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#1852244 - 02/26/12 09:42 PM Frustration of the week
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
One of the pieces I'm doing just now is Bach's Musette. I can play all the parts but I have difficulty putting them together. It's quite fast and the hand movements between the parts are bigger than I'm used to. Any tips for how to work on this? Here's a youtube in case you don't know which piece I mean:

http://youtu.be/8NvprbHs7_k

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#1852250 - 02/26/12 10:01 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1640
Loc: Colorado
MaryAnn~
That was really good!

That wonderful piece is a good skill builder. I'd recommend playing it slowly, relaxed, and very deliberately throughout, following all the notations before trying to get it up to speed. It's a busy little piece, lots of tricks to do and they are all in a row while keeping a very steady, up-beat reaction to the tempo - a fun challenge!!

One of the hardest things to learn is to be relaxed when playing. It helps to be relaxed when playing this piece especially. Once you have it more under your fingers, you will find yourself playing it differently, more freely.

Maybe use some good focused time on the few measures where you are finding your trouble spots. Among other things, it helps build confidence when playing through when that time comes to play a really solid rendition.

Glen
_________________________


March piano audio
https://app.box.com/s/evl3yyp1kj52ve8l069u


A Bit of YouTube

PTG Associate Member

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#1852252 - 02/26/12 10:05 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
Quote:
It's quite fast


Yes, problem number 1. So you can address this by getting it rock solid at a slow speed. As slow as you need. Slower even. Make sure you know exactly what goes with what and only then start to increase the speed. Use a metronome if you need to.

Quote:
and the hand movements between the parts are bigger than I'm used to


The slow practice will help with this. Something else I find if I can't watch both hands at the same time (a problem in the first variation of the Rameau Gavotte & Variations I'm working on), watch the leap in one of the harder one and get the other by feel. At least it stops you watching neither because you are trying to cover both!

Oh, and if you haven't already memorized the parts with the leaps, memorize it. It really helps if you don't have to look at the score for those sections!
_________________________
  • Liszt - Liebesträume No. 3, S541
  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

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#1852256 - 02/26/12 10:09 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3153
Loc: Maine
MaryAnn, that's a lovely piece. When I learned it, I did three things.

One, I trained myself to take strategic peeks at the keyboard when the hand is changing major position. I wasn't looking during the repeated octave eighth notes though. There, my hand just had to learn the distance.

Two, I practiced the transition points in slow motion, and then slowly speeded them up. Start out by just laying your hand in the position just before the transition, and then moving it to the new position. Then start playing a note or two either side, and build from there.

Three, I happened to change the edition I was using (from Bastien to Henle), and happened to find the Henle easier to follow at one particularly tricky point.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1852265 - 02/26/12 10:27 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1640
Loc: Colorado
~~Excellent advice AP and PS88~~

There you have it, MaryAnn - have some fun getting it going!

Glen
_________________________


March piano audio
https://app.box.com/s/evl3yyp1kj52ve8l069u


A Bit of YouTube

PTG Associate Member

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#1852315 - 02/27/12 12:38 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
thanks for all the comments! in case there's any misunderstanding, that's not me in the youtube. I wish I could play it that well!

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#1852491 - 02/27/12 11:23 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 730
Loc: Canada
Maryann,
When I was learning that piece a while ago, my teacher showed me a contract/expand move of my LH that made jumping between those alternating octaves a lot easier. It’s hard to exlplain it in words, but when my thumb’s on the top note of the jump, my hand’s in almost a crouching position - fingers are close together. Then, as my thumb lifts of that note, my whole hand expands (it’s like springing from a crouch into a leap) as my pinky goes for the bottom note. My thumb doesn’t move all that much. Then, I contract my hand back to a crouch as I go for the top note. It’s much easier on my (small) hand than keeping it extended through the whole piece, & I don’t need to look for that one anymore.

It also makes the move to the F# a bit less uncertain, though I still have to peek @ that one.

