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#2169923 - 10/22/13 08:28 AM Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration
lolablitz Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/08/13
Posts: 15
Loc: midwest
Hi everyone, I've posted once before about where to place my new-to-me 1998 Baldwin M and got lots of great advice. My husband bought me the piano which was so awesome and something I never expected. I was secretly apprehensive that my once decent skills would be difficult to bring back and I wouldn't live up to my gift. I took lessons from 6 years through performance in college and then for the past 10 years have lived in places that didn't fit a piano and fell out of practice.

Well now the piano has been here for two weeks (tuner coming Friday), and I've been plodding through some of my old repertoire every day. I'm frustrated. I can't play the two performance pieces I remember playing in college Chopin's Valse op.64, no.2; Nocturne in E Flat- I can't even figure out the complicated Valse. And I can't remember what else I played. So I'm starting with Chopin's Nocturne op.72, Lacrimosa (harder than I thought) and some pieces from the Applause books that I played in high school.

It's frustrating not being able to pick back up and play Something - Anything well! I realize I'm probably expecting a lot for two weeks of playing and was hoping for some kind words or a pep talk from someone who understands or has been here.

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#2169935 - 10/22/13 08:58 AM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: lolablitz]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11427
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: lolablitz
Hi everyone, I've posted once before about where to place my new-to-me 1998 Baldwin M and got lots of great advice. My husband bought me the piano which was so awesome and something I never expected. I was secretly apprehensive that my once decent skills would be difficult to bring back and I wouldn't live up to my gift. I took lessons from 6 years through performance in college and then for the past 10 years have lived in places that didn't fit a piano and fell out of practice.

Well now the piano has been here for two weeks (tuner coming Friday), and I've been plodding through some of my old repertoire every day. I'm frustrated. I can't play the two performance pieces I remember playing in college Chopin's Valse op.64, no.2; Nocturne in E Flat- I can't even figure out the complicated Valse. And I can't remember what else I played. So I'm starting with Chopin's Nocturne op.72, Lacrimosa (harder than I thought) and some pieces from the Applause books that I played in high school.

It's frustrating not being able to pick back up and play Something - Anything well! I realize I'm probably expecting a lot for two weeks of playing and was hoping for some kind words or a pep talk from someone who understands or has been here.


This could have been written by me! I took lessons fro 10 years growing up, quit but continued to self-teach, and then when I went to college only played a little here and there. But I always loved it. I came to a low point in my life where I didn't touch a piano for a year and was so miserable. Then one day I came home and there was a piano in the living room! My husband had brought home an old clunker of an upright (it was all we could afford- free), and I restarted my piano studies.

It is not reasonable for you to expect to play your old songs at all. When you played them you worked hours at getting them into your fingers to the point where they were in your subconscious. Now that is gone - even after not playing for a day it begins to fade. Even though your mind may remember how the pieces sound, it doesn't remember how to get there. So now you have two options: treat these pieces like they are brand new and start over again, or pick new pieces at a slightly lower level than these and work yourself back into shape.

If you choose the first option, you will have to play from the score, and go very slowly. Don't allow yourself to speed up even if you know that part, because you will inevitably come to the parts that you don't know. Do hands separate work on the parts you don't know well, figure out the counting if need be, use other good practice techniques to work out the kinks (these can vary depending upon the passage). In other words, treat it like it's a brand new piece.

If you choose this 2nd option, you will be giving yourself a better chance of success I think, because you won't have the "I used to be able to play this!" mentality looming over you. No unreasonable expectations, just curiosity in learning how this piece goes and enjoying the process.

Also, since you've invested in this wonderful instrument, you may want to consider lessons. A good teacher will be able to guide you through this step by step in a manner that will bring you early successes and reduce the amount of frustration by not throwing unrealistic tasks at you.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2169950 - 10/22/13 09:55 AM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: lolablitz]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3451
Loc: Northern England.
I can remember all the notes I used to miss out of "The Dambusters March" (we were a patriotic bunch in those days); the teacher made me do `em all.
Not funny at all. frown


Edited by peterws (10/22/13 11:37 AM)
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2169989 - 10/22/13 11:12 AM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: lolablitz]
Ataru074 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 289
Loc: Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: lolablitz

It's frustrating not being able to pick back up and play Something - Anything well! I realize I'm probably expecting a lot for two weeks of playing and was hoping for some kind words or a pep talk from someone who understands or has been here.


