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#1979380 - 10/27/12 06:08 PM Sad
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
I went to a lovely piano concert last night, and the pianist gave as his encore the Petzold Minuet in G. It was beautiful. Light, sparkling, brilliant. This warhorse sounded more beautiful than I ever imagined music could sound.

But now I'm sad, because I don't think I can play anything like that, and I don't know what to do to get closer to that. I feel like all the music I learned in my lessons (currently discontinued for financial reasons), I pushed my way through but didn't learn anything from. Well, I must have learned something because I think I can play harder music than I used to be able to. But I can't just run through a piece at speed for fun and pleasure. The hard parts of each piece I learned, remain hard.

I'm enjoying the Tim Richards Blues piano book that I'm learning from, because each tiny little thing I learn, I enjoy. And I can just practice one thing for as long as I want. And I'm still enjoying tiny bits of progress, and not comparing myself to real blues pianists and wishing I could do what they do.

But with my classical music I feel frustrated. Maybe I should parallel what I'm doing with the blues piano, and return to the very beginning, and construct my own understanding of specific skills (divorced from pieces) and practice the heck out of those before moving on to the next tiny step. Unlike people who prefer to hone their skills in the context of dream pieces, I very much prefer honing the skills separately and thus having them all ready when I get to my dream pieces. But I'm not sure what the right skills are.

What do you think? Have you been in this situation? Any thoughts or suggestions?
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1979397 - 10/27/12 06:51 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 764
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
But now I'm sad, because I don't think I can play anything like that, and I don't know what to do to get closer to that. I feel like all the music I learned in my lessons [...], I pushed my way through but didn't learn anything from. Well, I must have learned something because I think I can play harder music than I used to be able to. But I can't just run through a piece at speed for fun and pleasure. The hard parts of each piece I learned, remain hard.

[...]

What do you think? Have you been in this situation? Any thoughts or suggestions?


Boy, do I ever hear you.

I don't think there is a great answer for those of us who lack some of the inborn advantages that others seem to have.

You have to detach as best you can.

Don't focus on what others more practiced or talented (or both) can do. Realize it's out there as an aspirational goal, sure, but don't focus on it.

Focus on little improvements. If passages aren't cementing, try different practice techniques until they maybe get a little smoother.

Do that as long as you think you're both seeing little improvements, feeling some challenge, and keeping your interest level up. Then move on to something maybe a little harder.

Draw lines in the sand, but not 200 yards in the distance. Maybe just a foot or so beyond where you are now. If you cross that line, then draw another. If you don't, redraw the line a little closer.

Enjoy the process of playing, even if the results aren't everything you hoped.

Learn to enjoy the process of learning.

Some people seem capable of easily turning out note perfect, moving performances, some people probably never will do so, and some people can learn to with a lot of work. If you're currently not in the first group, I don't see much alternative than to proceed under the assumption that you're a member of the third group and do whatever head games you have to in order to keep making progress.


Edited by Whizbang (10/27/12 06:51 PM)
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#1979401 - 10/27/12 07:01 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
wayne33yrs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 1859
Loc: Sheffield UK
very nicely said smile +1

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#1979403 - 10/27/12 07:02 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
wayne33yrs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 1859
Loc: Sheffield UK
Keep ur chin up PS88 smile

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#1979405 - 10/27/12 07:04 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
dmd Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1869
Loc: Pennsylvania
Just keep going.

There is no other way.

Everything you do helps.

Try not to leave something just because it is difficult.

The difficult things might be what helps get you to another level.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#1979409 - 10/27/12 07:12 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
warlock214 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 105
Loc: Tennessee
PS88 keep going. If you have to practice a little bit at a time...keep going. The more we practice, the better we'll get. Start recording your practices and even link them to the forum and I'm sure someone can help figure it out!
_________________________

Casio Privia PX-150
Started Playing: November 2012
Completed Unit 6, Faber's Adult Piano Adventures Book 1

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#1979466 - 10/27/12 09:14 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 402
Loc: Montreal Canada
Hi PianoStudent,

I understand and feel your dissapointment. The surest way to discourage oneself is to go to YouTube and have a look and listen to those child prodigees, you know, that 13 year old kid that can play or improvise as if he's been doing it for 40 years. Or musical savants - mostly alienated from a "normal" life but virtuosos with math or music, the likes of which just about everybody will never achieve...

