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#2062177 - 04/09/13 10:48 PM Second Lesson and...help!
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 84
Hello everyone! Thanks for the acceptance and thanks for the forum. After years of wanting to learn the piano, I finally decided that I had the means and will to take lessons. I had fun purchasing a nice Digital Piano along with headphones so as not to disturb the neighbors. I want to play like a real musician, read music, play by ear, all that. I'm willing to practice years to do so, but....

I had my second lesson this week and I arrived thinking I was ahead, and turns out I'm behind! Frustrated and a bit discouraged. I know, I know..don't give up!

I'm using Alfred's because that's what my teacher said to use. Besides listening to my iPod and the class or two in the sixth grade, I know nothing about music, notes, clefs, etc.

Is there a good "go-to" guide where I can just be immersed in a ton of black dots and practice reading music? I really want to get this, but Alfred's has the letters in the notes. I just want to read, but there are sooo many books out there.

Thanks for allowing me to vent.
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#2062180 - 04/09/13 11:01 PM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 84
Found musictheory.net and You Can Read Music by Appleby.

(Fun stuff)
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Hobby 1: Photography. Bucket List 1: Learning Piano

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#2062202 - 04/09/13 11:46 PM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
Whizbang Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 821
Originally Posted By: JazzyMac
I had my second lesson this week and I arrived thinking I was ahead, and turns out I'm behind!


Don't panic!
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2062204 - 04/09/13 11:58 PM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
Are you having private lessons, or are you in group lessons? If private, then you can't be "behind". It simply means that there are things you need to learn, and your teacher can teach you from where you're at. If in group lessons, maybe the teacher can help you catch up to the things you need to learn.

Are you saying that you just started piano, and you've been started at grade 6 level?

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#2062231 - 04/10/13 01:03 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: keystring]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
I think he meant his music background includes listening to the iPod and one or two music classes in 6th grade.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2062241 - 04/10/13 01:42 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
Wow, are adult beginners impatient! I can understand that, but take a deep breath and try to get a perspective. It will take years to be somewhat good at piano.

Alfred's has the letters under the notes just at the very beginning. It will wean you off of it in no time. Since you have a teacher, why not just trust her/him?
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2062244 - 04/10/13 02:21 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
casinitaly Offline


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5298
Loc: Italy
Whoa friend! Calm down! You aren't behind, you've just started. This isn't a race or a competition, it is a long, long, long (and truly wonderful) journey.
It isn't about the destination - it is about enjoying each stop along the way.

There are times where it seems all uphill work - especially at the beginning! But then you hit a plateau, assimilate all that you've learned, coast for a while then start on the next uphill stretch!

Don't feel you have to play a "catch up" game, just work as steadily as you can to make a little progress at a time. The important things are to learn to be consistent and play a bit every day ---15 minutes of focused practice can be better than an hour of messing about without a clear goal.

If you find you're having trouble doing something - do not hesitate to go as slowly as it takes to get it right. This might mean that you move as though you are in a slow motion film - but it will work in the long run, as you very gradually speed up.

If you look in the thread that is at the top of this forum "Important information" you will find a lot of helpful links.

Good luck!
_________________________
XVIII-XXXV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#2062254 - 04/10/13 02:58 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1773
Loc: Australia
JazzyMac,
I have been playing for five months and my competitive nature sees me always thinking it’s a race, I am either behind or sometimes in front. Truth is you are where you are; at the beginning of a long journey. My first few months were spent concentrating on sight reading as that to me is a holy grail. However I quickly found that playing piano is a combination of skills, finger strength, chord & pattern recognition, co-ordination, technique etc etc. All skills must be developed equally for the others to benefit.
As you already have a teacher you have a great resource already. But in my opinion the adult learner is more focused and needs multiple teachers, ie the internet, books, forums, youtube, etc. Anything you learn outside of your regular lessons can only help and even if you pick up some bad information your teacher will advise accordingly.
To this end I found this guy helpful, he is a little eccentric but always informative:

http://www.howtoplaypiano.ca/

Something I also found helpful in the first few weeks was I made a set of flashcards with treble and bass notes. I kept them with me all the time and tested myself until I could recognise the notes quickly. It helped in the transition to playing the notes on the piano.
This is a great forum, particularly for beginners, no question is too dumb and all the responses are honest.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2062301 - 04/10/13 06:55 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 84
Thanks so much everyone. Yes, I'm taking individual lessons.
_________________________
Hobby 1: Photography. Bucket List 1: Learning Piano

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#2062314 - 04/10/13 07:48 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2423
Loc: Virginia, USA
Let me assure you, you will turn up to every single lesson in your life, behind.

