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Topic Options
#2314624 - 08/12/14 04:35 PM Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void?
Filibogado Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/05
Posts: 29
It's been six months since I retired at age 66, and the days are getting longer. I have a few occasional hobbies like going fishing, playing pool, or range shooting, but nothing that approaches the enjoyment I get from playing pop or cocktail piano by ear, even though I am a relative beginner. In effect, I want to organize the rest of my retirement life around piano playing as my most passionate hobby.

We're talking here of upwards of eight hours a day available for tickling the ivories. With that much free time, is there a risk that I will get tired of playing piano all day long, with no guarantee that I'll ever be a virtuoso? Actually, my long term goals are modest enough, such as being asked to play at friends' parties, at the senior citizen center, and if I'm lucky perhaps being hired as a casual cocktail piano bar player at a local club.

Due to poor vision, I can't be a note reader, not even from a fake book - I just have to rely on playing by ear, which I am pretty good at in terms of pitch recognition.

I'm looking for suggestions on some kind of daily practice routine that will make my day enjoyable and keep me from being bored to tears, e.g. 1 hour for scales, 1 hour for left hand, 1 hour for right hand, 1 hour for Skype lessons, or some crazy scheme like that.

Thanks for any input,

Fil

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#2314631 - 08/12/14 04:52 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 821
There's definitely a risk that you'll get tired of playing piano all day long, with no guarantee that you'll ever be a virtuoso.

I daresay MOST people who approach the piano eventually give up.

Doesn't mean you shouldn't try.

As for practice regimens and amount of practice, that turns out to be a pretty personal thing. Some people are highly regimented. Some aren't. Some people spend long hours. Some limit hours. Some focus on pedagogical pieces and exercises. Some focus on repertoire. There's a spectrum of opinion even among teachers.

In the end, it's a marathon, not a sprint, so structure your study in a way that doesn't cause burnout or injury.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2314637 - 08/12/14 05:07 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3635
Originally Posted By: Filibogado
In effect, I want to organize the rest of my retirement life around piano playing as my most passionate hobby.... eight hours a day available ... is there a risk that I will get tired of playing piano all day long


Wow, unless you are someone with a world-class amount of concentration, planning and dedication, this sounds like a recipe for a burnout. I would suggest to limit your time at the piano, depending on how long you can really work concentrated. 'tickling the ivories' is not the way to advance. I would be thinking 2 hours max to start with.

I would suggest considering taking up some other classes, maybe related to music, like analysis, solfege, singing, composition, recording techniques, music history, etc.
_________________________

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#2314641 - 08/12/14 05:11 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3635
I forgot to address your other question (Can Piano Playing Fill the Void?) --

I'm not retired but I think no. Play piano if you love it, but not to avoid something else.
_________________________

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#2314642 - 08/12/14 05:13 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 644
Loc: Louisiana

Hey Fil, first thing I'd tell you is to find the fun for you on a piano bench. I like working a lot with rhythm, others may like working with harmony, someone else may like to accompany themselves because they have a good voice, but make a list of every tune you know, then pick from those the ones you want to learn to play or others would probably like to hear you play then start building a repertoire you want to perform.

I'd rather practice tunes, chords and rhythm patterns ... scales don't sound like a lot of fun to me, but I could be wrong. Youtube is a good source for hearing different ways people might play a particular tune, one might pop out as something you'd want to work on.
_________________________
Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD







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#2314651 - 08/12/14 05:37 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1290
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
I retired several years ago and have been playing the piano for many years.

It is my experience that playing music is an awesome part of a good retirement plan. I play at various times just about every day and have no particular schedule, just when I feel like it - that's what retirement is for right? However, collectively I probably play around 1 to 2 hours a day. A long way from filling the time you are talking about.

I also have a number of other hobbies that I spend lots of time with.

I say, make music all you want but don't overdo it and get tired of it. Just play, if you can play somewhere to make other folks happy too, go for it. It's fun! I've played at a nursing home a few time and that was very rewarding.

