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#1265000 - 09/09/09 02:06 AM Realistic Goals as adults/late starter
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I think everyone has a different take on just how far one can go in the classical reperitore... and I was wondering what is your opinion?

I personally think that through hard practice and dedication most of the difficult literature out there is within reach for most people. my high school teacher started piano in highschool like me, and he auditioned with Bach Invention and other pieces of that level for college. He practiced 4-5hrs a day and he was playing pieces like Chopin Etudes and Ravel's Jeaux d'aeu. I've also met many adults and late starters who went pretty far and they were playing pieces like Chopin Ballades.

I might have a different perspective than others.. I was a jazz piano major at school and every classical piano major were able to, and expected to play Chopin etudes or something more difficult by the time they finish school.. but I don't think most of the students were exceptionally talented. My impression is that, hard work above anything else was the key to their level of achievement.

So what can one(esp adult beginners) realistically achieve through practice? I don't think everyone is capable of playing rachmaninoff piano concerto or lizst's transcendental etudes, or pices by Soribaji, or play the revolutionary etudes at blazing tempo. But I also find it hard to believe that the etudes and other demanding pieces of that level is simply out of reach for most people with average talent.

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#1265004 - 09/09/09 02:14 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: etcetra]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
If you look at the piano as a race to play some uber-difficult repertoire, if you see it the same way you would look at training to run a four minute mile and only focus on that future end goal while ignoring the here and now of the process of learning the piano, then that might represent one of the biggest missed opportunities of your entire life.

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#1265007 - 09/09/09 02:17 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: etcetra]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I know some people learn slower than others. But assuming you have been practicing at least 2 hrs a day for 15yrs+and you have been practicing correctly with a teacher. I just can't see that person being stuck playing Chopin Waltz or Bach Inventions.

I started piano in high school, and I was learning Bach invention in my 1-2nd year. I think I was pretty much at where my teacher was by the time I finished high school. If I didn't change to jazz and pursued a classical piano degree, I think I would have been playing the same kinds of pieces my teacher was playing by the time I graduated college. And I don't think neither me or my teacher are exceptionally talented.

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#1265012 - 09/09/09 02:27 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: etcetra]
NocturneLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Dantooine
Oh of course, with enough practice and with a teacher, a determined person can play practically anything.

But the question is not whether they can play the piece, but what will they make out of it in terms of career? I know many of the old guys smile on these forums just want to be able to play the pieces and if they want to be a concert musician at age 60, I think that would be unrealistic unless they've already made a name for themselves.

However, for someone of my age, 22, my goal is to play at weddings, churches, funerals, and enter a competition. I will also enter a competition (first locally) and then nationally and then internationally with the aid of my teacher who has studied with many concert pianisits and is a very good teacher (Master's in piano performance). Hopefully, competing will get me more known, and give me an opportunity to study with the greats and perform in a concert or two. I realize the chances of this happening, even if I do have the talent and ability, is slim, but hey you never know. And I'd rather be on my deathbed saying I gave it a shot, instead of regretting like a coward.

And there is actually a guy named Thomas Yu, google him, who is a full time dentist and a concert pianist who has won a lot of competitions and is playing actively. So IMO a lot is possible, especially with an art like piano.


Edited by Thomas Lau (09/09/09 02:36 AM)
_________________________
"...music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." -Ludwig van Beethoven

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#1265013 - 09/09/09 02:28 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: etcetra]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
theJourney,

The reason I am posting this thread is because I recently talked to people who thought that demanding pieces like chopin etudes are reserved only for the few and the talented. And in my experience, that is just not the case.

Of course you don't want to get too caught up in what you could do in the future and focus on what you can do right now. But that's not the issue.

Thomas

I do agree that being a top-level concert pianist is nearly, if not totally impossible for a late starter. But I think most people are still capable of high level of proficiency on the instrument. Some late starters do actually are good enough to be a performing artist,even though they might not be considered "cream of the crop". So yea, good luck, and I hope you reach your goals!! I am kind of doing the same thing in jazz.

But from what I read, some people believe that adults simply are not capable of reaching a very high level of proficiency and should be content with playing less demanding pieces...so I was interested in people's opinion about what kind of proficiency adults are capable of.


