are a student and learning so mistakes, warps, twists, are going to happen. Adjust to it and move on. If you warm up with exercises--a scale or two, arpeggios, five-finger exercises--then it helps to adjust to the touch and feel of a different instrument. Why are you so confident on your instrument at home? Because you play it regularly and have an ingrained feel for it. How often do you play another instrument? Probably, for the most part, once or twice a week at lessons and the feel is so different it can 'throw' you. Alexander Brailowsky, at a concert in Vienna, Austria, came out and did five-finger exercises before he began playing the program. I can only imagine that he had not played the instrument before or enough to adapt to its touch. Surprised at his action--YES!! I had never experienced that before. So, if possible, 'warm-up' on the instrument first and maybe your lessons will go much better. Good luck!

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#1073432 - 12/03/04 06:22 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
I have simply gotten used to the fact that I play better at home, almost without exception, than at my lesson.

When I was practicing on my spinet, the touch on the teacher's grand was much heavier. Now that I have a new grand and she has had her piano regulated to be very light, mine is heavier at home.

Unless they will come to your home to do the lesson, I fear it shall always be thus. I think teachers know this and can adjust their expectations.
_________________________
Michael

====

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

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#1073433 - 12/03/04 08:19 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
wdaveo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 72
I don't take lessons anymore, but I could NEVER get my fingers to move right at a lesson. I mean I NEVER played a song without some sort of flub up. (Although I usually did OK at home with it.) This was always very frustrating and may have contributed to my quiting lessons (that, and a bum wrist). I think it confirmed to me, at the time, that I just don't have what it takes.

I cannot figure out how performers can play without messing up. And I cannot understand how my 8 yr old can play at a recital without messing up!
_________________________
CardExpressions.net

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#1073434 - 12/03/04 10:36 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
devils4ever Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
 Quote:
Originally posted by wdaveo:
I don't take lessons anymore, but I could NEVER get my fingers to move right at a lesson. I mean I NEVER played a song without some sort of flub up. (Although I usually did OK at home with it.) This was always very frustrating and may have contributed to my quiting lessons (that, and a bum wrist). I think it confirmed to me, at the time, that I just don't have what it takes.

I cannot figure out how performers can play without messing up. And I cannot understand how my 8 yr old can play at a recital without messing up! [/b]
Because 8 year olds have no fear!!! \:D

It sounds like you stopped playing. Say it isn't so!
_________________________
"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase

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#1073435 - 12/03/04 12:25 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
wdaveo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 72
Well, I'm trying to keep up with my 10 yr old, who's been playing for 5 years now, but I think he has officially passed me up.

We are shopping for a new grand piano for the family to replace our Clavinova, so I am hoping that will provide some inspiration.

I do still play, but not well at all. I am so embarrassed when I go to the piano store and cannot play anything. I have finally memorized a little ditty to play at the stores - guess it's better than chopsticks (not that there is anything wrong with chopsticks!) \:\)

Dawn
_________________________
CardExpressions.net

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#1073436 - 12/03/04 04:01 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
ragtimebg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/04
Posts: 180
Loc: California
On the golf course, hitting a series of fine golf shots on the driving range is easy. Hitting even one halfway decent shot on the course itself is darn near impossible. It's just the immense difference between practice and performance.
_________________________
I have a new mistress. She's black and curvy and pretty and sounds great and has great legs. I call her "Petrof".

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#1073437 - 12/03/04 04:07 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
markjpcs Offline


Registered: 08/31/04
Posts: 3170
Loc: Wisconsin
 Quote:
Originally posted by wdaveo:
(not that there is anything wrong with chopsticks!) \:\)

Dawn [/b]
Yes there is!
_________________________
Visit us at:
The Piano World Practice Club

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#1073438 - 12/03/04 04:37 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
sleepingcats Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 981
Loc: Oregon
A couple of my best lessons were when I wasn't prepared because I couldn't practice for a couple of days. I almost cancelled my lesson, but went anyway, and I played one piece better than I ever had.

I think I should stop telling my teacher how much I practiced or DIDN'T practice - then I won't jinx myself! \:\)
_________________________
"Cats make purrfect friends"

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#1073439 - 12/03/04 06:05 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
ilikemozart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 378
Loc: USA
I agree with a lot of you. Going from one type of piano to your teacher's piano is going to make a big difference. I guess this is why some pianist, like Jon Nakamatsu, only performs on a Steinway. Not sure if he performs only on a German Steinway.