I don’t know if I explained it very clearly, but give it a try.
_________________________
Carol
(Started playing July 2008)



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#1852622 - 02/27/12 04:25 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1673
Loc: south florida
like others have said....

play it slow and perfect. Not perfect yet, go slower. As slow as it takes.

isolate the leaps and practice just the few notes before and after.

DECIDE what you are going to look at and WHEN you will look, and then practice looking at exactly that spot at exactly that time. Do this slow at first. As slow as you need.

Jim
_________________________
La Fille aux cheveux de lin - Debussy
Ma Mere L'Oye - Ravel
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#1854038 - 03/01/12 02:35 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
A new frustration this week. I had to just walk away from Musette for awhile, I was getting too annoyed with my mistakes. I'm working on another Bach minuet (it hasn't got a number, but it is another one in G major). It is taking me SO long to play both hands together. It's just not clicking. Even after practicing the quite tricky left hand while the pre-recorded right hand was playing on my iPhone (this part went really well). Ugh.

I'm having a bad week anyway, in general. I'm just wondering if I'm in a steep learning curve phase of learning piano, but that at some point something will click, and I'll be able to play simple things like this without struggling so hard. I've tried really hard in my piano journey to be satisfied with the tiniest victories, but I feel I've made no progress at all in the last two weeks. Even the Krieger minuet (which I put up in the piano bar, despite mistakes) has fallen apart.

I'm away a lot in March for business. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe I need a bit of a break.

Sorry. This thread wasn't meant to be self-indulgent. Anyone can list their frustrations here. Thanks again to everyone who so kindly has offered advice. I really appreciate it.

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#1854045 - 03/01/12 03:00 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Sometimes things do need to fall apart before they can come together again into a better form. My personal analogy is that when I'm in a period where my brain is accumulating lotsa new info, there gets to be a point where there's no longer enough neat little boxes on my mental shelves to store everything in. That's when it all needs to get emptied out on the floor before it can be reorganized more efficiently, when my brain has devised newly optimized storage configuration.

Now this next part is NOT the accepted wisdom around here, but it works for me. When I hit a point of frustration like this, I go off and spend some time doing some other, completely different musical activity. I might spend some time concentrating on sight reading, or pure rhythm reading, or even playing the tin whistle for a while. When I come back to the piano, my brain seems to have taken this semi-vacation to get everything straightened away, plus, I've often forgotten a number of the habitual mistakes or bad habits which had been plaguing me

Maybe take a rhythm reading book on your business trips? A book of piano music slightly above your current playing level works great for this too. Just tap the left and right hands' rhythms on your knees, reading both hands parts at once. For many people, rhythm reading (esp. 2-handed) is a worse impediment to their sight reading skills than mere note recognition (which one can easily improve with online note-reading games).

And here's my frustration of the week: I'd been impatiently waiting for days for it to be time to post in the Effortless Mastery Reading Group thread... and now that it's time, my book thoughts have all gotten deeply entwined with my rapidly evolving personal-relationship-with-music thoughts, and I'm finding it impossible to come up with book observations that aren't completely context dependent on my current personal life changes. Every simple observation I try to make about the book ends up turning into a @#$% musical memoir!
_________________________
Oops... extremely distracted by mandolins at the moment... brb

neglected piano blog

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#1854452 - 03/01/12 06:31 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3153
Loc: Maine
tangleweeds, I would welcome the life memoir. It's a personal book and topic; it stands to reason people would have personal responses.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1854499 - 03/01/12 07:30 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
I was thinking something similar: is it necessarily a bad thing that you're relating the book to your personal journey? I would think for this book (based on descriptions I've read of it) that would be part of the purpose. Anyway, I hope you can get your thoughts down about it in a way you find satisfying :-)


Edited by MaryAnn (03/01/12 07:30 PM)

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#1854523 - 03/01/12 08:24 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Thanks everyone for the encouragement and interest, it's made me feel better. It is indeed a very personal book, and I've been enjoying the memoir-ish aspects of what we've read. But just been a bit overwhelming how much personal stuff is coming out when I try to write about it. It's kind of like going fishing for lake trout, and catching a giant squid instead!

