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#2185676 - 11/20/13 12:18 PM How to determine my achievments
Firas Kordi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/13
Posts: 28
Hi everyone , so I've been playing now for almost 3 months without a teacher. The problem is that because am doing this by myself , i can't determine if what I can do or achieved so far is good or well for 3 months of piano playing. Can you guys advise me about anything that can criticize what I've done so far and if it's not enough for 3 months.

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#2185684 - 11/20/13 12:31 PM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
Whizbang Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 1310
Trying to benchmark yourself against a fixed progress schedule may be a surefire recipe for frustration.

People have different aptitudes and pick things up at different rates, especially in music.

In terms of knowing what foundational skills that you're not developing--that's the sort of thing that an actual teacher is very good for.
amateur ragtime pianist

#2185738 - 11/20/13 01:49 PM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1275
Loc: Portland, OR
Record yourself playing, and listen to your recordings. What satisfies you, and what doesn't?
Recordings can reveal a host of problems. (ask me how I know! wink )
Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.

intermittent piano blog

#2185791 - 11/20/13 03:31 PM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
earlofmar Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 2677
Loc: Australia
the first three months are hard (the whole first year is hard) as you have little or very little to show for your hard work. A couple of nursery rhymes or simple folk tunes perhaps. Therefore I can well understand your need to try to find some indication you are on the right path.

While it is not worthwhile to compare yourself to others it is comforting to know we all go through the same issues. I was writing a bit of a blog which you can read here

Just keep going as you are, practice daily start to make decisions on which direction you want to go - classical or otherwise. Then decide if your current self teaching regime is good enough to get you there.
If this life is a simulation can I not be in the easy version where Bach was a drummer


#2185799 - 11/20/13 03:44 PM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Well, you would need to share with us what you've done so far for us to provide any kind of answer. smile A quick overview of your goals, what you are doing to teach yourself -- are you using a method book, dabbling at the instrument, watching YouTube videos, etc. -- and what you believe you have learned so far would all be helpful. You are certainly welcome to post a video or audio recording of a piece that you feel that you have gotten well in hand and ask for feedback. Believe me, it doesn't have to be anything fancy. We all know what it's like to be just a few months into this great adventure.

My personal take is that a good teacher will do far more for you than any amount of feedback from online friends ... but we will do what we can to help.

Edited by piano_deb (11/20/13 03:45 PM)
Edit Reason: blasted typis .. I mean typos!
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

#2185900 - 11/20/13 06:59 PM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
zrtf90 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 3027
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Many of us take up piano and hope to achieve a certain level in a certain time. By and large it takes about three years to get over sounding like a beginner and ten years to sound like we're good.

We can't achieve much without practise so we practise more. The more we practise, the more we achieve. The more we achieve the more we realise that playing the piano is something we do not something we achieve.

How good we get is not so dependent on how well our natural talents are geared to the task but how efficient our practise is. It takes years to reach the levels we aim at and every time you stop and look it's not about how far you've come or how far you've got to go, it's about what you can do right now.

Learn how to practise properly and you'll make as much progress as the rest of us give or take a little. If time is critical or you're not progressing much get a teacher - but that's not a panacea. You must still study learning as if you don't have a teacher and you must still put the work in. No teachers know everything and few fit like a glove. They change, we change, our goals change.

It's a long road and few of us stay steadfastly on it. Enjoy what you can do if you get off it and know that you can take it up again at anytime.

#2186227 - 11/21/13 10:06 AM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
Farmerjones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 386
Loc: Midwest USA
Excellent idea to record yourself.
Everyone works toward an ideal. Some have a certain tune/song. Some have certain artist they want to emulate. Simply compare your recording to your ideal. Hopefully you can listen clinically and analytically. Figure out what and where to change specific things to better the next attempt. You are working with a metronome aren't you? While I don't use it all the time, there is a stage within the learning where most everybody incorporates it.
It sounds so simple. But I think where most could fail is to accurately analyze what needs to improve. Shear mileage without improvement is a waste. But often shear mileage is the solution. Here lies the problem. You can pay an instructor for guidance and analysis. The shear mileage one has to acquire on one's own.
view my profile for a link to my YT page.

#2186505 - 11/21/13 06:31 PM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
JimF Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 2198
Loc: south florida
Firas Kordi,

My advice would be to forget about "general" progress questions like "how am I doing for three months?". This kind of benchmarking is useless...we all start from a different spot, have individual practice routines (good and bad), different commitments and frustrations beyond piano, not to mention our own styles and paces for learning.

Better to ponder what each piece you work on can teach you and then focus on trying to get that element or skill under your control. Even better, just focus on the measure or phrase you are working on right now. How can I improve that small musical statement, what does it require, how should I practice to get there? The smaller the questions the better, because answering these small questions IS your progress. This is harder without a teacher, not impossible, just harder, and requires some thoughtfulness in how you approach your learning.

And sometimes progress is hard to see. I have gone six months at a time without feeling I am making any progress only to find in a matter of days that suddenly everthing comes together and a skill I have been working on is finally mastered (or, more likely, finally within reach.)

