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#2015920 - 01/17/13 04:20 AM Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun.
Cassiesmom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 55
Loc: Mid Atlantic, US.
Hey Folks,

I’d like to just introduce myself to the group. My background sounds very similar to many of the folks on this forum. I took lessons as a kid (About 3 ½ years of them before I flat out quit) Of course that was 30 years ago (oh dear). I do own an older Roland digital piano, and over the years would sit and play for a little while for fun every few months or so. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, but other things took precedence. However, In the back of my mind, I always planned to return to it, and do it all properly.

About 10 or 11 months ago, I sat down at the keyboard one night and just knew, at that moment, it was finally the right time. I played regularly for about a month, was gung-ho and committed and then a draining family situation got in the way (I know we all go through them). However, it affected my available time, added responsibilities to my life, and quite frankly my emotional commitment to the pursuit of music seemed to evaporate. I still found your Forums though, around that time, and continued to read here regularly late at night after my work shifts. I stayed connected that way, while still playing occasionally. Finally, at the start of this new year, I realized that life, and the moment, will never be perfect and If I wait for the optimal time to commit to anything, it will never happen.

So ability wise, I’m probably still at some sort of intermediate level, although what I can do is ALL over the place. When I quit, our lessons would be something like working on a Bach Invention, then something from the Sonatina album along with a “piece”. (the most difficult pieces I got to were: Debussy-1st Arabesque, Chopin-“Military Polonaise”, Rach- Prelude in C# Minor”, Lecuono-Malaguena etc.-the list isn’t that long really. While some of it’s an utter disaster, I’m pleasantly surprised at what I can still play overall. On the other hand, I’m disappointed at how badly plenty of seemingly easier stuff is going. For example, scales (really??) and the handful of Bach Inventions I had learned are a terrible struggle etc etc. Playing evenly, getting the fingering correct, etc. And honestly, now I wonder a bit, did I even have it all down very successfully the first time through as a kid ? I progressed very quickly, was a strong sight reader, breezed through lessons, so now I wonder did that impact the strength of my piano foundation? Don’t know, but I also feel like I don’t remember ½ the stuff people talk about here, seriously, the first time someone mentioned practicing arpeggios, I was like HUH? What’s that? And had to look it up….. AUGH!!!!...and something as simple as sitting correctly, wrist position and obviously tension in the hands/fingers.-not sure I was specifically even taught that?.. maybe... goodness knows some of the harder pieces hurt my hands back then and it hurts them to even try to get through them now. There’s a LOT to break down and work on (I obviously need to go WAY back in order to go forward).. sight reading is still good, notewise,.but geez, don’t remember what most of the notations(terminology) means in the music. I just bought a musical dictionary. Oh gosh and there’s the whole theory thing. I’m honestly a bit overwhelmed at what I don’t know.

My game plan is to work(daily) on my own for a few months to get some of it back,- then start the process of finding a good teacher (that is an intimidating thought for me). And I know that finding an acoustic piano seems like a necessity too at some point down the road.
LONG term goal (YEARS down the road)- Play advanced classical repertoire, and add jazz to the mix along the way.

Okay.. sorry for the long, rambling (but probably cathartic to me ☺ ) post.

By the way, I want to thank everyone who populates the PianoWorld forums. For “lurkers” like me, the info and experience you all share is so appreciated.

Regards
c.

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#2015923 - 01/17/13 04:27 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3697
Loc: Northern England.
What d`ya actually want to DO on the piano? Be a conert pianist? just enjoy playing classics/jazz/covers? Or perhaps some of yer own stuff?

There`s so much out there for you. I get confused meself as to what to focus on.

And then SHE finds a job for me to do ... .!

Best o` luck man. Whatever you do, enjoy it!
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2015932 - 01/17/13 04:58 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: peterws]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 762
Loc: Switzerland
Welcome Cassiesmom! You will find there are a lot of adult re-beginners here, who took some lessons as a child and started again 30+ years later. My advice is to find a teacher as soon as possible to make sure that you start off with a good foundation on your way back. It is intimidating to sit down in front of a teacher, but they are happy to help you on your way back. With your background it should come back pretty quickly. I started back without a teacher, and ended up having to unlearn some bad technique that I managed to develop on my own. I know some people do fine without a teacher, but having one has sure helped me. Have fun with your piano!
_________________________



European Piano Party July 4, 2015 in Switzerland!

