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#2197662 - 12/14/13 07:14 PM Define yourself
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I was told by my teacher this week that I need one hour lesson as I am no longer a beginner. I still think of myself as a beginer but she says I have passed three exams and going to take my 4th one next Summer. She says when you are Grade 4 level you are an intermediate not a beginner and intermediate piaists need one hour to cope with the work involved and then certainly for Grade above this level a half hour lesson will no longer be an option.

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#2197664 - 12/14/13 07:16 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
What does the thread title mean and what does it have to do with the post?
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2197668 - 12/14/13 07:26 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2619
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I guess the OP is now defining herself as an intermediate student. The title seems to indicate that she has some interest in how forum participants define ourselves.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2197674 - 12/14/13 07:40 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: malkin]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I was interested to know from anyone here how they define themselves and at what stage do they move off the beginner stage? I feel I am still a beginner as

a) I am still not yet a fluent sight reader

b) I still have to try very hard to learn my pieces

c) I am not an expert in pedalling.

Passing a particular level of exam does not make you an intermediate. It simply means that you have parot fashioned studied a piece so much that you can use it to sit an exam. The real test comes when you can pick up any piece of muic at the level of your exam and play it with all the dynamics and phrasing without too much help from your teacher. That is when you go from beginner to intermediate


Edited by adultpianist (12/14/13 07:44 PM)

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#2197677 - 12/14/13 07:49 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3714
Loc: Northern England.
Ha! We can define ourselves, also delude ourselves! I`m a fun piano player. Never will make it as a pianist, too undisciplined. Don`t care either . . .but I`ve made some money out of it when I needed it most for which I`m grateful.n A good hobby indeed . . . grin
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2197678 - 12/14/13 07:51 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 695
Loc: NH
I'm not a great sight reader. And it takes me a long time to learn a piece. But, based on the level of piece I can learn given time, I would say I'm intermediate. I dare say I would have to be a heck of a lot better to be considered advanced.
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2197681 - 12/14/13 07:54 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: peterws]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
How do we delude ourselves then? I am realistic. I am a hard worker and very disciplined but not a natural pianist. I get my exams beause I try very hard and it pays off.

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#2197686 - 12/14/13 08:03 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 695
Loc: NH
What the heck is a "natural pianist"? It's a learned skill. Well, for most of us. I suppose there have been a few idiot savants who can just sit down an play. But, so what if you have to fight tooth and nail for every stride you make at the piano? Does that make you less skilled overall? At some point, the difficulty of the pieces you can learn begins to define your level of ability. And yes, test exams passed is an indication of learned skill too. I'm not familiar with what each level exam you have taken actually entails. But, trust your teacher. If she says you aren't a beginner anymore, believe her!!
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2197691 - 12/14/13 08:09 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 588
Loc: Germany
I studied music at a university, and piano was my main instrument. So I don't consider myself a beginner.
About the grade exams: Before I visited this forum, I didn't even know they exist. But maybe they are an indicator of what one can do.

I consider myself an "advanced amateur".

About your questions: There is information missing.

"Not being a fluent sight reader": What level are we talking? Do you have trouble playing one note at the time; or do you have trouble playing both hands of a piano piece?
Because I have trouble with the latter as well, when the pieces are complex; but I'm not too bad at playing by ear.

"Trying very hard to learn your pieces": It doesn't matter how much time you need; what matters is that you eventually master the pieces without getting frustrated first. Everybody has to try very hard to learn pieces; but for beginners it might be Chopsticks, for professional pianists it might be Chopin Scherzos.

"Not being an expert in pedaling": What exactly do you mean? Do you have trouble pressing down the pedals? Or do you just not know when to release and press them? Because the latter is a matter of taste, so I guess everybody who knows how to press the pedals is an expert in pedaling.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2197700 - 12/14/13 08:29 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
I define myself as a relentless plodder. Nothing comes easily to me but I get there in the end.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#2197703 - 12/14/13 08:44 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4245
Loc: Arizona.
I'd define myself (or at least think) more like a Renaissance man. Someone who has the ability to do everything.

I don't want to be the 'best' at anything other than to be at least good at whatever I choose to do. If other people can do something then why can't I do it? I realize that we all have our own limits and abilities but in no way should that deter you from at least becoming 'good' at something. And if you can become 'good' at something, then why not become 'good' at everything?, or at least the things you choose to participate in.

