Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 >
Topic Options
#2037672 - 02/22/13 06:40 PM Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem?
Okanagan Musician Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 25
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
A little context for this question:

I received a BMus and BEd a few years ago and have been teaching piano privately since my teenage years - piano education fascinates me! How the brain works, best ways to approach and learn different styles and pieces...it's a never ending journey of self-improvement as a teacher!

I am trying to compile a list of questions/problems that are most common in adult beginners (or even intermediates). My goal is to find out exactly what issues are most prevalent and find a way to research and solve those questions or problems specifically.

I'd like to keep this as broad as possible - so go ahead and shoot with your question no matter how stupid you think it may be!

It could be something really general (ie how to learn a song by ear) or something specific (ie how to strengthen the 4th and 5th fingers) - it doesn't matter!

So to summarize:

What is your number one question when it comes to learning piano?


Edited by Okanagan Musician (02/22/13 06:41 PM)
_________________________
What's the #1 Secret to learning any song on the piano? Discover how to save time practicing!

http://www.takeonlinepianolessons.com


Top
(ads P/S)
Petrof Pianos

piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2037679 - 02/22/13 06:59 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
As a teacher of many beginners, including adults, I would say that the #1 issue is learning how to correctly practice.

Common practice problems:

* Going too fast.
* Playing something over and over, which is not practicing...it is playing.
* Over-practicing the same thing, mistakes and all.
* Taking on too much without letting the brain absorb (during sleep).
* Going too fast.
* Not building a foundation of technique so the hands work in a relaxed way.
* Going too fast. laugh


ps...I love your interest in how the brain learns, different styles of learning, etc. That is a big focus of my teaching and study, and is crucial. There is no one size fits all.

Good post!


Edited by rocket88 (02/22/13 07:07 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

Top
#2037691 - 02/22/13 07:14 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rocket88]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2204
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: rocket88
As a teacher of many beginners, including adults, I would say that the #1 issue is learning how to correctly practice.

Common practice problems:

* Going too fast.
* Playing something over and over, which is not practicing...it is playing.
* Over-practicing the same thing, mistakes and all.
* Taking on too much without letting the brain absorb (during sleep).
* Going too fast.
* Not building a foundation of technique so the hands work in a relaxed way.
* Going too fast. laugh


ps...I love your interest in how the brain learns, different styles of learning, etc. That is a big focus of my teaching and study, and is crucial. There is no one size fits all.

Good post!


+1 to all of that.

Right now I'm wondering about this one especially:
Originally Posted By: rocket88
* Taking on too much without letting the brain absorb (during sleep).

What is the best chunk size? or Does the chunk size depend on the content of the chunk? How many chunks can my little brain manage? and how can I figure out the answers to these questions?
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

Top
#2037703 - 02/22/13 07:50 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
There was a recent post somewhere on these PW forums by forum member "Jazzwee" which is an excellent writing on this from his Blog.

I don't know where the post is, but here is the link to this article on his Blog:

http://jazzwee-blog.blogspot.com/2010/12/practice-secret-accept-that-daily.html
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

Top
#2037706 - 02/22/13 07:55 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
Sand Tiger Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 912
Loc: Southern California
The questions beginners ask tend be different from the issues that most beginners have.

Some common questions that come up all the time:

How do I find a teacher?

What piano should I buy?

Help with sight reading.

Help with memorization.

Help with stage fright.

Help with coordinating both hands (hand independence or interdependence).

Many new beginners want to know how long it will be before they can play such-and-such piece of music.

I am leaving out the pie-in-the-sky questions, which are common, but probably can't be helped. Questions which often boil down to: how can I learn much faster than everyone else is able to?


_________________________
my piano uploads

Top
#2037717 - 02/22/13 08:53 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rocket88]
scorpio Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/12
Posts: 466
Loc: Connecticut, USA
Originally Posted By: rocket88

Common practice problems:

* Going too fast.
* Playing something over and over, which is not practicing...it is playing.
* Over-practicing the same thing, mistakes and all.
* Taking on too much without letting the brain absorb (during sleep).
* Going too fast.
* Not building a foundation of technique so the hands work in a relaxed way.
* Going too fast. laugh


All issues I am currently dealing with ... and trying to address.
_________________________

    Yamaha P-155

    Top
    #2037723 - 02/22/13 09:04 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
    newest student Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 10/26/12
    Posts: 23
    Loc: Eastern PA
    My No. 1 question:

    Why cant I learn faster?

    And No 2: If I can learn faster, then how?

    Top
    #2037742 - 02/22/13 10:01 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rocket88]
    hamlet cat Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 01/01/13
    Posts: 103
    Loc: Mojave Desert
    Originally Posted By: rocket88


    * Going too fast.

    * Going too fast.

    * Going too fast. laugh


    I'd like hear more on your thoughts about practice speed. When is a person going too fast? What is an appropriate speed? Is too slow, better than too fast? From your emphasis, I take it this is the number one issue leading to poor practice, and if I may extrapolate, wasted effort.

    Top
    #2037744 - 02/22/13 10:07 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
    hamlet cat Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 01/01/13
    Posts: 103
    Loc: Mojave Desert
    Originally Posted By: Okanagan Musician

    What is your number one question when it comes to learning piano?


    Will I ever really have that crazy popular hit single that wakes me up in the middle of the night? And in doing so, usher in a new era of dance/snyth pop like it was the 80's all over again?

    Top
    #2037745 - 02/22/13 10:10 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rocket88]
    keystring Online   content
    Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 12/11/07
    Posts: 11181
    Loc: Canada
    Originally Posted By: rocket88
    As a teacher of many beginners, including adults, I would say that the #1 issue is learning how to correctly practice.


    What types of things would you want students to learn in learning how to correctly practice, other than playing slower (which obviously is the answer to "going too fast")?

    Top
    #2037753 - 02/22/13 10:23 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: keystring]
    rocket88 Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 09/04/06
    Posts: 3158
    Originally Posted By: keystring
    Originally Posted By: rocket88
    As a teacher of many beginners, including adults, I would say that the #1 issue is learning how to correctly practice.


    What types of things would you want students to learn in learning how to correctly practice, other than playing slower (which obviously is the answer to "going too fast")?


    Keystring, thanks for your question.

    Basically, Jazzwee's blog to which I supplied the link in my earlier post (and below) is an excellent description that sums up what constitutes very effective practice.

    It basically boils down to understanding how the brain learns piano, and then disciplining oneself to a regimen that accomodates that learning style.

    Its like someone who is overweight and out of shape...they can't just run around the block a few times, and drink some diet soda and expect good results.

    There has to be a plan that meshes with an understanding of how the body works, and how diet and exercise works. These concepts are much better understood now that in years before.

    Take that concept and apply it to how the brain learns piano. We know a lot more about that than before.

    Practicing correctly involves understanding those concepts, and disciplining oneself to apply them.

    Jazzwee's blog is a very good explanation of that. What he explains is essentially what I explain to all my students.

    Here is the link again:

    http://jazzwee-blog.blogspot.com/2010/12/practice-secret-accept-that-daily.html

    In its essence, it involves:

    1. Practicing a small chunk very precisely and perfectly= Slow!

    2. Do that just a few times, 3-5 times.

    3. Stop, and don't come back to it until you have slept overnight.

    4. Do that with more than one phrase in the music.

    Of course there is more to it, such as "do you learn better by hearing, or by reading". But what is in that blog is the essentials.

    ps...As I repeatedly noted, playing everything way too fast is a universal problem, and should not to be overlooked simply because "going slower" is the obvious answer. For some reason, many people seem to be unable to go slower.

    I have seen people go the same fast pace, or actually go faster after I say "go slower". I think this is because they are so busy trying to play that the tempo is overlooked. Or perhaps it is because they have practiced it too fast (back to practicing incorrectly), and that faster tempo is now a hard to break habit.

    But, if students would just go slower with everything, scales, repertoire, their learning would be a lot better. So playing too fast is a big problem, one of the major ones.


    Edited by rocket88 (02/23/13 07:42 PM)
    _________________________
    Music teacher and piano player.

    Top
    #2037774 - 02/22/13 11:33 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
    Okanagan Musician Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 02/20/13
    Posts: 25
    Loc: British Columbia, Canada
    Some great questions so far, keep them coming!


    Edited by Okanagan Musician (02/22/13 11:36 PM)
    _________________________
    What's the #1 Secret to learning any song on the piano? Discover how to save time practicing!

    http://www.takeonlinepianolessons.com


    Top
    #2037776 - 02/22/13 11:57 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
    Michael_99 Offline
    500 Post Club Member

    Registered: 07/28/12
    Posts: 935
    Loc: Canada Alberta
    As a beginner or beginner adult, you must learn hands/fingers position. Open to page 1 of Book 1 of learning piano, your choice of many book methods. First play and say the letter-names of the notes of the measure and continue on through exercise 1 going so slowly that you make no mistakes. Repeat that exercise everyday, day after day, week after week, month after month. It is that simple. You must review and review without mistakes. Repeat everyday what you have learned the day before. So effectively you just keep reviewing everthing you have ever learned from day one and never stop reviewing after adding new exercises always trying to make everything you play the best that you can. Always listen to what you play and soon you will hear the difference when you play everytime you play the piano. It will probably take anywhere from 6 months to a year to learn book 1 consisting of about 50 pages of Book 1. Repeat everyday what you have learned the day before. Critical is to always look at your music and never look at your hands. If you are looking at your hands instead of your music it means you must go even more slowly because there is never a reason to ever look at your hands/fingers but it is always important to look at your music when you play. When you are not at the piano, you should be able to look at the next piece you are going to learn and be able to say the notes without hesitation as you read through the measures of the piece.


    Edited by Michael_99 (02/23/13 12:01 AM)

    Top
    #2037849 - 02/23/13 08:25 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
    Tech 5 Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 07/27/12
    Posts: 194
    Loc: South Carolina
    #One problem: Distinguishing tempo from rhythm from timing...

    We are advised to practice slowly, even in "slow motion", but how does one give appropriate "time" to an eighth note compared to a quarter note when going in slow motion?
    _________________________
    Virginia

    "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
    J.Wooden

    Top
    #2037854 - 02/23/13 08:42 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
    fizikisto Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 02/13/12
    Posts: 214
    Loc: Hernando, MS
    Tech 5
    That's a really good question. My advice would be "don't try". This is my opinion, and others may differ, but I think slow practice should be primarily about coordinating the motion of the hands with the notes. When I do slow practice, I don't worry about rhythm, or dynamics. What I focus on is simply moving my hands to the correct notes and playing them in the correct way. You might call it No-tempo practice. And when I say playing the notes in the correct way, I mean playing them with the least amount of extraneous tension that I can manage. For example, some beginners have a tendency to raise their shoulders up when they're playing (or "wing" their elbows outward, or lift up their unused fingers, etc...) which is a source of unnecessary tension. For any kind of athletic endeavor, improper tension is the enemy of peak performance. So when I do slow practice I focus on breathing, relaxing, and coordinating the motions. When I have rehearsed the motions enough to play them in a relaxed manner (and with good posture and structure) then I start to bring the piece up to tempo, adding in rhythm and dynamics and rubato or whatever the piece calls for.
    _________________________
    Nord Stage 2 HA88
    Yamaha P-250

    Top
    #2037857 - 02/23/13 08:46 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
    fizikisto Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 02/13/12
    Posts: 214
    Loc: Hernando, MS
    This is a really great thread. I think one of the hardest questions, especially for beginners is "How do I set realistic goals" which is related to some variation on the theme of "How long will it take me to get good?" I wonder sometimes if it is a challenge for piano teachers to manage their students' expectations.
    _________________________
    Nord Stage 2 HA88
    Yamaha P-250

    Top
    #2037860 - 02/23/13 08:55 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Tech 5]
    scorpio Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 11/30/12
    Posts: 466
    Loc: Connecticut, USA
    When I practice slow, every note is played relative to the slower tempo. So, two eighth notes still equal a quarter note; same time and space, just slower. I think of it in terms of beats; you still need to get two eighth notes in on one beat (assuming x/4 time signature).

    I have read some theories that you need to get to the correct tempo as soon as possible to avoid timing issues and bad habits. I am curious what others have to say about this.

    From my limited experience, practicing slow and only a few measures at a time has increased my rate of improvement, dramatically. But I still fall into the trap (less often) of repeatedly playing through a song, warts and all. And again from my experience, the improvement is little to none with that method.
    _________________________

      Yamaha P-155

      Top
      #2037864 - 02/23/13 08:59 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Tech 5]
      musdan Offline
      1000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/05/05
      Posts: 1151
      Originally Posted By: Tech 5
      #One problem: Distinguishing tempo from rhythm from timing...

      We are advised to practice slowly, even in "slow motion", but how does one give appropriate "time" to an eighth note compared to a quarter note when going in slow motion?



