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#2216350 - 01/17/14 06:20 PM How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months?
Limitless Boy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/14
Posts: 3
I'm going to be playing the piano seriously starting on the 20th of this month. I'll be teaching myself.(I had an instructor less than a decade ago but we'll skip that story.) I'm a beginner as In I'll be starting at the level of "A quarter note = 1 beat and this is how you count your thumb and fingers."


I would like to know how much you personally believe can be achieved by a beginner in 1 to 6 months. What level do you think can be reached as in ABRSM level pieces.

I'm not sure If this matters but if the person is of
below average, average, above average, or of genius ability would that make a difference and if so how much of a difference would that be?

I'll most likely post a recording audio or video of my progress on here. My goals are pretty ambitious, probably thought impossible but we'll see what happens.


Edited by Limitless Boy (01/17/14 06:21 PM)

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#2216368 - 01/17/14 07:24 PM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Limitless Boy]
Sand Tiger Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 914
Loc: Southern California
There was a thread a few months back asking about Alfred's Book One. The median time to complete that book was nine months. Many reporting were working with a teacher. So that might be considered average. There have been other threads about one or two year beginners that don't seem to have learned much at all. Perhaps those folks might be considered below average.

There are a few forum contributors that accomplished quite a bit in their first few months. They might be considered exceptional. One caveat is that just because a self-learner reports that they learned a particular piece, they might not have learned it correctly, or well.

A person doesn't control their aptitude. They control their effort, their attempted pace of learning, the time they spend on the task, the methods they choose. For most, the faster they try to go, the less thorough the learning, the more fragile the foundation for the future. For the vast majority, piano is a long journey. Enjoy the journey.


Edited by Sand Tiger (01/17/14 07:26 PM)
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#2216402 - 01/17/14 09:16 PM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Limitless Boy]
RonDrotos Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 50
Loc: New York City
It's great that you're ambitious, since you clearly love music and want to play satisfying music on piano. I'll share what I've seen from teaching adult beginners over the years:
Since adults know what 'good' music sounds like, they sometimes get frustrated when they don't make as much progress as they think they should make. The ones that succeed are often those who can enjoy the process, even while making mistakes. Ironically, these are the adults who tend to stick with it longer and progress the fastest.
The 2nd thing is that sometimes "life gets in the way". After an ambitious beginning, work or family can demand more time and the piano can get put on the back burner for a while. Then some people give up entirely because they feel it's "all or nothing." The students who can keep the thread going, even for 5 min. per day at busy times, will eventually find more time to practice again and stay with it for years, with much enjoyment.
These are a somewhat different set of challenges than those experienced by kids, so if you keep an eye out for them, you'll have a much better chance of achieving your goals.
On the other hand, I've seen adults with little or no previous experience become fairly proficient in a year or so. I'd also suggest you listen to a lot of piano music, to absorb it from a player's perspective, and to stay inspired.
Good luck and have fun!
_________________________
Ron Drotos
rondrotos@keyboardimprov.com

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#2216409 - 01/17/14 09:37 PM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Sand Tiger]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1120
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
For most, the faster they try to go, the less thorough the learning, the more fragile the foundation for the future. For the vast majority, piano is a long journey. Enjoy the journey.


This is so very true and from time to time should be reflected on.

"My goals are pretty ambitious, probably thought impossible". While your ambition is admirable and many learners have achieved the impossible in the first year there is often a high price to pay. You should read this thread here particularly the end where hawgdriver lists his achievements after the four years. It is a sobering lesson and not an isolated case by any means. There are many lessons here but the main one to take away is you don't become a great pianist by being able to play piece 'X', you become a great pianist by the usual method of working diligently and with a well planned practice method that gains you proficiency in the various levels as you go through them. To finish this "downer" aspect let me say I have come to believe what makes us improve faster than some is being able to learn as many new pieces well in any given piano year. Each new piece builds upon or adds new strength to our repertoire and are the important building blocks to the next level.

To answer your question directly I think an above average student could pass a ABRSM grade 1 exam with six months of preparation. However targeting exam grades at speed again has it's dangers as you can spend all your time working towards exam criteria and not really improving your ability as best you could.

As you are just about to begin seriously learning I hope you do well and achieve what you want but as an "over achiever" myself one of the first lessons I learned was it wasn't a case of just working harder at a problem. Working smarter and setting small achievable goals were key. Resist the urge to compare yourself to others and don't be discouraged if you have a patch of no or limited improvement, the reward will be sweeter when it does come.
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#2216423 - 01/17/14 10:08 PM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Limitless Boy]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Limitless Boy
I would like to know how much you personally believe can be achieved by a beginner in 1 to 6 months. What level do you think can be reached as in ABRSM level pieces.