I don't want to be classified because it wouldn't be accurate. I am not just one thing.



Edited by Mr Super-Hunky (12/14/13 09:08 PM)

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#2197707 - 12/14/13 08:57 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: patH]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: patH
I studied music at a university, and piano was my main instrument. So I don't consider myself a beginner.
About the grade exams: Before I visited this forum, I didn't even know they exist. But maybe they are an indicator of what one can do.

I consider myself an "advanced amateur".

About your questions: There is information missing.

"Not being a fluent sight reader": What level are we talking? Do you have trouble playing one note at the time; or do you have trouble playing both hands of a piano piece?
Because I have trouble with the latter as well, when the pieces are complex; but I'm not too bad at playing by ear.

"Trying very hard to learn your pieces": It doesn't matter how much time you need; what matters is that you eventually master the pieces without getting frustrated first. Everybody has to try very hard to learn pieces; but for beginners it might be Chopsticks, for professional pianists it might be Chopin Scherzos.

"Not being an expert in pedaling": What exactly do you mean? Do you have trouble pressing down the pedals? Or do you just not know when to release and press them? Because the latter is a matter of taste, so I guess everybody who knows how to press the pedals is an expert in pedaling.



If you did music at university then you are advanced. I need to learn to hear when to press and release the pedal as sometimes I do it too soon. I can play pieces with double notes but I have to go through the score first. A fluent sight reader would just pick up the score and immediately start playing just as I do when reading a book.

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#2197757 - 12/14/13 10:29 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3512
Loc: not in Japan anymore
I consider myself intermediate, possibly even middle to late intermediate, but definitely not advanced. I am a very good reader and can easily sightread pieces *below* my level. With pieces at my level, I can generally sightread hands separate, and depending on the piece, often close to the desired tempo. I should add I have been playing for almost 15 years now (wow!)

But, interestingly enough, it's only been in the last year that I've become comfortable naming my playing level as intermediate.

Oh, and by the way, I have taken lessons almost continuously since beginning piano, and I only had 30 minute lessons in the first few years, for a long while now it's always been a 45-minute lesson. And I would prefer to do an hour if I could afford it, because I am always working on a few pieces at once and working on different aspects of playing.
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#2197768 - 12/14/13 11:01 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
Silver Keys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/13
Posts: 112
Loc: Upstate N.Y.
My lessons are normally 45 minutes but they can stretch to 1 1/2 hrs! (Partly because it is a social visit as well.). But there is no way I could cover the material I am working on in only 1/2 hour. And I consider myself a beginner (maybe early intermediate). My lessons consist of a couple pages of mini "pieces" from the lesson books. Then we work on my "repertoire" pieces that I have chosen. I'm currently working on four pieces in various stages.

It sounds to me like your hard work is paying off and that with more personalized and focused instruction, you will advance faster.
_________________________
So much music and so little time!
-----------------------------------
1916 Mason & Hamlin BB
Yamaha P155

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#2197770 - 12/14/13 11:05 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
ElleC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 248
Loc: NJ, USA
My teacher actually told me i was weird once...in a good way. But she really did use the term to describe me. She said I should be playing real beginner songs but I'm able to play early intermediate level. I haven't taken any exams nor am I interested in grade levels. Piano is a hobby for me so I wouldn't really know how to define my level as a pianist. But I suppose based on what I've been playing, early intermediate would be it.
_________________________
Adult beginner since January 2013. My only regret is that I didn't learn sooner.

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#2197798 - 12/15/13 12:56 AM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
piano_primo_1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/09
Posts: 309
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA
Well ha, if I were you, I’d insist on 1h and 5 min; if it cost the same. (does it?)
If it doesn’t, maybe suggest to your teach that you’ll do “A 1 hour” when you decide you need it…….
Then inform your teach that you define yourself, not her/him; (and especially, will not change for any man.) …..little joke there.
Besides,, it seems like you answered your own question, here:”
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
I was interested to know from anyone here how they define themselves and at what stage do they move off the beginner stage? I feel I am still a beginner as
a) I am still not yet a fluent sight reader
b) I still have to try very hard to learn my pieces
c) I am not an expert in pedaling.
Passing a particular level of exam does not make you an intermediate. It simply means that you have parot fashioned studied a piece so much that you can use it to sit an exam. The real test comes when you can pick up any piece of muic at the level of your exam and play it with all the dynamics and phrasing without too much help from your teacher. That is when you go from beginner to intermediate