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#2016141 - 01/17/13 01:24 PM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 979
Originally Posted By: Cassiesmom
Don’t know, but I also feel like I don’t remember ½ the stuff people talk about here, seriously, the first time someone mentioned practicing arpeggios, I was like HUH? What’s that? And had to look it up….. AUGH!!!!
Hi and welcome! Wanted to add that there's no need to look anything up, just ask. We often use terms that are common to us and forget that others may not be familiar with the term. Some things have to do with that big pond between all of us, right UK? (what's a quaver?) smile Now that you are on the board, ask anything. The worst that could happen is that you'll start a debate.
_________________________
-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
My Sight Reading eBook
My Music

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#2016162 - 01/17/13 02:00 PM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Welcome, Cassiesmom. How wonderful that you're making time in your life for piano.

You mentioned theory. You might want to join us on the Starting out with analysis, all invited thread which is just getting underway (but anyone can join at anytime). And/or on the Classical Sonata Analysis thread -- we've branched out from Sonatas, and are currently looking at Chopin's Nocturne in Eb Major Op. 9 No. 2, with a healthy sprinkling of some of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words. Although the thread has been going for a while, anyone is welcome to join at anytime -- just ask questions if you're not sure about some of what we're talking about.

We have quarterly recital threads -- the next one is coming up soon (a thread will be started to be open for submissions on Feb. 1, submissions close Feb. 14 or 15) -- and a monthly Piano Bar thread which is less formal and you can submit to it at any time. We have also started having occasional Themed Recitals. We've done Glass Metamorphoses, Satie Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes, and now we're working on Mendelssohn Songs Without Words (hence all the Mendelssohn in the Classical Sonata Analysis thread, even though they're not sonatas). We'd love to hear your playing in any or all of these.

You mentioned your hands hurting in some of your pieces. From what I know as a piano student, that sounds like a problem. I don't think hands should ever hurt when playing piano. The pain is usually a sign that you're holding tension, or reaching in an awkward manner, or something else that is well worth changing. This could be something to raise with a teacher.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2016261 - 01/17/13 05:39 PM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
Arghhh Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 1146
Hi, and welcome!

This statement that you wrote made me smile, because I know exactly what you're talking about.

Quote:
While some of it’s an utter disaster, I’m pleasantly surprised at what I can still play overall. On the other hand, I’m disappointed at how badly plenty of seemingly easier stuff is going. For example, scales (really??) and the handful of Bach Inventions I had learned are a terrible struggle etc etc. Playing evenly, getting the fingering correct, etc. And honestly, now I wonder a bit, did I even have it all down very successfully the first time through as a kid ?


I am sure that as adults our perception of how well we do something is more realistic than what we knew as kids. Or at least, our evaluation now is pessimistic whereas our evaluation as kids was optimistic. And I have proof of this. In highschool I played in the pit for a musical, and thought I did a fairly good job. I just recently watched a recording of it, and wondered how I ever could have thought it was good!

Scales - they're hard. Don't worry about their present level, just watch for the progress.

Teacher - you mentioned waiting a couple months to find a teacher. With the problems you described involving things being painful to play, I would opt for looking sooner than later. And shop around. It may take a bit to find a teacher you like. You're probably thinking you want to get more comfortable with playing again before finding a teacher, but you'll be getting into bad habits and it will be more frustrating later to have to start over to undo those.

And finally, my one bit of technical advice is to always strive for finding the EASIEST way to play something. If it feels physically hard (as opposed to just uncoordinated), you're putting too much effort into it.

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#2016438 - 01/18/13 12:14 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Arghhh]
Cassiesmom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 55
Loc: Mid Atlantic, US.
Thank you all for the warm welcome and helpful advice !.

SwissMS and Arghhh (love the name!!), you’re probably right about finding a teacher right away. I think I have already picked up some bad habits/technique brought about by not having someone around to “keep me honest”. I spent so many years playing just occasionally for fun that I would blow over some of the hard stuff so I could still play something up to speed and enjoy what I was doing. Never focused on anything that tripped me up (even pop/broadway stuff), I just ignored it and kept playing. So now, I have a mess on my hands I think.