Edited by etcetra (09/09/09 02:41 AM)

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#1265022 - 09/09/09 02:49 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: etcetra]
NocturneLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Dantooine
Originally Posted By: etcetra
theJourney,

The reason I am posting this thread is because I recently talked to people who thought that demanding pieces like chopin etudes are reserved only for the few and the talented. And in my experience, that is just not the case.

Of course you don't want to get too caught up in what you could do in the future and focus on what you can do right now. But that's not the issue.

Thomas

I do agree that being a top-level concert pianist is nearly, if not totally impossible for a late starter. But I think most people are still capable of high level of proficiency on the instrument. Some late starters do actually are good enough to be a performing artist,even though they might not be considered "cream of the crop". So yea, good luck, and I hope you reach your goals!! I am kind of doing the same thing in jazz.

But from what I read, some people believe that adults simply are not capable of reaching a very high level of proficiency and should be content with playing less demanding pieces...so I was interested in people's opinion about what kind of proficiency adults are capable of.


Thanks, good luck on your goals as well, if you have a plan and put in the hours, then we both should reach them. grin As for the Chopin etudes being played by talented pianists, where did you get that from? Everybody can at least pick up Etude op. 10 3 or the Revolutionary.

But here is an important insight: you have to at least have played at the window of age 5-11 to be very good, because it the brain and neural functions develop with piano. Just like chess, there was never and never will be a Grandmaster who started as an adult and there is a good reason for it. Most of the grandmasters started within that window of age 5-11 and stuck with it until their adulthood. The same with piano, and I started at age 7 so I would not know what it is like as an adult starting anew, but I still believe late adults can learn and master respectable pieces. Its just most of the concert artists, happen to be playing since age 5. smile
_________________________
"...music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." -Ludwig van Beethoven

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#1265041 - 09/09/09 04:43 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: etcetra]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: etcetra
theJourney,

The reason I am posting this thread is because I recently talked to people who thought that demanding pieces like chopin etudes are reserved only for the few and the talented. And in my experience, that is just not the case.

Of course you don't want to get too caught up in what you could do in the future and focus on what you can do right now. But that's not the issue.



Well, I believe that adults can go very far indeed on the piano. I also believe that what we call "talent" when listening to someone play is often a reflection of the invisibility of all the hard work that came before it. My belief is based on lots of evidence of those adults that I have observed playing and based on my own progress as an adult.

I have seen adults go from only having had a year of lessons twenty years ago to passing their ABRSM Grade 8 exams in less than five years. I have seen adults go back for their college music studies in their fifties having only a Grade 7 ABRSM playing level and obtain the equivalent of a BA in Piano Performance in just over four years. This includes playing Chopin Etudes, late Beethoven Sonatas, Bach WTC, etc.

My experience is also that adults who had some musical education as children have an incredible advantage in going fast in the first years of lessons over adults who must start absolutely from scratch.

To progress well, I have a found a number of factors to be important:
- having an excellent teacher who you see regularly for lessons and who understands what you want and is willing to tailor a program to get you there;
- patience with yourself and willingness to "pay your dues" to build a sold foundation rather than wanting to only take shortcuts;
- time, energy and concentration to practice at least two hours per day. three or four hours spread out over the day/evening would be better;
- great attention to how you practice including perhaps paying for a coach to work with you on one or more of your practice sessions per week;
- learning music theory and applying it to your work at the piano;
- immersing yourself in music: listen to good recordings, go to all the concerts you can, etc.

For me 3 hours per day is the sweet spot for making good progress. I also find that working on a wide variety of repertoire and exercises simultaneously boosts the speed of learning; there are synthesizing and integrative effects going on here.

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#1265054 - 09/09/09 05:46 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: theJourney]
NocturneLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Dantooine
Originally Posted By: theJourney


My experience is also that adults who had some musical education as children have an incredible advantage in going fast in the first years of lessons over adults who must start absolutely from scratch.

To progress well, I have a found a number of factors to be important:
- having an excellent teacher who you see regularly for lessons and who understands what you want and is willing to tailor a program to get you there;
- patience with yourself and willingness to "pay your dues" to build a sold foundation rather than wanting to only take shortcuts;
- time, energy and concentration to practice at least two hours per day. three or four hours spread out over the day/evening would be better;
- great attention to how you practice including perhaps paying for a coach to work with you on one or more of your practice sessions per week;
- learning music theory and applying it to your work at the piano;
- immersing yourself in music: listen to good recordings, go to all the concerts you can, etc.