How old was the pianist at the concert, when did he start his music education, what family background does he come from, how much experience does he have?


What I'm driving at is this: what is the point of comparing yourself with another individual? Is this how you objectively measure your personal progress?

Indulge in what you CAN do, pride yourself in achieving your current level of mastery.

I know your love of music will carry you through these moments because I have been there myself. Just keep at it, at your own pace; nurture your inquisitive mind and kind soul, never stop learning and trying.

John
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#1979472 - 10/27/12 09:52 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
What do you think? Have you been in this situation? Any thoughts or suggestions?


You discovered the truth. It's not what you play but how you play it that matters. Don't feel bad; be inspired.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1979479 - 10/27/12 10:06 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1051
Loc: Southern California
The world of piano is so large, it can be discouraging, even for relatively accomplished pianists.

I've told the story about Somewhere Over the Rainbow before, and I'll repeat it here. I learned a simplified arrangement as one of my first pieces. A friend, a concert pianist 30 years ago, got up at an event and started to play it in various keys, and then demonstrated adding levels of complexity, such as ornaments, and 7ths and 9ths, and then perhaps adding some counterpoint. All done on a whim, so effortless, with such a high level of mastery.

Depressing? Yes, for a moment. I can probably practice for another 30 years, and still not get to where my friend is on Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Then I remind myself of the deep pleasure I get from what I do play. At eight months into my beginner journey that tends to be simple pieces, often with simplified arrangements.

The irony is that even my friend has his moments of musical despair. He is sad that he never wrote a hit, not even a minor hit, despite being so accomplished on piano, and devoting a good deal of time to writing original music. Even those at the very top sometimes wish they had more impact, or had written some other songs or pieces. There is always someone better at something.

If a person can find joy in what they can do, and joy in what they are learning, that is more than enough. It is a hobby, hobbies are supposed to be fun, not depressing.
_________________________
my piano uploads

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#1979484 - 10/27/12 10:28 PM Re: Sad [Re: John_In_Montreal]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: John_In_Montreal
I know your love of music will carry you through these moments because I have been there myself. Just keep at it, at your own pace; nurture your inquisitive mind and kind soul, never stop learning and trying.

John, thank you, those are very encouraging words.

I don't pay attention to YouTube prodigies.

There's a beauty that mature pianists have, of notes rippling smoothly and subtly, that is beyond just cranking out notes at a high rate of speed. The pianist I heard yesterday had it. He's in his 40's, has performed internationally, and is artist-in-residence at the local college. His concert included the Rachmaninoff etudes tableaux, which he talked about as being a personal challenge that he wanted to achieve.

So I'm not being so foolish as to compare myself to him. It's just, I don't know, that he took a piece that I think I play competently, and transformed it into a sparkling brilliant diamond. It was beyond anything I had ever even imagined that piece could be. But it made me think about how much more there is to music than just cranking out the notes, and feel like I just know nothing.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1979504 - 10/28/12 12:34 AM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 402
Loc: Montreal Canada
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
...It's just, I don't know, that he took a piece that I think I play competently, and transformed it into a sparkling brilliant diamond. It was beyond anything I had ever even imagined that piece could be. But it made me think about how much more there is to music than just cranking out the notes, and feel like I just know nothing.


Ah, Indeed. So much more than just the notes. Now you are beginning to feel and think like a true musician heart

John


Edited by John_In_Montreal (10/28/12 12:35 AM)
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#1979506 - 10/28/12 12:42 AM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
Stubbie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 390
Loc: Midwest USA
Indeed, listening to a pro can be a humbling experience. And an enlightening one. One often hears on this forum complaints of one sort or another of how boring or simple-minded the pieces are that they have to play (PS88, I know this isn't at all what you are talking about).

And then:

Quote:
... he took a piece that I think I play competently, and transformed it into a sparkling brilliant diamond. It was beyond anything I had ever even imagined that piece could be. ...


The light bulb comes on: even the simplest piece can be played with beauty and grace. That's what we must aspire to: to play with beauty and grace.

