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#2275014 - 05/12/14 05:55 PM Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :(
Jessiebear Offline
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Registered: 08/23/13
Posts: 172
Loc: New Zealand
Sigh. I usually find Youtube inspirational, and I like being able to play a fair few of my favourite ones. But I made the mistake of watching some Luca Sestak. He makes it look so easy. But it's not, and I'm just feeling gutted that it's so hard. I haven't seriously sat down and played for a few days now, how silly is that?

Probably doesn't make much sense but I'm finding it so hard to rustle up the motivation to get past the first few bars of Maple Leaf Rag, it's gonna take years at this rate!
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#2275036 - 05/12/14 06:33 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
bstark Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/01/14
Posts: 13
Loc: Hillsboro, Oregon
I used to run marathons, but when I started, I couldn't run a mile. It was a long, slow, painful, AMAZING and WONDERFUL journey. The marathon itself was just the icing on the cake.

Now that I am learning the piano, I feel just like when I first started running. It is hard and painful, and I wonder how I will get from where I am now to where I want to be. But I do know it is possible, and I do know that despite the learning pains I am going through now, the pain of knowing I gave up would much worse.

Now, I knew when I started running I wouldn't be winning any races, My goal was to just enjoy the experience and prove to myself that I could set the bar pretty high, and still get over it.

I didn't know who Luca Sestak was, but I googled him and yeah... pretty special. =) and I don't think I would ever be able to play like that even if I tried for the rest of my life, but I do believe that I can make some music come to life. It may be ugly 'Walking Dead' Zombie kind of life... but there is art in all styles... and maybe my purpose is to make others look even better in contrast. wink

Seriously though... take a step back, watch this video, and remember you are contributing a verse to life with your playing. =)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiyIcz7wUH0

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#2275043 - 05/12/14 06:54 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 788
Originally Posted By: Jessiebear
Sigh. I usually find Youtube inspirational, and I like being able to play a fair few of my favourite ones. But I made the mistake of watching some Luca Sestak. He makes it look so easy. But it's not, and I'm just feeling gutted that it's so hard. I haven't seriously sat down and played for a few days now, how silly is that?

Probably doesn't make much sense but I'm finding it so hard to rustle up the motivation to get past the first few bars of Maple Leaf Rag, it's gonna take years at this rate!


I hear you. When I hear a really good player, it will sometimes send me into a similar funk, which you sort of have to ride out.

Basically, there are folks who are innately gifted at the piano, people who can learn the piano given effort and time, and people who will never learn the piano however much they try. If you're not in the first group and you want to learn piano, you have to proceed under the assumption that you're in the second group.

As for "Maple Leaf," look for the patterns. A lot of Maple Leaf has your hands staying in pretty static positions with just movement of the melody note. (Of course, there's some tricky stuff, too!) But when it starts to click, it feels really satisfying under the hands!
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#2275048 - 05/12/14 07:17 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
earlofmar Online   content
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Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1638
Loc: Australia
as a New Zealander you are allowed to do this before each practice session

http://youtu.be/YS_iBV3ljxI
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#2275051 - 05/12/14 07:21 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12044
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Jessiebear
Sigh. I usually find Youtube inspirational, and I like being able to play a fair few of my favourite ones. But I made the mistake of watching some Luca Sestak. He makes it look so easy. But it's not, and I'm just feeling gutted that it's so hard. I haven't seriously sat down and played for a few days now, how silly is that?

Probably doesn't make much sense but I'm finding it so hard to rustle up the motivation to get past the first few bars of Maple Leaf Rag, it's gonna take years at this rate!



I hadn't heard of him, so I went to youtube and his website. Looks like he started taking classical piano lessons since the age of 9 and still takes lessons, so roughly 10 years of lessons. What is your background? I'm sure it's different, and that's not a bad or good thing, that is your story. Not his.

