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#1108758 - 10/21/08 05:13 PM Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Shey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 393
Loc: Greater Manchester, England
Oh, just feeling a little emotional just now. I have heard some pieces of music recently that took me somewhere else!

Listening to people who can play the piano instead of practise the piano, makes me feel so inspired and a little jealous too.

I wonder when, if ever, I could play a piece of music which could move others, or allow them to enjoy it and make them feel like I do sometimes.

Not happy any more with wanting to learn to play John Lennon's Imagine, or something by Einaudi.

I have heard Concerto's and Film score music eg: Death is the Road to Awe, and am now feeling that I will never be able to play at that level, so why carry on.

Sorry to be miserable, but I was trying to play Greensleeves today and sounded like a two year old plonking on the piano.

I have had a teacher for two and a half years and am just thinking I am wasting mine and his time and my money.

When I hear a piece of music that I am drawn to, I think how can I get to play that! But, then back to my world and simple tunes that I struggle with become even harder.

I have heard some fabulous music this week and it's shown up my inabality and lack of talent and I am feeling I should just listen to piano music from now on.

Feeling down and a bit dim. Am I on my own?

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#1108759 - 10/21/08 05:35 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4534
First, quitting for a time is very common
in piano. I have quit for numerous long
periods where I did not play a note, the
longest of which was 20 yrs. So if you
want to quit, quit. It might last one
day, or one month, or one yr., but you'll
probably come back to it sooner or later.
Note all the restarters here who came
back after a long period away. The
record is something like 45 yrs.

Second, you're probably much better than
you realize. I recently saw a program
on public tv with several highly-accomplished
classical players playing the most difficult
selections, but their playing all sounded
the same; if you closed your eyes, you
couldn't tell who was playing. This is
the big flaw in piano today: everyone's
playing sounds the same, whether it
is classical or jazz. The piano establishment
has encouraged this kind of polished,
everyone-sound-the-same playing, and
now their reaping the rewards of this:
a whole generation of pianists who all
sound the same. I hope you don't aspire
to play like these people--what's the
point of even playing if your playing is going
to sound like everyone else's? I rather
listen to a beginner who can barely play
and hits numerous wrong notes than to one
of these highly-accomplished, but
boring, everyone-sound-the-same
concert pianists.

#1108760 - 10/21/08 05:54 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
mr_super-hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4289
Shey, pursuing your wanting to learn to play piano should only depend on "why" you are wanting to play it.

Are you wanting to play piano because YOU want to?, really want to?. Or, are you wanting to play for other reasons like someone else wants you to play?.

You MUST be true to yourself and only play if YOU want to.

If you do, then you must realize that learning to play piano really is like going forward in reverse!
It's definitely a 3 steps forward, two steps backward type of gain system. The rewards come, but they are not noticeable in the immediate type of way. Over time however, you and others will start to notice the improvements. "time" may be several months to years.

Also realize that some of the most beautiful music ever performed is very simple to play. Being able to perform "finger gymnastics" is impressive but may not sound as nice as some of the more simpler notes and chords.

I play piano because I want to. I usually play best and enjoy myself the most when I'm alone. Theres just something that a beautiful grand can do to fill a silent house with music.

I play because I am able to produce the beautiful melodies I hear in my head. I'm not the worst player on the planet and I know I will never be even remotely close to one of the best but I don't care as that's not my goal.

My only goal is to produce the melodies that I hear and improve on doing so over time.

Are your goals realistic?. What are your goals?. Can they realistically be achieved?

Trust me buddy, by the time everyone is done examining you, we'll get you fixed! \:D .

#1108761 - 10/21/08 06:04 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Hi Shey, good to see another Brit on the forums.

I'm sure you will get lots of replies and support from people who feel (or have felt) the same way you feel now. The important thing to remember is that you have very little control over other peoples emotions when you play the piano. You might listen to a famous pianist playing a concerto and feel overwhelmed. Gyro will listen to the same performance and couldn't care less! How do you know that others would not enjoy your Greensleeves? When you play for others it is best to focus on the music rather than how it will be received. Once you can get past your ego (and I don't mean that in a nasty way) you will be free to give the music to you audience.

Now, when will this happen? It's impossible to say. All you can do is keep playing and keep practicing. You are looking at a long term goal at the moment. Goals are great but you need to feel like they are achievable in the not to distant future. You should definitely talk to your teacher about how you are feeling. Do they hold recitals that you could be involved in? If not, do they teach other like minded adults who you might be able to get together with for some kind of piano party? If performing and moving others with your playing is something you would love to do then you need to start in the least intimidating way possible. But make no mistake, you need to start doing it. Imagine what might happen if you could?

