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#1307204 - 11/17/09 12:54 PM My teacher's piano feel so different from my own
T'sMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 227
I had a lesson today, actually only my second one since resuming piano after a few decades. My piano is a Baldwin spinet. His is a Steinway grand. I really prepared and I wasn't that nervous, but still found his piano much more difficult to play. I made a LOT more mistakes than at home. The action on mine is much lighter. OK, so I have to press harder on his keys. But I swear it seems like his keys are wider or spaced farther apart. Is that possible? And the music rest is higher which changes the direction of where I am looking (is this part just an excuse?). Anyone know what I'm talking about?

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#1307216 - 11/17/09 01:13 PM Re: My teacher's piano feel so different from my own [Re: T'sMom]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5291
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Absolutely know what you're talking about, as do others - there's usually a couple of threads in the works here that talk about it. My piano is old and it, too, has very light action. I can remember when the grand at the place the band practices felt really stiff. Then I got Casio fully-weighted keyboard with a much stiffer action, and now the grand feels normal.

It will come, with time you'll be more used to it. Are there others pianos you can play sometimes, even for just a little while at a time? One at church? In the foyer of the golf club? A piano store that you can visit and maybe play a little of a piece on several different pianos? At least that would get the "habit" part of your brain used to the fact that there's other pianos out there!

The music desk is also definitely a difference to get used to. I read once that when you memorize a piece of music you memorize all the surroundings in which you are playing - the color of the piano, where the lamp sits, the placement of the music desk - all of it. So, yes, you're right about that. The good news is that having enough awareness that you understood what was happening means, I think, good news for your piano playing - awareness while you're practicing and performing and taking lessons has got to be a + for the process! I think you'll get used to these differences, too.

I have heard that there is some variation in the width of piano keys, but don't know enough to comment. But the key weight and the music desk, you're right on.

Cathy
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#1307233 - 11/17/09 01:37 PM Re: My teacher's piano feel so different from my own [Re: jotur]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8083
Loc: Georgia, USA
I’m by no means a highly skilled player, but I do enjoy trying. This past Sunday I played a couple of special songs for our song service and experienced exactly what you are talking about, except vice-versa.

My Tokai G180 grand piano (5’10”) has a medium heavy touch and a very nice feel. I love the action on my piano. Our Church has a 1970’s era 45” Baldwin studio upright with a touch so light you could almost breathe on the keys and it will play the note. Plus, the key-dip is shallow on the Baldwin. I much prefer my piano’s touch, and the difference was so palpable my playing this past Sunday was not on par for me. And, I’m not one to look for excuses for a poor performance (although I think I just did grin).

So, yes, the differences in the key-touch on different pianos can make a big difference in our performance, for better or worse.

By-the-way, this past Sunday I performed a new Southern-Gospel style song that I wrote; I’ll try to record it soon and upload it on to YT and post it on the piano bar.

Best regards,

Rick


Edited by Rickster (11/17/09 01:39 PM)
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Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1307323 - 11/17/09 04:55 PM Re: My teacher's piano feel so different from my own [Re: Rickster]
Argerich5405 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/28/09
Posts: 172
I know EXACTLY what you mean...hahaha. I used to practice on a digital piano with a rather light action, although the keys were weighted. I could never adjust to the piano my teacher had in the studio and my playing was just atrocious. But recently, I just purchased a grand piano...and let me tell you....now the action on the piano in the studio and at home are so much more in synch. I also seem to have more problems reading music in the studio too because the music rest sits much higher than where I normally have mine...but I guess I'll get used to it hopefully! It's normal...for beginners like us anyway (i'm told).

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#1307356 - 11/17/09 05:43 PM Re: My teacher's piano feel so different from my own [Re: Argerich5405]
T'sMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 227
Thank you for the comments!
What I really need is to go practice on his piano, but that would be quite weird so of course won't happen. I have a friend with a Steinway upright, maybe I can try that one. Her action is fairly light too, from the few times I've pressed a key or two.
I suppose I can dream of buying my own Steinway some day.