      Correct tempo, rhythm and timing are difficult for me. Using a metrome should help, but what bpm do you set it for - "tis a puzzelment."

      My teacher did say it was coming along - music is tempo, rhythm and timing. smile

      Top
      #2037873 - 02/23/13 09:42 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: scorpio]
      SwissMS Online   content
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 01/09/11
      Posts: 645
      Loc: Switzerland
      Originally Posted By: scorpio
      When I practice slow, every note is played relative to the slower tempo. So, two eighth notes still equal a quarter note; same time and space, just slower. I think of it in terms of beats; you still need to get two eighth notes in on one beat (assuming x/4 time signature).


      This is what I was taught to do as well. The overall choreography is slow, but the rhythm and dynamics are the same as the end product.

      I guess my number one question/problem is - am I really practicing effectively? I do chunking, slow playing, etc., but it still often seems to take a long time for things to sink in. Being the impatient soul that I am, I am continuing to look for ways to learn a new piece more quickly.
      _________________________
      XXXIII-5-XXIX,XXVII-4-XXIV

      Top
      #2037882 - 02/23/13 10:03 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: SwissMS]
      Saranoya Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 01/27/13
      Posts: 474
      Loc: Brussels, Belgium
      Originally Posted By: SwissMS
      I guess my number one question/problem is - am I really practicing effectively? I do chunking, slow playing, etc., but it still often seems to take a long time for things to sink in. Being the impatient soul that I am, I am continuing to look for ways to learn a new piece more quickly.


      This!

      Although, I differ a bit from SwissMS, in that I *know* my practice isn't very efficient. I also know, for the most part, what I should be doing about it, but don't always stick to the plan. I guess I get lost in the music, most of the time. I want to play it the way it sounds in my head, which naturally leads to faster playing, start to finish.

      Although if there are any tips beyond slow playing and chunking things up that could help, I'm all ears.
      _________________________
      Beginner with some priors since 9/2012

      Playable
      Bach 846, 926, 930
      Beethoven 27/2 mvt. 1
      Burgmüller 100/3, 4, 7, 12, 15, 19
      Chopin 72/1
      Clementi 36/1
      Grieg 12/1, 7
      Tchaikovsky 39/9
      Near-future
      Finish Burgmüller 100
      Handel 437/4
      Bartok Sz. 56
      Rameau Gavotte in a with variations

      Top
      #2037945 - 02/23/13 12:17 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: fizikisto]
      jotur Online   blank
      5000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 09/16/06
      Posts: 5283
      Loc: Santa Fe, NM
      Originally Posted By: fizikisto
      Tech 5
      That's a really good question. . . What I focus on is simply moving my hands to the correct notes and playing them in the correct way. . . And when I say playing the notes in the correct way, I mean playing them with the least amount of extraneous tension that I can manage. For example, some beginners have a tendency to raise their shoulders up when they're playing (or "wing" their elbows outward, or lift up their unused fingers, etc...) which is a source of unnecessary tension. For any kind of athletic endeavor, improper tension is the enemy of peak performance. So when I do slow practice I focus on breathing, relaxing, and coordinating the motions. When I have rehearsed the motions enough to play them in a relaxed manner (and with good posture and structure) then I start to bring the piece up to tempo, . ..


      This, in spades. Except I do as others do and play in rhythm, and dynamics and phrasing, from the beginning. But the "no improper tension" is key for me for making anything musical, or playing at tempo, and being able to play for long periods of time - a 3-hour contra dance (not that we play all the time) or someother long gig - with no injuries or fatigue.

      Cathy
      _________________________

      Top
      #2037947 - 02/23/13 12:22 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      Mark... Offline
      4000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 11/27/06
      Posts: 4372
      Loc: Jersey Shore
      In regard to slow playing:

      I believe playing music gives us some type of endorphin or other brain chemical release that we crave. Playing slow seems to diminish that release causing people to want to play fast, even if they are not ready for the proper speed.

      Just a theory of mine...

      Top
      #2037960 - 02/23/13 12:38 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Mark...]
      malkin Offline
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/18/09
      Posts: 2204
      Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
      Originally Posted By: Mark...
      In regard to slow playing:

      I believe playing music gives us some type of endorphin or other brain chemical release that we crave. Playing slow seems to diminish that release causing people to want to play fast, even if they are not ready for the proper speed.

      Just a theory of mine...


      Interesting thought.
      There must be some intrinsic value to playing too fast, because we keep doing it even though it certainly isn't improving our skills.
      _________________________
      A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

      Top
      #2037990 - 02/23/13 01:33 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Mark...]
      Emissary52 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/17/09
      Posts: 315
      Loc: Monroe, NC USA
      Originally Posted By: Mark...
      In regard to slow playing:

      I believe playing music gives us some type of endorphin or other brain chemical release that we crave. Playing slow seems to diminish that release causing people to want to play fast, even if they are not ready for the proper speed.

      Just a theory of mine...


      Mark... I agree! Sometimes, it's a treat to play perhaps, just a few measures of some music you really want to perform, even if played badly. It just feels so right! Occasionally, you will learn something useful at the same time, that you can apply to a piece you're currently "enduring". It also involves hearing and attempting to play it at the "tempo" and style that you have internalized. Conversely, it can lead to somwhat sloppy playing, as I'm finding out from just starting with a teacher after three years of self-instruction. But that little shot of endorphins serves to motivate at some lean musical times! thumb
      _________________________
      I'm Craig, I'm retired, It's Saturday every day!
      Alfred's Masterwork Classics Vol 3 and Vol 4
      YDP-160, GH-170R
      Alfred 1 Graduate

      Top
      #2037993 - 02/23/13 01:43 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: malkin]
      Bobpickle Offline

      Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


      Registered: 05/24/12
      Posts: 1370
      Loc: Cameron Park, California
      Originally Posted By: malkin
      Originally Posted By: Mark...
      In regard to slow playing:

      I believe playing music gives us some type of endorphin or other brain chemical release that we crave. Playing slow seems to diminish that release causing people to want to play fast, even if they are not ready for the proper speed.

      Just a theory of mine...


      Interesting thought.
      There must be some intrinsic value to playing too fast, because we keep doing it even though it certainly isn't improving our skills.


      My teacher says this is all about wanting to prove to your ego that you can. Feeding our egos - while most certainly tempting - does very little to benefit us in the long run; in fact, in this case and most others, giving in to your ego actually works to our detriment.

      edit: this is why humility (the arch nemesis of the ego) is said to be the most important attribute for a musician


      Edited by Bobpickle (02/23/13 01:44 PM)

      Top
      #2038002 - 02/23/13 02:06 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      malkin Offline
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/18/09
      Posts: 2204
      Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
      I still like the brain chemicals hypothesis. I think my ego notices how bad it sounds too fast and with so many errors.
      _________________________
      A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

      Top
      #2038005 - 02/23/13 02:11 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: malkin]
      Mark... Offline
      4000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 11/27/06
      Posts: 4372
      Loc: Jersey Shore
      Originally Posted By: malkin
      I still like the brain chemicals hypothesis. I think my ego notices how bad it sounds too fast and with so many errors.


      My ego is always in check..he knows he's a hack... smile

      Top
      #2038014 - 02/23/13 02:26 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      fizikisto Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 02/13/12
      Posts: 214
      Loc: Hernando, MS
      I think there is something to be said for playing a piece faster than normal tempo too. NOT when you're beginning a piece of course, but when you know a piece pretty well, and want to polish it, sometimes playing it well at a "too fast" tempo makes it much easier to play properly and smoothly when you slow it down to the normal tempo. Also, sometimes I make more mistakes playing slowly than I do playing quickly. If I'm frustrated and making the same mistake over and over, sometimes playing a phrase (or bar, or whatever) as quickly as I can a few times makes my brain get out of the way and allows my fingers to just do their jobs. Sometimes when you're going too slowly you over-think things.

      More often than not, the reverse is true, If I don't know the piece well enough to practice it at normal or above normal tempo, slowing down is what I need. But every once in awhile fast practice helps me get over a sticking point. Slow practice and fast practice are both tools, and in my opinion they both have their place.
      _________________________
      Nord Stage 2 HA88
      Yamaha P-250

      Top
      #2038025 - 02/23/13 02:42 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Bobpickle]
      Emissary52 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/17/09
      Posts: 315
      Loc: Monroe, NC USA
      Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
      Originally Posted By: malkin
      Originally Posted By: Mark...
      In regard to slow playing:

      I believe playing music gives us some type of endorphin or other brain chemical release that we crave. Playing slow seems to diminish that release causing people to want to play fast, even if they are not ready for the proper speed.

      Just a theory of mine...


      Interesting thought.
      There must be some intrinsic value to playing too fast, because we keep doing it even though it certainly isn't improving our skills.


      My teacher says this is all about wanting to prove to your ego that you can. Feeding our egos - while most certainly tempting - does very little to benefit us in the long run; in fact, in this case and most others, giving in to your ego actually works to our detriment.

      edit: this is why humility (the arch nemesis of the ego) is said to be the most important attribute for a musician


      Bob - It sounds like your piano teacher is a bit too much of a Freudian devotee! But in the Freudian realm, a little ego may be necessary to counterbalance the self-doubt imposed by society (the Super-Ego) e.g. "You really can't do it!" ..."You have no talent." Lastly, Freud was a man of little humility, but intense curiousity! He recommended Heroin to his Morphine-addicted medical colleague, who died from that sterling medical advice. Always check the quality of advice ...no matter how well-intentioned! grin


      Edited by Emissary52 (02/23/13 02:45 PM)
      _________________________
      I'm Craig, I'm retired, It's Saturday every day!
      Alfred's Masterwork Classics Vol 3 and Vol 4
      YDP-160, GH-170R
      Alfred 1 Graduate

      Top
      #2038030 - 02/23/13 02:52 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Tech 5]
      Michael_99 Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/28/12
      Posts: 935
      Loc: Canada Alberta
      We are advised to practice slowly, even in "slow motion", but how does one give appropriate "time" to an eighth note compared to a quarter note when going in slow motion?

      As a beginner you will soon learn that you can play at any speed but the note values are relative to each other so quarter notes take four to make a hole note so note values never change.

      It is like going around a corner on a bike. The corner never changes, but the speed that you take the corner means you lean more or less as you take the same corner everytime at the slow or fast speed.


      Edited by Michael_99 (02/24/13 01:39 AM)

      Top
      #2038042 - 02/23/13 03:09 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: newest student]
      Michael_99 Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/28/12
      Posts: 935
      Loc: Canada Alberta
      My No. 1 question:

      Why cant I learn faster?

      And No 2: If I can learn faster, then how?

      You fingers can type or stroke a machine button at between 200 to 300 stroke a second. It usually takes 2 plus years to be able to go that that speed. Funny enough, it isn't the fingers it is the brain that has to learn to go at that speed and it takes on average 2 to 3 years for almost everybody regardless how bright or less bright you are. Next, you should know that if you learned the piano as a kid or you learned to type very fast, and you don't type or play the piano for 10, 20, 30, 60 years and then go back to typing or playing the piano - it will only take you 6 months to be as good as you were when you were 4 years old, 10 years or, whatever. The brain need 6 months to get back to the speed or performance level. So there is no magic to the brain. The good thing is that the brain doesn't really age in the sense that as long as your brain is functioning normally you can start playing the piano at 10 or 70 years old with a normal brain, and the brain will make your fingers go at 200 or 300 strokes a miniute.

      So that is why very, very old piansts can play the piano like they did when they were 40 and are now 80. Fingers and brain will work.

      Top
      #2038045 - 02/23/13 03:12 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Mark...]
      malkin Offline
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/18/09
      Posts: 2204
      Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
      Originally Posted By: Mark...
      Originally Posted By: malkin
      I still like the brain chemicals hypothesis. I think my ego notices how bad it sounds too fast and with so many errors.


      My ego is always in check..he knows he's a hack... smile


      I like your ego.
      _________________________
      A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

      Top
      #2038048 - 02/23/13 03:26 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Michael_99]
      Emissary52 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/17/09
      Posts: 315
      Loc: Monroe, NC USA
      Michael-99 I'm having to have to learn that "slow-down" technique after three years of being on my own and it is a hard thing indeed! But even from the time I started out, I tended to think of measures and time signatures in terms of 3 grade fractions. If a 4/4 time measure has 2 quarter notes and 4 eighth notes, by rational mathematics, you're going to have to play those eighth notes twice as fast as the quarter notes to play them in an equivalent time frame ...no matter how fast you're playing a measure. Thank God, playing music has a fairly simple mathematical basis - if it involved solving differential equations, I'd be out of luck!


      Edited by Emissary52 (02/23/13 03:27 PM)
      _________________________
      I'm Craig, I'm retired, It's Saturday every day!
      Alfred's Masterwork Classics Vol 3 and Vol 4
      YDP-160, GH-170R
      Alfred 1 Graduate

      Top
      #2038051 - 02/23/13 03:27 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: hamlet cat]
      Michael_99 Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/28/12
      Posts: 935
      Loc: Canada Alberta
      Going too fast.

