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#2039819 - 02/26/13 07:25 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7086
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.
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#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: 2091
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
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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#2039862 - 02/26/13 09:02 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
malkin Online   content
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Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2543
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
The biggest problem is that we're beginners, which isn't really a problem, just the state of being.
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2039886 - 02/26/13 09:50 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: rnaple]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7086
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.
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#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: 390
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?
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#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.

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#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: 321
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)
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#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: 2466
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.

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#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: 451
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

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#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: 321
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!
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#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: 1718
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
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#2040090 - 02/27/13 11:06 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
landorrano Online   content
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Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2466
Loc: France
MarcoM, Mabraman: Hola, amigos ibericos! Estamos nombrosos hoy!

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#2040102 - 02/27/13 11:42 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: 7086
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.
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#2040135 - 02/27/13 12:53 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: jazzwee]
chrisbell Offline
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Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1353
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
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#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: 11679
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.

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#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: 2466
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?

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#2040192 - 02/27/13 02:16 PM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7086
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.
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#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.

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#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: 76
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?

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#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: 451
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!

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#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)

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#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]

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

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4378
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.

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#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: 451
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

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#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)

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#2048662 - 03/15/13 10:20 AM Re: Adult beginners - what is your number one question/problem? [Re: Okanagan Musician]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
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.
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#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..

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#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: 451
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!

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#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

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#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: 160
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

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