Been there, done that.
I was at probably your level when I did "suspended" my piano activity, to get back on it about 20 years later..
My hints:
find a teacher, right away... will help in many ways, including frustration.
Restart with EASY and I mean EASY repertoire, easy czerny etuder, SLOW scales and arpeggios, a lot of easy bach, even if that includes reading trough anna magdalena notebook, the preludes and fuguettas ( not the WTC ), inventions, suites... anything you can.. for about one year just to regain your finger and mental dexterity.

It does take time, but it does come back after a while.
Don't try with your "past" level repertire or even just one step lower, will be frustrating and depressing.
But after a while it does come back with interest.
_________________________
===============================================
working on:
Bach: BWV 871
Mozart: Kv397
Beethoven: Op 14 #2
Prokofiev: Op.10
Bartok: Notturno
===============================================

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#2169990 - 10/22/13 11:13 AM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: lolablitz]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 646
Loc: NH
Erin is giving you good advice. I also took lessons for many years as a kid. Dropped piano completely for years. Got the bug again. I'm back better than ever now. But it took time and regular practice for things to come back. I will admit that my reading music above and below the staff is still weak. I have to figure the notes out each time for a while before I commit them to memory again. It's too frustrating to try and play pieces you once knew well after years of not playing them. Start with something easier. You need some successes to keep you motivated. We returning adults are our own worst critics. Find a teacher if you haven't. It really makes a difference!!


Edited by dynamobt (10/22/13 11:13 AM)
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2170094 - 10/22/13 02:15 PM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: lolablitz]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Why are there so many advanced pianists hanging out at the Adult Beginner's Forum? LoL!

By the way, I forget how to play something if I don't touch it after a few weeks, so 10 years....

No need to be frustrated. Just pick up some grade 7 / 8 classical repertoire book and work on those for a little while as a review to get yourself back in gear. I'm sure it'll come back to you in a few months and you can play those performance piece again.

Now you're here, welcome, and hopefully you'll hang out and share with us how to play the easy stuff. smile
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2170105 - 10/22/13 02:40 PM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: 4evrBeginR]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 377
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Why are there so many advanced pianists hanging out at the Adult Beginner's Forum? LoL!



I find this area to be kinder, for one.

I also find helpful ideas and practical suggestions, and there is an eagerness to learn that's refreshing.

Forrest
_________________________
Graham Fitch's Piano Pedagogy Site
(A WORTHY RESOURCE!)

--------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Beethoven Op. 78
Bach WTC 1, C# Major (#3)

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#2170118 - 10/22/13 03:04 PM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: woodog]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 646
Loc: NH
Originally Posted By: woodog
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Why are there so many advanced pianists hanging out at the Adult Beginner's Forum? LoL!



I find this area to be kinder, for one.

I also find helpful ideas and practical suggestions, and there is an eagerness to learn that's refreshing.

Forrest


This.
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2170176 - 10/22/13 05:17 PM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: lolablitz]
DinaP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 151
Thank you Forrest and dynamobt -- I am a beginner and am so grateful I found this forum -- and I'm in awe at the dedication of the people here --- especially those who have to overcome many obstacles to play piano --

Plus I learn a lot -- and it doesn't hurt to have input from those with much more experience and a higher level of accomplishment