Unless you can stop yourself from unfairly comparing yourself to someone else who has a different story than yours, you may be better off not doing any listening for a while. Kind of like how horses need blinders when they pull a carriage on a busy street with cars. They'll get spooked and freak out without them. You need blinders so you can focus on putting one foot in front of the other.
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#2275054 - 05/12/14 07:28 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
jotur Offline
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Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5559
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
earl of mar - laugh I have family in NZ, and my sister-in-law here made her second grade class "video" pals with my NZ niece's class. And a NZ rugby team visited here and did a haka for them smile

Cathy
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#2275067 - 05/12/14 08:14 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: jotur]
earlofmar Online   content
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Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1638
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: jotur
earl of mar - laugh I have family in NZ, and my sister-in-law here made her second grade class "video" pals with my NZ niece's class. And a NZ rugby team visited here and did a haka for them smile

Cathy


I am sure that must have been great fun. I love kiwi's they have such great senses of humour, but don't get them started on rugby...talk about fanatical
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#2275211 - 05/13/14 01:53 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: earlofmar]
Jessiebear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/13
Posts: 172
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: earlofmar
as a New Zealander you are allowed to do this before each practice session

http://youtu.be/YS_iBV3ljxI



Hahaha that gave me a giggle! Thanks laugh

I'm lucky I guess, I get to play with the native birds chirping outside and the smell of the rainforest in our backyard, it's blissful. Haven't done the Haka yet though! That's something to aspire to LOL
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#2275221 - 05/13/14 02:27 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Morodiene]
Jessiebear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/13
Posts: 172
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Jessiebear
Sigh. I usually find Youtube inspirational, and I like being able to play a fair few of my favourite ones. But I made the mistake of watching some Luca Sestak. He makes it look so easy. But it's not, and I'm just feeling gutted that it's so hard. I haven't seriously sat down and played for a few days now, how silly is that?

Probably doesn't make much sense but I'm finding it so hard to rustle up the motivation to get past the first few bars of Maple Leaf Rag, it's gonna take years at this rate!



I hadn't heard of him, so I went to youtube and his website. Looks like he started taking classical piano lessons since the age of 9 and still takes lessons, so roughly 10 years of lessons. What is your background? I'm sure it's different, and that's not a bad or good thing, that is your story. Not his.

Unless you can stop yourself from unfairly comparing yourself to someone else who has a different story than yours, you may be better off not doing any listening for a while. Kind of like how horses need blinders when they pull a carriage on a busy street with cars. They'll get spooked and freak out without them. You need blinders so you can focus on putting one foot in front of the other.


That is true, thank you for the perspective!

For what it's worth, I had 9 years of lessons as a teen, got Grade 6 Trinity then stopped before committing to taking Grade 8. I've returned after a 17 year break and am finding my way around again.
But this time I'm playing for the love of it, it's a totally different dynamic and attitude now smile

I find Luka just so inspiring, the way he can't stop dancing to his own playing, and has so much fun with it. Just have to find my own zone again I guess smile
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#2275233 - 05/13/14 03:07 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
wimpiano Online   content
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Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 1395
Loc: The Netherlands
Just enjoy it as music. I don't give up after seeing a vid of Horowitz either wink
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#2275241 - 05/13/14 03:38 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
peterws Offline
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Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3701
Loc: Northern England.
We were told at the London OLYMPICS THAT nEW zEALANDERS DON`T FEEL pain . . . I think you`ll find your way back. and Maple street rag will be appropriately dealt with in the fulness of time.
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#2275248 - 05/13/14 04:00 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: peterws]
Jessiebear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/13
Posts: 172
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: peterws
We were told at the London OLYMPICS THAT nEW zEALANDERS DON`T FEEL pain . . . I think you`ll find your way back. and Maple street rag will be appropriately dealt with in the fulness of time.



Haha yes GGRRRRR that's right! cool Push past that Lactic acid ache! lol.
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#2275250 - 05/13/14 04:27 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
UKIkarus Offline
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Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 309
Loc: England, South East
It happens to me all the time, and I'm sure many others have been in similar situations numerous times. smile
Just keep at it or try a different style of music to help get you inspired/motivated, a little variety never hurts anyone.
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#2275313 - 05/13/14 08:15 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: UKIkarus]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12044
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: UKIkarus
It happens to me all the time, and I'm sure many others have been in similar situations numerous times. smile
Just keep at it or try a different style of music to help get you inspired/motivated, a little variety never hurts anyone.



Now that I have a better idea of your background, I think UKIkarus has a great idea here. You are starting after a long break from piano, after achieving quite a bit. It's easy to think back and remember how well you could play when you were in the thick of it and expect that to just come out of your fingers.