      * Going too fast.

      * Going too fast.



      I'd like hear more on your thoughts about practice speed. When is a person going too fast? What is an appropriate speed? Is too slow, better than too fast? From your emphasis, I take it this is the number one issue leading to poor practice, and if I may extrapolate, wasted effort.


      There is only one speed to type or play the piano or to learn a cash register, for example. The speed is that you can never, I repeat ,never play the piano if you make a mistake. Why? Well, when you play the piano and you make a mistake it sounds wrong, it is wrong. To function as a piano player or typist you must do it correctly/without mistakes else it is useless.
      So you read and play the music as a beginner slowly without mistakes. No, absolutely no exception. You keep playing the music hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year without mistakes else you have to slow down to the no mistake speed. Effectively if you play the same piece day after day etc. you will be able to play it after months of doing at a greater speed but always without mistakes.

      So if you are learning a new piece after 40 years, you still have to play the new piece at a very, very slow speed and gradually increase over many months playing the piece without mistakes. So nothing ever changes.



      Edited by Michael_99 (02/23/13 03:32 PM)

      Top
      #2038054 - 02/23/13 03:31 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      rnaple Offline

      Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


      Registered: 12/23/10
      Posts: 1806
      Loc: Rocky Mountains
      Beyond the shadow of any doubt. The biggest thing I work on as a beginner. My biggest "problem". Is....

      Getting my base brain, my autonomic thinking/nervous system, my nervous system, my muscles, my body, to work each finger independently and in unison, all at the same time.

      That is way beyond anything else in difficulty for learning piano myself.
      _________________________
      Ron
      Ingrid, my beloved VPC : "Play it Sam....For old times sake...Play it for me...I'll sing it with you...Play me again, Sam."

      Top
      #2038068 - 02/23/13 04:15 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rnaple]
      Emissary52 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/17/09
      Posts: 315
      Loc: Monroe, NC USA
      Originally Posted By: rnaple
      Beyond the shadow of any doubt. The biggest thing I work on as a beginner. My biggest "problem". Is....

      Getting my base brain, my autonomic thinking/nervous system, my nervous system, my muscles, my body, to work each finger independently and in unison, all at the same time.

      That is way beyond anything else in difficulty for learning piano myself.


      I'm sure many piano teachers have said to their students that like the tortoise and hare ... "Slow and steady wins the race", but sometimes it does seem like an eternal one! I've often wondered that in some future it would be possible to copy someone else's brain patterns down to the neuronal sequences and dendritic layout that you could play piano or any other complex skill exactly like your favorite artist! Kinda like an iBrain mp3 file! "Only $1.29 each!" Probably none of us will be around when that biotechnology exists. I have moments when I wish it did! But I've realized that for the most part, in a complex skill like mastering the piano, that the most satisfaction comes in seeing that the journey really is the destination!
      _________________________
      I'm Craig, I'm retired, It's Saturday every day!
      Alfred's Masterwork Classics Vol 3 and Vol 4
      YDP-160, GH-170R
      Alfred 1 Graduate

      Top
      #2038117 - 02/23/13 06:18 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Emissary52]
      Michael_99 Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/28/12
      Posts: 935
      Loc: Canada Alberta
      Emissary52,

      You are not alone. I had music lessons over the years on a sax so I knew to be very careful about bad habits. Recently I realized that when I was playing hands togeather and there was a tricky measure, I would look at my hands. So I immediately had to fix that and make sure I look at the music and never at my hands. And, of course, I didn't have to look - it was just a bad habit that I created.

      Top
      #2038136 - 02/23/13 07:58 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      keystring Online   content
      Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 12/11/07
      Posts: 11181
      Loc: Canada
      The idea that it is wrong to look at the hands is false. You want to be able to read music, and you want to not use hands as a crutch. That is not the same thing as not ever looking at the keyboard.

      Top
      #2038168 - 02/23/13 09:24 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      fizikisto Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 02/13/12
      Posts: 214
      Loc: Hernando, MS
      keystring,
      Of course that's true, but the problem is that often beginners rely too much on looking at the keyboard. The constant need to look down and then back up at the score causes them to play the music unevenly, or even worse they lose their place on the score and have to start over. It can be a source of great frustration, especially for beginners. It's not that one should never glance down at the keyboard to get oriented or to make a movement of the hands, it's that you want to develop the skill to be able to do that out of choice rather than necessity.

      The beginner's habit of constantly wanting to look down at their hands also prevents them (or at least delays them) from developing a good sense of touch and measurement on the keyboard because they use their eyes when their hands could do just as well. That's why some teachers emphasize playing without looking at the hands. It's so that their students won't develop those bad habits.
      _________________________
      Nord Stage 2 HA88
      Yamaha P-250

      Top
      #2038240 - 02/24/13 12:29 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rnaple]
      Michael_99 Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/28/12
      Posts: 935
      Loc: Canada Alberta
      Beyond the shadow of any doubt. The biggest thing I work on as a beginner. My biggest "problem". Is....

      Getting my base brain, my autonomic thinking/nervous system, my nervous system, my muscles, my body, to work each finger independently and in unison, all at the same time.

      That is way beyond anything else in difficulty for learning piano myself.

      Well, I will share my story with you how I learned to play the piano. First of all I had a stroke, I have learning difficulties and I am dyslexic. In a nut shell, you should not be having any problems. I am 63 and started to play the piano about a year to a year and a half ago. In my 40s I played in community bands and had a saxaphone teacher but was still a beginner playing the sax. Back to the piano. So I started to play the piano because I had some health problems and couldn't sit up for very long so I thought if I sat at the piano maybe I could distract myself to be able to sit up longer. Back to the piano. So I opened The leila Fletcher piano course book 1. It starts on page 9 with a few easy measures and I played them slowly and without mistakes. Since I could only sit at the piano for about 10 minutes before getting tired, I would sit at the piano for 10 minutes and then return to the couch. I would do this as often as I could throughout the day and would depend on my strengh but I played page 9 everyday where it says very imporantly to - First, play and say the letter-names of the notes. - in other words it is important for you, or me in my case to know the name of the piano key name under your finger that you are play at all times and to say it as you play it.

      So from there I played page 9 and the pages that followed always playing the pieces and rewviewing the pieces everyday day after day, every week, week after week reviewing always from page 9 forward. It was always awesome to play those pieces and I enjoyed that very much so much that I fell in love with playing the piano.

      When I got to page 24 a shocking thing happened. My brain felt like it was going to explode and I was worried. You see what happened was that for the first time in my life I had to play two notes at the same time without mistake. The first thing that happened was that I would freeze, look at the music, look at my fingers and gradually play the treble clef note and the bass clef note at the same time very slowly. As long as I didn't have to play two notes at the same time, I could do just fine, but if I had to play two notes together, I would freeze and slowly played the notes together very, very slowly. I was not happy with what had happened, but as usual, kept playing all the pieces from page 9 to page 24 many times everyday, day after day for weeks and months and in about 6 months I was able to play that piece okay but cautiously without mistakes. So it took that long to learn to play that little piece. Now is there good news. I finished book 1 and enjoyed it very much and play and reviewed the pieces everyday. To this day I still play book 1 from start to finish and play the best that I can. Of course I can play those pieces quiet well, but of course, it has been a year. When I moved to book 1 of John Thompson, a little more advanced, to my surpise and excitement I could play two hands together slowly but my brain would not seem like it was going to explode. My brain had trained my brain to play notes together. Because I reviewed all the pieces and still do and I had learned those pieces well, it prepared me for the next book. So you see it is a very slow process of training the brain and even with my broken brain, I learned to play hands together without mistakes. You can never give up. Always play without mistakes and always enjoy the journey because it will always be a life long journey.

      Top
      #2038258 - 02/24/13 02:06 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Michael_99]
      Okanagan Musician Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 02/20/13
      Posts: 25
      Loc: British Columbia, Canada
      Some great advice already being offered, and some questions that perhaps could better be answered by a scientist than a piano teacher, but that's ok! Loving the broad range of challenges that different pianists face.

      Keep them coming! And thanks for all your input so far smile
      _________________________
      What's the #1 Secret to learning any song on the piano? Discover how to save time practicing!

      http://www.takeonlinepianolessons.com


      Top
      #2038268 - 02/24/13 02:44 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      btb Offline
      4000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 01/21/04
      Posts: 4261
      Loc: Pretoria South Africa
      You chaps are all ducking "the bullet" ...
      the prime hangup is bum sight-reading.

      Solve this and the world is your oyster.
      ps Does anyone know what annoys an oyster?

      Top
      #2038278 - 02/24/13 03:26 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Emissary52]
      Bobpickle Offline

      Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


      Registered: 05/24/12
      Posts: 1370
      Loc: Cameron Park, California
      Originally Posted By: Emissary52
      Bob - It sounds like your piano teacher is a bit too much of a Freudian devotee! But in the Freudian realm, a little ego may be necessary to counterbalance the self-doubt imposed by society (the Super-Ego) e.g. "You really can't do it!" ..."You have no talent." Lastly, Freud was a man of little humility, but intense curiousity! He recommended Heroin to his Morphine-addicted medical colleague, who died from that sterling medical advice. Always check the quality of advice ...no matter how well-intentioned! grin


      Well obviously we can't be 100% humble, else when asked by fellow musicians looking to recruit a player for a gig or what have you, you probably won't be hired by humbly replying that you're not very good and/or nothing special (my teacher likes this example). We were simply talking about practicing at too fast a tempo, however cool .

      Top
      #2038309 - 02/24/13 07:17 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: btb]
      Michael_99 Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/28/12
      Posts: 935
      Loc: Canada Alberta
      You chaps are all ducking "the bullet" ...
      the prime hangup is bum sight-reading.

      Solve this and the world is your oyster.
      ps Does anyone know what annoys an oyster?

      To be fair, I am a beginner, but I have no trouble sight reading because I constantly read and play music. When I learn a new piece, I read and play through the piece very, very slowly. If I slow down even more slowly - or stumble then I look at that measure to see if I am playing a wrong note or my timing is off as I read the measure. Before I learn a new piece I always read though the piece measure by measure to make sure I can say all the notes without hesitation and I understand, of course, the timing. It usually takes me playing the piece very slowly for about a week walking through the piece. It varies piece by piece. Sometimes I can walk through a piece a few times and then just keep playing it to improve the piece which, of course, takes weeks and months. I am working through the John Thompson method so the pieces are just gradually more difficult which is cool. If a piano player tried to sight read a piece beyond his curently ability, it would be very difficult to read and play and be problematic in all areas. Also so you should know that even as a beginner, I play all my pieces all the time so at any given time I could open up my piano books and play any of 60 or 70 pieces and read and play the piece without difficulty because I constantly review every thing I have ever learned and I will keeping doing this because it is the only way I keep in shape. If I didn't review I would get rusty and I love playing all the music I have learned always trying to make the pieces sound better. I have never heard anyone say they play the last 40 pieces they have learned on a daily basis but maybe they do that; I don't know.


      Edited by Michael_99 (02/24/13 07:56 AM)

      Top
      #2038311 - 02/24/13 07:34 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      -Frycek Offline
      5000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 08/06/05
      Posts: 5921
      Loc: SC Mountains
      Getting the fast runs in advanced pieces smooth, even and up to performance speed

      Originally Posted By: btb
      Does anyone know what annoys an oyster?


      Grit in its shell?
      _________________________
      Slow down and do it right.

      Top
      #2038315 - 02/24/13 07:42 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      rnaple Offline

      Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


      Registered: 12/23/10
      Posts: 1806
      Loc: Rocky Mountains
      Originally Posted By: Okanagan Musician
      Some great advice already being offered, and some questions that perhaps could better be answered by a scientist than a piano teacher, but that's ok! Loving the broad range of challenges that different pianists face.

      Keep them coming! And thanks for all your input so far smile


      I really didn't intend to get into answers. I realize this is just for the questions/problems.
      I appreciate Michael 99's thoughts.
      Even though hand independence/interdependence. I brought it down to the finger level. This being my biggest issue. Everything else, I personally am soaking up like a sponge. It's coming back easy. Sight reading is a cinch. Looking at the hands? My right I can tolerate that. My left, from the beginning, looking at it just goofed me up. I understand mapping the keyboard in my mind. Positioning the feel of my arms, hands and knowing what chord I'm on. Easy knowing what note, depending on how many black keys I feel there.
      I have extremely good teachers on my biggest issue. It takes someone who knows physiology. I have an exercise coach who is extremely good at physiology. I also have run into an excellent piano teacher who deals much with injuries. She knows physiology. I can easily understand what she talks about in physiology. I can easily expand this knowledge. I have learned intuition from the exercise coach.
      The piano teacher I ran across from a suggestion here on a book. She is extremely good. Not cheap either. Yet, when she says a little, it means alot to me. You get what you pay for.
      _________________________
      Ron
      Ingrid, my beloved VPC : "Play it Sam....For old times sake...Play it for me...I'll sing it with you...Play me again, Sam."