For me 3 hours per day is the sweet spot for making good progress. I also find that working on a wide variety of repertoire and exercises simultaneously boosts the speed of learning; there are synthesizing and integrative effects going on here.


You hit it right on the nail with your points, Journey. And like your name, it is about the journey since everybody wants to master everything so fast. What's the rush? I learned and play Clair de Lune, Entertainer, and Chopin Op. 9 no. 2 over the summer and now I ask myself, "What the hell was I rushing for?" You've got your whole life ahead to enjoy the pieces so why rush.

So I see you practice 3 hours a day, and I used to do that but now I am just making it at least one hour a day. In 5 years time, with just 1 hour a day practice you can accomplish much and there is no need to rush, but of course 3 hours a day consistently in 5 years would be even better.

Also, I have a question for you TheJourney, if I want to enter competitions how should I prepare besides have an excellent teacher and practice habits. I mean, I'm going up against conservatory students so I find the competition atmosphere a little intimidating... I only ask because you bring up valid points and seem to know your stuff.

Thanks.
_________________________
"...music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." -Ludwig van Beethoven

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#1265079 - 09/09/09 07:46 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: NocturneLover]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
Hmmm, well. I"m an adult restarter. Had some lessons as a kid close to 50 years ago, got to Fur elise level though could not play it well, and have been back at it for a little over a year.

I've made some progress; the usual I suppose. Clair de lune, OP 9 no 2, currently working on some of the simpler Chopin nocturnes, which nonethless are quite challenging to me to play well.

Despite this progress, and at least two hours of practice a day, I can't imagine being able to play Revoltionary Etude with anything close to adequate speed and power. I'll let you know in three or four years if I've changed my mind :>)

It would be a nice surprise, but I'm skeptical.

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#1265086 - 09/09/09 08:00 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: etcetra]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: etcetra


The reason I am posting this thread is because I recently talked to people who thought that demanding pieces like chopin etudes are reserved only for the few and the talented. And in my experience, that is just not the case.


Actually, assuming you are referencing some responses I made to you in another thread, that's not what I said.

You said you were playing Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu with some difficulty and asked of posters thought you were ready to play a group of pieces. I pointed out that many of them(Waldstein Sonata, Jeau deux, Chopin Etudes Op.10 #1,4, Winter Wind) were way beyond the FI and the type of pieces pianists play in major competitions. These are pieces that IMO most pianists,myself included, never have the musical and technical skill to play at a high level. Anyone can study them of course, but to do justice to them I think requires a huge amount of talent and not just work.

I also have a different concept of what a student at a conservatory is like perhaps because I live in NYC and am thinking of students at Juilliard, Manhattan and Mannes and other top schools. Students at conservatories like these generally are able to perform very demanding pieces like the ones listed above at a reasonably high level before they step in the door. They don't audition with a Bach Invention.

I think the chances are good that your teacher, who was able to play the harder Chopin Etudes, Waldstein, etc. by the time he graduated music school, was not playing them at a level anywhere near what most of these students would reach by the time they graduated.

It really depends on what one means by "playing a piece". Going back to the easier FI, I think it's very difficult to play it with the technical control, speed and poetry shown by Yundi Li in this recording:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvm2ZsRv3C8



Edited by pianoloverus (09/09/09 09:17 AM)

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#1265119 - 09/09/09 09:03 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: pianoloverus]
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
Thanks for injecting some cold, hard reality, plv. I'd sell my soul to be able to play like Yundi Li. But not in this lifetime I'm afraid.

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#1265132 - 09/09/09 09:19 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: cardguy]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: cardguy
Thanks for injecting some cold, hard reality, plv. I'd sell my soul to be able to play like Yundi Li. But not in this lifetime I'm afraid.


Aha! You just gave me an idea for a new version of Damn Yankees especially for PW members!


Edited by pianoloverus (09/09/09 09:20 AM)

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#1265142 - 09/09/09 09:31 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: etcetra]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10749
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: etcetra
theJourney,

The reason I am posting this thread is because I recently talked to people who thought that demanding pieces like chopin etudes are reserved only for the few and the talented. And in my experience, that is just not the case.