Come over to the Achievement of the Week thread and we will celebrate every single baby step you take. We have all been there before.
Invention No.13 Aminor-Bach
Consolation no.3-Liszt
My Foolish Heart-Young

Estonia L190 #7284

#2187271 - 11/23/13 10:58 AM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
Firas Kordi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/13
Posts: 28
Sorry for the late respond , hmm am mostly eager to be able to build a solid repertoire of selected pieces of my favorite composers (Chopin,Debussy,Tchaikovsky,Ravel).I mostly use exercises by famous technical books (Hanon,Schmitt..etc) and learn the pieces or parts by using Synthesia (my reading is really weak frown ).I've recorded some random snippets that I know and I hope you guys can judge them by ear and is it a good progress over this 3 months , because judging by myself wont be sufficient since I still dont know the practical time period to be studying and analyzing alone.

Edited by Firas Kordi (11/23/13 02:07 PM)

#2187308 - 11/23/13 12:05 PM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1298
Loc: Southern California
Firas Kordi, I am just another beginner, and no expert, so consider my comments from that background. From my time on the forum, what I understand is that a Synthesia based approach will give some folks faster initial progress, but likely result in a lower ceiling. If a person's goal is to play intermediate and eventually advanced classical pieces, working on basic foundation piano skills, especially sight reading is the preferred route.

Yes, I know it is a long, slow, (often boring) road. However, if the end goal is classical repertoire, that is the road that most of the experienced pianists and the good players seem to suggest.

To give some perspective, in a thread about Alfred's Book one, the median time to complete was nine months. Many of those reporting were working with a teacher. I know, it sounds painfully slow. However, the result is likely a stronger base to move forward from than many of the non-standard methods. The end of Alfred's Book one is likely below the level of the piece segments in your video. So a person might argue the book road is inferior. However, again, it builds a more solid foundation for later advancement than many non-standard forms of learning.

This isn't to say that it can't be done using Synthesia, or non-standard notation or learning by ear, but the alternates are not the road most would suggest. Many come here and travel only so far down one of these alternate routes and then find to their dismay that they can not go much further because they lack the sight reading skills, the other basic foundation skills, to play the pieces they want to play.

For dedicated students of average abilities it can take a year or two years to reach a useful level of sight reading. For those that struggle at it, it might mean more time. For a few having an end goal of intermediate classical pieces will be an immense struggle to learn to read well enough to handle.

Edited by Sand Tiger (11/23/13 12:54 PM)
my piano uploads

#2187627 - 11/24/13 07:56 AM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
JimF Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 2198
Loc: south florida
Your link is to a private video
Invention No.13 Aminor-Bach
Consolation no.3-Liszt
My Foolish Heart-Young

Estonia L190 #7284

#2188509 - 11/26/13 08:38 AM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Firas Kordi, I have to say that I agree with Sand Tiger's comments.

On first hearing, I would say that you're playing extremely well for only having studied three months -- but if you're relying on Synthesia to learn the music, I don't think you are nearly as advanced as it may sound. Look at it this way: Could you play these same pieces just as well on any acoustic piano? Have you truly learned them, or are you relying on the many visual cues provided by the software program? If you need the software to play, then I feel you are setting yourself up for disappointment down the road.

A classical piano education includes mastering the fundamental skill of sight-reading. The pianist should be capable of sitting down at any piano with any sheet music, at or below his/her level, and reading, interpreting and playing it "by sight." (Trust me, very few of us are as good at sight-reading as we want/ought to be. One must continue to work at it.) Sight-reading isn't a necessity for all musicians, of course. Some people want, for instance, to learn to play by ear, focus on jazz, etc. But your aim appears to be to play a classic repertoire, and for that I highly recommend a slower, more traditional approach. I'm not saying that Synthesia is better for jazz pianists than for classical musicians; I'm not sure it's a good learning tool for any musician. You seems to be using it to make up for your poor reading skills, but the software takes away any reason for you to improve your sight-reading, so you will lose what little skill you have and then be even more reliant on the software. An ugly, unproductive circle.

As for your technique, I'm not advanced enough to advise you, really. But hearing a multitude of snippets makes me wonder how well you can handle the dynamics, etc. of a full piece. I've found that it's pretty easy to get a single passage sounding great, but quite another thing to work up an entire piece, even one lasting only a couple of minutes. It takes focus and practice and deep familiarity with the music to play in a way that's ... How can I say this? ... full and complete and true to the music.

I hope this is helpful and certainly don't mean to discourage you. Good luck in your continued musical journey! smile
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

#2188626 - 11/26/13 12:15 PM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
Firas Kordi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/13
Posts: 28
Thanks alot for your reply and am eager to start training my reading skills. Can you recommend me the best way to do so as a beginner (book , youtube channel..etc) laugh ?

#2188634 - 11/26/13 12:29 PM Re: How to determine my achievments [Re: Firas Kordi]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Best advice: Get a teacher. Working with a good teacher will mean that you learn things properly from the ground up, which will save you a lot of time in the long run.

If a teacher is truly out-of-the-question, then look at a multi-level book course. A lot of people here use the Alfreds or Faber books. Alternately, there's the Piano Handbook or the All-in-One Course. You can read descriptions and reviews on Amazon. IF you want to search these forums, it's easiest to use google include the phrase "site:pianoworld.com/forum" in your search terms.

Hope this is helpful. smile
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.


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