      Top
      #2038330 - 02/24/13 08:41 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: -Frycek]
      Michael_99 Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/28/12
      Posts: 935
      Loc: Canada Alberta
      Getting the fast runs in advanced pieces smooth, even and up to performance speed

      Trying to play anything "faster", means you have to first establish the speed you can play it at comfortably without any mistakes or as the original poster called it "smooth, even and up to performance speed" . You should know that for anyone to play anything at any speed they have to be able to play the music at 20 MM metronomically higher. Let me explain. If a piece says to play it at 100 then you would have to be able to play it at 120 to be able to play it easily at 100. Depending on the speed and your ability it can take anywhere from weeks or months getting your speed up to the next level. If you were playing at 50 mm and trying to get to 60 mm it may only take a few weeks. If you were able to play at 180 mm and were trying to get to 200 mm, it could take you from 6 months to a years to get the difference of 20 at that speed. It would be very difficult at that speed and take a consider time in weeks or months. And remember you have to be able to play 20 mm higher just be able to play comfortable without errors at 200 - so effectively you would have play at 220 just to be able to play comfortable at 200 without errors.

      Top
      #2038336 - 02/24/13 09:02 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: btb]
      keystring Online   content
      Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 12/11/07
      Posts: 11181
      Loc: Canada
      Originally Posted By: btb
      You chaps are all ducking "the bullet" ...
      the prime hangup is bum sight-reading.

      Solve this and the world is your oyster.

      Unless of course if the "bullet" is technique. In which case, reading skills don't solve anything in that department.

      Top
      #2038353 - 02/24/13 09:58 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      malkin Offline
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/18/09
      Posts: 2204
      Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
      Any noise annoys an oyster, but a noisy noise annoys an oyster most.
      _________________________
      A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

      Top
      #2038373 - 02/24/13 10:27 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: keystring]
      Sand Tiger Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 03/25/12
      Posts: 912
      Loc: Southern California
      Originally Posted By: keystring
      Originally Posted By: btb
      You chaps are all ducking "the bullet" ...
      the prime hangup is bum sight-reading.

      Solve this and the world is your oyster.

      Unless of course if the "bullet" is technique. In which case, reading skills don't solve anything in that department.


      I agree with Keystring, sight reading is a modest move up the ladder to proficiency. Rhythm and dynamics tend to be more common issues with beginners. Few beginners ask about them because they don't know they are lousy--they haven't learned to hear that well yet. Before that even, there is posture, breathing, playing with minimal tension.

      More than a few beginners struggle with tension and end up sidelined due to injury. After basic dynamics and phrasing, there are the finer points of voicing, rubato and interpretation. A beginner doesn't ask these kinds of questions, because they don't know they are deficient in these areas. Learning to play piano is a rather large oyster, no one skill will open it all up.

      I'd guess about 20% of beginners have a high aptitude for sight reading. 60% are somewhat average, and 20% that struggle with it. Depending on which group a beginner is in, it may be super easy, or require average diligence, or be a big obstacle on their piano journey.

      It isn't that different for ear training, a percentage have a natural aptitude for learning by ear. A large average group that can work with it after modest training, and a below average group that has to really work at ear training to get anything useful.

      People are different, and tend to have different strengths and weaknesses. Things that come easily to some will be a huge struggle to others and vice-versa.
      _________________________
      my piano uploads

      Top
      #2038379 - 02/24/13 10:39 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      BeccaBb Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 12/09/11
      Posts: 905
      Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
      My number one question as a beginner has been how do I move?

      Learning how to hold my fingers, hands, wrists, and posture has been my biggest issue. I didn't move at all. I had to be shown by my teacher how to loosen up my elbows and shoulders. She had to demonstrate how to cross my arms in front of me so I could figure out how far back to sit.
      _________________________
      Becca
      Began: 01-12-11


      Floundering and Lost
      Roland RD300NX

      Top
      #2038531 - 02/24/13 04:14 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rocket88]
      jazzwee Online   content
      6000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/25/07
      Posts: 6990
      Loc: So. California
      Originally Posted By: rocket88
      There was a recent post somewhere on these PW forums by forum member "Jazzwee" which is an excellent writing on this from his Blog.

      I don't know where the post is, but here is the link to this article on his Blog:

      http://jazzwee-blog.blogspot.com/2010/12/practice-secret-accept-that-daily.html


      I didn't read this entire thread until recently and was surprised that rocket88 made a reference to a blog post I made. Well, that explains that extraordinary traffic my blog has been getting. Thank you rocket88! It encouraged me to write some more. Rocket88, I can tell from your "list" of common problems that you are an excellent teacher. I hope that beginners here pay deep attention your comments. They are consistent with what I've learned.

      That post referenced above is 3 years old now. It is interesting how my opinions haven't changed but as I've progressed further, my improvement pace has not dipped at all. And the main difference between then and now is that now I'm a semi-pro musician.

      I just made a new blog post that sort of builds on the same issues as described in the older blog post.
      Filing Skills into Your Subconscious Storage
      http://jazzwee-blog.blogspot.com/2013/02/filing-skills-into-your-subconscious.html

      Here's another old relevant blog post.

      Hearing Your Faults
      http://jazzwee-blog.blogspot.com/2012/06/hearing-your-faults.html
      _________________________
      Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
      My Blog

      Top
      #2038550 - 02/24/13 04:46 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: malkin]
      -Frycek Offline
      5000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 08/06/05
      Posts: 5921
      Loc: SC Mountains
      Originally Posted By: malkin
      Any noise annoys an oyster, but a noisy noise annoys an oyster most.


      Oysters got ears!!??

      _________________________
      Slow down and do it right.

      Top
      #2038592 - 02/24/13 05:42 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: BeccaBb]
      jazzwee Online   content
      6000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/25/07
      Posts: 6990
      Loc: So. California
      Originally Posted By: BeccaBb
      My number one question as a beginner has been how do I move?

      Learning how to hold my fingers, hands, wrists, and posture has been my biggest issue. I didn't move at all. I had to be shown by my teacher how to loosen up my elbows and shoulders. She had to demonstrate how to cross my arms in front of me so I could figure out how far back to sit.



      Just made a new blog-post which probably answers this question.

      http://jazzwee-blog.blogspot.com/2013/02/piano-technique-my-two-cents.html
      _________________________
      Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
      My Blog

      Top
      #2038599 - 02/24/13 05:48 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Michael_99]
      jazzwee Online   content
      6000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/25/07
      Posts: 6990
      Loc: So. California
      Originally Posted By: Michael_99
      Going too fast.

      * Going too fast.

      * Going too fast.



      Playing at too fast a tempo is a good thing!

      Now before you all panic let me explain. I always practice at very fast tempos. Why? Because I need to have the facility to play even faster.

      BUT - I use the "fast playing" as a means of identifying problems, which I will then SOLVE by playing it EXCRUCIATINGLY SLOW.

      So practice is also about "PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION" vs. "PROBLEM RESOLUTION".
      _________________________
      Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
      My Blog

      Top
      #2038655 - 02/24/13 07:41 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rocket88]
      HalfStep Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 02/25/11
      Posts: 201
      Loc: Boston, MA
      Originally Posted By: rocket88
      As a teacher of many beginners, including adults, I would say that the #1 issue is learning how to correctly practice.

      Common practice problems:

      * Going too fast.
      * Playing something over and over, which is not practicing...it is playing.
      * Over-practicing the same thing, mistakes and all.
      * Taking on too much without letting the brain absorb (during sleep).
      * Going too fast.
      * Not building a foundation of technique so the hands work in a relaxed way.
      * Going too fast. laugh


      ps...I love your interest in how the brain learns, different styles of learning, etc. That is a big focus of my teaching and study, and is crucial. There is no one size fits all.

      Good post!


      This totally encompasses my issues. Practicing is different from playing. When I started practicing sections of a piece instead of playing from beginning to end, I improved dramatically. There is a marked difference between playing and practicing.

      The second issue I think is relevant is about understanding how people learn and having a teacher that fosters an optimal learning environment. My daughter and I love our teacher but she needs to push me harder; set expectations, really. She does fine with my kid but I am a different sort of learner. However, we all have a very close personal relationship and, as an adult learner, it feels like a safe learning environment. That latter may help me long term.

      Top
      #2038779 - 02/25/13 01:34 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: HalfStep]
      Peter K. Mose Offline
      1000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 01/06/12
      Posts: 1242
      Loc: Toronto, Ontario
      Originally Posted By: HalfStep


      My daughter and I love our teacher but she needs to push me harder; set expectations, really. She does fine with my kid but I am a different sort of learner. However, we all have a very close personal relationship and, as an adult learner, it feels like a safe learning environment. That latter may help me long term.


      A safe learning environment for you is something to treasure, Halfstep. But can you ask your teacher to try to give you some realistic expectations on a week by week basis? She might be hesitant about pushing you, but you could explain that you might thrive with such pushing.

      Worth a try for both of you.

      Top
      #2038807 - 02/25/13 03:31 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
      landorrano Online   content
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 02/26/06
      Posts: 2443
      Loc: France
      Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose


      A safe learning environment for you is something to treasure, Halfstep.


      I second that!

      Top
      #2038865 - 02/25/13 06:39 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: jazzwee]
      Derulux Offline
      5000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 06/06/05
      Posts: 5067
      Loc: Philadelphia
      Originally Posted By: jazzwee
      Originally Posted By: Michael_99
      Going too fast.

      * Going too fast.

      * Going too fast.



      Playing at too fast a tempo is a good thing!

      Now before you all panic let me explain. I always practice at very fast tempos. Why? Because I need to have the facility to play even faster.

      BUT - I use the "fast playing" as a means of identifying problems, which I will then SOLVE by playing it EXCRUCIATINGLY SLOW.

      So practice is also about "PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION" vs. "PROBLEM RESOLUTION".

      I think this idea alone, without any subsequent explanation, is a dangerous notion for a beginner to consider. Remember, this is the adult beginners thread. Most are in the very early stages of piano playing, where slow is far better than fast.

      But for more advanced pianists, and with some additional controls, I would tend to agree with the assessment.
      _________________________
      Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

      Top
      #2038979 - 02/25/13 11:57 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      jazzwee Online   content
      6000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/25/07
      Posts: 6990
      Loc: So. California
      Derelux, I understand what you mean.

      I just didn't want to leave the impression that "playing fast" has no role in pedagogy. And to make it clear to others what I mean, I meant to speed up ONLY until you hear the faults, which in theory shouldn't be too fast as a beginner.

      ...which leads to my main point: most can't hear their faults (at whatever level).

      I think this is a significant issue because until you hear your faults, you can't solve it. I believe training people to have this "problem identification" attitude is a good thing even at the beginner level, especially for those without teachers.

      But I do appreciate you framing the context.
      _________________________
      Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
      My Blog

      Top
      #2038999 - 02/25/13 12:41 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      Marco M Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 08/28/12
      Posts: 446
      Loc: Europe
      My No.1 question as an adult beginner is:
      How can I enjoy my own playing and relax by playing piano, instead of getting tense in my head because of the concentration on playing correctly (applying techniques) and expressively (listening to myself) at the same time?

      My No.2 question as an adult beginner is:
      How do I prevent bad habbits, if I can only afford to have a teacher supervising me fortnightly or monthly, and will I ever have a chance to get rid of my bad habbits which I already adopted as a child?

      Any recommendation (also to proper literature on this topics) is wellcome!
      _________________________
      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

      Top
      #2039060 - 02/25/13 02:33 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      ju5t1n-h Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/13/12
      Posts: 179
      Loc: Vancouver, British Columbia
      I would say my problem is that I always want to try and play pieces that are out of my reach! Although I stick with my RCM exam syllabus, I frequently try and play a lot harder pieces and sometimes get disheartened on how long it's going to take to be able to get there!
      _________________________
      Essex EUP-123S


      Top
      #2039092 - 02/25/13 03:07 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      landorrano Online   content
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 02/26/06
      Posts: 2443
      Loc: France
      Good evening. For my part I agree strongly with btb who earlier on in the thread singled out reading as the outstanding difficulty for adults trying to learn the piano or any instrument for the first time. One can make great progress with bad habits, poor technique, but one can't progress without achieving a certain ease reading a score. Reading is the key that opens all of the doors.

      Top
      #2039125 - 02/25/13 03:48 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      fanatik22 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/15/09
      Posts: 64
      Hello all!

      Very much beginner here and interesting to see this thread posted with common problems seen among us.

      My question to you; how do we attempt to learn PROPER technique and help facilitate this with exercises and/or drills?