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#1307362 - 11/17/09 05:49 PM Re: My teacher's piano feel so different from my own [Re: T'sMom]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1190
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: J&Smom
And the music rest is higher which changes the direction of where I am looking (is this part just an excuse?). Anyone know what I'm talking about?


Oh my gosh. And all this time I thought it was just me being crazy! When I started lessons, I was playing on a digital at home and an acoustic grand at lessons. Yeah, the feel of the keys was different and hard to get used to, but far worse was the difference in height of the music desk. I was so used to at home looking down on my music and being able to see my hands and the music at the same time. I mentioned this to my teacher, but I don't think he understood what bothered me about it so much.

Anyway, I replaced my digital with an acoustic upright, so now there's a better match between the music height. So now the thing that throws me off at lessons is that I can actually see the hammers moving up and down in the grand, and it's really distracting. Yeah, I know -- more excuses! laugh
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Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
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#1307363 - 11/17/09 05:51 PM Re: My teacher's piano feel so different from my own [Re: T'sMom]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5836
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: J&Smom
And the music rest is higher which changes the direction of where I am looking (is this part just an excuse?). Anyone know what I'm talking about?
I sure do. The difference in the piano action is just one of those things we all have to get used to if we're going to be playing other pianos than our own. The more experience you have the easier this will be.

The music stand height in some ways is more of an issue, I think, partly because it also is related to vision/glasses issues. One of my adult students found he couldn't use his normal piano glasses at his lesson on my grand because the music was that bit higher than his upright (which would be higher again than your spinet). I rigged up a system which involved a recipe book stand and assorted bits of felt and cardboard smile and succeeded in bringing down the music by about 4cm, enough to solve his problem. Then I found another of my adult students appreciated it too.

Maybe you could try propping your music a little higher on your spinet so that the change is not so drastic.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1307472 - 11/17/09 09:44 PM Re: My teacher's piano feel so different from my own [Re: currawong]
T'sMom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 227
Honestly, it would help if there were more light at lessons. At home I have a music lamp shining down right on the music. I am at that age where I don't quite need bifocals but things don't snap into focus immediately. I have distance glasses but take them off for piano and don't normally wear them for reading. Actually, it was better today but at the first lesson I felt I really couldn't see the music as well as I should. I started writing larger when I "annotate" (e.g. write in finger numbers or notes to myself like "get off the pedal".)

My teacher gave me a strange look when I mentioned this music stand issue, so it's nice to hear others have thought about it!

ETA: actually, today he told me to practice playing without looking at the keys at all.


Edited by J&Smom (11/17/09 09:47 PM)

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#1307481 - 11/17/09 09:53 PM Re: My teacher's piano feel so different from my own [Re: T'sMom]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5836
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: J&Smom
Honestly, it would help if there were more light at lessons. At home I have a music lamp shining down right on the music. I am at that age where I don't quite need bifocals but things don't snap into focus immediately. I have distance glasses but take them off for piano and don't normally wear them for reading. Actually, it was better today but at the first lesson I felt I really couldn't see the music as well as I should. I started writing larger when I "annotate" (e.g. write in finger numbers or notes to myself like "get off the pedal".)

My teacher gave me a strange look when I mentioned this music stand issue, so it's nice to hear others have thought about it!
My guess is that he's sorted this vision issue out for himself so well he doesn't even remember it being an issue, OR he's young eek
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1307521 - 11/17/09 11:15 PM Re: My teacher's piano feel so different from my own [Re: currawong]
Seabelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 123
Loc: Melbourne
Ah, I can relate to this all too well. Additionally, though, my teacher's black keys are narrower than mine, so all my carefully prepared scales don't seem so carefully prepared after all once I'm there. I'm not looking forward to playing my F# arpeggios this evening.
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