However, finding a teacher is a bit intimidating (not only because I have always had an unreasonable fear of playing in front anyone), but I don’t even know how to find someone who could help an adult who has such a mixed bag of tricks. I’ve starting looking (online only) at teachers in the area. The few that have websites seem to cater to children or beginners. I’m hoping to find someone to help fix things and then take me to another level, so would prefer someone advanced.

Any ideas on where to look or do most people just find names online and start making phone calls? There is a university in the area and I’m sure they have some students that do some teaching on the side, but think I would prefer someone more mature (age and life experience).

I’m hoping for it to be rather local as I have lengthy commutes between work and family stuff on most days of the week.

PianoStudent88-I’ll definitely come over and join in on the analysis thread. Thanks! I probably won’t have a lot to contribute yet, but will be very helpful for me to follow the beginning one/or maybe both. I feel like some of what I can play is because I’m on auto pilot while playing, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t break it down and explain the theory behind it, so what a great place to get started again.

Brian Lucas-I’ll try not to be afraid to ask my dumb questions smile

Arghh- too funny, I don’t have any old cringe-worthy recordings (just as well) but I really think you’re right – my adult perception is I think far different that what I thought as a child.!

Again, thank you all!
c

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#2016459 - 01/18/13 01:27 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Well, imagine my surprise when I clicked the thread and all we were talking about was a new adult piano re-learner ha

If you wish to re-gain what you've lost as well as begin learning anew past where you were (be a little patient with this one), a teacher is certainly recommended as members have suggested. I especially recommend mentioning the pain your experiencing during interviews. Preferably you'll find somebody not only with experience in teaching adults, but that has a degree in piano pedagogy (teaching piano) or at least maybe piano performance. You don't need to have a clear goal in mind when you start, but note that some teachers can and will only teach jazz or classical if you'd like to study both (there are teachers capable with both, but you'll need to search hard). Put in a lot of effort looking around (good search engine on the bottom left of the page here: http://www.mtnacertification.org/) and interviewing so that you can connect with and trust the teacher closely and so that you can relax in the end with your lessons being nothing but productive and enjoyable (think of how you practice long and hard so that your performances eventually are easy).

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#2016499 - 01/18/13 03:21 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Bobpickle]
Cassiesmom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 55
Loc: Mid Atlantic, US.
Well, as long as my title lured you in grin
Thanks for the welcome -
I took at look at the MTNA link you sent and there are a couple of teachers listed in my area that I can contact. Thanks for the lead.. . I'm sure there are other threads about finding teachers I can search out (and will), but do you have any standard questions you like to ask prospective teachers?

Thanks for the tip about some teachers only teaching one or the other (jazz/class) I hadn't considered that. I definitely want to focus on classical, but hoping to become more well rounded musically ( my childhood teacher included some very basic jazz a part of her lessons -beginning pieces from Gillock) oh and for the tip about what to look for in a prospective teacher's educational background.

Regards,
c.

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#2016576 - 01/18/13 08:38 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1739
Loc: south florida
Quote:
Any ideas on where to look or do most people just find names online and start making phone calls?


Call the head of the music department at the local university and ask for teacher recommendations.

Ask for recommendations at piano stores

Ask your piano tuner if you have a tech. If not, call the head of the local chapter of the technicians professional society and ask them. (sorry I forget the organization name).


Edited by JimF (01/18/13 08:39 AM)
_________________________
Solfeggietto - CPE Bach
La Fille aux cheveux de lin - Debussy
Ma Mere L'Oye - Ravel


Estonia L190 #7284





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#2016614 - 01/18/13 10:04 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: JimF]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: JimF
Ask your piano tuner if you have a tech. If not, call the head of the local chapter of the technicians professional society and ask them. (sorry I forget the organization name).

Piano Technician's Guild (PTG). You might also see RPT after a tuner's name, which stands for "Registered Piano Technician" and is a credential offered by the PTG.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2016817 - 01/18/13 04:59 PM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
stumbler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/10
Posts: 280
Loc: Toronto
Welcome Cassiesmom. Your situation is familiar. I started lessons again last summer. I spent a few months prior, trying to go it alone and started to have some hand problems. Be careful not to push yourself too hard. As adults we are self motivated, but too much practice too soon can lead to problems. Trying harder is not always the answer. Be patient with yourself.