      I'll offer some of my own issues/experiences on this because this is a very personal question and might be for others as well.

      I attempted to learn piano playing a couple of years ago and like most I started with the Alfreds' series that was referred by many posters on this site, with no teacher mind you. Got up to book 2 and noticed that I was having crazy wrist pains (which is just one of the pains I was experiencing) and decided that my technique was bad and needed a teacher. Well, I've gone with several teachers, explained my situation, and all of the teachers seemed to look at it as a non-issue, which is very depressing because it is exactly what I sought for in a teacher and in my thinking THE MOST IMPORTANT THING A BEGINNER NEEDS TO HAVE! Concrete understanding/practice of pain-free playing! I've also deduced that my pain had nothing to do with other activities I partake in, seeing that my pain immediately disappeared after I took breaks and ultimately dropped piano playing.

      Any feedback on this would be golden, because perhaps like in my case, there could be many beginner prospects who are very eager to learn and are dedicated in doing so but hit an actual physical roadblock, leading to dismissing the journey altogether.

      Top
      #2039193 - 02/25/13 05:52 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: fanatik22]
      landorrano Online   content
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 02/26/06
      Posts: 2443
      Loc: France
      Originally Posted By: fanatik22
      what I sought for in a teacher and in my thinking THE MOST IMPORTANT THING A BEGINNER NEEDS TO HAVE! Concrete understanding/practice of pain-free playing!


      Could it be that you are mistaken, that that is not what a beginner needs to have.

      Top
      #2039199 - 02/25/13 06:13 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: landorrano]
      fanatik22 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/15/09
      Posts: 64
      I'm only expressing my opinions and my experience alone but the fact that this forum is riddled day in and day out with beginners mentioning about pain with playing (back pain, wrist pain, etc.) makes me think that this is a very fundamental step we need to learn first. In my case I was attempting to run first without learning how to walk.

      Of course a good teacher is the solution but the reason I posted my question is because I'm open to all ideas on the matter. I'm not by any means dismissing my past teachers as bad teachers, it's just that the pain was still present with the time I was with them. It's very disappointing and depressed me to the point of thinking that piano playing is not for me because of these hurdles.

      Top
      #2039241 - 02/25/13 07:25 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: fanatik22]
      jotur Online   blank
      5000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 09/16/06
      Posts: 5283
      Loc: Santa Fe, NM
      fanatik22 - I think you are right, it's extremely important. As far as I can tell pain usually has to do with tension/tenseness. As much as we might think we are playing relaxed, we often are so used to it in ourselves, whether at work, or driving in traffic, or whatever, that we don't really know. And sometimes, even if the pain is in the hands, the tenseness is in the shoulders, or the back, or the neck.

      Someone once posted a whole series of videos that deal with this - posture, relaxation, etc. I don't have them bookmarked but maybe s/he'll read this and re-post. But if not, it would be worth it to you to start a thread looking for those videos. I think they'd help a lot.

      And I think you are right, it is fundamental for beginners. Many ABFers, as you have noticed, deal with it. Good point.

      Cathy
      _________________________

      Top
      #2039243 - 02/25/13 07:28 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: landorrano]
      keystring Online   content
      Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 12/11/07
      Posts: 11181
      Loc: Canada
      Originally Posted By: landorrano
      Originally Posted By: fanatik22
      what I sought for in a teacher and in my thinking THE MOST IMPORTANT THING A BEGINNER NEEDS TO HAVE! Concrete understanding/practice of pain-free playing!


      Could it be that you are mistaken, that that is not what a beginner needs to have.


      Could it be that fanatik22 is not mistaken, and that these are things that beginner needs to have?

      Top
      #2039259 - 02/25/13 08:00 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: landorrano]
      Sand Tiger Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 03/25/12
      Posts: 912
      Loc: Southern California
      Originally Posted By: landorrano
      Good evening. For my part I agree strongly with btb who earlier on in the thread singled out reading as the outstanding difficulty for adults trying to learn the piano or any instrument for the first time. One can make great progress with bad habits, poor technique, but one can't progress without achieving a certain ease reading a score. Reading is the key that opens all of the doors.



      That is just too funny. If it were true, great legends such as Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles should give up their pianos. They probably never should have started, being blind and all, and unwilling to do braille sheet music.

      Let's take the extreme case, a sight reading savant, can read anything, and play it, but has poor dynamics, terrible phrasing. Let's even say the phrasing is accurate, but as robotic as a MIDI computer track. There isn't an audience in the world that would pay money to listen to him/her play. Now the opposite extreme, someone that can learn by ear at a high level, can't sight read worth a thing, perhaps even blind, but has world class expression, fantastic phrasing and dynamics. Audiences flock to see this second performer.

      For the average beginner, sight reading is one skill that is part of a balanced approach to learning. Too much emphasis on that one skill is not a good idea. Balance. Moderation. There is much to learn. Phrasing, dynamics, ear training, eventually improvisation and interpretation are other elements of a balanced approach.

      And yes, what others have mentioned, if a person can't play without pain, they have zero chance at advancing. How can they if they can't practice at all?


      _________________________
      my piano uploads

      Top
      #2039285 - 02/25/13 08:55 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Sand Tiger]
      rnaple Offline

      Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


      Registered: 12/23/10
      Posts: 1806
      Loc: Rocky Mountains
      Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
      Originally Posted By: landorrano
      Good evening. For my part I agree strongly with btb who earlier on in the thread singled out reading as the outstanding difficulty for adults trying to learn the piano or any instrument for the first time.


      That is just too funny. If it were true, great legends such as Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles should give up their pianos.


      ROTFLMAO! You sure blew that one away! Congrats! grin

      Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
      And yes, what others have mentioned, if a person can't play without pain, they have zero chance at advancing. How can they if they can't practice at all?


      Geesh Tigger... You're batting a thousand today!

      I have to agree. I find it hard to believe that people don't bother to learn the proper physiology of playing. No excuses. A teacher doesn't know. That isn't the right teacher. We recently had a very good book on this suggested in this forum. Anybody else buy it? You don't even have to buy. Your library will get it for you. No excuses! smirk
      I've repeatedly suggested mobility as something to treat many problems. I failed to recognize that changing how one plays may be a key factor also.
      Or is it that people just want to complain and come up with excuses to not do something? Self sabotage. Is the biggest problem....whining? cry thumb
      _________________________
      Ron
      Ingrid, my beloved VPC : "Play it Sam....For old times sake...Play it for me...I'll sing it with you...Play me again, Sam."

      Top
      #2039289 - 02/25/13 09:01 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      fizikisto Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 02/13/12
      Posts: 214
      Loc: Hernando, MS
      Sand Tiger,
      I agree with your points, but just to be clear, I believe that both Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder learned to read music. There is a way of notating music with braille. It's not the same thing as regular sight reading, of course, but it may have been an important part of their musical development.

      Warm Regards
      _________________________
      Nord Stage 2 HA88
      Yamaha P-250

      Top
      #2039298 - 02/25/13 09:19 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      rocket88 Offline
      3000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 09/04/06
      Posts: 3158
      Regarding Ray Charles and reading music: Ray Charles is a Blues piano player.

      Back in the time when He was coming up, there basically was no written scores of the style in which he plays. I am referring to the piano playing of Charles Brown, among others for example, which Ray Charles used as his inspiration.

      I know this for a fact, because when I was learning how to play Blues, a few decades after Ray Charles learned, nothing was available. No Blues Piano books, no tapes, no DVD's, no Youtube, nothing written out, unlike Pop or show tunes or Classical which has plenty of notation. To play the Blues, you listen to others play, you internalize it, and play it.

      I am not talking about Jazzy Blues/standards, which may have notation available, but rather the style of, say, the free tune in my signature at the bottom of my posts. Have a listen...its free.

      BTW, This tune was not written out; In fact, it was a warm-up jam we did at the beginning of the studio session to record my cd. What you hear is just how we played it...no practice, no rehearsals, no scores, and no fixing of the take later on in the studio.

      Back to Ray Charles. Later, Ray wrote (in his head) all of his later music that made him famous. Others may have scored it so they could play along with him, but he didn't need it written down.

      Which is also how I and many others play Blues...never from a score...its in my head, I hear it.

      Bottom line is I don't know if Ray Charles read Braille music; But reading music would not have been any help for Ray Charles to play like the Ray Charles that we know.
      _________________________
      Music teacher and piano player.

      Top
      #2039368 - 02/26/13 12:02 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      fizikisto Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 02/13/12
      Posts: 214
      Loc: Hernando, MS
      Rocket88,
      From what I've read, Ray Charles mainly learned to play music at the "Florida School for the Deaf and Blind" where he was a classically trained pianist. This likely would have been where he would have learned to read Braille scores. It's not that uncommon for great blues and jazz players to initially have a foundation in classical music. I think that such a foundation would definitely have helped Ray become the Ray Charles we know. Of course, over the years that followed he built a greater house upon that foundation. You may know that Ray initially started out with a style aimed at emulating Nat King Cole, but later started to develop his own unique style, particularly through the diverse venues he played on the so called "chitlin' circuit."

      I think you're right that later as he wrote/composed his own music, that it was much more improvisational and by ear. So I disagree with you only slightly on that point, in that I suspect that his classical training probably helped him. And in the end it doesn't matter, I suspect that if you were to try you could probably find lots of great pianists who couldn't read a note on a score if their life depended on it. But I do find the history of people like Mr. Charles to be fascinating.

      Warm regards
      _________________________
      Nord Stage 2 HA88
      Yamaha P-250

      Top
      #2039382 - 02/26/13 12:39 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
      HalfStep Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 02/25/11
      Posts: 201
      Loc: Boston, MA
      Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
      Originally Posted By: HalfStep


      My daughter and I love our teacher but she needs to push me harder; set expectations, really. She does fine with my kid but I am a different sort of learner. However, we all have a very close personal relationship and, as an adult learner, it feels like a safe learning environment. That latter may help me long term.


      A safe learning environment for you is something to treasure, Halfstep. But can you ask your teacher to try to give you some realistic expectations on a week by week basis? She might be hesitant about pushing you, but you could explain that you might thrive with such pushing.

      Worth a try for both of you.


      I agree! The safe learning environment is awesome. I did speak with her last week about a piece I put down too easily. I told her I need clear expectations and that I would work until I meet or exceed her demands. In retrospect, she gives my daughter lots of work but likely allows me to set my own pace as I am adult. She's a wonderful and caring teacher and I feel very comfortable... And your advice was spot on! Thanks

      Top
      #2039383 - 02/26/13 12:40 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: landorrano]
      HalfStep Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 02/25/11
      Posts: 201
      Loc: Boston, MA
      Originally Posted By: landorrano
      Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose


      A safe learning environment for you is something to treasure, Halfstep.


      I second that!


      Agreed!

      Top
      #2039422 - 02/26/13 03:42 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Sand Tiger]
      landorrano Online   content
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 02/26/06
      Posts: 2443
      Loc: France
      Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
      Originally Posted By: landorrano
      Reading is the key that opens all of the doors.



      That is just too funny.



      OK Stevie ...

      Originally Posted By: rnaple

      ROTFLMAO! You sure blew that one away! Congrats! grin



      ... and Ray. Good luck!

      Top
      #2039423 - 02/26/13 03:58 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      landorrano Online   content
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 02/26/06
      Posts: 2443
      Loc: France
      If you want to learn to write, to write creatively, do you sign up in a writing class and then ask the teacher as your starting point how to do so without suffering physical pain? Posture, relaxation, the "correct" way to hold your pen?

      Learning to play a musical instrument is an artistic endeavor. The physical aspect is derivative of what you have to say musically.

      Top
      #2039615 - 02/26/13 01:00 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: landorrano]
      fanatik22 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/15/09
      Posts: 64
      I'm in no way dismissing that a beginner shouldn't learn theory, learn how to read scores, and develop the artistic aspect of learning a musical instrument instrument, it's just that in my case, i've come to the roadblock of physical limitations with my technique first. As such, pain is the result of this. All in all, I've learned not to underestimate what bad technique can do to do the body.

      landorrano, you speak in terms of 100% perfect situations where any teacher can remedy any problems a beginner may have. What does this say of myself and of my past teachers? Am I considered to be a bad student? Likewise, would my past teachers considered to be bad teachers? Again, I'm speaking on behalf of my personal experience. Maybe this is what others are going through as well.

      Perhaps later down the road I will experience the hardships of trying to create my own artistic sound but as of right now, in the context of what the OP is asking which is what questions/problems a beginner (such as myself) may have, proper technique and pain-free playing is a number priority and at the top of my list.

      Top
      #2039631 - 02/26/13 01:22 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: jotur]
      fanatik22 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/15/09
      Posts: 64
      Thank you for the recommendations jotur! I've went on sort of a mission to find any and all material in regards to pain-free playing. It's all just become very fascinating to me. I've acquired materials such as What Every Pianist needs to know about the body, the taubman tapes, and freeing the caged bird, but it is very much over my head.