Please do not lose heart and give up. You are on a journey. Try to enjoy the ride along the way.
Pianist and piano teacher.

#1108762 - 10/21/08 06:40 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Debbie57 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/07
Posts: 258
Loc: Kansas

It's hard for me to imagine a person who hasn't felt like this. Like you, I often feel like I just practice and don't experience that missing element of making music. Most of the time I enjoy the learning enough to slog through it and once in a great while a huge flash of understanding will come to me, making me feel that it is all worth while.

Greensleeves is a piece I like very much also. I'm still plunky with it myself. It's outside my lessons so I feel at liberty to change the music around a little. My version does not dig deeply enough so I'm working on enhancing it (while plunking along )

Chin up. Hopefully this feeling will pass soon.
A Hero is one who hangs on one minute longer. Author: Unknown

#1108763 - 10/21/08 07:19 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
SAnnM AB 2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2024
Loc: Canada
I had something said to me a couple of weeks ago that we often forget. I was at a music group meeting and played my Jazz Hymn (from the last recital) I messed up, played it too fast etc... but then I gave one of the group members a drive home and the 'real' version was playing in my truck as we drove. I said sheepishly "This is what it's supposed to sound like" she said. "I liked yours better, listening to it live beats any recording.." It doesn't have to be perfect...just yours.
It's the journey not the destination..

#1108764 - 10/21/08 07:23 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Strat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 699
Loc: Toronto, Canada
In all my years of being a musician (I originally am a guitar player), I've never once met anybody who was dedicated enough to an instrument and to the craft of music to progress a lot. I'm not kidding when I say that it's a regular occurance to have people approach me after hearing me play the guitar who want to play like I do. The fact of the matter is that they don't want to learn but instead want to play like I do. These are 2 entirely different things. They imagine they'll be able to reach that level in an unrealistic amount of time with little or even no practice.

The harsh reality is that everybody needs to practice long hours every week, even everyday, if you wish to progress. Unfortunately, nobody I've ever met has ever been dedicated enough to improve beyond rudimentary playing. Why? Because they think that practicing an hour will be enough. It's not even enough to get you warmed up, much less enough to improve on your playing.

Whenever somebody approaches me and expresses their wish to play like me, I always go through the long list of things they'll need to do and I inform them that they'll need to cut out a lot of things from their lives. Instead of playing poker with friends, I'd play the guitar. Instead of going out with the girlfriend, I'd play the guitar. Etc... Guess what? Nobody has ever accepted to do this. Without exception, everybody has always decided that other things are more important to them, and that's fine. The good news is that they're happy to have discovered that earlier than later.

In my experience of having interacted with waves and waves of people who repeat this same cycle all the time, some tough love is necessary. I don't want you to waste your time on the piano or any other instrument if you don't have the time or the will to improve. I have an uncle who, despite my repeating to him that he needs to put in *way* more time than he does every week on guitar, ignores my advice and guess what : his "skills" are the exact same as before he started courses... 4 years ago.

Some people just don't get it.

You might be in the other camp : the one filled with people who understand the level of commitment it takes to improve. If you do, you'll need to examine your life and determine just how important this is to you. If it's not that important and you'd rather use this time towards other hobbies, there's nothing wrong with that. This is a forum on piano, so everybody will discourage you from quitting. In your case, it might not be such a bad idea... *BUT* only if you don't think playing well is that important to you.

If it is, you'll need to put it way more time at practice. You might want to consider switching teachers if you're not satisfied with your progress and you determine that you've been putting tons of hours towards your playing on a weekly basis. Your progress won't miraculously happen. If you're looking for a revelation, it won't happen. This isn't the movies, it's real-life. But if you're determined, patient, and persistent, as well as willing to put in hours and hours of practice no matter what, every single week, progress *will* happen.

I guarantee it.
Started playing in mid-June 2007. Self-taught... for now. :p

#1108765 - 10/21/08 07:38 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Bill in Rose Hill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 9
Loc: Rose Hill, NC
I too am a former guitar player, and a retired school band director. I have experienced the same syndrome from people. They are not willing to pay their dues. On the other hand, there are many musicians out there, and it is pretty clear to me that the difference between the musicians and the other folks is that you have to make the other folks practice. You have to make the musicians quit!
Bill in Rose Hill

#1108766 - 10/21/08 07:59 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3605
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
Shey - Buck up and get busy - read Strat's post several times & cut the seriousness of it all about in half - lots of cold, hard facts in there, although everything isn't quite so harsh or demanding as he paints it - but Buck up, stop sulking and get busy - whatever you do don't give up - you'll get there.