Sometimes that beauty and grace resides in our enjoyment of sitting down at the piano and playing the piece.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.


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#1979559 - 10/28/12 05:44 AM Re: Sad [Re: Stubbie]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5034
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Stubbie

The light bulb comes on: even the simplest piece can be played with beauty and grace. That's what we must aspire to: to play with beauty and grace.

Sometimes that beauty and grace resides in our enjoyment of sitting down at the piano and playing the piece.


Well said --- as were the other posts - but this one just caught me because it captured the feeling I get when I feel myself shift into playing a piece better than I did before.

PS88, I have no idea how old you are or how long you've been playing, but if you're in the ABF, then by definition you've got a handicap smile

I feel a bit low when I hear wonderful piano music being played, if I allow myself to think "I'll NEVER in a million years be able to play that piece .. nor will I even get anywhere near playing anything so complex or fast or dramatic..... take your choice of adjective. However, I really don't allow myself to dwell on that because it robs me of the joy I feel when I play one of my pieces well, or when I tackle and master a new aspect of playing.


Focus on the joy you DO find in playing, because if you don't have that.... well, what's the point?
_________________________
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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#1979607 - 10/28/12 10:13 AM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2554
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Sorry you're feeling down, but I'm going to address the issue from a different direction.

I enjoy many things as a spectator or audience member. Do I feel sad that I will never win the World Series or the Tour de France (whether I doped or not), that my painting will never be in the Louvre, that I will never be a Prima Ballerina or even one of the three little swans? A crowd of thousands will never flock to hear me wax philosophical; I will never be awarded a Michelin Star. I will never be as rich as Bill Gates, as pretty as Claudia Schiffer, or as funny as Stephen Colbert.

I may fleetingly entertain the thought "how wonderful it must be to do that" but it would be absurd to have any expectation of that level of skill or performance myself.

Nevertheless, I carry on just fine as a basically normal person and really, when you get right down to it, life is grand.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#1979610 - 10/28/12 10:25 AM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2469
Loc: France
Hi PianoStudent88. If you will permit me:

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I feel like all the music I learned in my lessons, I pushed my way through but didn't learn anything from.


Well, yes, you did learn something. The proof:

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Well, I must have learned something because I think I can play harder music than I used to be able to.


No, not that, that's not what I meant. It's that:

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
the pianist gave as his encore the Petzold Minuet in G. It was beautiful. Light, sparkling, brilliant. This warhorse sounded more beautiful than I ever imagined music could sound.


You may not have learned how to play but you have learned how to hear. You oughtn't feel deceived, that is a great deal, a tremendous thing. I'd bet that if you had heard the same concert some years ago, before you had started studying the piano, you wouldn't have had this reaction, you'd have said: "What a ripoff, I pay a fortune to hear a big fancy, world-famous concert pianist, and he plays Bach's Minuet. Any and every five year old can play that, even I could play that."

So, congratulations. You've worked hard, you've done a good job, and you are reaping the results!

Seriously, do you want more than that?

Myself, I assure you that I have worked very hard but that I have never hoped to be able one day to play the piano, the very idea seems absurd when I think of my age and backround. I am happy to be able to read Bach, Mozart, Verdi, Britten, as I read Shakespeare, Balzac, Dostoievski, Roth. To penetrate and understand something of the works of such artists. And to be able to pass something of that understanding on to my kids.

This has been tremendous, and I consider myself fabulously enriched ... and apparently so are you. Just listen again to yourself:

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
beautiful. Light, sparkling, brilliant. more beautiful than I ever imagined music could sound.




Edited by landorrano (10/28/12 10:29 AM)

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#1979769 - 10/28/12 06:13 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
landorrano, that is encouraging. Thank you.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1979818 - 10/28/12 07:53 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
PS88 - As I recently have been without a teacher I decided to take many easier pieces and play them through as best as I can. I have been playing all sorts of things from the Beatles, Christmas carols, old standards, etc. I found when I'm not in a panic over notes or 'hard parts' that I can focus on the musicality of each piece and experiment with getting a different tone or dynamic. This has really helped me in my playing overall. Recently we had family over and I played about 8 such pieces and everybody was really impressed!