      It's been about a year since I've last attempted to pursue how to play. Heck, this account was made back in 2009! Unfortunately, teachers are scarce around my area but I am still very diligent in finding one and more importantly a match for me.

      Top
      #2039647 - 02/26/13 01:47 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      PianoStudent88 Offline
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 06/16/11
      Posts: 2977
      Loc: Maine
      landorrano, learning to play the piano is not only about learning to write creatively. It also includes the analogous step of learning how to write, period, which starts out with learning how to hold a pencil or pen. Hence including information about and training in how to play pain-free is appropriate in the beginning stages of learning to play the piano, rather than being only seen as a derivative remedial effort.
      _________________________
      Ebaug(maj7)

      Top
      #2039650 - 02/26/13 01:53 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: landorrano]
      bolt Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 11/23/09
      Posts: 183
      Originally Posted By: landorrano
      If you want to learn to write, to write creatively, do you sign up in a writing class and then ask the teacher as your starting point how to do so without suffering physical pain? Posture, relaxation, the "correct" way to hold your pen?

      Learning to play a musical instrument is an artistic endeavor. The physical aspect is derivative of what you have to say musically.


      I think maybe that's not such a good analogy because in writing we are not really limited so much by our pen-holding technique as by our thoughts and emotions. Whereas in piano we are often limited more by the physical than the mental.

      When I took up with a teacher the very first thing she zeroed in on was eliminating tension in my hand, my wrist, my arm, my shoulder, my body. It was the number one step to sort out. It was not my idea at all but I've come to see how important this issue is because this tension will block you.
      _________________________
      "There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist

      Top
      #2039664 - 02/26/13 02:23 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: bolt]
      jazzwee Online   content
      6000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/25/07
      Posts: 6990
      Loc: So. California
      Originally Posted By: bolt
      Whereas in piano we are often limited more by the physical than the mental.


      Not directly related to the issues you are addressing but may I just beg to differ.

      Piano technique is actually "mental". It's the "neural connections" that go from the mind thinking "play this note" to the execution (without interference of other muscles unrelated to the task) that goes on. That's why it can't be rushed with just sheer hours of practice.

      Every movement on the piano is a learned skill. There are so many to learn and each one involves things like memorization of distances and angles, developing quickness, positioning of the whole body, balancing the weight, and controlling velocity, responding to what you hear, etc. Even playing a C scale in different registers cause a change.
      _________________________
      Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
      My Blog

      Top
      #2039716 - 02/26/13 04:07 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: jazzwee]
      bolt Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 11/23/09
      Posts: 183
      Originally Posted By: jazzwee
      Originally Posted By: bolt
      Whereas in piano we are often limited more by the physical than the mental.


      Not directly related to the issues you are addressing but may I just beg to differ.

      Piano technique is actually "mental". It's the "neural connections" that go from the mind thinking "play this note" to the execution (without interference of other muscles unrelated to the task) that goes on. That's why it can't be rushed with just sheer hours of practice.

      Every movement on the piano is a learned skill. There are so many to learn and each one involves things like memorization of distances and angles, developing quickness, positioning of the whole body, balancing the weight, and controlling velocity, responding to what you hear, etc. Even playing a C scale in different registers cause a change.



      Certainly I agree with what you just wrote.

      Even tension itself can have mental as well as physical root causes, and we can use both mental and physical approaches to lessen it.
      _________________________
      "There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist

      Top
      #2039731 - 02/26/13 04:33 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: PianoStudent88]
      landorrano Online   content
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 02/26/06
      Posts: 2443
      Loc: France
      Interesting points. I'd just like to respond to the following:


      Originally Posted By: bolt


      I think maybe that's not such a good analogy because in writing we are not really limited so much by our pen-holding technique as by our thoughts and emotions. Whereas in piano we are often limited more by the physical than the mental.


      Like Jazzwee, I beg to differ. Was it Chopin who said that to every technical difficulty there is a musical solution?

      The real difficulty for adult beginners is taking the measure of just how little they know about music, and so they are unable to find the musical solution.

      And who was the pianist who said in response to the admirer who asked how he moves his hands so fast, "but Madame, what makes you think that I play with my hands!"

      Top
      #2039745 - 02/26/13 04:58 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: landorrano]
      -Frycek Offline
      5000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 08/06/05
      Posts: 5921
      Loc: SC Mountains
      Originally Posted By: landorrano
      Like Jazzwee, I beg to differ. Was it Chopin who said that to every technical difficulty there is a musical solution?


      Dunno. But he was the one who said every difficulty you duck -I believe "slur over" was his phrase - will come back to haunt you.
      Originally Posted By: landorrano
      And who was the pianist who said in response to the admirer who asked how he moves his hands so fast, "but Madame, what makes you think that I play with my hands!"

      It was Josef Hofmann and the question actually was how did he play with such small hands.
      _________________________
      Slow down and do it right.

      Top
      #2039776 - 02/26/13 05:43 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: landorrano]
      jazzwee Online   content
      6000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/25/07
      Posts: 6990
      Loc: So. California
      Originally Posted By: landorrano

      Like Jazzwee, I beg to differ. Was it Chopin who said that to every technical difficulty there is a musical solution?

      The real difficulty for adult beginners is taking the measure of just how little they know about music, and so they are unable to find the musical solution.


      Landorrano, I didn't get too excited with your earlier support of sight-reading being the primary issue (especially for a jazz pianist like me that doesn't rely on scores).

      But I agree with this comment of yours 100%. Part of our problem is that we cannot yet "hear" the musicality issues (this varies depending on level). And if you hear the issue, you will just naturally attempt to correct it and a solution will come.

      A very common example among the people here on ABF is often I will find someone attempting a piece that's beyond their level and there's rhythmic/timing issue on the fast lines. To a beginner, it may just sound like a stream of fast notes, and he may not hear the unevenness yet. That hearing skill has to be developed.

      Now where I am, as a jazz player, I already am beginning to hear problems in my solos that I didn't hear before. And I'm mad at myself for not hearing it, but I guess this is a never ending process. 10 Years from now I will probably hear new things again and will be solving different issues that I can't hear now.

      So developing the musicality (or hearing it), to me is the single most important issue as a beginner. But beginners don't know it yet. Every solution emanates from this.

      I would bet that intelligent listening to music (with an analytical mindset) may yield as much results as practice (like a 50:50 relationship). Or as I said earlier, a relationship between ProblemIdentification:ProblemResolution.

      BTW this was a more recent realization of mine as I progressed. I wish I knew this at the beginning and I could have developed even faster.
      _________________________
      Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
      My Blog

      Top
      #2039792 - 02/26/13 06:24 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Michael_99]
      pckhdlr305 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/12/11
      Posts: 53
      How to use the pedal properly smirk

      Top
      #2039807 - 02/26/13 07:00 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      Mark... Offline
      4000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 11/27/06
      Posts: 4372
      Loc: Jersey Shore
      Currently for me it to keep a steady pace without hesitations. My teacher said to slow down the easy parts so the difficult parts don't appear slow.

      Top
      #2039810 - 02/26/13 07:08 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: jazzwee]
      rnaple Offline

      Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


      Registered: 12/23/10
      Posts: 1806
      Loc: Rocky Mountains
      Originally Posted By: jazzwee
      Originally Posted By: landorrano

      Like Jazzwee, I beg to differ. Was it Chopin who said that to every technical difficulty there is a musical solution?

      The real difficulty for adult beginners is taking the measure of just how little they know about music, and so they are unable to find the musical solution.



      But I agree with this comment of yours 100%. Part of our problem is that we cannot yet "hear" the musicality issues (this varies depending on level). And if you hear the issue, you will just naturally attempt to correct it and a solution will come.


      I think I get it. You people are talking about, like when my mother used to sing along with Andy Williams... Moon River. Poor guy couldn't say moon river without her bellowing out the most horrid excruciating rendition of the words: Moon River! She sounded like a water buffalo in heat!
      Now what you guys are getting at is that she couldn't hear it!?

      I couldn't disagree with you people more. That is not a difficulty in learning paino. It is a difficulty in learning to play piano well.

      Now back to the water buffalo in heat. She could hear it. She just didn't care. Why? Andy did his job in music. He made a person want to join in and copy him. To sing along. That is when music is the best. The best music comes from you.

      That is precisely what many of these beginners are wanting to do. Copy Chopin, Beethoven, etc. Because the music makes them want to play. That is all. It can sound like a water buffalo in heat. Don't matter a diddily. They are loving it. They are enjoying it. That is the end all of the greatest music on earth!
      _________________________
      Ron
      Ingrid, my beloved VPC : "Play it Sam....For old times sake...Play it for me...I'll sing it with you...Play me again, Sam."

      Top
      #2039816 - 02/26/13 07:24 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: jazzwee]
      Michael_99 Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/28/12
      Posts: 935
      Loc: Canada Alberta
      """...
      Landorrano, I didn't get too excited with your earlier support of sight-reading being the primary issue (especially for a jazz pianist like me that doesn't rely on scores).

      But I agree with this comment of yours 100%. Part of our problem is that we cannot yet "hear" the musicality issues (this varies depending on level). And if you hear the issue, you will just naturally attempt to correct it and a solution will come.

      A very common example among the people here on ABF is often I will find someone attempting a piece that's beyond their level and there's rhythmic/timing issue on the fast lines. To a beginner, it may just sound like a stream of fast notes, and he may not hear the unevenness yet. That hearing skill has to be developed.

      Now where I am, as a jazz player, I already am beginning to hear problems in my solos that I didn't hear before. And I'm mad at myself for not hearing it, but I guess this is a never ending process. 10 Years from now I will probably hear new things again and will be solving different issues that I can't hear now.

      So developing the musicality (or hearing it), to me is the single most important issue as a beginner. But beginners don't know it yet. Every solution emanates from this.

      I would bet that intelligent listening to music (with an analytical mindset) may yield as much results as practice (like a 50:50 relationship). Or as I said earlier, a relationship between ProblemIdentification:ProblemResolution.

      BTW this was a more recent realization of mine as I progressed. I wish I knew this at the beginning and I could have developed even faster.
      ..."""

      jazzwee,

      A very good post. I am a beginner piano player at 63. When I was 40 I got to learn to play a saxaphone as a beginner and played as a beginner for about 5 years with an excellent teacher
      who assisted me while I played in two community bands, plus a blues band and a jazz band all as a beginner. When you play in a band you can hear yourself play but you also hear everyone else so you can hear you or others being out of tune or you being out of tune or playing too fast or too slow. As a beginner I didn't hear a lot of the suff going on around me even though my teacher tried to point out some of the stuff.

      Now in my sixties I play and review all the time the music I have learned and even though I play the best that I can, I can instantly hear all my mistakes. So it comes with experience.
      Band experience is awesome because you are with other musicians of different levels. When I played the sax, I remember trying to play duets with a couple of piano players and they had no expierence playing with other musicians and had trouble even thought they could play the piano well, they weren't used to listen to another musician - because as you know it is always about listening.


      Edited by Michael_99 (02/26/13 07:30 PM)

      Top
      #2039819 - 02/26/13 07:25 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      jazzwee Online   content
      6000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/25/07
      Posts: 6990
      Loc: So. California
      rnaple, LOL. Of course one can't automatically get from A to Z. Like I said, it's about Problem Identification vs. Problem Resolution, in small steps. It's harder than it seems. After all, that's why we have teachers (to point out the problems).

      Now if the lady accepts there's no problem because she thinks she's singing like Andy Williams, then that's the end of that. Obviously one must want to improve in order to care.

      And not everyone needs to care. For some, achieving a certain level is good enough and is not worth any more time investment. Though, in theory, the point of this thread is to discuss this with the people that do care.

      And maybe I'm a little different too. I actually like the journey and it has become more important than some fixed goal.
      _________________________
      Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
      My Blog

      Top
      #2039830 - 02/26/13 07:52 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: jazzwee]
      rnaple Offline

      Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


      Registered: 12/23/10
      Posts: 1806
      Loc: Rocky Mountains
      Originally Posted By: jazzwee
      rnaple, LOL. Of course one can't automatically get from A to Z.


      That's not the point.

      Originally Posted By: jazzwee
      Now if the lady accepts there's no problem because she thinks she's singing like Andy Williams,...


      UUuuuuummmm.... I didn't say she was stupid. She knew she wasn't singing like Andy. She wasn't born and raised in South Dakota. smile

      Originally Posted By: jazzwee
      ... Though, in theory, the point of this thread is to discuss this with the people that do care.


      Quite seriously....The OP just wanted to know about problems for beginners. That's all. Not problem's becoming good.
      Now we've gone and taken over another thread. Trying to answer the questions that the OP asked us to give him.

