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#1564777 - 11/26/10 07:44 PM Are we ever too old?
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4748
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I am becoming more and more aware of how poor my early piano teachers really were. I'm usually not someone who dwells on the past but lately I've been feeling deep regret for paths not taken because of opportunitites I did not know about. I seem to have had a line of teachers who selfishly kept me as a student because my enthusiasm made me fun to work with. They all should have passed me on to the next level.

I was recently told (at an audition) that I should have been a performance major in college. Sigh. I'm determined to make up for lost time but at the ripening ago of (almost) 60, I find that people see a white head and assume all doors are closed.

We'll see about that!

_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1564778 - 11/26/10 07:46 PM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6052
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: gooddog

I was recently told (at an audition) that I should have been a performance major in college. Sigh. I'm determined to make up for lost time but at the ripening ago of (almost) 60, I find that people see a white head and assume all doors are closed.

We'll see about that!



There's always hair dye. smile
_________________________
Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

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#1564780 - 11/26/10 07:48 PM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: Damon]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4748
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: Damon
There's always hair dye. smile
I'm allergic to it! And besides, every white hair was earned.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

Top
#1564785 - 11/26/10 07:57 PM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1048
Someone once told me when I was auditioning (I'd already been out of college for 10 years when I went back for music) that I was too old to learn, and that if I had been 18 they would have seen potential and taken me. That was a blow to my confidence, and I've been fighting against that thought ever since. If I do believe those thoughts, they will impact my potential and give the doors a much greater chance of being closed. I am DETERMINED to succeed, and will continue sticking my head in the sand to ignore those thoughts until I do!

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#1564871 - 11/26/10 11:32 PM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: Arghhh]
Rui725 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 953
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Someone once told me when I was auditioning (I'd already been out of college for 10 years when I went back for music) that I was too old to learn, and that if I had been 18 they would have seen potential and taken me. That was a blow to my confidence, and I've been fighting against that thought ever since. If I do believe those thoughts, they will impact my potential and give the doors a much greater chance of being closed. I am DETERMINED to succeed, and will continue sticking my head in the sand to ignore those thoughts until I do!


Which program is this, I'm curious. Schools have "extension diploma programs" for people with a degree and want a conservatoire experience. Perhaps you were auditioning for a place geared towards young undergrads?

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#1564909 - 11/27/10 01:05 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: Damon]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17804
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: gooddog

I was recently told (at an audition) that I should have been a performance major in college. Sigh. I'm determined to make up for lost time but at the ripening ago of (almost) 60, I find that people see a white head and assume all doors are closed.

We'll see about that!



There's always hair dye. smile


No way! Her stunning silver-white hair is part of her vibrant persona!

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#1564929 - 11/27/10 01:42 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
itsfreakingmeout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 706
Loc: Manassas, Virginia
never.
_________________________
Yeah I've got a Cristofori and love it. What.

if you're thinking about going into that house, don't.

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#1564953 - 11/27/10 03:23 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]
motif Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/10
Posts: 215
Originally Posted By: itsfreakingmeout
never.


and ever.

thumb

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#1564968 - 11/27/10 04:38 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
It would be foolish to say to every person in every situation "Go for it, you can do it", because sometimes it just isn't true. There are things in the world that you simply can't do. For example, I'm sorry to break this to you, but it's too late for you to become a child prodigy. And I think pro basketball is out as well. smile

But there are many many more things that you probably could do, that you've just never tried. smile

Never forget that you're talking about music. When a brain surgeon makes a major error, the patient dies. When a musician makes a major error, the audience may wonder what happened... or they may not. Big difference. smile
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1564973 - 11/27/10 04:53 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
chopin_r_us Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 845
Loc: UK
That's a bit negative Dave. Yes, you'll never play the big works but life's too short for all that. You can be a contender on the other stuff though - as good as it gets.

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#1564986 - 11/27/10 05:26 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: chopin_r_us]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: chopin_r_us
That's a bit negative Dave. Yes, you'll never play the big works but life's too short for all that. You can be a contender on the other stuff though - as good as it gets.
If your goal, whether at 18 or at 60, is to be a performance major in college, then you are talking about playing the big works.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1564992 - 11/27/10 05:41 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: david_a]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: david_a
Originally Posted By: chopin_r_us
That's a bit negative Dave. Yes, you'll never play the big works but life's too short for all that. You can be a contender on the other stuff though - as good as it gets.
If your goal, whether at 18 or at 60, is to be a performance major in college, then you are talking about playing the big works.


That's true. Most have no idea what it takes to be a performance major.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1565006 - 11/27/10 06:19 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
chopin_r_us Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 845
Loc: UK
For once (not that I've had much opportunity) I agree. Though doing performance at college is a substantially lesser challenge than in the real world.