Of course you don't want to get too caught up in what you could do in the future and focus on what you can do right now. But that's not the issue.

Thomas

I do agree that being a top-level concert pianist is nearly, if not totally impossible for a late starter. But I think most people are still capable of high level of proficiency on the instrument. Some late starters do actually are good enough to be a performing artist,even though they might not be considered "cream of the crop". So yea, good luck, and I hope you reach your goals!! I am kind of doing the same thing in jazz.

But from what I read, some people believe that adults simply are not capable of reaching a very high level of proficiency and should be content with playing less demanding pieces...so I was interested in people's opinion about what kind of proficiency adults are capable of.

I got a call yesterday from a prospective student. The name of my business, since I teach piano and voice, is somewhat vague, but I have a tag line that says just as much. Anyways, this woman calls and asks what instruments I teach, and when I told her she said, "Oh, nothing like guitar or violin?" I told her that I had a degree in both voice and piano and those were my only two instruments. She then proceeded to tell me that she would like to take lessons, in something, maybe piano, maybe voice, and wanted to have a career in music and possibly teach (she was in her 30s).

After collecting my jaw off the floor, I proceeded to tell her that while anything is possible, not everyone is cut out for a professional life as a musician. It takes a certain personality to be able to be competitive and face rejection. It also takes a great deal of ability, and considering that she is starting late, she will be competing with people who have been doing this forever.

While I'm not one to be discouraging, I do see the above scenario many times by people who simply like the idea of teaching or performing, but have no idea what it takes to get there. Perhaps they think it would be easy (it never is) and fun (the fun part comes after all the hard work on a piece). For this woman, someone who had never played an instrument or sang, and really didn't have any idea what instrument she really wanted to learn, it seems unrealistic.

Can an adult make it? Of course! Late start or no, they should be able to make a career out of it to one degree or another. It may not be the glamorous lifestyle that some seem to think it would be - playing for weddings, funerals, accompanying high school contests, etc. - but it certainly is doable at any age if the commitment is there. And, I know some will disagree, but I think there has to be some talent here as well. Some genetic affinity for playing piano, for being able to make that brain-finger connection so that playing can be done at a fast tempo.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1265144 - 09/09/09 09:34 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: theJourney]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10749
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: theJourney

To progress well, I have a found a number of factors to be important:
- having an excellent teacher who you see regularly for lessons and who understands what you want and is willing to tailor a program to get you there;
- patience with yourself and willingness to "pay your dues" to build a sold foundation rather than wanting to only take shortcuts;
- time, energy and concentration to practice at least two hours per day. three or four hours spread out over the day/evening would be better;
- great attention to how you practice including perhaps paying for a coach to work with you on one or more of your practice sessions per week;
- learning music theory and applying it to your work at the piano;
- immersing yourself in music: listen to good recordings, go to all the concerts you can, etc.

thumb This is excellent advice for a student at any age. Thanks!
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1265152 - 09/09/09 09:44 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: NocturneLover]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
The answers really do depend on what performance standard one hopes or expects to achieve and with which one is satisfied.

Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
[W]ith enough practice and with a teacher, a determined person can play practically anything.

I don't think so, even if one's standard is low. Talent is part of the equation, too.

Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
As for the Chopin etudes being played by talented pianists, where did you get that from? Everybody can at least pick up Etude op. 10 3 or the Revolutionary.

No, "everybody" cannot. It would be far more accurate, in my opinion, to say that many pianists should be able to learn some Chopin etudes. I'm astounded at how often I see the difficulty of 10/3 in particular minimized. Even if the outer sections are found technically easy, the "B" section is vastly more challenging.

Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
But here is an important insight: you have to at least have played at the window of age 5-11 to be very good, because it the brain and neural functions develop with piano. Just like chess, there was never and never will be a Grandmaster who started as an adult and there is a good reason for it. Most of the grandmasters started within that window of age 5-11 and stuck with it until their adulthood. The same with piano, and I started at age 7 so I would not know what it is like as an adult starting anew, but I still believe late adults can learn and master respectable pieces. Its just most of the concert artists, happen to be playing since age 5. smile

That's an interesting observation, and I wonder if it's based on actual data or could be verified by research. If so, it would suggest parallels between development of musical ability and language acquisition.

