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#1996155 - 12/07/12 08:56 PM using the foot pedals
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I have been having lessons for four years now and up to this day I have never been shown how to use the foot pedals. I have asked my teacher to teach me and she just says we will do it soon. How soon do you have to be taught how to use the pedal? She says that in the early stage of learning, the music does not require the pedal to be used. I took Grades 1 and 2 and there was no requirement to use the pedal for the pieces for the exam. I just took Grade 3 and the same applied. Obviously, with the harder music you will have to use the pedal as it will be compulsory but for now, the kind of music I am playing does not require the use of the pedal, so my teacher has not taught me how to pedal. However, I have just taken my Grade 3 exam and while I wait for the result to come through, we are playing some fun pieces. Again, at my lesson I asked my teacher if we could now have a go at pedals. We have two more lesson and then break for Christmas and I wanted to be shown how to pedal with some easy music and then practice over Christmas for homework. My teacher said no because she would prefer to teach me in January so she can see me practice and point out if I do it wrong and if I practice over Christmas I may do it all wrong and there will be nobody there to correct me.

I am just interested to know how soon anyone else on here started to learn to pedal.


Edited by adultpianist (12/07/12 08:58 PM)

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#1996159 - 12/07/12 09:15 PM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: adultpianist]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 759
I probably learned to do it too early--hard to remember--but your teacher is absolutely right. There is nothing so awful as really muddy damper pedaling, and I speak as someone who habitually over-pedaled in ugly ways as a kid and teen. It's a really tempting 'fix it' move that doesn't really fix it and keeps you from learning some good musicality.

As a long term pianist, I look at ways to only use the pedal when it ABSOLUTELY benefits the music that I'm playing and I regret cases where I have to use the pedal to accomplish something to the detriment of some aspect of the music.

Don't get me wrong: damper pedaling is an essential skill (in certain types of music) but it's extraordinarily easy to abuse.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#1996173 - 12/07/12 10:29 PM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: adultpianist]
ju5t1n-h Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/12
Posts: 179
Loc: Vancouver, British Columbia
This is RCM right? I started using pedal on grade 2?!
_________________________
Essex EUP-123S


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#1996233 - 12/08/12 02:48 AM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: ju5t1n-h]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 593
Loc: Finland
It depends on the music one plays too. Most romantic music really requires the pedal to sound right, but with baroque you can get really far without needing to pedal at all.

I cannot remember really learning to pedal at all when I played for a few years as child. When I started as an adult my first pieces required the pedal so I learned the basic legato pedalling by just listening to the sounds. My teacher was ok with how I do it so we haven't really worked much on pedalling. But still after about 1,5 years I use the pedal only when necessary, I mostly prefer the sound of my piano without it. I am yet to learn to pedal in baroque pieces, where it should be really discreet.

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#1996277 - 12/08/12 06:49 AM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: adultpianist]
Stephen300o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/12
Posts: 62
Using the Alfred books it introduces pedal quite early on, about halfway through the first book, don't think you need it to learn your keys but is needed on various sections of music to make it sound right.
You might as well start early as your going to need it along the way anyhow.

On a related note, why do they even bother fitting a middle piano pedal?(many BMW drivers I have seen think the same way..)

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#1996278 - 12/08/12 06:53 AM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: adultpianist]
manyhands Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 122
Loc: Md
my teacher started with pedal once I knew basic nnotes. then it becomes automatic. after 3 yrs just starting to use soft pedal and focus more intently on dynamics. my middle pedal is a mute so you can practice almost silently.
_________________________
many hands many smiles

Big Mama Yama U1

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#1996313 - 12/08/12 09:18 AM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: adultpianist]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11803
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
There are several ways to pedal, and so it is a complicated task. When I was learning piano, I was not allowed to use the damper pedal at all, and the music I was assigned could be fine without (no Romantic pieces that required it). My teacher wanted me to learn a good legato first.

The problem, of course, was that after 10 years of lessons, I had not used the pedal much at all. I think that was too long, and of course, my legato was fine. I am also one who likes to use pedal for Baroque and Classical period music, but tastefully.

I think 4 years seems an awful long time to wait. I don't make my students wait, but I may direct them to first learn a piece without pedaling, then we add it later. Students in their first year learn to use pedal to some degree.