Have fun, just don't overdo it.
_________________________
Laugh More
Yamaha G7 - Roland FP7

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#2314653 - 08/12/14 05:42 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1955
Loc: Pennsylvania
I don't see the word "teacher" or "Lessons" in your plan any place. Is there any particular reason for that ?

Getting a teacher is probably the quickest and least painful way to approach this.

If there are no suitable local teachers, you might try an online teacher via Skype. I do that all the time and it works out great. There are numerous very good cocktail piano teachers available on the internet.

Just type in "Cocktail Piano Instruction Skype" and you will get an idea of how many.

Good Luck
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2314656 - 08/12/14 05:59 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
dynamobt Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 739
Loc: NH
I'm retired with a chronic illness. Piano is pretty much "it" for my activity on any given day. Due to fatigue, I don't generally practice more than 2 hours a day. Can piano fill a void? I'd say "yes" because I used to be very active. Now that I can't be active, I need something. And piano has become that something.

As for playing so many hours a day, I'd recommend you don't. It's a recipe for physical injury and mental burn out. It's certainly OK if time gets away from you on any given day and you end up sitting at the piano a fair bit. But, I wouldn't recommend that on a regular basis.

And though your vision does not allow reading music, there is much a teacher could help you as far as music theory, harmony, and chord accompaniment. You may not need instruction forever. But some at the beginning can't hurt.

Best of luck to you. And Happy Retirement!!!
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2314661 - 08/12/14 06:12 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
Music Me Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 10/23/12
Posts: 235
Loc: New York
Fil-

If it is your passion, do what makes you happy. I agree that a teacher and, studying different aspects of music would be a major asset.

Play on, my friend!
_________________________
Barbara
...without music, no life...

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#2314757 - 08/12/14 11:49 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
Dwscamel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 512
It's worth repeating that practicing for the number of hours you specified each day will almost certainly lead to burnout and loss of interest. Even surrounding yourself with different music-related activities all day will likely get tiring quickly.

Two bits of advice here: one, don't think about your days as 'time to be filled', and two, look forward to the moment each day when you find something in your piano playing that completely absorbs you.

If piano turns out not to be enough, I recommend balancing it with 'low-brow' things like talking to friends and loved ones. The logic is that you can only focus 100% for so much of your day before you feel burnt out. Of course, this part is a highly personal decision, so it's more of an extremely light recommendation than an 'answer'.

Good luck. I hope you enjoy your new journey.
_________________________
Casio PX-150

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#2314767 - 08/13/14 12:32 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1979
Loc: Philadelphia area
Its fun and its good for you.... Enjoy your retirement!!

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#2314771 - 08/13/14 12:38 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
noobpianist90 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 412
Loc: India
I cannot directly answer your question about filling a void. That would depend on you. So my answer to your question is, you'll never know unless you give it a shot.

I would also like to point out that substantial time invested in practicing the piano will not guarantee substantial progress. 15 minutes of focused practice is far preferable to hours of mechanical unmusical playing. Good luck! smile

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#2314781 - 08/13/14 01:09 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 822
Loc: Finland
For the first time in my life I am actually looking forward to my retirement (although I still have almost 20 years to go).

Don't try to play for 8 hours a day. When your body is getting older, you need to take care of it and sitting for 8 hours is not really the best thing to do, even with breaks. And your mind won't be ready for it either.

For me playing the piano has never been only about sitting at the piano practicing/playing. I listen to a lot of piano music, search for new composers and music, study scores and also try to study some theory. But I never have enough time for all that and also practice for my lessons. But when you are retired, you have so much more time, make good use of it. If you can, get a teacher too. You can get together with others to play also. If you want to, you can spend a large part of your time with music activities in variable forms. The best thing is that you can do it all at the times most productive to you instead of trying to fit in practice time on tireing work days...