Regards, JF
Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

#1108767 - 10/21/08 08:44 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
TinyHands Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/10/08
Posts: 92
Loc: Reston, Virginia
A lot of great advice up there. Two cents from a beginner like me is that you have to stop comparing yourself to others and be realistic about your goal.

I remember your previous posts that you expressed this feeling before.

Some people learn faster than others. Doing something better something than others. Having more time to practice than others. It's just fact. All we can do is just accept it and go back to our own journey.

If you watch others playing and feel down badly, then you just have to stop watching them. You should enjoy their music and feel inspired. Not the other way around.

Did you record your previous pieces you learnt in the past ? Have you tried playing them again lately ? Did you find them easier or do they sound better ? That might be the way to see if you make any progress.

Of course it means you will need to keep re-visiting them regularly. It means you will need extra time to spend on those as well. Or there might be nothing left in your repertiore.

So! Relax and enjoy playing.

Hope you feel better soon.
“Brick walls are there for a reason, they let us prove how badly we want something.“ - Randy Pausch

#1108768 - 10/21/08 09:06 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Ivory Dreams Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 210
Loc: Central NC
I have also got two cents worth for Shey and anyone else that is discouraged with their own skill level. Try this:

Take out a lesson book from last year. (Or sometime in the past). Turn to the first piece you worked on in that book and play it.


Do you remember learning that piece? Did the teacher go over it with you? Did you struggle to work through it... measure by measure? Were you relieved when it was finally right and you could go on to a new piece? How long did it take you to get it down?

Chances are... you took that piece of music to the piano today and played it! Played it like you owned it.... Like it was nothing.

Wow! Your so much farther along than you were just a year ago. It will probably amaze you to realize the progress you have made.

Someone said: No matter how great a pianist you are there is always someone that is better. (So why stress about what you can't do?)


You can own a Chickering, Christifori, or Steinway, but if you can't play it.... It is just a piece of eye candy.

#1108769 - 10/21/08 09:56 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
ohitpro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 104
Loc: Columbus, Ohio, USA
I get frustrated if I only play from written scores because of my inadequacy when compared to better players so I usually spend time improvising or just "noodling" as Seaside Lee would put it. His video tips were quite helpful for a beginner like me.

I stop worrying about how I'm "doing" and just think about music and how it fills the soul and lifts my spirit. Since it's my own creation, there's nothing to compare or measure "progress".

All art forms are highly emotional and we all go through the ups and downs. If it gets too technical and goal-oriented, I believe much is lost. Sure, trying to play pieces written by other composers is what most of us do but don't forget that you've been given talents as well and you are free to explore and create!
Whatever you do, do it from the heart...

#1108770 - 10/21/08 10:28 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
derekp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/08
Posts: 106
Loc: Chicago Area
Now I'm a relative beginner (did a few months of computer-based lessons a number of years ago, just recently started up again about 6 months ago). But I've hit a similar frustration wall, where it felt like I couldn't progress any further. So I went out and got myself a new digital piano, and decided that I would just start improvising out of fake books -- that way, there was less for me to screw up. So to make up for my lack of piano ability, I've shifted focus on coming up with good sounding arrangements based on the skeletal structures in the fake books, and that itself has been a bit more fulfilling. The other thing I did was starting to get together with others who aren't classical pianist, however they know how to put together great chords and play by ear. I've taught them some theory, and they teach me "energy". Hopefully this will keep me going long enough that I can progress to the next level up. It's kind of like learning to type -- you can only get so fast when going out of a lesson book. It isn't till you start to actually "use" a keyboard for real stuff that your speed and technique start to improve. So I guess what I'm trying to say is let don't give up, but instead let go of focusing on an academic goal and instead focus on just having fun with what you've got so far.

#1108771 - 10/21/08 10:58 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
saerra Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 842
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Hey Shey -

I can relate. It's hard sometimes when, even putting in as much effort, focus, time, and energy as you can, you look around and see awesomeness that feels completely out of reach.

My teacher often reminds me that learning piano is one of the most complicated activities a human can do, and humbling.

I think the only way to keep going is to remind yourself -

- you'll never get there if you quit. And worse, if it's something that you really care about, you'll probably end up coming back anyway, feeling bad about the lost time from when you quit!