      Seriously...I still am confident that physically doing it is the biggest problem. Doing it wrong leads to injury, pain. Also leads to playing like a water buffalo in heat. smile Doing anything physiologically wrong leads to a myriad of problems. Including not doing it.


      Just to let you know. Those are some of the fondest memories of my mother. To see her enjoying herself. Didn't happen enough.
      _________________________
      Ron
      Ingrid, my beloved VPC : "Play it Sam....For old times sake...Play it for me...I'll sing it with you...Play me again, Sam."

      Top
      #2039862 - 02/26/13 09:02 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      malkin Offline
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/18/09
      Posts: 2204
      Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
      The biggest problem is that we're beginners, which isn't really a problem, just the state of being.
      _________________________
      A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

      Top
      #2039886 - 02/26/13 09:50 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rnaple]
      jazzwee Online   content
      6000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/25/07
      Posts: 6990
      Loc: So. California
      Originally Posted By: rnaple

      Quite seriously....The OP just wanted to know about problems for beginners. That's all. Not problem's becoming good.
      Now we've gone and taken over another thread. Trying to answer the questions that the OP asked us to give him.


      You make a good point. I apologize for introducing "answers" to the questions since it's not apparent that answers were desired. I only responded to this thread because my blog posts were quoted and discussed up in the first page.

      I do still state that "musicality" (as it affects learning) is certainly a top problem IMHO (to keep this back on topic) and perhaps a root of many other problems stated here.
      _________________________
      Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
      My Blog

      Top
      #2039916 - 02/26/13 11:37 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: jazzwee]
      Stubbie Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 12/16/10
      Posts: 337
      Loc: Midwest USA
      Jazzwee, I enjoy your blog.
      Originally Posted By: jazzwee
      [quote=rnaple]
      ........I do still state that "musicality" (as it affects learning) is certainly a top problem IMHO (to keep this back on topic) and perhaps a root of many other problems stated here.

      I think there's an aspect of "Which comes first, the chicken or the egg" to musicality and beginners. Perhaps you need time playing at a certain level of technique to have "musicality."


      Here are a couple more questions/problems frequently heard. (The answer to which is most likely, “It depends.” Still worth discussing, though.)

      1. What is the proper mix of easy/at-level/harder pieces?
      2. Should all pieces be brought to the polished stage? How do you or your teacher make that decision?
      _________________________
      Wherever you go, there you are.


      Top
      #2039978 - 02/27/13 04:59 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      Ragip Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 11/28/10
      Posts: 33
      Loc: The Netherlands
      I am also a teacher of adult beginner students, and as Rocket88 said, the biggest problem is practicing the wrong way. But this is mostly easily corrected if you dedicate one of your lessons to learning your students how to practice.

      Top
      #2039996 - 02/27/13 07:00 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      mabraman Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 12/24/12
      Posts: 304
      Loc: Valencia, Spain
      Well, at this moment my biggest problem is actually my teacher!
      None of the things you talk about fall into her consideration. Yes, sometimes askes me to get relaxed, or to go slower, but when I say 'hey, what about and specific exercise to get relaxed...or to keep hands closer to the keybed or whatever...' Then I find she has nothing in store.Guess she must be waiting for some miracle to happen.
      I could progress a lot more,of that I'm convinced.
      At least I can do my searches here in the net.


      Edited by mabraman (02/27/13 07:00 AM)
      _________________________
      Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
      Kawai ES7.

      Top
      #2040003 - 02/27/13 07:24 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rnaple]
      landorrano Online   content
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 02/26/06
      Posts: 2443
      Loc: France
      Originally Posted By: rnaple

      Now what you guys are getting at is that she couldn't hear it!?

      I couldn't disagree with you people more. That is not a difficulty in learning paino. It is a difficulty in learning to play piano well.


      Good morning. You are mistaken, in my opinion, and I would suppose that this is a common error among adults who decide that they want to learn to play an instrument. Imagining that they just need some technique, that the music is there inside because they like so much listening to music and they have the feeling of understanding it. I think that in fact, the first period of learning an instrument, a first instrument that is, is really learning how to hear and to read ... which are two sides of the same coin.

      As I say, this is my opinion of course, I don't mean to try to refute you, I am just trying to explain how I see things.

      Top
      #2040008 - 02/27/13 07:48 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: mabraman]
      Marco M Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 08/28/12
      Posts: 446
      Loc: Europe
      Originally Posted By: mabraman
      Well, at this moment my biggest problem is actually my teacher!


      Just do not accept this situation. Imagine where you will be in 5 years, and how dissapointed you will be if finding out that you could have reached that same level in only 2 years.

      You will have paid 5 years a teacher for reaching that level, but you could have reached the same level by paying only 2 years. OK, maybe the better teacher will be more expensive, and the 2 years with a good teacher will cost the same as 5 years with a not so good teacher. But wasting 3 years?

      I know, it is all about the "journey". But who can seriously deny, that learning more efficiently and thus quicker would be something bad to do? Doors to new repertoire will open sooner, and the journey can only be more interesting...

      Although your teacher might be a really good person, this does not imply that the teaching is automatically good. You have to think about yourself as well, not only about the poor teacher who will become fired.

      My experience is that good teachers are not advertising, but you have to make well thought efforts to find them: Find out who are the local pianists and who have been their teachers. Find out who were the teachers of the local conservatory students, before the students entered the conservatory. Find out who is the teacher of the child who recently won the local piano playing competition for the young.
      _________________________
      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

      Top
      #2040011 - 02/27/13 07:58 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: landorrano]
      mabraman Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 12/24/12
      Posts: 304
      Loc: Valencia, Spain
      Landorrano, not all the adult begginers come from the same starting point. This I can tell as I jam a theory study group weekly. We are all adults (some, retired) but we don't have same skills or interests, nor the same previous experience. Some of they already played piano or guitar when they were younger, or even went to the conservatory and now they want to restart with lessons or switch to another instrument (my school is specialized in winds, as usual in my region);some played by ear and now want to learn how to read music.
      From this, I've realized that the most important thing is, sadly, early ear education and an emotional connection with it, and musical memory. It's very difficult (following my theory teacher's words, and she is musical pedagogue)to train adult ears. We are all learning to read music but just a few of us are able to hear it inside our brain, it seems. This become evident when the time of melodic dictates come. No way. Some people can't even hear if notes ascend or descend.
      I can't figure how could I manage that situation.
      So, before (or while) learning to read, you have a lot to deal with.
      With regards to those who think (I'm one of them) that music is inside our heads and we just need to learn how to play it...it's actually true! Wish I could play all the music I already can dream,think,sing or whistle. That would be a good goal in itself!
      _________________________
      Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
      Kawai ES7.

      Top
      #2040014 - 02/27/13 08:12 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: jazzwee]
      JimF Offline
      1000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 10/08/09
      Posts: 1610
      Loc: south florida
      Originally Posted By: jazzwee
      I do still state that "musicality" (as it affects learning) is certainly a top problem IMHO (to keep this back on topic) and perhaps a root of many other problems stated here.


      +1 thumb

      "Not knowing what we don't know"
      "Being able to hear the problem"

      THIS
      _________________________
      Its All in the Game, arr.K.Jarrett
      Fountain in the Rain, W.Gillock
      Mozart Sonata K545

      Estonia L190 #7284





      Top
      #2040090 - 02/27/13 11:06 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      landorrano Online   content
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 02/26/06
      Posts: 2443
      Loc: France
      MarcoM, Mabraman: Hola, amigos ibericos! Estamos nombrosos hoy!

      Top
      #2040102 - 02/27/13 11:42 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      jazzwee Online   content
      6000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/25/07
      Posts: 6990
      Loc: So. California
      Originally Posted By: JimF
      Originally Posted By: jazzwee
      I do still state that "musicality" (as it affects learning) is certainly a top problem IMHO (to keep this back on topic) and perhaps a root of many other problems stated here.


      +1 thumb

      "Not knowing what we don't know"
      "Being able to hear the problem"

      THIS



      Case in point (a post from another thread).

      Quote:
      I don't know what you mean. I don't sing or even know most of the note sounds on the piano.


      Now how does one work on a problem without knowing what the problem is? Is playing the piano just a mechanical exercise? I actually read a post from someone here about someone playing the keyboard with the SOUND OFF. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this kind of practice habit results in tendonitis and such. Hearing the music correctly is the feedback mechanism that you're doing it right. And the hearing/understanding has to develop at the same time as the physical activity. In my experience, I found it to be an advantage if the musicality is a bit ahead of the physical capability.
      _________________________
      Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
      My Blog

      Top
      #2040135 - 02/27/13 12:53 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: jazzwee]
      chrisbell Offline
      1000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 05/11/07
      Posts: 1310
      Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
      Originally Posted By: jazzwee
      Hearing the music correctly is the feedback mechanism that you're doing it right. And the hearing/understanding has to develop at the same time as the physical activity. In my experience, I found it to be an advantage if the musicality is a bit ahead of the physical capability.
      +1
      _________________________
      I never play anything the same way once.

      Top
      #2040144 - 02/27/13 01:07 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      keystring Online   content
      Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 12/11/07
      Posts: 11181
      Loc: Canada
      There is a problem with any advice that goes toward one answer, or even a package of things. People are very different from each other and what works for one may be disastrous for another. Not to mention how anything may be understood.

      Top
      #2040148 - 02/27/13 01:11 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: keystring]
      landorrano Online   content
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 02/26/06
      Posts: 2443
      Loc: France
      Originally Posted By: keystring
      There is a problem with any advice that goes toward one answer, or even a package of things. People are very different from each other and what works for one may be disastrous for another. Not to mention how anything may be understood.


      Where has there been any advice that goes toward one answer? In fact, where has there been any advice?

      Top
      #2040192 - 02/27/13 02:16 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      jazzwee Online   content
      6000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/25/07
      Posts: 6990
      Loc: So. California
      Originally Posted By: Michael_99

      A very good post. I am a beginner piano player at 63. When I was 40 I got to learn to play a saxaphone as a beginner and played as a beginner for about 5 years with an excellent teacher
      who assisted me while I played in two community bands, plus a blues band and a jazz band all as a beginner. When you play in a band you can hear yourself play but you also hear everyone else so you can hear you or others being out of tune or you being out of tune or playing too fast or too slow. As a beginner I didn't hear a lot of the suff going on around me even though my teacher tried to point out some of the stuff.


      Michael, sorry I missed this response.

      This is an excellent example of advanced musicality, when you start to listen to others and not just yourself. It takes a lot of time to develop and as you describe, experience in a real life band exposes you to it. I myself am just at the baby stage of this.
      _________________________
      Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Piano 88
      My Blog

      Top
      #2040194 - 02/27/13 02:20 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      fanatik22 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 10/15/09
      Posts: 64
      Very valuable information here and most definitely opened up my eyes to some very different perspectives. Thanks to all.

      I have to wonder though. The original poster hasn't posted here for a good bit. What is the original intent of this thread? What is the actual target audience that this question is being appointed to? Of course the term beginner can be broad but are we talking first year starters or something of the sort? Is it supposed to serve as an archive of questions or to provide answers as well?

      It seems that a lot of the posters here are experienced players and not necessarily in the realm of "beginners". Which like I mentioned above can provide gems of knowledge, it's just that maybe the thread has gone astray from what it was originally created for.

      Top
      #2040213 - 02/27/13 02:40 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      alans Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 01/18/12
      Posts: 46
      My question as a very close to beginner is how do you know when to play hands
      apart and then put them together? People seem to say you always start with hands
      apart..for how long should you do this?

      Top
      #2040546 - 02/28/13 05:19 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Marco M]
      Marco M Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 08/28/12
      Posts: 446
      Loc: Europe
      Originally Posted By: Marco M
      My No.1 question as an adult beginner is:
      How can I enjoy my own playing and relax by playing piano, instead of getting tense in my head because of the concentration on playing correctly (applying techniques) and expressively (listening to myself) at the same time?

      My No.2 question as an adult beginner is:
      How do I prevent bad habbits, if I can only afford to have a teacher supervising me fortnightly or monthly, and will I ever have a chance to get rid of my bad habbits which I already adopted as a child?

      Any recommendation (also to proper literature on this topics) is wellcome!



      Having a very fruitful discussion in another thread, I learned that my priorities have to be changed:

      My main issue is to properly and reliably self-evaluate my own playing. Without such skill, I could never progress well!

      Top
      #2040635 - 02/28/13 08:42 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Marco M]
      Michael_99 Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/28/12
      Posts: 935
      Loc: Canada Alberta
      """...
      My No.1 question as an adult beginner is:
      How can I enjoy my own playing and relax by playing piano, instead of getting tense in my head because of the

      concentration on playing correctly (applying techniques) and expressively (listening to myself) at the same time?

      My No.2 question as an adult beginner is:
      How do I prevent bad habbits, if I can only afford to have a teacher supervising me fortnightly or monthly, and

      will I ever have a chance to get rid of my bad habbits which I already adopted as a child?

