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#2224822 - 02/02/14 07:29 PM The playful piano and the joy of music: learning to PLAY
Lorcar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/12
Posts: 34
I was watching Victor Borge here

http://www.pianostreet.com/blog/video-picks/piano-humor-a-victor-borge-tribute-174/

and thought how beautiful should be to play piano in that way, and how many years should take to master it in this way. Or is it just a matter of having the absolute pitch?

anyway, I will have a little baby in few months, and although I'll try very hard not to impose anything, I definitely want the baby to have a musical education. As far as myself, I am 38yo, and I started studying piano again after 20+ years interruption. And I feel like I am not learning the piano, rather I am learning those pieces my teacher gives me. Which is the opposite of those vids above. For sure I am in a better position than when I started, but I am still unable to play anything else besides those pieces, although I have music in my mind 24h.

I'd like to avoid forcing the baby to study in the coercitive old ways, rather I'd love is she could develop love for music and sounds, and be able to play without score, like I saw Victor Borge doing in those vids above.

Which are the best ways to develop such abilities? or it's a matter of absolute pitch? is there any path/books/methods? how to start studying if the goal is not the Chopin competition but simply the joy of making music?
any hint on this is highly appreciated
thanks in advance

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#2224865 - 02/02/14 09:00 PM Re: The playful piano and the joy of music: learning to PLAY [Re: Lorcar]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 972
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Absolute pitch has no value for playing the piano. But early music education certainly does. I'm sure others will have more useful specifics on this for you.

I think that just having all sorts of music in the house for the first few years will give her a good foundation. It's great that she'll be able to hear you practicing.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2224869 - 02/02/14 09:09 PM Re: The playful piano and the joy of music: learning to PLAY [Re: Lorcar]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4781
Loc: USA
How does one master sight reading? By practicing. How does one master playing without sheet music? By practicing.

... grin

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#2224872 - 02/02/14 09:13 PM Re: The playful piano and the joy of music: learning to PLAY [Re: Lorcar]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1011
Loc: western MA, USA
Congratulations on your new arrival!!

First of all, don't panic. Everyone learning piano learns pieces. Teachers choose pieces carefully to match what a student needs. Victor Borge surely learned from a succession of pieces. Learning to play IS done through learning pieces.

But... don't be afraid to play around on the piano for fun smile

That is one advantage of learning as a child, kids will just play around on the piano for fun. They are not as worried about doing it wrong as adults are. Especially if the parent shows enjoyment and approval of the kid's creative messing-around (as well as making sure structured practice happens.) Also, kids understand that learning a skill takes many years, because they are enrolled in a many-year program of school. Sometimes adults expect immediate results without years of hard work.

We adults do still have that childlike curiosity in us. Go ahead, pick out some tunes you know by ear, or make up a boogie version of some piece you are learning, or do what my daughter does and try to put bits of as many of your pieces as you can together at the same time. Or make up songs away from the piano with foolish words. Sure, some of the rhythms might be off, your singing might not be worthy of a record deal, and your piano skills will reflect your current level of development. Who cares? You're making music!

It's impossible to instruct kids to be creative. But a positive and encouraging teacher, and a positive and encouraging parent, will help kids feel most comfortable sharing their creativity. My advice, find someone who knows how to teach a rigorous curriculum, AND who melts into butter when a kid says "I wanna show you 'Heart and Soul!'" or "I heard this on the radio and I can play a little of it!"
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2224875 - 02/02/14 09:17 PM Re: The playful piano and the joy of music: learning to PLAY [Re: jdw]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5933
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: jdw
I think that just having all sorts of music in the house for the first few years will give her a good foundation.
I agree. Explore sound, play music games, use movement - and sing with and to your little one.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#2224879 - 02/02/14 09:30 PM Re: The playful piano and the joy of music: learning to PLAY [Re: Lorcar]
Atrys Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 990
Musical creativity can be established in a child very easily once you get the ball rolling. The same goes for adults, but to a lesser agree.

To establish creativity, they ought to receive less exposure to crystallizing material (ie learning piece after piece), and more exposure to stimulating the act of creation. Really, this is simply practicing being creative. The more a person (the earlier the better of course) does this, the easier it is for them to be "creative" and to act in a way that is forged within themselves, as opposed to just acting in a way that replicated crystallized material.