- The time is going to go by anyway. You can't stop the next 10 years. You might as well spend them learning to do something that you love.

- Everyone starts somewhere. Those people that you are seeing today, once upon a time, struggled through the same problems. We're on the same road, just... a bit further behind.

I also think it's important to enjoy the learning proces, in the moment. Are you working on pieces that make you happy, that you love? I think it's hard to keep going if you get to the point where practice is just a means to an end, to "someday" being "good enough". Instead, if you're able to enjoy where you are today... it can help.

Have you tried playing some just for fun pieces? Stuff you just love, but maybe isn't appropriate to your lessons? Or going back and playing some pretty music that you studied earlier? These things tend to help me when I'm down about the piano...

(Another thing I found fun - take a friend who likes music but doesn't play to a piano - either your own, or a store, and play for them. When I did this, even playing badly as a beginner, my friend was *amazed* because she couldn't do that at all. I then taught her "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and tried to get her to play - it amazed me how hard this was for her... this is not meant to put her down at all, but maybe give you a different frame of reference for your own playing!)

Good thoughts to you...

#1108772 - 10/22/08 01:36 AM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
grace_slick Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 13
Loc: Gold Coast, Australia
Shey! I hear you!

I have never had any piano lessons...I actually wish I was in YOUR position, of having 2 years of lessons instead of none, but I understand where you're coming from. It's all relative I think. Someone who's had 8 years of lessons may feel stunted and yet you could listen to them and wish you were as "stunted" as they are!

I just try and play creatively. I write my own songs and make music in my little home computer studio, and sometimes I actually begin to think maybe my complete lack of technical skill and knowledge isn't such an obstacle, if I can just use my ear and guess chords and create my own chords (they exist as "real" chords, but I don't know their names and it doesn't to me), but then I hear a REAL song and just feel crushed.

But I still go back and keep playing because I love it.

#1108773 - 10/22/08 10:19 AM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
loveschopintoomuch Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/05/06
Posts: 4692
Loc: Illinois
Shey: I so totally agree with Strat.

About 2 and one-half years ago, I returned to the piano after many decades. I discovered the Piano Forum at that time and was so motivated and inspired by the many people here that I just dug in my heels and practiced many hours a day, EVERYDAY! I couldn't believe the progress I made in that relatively short time. I was playing level 7 pieces after only a couple of months practice. I was floating on air and pretty proud of myself.

Then, last October, something happened to me that broke both my heart and my spirit.

From that time to this, my progress has been quite slow. I just don't have the same motivation I once did, and days go by without my practicing at all. I still love the piano and the music, but I no longer have that strong desire to succeed as I once did. I don't know if I will ever get it back.

Now I find I get so frustrated; I never did before. And I get angry and despondent and certainly lack the confidence I once had. Why? Because I DON'T PRACTICE AS I ONCE DID!![/b] That's it in a nutshell.

I have two college degrees and have taken classes in computer programing, but learning to play the piano is the most difficult task I have undertaken. It is just plain HARD! And it takes a lot of work (for most people) to make any progress.

So, as Strat says, you have to really commit yourself, fully and completely. All other pastimes have to come second. There is a huge difference between wanting to play the piano and wanting to LEARN to play the piano. It takes all the dedication that you have and then some.

I don't mean to discourage you but only seek to help you realize the truth of the matter.

My best,
After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." Oscar Wilde, 1891

#1108774 - 10/22/08 10:29 AM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
Wow Shey, you must be feeling really down, this is about the 5th post I've seen where you're so down on yourself.

I wouldn't worry what other people can and cannot do, if you really want to learn and play well you just have to keep practicing diligently everyday and reap the benefits as time goes on.

I agree with Kathleen on the difference between wanting to play and learning to play.

Everybody wants to play brilliantly but dwelling on how good others are and not you is not the way to reach the top of the ladder.