My recommendation is try some easier pieces, and LOTS of them. When I returned to piano, I really didn't pick up where I left off. It was really slow-going at first. But the more pieces I worked on the better I felt about it and I was able to surpass my previous level of playing.

Why not set the Maple Leaf Rag aside for the time being and get yourself a good compilation of shorter works to do? Perhaps something from the Celebration Series would be good - often these pieces are short but offer a lot of variety that you can cover in a short amount of time. Once you've done something like that for say, 6 months, then pull out the Maple Leaf and I'm pretty sure you will feel it is easier. If it's easier but still a struggle, then keep going with the other stuff and return to MLR a few months later. Use that piece as a gauge of your progress.

You'll know when it's ready to be worked on again, but usually it's when you can play through it at a moderately fast tempo with relatively few spots where you have to slow down.
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#2275402 - 05/13/14 10:36 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Arizona Sage Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 99
Loc: Arizona, USA, Earth
That happens to me every time I come to this forum. LOL! I hit more brick walls in my progress than I like to admit but I also went through this process with the guitar many years ago and know that it is essential. Key for me is to realize that my progress is mine alone. It's not a race and I really try to not get frustrated by hearing a virtuoso make it look easy. When I hear an artist perform and am inspired by that performance I find myself asking, "What is it specifically that struck me?". Then I spend time examining the techniques employed by the artist that appeal to me. It's not fool proof I've found as many of the techniques are well beyond my current capabilities, but it does give me something to strive for. That is how I am navigating my musical learning experience on the piano.
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#2275442 - 05/13/14 11:55 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: earlofmar]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: earlofmar
as a New Zealander you are allowed to do this before each practice session

http://youtu.be/YS_iBV3ljxI

Dear God, what do they do? Sign the contract, and then spend the first year learning choreography? Obviously, I would never be able to play for this team.. I can't dance. grin




Jess- why not put the Maple Leaf aside for now? It's a great piece, but a year is really too much. I might recommend focusing on the technique issues that are causing the delay and addressing them first. Might take a year, but at the end of the year, your technique will be better and you'll learn this piece in a much shorter amount of time.

PS- try the shouting and dancing thing. Who knows? Maybe the piano will get intimidated! laugh
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#2275453 - 05/13/14 12:10 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Derulux]
EM Deeka Offline
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Registered: 10/08/13
Posts: 152
Interesting advice that I noticed at the beginning of one of the several method books that I am using as a beginner:

" Remember not to judge your success in piano study by comparing yourself to others. You are successful if you love music and enjoy playing the piano, regardless of how difficult your pieces are or how many pieces you learn each year. "


Edited by EM Deeka (05/13/14 12:11 PM)

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#2275464 - 05/13/14 12:26 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Lester Burnham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/13
Posts: 279
Personally, I really enjoy watching some of the very talented pianists and the videos they make. For myself, that tends to be the exceptional performances of relatively contemporary music, as opposed to classical.

And yes, some of the complexity is currently beyond my current abilities, but it gives me something to aim for, and something I can enjoy watching. I often listen to mp3s of some of the pieces I like being played on the piano.

The other point I'd make is that sometimes it's easy to debate and look into an interest, when our time would be more productively spent just doing it. The pianists I watch on youtube, have many videos, I can't imagine they get much time for debate or watching others, in order to be able to perform like they do - that's probably a lesson for many of us, in itself.

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#2275591 - 05/13/14 05:13 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Jessiebear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/13
Posts: 172
Loc: New Zealand
UKIkarus yes good idea, I have been immersed in Einaudi since I started last year, he was what got me hooked again. Boogie Woogie is the only thing since, that has remotely caught my ear.

Morodiene Yes definitely, I have perhaps been coasting a little though? Staying with 'safe' pieces that I can mostly sightread through first, so they're not too scary. (except Questa Notte, that was a stinker lol) I was starting to think I was being a little lazy in my choice of pieces though, hence branching out.

Arizona Sage I like that train of thought too- looking at what it is that catches my ear.

Derelux It's awesome eh? I actually remember teaching a simplified Haka to my 10 year olds when I was a teacher and we loved it! It's quite a primal, captivating thing. I will probably chomp through Maple Leaf afterall, I've got a day lined up with my Aunt to pick her brains on it next week.

