I fooled around with the piano for a couple of years but didnt learn anything as I didnt have an instructor nor did I have any music knowledge. I began taking lessons with an instructor exactly 1 year ago.
Over the course of a year (minus about 13 weeks with no lessons over the summer and other out of town occurrences) I worked with a few books, Piano Adventures level 4, Line a Day sight reading level 4 and dozen a day technique. Before I started lessons I had a very hard time even recognizing the notes on the keyboard or the staff with any sort of speed. After a year I finished Line a day Level 4 and I am 80% done with ABRSM Specimen sight reading tests Grade 4. My sight reading ability has skyrocketed. I no longer have to play slowly or rarely pause. Now I am working on all of the other aspects of sight reading such as the dynamics and expression etc.
I finished PA level 4 and have moved on to level 5 and am about 1/3 of the way through this book. The slowest progress has been through dozen a day, I am only about 50% done with that book as she is a stickler for technique (we just recently started scales, because she wanted my technique to be perfect first) and I have to be completely masterful before we are able to move on. And we never move on from the old, just move up to a new one. The only time old technique practices fall off are when newer ones are similar. I have noticed I have had to most trouble with the series of 16th notes and hand unevenness, to this day I am still working on that.
I was almost forced
but not really, but sort of..lol, to participate in a recital that the music school I attend puts on, by that point I was only 20% into PA 4 and really didnt feel confident to play infront of people, let alone in front of a lot of people and be the oldest there by far! I am 28 btw and the average kid performing was about 9. To top it off 2 easier pieces than most of them! lol. Embarrassing, initially, but it turned out to be a great experience. I look forward to participating again this year.
I have to say that my skills are light years ahead of where they started and for those of you who are older, you can do it! I know we all say we dont have time, but we do, I am a 2nd year medical student and A LOT of my time is already consumed with studying and school related activities, but I still find time to work out and practice piano. I may be going slow (Im not sure how quickly people usually progress) but I enjoy every moment along the way.
I had a few questions: is the PA series 4-5 appropriate for an adult? Also, how long to people usually spend on these books? Is level 4 ABRSM sight reading where I should be at this point (1 yr of lessons) or should I be further ahead? And last but not least, I plan on staying with my teacher until I graduate (May 2015) And I wanted to know if there is even a snowballs chance in ____, that I could potentially be able to play Chopins Ballade #1 after the next 2.5 years? Given the amount of time which I have to practice, which for the next couple of years with rotations around, will probably be 1-1.5 hrs a day on avg. I really hope it doesnt take 5 or 10 years for me to be able to play a piece like this, but IDK, and my instructor says she wont say no or yes, because so many things factor into that.
Thanks for reading and GL everyone on your piano goals!