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#2128659 - 08/05/13 08:51 PM Turned the corner...
JeanieA Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 507
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Just got home from my weekly lesson.

I worked hard this week (no, really, I DID!) on my assigned lesson: two pieces from a fake book (I'm learning to improvise), a rag, a Clementi sonatina, my scales, and juuust starting a Chopin Nocturne. I felt pretty confident with the rag and the fake book version of "Yesterday."

Naturally I crashed and burned on everything during my lesson.

Musing things over on the drive home, wondering why things are seeming so different with this teacher (I started with him about a year ago after several years with another person), wondering why I'm still on the same pieces for months when the previous teacher would pass things after a couple of weeks, it occurred to me:

I've gone from learning to play piano to learning to play the piano - touch, technique, expression, tone, phrasing - not just banging out the correct notes in sort of the right time and moving on.

Looking at my performance from that angle, well, now it looks like progress not stagnation. And - you know - I'm OK with that!
_________________________
Collector of sheet music I can't play.

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#2128667 - 08/05/13 09:14 PM Re: Turned the corner... [Re: JeanieA]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 674
Loc: NH
That's wonderful!! The point where it's pretty much expected that you come in hitting the right notes and you work from there with your teacher is huge. Of course, you can get set right back on your ass with a significantly more difficult piece!!! LOL! But, if your teacher is good, they will chose music with you that is more of a gradual progression in difficulty. You don't want to hit a wall that you just keeping banging your head on. You want to hit a wall you can climb with just just a bit of difficulty but still master.

Sounds like you have reached a major milestone!!
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2128720 - 08/05/13 11:41 PM Re: Turned the corner... [Re: JeanieA]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 759
Originally Posted By: JeanieA
I've gone from learning to play piano to learning to play the piano - touch, technique, expression, tone, phrasing - not just banging out the correct notes in sort of the right time and moving on.


EXACTLY! It sounds like you've got a great teacher-student relationship fit.

My teacher quite simply doesn't let me get away with things... he hears all my cheats. But it's not mean thing at all. It's ultimately a kind thing.

A good teacher is like a personal trainer for your brain. He or she challenges you to do what you think is impossible but which is actually just within your grasp.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2128753 - 08/06/13 12:58 AM Re: Turned the corner... [Re: JeanieA]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
What an amazing accomplishment! Well done I imagine you must feel great!!! How long has it taken to reach that pinnacle? You aren't the only one that crashes and burns in lessons haha don't feel bad!
_________________________
"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2129015 - 08/06/13 03:47 PM Re: Turned the corner... [Re: JeanieA]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
Originally Posted By: JeanieA


I've gone from learning to play piano to learning to play the piano - touch, technique, expression, tone, phrasing - not just banging out the correct notes in sort of the right time and moving on.


JeanieA, good on you to have reached this stage.

Do you think that it is a question of time ? A question of the right teacher ? The right mindset? How long have you been learning before reaching this milestone ?

I am still in the early stage after 2 years... Focusing on playing the right notes, right timing and toning, with no concerns to phrasing, expression, ...

I already got the sensation that things are easier but I still lack the expression and the interpretation.


Edited by JosephAC (08/06/13 03:48 PM)

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#2129047 - 08/06/13 04:56 PM Re: Turned the corner... [Re: JosephAC]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2368
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: JosephAC
I am still in the early stage after 2 years... Focusing on playing the right notes, right timing and toning, with no concerns to phrasing, expression, ...
I think it's time to investigate another teacher! Phrasing and expression is more important than right notes. I would have thought your touch and the specifics of the instrument should be the first thing.

The first thing I remember learning was how to press the keys and how to release them.
_________________________
Richard

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#2129082 - 08/06/13 05:50 PM Re: Turned the corner... [Re: JeanieA]
JeanieA Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 507
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Thanks for the nice words everyone. smile

I took lessons from a local lady for about 4 years after a looong hiatus from childhood. I came into lessons knowing how to read music and had a little theory behind me. This teacher didn't normally take adult non-beginners, but since I was one of her daughter's teachers, she made an exception. The economy intervened and I was forced to drop lessons for a couple years and I wasn't a very motivated self-teacher.

After we got the finances sorted, I had a few miserable months with a formally educated music-major type. We had a personality conflict right off the bat; he gave me no credit for what knowledge I did have and never (I mean NEVER) had anything nice to say. He would visibly cringe when I played for him. (I'm not good, but I'm not THAT bad.) I have a very thick skin and have NO problem with constructive criticism, but this guy was so rigid, cold, and belittling it took all the fun out of piano. I couldn't wait for the prepaid tuition to run out so I could get away from him. He's moved from the area since and is currently torturing students on the east coast.

Then a year ago I found my present teacher; he's just great! He was a formally trained pianist but has been a professional stage musician for a long time. We've been working on all kinds of things that I've never had addressed before - improvising, working from a fake book, and like I mentioned above, tone, playing "to the bottom of the keyboard," phrasing, hand independence, really nailing timing, chord theory, AND has the advantage of living about 3.5 minutes from my work!

So all told, I guess I'm about at 6 years of adult lessons.

JosephAC: I think it's a combination of all those factors but I believe that finding the right teacher to work with has probably been the most important factor. That and giving yourself permission to learn! I think adults don't have enough patience with themselves - we understand what we're supposed to do and what it's supposed to sound like and then are frustrated with ourselves when we can't immediately do it! Give yourself permission to learn, make mistakes, and don't judge yourself against others! (I should take my own advice.)

It's definitely a process, but one day the significant other will say something like "I can really hear you getting better - there's feeling in the music now." That's a good day.
_________________________
Collector of sheet music I can't play.

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#2129117 - 08/06/13 06:45 PM Re: Turned the corner... [Re: JeanieA]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2083
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Congratulations, Jeanie...

That's what it's all about. Playing music. I'm so happy for you to have such a good teacher now.
_________________________
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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