I think I'm going to try to find a bit of time to talk this out with my audio journal, and then try writing again. It doesn't help that there's a bunch of other distracting stuff going on in my non-piano life, so by the time I get around to serious writing, I'm already a bit tired and overwhelmed.

Frustration of the day/night/day: severe insomnia-- I've had about 2 hours of sleep in the last 30 hours. It's hard to play piano when my brain is so drifty. And now we're working on disinfecting the house yet again, because we've been passing around a case of bacterial pink-eye, but our various doctors & health plans refuse to coordinate so we can all do antibiotics simultaneously and get rid of in once and for all.
_________________________
Oops... extremely distracted by mandolins at the moment... brb

neglected piano blog

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#1855074 - 03/02/12 05:08 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1673
Loc: south florida
Originally Posted By: MaryAnn
A new frustration this week. I had to just walk away from Musette for awhile, I was getting too annoyed with my mistakes. I'm working on another Bach minuet (it hasn't got a number, but it is another one in G major). It is taking me SO long to play both hands together. It's just not clicking. Even after practicing the quite tricky left hand while the pre-recorded right hand was playing on my iPhone (this part went really well). Ugh.

I'm having a bad week anyway, in general. I'm just wondering if I'm in a steep learning curve phase of learning piano, but that at some point something will click, and I'll be able to play simple things like this without struggling so hard. I've tried really hard in my piano journey to be satisfied with the tiniest victories, but I feel I've made no progress at all in the last two weeks. Even the Krieger minuet (which I put up in the piano bar, despite mistakes) has fallen apart.

I'm away a lot in March for business. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe I need a bit of a break.

Sorry. This thread wasn't meant to be self-indulgent. Anyone can list their frustrations here. Thanks again to everyone who so kindly has offered advice. I really appreciate it.


MaryAnn,

While a short break might be good for you, don't be too upset with taking a while to play Bach in two hands. There is a reason why teachers use Bach..... it really tests (and develops) your hand and finger independence. But this takes time. I remember being accustomed to getting an assigned piece and having it pretty much ready for my teacher to hear by the next lesson. That was pre-Bach assignments. Once the minuets started flying it was two, three, four or five weeks, depending on how picky my teacher wanted to be.

What worked for me was making absolutely sure that the piece was VERY secure in each individual hand. Especially in the left. You should be able to sing the melody of each hand as you play it, and individual hands should be error free at close to tempo. Only then begin to put hands together, very very slow and loudly, and just a measure at a time (plus one note of the next measure). When you first start hands together you probably should count or "count-sing" it outloud. Resist the temptation to "finish" or get to the end. Just learn it slowly and when you play it slowly hands together do so with zero error tolerance. If you make an error... immediately repeat that short part at least 5 times LOUDLY with no error. If this sounds like work...... it is.... but you get to make it musical after it is in your fingers and head.

Now here's the good news..... Bach gets easier. I don't mean the pieces get easier... no.. it gets easier for you to study and play after you have done four or five of them. The learning goes faster. At some point you will realize that your hands are working independently a little better than they ever did before. You will like the feeling, making all that work and frustration worthwhile. You can do it.
_________________________
La Fille aux cheveux de lin - Debussy
Ma Mere L'Oye - Ravel
Mozart Sonata K545

Estonia L190 #7284





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#1855289 - 03/03/12 12:02 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
Thanks so much for that, JimF. I appreciate all your helpful advice!

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#1970143 - 10/08/12 02:55 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
I'm back, with a new, strange frustration.

While resting my left hand/wrist, my teacher and I have been trying to come up with things to keep me at the piano on a somewhat regular basis. One thing I am doing is playing more scales and chords. I have no problem with major scales. I can hear when I need to hit a black key. I can tell when I hit a wrong note. I have no problem playing them ascending or descending.