Take my lesson yesterday and the Chopin Nocturne. I played it pretty well and we then spent about 20 minutes working on how to make each individual chord in the left hand have it's own "color". See - I was behind! But not to worry, I can fix that up and we'll working on shading this, tapering that, phrasing the other ...

Trust me, sometimes I long for the days when all I had to worry about was hitting the right note. Not that I can always do that you understand wink
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  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

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#2079557 - 05/08/13 11:19 PM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 84
So as you may all have seen from my "Funny Quote" thread, I'm progressing along, albeit not as steady as I'd prefer.

I've now completed Lesson #6 (only numbering these lessons so you all know I'm *very new* at this). I'm realizing that after a bad lesson--ie, I have to repeat a majority of the previous lesson--I feel a bit downtrodden and disenchanted. It takes me a few days to venture back toward the piano to overcome my hesitations.

Does anyone else have this problem?


Edited by JazzyMac (05/08/13 11:19 PM)
_________________________
Hobby 1: Photography. Bucket List 1: Learning Piano

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#2079564 - 05/08/13 11:35 PM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1773
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: JazzyMac
So as you may all have seen from my "Funny Quote" thread, I'm progressing along, albeit not as steady as I'd prefer.

I've now completed Lesson #6 (only numbering these lessons so you all know I'm *very new* at this). I'm realizing that after a bad lesson--ie, I have to repeat a majority of the previous lesson--I feel a bit downtrodden and disenchanted. It takes me a few days to venture back toward the piano to overcome my hesitations.

Does anyone else have this problem?


JazzyMac I think I am on lesson 16 or close too, I always have mixed emotions after a lesson they never go as I planned........funny that.

I practice diligently all week, get a piece ready, even practice in the morning and then go to my lesson and totally flub everything, I look at a new piece and can't read the first note, make all sorts of stupid rooky mistakes and end up leaving with my tail between my legs.

Thankfully the teacher is more generous and encouraging. As I quickly found out a week is a very short time to practice and master something new so don't feel too bad, it is probably a common thing.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2079572 - 05/08/13 11:50 PM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
malkin Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2752
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Are you saying that a 'bad lesson' is one where you get your pieces for another week? Why would you even need a teacher if you could master it on your own?!

I pretty much know when I will be continuing another week with a piece. The point of a lesson is to get some instruction about how to fix the problems I'm having. And of course how to fix the problems that I didn't even notice that I was having.

Often I want to start each piece at my lesson with an explanation of what I think is happening. I'll commence a grand narrative, have trouble putting the problem into words, and then say--"oh, nevermind, you'll hear it..." and then I just play.

I'm not there to play well, just to play how I play.
And then to listen to what the teacher tells me to do and then try it.
And then go home and practice!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2079576 - 05/08/13 11:58 PM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Here's a nice, running list of free resources on learning how to read music and on music theory: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1948785.html#Post1948785

and there's a book by Michael Miller called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory that I enjoyed reading starting out.

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#2079592 - 05/09/13 12:52 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 821
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: JazzyMac
So as you may all have seen from my "Funny Quote" thread, I'm progressing along, albeit not as steady as I'd prefer.

I've now completed Lesson #6 (only numbering these lessons so you all know I'm *very new* at this). I'm realizing that after a bad lesson--ie, I have to repeat a majority of the previous lesson--I feel a bit downtrodden and disenchanted. It takes me a few days to venture back toward the piano to overcome my hesitations.

Does anyone else have this problem?


Of course we do...skills that you need to play the piano well are not something to learn in a day...it may take weeks or even months to really get something ingrained in your brain. It's completely normal to progress and then digress again and then progress again. The point is that you progress a little as a whole all the time even if you don't always see it yourself. And it doesn't even matter how fast you progress, just that you do.

After a year you will look back at these pieces and wonder how they once seemed hard. That's the way it is. Just enjoy the process and trust that you are doing just fine.

Even if I know that I should not have any expectations on my lessons (I go there to be taught, not to impress) I still get this feeling of disappointment when I was unable to really concentrate and do my best.

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#2079647 - 05/09/13 04:18 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: Andy Platt]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
Let me assure you, you will turn up to every single lesson in your life, behind.