Even just a few months ago I would have never thought to play these 'easy' pieces for anybody thinking them as boring or not musical enough. What a mistake that would have been! When I told my husband this he said every one of those pieces sounded amazing and not 'easy'.

I've decided I really need to continue this when I restart lessons (which will hopefully be soon!). I'll work half on easier pieces for enjoyment and focusing on other things and half on new skill with new pieces more at my level. I think this will be a good balance on gaining new skills and also polishing those (few!!) that I have. Plus it's nice to be able to feel somewhat relaxed when playing for others.

I remember when I was little thinking my teachers playing sounds different (better!) and I couldn't figure out why and now I think I know. Not just more skilled, more practiced, etc. But more musical. After all these years this was my big aha moment. Every piece can and is beautiful if we the player makes it so.

I talked recently with somebody I know who was telling me about his experiences playing in a trio. He is quite accomplished on piano. He told me it takes him 1 minute to learn a new piece and about 8 hours to get it musical. I was shocked to hear him say that but completely understood at the same time.

So all that to say hang in there. The sadness will pass. Enjoy the place you have gotten to already with all your learning and practicing.! And the magic will come even when you don't think it will. And I'm guessing it will come out of the blue and shock you sometime soon!
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#1979952 - 10/29/12 04:32 AM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Just enjoy it.

I do a lot of non piano type things (blasphemy). I know I will never ever get to the level of experts and pros. Like when I race motorbikes. I know I will never get to the level of Valentino Rossie. I can get to maybe 80% of his ability.

But this doesn't mean I don't enjoy riding, and it doesn't mean I'm rubbish either.

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#1980340 - 10/29/12 11:02 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
Greener Offline

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1203
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I went to a lovely piano concert last night, and the pianist gave as his encore the Petzold Minuet in G. It was beautiful. Light, sparkling, brilliant. This warhorse sounded more beautiful than I ever imagined music could sound.


I've been following this thread and trying to think if I can add anything that may help. Some small pay back for the abundance of knowledge you have shared, that I have certainly benefited tremendously from on the study threads.

Just curious, PS88 of how many others in the concert hall understood and appreciated the performance to the level that you did. My guess ... very few.

Something I learned in the study threads recently which has helped my perspective ... just make the next piece that you learn the best one you have in your line up, before you move along.

Even the greats need to be careful who they compare themselves to, as the possibilities are so infinite.

I think you are light years ahead of many, from what I've come to know.

Don't Be Sad, Be Happy Now ...






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#1980356 - 10/29/12 11:40 PM Re: Sad [Re: Greener]
RollingTenths Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/13/12
Posts: 19
Loc: Minnesota
Above all, enjoy what you do. We can't all be pro athletes, wall street bankers, or start up the next google or facebook. carpe diem, friend.
_________________________
-"RollingTenths words of wisdom"

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#1980552 - 10/30/12 02:07 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Thank you everyone for your encouraging words. You have helped me to stop feeling sad, and to now be able to be delighted rather than depressed by the memory of the Minuet in G played like a dazzling diamond filigree.

I feel like my understanding of my own playing, practicing, and learning is in a state of great flux. I've been able to remind myself of all the things I've learned in the last year and a half: I've developed a good touch at the piano, and I'm comfortable with triads in all closed position inversions, and I can play all major and minor scales, and my music reading is improved, and I've become more aware of dynamics and articulation in my playing and more able to put them in, and I've learned syncopated pedaling. So that's all good progress.

I've started reading Chang's Fundamentals of Piano.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1980798 - 10/31/12 03:43 AM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I've started reading Chang's Fundamentals of Piano.


Enjoy your read. Keep in mind, though, that if there's one truth to texts about learning piano playing, they all can be - and often are - criticized in their teachings and methods. This isn't to discourage you not to read, but to keep a steady mind and to always read and absorb with a grain of salt, and to sort of look past what's being presented and instead look at why it's being presented (if that makes sense).

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#1980941 - 10/31/12 01:34 PM Re: Sad [Re: PianoStudent88]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3538
Be happy that you can hear the beauty. It's all you need to get there! For the rest, just keep practicing.
_________________________

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