Is there a music conservatory in your area? If so you might check out their teachers.
_________________________
Roland RD-700NX


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#2016822 - 01/18/13 05:14 PM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Thinking about what to ask a prospective music teacher:

I thought about this a lot last summer when I was thinking of looking for a new teacher, and came up with a VEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRY LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG list of questions that I would want to know about a new teacher. But then it was pointed out to me that teachers could find it very offputting to be GRILLED with my VEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRY LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG list of questions. Plus I think I got control of my Inner Control Freak which wants to know Everything In Advance, and was willing to trust more in a conversation, and listening to what the teacher says.

So my new approach (if I get money again for a teacher; this has been roadtested with one teacher before my finances declared No Lessons For Now) is to say something about myself, and then ask the teacher to talk about herself.

So, from what I know of your circumstances from this thread, an approach might be like:

"I am an adult student, with 3 1/2 years of lessons as a child, started up again this year and am dedicated to making time in my life for piano. Before I tell you a bit about myself, may I ask if you teach adults?"

If they say no-- "Can you recommend some other teachers I could call?"

If they say yes-- "May I tell you a bit about myself? I want to learn to play the piano well, and am willing to do the work required. I am finding that I remember parts of what I learned as a child, but other parts are rusty, and I feel that my knowledge and skills are uneven at this point. I am experiencing pain in my hands on some pieces I play and wonder if I am using faulty technique, and would like to find a teacher who can help me with this. I would also like to learn more about learning and practicing a piece than my current methods which may not be producing the best results. I am primarily interested in classical music at this point, but at some point would like to round out my piano-playing with other styles. Can you tell me something about your teaching?"

Listen to what the teacher says, and ask for clarification as needed.

Only at the end would I ask for the details about what town they are located in (although hopefully you have been able to find that out in advance), how long a lesson they recommend, what their availability is, and what they charge. (Many teachers attest that the first, and only, thing people ask is when are lessons available, and how much they charge, and teachers uniformly find this bizarre for people to put that first, and not to ask anything else.)

The statements from my own circumstances would be something like (changed bits italicized):

"I am an adult student, self-taught as a child, started up again 2 years ago and had 15 months of lessons during that time. Before I tell you a bit about myself, may I ask if you teach adults?"

"May I tell you a bit about myself? I want to learn to play the piano well, and am willing to do the work required. I am very interested in good technique and musicality, and am willing to start over at square one if needed. I would also like to learn more about learning and practicing a piece than my current methods which may not be producing the best results. I am primarily interested in classical music at this point, but at some point would like to round out my piano-playing with other styles. One particular thing that I would like to be able to learn is Baroque style -- for example how to take a Bach urtext and interpret and ornament it in an appropriate way. But I am interested in all periods of music. Can you tell me something about your teaching?"

I included the part about learning how to practice in both blurbs because I think that's important for everyone, and apparently it's not always taught.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2016960 - 01/18/13 10:45 PM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
BillTheSlink Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/12
Posts: 108
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Quote:

I’m hoping for it to be rather local as I have lengthy commutes between work and family stuff on most days of the week.


Have you considered a Skype teacher? Do you have a laptop or can put your computer next to your piano and attach a webcam that can focus in on the keyboard? I know of a couple of people who have Skype teachers, well one logs into a teacher's site, and they love not having to commute. I myself am going it alone, but you mentioned pain which means you need a teacher like now. I wish I could have a teacher but I am disabled. Perhaps if I get my social security right away I can afford one, but I am broke right now. Anyway, there is a ton of them out there and the one my friend raves about is OnQ (Because the lady calls herself Mrs. Q) and is in New York. I looked into it and it is very reasonable. She manly deals with children but is very good with adult according to my friend. She has a box on her site where you can ask questions and she will get back to you. You could also try the teachers forum on pianoworld and see who teaches on Skype there if you want to go that route. My other friend's Skype teacher isn't accepting new students at the moment. http://www.onqpiano.com/skype-piano-lessons


Edited by BillTheSlink (01/18/13 10:48 PM)
_________________________
Currently I am without a piano, but when I get mine back I will be working on "The Complete Piano Player", as well as Neely's "How to Play from a Fake Book. I am spending my time working on theory and learning how to construct chords currently.


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#2017065 - 01/19/13 03:35 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: BillTheSlink]
Cassiesmom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 55
Loc: Mid Atlantic, US.
Thanks guys, for the additional suggestions. I’m so impressed by the amount of thought that goes into your posts!.

