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#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.

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#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: 2492
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.

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#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: 318
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

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#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)

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#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: 2050
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
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#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: 318
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

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#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.

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#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: 11646
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.

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#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: 374
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
Roland RD800

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#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.

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#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


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#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?

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#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: 1383
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 .

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#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)

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#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.

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#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: 2050
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
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#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.

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#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: 11646
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.

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#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: 2492
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.

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#2038373 - 02/24/13 10:27 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: keystring]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1007
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

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#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.
_________________________
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Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#2038531 - 02/24/13 04:14 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rocket88]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7061
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 Electro 4 HP
My Blog

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#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.

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#2038592 - 02/24/13 05:42 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: BeccaBb]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7061
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 Electro 4 HP
My Blog

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#2038599 - 02/24/13 05:48 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Michael_99]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7061
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 Electro 4 HP
My Blog

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#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: 202
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.

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#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: 1335
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.

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

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose


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


I second that!

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#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: 5293
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.
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#2038979 - 02/25/13 11:57 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7061
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.
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