How will they be practicing, how often will they be practicing, on what equipment will they be practicing, and what limitations are there to the above?


Originally Posted By: Limitless Boy
I'm not sure If this matters but if the person is of
below average, average, above average, or of genius ability would that make a difference and if so how much of a difference would that be?


You'd be surprised how little IQ or intelligence matters in learning a complex motor skill like playing a musical instrument or mastering a sport (surely you've tried at least one of the two in the past). Just as in trying to master a sport, trying to master a musical instrument is far more about how you go about intelligently-structured "training" - or practicing, in the case of music - than about prior-existing ability.

Originally Posted By: Dr. Clay Hyght
When it comes to training (and life in general for that matter), many people erroneously think that all you have to do to succeed is work hard. Unfortunately, this isn't true. You [also] have to work intelligently.



Originally Posted By: Limitless Boy
I'll most likely post a recording audio or video of my progress on here. My goals are pretty ambitious, probably thought impossible but we'll see what happens.


Nothing's impossible if you plan ahead for any and all variables. You just often don't know these variables until after the fact (one benefit of studying under people more experienced).

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#2216437 - 01/17/14 10:33 PM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Limitless Boy]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1686
Loc: Pennsylvania
My suggestion would be for you to look forward to each day that you spend playing your piano and enjoy yourself. Certainly, try to build skills to the best of your ability. However, resist the temptation to measure your success by "how far" you are after a given time period. Measure your success by the fact that you are still doing it and enjoying it. Eventually, years down the road, you will realize that you have become rather skilled at it. Then, pass on your experience to someone else who is just starting and eager to learn "fast".

Good Luck
_________________________
Don

My current system: Kawai ES7 + Focal CMS40 Powered Monitors, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, Mackie ProFX8 Mixer, Ravenscroft275, True Keys American Grand, Ivory II American Concert D, Steinway Basic, Galaxy Vintage D, True Pianos, Pianoteq, Alicia's Keys

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#2216478 - 01/18/14 12:08 AM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Bobpickle]
Limitless Boy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/14
Posts: 3
To BobPickel,I'll be practicing intelligently and will be using a digital piano over my real piano because I like the sound of the stereo piano more. After I obtain a certain level of skill I'll be getting a better real piano(The digital piano sounds real but I want a Steinway in the future. The sound is so rich) . As far as limitations on time...they sort of don't exist. I have a lot of time. I have a Want and Need to get better at the piano. This is actually more than a hobby, I actually need amazing skills for my life plans.

Another lesser reason(some may think its pretty lame) though is shopping centers. I was walking around with my dad and there always comes a time where pianos are laying around. He always ends up saying "Play one of the pieces you memorized when you were a kid. Come on, I want to hear you play. You still remember how to play right?.." My dad had always told me he thought I was meant to play the piano but I was just not motivated at that time in my life for various reasons.

True story that happened late last year edited with happier tone:My dad and I were walking around a shopping center for about an hour. Before we leave the store my dad wants me to play on one of the pianos. We argue for a bit because I don't want to play one of the songs I consider lame that I memorized years ago when I was taking lessons. Now, all this time no one had been even near the pianos. I decide to give in and play and ONCE I started playing... high school kids, their parents, and some people crowd around and they start playing pieces by Chopin, Bach, and some other complex pieces I had never heard before. I finished my little piece and stood there sort of like "I know I'm a noob, but geez lol" Anyway, we left and my dad busts out laughing in tears(it was all good fun), I ended up laughing thinking about how it must of looked in 3rd person. It won't happen again though, it just added to my drive to improve. I'll be ready for the kids next time.


Edited by Limitless Boy (01/18/14 03:18 AM)

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#2216497 - 01/18/14 02:08 AM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Limitless Boy]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4668
Loc: Italy
Limitless boy, you've had some great suggestions from folks here, and I agree with them. It is hard to know how quickly you'll make progress (and I would add, you are bound to ask youself at some point "how long is this going to take?" There are ups and downs with the musical journey but as DMD said, measure your progress by the fact that you're doing it and enjoying it as time passes.

As for the unfortunate incident in the shop....well, your Dad seems to know how to get under your skin. I don't know how old you are but it doesn't matter in some ways because our parents are always our parents.
Why should you remember a piece you learned years ago? If you had learned a little bit of French or German 10 years ago would you still remember it? Not unless you'd used the words over the years. Why does he (or you) expect that the music would be remembered if not reviewed and refreshed?