BillTheSlink- The Skype idea was a great suggestion (it might even be something I would consider for the future). It’s not a viable option right now as I have connectivity issues when trying to Skype or Facetime w/ friends. I think it’s my location. In addition, right now, I think I’d be better in a face to face situation. (and in a self-serving way I’m hoping they have a lovely acoustic piano I’ll get to play on an a bonus) grin I totally get the $$ situation. Good luck to you !!

PianoStudent88- Can’t tell you how much I appreciate that you “spelled out” potential interview scenarios/and tips. SUPER helpful in putting everything together in a cohesive way for me that I will definitely be using.

Jim-Thanks for suggesting additional resources for my search!.

Stumbler- No actual conseravtories-But, I just found online in a search that one of the closer cities has a Music school that offers private lessons for Adults (and it looks like it has a satellite branch within a 20 minute drive)-am still reading through the brochure online. Might be a great option Wonder if their pricing is similar to what’s out there privately-I would think higher $$. But will call the local university like Jim suggested too. Yikes, big addition to my monthly expenses.. well, you are all familiar with that. And good advice about not pushing it. I’m very impatient...sometimes it's okay, and then It just starts to sound worse and worse to my ear with all my bumbling.. grrrrr.

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#2017126 - 01/19/13 08:34 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1739
Loc: south florida
Just by the way, of my suggestions I think the RPT Piano Technician is the best source. Think about it. Who knows more pianists and sees them on a regular basis? Who tunes every teacher piano and sees them one or two times a year. My tech is himself an accomplished musician and pretty much knows all of the best teachers.
_________________________
Solfeggietto - CPE Bach
La Fille aux cheveux de lin - Debussy
Ma Mere L'Oye - Ravel


Estonia L190 #7284





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#2017298 - 01/19/13 02:23 PM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: JimF]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: JimF
Just by the way, of my suggestions I think the RPT Piano Technician is the best source. Think about it. Who knows more pianists and sees them on a regular basis? Who tunes every teacher piano and sees them one or two times a year. My tech is himself an accomplished musician and pretty much knows all of the best teachers.


I'd second this. I've never asked my tuner personally as I actually found him through my teacher, but I recently came across an online listing of teachers in my area browsing through a tuner's website's links and all of the teachers had degrees and/or were at least certified at the state level (mtac).

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#2017564 - 01/19/13 10:14 PM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Bobpickle]
Cassiesmom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 55
Loc: Mid Atlantic, US.
Hey Jim & BobP-
I have a digital piano right now so I don't have an established relationship w/ a tuner/technician. Do you think it would still be okay to call just to inquire about teacher recommendations.. (since I'm not using their services) ? Or inappropriate?

I will see if any have websites w/ local teacher recommendations ...like you mentioned BobP..

Thanks for the advice
c.

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#2017626 - 01/20/13 01:34 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I'm sure most would be more than happy to oblige with teacher recommendations so long as you don't catch them during tuning a piano or something (even then, you could just ask if you could call back at a better time). Just make sure they understand that you're looking for a classical (and possibly also jazz) teacher for an adult.

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#2017758 - 01/20/13 10:33 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: Cassiesmom]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1739
Loc: south florida
I would just go ahead and call. After all,you are at least a potential customer if you eventually go acoustic. By the way tech's are a great source when looking for pianos... who else knows every household where the kids have stopped playing, or where an upgrade necessitates a sale. If you think there is an acoustic in your future you could even start off with asking if he would keep an eye out for you.
_________________________
Solfeggietto - CPE Bach
La Fille aux cheveux de lin - Debussy
Ma Mere L'Oye - Ravel


Estonia L190 #7284





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#2019447 - 01/23/13 04:21 AM Re: Finally ready to come out of the closet and join in the fun. [Re: JimF]
Cassiesmom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 55
Loc: Mid Atlantic, US.
BobP & JimF-Thanks for the replies and good advice. Will do as suggested .. I had the chance to stop in at a piano store to see if I could get some recommendations there as well. That didn't pan out--- other than starting me on my acoustic piano search. .. that's a whole other process that will take time. Fun to look though ! smile

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by Ruan
10/22/14 01:10 AM
Is this a real Steinway?
by chernobieff
10/21/14 11:51 PM
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