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#2118430 - 07/16/13 07:55 AM Continuing piano at university?
Hrochan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 95
Loc: Czech Republic
Hello everybody smile
I have been playing the piano for 3 years now. Last October, my schedule got really busy and I told my teacher I needed a break from my lessons. Some other stuff happened later and I ended up being 9 months without lessons, just playing pieces I know and learning new ones occasionally (no classical music, don't wanna butcher it) to keep in shape.
I want to start lessons again now, but I am going to study at the Univesity of Edinburgh in September, a 5-year programme (I am from the Czech republic). While this is a dream coming true, I am really sad about my piano playing. It seems I will be in Czech for about 3 weeks during Christmas and then 3 and a half months in summer. I am going to have my digital piano shipped to Scotland, plus there are university music rooms available, so the instrument itself is not an issue. My upright will stay at home.
Now, lessons are really expensive in Scotland compared to Czech and I could only afford one each 3-4 weeks. When I'm in Czech for my holiday, I can easily go twice a week if I want to. Do you have any suggestions for this situation? Is there a point in atteding lessons while in Czech, getting suggestions about what to learn when away etc., and then catching up when I return? Is there anyone here who has faced the same problem? smile
Thanks very much.
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#2118623 - 07/16/13 04:29 PM Re: Continuing piano at university? [Re: Hrochan]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1389
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I think that if you keep an organized log of what you're doing and how you're doing it, a list of any questions you come across that you maybe haven't found satisfactory answers to elsewhere (like here, other places on the internet, in books, etc.), and maybe a piece or two to show the teacher and receive critique upon (things like fingerings, sufficient display of technical comfort, interpretive concerns, etc.), then there's most certainly value in taking monthly lessons. But just as good students who make the most of weekly lessons, you must be organized and prepared in order to make the most of monthly-or-so lessons.

Also, I don't know how the costs would compare (you might want to look into it), but have you considered Skype lessons?


Edited by Bobpickle (07/17/13 03:39 AM)
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#2118831 - 07/16/13 11:03 PM Re: Continuing piano at university? [Re: Hrochan]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1310
Loc: Southern California
I would suggest looking for more social ways to share your music, perhaps as part of a band, or playing music for a choir.

That said, your studies are of primary importance, so keep that number one. I know the economy is dismal in most of Europe, so it is essential that you stay focused.

Piano can be a lonely and solitary experience. To me, there are far more important things in life than advancing up the piano skill ladder. Those things, include education, and the social opportunities that may also be a once in a lifetime chance.

Every hour spent on the bench, every pound spent on piano lessons might have been allocated to social activities. Again, these kind of social opportunities might never come again.

It may be heresy to write this on this forum, but a 3rd year piano beginner can take a break and take it up again later. Yes, that person will have to make up for lost time. However, these other opportunities in education, seeing sights, meeting people, perhaps dating people, perhaps falling in love, may likely never come again.

Make a conscious choice. If it were a relative asking for advice, I'd tell them to find some social way to do it, or put piano on the back burner for a while. Both the time and money might be better allocated elsewhere.

/edit to add: a 3rd-year piano beginner may not be ready to play for a choir and may not be able to carry their weight in a band either. Perhaps joining a choir or glee club, might be an interesting diversion. If singing is out, perhaps dance lessons or social dance groups, or horse riding, or groups that do long walks through the Scottish countryside, or any number of other groups or activities that might lead to adventures. I'm not saying ignore piano, but I would not make it a high priority in terms of time or money during the next five years.


Edited by Sand Tiger (07/17/13 01:10 AM)
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#2118982 - 07/17/13 09:26 AM Re: Continuing piano at university? [Re: Hrochan]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 18057
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Hrochan
Is there a point in attending lessons while in Czech, getting suggestions about what to learn when away etc., and then catching up when I return?:)
Thanks very much.


I think so, absolutely, assuming your teacher is okay with you doing so. (Some teachers adopt more rigid attendance policies and only enroll students in their studios who will be taking lessons consistently.)

It is likely that you will find yourself so busy with your studies and all the other activities that go on during college that you will not be practicing as much as you had before, or would like. The important thing is to recognize that you will have different demands at different points in your life, and a (temporary) lapse in piano does not doom you to a life without it.
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#2119330 - 07/17/13 10:07 PM Re: Continuing piano at university? [Re: Hrochan]
Tubbie0075 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 925
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
If you plan to learn some pieces on your own while attending university, I'd get some lessons before you start university. Talk to the teacher about your situation, select the pieces with the teacher you can learn on your own for the next 3 to 4 years. Get your teacher to write down fingerings, go through techniques and practice tips on tricky bits, interpretation etc. In other word, crash course. Hopefully when you do leave, you have enough to learn on your own for a while.

Good luck and keep playing!

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#2119471 - 07/18/13 05:25 AM Re: Continuing piano at university? [Re: Hrochan]
earlofmar Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 2760
Loc: Australia
Hrochan, my brother lives in Glasgow and said the exact same thing to me, ie that lessons in Scotland were too expensive. Yes I am sure you get what you pay for but a quick search of the local classifieds (Gumtree Free Classifieds) and I was able to direct him to a very inexpensive solution that was just right for his needs.

I just looked and found 45 minute lessons for 20 pounds in Edinburgh which doesn't sound unreasonable. You could also have 30 minute lessons at the Edinburgh School of Music for 15 pounds.

Since you are going to the second best city in Scotland (lol) and it is in the middle of quite a bad recession I am sure you can find some opportunities once you start looking around. The city has a vibrant academic and arts community so I am equally sure once you are there and ask around you will find what you are looking for. You just have to learn the language first.
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#2119477 - 07/18/13 06:01 AM Re: Continuing piano at university? [Re: Hrochan]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Use skype?

University accommodation should have fast internet access, and find a teacher in the Czech rep who will agree to do it via skype for Czech rates?

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#2120155 - 07/19/13 12:33 PM Re: Continuing piano at university? [Re: earlofmar]
Hrochan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 95
Loc: Czech Republic
Thanks everybody for their insights. I do know my studies may get rough at times and I should not neglect social life, but still...
If I find myself with spare time and nothing to do, I inevitably gravitate towards installing World of Warcraft again, and going straight to heck from there laugh
It seems I will do sort of a mix-up of your advice - I will visit my teacher next week and explain I need a 'crash course'. I guess she'll be fine with it - she always emphasised the fact that lessons attendance can be very flexible once you attain some basic habits. Then I will leave for Scotland and see for myself - if I have time and money to attend lessons there, or just play on my own.
And I will discuss the skype thing with my teacher for sure, it seems like an ideal solution, thanks.

Originally Posted By: earlofmar
Since you are going to the second best city in Scotland (lol)

Haha, I've never been to either of the two, but the amount of rivalry between Glasgow and Edinburgh I see on the web is really huge laugh
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