…..
Maybe those terms are meant more for the lesson than the person playing anyway.
Not to minimize the importance of your piano instructor, surely she’s right.
I’ve read in older books regarding piano technique, that advanced playing of piano has more to do with how a pianist plays a piece after it is learned, IE “perfects it to his own”.
So, in fact you can play one piece like a novice would, and another piece, very advanced.
The skills of knowing what the dynamics, pedal and how to use them, when, where and all that.
So if you’re learning skills to do that.....
A score that I really like leaves me not caring about being a beginner or advanced, but instead what I need to know to play it.


Edited by pianonewbie1 (12/15/13 05:03 AM)
Edit Reason: More info
_________________________


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#2197814 - 12/15/13 02:56 AM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3559
Ok judging from the time the teacher spends with me (more than an hour usually) I must be at least advanced . Also I'm always scheduled last in recitals. I guess that says something :-p

But I did not pass any exams (did not try either). I still have to drill in my pieces into memory before I can play them. My sight reading sucks. So by that, maybe I should feel beginner

Maybe you can tell me my level from the pieces I play(ed)

http://recitals.pianoworld.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Wouter79
_________________________

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#2197816 - 12/15/13 03:11 AM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
I am most definitely still a beginner. It's not unlikely that in some areas (such as sight reading), I will always remain one. I'm fine with that, because "where I'm at" is not that important to me. Whenever I'm tempted to throw in the towel on this piano journey, I ask myself: are you still getting something of value out of this? As long as the answer to that question is yes, I will keep playing. Progress is (mostly) irrelevant to that.

But if your teacher says you probably need one-hour lessons now, I would go with that (assuming you can afford it). More lesson time can never hurt!
_________________________
Beginner with some priors since 9/2012

Currently Playable
Bach 846, 926, 930
Beethoven 27/2 mvt. 1
Burgmüller 100/3, 4, 7, 12, 15, 19, 25
Chopin 72/1
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Grieg 12/1, 7
Tchaikovsky 39/9

Future
Burgmüller 109
Bartok Sz 56
Mozart K331

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#2197900 - 12/15/13 10:12 AM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1069
Loc: Southern California
It is no surprise that most here self-identify with the word beginner. After all it is the Adult Beginners Forum.

I am definitely a beginner and a low level one. Because I am self-taught, mostly writing original music, my track, my status is more difficult to pigeon-hole than most.

A friend listened to a recording and told me, "you are not a beginner" [at piano]. I had to explain why I still believe I am a beginner and a low level one at that, so a lot of it is relative.

As for the sight reading, even though the original poster feels a certain way, my guess would be that they are top 25% in that skill for that grade level, exam level. What is often weak or absent for some with traditional piano teachers, is ear training, and improvisational skills. Even high level students sometimes report on the forum being most fearful of the sight reading portion of their exam. As a person goes up in level, the scores tend to get more complex.

Yes, studio musicians can sight read almost any popular piece of music, and play it ba-da-bing. However, that level of skill tends to be rare and a big reason studio musicians tend to get paid so well. A few amateurs have that kind of proficiency, but from my observations on the forum and in real life, not that many musicians can do it.
_________________________
my piano uploads

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#2197912 - 12/15/13 11:01 AM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Because my piano studies have been so intermittent/interrupted, I keep finding myself working best with materials that calls themselves "Late Elementary" (whatever that mean).

But, on the bright side, I've become an *extremely* well rounded late elementary player. laugh I've spent time exploring late elementary classical, blues, rock, ragtime... I haven't yet found satisfactory late elementary jazz curriculum (but if you have ideas, do PM me!)
_________________________
Oops... extremely distracted by mandolins at the moment... brb

neglected piano blog

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#2197917 - 12/15/13 11:35 AM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2619
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
"Late Elementary" is making me laugh right now. "Late" in particular seems to suit me.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2197919 - 12/15/13 11:37 AM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
Ganddalf Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 650
Loc: Norway
I'm a lonely wolf. I got lost as very young because I was a very curious cub, but got no guidance. All the time strolling through the musical landscape searching for treasures. Over the years I have fallen into quite few treacherous pits and spent lots of time getting out of them. Occasionally I have found precious gems. Still searching, and hoping to find better paths to follow.