Take my lesson yesterday and the Chopin Nocturne. I played it pretty well and we then spent about 20 minutes working on how to make each individual chord in the left hand have it's own "color". See - I was behind! But not to worry, I can fix that up and we'll working on shading this, tapering that, phrasing the other ...

Trust me, sometimes I long for the days when all I had to worry about was hitting the right note. Not that I can always do that you understand wink


This made me chuckle.... whether lesson 2,20 or 200... it always feels im drowning in a sea of challenges... when will it end? Hopefully not for many many years!
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#2079667 - 05/09/13 06:33 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1951
Loc: Pennsylvania
@JazzyMac:

Try not to expect that you are to "accomplish" what you are assigned for your lesson within that week. It does not work that way. Your teacher will invariably give you more to do than you can accomplish. You are simply to work on it and improve a little bit ... or NOT.

Sometimes, you may feel you have not accomplished anything or you just cannot do what you have been assigned. That simply means you need additional help with it and the teacher will give you that. That is why you have a teacher.

As others have indicated ... this is a journey that has no end. You just keep inching along and you improve slowly. You will improve more slowly than some but faster than others. I, personally, have been playing for about 7 years and cannot play as well as others I have heard that have only been playing 4 or 5 years. On the other hand, I can play much better than I ever thought I would be able to play. So, it is what it is. Enjoy your journey and someday you will reflect on your journey and be pleased with how far you have come.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2079673 - 05/09/13 06:50 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: UK Paul UK]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1773
Loc: Australia
[/quote]

This made me chuckle.... whether lesson 2,20 or 200... it always feels im drowning in a sea of challenges... when will it end? Hopefully not for many many years! [/quote]

UK Paul, this is so true. I had pause to think the other day about why I seemed to enjoy piano so much and it was the never ending challenge. So despite being in a rush to get somewhere where I might be able to play better, I am enjoying the small every day challenges so much I don't want to get there.........go figure
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I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2079701 - 05/09/13 07:49 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 84
Thanks folks. It's taking me quite a while to understand this concept. I just don't want to appear as if I'm wasting my teacher's time...but I know I spent some time trying to practice pieces. (Jingle Bells, Largo, Happy Song, etc.)
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Hobby 1: Photography. Bucket List 1: Learning Piano

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#2079735 - 05/09/13 08:57 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Each week you keep at it, that will be enough for not wasting your teachers time mate.. they can get frustrated sure... but a teacher worth teaching should never feel a student is wasting their time... you choose to learn the piano.... and just remember, your teacher was in your position years ago!

it shows you want to improve... that is a great sign. Shows you care. Just stick with it... the attitude and practice skills are as much to work on as pressing the keys... taken me years to get this far, and ive only just started to get resilient to the highs and lows...

Ps. Talk to your teacher. This subject is a great ice breaker and you may find more connection may come from discussing it.

You and your teacher are on the journey together :-)
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulGPiano

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#2079765 - 05/09/13 09:58 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 821
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: JazzyMac
Thanks folks. It's taking me quite a while to understand this concept. I just don't want to appear as if I'm wasting my teacher's time...but I know I spent some time trying to practice pieces. (Jingle Bells, Largo, Happy Song, etc.)


I have found it really hard to progress lately because my job is so taxing. I also have had bad lessons when I simply cannot do anything my teacher asks, get frustrated or even angry (at myself, not the teacher). So last week I asked her if she would like to dump me since I am being so unco-operative and there's not much progress. She said it motivates her to know the student wants to play the piano. There's absolutely no question that I do and I also do practice as much as I can, even if results are slow to show. So I guess I'm not wasting her time...

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#2079774 - 05/09/13 10:16 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: outo]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1951
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: outo
Originally Posted By: JazzyMac
Thanks folks. It's taking me quite a while to understand this concept. I just don't want to appear as if I'm wasting my teacher's time...but I know I spent some time trying to practice pieces. (Jingle Bells, Largo, Happy Song, etc.)


I have found it really hard to progress lately because my job is so taxing. I also have had bad lessons when I simply cannot do anything my teacher asks, get frustrated or even angry (at myself, not the teacher). So last week I asked her if she would like to dump me since I am being so unco-operative and there's not much progress. She said it motivates her to know the student wants to play the piano. There's absolutely no question that I do and I also do practice as much as I can, even if results are slow to show. So I guess I'm not wasting her time...


As long as you are doing your best to deal with things, you are not wasting anyone's time.