Also, I'm very uncomfortable playing around people, including my instructor. I tend to sometimes notice she is toe tapping or using her hands against her chair to do the timing, and that makes me nervous. By the way, she doesn't sit right next to me, but I'm still aware of her presence.

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#1073440 - 12/04/04 10:57 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
jwfangster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/04/04
Posts: 5
Loc: Mission Viejo, California
I have the same problem as all of you do. I remember reading somewhere once that some famous pianist (I can't remember who) said that he never practiced, he just rehearsed. I still flub very badly during lessons but I think I've improved a bit keeping that thought in mind while "rehearsing".

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#1073441 - 12/05/04 06:09 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1979
Loc: Salt Lake City
 Quote:
Originally posted by devils4ever:
Well, last night I had the worst piano lesson ever! \:\( It wasn't the teacher, it was me. I just could not play.

I've been working on "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" and Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring". I fumbled terribly through both. I hit wrong notes, slowed the tempo, stopped, etc. Basically, did everything wrong or badly.

I'm not sure why. I wasn't particularly nervous or tense or anything. Both pieces are at the edge of my ability, but this was downright embarrassing.

Has this happened to anyone else? Please tell me next week will be better! [/b]
Sorry to hear that; perhaps this story will cheer you up--

A friend of mine (who will remain nameless) had his trumpet lesson at Curtis and proceeded thusly:

*plays about five notes*
Teacher: "Stop, stop! That sucks! Godammit, it sucked last week...and it still sucks! Get out!!

--end of lesson--

koji (STSD)
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#1073442 - 12/05/04 10:36 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
\:\) WOW.....I thought it was only me.
_________________________
Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

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#1073443 - 12/05/04 11:05 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
teachum Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/19/04
Posts: 2913
Loc: idaho
Ditto what everyone has said. The going from spinet to grand thing used to be a biggie to me. Solved that one! But of course now I don't want to play on anything but MY grand! I too resort to, "I know this... or I play this better at home." I think it's all the "meeting someone's expectations" thing. I have gotten better at not being nervous in front of people in general though. Don't feel bad. No biggie!
_________________________
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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#1073444 - 12/05/04 12:15 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
wdaveo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 72
I always feel like I have to 'pass the test' at lessons. For some reason, I cannot get it into my head that the teacher is there to help me improve, not to judge me.

Maybe it's a problem with the relationship I have (had, cause I don't take lessons anymore) with my teacher.
_________________________
CardExpressions.net

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#1073445 - 12/05/04 12:26 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
If I practice for about 1 hour before lesson, I can usually nail it. If I don't, I'll bumble through.

At least it's an easy formula to remember!
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

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

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#1073446 - 12/05/04 03:35 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever
mamma2my3sons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/03
Posts: 746
Loc: Midwest of the great USA
wow, I was so glad to read all of these. Sometimes I'm at a lesson & it feels like I am trying to decipher hieroglyphics! I struggle at lessons terribly at times. It is very humbling being an adult in music lessons for me even though my teacher is *wonderful*.

I played clarinet very well as a child, teen etc & I had the expectation going into the piano that it would be as successful & smooth.

I think its partly because our minds as adults are not free as when we are children & neither are our schedules! (aside from the physiologic aspect of maturing) I know I certainly don't practice as I should.

Thanks to all who shared here & I am comforted that I am not alone in my struggles!

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#1073447 - 12/06/04 06:55 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
devils4ever Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
Well, I have two days to my next lesson. :rolleyes: I'm praying things go better.

I know I'm paying my teacher to help me improve but it still seems like I'm performing for him. He's VERY good about it all, but deep down inside he must want to push me aside and play it correctly!
_________________________
"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase

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#1073448 - 12/06/04 09:03 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
I'm enjoying this thread! I had MY worst lesson ever last week. I blamed in on after effects of drugs from outpatient surgery - but that was just an excuse I think. Couldn't hit a right note.....total amnesia...... I'm thinking about taping myself and if this week goes as badly, I'll play or give him the tape.... My teacher also sometimes taps or counts while I play if I increase tempo (which it often). I've gotten used to this though and actually find it quite helpful and somehow helps me concentrate on playing and less on the nerves.
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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