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#2197926 - 12/15/13 11:59 AM Re: Define yourself [Re: tangleweeds]
SwissMS Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 776
Loc: Switzerland
"Intermediate" seems to be a huge category that includes everything after beginner method books. It seems to be where many people end up, not a beginner anymore, but not an advanced pianist either. Having heard my teacher play virtuoso pieces, I don't know if I will ever be "Advanced"! Being intermediate is a very long journey towards proficiency and skill.

I would agree that it is hard to cover everything in a 1/2 hour lesson at the intermediate level. My lessons often run over an hour, and sometimes an hour and half. There is so much to learn, and my teacher often doesn't want to turn me loose until she is sure I am doing something correctly. She doesn't want to have to fix it next time!

Adultpianist, it sounds like your teacher recognizes that you are serious about piano and wants to help you reach your goals, and doesn't believe she can do that in 1/2 hour lessons. You will probably advance faster with longer lessons.
_________________________



European Piano Party July 4, 2015 in Switzerland!

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#2197943 - 12/15/13 12:55 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
FarmGirl Online   content

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1997
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
SwissMS, I totally agree with you. It's all relative too. Among advanced pianists, I'm a long term beginner and here in ABF I'm a long term intermediate player. Listening to my recording, I was thinking that definately I'm not advanced. It's frustrating to be at this level since I know how it should sound like or how I would like it to sound.

Re duration of the time of lesson, agree with many here. 30 min not enough. As you advance your pieces get longer and tougher. Teacher won't assign you just a few bars any more unless you want spend a year to learn a piece.
_________________________
Solo - Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Schumann Op 12 Warum and Grillen and Mozart K 475 Fantasy C minor
Collaboration - Concerto in C for Oboe and orchestra attributed to Haydn edited by Evelyn Rosewell


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#2197947 - 12/15/13 01:10 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10386
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Je pense, donc je suis.

That's enough self-definition … grin
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https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2197987 - 12/15/13 02:42 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
bolt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 193
I don't really know what level I'm at - I'm all over the map with various strengths and weaknesses. Certain aspects of my playing are multiple grade levels apart. But I do know what my strengths and weaknesses are, I have a fairly clear understanding of the overall plan, and I do know I'm improving over time.

One thing I've come to believe more and more is you can't necessarily figure out what level you're at by looking up the rated level of the pieces you're working on.

Also, I'm not so sure accurately classifying oneself as being at a certain level really matters.
_________________________
"There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist

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#2198003 - 12/15/13 03:03 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
I think 45 minutes is fine for the most part but the amount of time needed depends on the person which is best judged by his/her teacher. The extra time is useful for working on technical side of exam requirements. Both aural, reading, and scale/chord requirements are getting more demanding and could use extra attention. Also for adults, typically Gr 1-3 is fairly easy, then Gr 4 and 5 is where a lot of heavy lifting happens.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2198055 - 12/15/13 04:21 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: 4evrBeginR]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Well I can afford the half hour lesson but not an hour. If I left the school, and kept my teacher she would come to my place and teach me for a lower fee but she did not suggest that. Not sure why.

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#2198093 - 12/15/13 05:09 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: adultpianist]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Your teacher probably has an agreement with the school not to poach students for herself. Doing so may get her into some legal trouble.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2198152 - 12/15/13 06:31 PM Re: Define yourself [Re: 4evrBeginR]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Surely though, if I eventually find the school too expensive it is my right to leave and then find a cheaper teacher. Surely if I leave of my own free will and then ask my teacher to take me on privately it would be my decision and the school cannot have a go at her because she would not be poaching me. I would not want to start over with a strange teacher with different teaching styles. I had a stand in teacher once when my teacher could not make the lesson and although the teacher knew what they were doing I felt their teaching style didn't suit me. They said I was not sitting properly and I should sit upright more and they carefully looked at my finger position and said they were not curved enough. I guess some teachers pay more attention to detail. But at the end of the day I pass my exams so that's good enough for me. I do watch video clips of pianists with my teacher and point out the good hand and finger position and my teacher agrees but she never pulls me up on it and let's me get away with sloppy fingering but I do pass exams so I dunno

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