I completely agree that "late [starting] adults can learn and master respectable pieces," but that's a far more modest claim than the ones made earlier.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1265175 - 09/09/09 10:16 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: sotto voce]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
pianoloverus,

I just wanted to tell you that my observation is not based solely on what you said early, but from other similar remarks I read on different threads. And I wasn't asking whether i was 'ready' to play those pieces I mentioned. I was only asking just how much more difficult those pieces are compared to FI.. I do remember saying that I don't even plan on trying them for at least 2-3years.

I think my goal, and for many of the adults is not really to perform them at a concert pianist level, but well enough for personal enjoyment at a reasonable tempo.. I don't think my teacher played well enough to enter major competition, but he was able to play it fairly well

btw I do have a friend who went to Manhattan for grad school with scholarship, and she doesn't consider her self good enough to proffessional level too.

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#1265185 - 09/09/09 10:33 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: sotto voce]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10749
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
The answers really do depend on what performance standard one hopes or expects to achieve and with which one is satisfied.

Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
[W]ith enough practice and with a teacher, a determined person can play practically anything.

I don't think so, even if one's standard is low. Talent is part of the equation, too.

Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
As for the Chopin etudes being played by talented pianists, where did you get that from? Everybody can at least pick up Etude op. 10 3 or the Revolutionary.

No, "everybody" cannot. It would be far more accurate, in my opinion, to say that many pianists should be able to learn some Chopin etudes. I'm astounded at how often I see the difficulty of 10/3 in particular minimized. Even if the outer sections are found technically easy, the "B" section is vastly more challenging.

Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
But here is an important insight: you have to at least have played at the window of age 5-11 to be very good, because it the brain and neural functions develop with piano. Just like chess, there was never and never will be a Grandmaster who started as an adult and there is a good reason for it. Most of the grandmasters started within that window of age 5-11 and stuck with it until their adulthood. The same with piano, and I started at age 7 so I would not know what it is like as an adult starting anew, but I still believe late adults can learn and master respectable pieces. Its just most of the concert artists, happen to be playing since age 5. smile

That's an interesting observation, and I wonder if it's based on actual data or could be verified by research. If so, it would suggest parallels between development of musical ability and language acquisition.

I completely agree that "late [starting] adults can learn and master respectable pieces," but that's a far more modest claim than the ones made earlier.

Steven


I agree with the talent equation as well. Not everyone can play the Revolutionary. I have a few adult students that I would never expect them to get tho this level of playing, although they do have a desire to play. It's just not going to be possible. Of course, I still work with them on improving and doing the best they can, and I would never tell them something is impossible. I can always be wrong, and in this case, I would gladly be proven wrong, but for now it doens't seem like that would ever happen.

As far as the window from 5-11, I'm not sure that it is, or just before the age of 12. As with all developmental stages, it can be slightly different for each individual. However, it is documented that any language skills learned prior to the age of 12 are more likely to be "second nature". When referring to spoken languages, for example, if it is learned prior to this age, there is less of a chance of having a foreign accent when speaking and second language. Music is conceived in the same parts of the brain where spoken language is, and so there is evidence to suggest that if music is learned prior to the cut-off, it would be easier for the student to pick up and retain musical concepts.

I personally have witnessed that if a student had any musical experience in this area as a child, they are more inclined to do well as an adult learner, even if they hadn't done it since then. Adult students that do not really move at a slower pace and are less likely to obtain higher levels of playing.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1265219 - 09/09/09 11:15 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: etcetra]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: etcetra
pianoloverus,

I think my goal, and for many of the adults is not really to perform them at a concert pianist level, but well enough for personal enjoyment at a reasonable tempo.. I don't think my teacher played well enough to enter major competition, but he was able to play it fairly well
This is a more reasonable goal, but you may find the hardest of the pieces you mentioned are not doable at even a reasonable(slower than correct) tempo and at a less than concert pianists level. My personal preference it to study pieces that I think I can perform at a reasonably high level, but that's just me. Why try the Winter Wind if there are many other Etudes that are easier for most people? Why play the Waldstein when probably more than two-thirds of the Beethoven Sonatas are easier?

Originally Posted By: etcetra
btw I do have a friend who went to Manhattan for grad school with scholarship, and she doesn't consider her self good enough to proffessional level too.