But I am also playing a harmonic minor scale (Emin, since it is the key of a piece I am working on). I just can't get my head around it. i can't tell when I am playing a wrong note. I have trouble playing it descending. Is this normal, or do other people know how a minor scale is "supposed" to sound.

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#1970205 - 10/08/12 08:09 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4869
Loc: Italy
I think I have a reasonable "feel"for how it should sound, because we did a lot of scales when I was in highschool (not on piano though!)

Maybe this will help

http://library.thinkquest.org/15413/theory/intervals.htm

or if you google other sites that let you listen to minor scales.

Maybe looking at the charts that show tones and semi-tones while you play might help you?
Or perhaps if you write out the scales, chart the tones and semi-tones yourself, and then sing them.
I found that when you sing them you can really get a feel for what the sound should be.
Good luck (and get on back to the ACHIEVEMENT of the week mindset my friend! smile )

_________________________
XVIII-XXXIV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1970217 - 10/08/12 08:50 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1673
Loc: south florida
Hi MaryAnne

Play the relative major scale first, in this case G major, listening closely to the sound up and down. Then play E- minor harmonic which is the same notes but with the last (seventh) one, the D raised to D#. Listen for how that D# wants to lead to another E, as well as for how the whole scale sounds compared to its relative major.

Now do the same with A-minor/C major and with D-minor/F major scales.

You should end up with a good feel for how "minor" is supposed to sound.
_________________________
La Fille aux cheveux de lin - Debussy
Ma Mere L'Oye - Ravel
Mozart Sonata K545

Estonia L190 #7284





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#1970410 - 10/08/12 05:20 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
FarmGirl Online   content

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1891
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Originally Posted By: MaryAnn
thanks for all the comments! in case there's any misunderstanding, that's not me in the youtube. I wish I could play it that well!


Hahaha no wonder, I thought MaryAnn was rather masculin but decided not to say that. I wanted to help you so I played the piece this morning. Here's my recommendation which of course you can ignore:
1) lift your hand (slightly) after m1, m2, m5, m6, m21, m22, m25, m26. It makes it easier to hop long distance while giving the air of grace. I used to call these pieces as princess pieces. So first lift is kinda tease and the second lift is the hop.
2) others mentioned how you practice long distance hopping. An important thing to remember is you have to give whole note value before the flight. In other words you should not cut short the note before the jump to leave plenty of time to leap. That's no no. If you do that, you wind up playing faster and faster messing up the 16 note runs in addition to the jump.
3) enjoy m 13 through 20. I would play softly 15 through17 and crescendo up to 20. Will play it like a cadence.
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#1970419 - 10/08/12 05:40 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: FarmGirl]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1673
Loc: south florida
grin ooops, Farmgirl. I know you are working extra hard these days and your schedule is running you ragged grin, but I think MaryAnne finished Musette some time back in March when this thread was started.

The thread revival of late is to address a scale problem.

.... ha just having a little fun with you, as I almost made the same mistake. grin
_________________________
La Fille aux cheveux de lin - Debussy
Ma Mere L'Oye - Ravel
Mozart Sonata K545

Estonia L190 #7284





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#1970470 - 10/08/12 07:59 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
FarmGirl Online   content

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1891
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Omg. I'm so embarrassed. I feel red, my cheeks are as red as a redass baboon. No not those cheeks, up there, my face I mean. I can't believe how stupid I am sometimes. No wonder my husband calls me a dingbat. Is that some kind of bat? It's all because I like NaryAnn.
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#1970473 - 10/08/12 08:00 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
FarmGirl Online   content

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1891
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Oops! I mean MaryAnn
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#1970493 - 10/08/12 08:39 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: JimF]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
Originally Posted By: JimF
grin ooops, Farmgirl. I know you are working extra hard these days and your schedule is running you ragged grin, but I think MaryAnne finished Musette some time back in March when this thread was started.

