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#1801225 - 12/06/11 06:42 AM Beginning to seriously pursue piano again (intermediate)
entreri55 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 9
Loc: Vancouver
Hi all,

So I've recently graduated from university and I have a job offer which begins in March. With 3 months of free time ahead of me and the ability to be financially independent, I'm very excited to start taking up lessons again. I got up to RCM grade 8 before I quit ~10 years ago, but I've played the piano for leisure - both classical and contemporary pieces - throughout the past few years somewhat regularly. I have a few questions that I'm hoping some of you could help me out with.

I realized that although I do enjoy classical music, my end goal is to be able to improvise fluently. I'd like to be able to hear a melody or a song on the radio, and perhaps after figuring out the chord progressions, be able to play the piece and improvise around it. However, I've always felt that it's necessary for me to build a solid classical foundation first, which leads me to my first question:

1) Given my interests, should I finish off RCM grade 10 before I begin learning jazz/improv? Or would it make sense to learn the two concurrently?

I'll also be moving to Chicago from Canada to start work. So I'd like to know:

2) Is the US equivalent of the RCM program the "achievement program"? Is this the most popular standardized piano education program in the US?

I also have a lot of music theory to catch up on. The last exam I finished was grade 2 rudiments.

3) I'm fairly capable of self study and would like to know whether history, harmony, counterpoint, and analysis should be self-studied? If so, is there a single textbook/course manual that corresponds to each of the examinations? If that's not the case, am I right in assuming that the books I need for each examination are outlined in the 2009 RCM Theory Syllabus?

4) Finally, if anyone knows of any good piano teachers in the Chicago area to recommend to me, please don't hesitate to let me know!

Thanks in advance everyone!

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#1801711 - 12/06/11 10:14 PM Re: Beginning to seriously pursue piano again (intermediate) [Re: entreri55]
entreri55 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 9
Loc: Vancouver
Just going to bump once. smile

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#1801799 - 12/07/11 01:27 AM Re: Beginning to seriously pursue piano again (intermediate) [Re: entreri55]
CMohr Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 1029
Loc: Oregon
Hi entreri55! Have you taken a look at the two Jazz threads here?

There's this one Jazz Study Group: ATTYA, Autumn Leaves, etc. There is a ton of foundational information included here.

And the way more advanced Jazz Study Group II

I'm no expert, but I would think you could certainly start on jazz while finishing up your other studies.

You could at least post your questions on the jazz thread and our own jazz guru, Jazzwee, will (I'm sure) be able to give you more solid advice.

Hope this helps a little.


Edited by CMohr (12/07/11 01:29 AM)
_________________________
Think less - play more



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#1802073 - 12/07/11 02:03 PM Re: Beginning to seriously pursue piano again (intermediate) [Re: entreri55]
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Hello,
1. Personally I don't see any reason why you shouldn't begin to learn Jazz/Improv now. I know a lot people who learn/do different styles of music congruently.

2. I'm not sure there really is a standardized system in the US for piano like there seems to be in other countries. But, what I like to do is to look at music department web sites at various universities to have a look a the syllabus/requirements just to get an idea of where I stand- ha ha. The Berklee college of music syllabus is very detailed. Not sure if that will help at all.

3. I believe theory can be self studied to an extent. As long as you understand it then great. But with some theory it helps to have someone explain it to you. I would see how far you can get on your own and then either find someone that can explained the stuff you don't get or take some advanced classes. I took a music theory and composition class and really enjoyed it. So that would be a benefit to taking a class.

Best of luck!
_________________________
“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

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#1802498 - 12/08/11 07:47 AM Re: Beginning to seriously pursue piano again (intermediate) [Re: CMohr]
entreri55 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 9
Loc: Vancouver
Originally Posted By: CMohr
Hi entreri55! Have you taken a look at the two Jazz threads here?

There's this one Jazz Study Group: ATTYA, Autumn Leaves, etc. There is a ton of foundational information included here.

And the way more advanced Jazz Study Group II

I'm no expert, but I would think you could certainly start on jazz while finishing up your other studies.

You could at least post your questions on the jazz thread and our own jazz guru, Jazzwee, will (I'm sure) be able to give you more solid advice.

Hope this helps a little.


Thanks a lot, CMohr. I've posted in the topic you linked me to. smile

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#1802501 - 12/08/11 07:56 AM Re: Beginning to seriously pursue piano again (intermediate) [Re: Kymber]
entreri55 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 9
Loc: Vancouver
Originally Posted By: Kymber
Hello,
1. Personally I don't see any reason why you shouldn't begin to learn Jazz/Improv now. I know a lot people who learn/do different styles of music congruently.

2. I'm not sure there really is a standardized system in the US for piano like there seems to be in other countries. But, what I like to do is to look at music department web sites at various universities to have a look a the syllabus/requirements just to get an idea of where I stand- ha ha. The Berklee college of music syllabus is very detailed. Not sure if that will help at all.

3. I believe theory can be self studied to an extent. As long as you understand it then great. But with some theory it helps to have someone explain it to you. I would see how far you can get on your own and then either find someone that can explained the stuff you don't get or take some advanced classes. I took a music theory and composition class and really enjoyed it. So that would be a benefit to taking a class.

Best of luck!



Thanks for the reply Kymber.

1) That's reassuring - though I think one thing I may be underestimating is the time commitment required to learn two very different styles of music. But then again, the total amount of time I take to reach a similar level of proficiency would probably not differ much, compared to if I were to learn one style after the other.

2) I'll check out Berklee's website and see what I can find. I would like to enroll in a standardized program, as the well-defined levels help me stay motivated and feel accomplished as I move through them. Just my personal way of learning best. smile

3) I would enjoy taking a class but I'll have to see the quality of the self-study books I can get my hands on first. I don't doubt that there are plenty of benefits to getting a teacher! I'll take your advice and see how far I can get by myself first.


Edited by entreri55 (12/08/11 07:57 AM)

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