You may also benefit from moving your practice time to the wee hours of the morning. I would suggest ... get all cleaned up and ready for work and then spend a quality half-hour with your piano and forget about everything else. Then, regardless of your "progress" just forget it until the next morning. In other words separate your piano experience from the rest of your life/day. Then when you come back to it the next morning you will more likely be ready for that clean focused effort again.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2079797 - 05/09/13 11:14 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: dmd]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 821
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: dmd
Originally Posted By: outo
Originally Posted By: JazzyMac
Thanks folks. It's taking me quite a while to understand this concept. I just don't want to appear as if I'm wasting my teacher's time...but I know I spent some time trying to practice pieces. (Jingle Bells, Largo, Happy Song, etc.)


I have found it really hard to progress lately because my job is so taxing. I also have had bad lessons when I simply cannot do anything my teacher asks, get frustrated or even angry (at myself, not the teacher). So last week I asked her if she would like to dump me since I am being so unco-operative and there's not much progress. She said it motivates her to know the student wants to play the piano. There's absolutely no question that I do and I also do practice as much as I can, even if results are slow to show. So I guess I'm not wasting her time...


As long as you are doing your best to deal with things, you are not wasting anyone's time.

You may also benefit from moving your practice time to the wee hours of the morning. I would suggest ... get all cleaned up and ready for work and then spend a quality half-hour with your piano and forget about everything else. Then, regardless of your "progress" just forget it until the next morning. In other words separate your piano experience from the rest of your life/day. Then when you come back to it the next morning you will more likely be ready for that clean focused effort again.



That's exactly what I do whenever I can...I can usually learn at least some short passage very fast if I have a good morning practice. But unfortunately I am not a morning person. Mornings are pretty painful for me, so the time I am ready I am usually already late...I need a lot of sleep too. I do practice in the evenings at least a little, because I just have to, the piano calls for me...

Of course I wasn't serious about being dumped, I've been with my teacher for almost 2 years now, she's used to me being difficult smile

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#2079809 - 05/09/13 11:56 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 84
I try to exercise in the mornings, and practice in the evenings. May be good to change it around. I will consider it.
_________________________
Hobby 1: Photography. Bucket List 1: Learning Piano

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#2225506 - 02/03/14 11:47 PM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 84
Checking back in. July was my last formal lesson. Then I moved, picked up lessons again in October and November with someone who's very fast and very different than my last teacher. Stopped in December to study for a major test. Not sure what happened in January. But now I'm back with a new schedule and determination to get past the chopsticks stage!
_________________________
Hobby 1: Photography. Bucket List 1: Learning Piano

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#2225545 - 02/04/14 01:43 AM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: UK Paul UK]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 206
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: UK Paul UK
Originally Posted By: Andy Platt
Let me assure you, you will turn up to every single lesson in your life, behind.

Take my lesson yesterday and the Chopin Nocturne. I played it pretty well and we then spent about 20 minutes working on how to make each individual chord in the left hand have it's own "color". See - I was behind! But not to worry, I can fix that up and we'll working on shading this, tapering that, phrasing the other ...

Trust me, sometimes I long for the days when all I had to worry about was hitting the right note. Not that I can always do that you understand wink


This made me chuckle.... whether lesson 2,20 or 200... it always feels im drowning in a sea of challenges... when will it end? Hopefully not for many many years!

So true!!!

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#2225813 - 02/04/14 03:13 PM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: JazzyMac]
Stubbie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 510
Loc: Midwest USA
JazzyMac, thanks for coming back to report in.

So do you feel like you're making progress? Did lesson-taking get any more comfortable for you?

Are you practicing every day, now that you're settled down again?
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.


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#2227465 - 02/07/14 01:37 PM Re: Second Lesson and...help! [Re: Stubbie]
Oongawa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 293

I second the "practice in the morning" suggestion. You're not a morning person? If you practice in the morning, you might be surprised. We all prefer to get up when we're looking forward to doing something we enjoy (I like practicing a lot more than going to work.)

Make yourself sit down for 5 minutes and run through the piece from last week or the week before - so it's easy and enjoyable, not something that's a struggle. It will start your day off right. Over time you will probably find that you want to practice in the morning and want to get up to do it.

I practice a half hour in the morning on most days but two days a week I am able to work at home so the time usually spent commuting I'm at the piano, for a total of about an hour and a half. If I can't practice in the morning I really miss it.

Subtract the length of one snooze button and spend that time at the piano, you'll be glad you did.
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Oongawa

'69 Mason & Hamlin Model A

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