Have faith in yourself, disregard what others can do and just work at your own progression.
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster

#1108775 - 10/22/08 11:02 AM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
I have absolutely been there my friend. No matter how much we desire to play, sometimes we have to do some "mental" work or change our perception on things first. You wouldn't be given the desire to play piano if it were not possible for you to do so. You just have to get rid of your thoughts of inadequacy. Try to see the signifigance in all that you accomplish no matter how small it may seem.
What kept me from piano for many years was not lack of talent or my inability to play. It was because growing up I was always told nothing I did was good enough and I wouldnt amount to much etc. I didnt even realize I thought these things how engranged this belief was until I took a good hard look at myself and my life etc.
I recommend you check out this book: Jack Canfield's Key to Living the Law of Attraction: A Simple Guide to Creating the Life of Your Dreams by Jack Canfield and D.D. Watkins http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b_0_25...+living+the+law
It is inexpensive and a quick read. I have recommneded it to others who said it really helped them. Remember you wouldnt be her on this forum with us if you were not meant to play the piano. You will get there. You just have to go through the learning process. But if you focus on and enjoy the journey it might make it easier. Also, say to yourself what you would say to friend if they needed encouragement.
Keep us updated on how you are doing-OK...
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

#1108776 - 10/22/08 11:05 AM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
"several highly-accomplished
classical players playing the most difficult
selections, but their playing all sounded
the same"

that is why Tori Amos ended up "leaving" the peabody school.
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

#1108777 - 10/22/08 12:26 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
ArpeggioPaola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/08
Posts: 149
Loc: Midwest

I'm not sure I am "qualified" to answer you, in that I have been playing only since the beginning of August. But here's my take. Above was the following remark:

"I play piano because I want to. I usually play best and enjoy myself the most when I'm alone. Theres just something that a beautiful grand can do to fill a silent house with music."

Now, I have a rotten old spinet by a maker that nobody has ever heard of. But the rest of the comment rings true for me. And although I've been progressing really well, I love the way "Mysterious Procession" sounds, even though it is a rank beginner piece. It just moves me, even tho' I aspire to play Chopin (note "loveschopintoomuch" has a sig line quoting Oscar Wilde on Chopin, which I identify with).

Can you find one piece that you have played that you enjoy playing, and keep that as part of your repertoire, to be played for you, and not for anyone else? And just enjoy making the music? Enjoy it for what it IS, not wish it were something grander.

It does sound as though you might have a goal that is beyond playing for its own sake...

#1108778 - 10/22/08 10:06 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
"As is" is all we have at the present moment and we have to put a lot of effort to having gotten to this musical place we are in at the moment.

We created it and we earned it.

If we aspire for more, the path continues.

If we are happy for the moment, good, because we deserve being happy in our music.

Talk to yourself about your deeper values and what brings you joy - if music is any part of your joy, it is up to you to be on the path continuing the journey. We don't always know what the next step is, but we can be attentive to opportunity.

When we get sad, or bored, or lost we have to make some kind of a change in our inner life and our outer life that changes the balance from getting sadder, more bored, more lost to coming back to a middle place of acceptance and tolerance for who we are as people. Then the ascent to more pleasure and more endeavor and new optimism creates the potential for us that we are seeking.

Be careful of what you want, because with time and effort, you will get it! "It" can be "woe" or it's opposite "wow!"

You are what you think.

#1108779 - 10/22/08 10:33 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3729
Shey, everybody goes through this...I am not trying to diminish your pain, but it is human nature to look at ourselves and not see progress, and look at people who are better players than us and think that that person does not undergo struggle and difficulty.

I have a list that, at the appropriate time, I read/ask my students. It is what many people feel about their progress when it is not what they expect.

It goes something like this:

1. I am making very slow progress, much slower than everyone else.

2. Just about everybody is more talented than I.

3. The people who are good players are very talented, and do not have to work hard to play well.

4. etc, etc, etc.

Because we have tunnel vision as to our progress, we often think these thoughts, which, if acted upon, can derail us.

Here are a few thoughts:

Playing the piano well is a difficult thing to do. If it were easy, everybody would do it.

Your ability will increase as you work at it, but it will NOT increase in a linear fashion. What I mean by that is that, if you put a dollar in a jar every day, at the end of the week you have seven dollars.

But If you practice an hour each day, at the end of the week, you may not notice much. However, because the way the brain learns, you have learned something, and that will manifest as growth in its due time.

That is one reason why, for many people, growth often comes in spurts.

As long as you keep pressing on, you will become better. Stopping will not make you better, even though you may need to stop for a while to realize that, as a musician, you have to play.
The music has to come out.

Sorry that this is kind of rambling, but this is part of what I try to tell my students to encourage them when they come to the rocky parts of the journey.

We all (including me) have had those rocks, and will continue to pass over them from time to time.
Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.

#1108780 - 10/23/08 01:24 AM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
grace_slick Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 13
Loc: Gold Coast, Australia
I get stupidly discouraged because the music I want to be able to play is stuff like Jefferson Airplane and Fleetwood Mac...