Well that depends on what she means by professional. If she got into a top school like Manhattan at the graduate level, my opinion is that she plays at a professional level. Maybe she was thinking in terms of being able to make a living just from performing or comparing herself to a world class pianist.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/09/09 11:21 AM)

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#1265247 - 09/09/09 12:06 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: pianoloverus]
Susan K. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/03/09
Posts: 192
Loc: Central California
Quote:
But assuming you have been practicing at least 2 hrs a day for 15yrs+and you have been practicing correctly with a teacher. I just can't see that person being stuck playing Chopin Waltz or Bach Inventions.


There's so many definitions of "adult" here and the perspectives seem to split at the above age 40 crowd and the below 30 crowd (I don't know where the 30's are). Speaking from the 40+ side, I don't see being "stuck playing Chopin Waltz or Bach Inventions," as a terrible fate. There are several LIFETIMES of piano literature by many, many composers to play. Chopin's FI is something for me to admire, not a benchmark for me to try to achieve or even want to achieve.

PLUS, no one has previously mentioned reincarnation. Honestly, don't you think that some of these folks are reincarnations of the original composers who just weren't done doing what they wanted to do? A lot of them died really young and I'd think Chopin would jump at the chance to be Yundi Li. And if reincarnation is too far out, how about some lifelong channeling? Something to explain the little extra "something" that makes these folks extraordinary.

There's this young lady in Southern California who at age 8 or 9 was being touted as the closest abstract artist to Picasso ever. When the Today show interviewed her, she said very matter-of-factly. "I started with crayon at two and then it took me a while to be able to hold the brush, but once I got that, watercolors and oils weren't a problem so by four, I could pretty much create what I want." She also had parents that recognized her talent and did everything to support it.

My case for artistic reincarnation.

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#1265252 - 09/09/09 12:16 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: pianoloverus]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: cardguy
Thanks for injecting some cold, hard reality, plv. I'd sell my soul to be able to play like Yundi Li. But not in this lifetime I'm afraid.


Aha! You just gave me an idea for a new version of Damn Yankees especially for PW members!

I hope "You Gotta Have Heart" will still be included:

You gotta have heart
Miles and miles and miles of heart
It's fine to be a genius, of course,
But keep that old horse before the cart!
First you gotta have heart!


I love Damn Yankees. Isn't it a shame that the team of Adler and Ross was only able to produce two hit Broadway musicals before Jerry Ross's untimely death at the age of 29?

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1265387 - 09/09/09 03:31 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: NocturneLover]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau

And there is actually a guy named Thomas Yu, google him, who is a full time dentist and a concert pianist who has won a lot of competitions and is playing actively. So IMO a lot is possible, especially with an art like piano.


I agree everthing is possible. But using Thomas Yu as your example may not be a good idea. Thomas Yu or Christopher Shih is a superman. These two are not only smart at their regular school, but also very good in piano. They are basically not a NORMAL human being. By the way both of them went to a very intense piano training, they did no start at old age. Thomas graduated from a big conservatory in Canada, and Chris went to Curtis.

To the original PO, if you are not young anymore, you should play piano seriously but keep in mind your limitation too. Push yourself upto what you physically and mentally can handle but don't push yourself to an unreasonable level.

Ron

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#1265394 - 09/09/09 03:37 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: sotto voce]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
There are so many factors that goes into it that I can't really say its one way or the other. One thing I noticed about really good piano students in my school was that they started playing piano very early in their lives. So it seems like it's not so much raw talent per se.. a they've been blessed with a very fortunate musical upbringing.

But I've also met so many people who were able to surpass expectations of what they could possibly achieve. I think it's pretty amazing that my teacher was able to play those college level pieces after 6-7yrs of study, and I've met good number of people who were able to do the same. I even hear about people starting in their 30-40s who are able to play very demanding pieces too. Of course it could be that they were talented and the didn't know about it.

I also have a reason to believe that people are capable of high level achievements, because I've made tremendous amount of progress in other areas of music that I didn't think was possible before. I am a jazz pianist, and I've posted my transcriptions here. And when I talk to people, they are amazed at what I am able to transcribe, and they usually assume that I started doing music early or that I have some insane talent. But that is not the case at all, I acquired that ability over time through lots of practice.

Of course, your aural skills and technical facility are two different things, and maybe I have a natural gift for hearing, but if I did, I showed very little sign of that early on.