The thread revival of late is to address a scale problem.

.... ha just having a little fun with you, as I almost made the same mistake. grin
actually, I had to abandon Musette because that's when my left wrist started hurting. I think it was holding my hand in the octave position rather than relaxing it between notes that did me in. It's never really gotten better since then. I guess it's serious technique issues combined with a wimpy wrist. Anyway... one day if I ever get better, I will come back to Musette and take your advice :-)

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#1970527 - 10/08/12 10:00 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
My frustration is this. I recently started working again and can not take lessons during the day as I did last year. Though I can't practice as much as before I feel I can practice enough to get back to lessons. My teacher had hinted that she may do Saturday lessons but when I asked her last week (she also teache my sons) she said no weekends.I was sad when I left. I don't expect her to make exceptions just for me. It's just that awhile ago she had implied an exception might be ok.

In the meantime I've been going it alone. Having fun with some simpler pieces but don't necessarily feel like I am progressing (well except for my sight reading which is getting pretty good I think!).

I don't want to change teachers but will have to if I want to continue. All her evening slots are full with the kids from after school. Going in after they are done doesn't work as we are doing bedtime routine for the kids then. And I'm actually pretty tired myself as I have an early start. My grade 5 stuff is all at a standstill as I am too afraid of learning things wrong.

Guess I'll see who else is available for possible Saturday lessons! sigh!
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#1970707 - 10/09/12 09:36 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: ZoeCalgary]
bessel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 242
Loc: Ohio, USA
Zoe -
That is frustrating, but congratulations on your new job! smile

How long is her waiting list for evening slots? Have you tried to get on that? In the meantime, I hope you have luck finding someone who is a good match for you with a more flexible schedule...
_________________________
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#1970813 - 10/09/12 01:50 PM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
I am mildy fustrated because I can't get the flipping quavers right in the Brahms Lullaby I am working on and my lesson is tomorrow- we worked on it on Wednesday and I am still pants at it!
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


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#2067040 - 04/19/13 10:37 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: MaryAnn]
ElleC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 248
Loc: NJ, USA
I work full time and I've got mundane things to keep me busy like any average person. But, I came to a conclusion that as I get older, I get bored rather easily (though my sister thinks I'm having an early midlife crisis). 3 years ago, I decided to pick up snowboarding as a winter sport. Mind you, I've never been an athlete. Anyway, love it...look forward to it ever season now. Last year, I decided I should go back to school for anything. I'm right smack in the middle of my masters and quite honestly...i hate it but i do it anyway. This year, I decided I wanted to play the piano and so i did. I'm very passionate about this just as much as I'm passionate about snowboarding...I really want to get better but I know it will take a lot of commitment and time. My frustration now is school is getting in the way of my practice time! I don't even want to do homework, i just want to play the piano? I feel like a kid! Maybe I am having a midlife crisis at 33!
_________________________
Adult beginner since January 2013. My only regret is that I didn't learn sooner.

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#2067074 - 04/19/13 11:28 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: ElleC]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3437
Loc: Northern England.
You don`t get midlife crises until you`re in your 60`s. Anything earlier is a "Dry Run" heh heh . . Oh well, I thought it was a bit funny . . crazy
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"I'm playing all the right notes — but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

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#2067092 - 04/19/13 11:58 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: peterws]
ElleC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 248
Loc: NJ, USA
hah! maybe i'll pick up violin at 60

Originally Posted By: peterws
You don`t get midlife crises until you`re in your 60`s. Anything earlier is a "Dry Run" heh heh . . Oh well, I thought it was a bit funny . . crazy
_________________________
Adult beginner since January 2013. My only regret is that I didn't learn sooner.

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#2067851 - 04/21/13 03:12 AM Re: Frustration of the week [Re: peterws]
JohnSprung Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1235
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: peterws
You don`t get midlife crises until you`re in your 60`s. . . crazy


Really? I thought I was way too old for a midlife crisis....
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-- J.S.

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