In terms of the guitar (which I also wish I could play but it's just so difficult for me I've never even really tried. It kills my fingers so much and blatant physical pain puts me off), I'd want to play like Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac or Frank Zappa or George Harrison...but as if that's gonna ever happen, so I get discouraged and think why bother!?

#1108781 - 10/23/08 09:34 AM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Blackbird Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/08
Posts: 125
Loc: Cornwall UK
Hey, if you want to feel better about yourself you ought to listen to me attempting "What can I share" on page 42 \:\)

And if I want to remember how good I am, I let the dog have a go \:\)

#1108782 - 10/23/08 10:19 AM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Triryche Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1456
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I went thru several iterations of this with guitar, until I stopped comparing myself to others.

If it is any consolation, I have been playing piano for ~2.5 years, and at this point I have ZERO pieces in my repertoire (at ine point I had 1.5!!), and I haven’t even finished Alfred’s Level 1 book. But I still enjoy playing and look forward to practicing.

As much as I hate to say it, if it is really bringing down that much, maybe you should take a break and return with a fresh mind and a clean slate.

But it is obvious by all the replies, you have the support of many ABF’ers!!

Hang in the buddy!!

#1108783 - 10/23/08 11:05 AM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Donna R. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 794
Shey, try to have a repertoire piece that you enjoy and can consistently play well, something that makes you smile every time you play it just because you CAN play it. It doesn't matter how simple it is. My first one was a little elementary piece that was mostly HS. Now it's Dan Fox's arrangement of 'Octopus's Garden'. This time next year, who knows what it'll be? The point is to have something to play that gives you joy, that you can turn to for solace when you have a Greensleeves experience. We all have dreams about the pieces we'd like to be able to play. But if you let those dreams overshadow what you can do now, you'll just take all the pleasure out of something that surely, as adults, we're all doing primarily for the joy of it.

#1108784 - 10/23/08 03:03 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Donna R.
"if you let those dreams overshadow what you can do now, you'll just take all the pleasure out of something that surely, as adults, we're all doing primarily for the joy of it".

Nicely put. This is the second time I've read a reply that I wanted to print out for future inspiration. Thanks for sharing those wise words.

btw.. I noticed you are from Mass. I just got an email from M.Steinart and sons in Boston regarding a concert in Nov. You might want to check them out and get on their mailing list.
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

#1108785 - 10/23/08 03:49 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Can any one afford to feel lost, inadequate, and down in any endeavor? And, especially not accept it as a state of mind. Sometimes things can get the best of you, but to stay in that mindset? What possible advantage does it give you?

When your chin is on the ground, try walking that way!

If you really believe it, you are in trouble!

Puff up! Give yourself more credit where it's due! Look in the mirror when you're gloomy, bet you don't believe what you are seeing.

You are the resident of that body and face, it's your responsibility to treat yourself well! Get with the program!


#1108786 - 10/23/08 07:24 PM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Shey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 393
Loc: Greater Manchester, England
Hi all, yes your support is fantastic. I have been grumbling for some time now and have decided to stop and get on with it.

The thing is, you are all right and your advice is taken on board and understook.I

I do need to practise more often and for longer periods. I also need to stop critisising myself and just play.

Thanks all again, I have read every post and know you are supportive.

I am having a short break, and then re applying myself with enthusiasm and gusto.

Much appreciate your input.

Alfreds All In One Level 1 graduate and various other tutor sources
Alfreds Masterworks Classics Level 1-2
Fundamental Keys
Martha Mier Romantic Sketches
Piano For All
Adult returner

#1108787 - 10/24/08 06:18 AM Re: Feeling lost, inadequate and down.
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1569
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I suggest something quite different.

If possible, if your personality allows it, come to take a naive delight in your piano sound for its own sake. Like looking at a rose. Do not measure its petals or analyse its dimensions. Do not compare it to flowers grown by "experts". Create your own sounds and take primitive joy in them. Improvise freely from your imagination every day, however simple it might be to start with.

Discipline is valuable, indeed essential, but it is just a means to an end, not the end in itself. Your time at the instrument can be a dependable ecstasy if only you let it and keep your busy little conscious mind from continually interfering with negativity and comparisons, as conscious minds are prone to do. Conscious minds are good at keeping us safe in real life; that is their job. But music transports us from reality into a different state altogether and too much thinking is a hindrance.

It is actually extremely simple to do it but terribly hard to explain to somebody how to do it. The first step might be to start unconditionally enjoying your own sounds, whatever they are. Give yourself permission to start from freedom and work towards order, not the other way around.
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

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