I guess I don't really have a desire to master Ravel's Jeau d'eau or the winter wind etude , because I am focused mainly on jazz and that takes up a lot of my time. But I do want to learn as much of it as possible for my personal growth.. but I guess it would be more about fullfilling my intellectual curiosity and applying that knowledge to what I do in jazz, rather than about delivering a concert-level performance. And it's a lifetime goal so I am not in a rush to learn them.

But then again, the level of classical training varies quite a bit between jazz pianits. Some of them are able to play the most demanding pieces competently, but some of the teachers I had are probably not able to play the chopin etudes well enough to pass a college recital.. but they are still wonderful players.


Edited by etcetra (09/09/09 03:39 PM)

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#1265399 - 09/09/09 03:46 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: sotto voce]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
The answers really do depend on what performance standard one hopes or expects to achieve and with which one is satisfied.

Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
[W]ith enough practice and with a teacher, a determined person can play practically anything.

I don't think so, even if one's standard is low. Talent is part of the equation, too.

Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
As for the Chopin etudes being played by talented pianists, where did you get that from? Everybody can at least pick up Etude op. 10 3 or the Revolutionary.

No, "everybody" cannot. It would be far more accurate, in my opinion, to say that many pianists should be able to learn some Chopin etudes. I'm astounded at how often I see the difficulty of 10/3 in particular minimized. Even if the outer sections are found technically easy, the "B" section is vastly more challenging.

Steven


I agree with Steve. Talent is one important variable in the equation.

Thomas Lau, I wish your encouragement were real. I do not see myself will be able to play 10/3 or 10/12 well enough in this life. Do you know how difficult those two are? Especially the 10/12.


Edited by RonaldSteinway (09/09/09 03:47 PM)

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#1265447 - 09/09/09 06:13 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: RonaldSteinway]
NocturneLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Dantooine
Hey sottovoce,

You are analyzing my posts as if it were an academic journal, when my thoughts are indeed spurious, but based on facts and objective perceptions.

RonaldSteinway,

Yes Thomas Yu is like a beast, and I guess he did study at a big conservatory. Sigh, wish I had to opportunity when I was younger, oh well. He's also won major competitions and methinks guys like him are one in a million, or at least had a good family, advantages early in the life that he has taken full advantage of.
_________________________
"...music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." -Ludwig van Beethoven

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#1265502 - 09/09/09 07:56 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: NocturneLover]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
Hey sottovoce,

You are analyzing my posts as if it were an academic journal, when my thoughts are indeed spurious, but based on facts and objective perceptions.

It's not possible for something simultaneously to be spurious and based on facts and objective perceptions.

I'm sorry if you object to commentary and discussion about what you posted, but that's the nature of a discussion forum. Statements are inevitably challenged, and those who participate should expect to stand behind their words and opinions. You haven't been singled out or held to a different standard from anyone else, and there's no reason to single me out for criticism for doing what everyone does. That's why we have a "Quote" function!

One of our own moderators observed several months ago that "posts around here tend to get parsed with a fairly sharp blade." I don't think that's a bad thing; it keeps us honest—all of us. smile

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1265638 - 09/09/09 11:56 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: NocturneLover]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
[...] when my thoughts are indeed spurious, but based on facts and objective perceptions.

[...]


_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1265657 - 09/10/09 12:46 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Horowitzian]
trillingadventurer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 304
Loc: San Diego
Am I the only pianist who finds Bach Inventions and Chopin Waltzes challenging?!?!?


Edited by trillingadventurer (09/10/09 12:46 AM)
_________________________
M. Katchur

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#1265664 - 09/10/09 01:05 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Horowitzian]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
[...] when my thoughts are indeed spurious, but based on facts and objective perceptions.

[...]




"You keep using that word...I do not think it means what you think it means"
-The Princess Bride
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

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

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#1265686 - 09/10/09 02:04 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: ProdigalPianist]
NocturneLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Dantooine
oh yes I used the word spurious, but I meant to use another word. Again, in an internet forum one doesn't tend to revise their words as posts are generally not graded/reviewed/parsed as it is in these forums.
_________________________
"...music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." -Ludwig van Beethoven

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#1265687 - 09/10/09 02:07 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: NocturneLover]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Yeah, I'm sure you did. If you can't stomach it, maybe you ought to go over to Piano Street. smile
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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