As for being uncomfortable when "shown up" by a bunch of little kids. - I can understand discomfort - but these kids are obviously in the middle of their learning process, taking lessons, working daily on their skills. You haven't been doing that -- so why should you feel embarrassed that they are better than you? They SHOULD be better than you!
If you work at it.... you'll develop your skills - but they may always be better than you. There is always someone who is, at any level.

Try to let go of that experience - anyone who heard you would realize you are at the beginning of your piano journey, they wouldn't be thinking "oh, why can't that person play better".

Have fun with your piano and be prepared for periods where things go smoothly and where it seems very difficult. Make sure you really enjoy the good parts, because you'll need them to bolster your patience with yourself when you hit the rough spots.

I want to thank you for starting this thread because I'm in one of those spots right now and the feedback here has been a good reminder for me of what I should be focused on rather than my sensation of "grrr I want to get this !!!"
smile
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Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#2216511 - 01/18/14 03:06 AM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: casinitaly]
Limitless Boy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/14
Posts: 3
I thank everyone for their advice, I'll do my best to improve as quickly as possible. OH, and thx to the person who pointed me towards that thread about the hawgdriver. Definitely don't want to end up in that situation.


Edited by Limitless Boy (01/18/14 03:17 AM)

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#2216522 - 01/18/14 04:07 AM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Limitless Boy]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1800
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Limitless - I can relate. I am not a beginner for piano but am for violin. We just started taking lessons (me and my hubby) 3 months ago. We could not even hold the violin / viola right. but enjoying it tremendously. My husband and I have totally different approach. I am happy with baby books one step at a time. He on the other hand wants to dive into bigger pieces such as amazing grace. It's funny to discover my husband's musical personality. I never knew he was so impatient! Let's see what happen. I think we both will get to the same place soon or later. Please enjoy the journey. You put in time and effort. You will get better sooner than you think The sky is limitless. Have a good time.
_________________________
Pieces at work - Schubert Sonata D960 2nd mvmnt Andante sostenute, Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1, Haru No Umi-the Sea In Spring (Michio Miyagi) for Flute & Piano (Nov Diversity Fair at work)

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#2216671 - 01/18/14 12:20 PM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Limitless Boy]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Originally Posted By: Limitless Boy
I thank everyone for their advice, I'll do my best to improve as quickly as possible.

I daresay most of us would be happy to hear you say that you'll do your best to practice regularly and appreciate your progress, whether it's quick or slow. smile

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that you *will* improve over time, but it can be a bit frustrating if expecting fast results. Enjoy your piano journey!


Edited by piano_deb (01/18/14 12:27 PM)
_________________________
Deborah
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

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#2216840 - 01/18/14 06:50 PM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Limitless Boy]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 539
9+96
Originally Posted By: Limitless Boy
I'm going to be playing the piano seriously starting on the 20th of this month. I'll be teaching myself.(I had an instructor less than a decade ago but we'll skip that story.) I'm a beginner as In I'll be starting at the level of "A quarter note = 1 beat and this is how you count your thumb and fingers."


I would like to know how much you personally believe can be achieved by a beginner in 1 to 6 months. What level do you think can be reached as in ABRSM level pieces.

I'm not sure If this matters but if the person is of
below average, average, above average, or of genius ability would that make a difference and if so how much of a difference would that be?

I'll most likely post a recording audio or video of my progress on here. My goals are pretty ambitious, probably thought impossible but we'll see what happens.


This cannot be answered properly as everyone progreses at their own pace

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#2216959 - 01/19/14 01:04 AM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Limitless Boy]
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 131
Loc: Hayden, ID
You can learn the most important thing about practice:

DO NOT REPEAT YOUR MISTAKES. When you try and play a line or two and keep hitting the same wrong notes and doing it over and over.... STOP.

Only play what you can play without errors. A measure. Half a measure. Two measures. Play it seven times without error and then move on.

If you learn that you'll be ahead of lots of people who do not get the most out of their practice.

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#2217144 - 01/19/14 01:37 PM Re: How much can be accomplished in 1 to 6 months? [Re: Limitless Boy]
Jaak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Tallinn, Estonia
Hi,

There are different ways how to learn so what you achieve can be very different in my opinion.

You can go the way that you try to learn a lot of material and do it a bit more superficially.

You can also go step by step to form a good technical and theoretical basis for your playing.

What I see usually with my students - within 1-6 months they master the main points of piano technique and learn 5-6 small and easy pieces that have technical and supportive role in acquiring good piano skills. And learn maybe a menuet by Bach or something like this. Some students are more talented too of course.

But I do not suggest thinking in the way that you want to "grab" as much as possible. I would better suggest tryng to understand and enjoy each step as much as possible. Careful and in-depth thinking gives the biggest joy in the long run (according to my own experience and teaching experience).

Best wishes to you!
Jaak

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