I don't think it is wrong for you to want to use the pedal at this point in your development. Your teacher has stated she would teach it to you in January, so wait for that. If she doesn't do it, however, then perhaps it's time to move on to another teacher.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1996323 - 12/08/12 09:34 AM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: adultpianist]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
FOUR YEARS?

I was taught to use the pedal by lesson 5, the Aarron book has it at page 13 or something.

However the sustain pedal marks start vanishing about 2/3 through the book as you're supposed to figure it out yourself as to when it is appropriate or not.

But as above especially with popularisation of digital pianos, it is certainly possible to abuse it. On a DP especially you can stick a brick on it and play away! laugh


Edited by justpin (12/08/12 09:36 AM)

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#1996405 - 12/08/12 01:05 PM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: justpin]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Yes four years. The teacher must be doing something right with me because I do pass my exams so that is the main thing. She teaches me adequately so that I pass the exams and pedals are not required for the exams I do at the moment. I guess when it becomes compulsory, she will teach me. Why give me an unnecessary headache if it is not needed. There is enough to learn with scales and arpegios so if scales are not needed for the exams then why do them. Better to concentrate on thing which ARE required for the exam and do pedals later.

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#1996417 - 12/08/12 01:31 PM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: justpin]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1841
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: justpin
On a DP especially you can stick a brick on it and play away! laugh


What is different about pedalling on a DP compared to an Acoustic piano ?
_________________________
Don

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

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#1996429 - 12/08/12 02:21 PM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: dmd]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2345
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: dmd
What is different about pedalling on a DP compared to an Acoustic piano ?

DP's tend not to sustain notes as long as acoustics and the resultant swirl of muddied sound from an acoustic isn't matched on a DP.

I play my DP at full volume on speakers and three-quarters on headphones. I find spending too long on headphones (or lower volumes) numbs me to overuse of pedal.
_________________________
Richard

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#1996441 - 12/08/12 02:41 PM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: zrtf90]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1841
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
DP's tend not to sustain notes as long as acoustics and the resultant swirl of muddied sound from an acoustic isn't matched on a DP.


For me, as one who probably over pedals, that is a good thing.
_________________________
Don

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

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#1996492 - 12/08/12 04:45 PM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: justpin]
Newman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/11
Posts: 700
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: justpin
... On a DP especially you can stick a brick on it and play away! laugh


I disagree completely. Cacophony is cacophony - acoustic or digital.
_________________________
Guitar since 1966. Piano (Kawai DP80) since 2011.

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#1996543 - 12/08/12 06:34 PM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: adultpianist]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
It would be helpful, if everybody speaking about the experience of pedalling on a digital piano would say which digital piano is referenced to.
An older 1000$ DP might react much different than the newest >3000$ DPs. I by now can´t believe that an up-to-date digital of the class of a CLP470, HP507 or CA95 wouldn´t pedal correctly.
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#1996554 - 12/08/12 06:57 PM Re: using the foot pedals [Re: Morodiene]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
There are several ways to pedal, and so it is a complicated task. When I was learning piano, I was not allowed to use the damper pedal at all, and the music I was assigned could be fine without (no Romantic pieces that required it). My teacher wanted me to learn a good legato first.

The problem, of course, was that after 10 years of lessons, I had not used the pedal much at all. I think that was too long, and of course, my legato was fine. I am also one who likes to use pedal for Baroque and Classical period music, but tastefully.

I think 4 years seems an awful long time to wait. I don't make my students wait, but I may direct them to first learn a piece without pedaling, then we add it later. Students in their first year learn to use pedal to some degree.

I don't think it is wrong for you to want to use the pedal at this point in your development. Your teacher has stated she would teach it to you in January, so wait for that. If she doesn't do it, however, then perhaps it's time to move on to another teacher.


I like my teacher and we have a good raport. I primarilly take the Grade exams so if pedalling was essential for the exam, I would have been taught by now. I was merely curious as to how long other people had waited before being taught pedalling. I took my Grade 2 exam and one of the pieces I played had pedalling. There was a footnote at the bottom of the page, stating that although the pedalling marks were in the music, pedalling wa by no means essential. Same as for my Grade 3 Bach piece... they had trills and the trills were optional. My teacher said that the examiner was not going to mark me down for not playing trills as it would be nice to play them but not essential. The piece was difficult enough for a small fingered pianist, without the added struggle of playing trills. I look forward to January and the foot pedals lol

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