I sometimes refer friends who play and my teacher to topics here

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#2170214 - 10/22/13 06:22 PM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: lolablitz]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 646
Loc: NH
My teacher sometimes think I take on too much by participating in recitals on PW. Could be. I do get overwhelmed easily. But the support and encouragement from other Adults here on ABF has been very helpful to me. I'm the only adult who participates in my music academy's recitals. I don't have other adults to talk with and compare frustrations and successes. PW has been helpful to the point of giving me a real kick in the butt as far as learning to record myself. I know I wouldn't be doing that without the help from others here regarding selection and operation of equipment. The "push" of encouragement has to stay in balance. But, in total, PW has been an inspiration if anything. I don't go on the Pianists Forum much at all. ABF is much more appropriate as far as topics which are relevant. Plus, as Forrest said, people here are friendly and not overly critical. I really do believe that we are our own worst critic. We don't need anyone else laying it on. Maintaining motivation and not letting discouragement or frustration take over is a familiar theme. It really helps me to know that others struggle to deal with this too. Adults quit because they can. Sometimes we need help staying the course.
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2170236 - 10/22/13 07:19 PM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: 4evrBeginR]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2419
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Why are there so many advanced pianists hanging out at the Adult Beginner's Forum? LoL!

By the way, I forget how to play something if I don't touch it after a few weeks, so 10 years....


There are also quite a lot of us who will never ever be advanced pianists!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2170435 - 10/23/13 03:58 AM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: lolablitz]
Jessiebear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/13
Posts: 172
Loc: New Zealand
Hi Lolablitz I can sympathise! It's frustrating when you KNOW you used to be able to play something and your fingers just go bleh.
I learned for 9 years then barely touched a piano for the next 17 years. I still have trouble with some of my repertoire, but you know- I don't actually want to play most of them anyway, my new stuff is far more exciting!

So you're in good company, we're all learning from each other- I love picking up tips and tricks from PW peeps. I will 'see' you around the forum smile
_________________________
Inspired by Einaudi and Tiersen.

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#2170462 - 10/23/13 05:56 AM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: 4evrBeginR]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3451
Loc: Northern England.
"Why are there so many advanced pianists hanging out at the Adult Beginner's Forum? LoL!"

Some of us have been around on and off (playing) for a long time. Doesn`t mean we`re advanced . . . a lot of the genuine adult beginners are doing great, different stuff, and we all get encouraged to have a go. Like Joplin . . didn`t know what he did before I joined you lot! Never knew what a Mazurka was; How much more have I`ve missed? . . . . .

And it`s fun. Ya gotta have fun at any age.
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2170560 - 10/23/13 10:46 AM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: lolablitz]
barbaram Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/06/13
Posts: 77
Hi Lolablitz
I've a similar tale to tell, though I would never have been at the standard you reached before you stopped. I'm back playing regularly since June and taking lessons since September.

What I have found is that the beginning period is really frustrating because you have to re-acquire a lot of basic motor skills. That said, you can progress really fast through the more basic stuff.

I'm probably at a point now where I could relearn any pieces that were in my repertoire before. The hardest ones would require an lot of effort though, and I would rather spend my time on other things (those were exam pieces not of my choosing!).

During the summer I chose pieces I had learned before that I liked but which weren't too difficult and worked on those. More recently I have been doing new stuff. I find it's satisfying to work on a mix of difficulty levels, and right now I am working one piece that's right at my current limit and a couple that can be learned more quickly, while still challenging enough to be interesting.

Try to make a realistic assessment of where your level is *right now* and then go from there. You will make rapid progress as long as you stay motivated enough to work at it - if you focus all your efforts working on pieces that are very difficult for you *right now* you might become demoralised. Enjoying yourself is the most important thing here!

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#2170567 - 10/23/13 11:07 AM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: lolablitz]
lolablitz Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/08/13
Posts: 15
Loc: midwest
This is all so helpful, thanks everyone! It's really helpful to read about your similar experiences. I'm not alone, thank God! I think part of my problem is my husband never gives me any feedback, but he's sort of the silent type. And I'm a first-born perfectionist who lives for verbal encouragement and feedback. So maybe I'll polish a few pieces and record them and get them up on here for some of the feedback I crave smile What a great community! I wonder if I would have had a totally different piano history if PW would have been around when I was in college!

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#2170568 - 10/23/13 11:09 AM Re: Returning Adult with new piano and Frustration [Re: barbaram]
lolablitz Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/08/13
Posts: 15
Loc: midwest
barbaram, that is so very true about basic motor skills. It is kind of silly how rough my simple scales are right now...err...

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