EM Deeka thanks for that quote, I like it smile

Lester Burnham Yes I like watching both classical and modern, I was taught a mix of both and have a soft spot for Chopin and Beethoven especially.
You're right, let's just stop worrying about it and go do it!

What a learning experience it is though, to have a performer pretty much reach through the laptop screen and slap the smug off my face with a nice dose of reality: no matter now good we get, there's always something more to learn!
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#2275640 - 05/13/14 07:00 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Music Me Offline
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Registered: 10/23/12
Posts: 221
Loc: New York
Jessiebear, play because you love it; play because it makes your soul sing; play because it takes you to that magical place where everything is perfect for you and you are loved be the music. As my Mom would have said "Rome wasn't built in a day." You will make progress when you move forward step by stpe in your playing. There is no crime in starting with easier things. Eventually the things you really want to learn become the "easier" things.

Be happy!

Play with all your heat!
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#2275641 - 05/13/14 07:03 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Music Me Offline
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Registered: 10/23/12
Posts: 221
Loc: New York
P.S.

And by all means do the Haka before each practice session.

If I can learn it, I'll do it myself. Maybe I'll invent my own!
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...without music, no life...

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#2275642 - 05/13/14 07:05 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Derulux Offline
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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Jessiebear
Derelux It's awesome eh? I actually remember teaching a simplified Haka to my 10 year olds when I was a teacher and we loved it! It's quite a primal, captivating thing. I will probably chomp through Maple Leaf afterall, I've got a day lined up with my Aunt to pick her brains on it next week.

My pre-game ritual is a calm silence. This is way cooler. grin

Re: Maple Leaf -- Ragtime is one of my favorite genres, and I happen to be pretty good at MLR, so if you'd like to talk about any of it, feel free to shoot me a PM. smile
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#2275726 - 05/13/14 09:45 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Jessiebear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/13
Posts: 172
Loc: New Zealand
Thanks for your lovely post Barbara, we mustn't lose sight of the reason we play in the first place eh?

Derulux (sorry I misspelled it above) I will probably end up picking your brains too, thank you very much for the offer!
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#2275838 - 05/14/14 05:09 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Lester Burnham Offline
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Registered: 12/29/13
Posts: 279
Apart from when I'm not playing, watching videos of other pianists is becoming quite enjoyable for me - not something that would have been as easily available, or with such variety, before prevalence of the internet and youtube.

It gives me something to aim for, and it's wonderful to see the many varied, and sometimes exceptional piano interpretations I see of modern music.

If I think back to when I was first playing in the late 70s and through the 80s, there was nothing like the same kind of easy access to footage / recordings of people playing the piano, and with such a wide variety of material. There are times when I think technology has truly enhanced the enjoyment of certain hobbies - as well as made them something you can quite easily waste a lot of time on!

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#2275839 - 05/14/14 05:27 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Lester Burnham]
UKIkarus Offline
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Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 309
Loc: England, South East
Originally Posted By: Lester Burnham
There are times when I think technology has truly enhanced the enjoyment of certain hobbies - as well as made them something you can quite easily waste a lot of time on!


Haha, sometimes a little too much time... my synth is linked to my laptop and my TV above it on the wall, most times when I play I use youtube etc as an aural reference if I get stuck.

Needless to say that it doesn't always remain that way, so easy to go off and get distracted nowadays that it's quite the mission and achievement just managing to stay on track (Especially during practice time laugh )


Edited by UKIkarus (05/14/14 05:28 AM)
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#2276051 - 05/14/14 06:04 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Michael Martinez Offline
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Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 423
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Jessiebear
Probably doesn't make much sense but I'm finding it so hard to rustle up the motivation to get past the first few bars of Maple Leaf Rag, it's gonna take years at this rate!



Work on some tune you enjoy.
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#2276063 - 05/14/14 06:34 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: bstark]
Purkoy Offline
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Registered: 05/13/14
Posts: 53
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: bstark
Now that I am learning the piano, I feel just like when I first started running. It is hard and painful, and I wonder how I will get from where I am now to where I want to be. But I do know it is possible

It is reassuring to know that others find this hard too. I am a late beginner (a very late beginner), and my teacher has cautioned me on a number of occasions that I have been too hard on myself, when I get frustrated at what seems like a lack of progress. This happened particularly, as this thread's topic shows, when I'd watch performances on YouTube of the piece I was practising.