There are some very skilled piano students at my university that have been playing for 10+ yrs, yet I can improv circles around them, despite the fact they have a far larger technical facility. Some of them think it's absolutely mind blowing that I can improv, like it's some "gift", which is absolutely hilarious to me. They just can't create music on the fly because they've never practiced it. They don't know what to do and are, for some reason, terrified to even try.

Again, stimulating creativity even for a lifetime is very easy if you can get the person to "just do it".
_________________________
"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson

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#2224928 - 02/02/14 11:52 PM Re: The playful piano and the joy of music: learning to PLAY [Re: Lorcar]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Locar, you'll find that the journey to master the piano is long and winding -- and includes a lot of "learning pieces" -- but as a parent you'll be thrilled to know that your baby will respond naturally to music and sounds from his/her earliest days. Support that instinctive desire for music by playing music in the home, and by continuing your own musical education, and you won't have any problem at all ensuring that your child grows up with a true appreciation for music. And that's one of the greatest gifts you can give a child.

Btw, those videos are the result of *years* of study and experience by Borge, as a musician and comedian, and of countless hours of learning the pieces, memorizing, working out the choreography, rehearsing with his performance partners (who also had played for years, and learned and memorized the same pieces). There's nothing improvisational about the work -- not even the video of him and violinist Antro Contra performing Monti's Csardas. Both musicians know that work well enough to be able to "play" with it, and I'm willing to bet most of what they did was worked out quite carefully in rehearsal. Of course, the brilliance of Borge's piano comedy is that everything appears so unrehearsed and "made up in the moment." It's not. It the result of hard work learning a lot of skills -- including how to improvise with a known piece, how to practice and play duets, how to improvise and "play" with other musicians.

---

ETA thank you for linking the Borge videos. I watch them every time someone links them, and laugh myself silly every time. Such great fun!


Edited by piano_deb (02/02/14 11:58 PM)
_________________________
Deborah
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

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#2224975 - 02/03/14 02:53 AM Re: The playful piano and the joy of music: learning to PLAY [Re: Lorcar]
Lorcar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/12
Posts: 34
thanks everyone
i'd say I agree with most of you guys but going back to what Atrys and Piano_deb wrote, I guess my original question can be rephrased "what to study in order to be more creative? what to practice in order to be creative?"

I know that behind the biggest improvisators there are hours of study, so: what do you have to study? jazz harmony? classical harmony? blues harmony?
I am stressing out the harmony component because when I can reproduce a little tune I have in my head, i can do this only with my RH, because I have no clue how to add chords with the left hand...
FOr some reason I dont believe that simply learning pieces will do the stuff...A friend who is a professional pianist tells me that there are many colleagues who are unable to improvise. I'd like to avoid this. And I agree with you "try, do it, etc" but there must be a starting point, some technique, some theory which has to be learned and studied.

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#2224983 - 02/03/14 03:18 AM Re: The playful piano and the joy of music: learning to PLAY [Re: Lorcar]
Atrys Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 990
Originally Posted By: Lorcar

what to study in order to be more creative?

In the beginning it is effective to explore variations on any given tune. By "explore" I mean to do just that: explore. There will be plenty of mistakes, and a lot of garbage, but with time there is improvement. The more you study and the more you practice the act of creation, the better you get.

It looks like you're trying to find a finite and ordered set of instructions for forging a creative mind. The answer is very simple! Just do it. The less you think about this like "what material can I read to make me more creative" and realize that it's simply the act of creation that does this, the easier it is. Just play. Like I said above, it's really effective for beginners to just experiment with variations on something.

The more comprehensive your studies and understanding of theory, the more tools you will have when you're just "exploring".
_________________________
"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson

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#2225167 - 02/03/14 11:39 AM Re: The playful piano and the joy of music: learning to PLAY [Re: Lorcar]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
Lorcar, I'm just an early intermediate player and hardly capable of improvisation at the piano. What I have learned in other creative pursuits, however, is that you have to relax and allow yourself to sometimes just play around. My 2014 piano resolutions include two activies designed to help me do just that: One, every couple of weeks, I will spend a practice session just playing/noodling around at the piano with none of the usual practice activities; and, two, I will "compose something" this year.

I have not further defined either resolution because the point is to free my mind from the usual constraints of scales, learning specific pieces, sight-reading exercises, etc. and just see what develops.

Maybe this thought will trigger some ideas of your own for how you can feel more creative about your piano time. smile


Edited by piano_deb (02/03/14 07:01 PM)
_________________________
Deborah
Charles Walter 1500
Happiness is a shiny red piano.

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