Edited by chopin_r_us (11/27/10 06:22 AM)

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#1565050 - 11/27/10 09:06 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
GaryOak Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 14
Loc: North
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I am becoming more and more aware of how poor my early piano teachers really were. I'm usually not someone who dwells on the past but lately I've been feeling deep regret for paths not taken because of opportunitites I did not know about. I seem to have had a line of teachers who selfishly kept me as a student because my enthusiasm made me fun to work with. They all should have passed me on to the next level.


I've kinda been there too. I actually started playing somewhere around 6 years old. When I was 8-9 my mother suggested to me that I should go to music school. I said that I didn't want to 'cause I didn't like classical music or piano teachers. I just continued playing on my own and didn't improve that much. And eventually I nearly stopped playing around 13-14. Then I got motivation to play at age of 17. Now I'm 20 and during these 3 years I've regretted it so much that I didn't go to music school when my mom suggested it. And when I think of going there now, I just feel so old that I can't.

Fortunately my technique has improved during this year and I've got my confidence back a little thanks to that. But I must say that starting playing again has been my greatest joy these last years but also my greatest curse. That little thing saying in my head: "I could be a lot better than this if I just had listened to my mom back then".

So what's the lesson of this story? LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHERS!

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#1565052 - 11/27/10 09:14 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5192
Loc: Europe
Regrets? Life is full of them, even for me at the age of 33 (with silver hair non the less... :D).

Deborah is going the greatly right way to challenge herself. It's the trip that counts eventually! So, yeah I say, GO FOR IT! Full speed! There's nothing to lose!
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1565058 - 11/27/10 09:27 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
DameMyra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1940
Loc: South Jersey
Hi Deborah,

Try not to dwell on the past too much. I am a sophomore in college at almost 59. I didn't even start taking lessons until I was almost 14 and had dreams of pursuing a performance degree. But that didn't happen and I ended up not touching a piano for a very long time (30+ years!). I am always playing catch-up and it takes me forever learning pieces becasue I'm also trying at the same time to learn the technique involved. And memorization? It seems to take forever. Right now I am a B.A. candidate in music. I could switch to a B.M. in performance, but I really don't want to put myself under the pressure of a Junior and Senior recital. And I simply don't have the 6-7 hours of practice time available like all the younger performance majors. But everyone in the music department is so supportive of me, especially my teacher. And I do play some bigger pieces. Will I ever play Gaspard? Probably not. But that's okay. I'm finally doing the thing I really love...making music.

Sharon
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher
MTNA/NJMTA/SJMTA

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#1565068 - 11/27/10 09:46 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19202
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I was recently told (at an audition) that I should have been a performance major in college. Sigh. I'm determined to make up for lost time but at the ripening ago of (almost) 60, I find that people see a white head and assume all doors are closed.
Does this mean you intend to become a performance major at college or just apply yourself more assiduously to practicing now that you have a more knowledgable teacher?

Although compliments are nice at an audition, I don't really see how someone could judge your what ability was 40+ years ago with the degree of accuracy to be able to say what could have been done that long ago. If you were good enough to be a performance major at 18, wouldn't you be much better than that at this point?


Edited by pianoloverus (11/27/10 09:48 AM)

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#1565076 - 11/27/10 10:04 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
Gerard12 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 757
Loc: South Carolina
Go for a performance degree as long as you are sure you'll have the time to dedicate towards practice.

Don't rule out playing the 'big works.' Even if you can't get some of them up to performance level, the reward of discovering things in those pieces for yourself - not to mention that at some point, you might end up teaching advanced students - is really gratifying.


Edited by Gerard12 (11/27/10 10:06 AM)
_________________________
Piano performance and instruction (former college music professor).

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#1565078 - 11/27/10 10:09 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: Rui725]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1048
Originally Posted By: Rui725
Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Someone once told me when I was auditioning (I'd already been out of college for 10 years when I went back for music) that I was too old to learn, and that if I had been 18 they would have seen potential and taken me. That was a blow to my confidence, and I've been fighting against that thought ever since. If I do believe those thoughts, they will impact my potential and give the doors a much greater chance of being closed. I am DETERMINED to succeed, and will continue sticking my head in the sand to ignore those thoughts until I do!


Which program is this, I'm curious. Schools have "extension diploma programs" for people with a degree and want a conservatoire experience. Perhaps you were auditioning for a place geared towards young undergrads?


This was for a B.A./B.M. degree at a local state university. To be fair, I did reaudition a few months later, and they took me on the second audition, but unfortunately the words still stuck. There is some truth in them - the brain becomes less capable of learning new things quickly after the teen years. But, I'm thinking that if I am smarter about my practicing, I can reduce some of that handicap.