My teacher had set me a piece to work on a while back, and I worked hard, breaking the piece down and rehearsing each part until I could play it right through with only a handful of stutters and mis-keys. After all the hard work, the elation of getting there is hard to match. I've never known anything like it.

Then I'd go to YouTube, find the same piece to see how others had tackled it, and there would be a four-year-old girl in pigtails playing it at eighty miles an hour and note perfect.

When I confessed to my teacher that it was a little dis-spiriting, she gently remonstrated with me and suggested I should be putting my own voice on the piece, and not someone else's. That has been good advice.

Realising that it really is hard work learning to play piano, and that others find this too, is actually very encouraging.
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#2276085 - 05/14/14 07:30 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Purkoy]
bstark Offline
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Registered: 05/01/14
Posts: 13
Loc: Hillsboro, Oregon
Purkoy,

During the first organized race I did after I started running, I was passed by little girl... must have been 6-8 years old, in a fairy costume waving a wand. I kid you not, and I was struggling, and she was just floating on air like gravity did not matter to her. =)

Despite that I kept going, and was darn close to qualifying for the Boston Marathon (top 2-3% of marathoners qualify)

Funny note, a great women marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson said that...

"When I first started running, I was so embarrassed I'd walk when cars passed me. I'd pretend I was looking at the flowers!"

For years I used that for inspiration as I struggled along, thinking she was embarrassed because she was slow or out of shape, but I came to find out later that it was because she was a women, and women just did not run long distances back then.

I get that embarrassed feeling when I play sometimes... thank goodness for headphones. Some days I don't seem to be able to play something that seemed easy the day before. Today I recorded my second song to soundcloud Scarborough Fair, but I discovered that when I press the record button, I seem to disable my ability (what little there is of it) to play at all. =)

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#2276140 - 05/14/14 09:08 PM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: Jessiebear]
Morodiene Offline
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My teacher used to refuse to let me listen to recordings on pieces I was learning for several reasons. This may have been one of them (I know the other reasons were to develop my own interpretation, and also to improve my reading because my ear was really good).
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#2276357 - 05/15/14 06:56 AM Re: Watched too many good pianist vids, lost my mojo :( [Re: bstark]
Purkoy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/14
Posts: 53
Loc: United Kingdom
Interesting observation about the recording. I had tried this several times, when it was suggested that it would be a good way to listen to my own progress, and yet however well I'd been able to play during practice, whenever I press the 'record' button, it's like I suddenly have an audience of expert pianists listening to me, and the nerves kick in with a vengeance, even though I'm the only person in the room. And you know how it is : there may be a couple of bars that were tricky, but you mastered them ; yet now, as they approach, you fear that a fumble is coming on, to be recorded in glorious multi-coloured multi-dimensional stereo, and the more you worry about it, the higher the probability that the fumble will happen. And so it does!

Still, I'm starting to overcome the fear of recording myself, and it's starting to prove helpful. In a way that's curiously linked to what Morodiene said about not being allowed to listen to the recordings of others, it's been helping my confidence in realising that I'm not poor at playing, just a beginner on the journey. To show me this, my teacher (Megan) moved me one day to her Clavinova instead, so that she could record me easily. The piece she'd had me working on was the little Scarlatti C major sonata (K95), and I was having trouble with synchronising my fingers on the ornamentation and the left hand triplets. I'd watched and listened to a recording of a concert pianist play this on YouTube, and his dazzling performance had dampened me a little into wondering why I was attempting something when I could never be this good.

So, she set the metronome to a very low speed, around 60, and had me play it right through. She had told me this was a piece that worked at many tempos and many interpretations, and sure enough, I was able to play it right through, and it felt pleasing.

Next, she replayed it, but then she dialled up the tempo. I hadn't been aware the Clavinova could do this and had expected the pitch to rise, but of course you'll be ahead of me here, for it doesn't. Instead, it sounded like me, only faster. Then she dialled it up some more, and suddenly, I was apparently playing it at the same speed as the concert pianist, and the trills and ornaments sounded fabulous!

Her point was evident, and never was that old Latin maxim festina lente (hasten slowly) better demonstrated.
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