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#2314800 - 08/13/14 02:27 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 1022
Loc: Italy
Personally, I can hardly fill 1.5-2 hours a day at the piano and I work on many different things every day. I don't like to spend too much time on anything really, so it may be just me, but I do only 15 minutes of scales and 15 minutes of sight-reading every day, then it's about 1 hour of studying pieces and once in a while trying to perform/record some. Playing several hours will be exhausting and one certainly would need to take many breaks, do some physical activities, get out of the house, think of something else. But as outo said, there are many other music-related things you can do during the day.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2314806 - 08/13/14 03:00 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
bluebilly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 455
Loc: England
I can't remember where I got the following copied text from, and probably not answering the OP's question, but I thought it an appropriarte thread to add it to.

How learning to play a musical instrument can boost your IQ
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER, 27th October 2009


Playing a musical instrument could make you brainier, it is claimed.
Research suggests that practising scales and chords and mastering complex patterns of notes changes the shape of the brain.

It can even boost IQ by as much as seven points. And it is never too old to learn, with pensioners benefiting too.
Swiss experts say there is growing evidence that musicians' brains look and work differently from those of others.
The parts of the brain that control motor skills, hearing and memory become larger and more active when a person learns how to play an instrument. Alertness, planning and the ability to read emotions also improve.


Lutz Jancke, of the University of Zurich, said: 'We found that even in people over the age of 65 after four or five months of playing for an hour a week there were strong changes in the brain.

The parts of the brain that control hearing, memory, and the part that controls the hands, among others, all become more active. Essentially the architecture of the brain changes.
'For children especially we found that learning to play the piano, for instance, teaches them to be more self-disciplined, more attentive and better at planning.'

Learning a musical instrument can also make it easier to pick up new languages and interpret the emotions of others.
The psychologist, who reviewed research into the issue for an article in the Faculty of 1000 Biology Reports, said: 'When you play a musical instrument you have to learn about tone and about scores and your ability to store audio information becomes better.

'Not only does this make it easier to pick up other languages, musicians are able to pick out exactly what others are feeling just on the tone of their voices.'

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#2314811 - 08/13/14 03:08 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
wimpiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 1613
Loc: The Netherlands
I would say that it could partially fill the void.

There are days (few though, very few) that I play piano for about 8 hours (not without long breaks though), they do tire me but a good kind of tired, should say though that I am only 31 years old..

I definitely wouldn't do this without guidance. Get yourself a teacher, and another hobby for some variation..


Edited by wimpiano (08/13/14 03:09 AM)
_________________________
Schimmel 116 S ...

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#2314824 - 08/13/14 03:46 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3880
Loc: Northern England.
You definitely need an additional hobby or two. Continues piano playing will drive you crazy IMO. Toy trains make you swear (the b***ERS won't stay on the track) and cycling's dangerous these days. . .Try painting or drawing. Computer art is popular and fun, and you don't get mucky.
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2315163 - 08/13/14 08:37 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
SoundThumb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 346
Loc: San Diego, CA
Here is how you fill a void in retirement: Come up with a task or a chore that you have to do every day even though it is not completely enjoyable. Then you will find that other hobbies, interests and tasks become much more enjoyable because you start to look forward to them while doing the less enjoyable chore.

Piano can end up being used for both the chore and the enjoyment. Consider that there is a difference between practice and performance. Go out and get a teacher. This will give you a reason to practice every day to so as not to embarrass yourself at the weekly lesson. This practice, say 1 hr/day becomes the chore that you must make time for. Make it the task that you must complete each day before you can do the other more enjoyable tasks. If you are like me, you will find that one of the more enjoyable pastimes is to just sit down and tickle the ivories, that is, perform for yourself and others.

This won't fill up 8 hrs/day, but you might find that the discipline of focused practice each morning makes you feel good about yourself and your progress not just at piano, but everything else as well. Add daily exercise, you need that to play comfortably without tension. Then some time reading this forum and the next thing you know, you are having to interrupt your music routine to fit in that fishing trip. Welcome to retirement. It's a blast.

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#2315180 - 08/13/14 10:01 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
Maarkr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/14
Posts: 57
Loc: Maine, USA
been working at playing for a few years now... you'll have ebbs and flows with learning and the desire to work at it. I really enjoy it tho. You said your sight is bad, but I use software called Songbook which is a fake book alternative for Windows or iPad, and can make it nice and large if needed. A web site called Chordie has tabs for many songs, but they are written for guitar so I rewrite some for piano. I have almost 300 songs in my repetoire now...most i can play and some I wanna play someday (my practice goals).
I practice a variety of scales, chords, inversions or whatever relates to the songs i'm working with. I watch a lot of YouTube videos on topics related to what I'm interested in. I can find teachers that want to teach me sight reading, but i don't like it much, so I just search for songs I like to play. Some days I don't play, some days I spend 3 hours... it's just how i feel. Keep reading forums to learn tips, techniques and advice on your journey.
_________________________
Privia PX-5S, XW-P1, Roland Juno-G, Roland Lucina Axe, Korg MicroSampler...

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#2315256 - 08/14/14 01:15 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Maarkr]
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1601
Loc: NY
My new neighbor recently knocked on my door and politely inquired if he could take his ladder and get his helicopter off my roof. shocked I was speechless at first, but he explained he had recently retired and this was his new hobby... a remote control helicopter which he hasn't really learned to control yet. I said it sounds like a neat hobby and sure, go get it. I have a mobile home, so it's not too high up. smile


Edited by Elssa (08/14/14 01:17 AM)

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#2315271 - 08/14/14 03:01 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Elssa]
lunobili Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 32
Loc: Japan
Yeah,
that is my other hobby (radio controlled flying things), but I am neglecting it since I started piano.

Flying objects ALWAYS land, but not always when and where you expect. This means that there is a lot of building/rebuilding work to be done. Since I stated plying piano I still enjoy flying, but I like less and less the glue work.

Checkout what can be done (not that I am that good):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onFAnlK0M_4


Edited by lunobili (08/14/14 03:02 AM)

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#2315295 - 08/14/14 04:13 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
ZikO Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/13
Posts: 50
Hi Filibogado smile

It's now about 10 months I have been playing piano. It took me completely. I've almost never missed a day without the practice since I have started, besides the recent time when I had 2 weeks break due to some circumstances and I was almost broken when I had to recover, and then catch up.

I'd say go and try piano. If you feel it would be your passion, you definitely should give it a go. We sometimes can do impossible if we find passion and are driven by it. Piano completely changed my everyday life and opened my eyes (or ears) to classic music. I begun listening to Chopin just a few weeks after I started piano and now I cannot spend one single day without listening at least one his piece. I barely can explain it but it is like a drug which I am addicted to :p I also tried a few Chopin's pieces or at least those parts which are I can approach and play. I know they probably sound awful due to my current level but heck I so much enjoy it and this fulfil me smile

I change my everyday practice according to what I feel I need to learn. There's no fixed pattern how I practice, neither should have you. It's all depends on what one wants to achieve: Jazz, classic, accompaniment, etc. Secondly, some people can learn faster than the others and I am 100% certain you cannot force to learn faster than you are able to, slowly is the best here and help to learn the most complex pieces. This link below gives some suggestions how to be efficient while practising piano

http://www.key-notes.com/efficient-piano-practice.html#.U81GsIsZS5M.facebook

Once you feel piano is for you, it would be a good idea to find a teacher or school for adults and have one hour or half an hour a week with a teacher. If you aim to play classic music, some people suggest a concert piano player as a teacher. A good teacher will help you to organise your practice routine, what you need to practice first, find a challenging tasks for you, show you how to practice to actually progress, at least at the beginning, how to approach pieces, how to listen to yourself etc. You will eventually learn to do those yourself but you may save a lot of time with a good teacher.

I hope for you and have a great time with your passion, whatever it's going to be smile

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#2315745 - 08/15/14 01:16 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1601
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Filibogado
It's been six months since I retired at age 66, and the days are getting longer. I have a few occasional hobbies like going fishing, playing pool, or range shooting, but nothing that approaches the enjoyment I get from playing pop or cocktail piano by ear, even though I am a relative beginner. In effect, I want to organize the rest of my retirement life around piano playing as my most passionate hobby.

Fil


Hi Fil,

My advice would be to try and find a local teacher who teaches chords, including cocktail/pop/jazz chords. I know, not easy to find, but they're out there. Good luck. smile

P.S. As an organist, I grew up on chords.


Edited by Elssa (08/15/14 01:24 AM)

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#2316349 - 08/16/14 07:11 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
Purkoy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/14
Posts: 95
Loc: United Kingdom
I'm old enough to know that eight hours a day of anything (even sex!) is a surefire recipe for burnout and boredom. I took up piano at the age of 62, having never touched a keyboard in my life before, and two hours, perhaps three if I'm 'in the groove', is my limit. I need other activities to balance it out, and make piano continue to be my 'reward' activity. So, I walk, and walk, and walk. I take photographs. I write. I exercise. I even do some recreational mathematics. And I play piano. Exercise keeps my body in (approximate) shape, piano keeps my mind in shape. I also have the good fortune to have a superb teacher, and she has been the best investment I ever made.
_________________________


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#2316366 - 08/16/14 08:28 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 2036
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Nice to be retired. That's for sure. I did not know about this until my recent unemployment. I'm younger than retirement age and I will have to go back to work. From the way my interviews are lined up the day will come soon. It's a bit bitter sweet. I never thought I'd enjoy unemployment so much. Chamber music, piano master class etc. For piano I was asked to accompany oboe player, piano duet and for violin, my teacher arranged me to play in the youth orchestra until she gets enough people to form an oldies' orchestra. With a sigh I'm turning down lots of stuff since I have to start working soon. I let go piano duet partner. I'm quitting the church choir (4 hours per week commitment). I think my retirement will be super busy and I hope you won't over extend yourself and overdo music beyond your availability. Because that's really easy to do.
_________________________
Solo - Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Schumann Op 12 Warum, Grillen and a few short pieces by various composers
Collaboration - Concerto in C for Oboe and orchestra attributed to Haydn edited by Evelyn Rosewell and some duets


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#2316385 - 08/16/14 09:58 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
earlofmar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1776
Loc: Australia
since the OT hasn't commented since the original post I think he has.........retired
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I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2316402 - 08/16/14 10:48 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: earlofmar]
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 84
Originally Posted By: earlofmar
since the OT hasn't commented since the original post I think he has.........retired


Ha funny!

I was just saying that retirement is one of the reasons I decided to take up piano. I want to have a craft that continuously keeps on giving. I also do photography, but piano is just something I truly wanted to learn.
_________________________
Hobby 1: Photography. Bucket List 1: Learning Piano

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#2316443 - 08/17/14 02:24 AM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Purkoy]
TX-Bluebonnet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/14
Posts: 274
Loc: Central Texas
Originally Posted By: Purkoy
I even do some recreational mathematics.


Is that code for sudoku?
_________________________
Linda

Started my piano journey June 2014 at age 54.
My digital piano: Casio Privia PX-850.
Working on "Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course" Book 1
XXXV

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#2317938 - 08/20/14 11:10 PM Re: Just Retired - Can Piano Playing Fill the Void? [Re: Filibogado]
MarieJ Offline

Full Member

Registered: 02/21/13
Posts: 26
Loc: Queensland Australia
Reading Piano World postings (particularly the motivating entries in the Adult Beginners Forum) is another enjoyable way of partially filling any void!

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