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#1565090 - 11/27/10 10:27 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Not to be mean, but you are going at it the wrong way. For starters, you need to get out of "I had bad teachers" mode. A teacher is a mere guide, you are doing the walking. Then you need to identify your goal, precisely and beyond the am I too old/feel good reaction/counter-reaction mantra back and forth..
Third, you need to be realistic, not because you are 60 but rather because achievement takes careful planning, at any age. You cannot fight biology: you and all of us are continuously aging. But you can fight mental inertia, up to a degree or until/if you get Alzheimer's.
Take charge, educate yourself, widen your horizons beyond your current wonderful teacher and beware of settling too comfortably in any one situation.. The "other" teachers did not tie you down to study with them: you stayed because you enjoyed the feel good atmosphere. Ignorance is not a good excuse either. You should have and could have known better, if music was really your calling..

Having said that, all the above cannot matter. Seize the moment and change direction towards a clearly defined destination. Make sure that if your heart and mind are in the clouds, your feet remain solidly on the ground, ie a dose of reality is a crucial component of achievable dreams. I would say exactly the same words to an 18 year old.

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#1565100 - 11/27/10 10:38 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: pianoloverus]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4748
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Does this mean you intend to become a performance major at college or just apply yourself more assiduously to practicing now that you have a more knowledgable teacher?
The latter. I already have a B.A. and a doctorate (in other fields) and I don't want another degree. I want to concentrate on refining my expression and technique.

As far as performing, I've made some very modest plans. I bounced my ideas off my teacher and who said they are quite feasible. After that? We'll see.

Would someone please clarify "big works?"
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

Top
#1565105 - 11/27/10 10:47 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6052
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: gooddog

Would someone please clarify "big works?" I'm playing grades 10 and 11 now.


How about, above grade 10 that are also longer than 7 minutes? smile And I assume, some concerti.
_________________________
Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

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#1565110 - 11/27/10 10:52 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
chopin_r_us Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 845
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Would someone please clarify "big works?"
Chopin's second sonata? (played well)

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#1565116 - 11/27/10 10:56 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: Andromaque]
jtattoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 321
Loc: Austin TX
Old motorcycle saying which very much applies here.

It's not the destination, it's the journey!
_________________________
A professional musician, an amateur pianist. loveandapiano.com

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#1565118 - 11/27/10 10:56 AM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: DameMyra]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6148
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: DameMyra
Hi Deborah,

Try not to dwell on the past too much. I am a sophomore in college at almost 59. I didn't even start taking lessons until I was almost 14 and had dreams of pursuing a performance degree. But that didn't happen and I ended up not touching a piano for a very long time (30+ years!). I am always playing catch-up and it takes me forever learning pieces becasue I'm also trying at the same time to learn the technique involved. And memorization? It seems to take forever. Right now I am a B.A. candidate in music. I could switch to a B.M. in performance, but I really don't want to put myself under the pressure of a Junior and Senior recital. And I simply don't have the 6-7 hours of practice time available like all the younger performance majors. But everyone in the music department is so supportive of me, especially my teacher. And I do play some bigger pieces. Will I ever play Gaspard? Probably not. But that's okay. I'm finally doing the thing I really love...making music.

Sharon


Sharon - Very impressive !!! thumb
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#1565184 - 11/27/10 12:33 PM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19202
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Does this mean you intend to become a performance major at college or just apply yourself more assiduously to practicing now that you have a more knowledgable teacher?
The latter. I already have a B.A. and a doctorate (in other fields) and I don't want another degree. I want to concentrate on refining my expression and technique.

As far as performing, I've made some very modest plans. I bounced my ideas off my teacher and who said they are quite feasible. After that? We'll see.
That sounds very reasonable. With greater effort and a better teacher your results could multiply much faster than with just one of those two. And, if you choose to retire in five or ten years, you'll have a very enjoyable way of spending time and even more time to practice.

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#1565190 - 11/27/10 12:39 PM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: Damon]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4748
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: gooddog

Would someone please clarify "big works?" I'm playing grades 10 and 11 now.


How about, above grade 10 that are also longer than 7 minutes? smile And I assume, some concerti.
Doable. I'm already playing 10 and above. I'm not focused on concerti at this time although I'd be thrilled to do all the Bach concerti. I'm mostly interested in solo piano repertoire and possibly chamber music.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1565208 - 11/27/10 01:15 PM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I'd be thrilled to do all the Bach concerti.


Huge brownie points! thumb
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


Top
#1565213 - 11/27/10 01:23 PM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: stores]
chopin_r_us Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 845
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: gooddog
I'd be thrilled to do all the Bach concerti.


Huge brownie points! thumb
Hey, and so you should! (let me know if you need any help theory wise smile )

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#1565219 - 11/27/10 01:38 PM Re: Are we ever too old? [Re: gooddog]
Rui725 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 953
Are people using "thumb" over the actual icon thumb these days, or is there something wrong with my browser?

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