      Any recommendation (also to proper literature on this topics) is wellcome!

      ..."""

      These are very good questions.

      When you learn a piece you do so by playing/walking through the measures of the piece very slowly. Actually, I now read the piece over several days before I actually begin to play it - learn it - to make sure I can read the piece from start to finish in terms of knowing all the notes, knowing all the counting if it is difficult; in other words, getting to now as much about the piece as I can by reading and studying it. Remember, I am only a beginner, 63, and my pieces are only 32 measure long or about 2 pages. Then as I just said, I begin walking though the piece measure by measure very slowly many times over many days, as well as playing lot of other pieces I know. In other words I don't just play the new piece only because it would be boring, and it is imporant to break up the learning process into smaller periods of practice like 20 minutes of learning the new piece. So after a about a week I can probably play it but am pretty shakey but playing it with no mistakes, of course, or if I make a mistake in a particular measure then I stop and work through the measure to determine why I am not able to play it, if it is timing or fingering so that I can play that measure just like the rest of them of the piece. Then for weeks or months I play the piece day after day several times 5 or 10 times a day along with all the other stuff - I play like scales or whatever else. And I just keep playing the new piece. What happens over times is that I learn the piece because I play it all the time. I don't memorize it, I just play like all my pieces. No matter how simple the piece, how small the piece is, say 12 or 16 measures, you begin to feel the piece as a piano player. I begin to feel the measures and my body/brain tells me to play phrases a little slower than some of the other phrases. So you feel the piece and you play it how to feel it and I don't know why my body or brain want me to express it the way I do, but that is my experience as a beginner. Now when I say I may play a certain phrase, I keep the timing and counting like is should be, there are just a few times in a piece that I am compelled to make a personal adjustment. Because I play and review all my
      pieces all the time, I know them well and I am relaxed at playing them and enjoy them and, of course, because I play them all the time one day from the next, like all of us, we feel different everyday, so even though I play everything the best as I can, I can hear that I play one note too loud than the rest of the piece or I was uneven in a phrase, so you will hear the difference. Let me say that if you play the c major scale it can be extremely difficult to play all the notes evenly in sound volume and evenly in timely. As a student your teacher will tell you you aren't playing the scale evenly and I could never understand that and always thougth they were picking on me. Well, now, because I listen to my playing I realzie the teacher was listening to me but I was probably dreaming of how good I was playing and not listen to my playing. You must relax and that is only possible by knowing the piece and playing it all the time. In terms of habits, when you realize what they are - or a teacher points them out, then one by one you work on the bad habit and slowly you will learn not to make the bad habit. I recently realized I was looking at my fingers when I had to play some measures. You are never to look at your fingers but only look at the music. So I figured out I didn't know that measure and caused me to look so I would play it without a mistake. So I went through all my pieces and made sure I never looked at my hands and if I did, I would play the measures without looking, playing more slowly until I would not have to look. You can't say it is okay. You have to enjoy playing the piano and you must relax but you have to keep your personal stardard of caring about how you play and technique because learning the play the piano is all about learning more interesting and gradually harder pieces.


      Edited by Michael_99 (02/28/13 08:48 AM)

      Top
      #2040656 - 02/28/13 09:21 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      ROMagister Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 04/26/08
      Posts: 518
      Loc: Bucuresti, Romania
      MULTITASKING is my problems described in 1 word, including:

      - Reading or even playing multiple melodic lines [1-note bass lines related to main line, riffs/ostinatos, or well rehearsed block chords - they are less of a problem, as I almost feel them 'less than a Task']
      - Integrating key signature #/b's from reading to REAL TIME playing
      - When looking to hands [and back up to reading]

      Top
      #2040720 - 02/28/13 11:21 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      Mark... Offline
      4000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 11/27/06
      Posts: 4372
      Loc: Jersey Shore
      Based on my recordings, I seem to have difficulty playing consistently over time without minor (or major) hesitations. When playing it live I don't notice it as much. My teacher stated of course to slow down the easy sections so the hesitation areas are virtually eliminated.

      I need to use the metronome more. Just need to figure how to best take advantage of it.

      Top
      #2041754 - 03/02/13 08:09 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Michael_99]
      Marco M Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 08/28/12
      Posts: 446
      Loc: Europe
      Originally Posted By: Michael_99
      ... As a student your teacher will tell you you aren't playing the scale evenly and I could never understand that and always thougth they were picking on me. Well, now, because I listen to my playing I realzie the teacher was listening to me but I was probably dreaming of how good I was playing and not listen to my playing. ...


      Michael, that´s cute to read. To me it happens frequently that I start to dream, or to wonder how good I am finally once playing a piece. Then I remember that I usually fail completly because of such distraction and quickly concentrate back on my playing. Then I am pride that this time I was aware about the situation and no more failed by the distraction. Great moment!
      Just a moment, because two measures later I fail completely by the distraction of having a great moment. Hahahaha, it´s always the same!
      _________________________
      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

      Top
      #2048634 - 03/15/13 09:11 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      Lost Woods Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 03/11/13
      Posts: 104
      Loc: The Netherlands
      Question; how high do you play on the piano keys? When a piece is in C Major I find myself playing on the "low" part of the white keys.. so not between the black keys but "under" the black keys. But when I look at my wrist I see it is more natural to play between the black notes, so it is straight with the under arm?
      For Example, let's say you play a C major chord in first position with your right hand, the octave under middle C. When you have all your fingers low, the angle isn't straight with your underarm. But if you want it to be so, you have to put the finger u press on the G very high between the F# and Ab...

      Or you play an octave with your left hand from C under middle C to the middel C with, your pinky need to be much more higher than your thumb to have a good wrist position?


      Edited by Lost Woods (03/15/13 09:15 AM)

      Top
      #2048662 - 03/15/13 10:20 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      PianoStudent88 Offline
      2000 Post Club Member

      Registered: 06/16/11
      Posts: 2977
      Loc: Maine
      Lost Woods, it sounds to me like you are sitting too close to the piano, if your wrist has to bend in order you to play nearer the end of the white keys instead of between the black keys.

      Quick check: when you stretch your arms out straight, your knuckles should just touch the fall board. When you're playing, your elbows should be in front of your body.
      _________________________
      Ebaug(maj7)

      Top
      #2059738 - 04/05/13 10:09 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      Lost Woods Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 03/11/13
      Posts: 104
      Loc: The Netherlands
      Thanks for the answer smile Since a while I've been sitting further from the piano and I think it's better. Still have the habit to "dive in" when I'm really into the music.

      New question: How do u put the weight in your fingers. It's really hard for to put the weight in your finger tips from your whole arm/shoulder..

      you have to relax your arm, shoulder (cause otherwise gravity doens't work)... but you can't relax your wrist/finger? Cause if you do it will all "collapse". Is there a good excersise you don't tighten up to much but still have a firm enough wrist/finger to guide the arm/shoulder weight into the key.

      I tend to hold the underarm up and push down with the fingers so without the use of gravity.

      Btw: Isn't there a "general questions" topic? Where you can ask your general questions..

      Top
      #2059805 - 04/05/13 12:18 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Lost Woods]
      Marco M Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 08/28/12
      Posts: 446
      Loc: Europe
      Originally Posted By: Lost Woods
      Isn't there a "general questions" topic? Where you can ask your general questions..

      Just start a new thread in the Adult Beginners Forum and chose a proper subject which summarizes your particular question!

      Top
      #2059915 - 04/05/13 04:06 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Marco M]
      Cobra1365 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 05/11/10
      Posts: 261
      My number one problem is keeping my right hand from doing what my left is doing and vice versa.

      For example...playing a boogie woogie. I have no problem carrying the bass line with the left...as soon as I start with my right though, it tries to match the left or my left tries to match my right.
      _________________________
      Started Playing May 2010, Primarily Self Learning, Some Coach Assistance

      Top
      #2060028 - 04/05/13 08:20 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      LindaR Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 11/10/08
      Posts: 156
      Loc: Northern California
      My number problem I have just given attention to correct (maybe no 1, maybe not) is weak 4th and 5th fingers on my left hand-I finally realized its correctable. I just drag them along with me usually.


      Edited by LindaR (04/05/13 08:22 PM)
      Edit Reason: looking for cake

      Top
      #2060211 - 04/06/13 06:34 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: LindaR]
      Cobra1365 Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 05/11/10
      Posts: 261
      Originally Posted By: LindaR
      My number problem I have just given attention to correct (maybe no 1, maybe not) is weak 4th and 5th fingers on my left hand-I finally realized its correctable. I just drag them along with me usually.


      Hmmm...My wife says the same thing about me! crazy
      _________________________
      Started Playing May 2010, Primarily Self Learning, Some Coach Assistance

      Top
      #2060276 - 04/06/13 10:07 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Cobra1365]
      mehdifshp Offline
      Junior Member

      Registered: 12/10/11
      Posts: 6
      For me the biggest question is after how many years I can play 5 Beethoven sonatas ?!!!

      Top
      #2060321 - 04/06/13 11:42 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      LindaR Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 11/10/08
      Posts: 156
      Loc: Northern California
      Cobra, my piano teacher would stare at my hand and say play stronger. Now I realize I had to shift the way my arm, elbow, shoulder were positioned and look at my hands for awhile..If that helps your wife. And I needed to turn/twist my wrist inward a bit and slow down. I hope that helps at least.


      Edited by LindaR (04/06/13 12:13 PM)

      Top
      #2060331 - 04/06/13 11:56 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: newest student]
      Michael_99 Offline
      500 Post Club Member

      Registered: 07/28/12
      Posts: 935
      Loc: Canada Alberta
      newest student Offline,

      I have read your post, here:

      My No. 1 question:

      Why cant I learn faster?

      And No 2: If I can learn faster, then how?

      There are a handfull of people who can learn things like typing and playing the piano much quicker than most, but for the rest of the people, the people will learn at the regular rate.

      The limbs move quickly as we know and see, but it is the brain that controls them and it only learns very slowly, and importantly, you have to teach the brain accurately else it will make your mistakes perfectly the way you taught it. But you should know that once the brain learns things like language, skills like running, jumping, playing the piano, riding a bike, it will remember for ever unless your brain is damaged in some way, but the rule is that it takes the brain 6 months on average to recall those skills back to the level they were - from , 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 60, etc. years before.

      As far as learning something faster - we all want to - and try to - do or learn things faster but my experience is that the margin of error increases and results in failure, frustration, and often death by accidents. So there is a price to be paid for messing with the brain - with the billions of things it does for us every minute of your lives - perfectly.



      Edited by Michael_99 (04/06/13 12:00 PM)

      Top
      #2062428 - 04/10/13 03:12 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      Lost Woods Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 03/11/13
      Posts: 104
      Loc: The Netherlands
      I found out I have the bad habit of forgetting to lift fingers of the keys when played.. Especially the 4 and 5 in the right hand. Anyone recognizes this? I think because of using the pedal I don't hear it but when I tape it I see it. When I play without pedal I think I don't even hear it cause I'm used to the sound while pedaling. Gotta work hard on this bad, very bad habit.

      Top
      #2062818 - 04/11/13 09:35 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
      Stephen300o Offline
      Full Member

      Registered: 08/22/12
      Posts: 62
      Mostly a lack of talent, talent is the most expensive commodity. But also the cheapest..

      Top
      Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 >

      Moderator:  BB Player, casinitaly 
      What's Hot!!
      HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
      -------------------
      Sharing is Caring!
      About the Buttons
      -------------------
      Forums Rules & Help
      -------------------
      ADVERTISE
      on Piano World

      The world's most popular piano web site.
      -------------------
      PIANO BOOKS
      Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
      (125ad) Dampp Chaser
      Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
      Sheet Music
      (PW is an affiliate)
      Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
      Download & Print Sheet Music Instantly
      sheet music search
      sheet music search

      sheet music search
      (ad) HAILUN Pianos
      Hailun Pianos - Click for More
      (ad) Lindeblad Piano
      Lindeblad Piano Restoration
      Who's Online
      152 registered (Adam Coleman, accordeur, 36251, Al LaPorte, 46 invisible), 1626 Guests and 35 Spiders online.
      Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
      Forum Stats
      74248 Members
      42 Forums
      153579 Topics
      2250834 Posts

      Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
      New Topics - Multiple Forums
      This day, last year...
      by TwoSnowflakes
      04/19/14 01:17 PM
      the government and tuning.
      by kc_lee
      04/19/14 12:33 PM
      Midi controller with a good keybed under 1000$
      by Ov3rload
      04/19/14 11:55 AM
      Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber
      by Keith D Kerman
      04/19/14 11:51 AM
      Keyboard stand
      by david_ka
      04/19/14 09:42 AM
      (ads by Google)

      Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

       
      Our Piano Related Classified Ads
      | Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

      Advertise on Piano World
      | Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
      | |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


      copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
      No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission