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#580773 - 10/09/06 08:27 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
bukopaudan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 506
Loc: USA
It's not impossible, that's for sure. But before you start you want to make sure that's what you REALLY want. For real. You have to want it to make it happen and to make it happen, it's work. (Of course, I'm not quite at that level yet. I'm still quite young, actually)

Don't strain yourself so hard that your hands start to ache and such. Be careful. I started practicing a lot and it becomes quite painful at times, so please be careful!

Good luck and do keep us posted!
_________________________
"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." -Leonard Bernstein

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#580774 - 10/09/06 09:10 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
 Quote:
Originally posted by sid:
Cal sucks, go Stanford!
Um Sid, I hate to break it to you, but Berklee is in Boston.

And your congratulations are premature, since it is not clear that deadmen will be attending Berklee anyway...

By the way, thanks for the nice comment. :rolleyes:

whippen boy (in Berkeley).
_________________________
Grotrian 225
S&S Hamburg-C
M&H "A" at home

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#580775 - 10/09/06 09:18 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
Van Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 1215
Loc: S. California
lol, sorry...ingrained reflex, thought it was a mispelling of berkeley \:\)

...but now that You're here, Cal sucks, go Stanford! \:D
_________________________

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#580776 - 10/09/06 09:27 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18223
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by sid:
lol, sorry...ingrained reflex, thought it was a mispelling of berkeley \:\)

...but now that You're here, Cal sucks, go Stanford! \:D [/b]
As someone else said in another thread, so many people add to a thread without reading what has already been stated, and, in this case, what has already been clarified.
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#580777 - 10/09/06 09:33 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17809
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
Start at Berklee in guitar, take all the piano courses you can, and see if you can transfer programs, if you still want to. [/b]
I think this is the best advice so far in this thread. You are unlikely to have your piano skills up to snuff to gain admission to either a conservatory or university program for next year. Why not go to Berklee, keep playing piano on the side, and switch when you are ready?

A second piece of advice that may or may not go over well with your parents would be to take a year off after high school and focus on getting your piano repertoire up to audition levels. If you do that, I'd advise getting a half-time job, too, to help minimize the parental griping factor and prevent burnout/injury on piano.

p.s. As a psychology professor, I feel compelled to dispel you of the illusion that a joint psychology/ music degree is the road to wealth. A B.A. in psychology prepares one only for such promising and lucrative careers as a Starbucks barista. ;\)
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#580778 - 10/09/06 09:37 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
BruceD, please go easy on Sid - Stanford fans sometimes need a bit more time to 'get with the program'. ;\)
_________________________
Grotrian 225
S&S Hamburg-C
M&H "A" at home

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#580779 - 10/09/06 09:39 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
cerulean5 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 678
Loc: USA
Deadman,

As a fellow Chopin fanatic, I would like to encourage you to pursue your passion. HOWEVER, one must also be realistic. There is no way that one year is sufficient for becoming a competitive pianist, even if you are already proficient in playing another instrument.

Well, you've got to start somewhere. If you are deadset on going ahead with piano, then I second BruceD's advice: you ABSOLUTELY need a teacher, a very good one. There's no way to teach yourself how to play, and there's are no shortcuts, except for doing everything RIGHT from the beginning.
This will cost you, too. I hope you have some means to be able to afford 1) a decent acoustic piano, and 2) weekly lessons with a good teacher. This is just the start.

--c5

Edit: I guess my post goes hand-in-hand with one alternative that Monica mentioned: stopping out one year after graduating from highschool, and devoting your time to learning how to play piano. Maybe you could even defer entry to Berkelee by a year, in case you decide piano is not for you.

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#580780 - 10/09/06 09:47 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18223
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by whippen boy:
BruceD, please go easy on Sid - Stanford fans sometimes need a bit more time to 'get with the program'. ;\) [/b]
I'll try to do that!
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#580781 - 10/09/06 09:55 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17809
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by cerulean5:
Maybe you could even defer entry to Berkelee by a year, in case you decide piano is not for you. [/b]
That's a terrific idea, cerulean5, and I would definitely recommend that Deadman pursue a deferral if he goes with the "take a year off" plan. There would be some comfort in knowing that all the bridges hadn't been completely burned.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#580782 - 10/10/06 12:30 AM Re: Am I being realistic?
deadmen Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/04/06
Posts: 10
Loc: california
Thanks for all the suggestions ...I think ive decided to stay home for 2 years and attend the community college to receive my liberal arts credit then transfer(This is going to save me quite a bit of money and seems like a better choice either way ).....of course during these 2 years i will have be practicing with any minute I Can (which should be quite lot).....I just bought an acoustic piano by Grinnell Bros. For $500 and its pretty nice,I had my first lesson and the taecher got me started on a chopin nocturne(a simplified one of course but still sound s very nice)...on a bad note i felt some pains in my wrist today when i was playing and feel minor pain while im typing this message..it feels different from the carpal tunnel syndrome I once had so im hoping its just strain and I just need to take a break

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#580783 - 10/10/06 03:25 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
Astra Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 391
Loc: Slovenia
Hi!
Sorry for offtopic but I have to ask: you say that deadman is being unrealistic, but: what is realistic? what can you achieve in one year with, lets say, practising 3 hours per day?
_________________________
ex - pian00b

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#580784 - 10/10/06 03:34 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
cerulean5 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 678
Loc: USA
Dear deadmen,

Beware hand/wrist injuries! You've had carpal tunnel before? Was it from too much computer usage? Whatever it was, be sure you understand what caused the problem, and to never let that injury happen again.

About this "new pain": your hands could be hurting because 1) you are new to piano playing and are just not used to it, 2) you overpracticed, 3) your piano's action isn't good-- too heavy/stiff, or 4) you have bad technique at the moment.
A prolonged combination of reasons 2,3,and 4 can kill your dreams right off the bat.

I would suggest the following:

Talk to you teacher about the pain, and see if he/she can make suggestions. Don't ignore it when your body is telling you something. Stretch your hands, gently and often.

Don't practice for too long at once, especially in the beginning. You may hurt yourself by practicing a lot in the WRONG way. Gradually lengthen your practice time, all the while paying attention to how your wrist and hands feel.
And make sure you make every minute count when practicing. Concentrate. It's not about the absolute quantity of practice-- it's about quality!

About your piano: have your teacher play and evaluate it. Are the keys too stiff or heavy? Do they feel even across the registers? It's hard enough to learn to play a piano; don't disadvantage yourself by practicing on a bad one!


Finally, there's only so much advice that can be given over the internet. The very best resource you have is your piano teacher. I hope you've found an experienced one that can teach you good playing technique.

--c5

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#580785 - 10/11/06 01:23 AM Re: Am I being realistic?
newbishly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 20
Loc: Tokyo / New York
deadmen:

Although it may not be realistic for you to get accepted ...you may find it worthwhile to try to get the repertoire ready for your own development and for fun (but of course make substitutions...i.e instead of a major 20th century work just do a shorter 20th century piece...). You never know until you try! In the meantime, if you're really talented at guitar stick with it and work at the piano at the same time. I find that if you don't have an affinity for what your doing you can still be amazing at it (like me and Math...I hate Math but manage to get 100s without going to class...and unlike me and Piano which I love but no matter how much time I spend on it for the most part I don't have the ability to perfect the technique to bring out my musical ideas).

I know you decided to go to community college, but think about it more...will you be able to find a teacher who fits your style in the liberal arts colleges you manage to get accepted to? I don't know about your academic history but if you didn't develop the studying habits in high school it's quite difficult to develop them in college...so in the end you may only end up with a few options. If decide to go this route I suggest you take Summer courses and see if you can manage to maintain a good standard of academics and learn your pieces!

If you go to Berklee you'll be able to learn piano from competent teachers. The problem I had with my locals teachers when I was younger was that they either didn't know how to teach (or rather didn't really care as a teacher) or did not have the capacity to teach beyond the most beginner or intermediate levels and didn't even know how to teach basics properly. So while your waiting to go to school don't try to skimp and find the cheapest teacher you can find! If you live by a music conservatory try finding a teacher there.

I was in a similar situation to yours but it was with the pre-college divisions of piano and I only had seven months to learn an entire programme (Bach WTC P&F, Beethoven Sonata, Romantic Work, and 20th Century). I got an evaluation from a professional pianist who said I lacked all basics (I took lessons on and off since I was four but I hated the piano and never even learned to read bass clef until I developed an interested in piano) but decided to guide me and assigned me to a Julliard student. My reading was slow and I practiced all the wrong things but I had a decent memory so I was able to memorize chunks of the pieces. My technique on the otherhand was horrendous and seven months was not enough time to proficiently play the repertoire let alone minimally express my musical ideas with the way I was practicing.

I ended up not going to the Julliard Pre College audition because I didn't have the 20th century piece ready and only the octave section of the Chopin Polonaise was technically ready. In the MSoM audition I played terribly completely lacking in musicality and technique (sadly moreso than when I practiced). Even if I did happen to get all the repertoire ready (which I didn't), I wouldn't have had enough performance experience to deal with a audition/performance environment. I stupidly decided not to play the Beethoven, the piece I was best at, and chose to play a Bach Prelude and Fugue and the Chopin Polonaise.

My mistake was:
a) Overambitious repertoire
b) Underestimating the auditions
c) Not listening to my teacher (I know I would've gotten in if I did) and practicing what I thought was important
d) Kind of related to c: Not learning the notes to the pieces and mainly worrying about tone and nuances that come naturally when the notes are learned

Don't make the same mistake as me! If your teacher lets you learn just about any piece, have him/her select three of the pieces and compromise on the last work. In your case you may have to learn starting from children's books but suck it up and just blaze through them. It may be painful to read through the standard repertoire but with perserverance anything is possible. Also record yourself...you may want to quit after listening to the recordings but you'll benefit greatly from hearing yourself play-you'll end up hearing things you did wrong that went unnoticed while you were playing.

Also...no one specifically talked about your competition. Most of the successful prospective students in music schools have a vast repertoire. Think Beethoven Appasionata at 6th grade and Prok 1st Concerto at 7th grade and probably 6-10 programmes of the standard repertoire. There are also many late starters (latest started I've met was 11th grade) that go directly from beginning level to advanced level repertoire in months, but most of these students I've met have either monstrous ears, insane sight reading abilities, or a natural affinity for piano techniques that help them learn pieces at ridiculous paces. I thought I learned a Bach WTC Bk II P&F fast when I had it performance ready in a week, but these students can learn a WTC P&F in a few hours. Then again, you do have your normal students, but 'normal' still means a sizable repertoire (probably 6 plus longer major works and many many smaller works) combined with proper practicing habits.

So, if you happen to change your mind later and want to drop everything and go for piano...keep this in mind. I'm not doubting you or anything but unless you can learn standard repertoire (not reductions or segments but whole pieces) really quickly, give yourself some insurance like an academic degree or a performance degree in guitar that you can rely on and play the piano for fun. If you feel you have the abilities to make it as a pianist be wary! In your case you may not be hearing yourself correctly so record yourself and listen carefully. If you think your playing is good get a lesson with a professional pianist or sign up/audition for a master class and prepare to go home crying! \:D

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#580786 - 10/11/06 11:03 AM Re: Am I being realistic?
pianoanne Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 649
Loc: Pacific NW
Deadmen, I see you are from CA. Try to get a lesson with a well respected college professor, it will open your eyes to what is really required to be a piano major. I don't know how good your private teacher is, but in this scenerio I would be looking for a teacher who has vast experience with taking students to a high level and teaching technique, because it sounds like you could be developing an injury already. Also playing on a good piano is very important, if you can't afford better than a $500 upright then at least make sure your teacher will have you playing on a grand at the lessons.

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#580787 - 10/12/06 12:08 AM Re: Am I being realistic?
deadmen Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/04/06
Posts: 10
Loc: california
I had the piano checked by my teacher and she said it was very nice for the price,she said they could have got at least a grand for it....heres some advice i got from my teacher....she said that ,given that im going to have about 3 years to study before a school audition, i should really focus on sight reading and technique for a while and work up a repetoire during the last year and a half before an audition.....as for my injury....im taking a week off from playing any thing ....then im going to start practicing very short sessions(about 2hrs30min with strethes and a break a day)but every week ill add 30 minutes to the session ..hopefully this way ill build up strength in my arms and be able to practice long sessions over time without injury.....anyways during my break i wanted to purchase instructional
books ...i have hanon for technique but wanted some suggestions for a good sightreading supplement and just any outstanding books on playing piano...thanks much for replies

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#580788 - 10/12/06 04:22 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
cerulean5 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 678
Loc: USA
Hi deadmen,

One book I would recommend is Josef Lhevinne's Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing (from Dover). It is not a comprehensive book in any means, but Josef Lhevinne offers deep insight into various basic principles in piano playing in a scant 48 pages. Price is ridiculously affordable, and it is easy to read.
It's a book that is valuable to aspiring pianists of any level. Every time I go back to it, I discover something new.

--c5

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#580789 - 10/12/06 04:33 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17809
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by deadmen:
as for my injury....im taking a week off from playing any thing ....then im going to start practicing very short sessions(about 2hrs30min with strethes and a break a day)but every week ill add 30 minutes to the session [/b]
hmmm.... if 2 1/2 hours is considered a "very short" session I am beginning to see how you developed an injury.

Please be very cautious. After your layoff for a week, I'd suggest playing no more than 30 minutes at a stretch and then breaking for 30 or more minutes. And regardless of how long you've played, if you feel ANY discomfort or pain, stop right then and there.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#580790 - 10/12/06 05:13 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
Contrapunctus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/05
Posts: 808
Loc: Whittier, California
I think that it is totally possible to go to a university and study piano after having played three years. And I actually think that it's only three pieces required for an audition for piano major. You don't need a big repertore as long as the pieces you're auditioning with sound really good because the comittee won't know how many pieces you've learnt in the past. Make sure you do Applied Music at your community college. That will help to prepare you for performance.
_________________________
I don't know what the meaning of life is- I'm too busy to figure it out.

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#580791 - 10/13/06 12:22 AM Re: Am I being realistic?
newbishly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 20
Loc: Tokyo / New York
Contrapunctus:
I agree that three years is plenty of time but sounding 'good' can only come from technique obtained from playing many pieces. I was under the impression, musicmanship aside, juries judge overall technical ability through the pieces presented and one's acceptance into the school is based on how accurately the jury sees the student's experience and potential.

Maybe it's just me but I know for a fact if I play even the simplest Chopin Nocturne that I played years ago my interpretation and overall playing will be incomparably better now. Deadman is new to the piano so he's starting from scratch and to really nail college audition level repertoire under his circumstances will be tough.

Also...from my understanding the audition requirements for most universities are:
1) Bach WTC P&F / Larger work containing Fugue
2) Classical Sonata (with a few exceptions a Beethoven Sonata will satisfy this requirement)
3) Major Romantic Work
4) Major 20th Century/Modern Work
5) A Virtuostic Etude

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#580792 - 10/13/06 12:43 AM Re: Am I being realistic?
newbishly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 20
Loc: Tokyo / New York
deadman:
Go see a doctor for your wrist/hand.

For sight reading go ahead an look at anything you can get your hands on that you know is technically manageable. This may mean children beginner books \:\) .

For technically challenging pieces try learning the notes at the piano without actually playing the piano. You can either mentally picture the keys or lightly touch the top of the keys. The latter is also great for warmup before a lesson or audition.

By the way...I recommend breaking your practice up into multiple 15/30/45 minute sessions. When I'm trying to learn pieces real quickly I feel I get more done in shorter sessions.


Out of sheer curiousity...where do you stand now?
What are you end goals? Do you want to make Julliard, Curtis, and Eastman or a local music college?
What pieces do you have performance ready?
What pieces are you working on now?
Do you know all the major and minor scales and can you really PLAY them?
Has your teacher given you physical exercises to do whenever your away from the piano?

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#580793 - 10/13/06 04:49 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
Contrapunctus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/05
Posts: 808
Loc: Whittier, California
 Quote:
Originally posted by newbishly:
Contrapunctus:

Also...from my understanding the audition requirements for most universities are:
1) Bach WTC P&F / Larger work containing Fugue
2) Classical Sonata (with a few exceptions a Beethoven Sonata will satisfy this requirement)
3) Major Romantic Work
4) Major 20th Century/Modern Work
5) A Virtuostic Etude [/b]
I think that that is the repertoire required for a master's degree or a bachlers at a conservatory, not a bachelors at a university.
_________________________
I don't know what the meaning of life is- I'm too busy to figure it out.

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#580794 - 10/13/06 11:25 PM Re: Am I being realistic?
Requiem Aeternam Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1395
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
contrapunctus is right


deadman: check the thread of reaper978, this will be educational for you to see where someone who is moving along very fast is at after a year's time. He posted his video on youtube and he claims to have been playing a year and you can see what level he is and you can expect to be at a similar level though most likely not more advanced since that is pretty fast for only a year's time
_________________________
"He who turns himself into a beast, gets rid of the pain of being a man."

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#580795 - 10/15/06 12:00 AM Re: Am I being realistic?
deadmen Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/04/06
Posts: 10
Loc: california
I recently printed out a copy of "Fundementals of piano practice" by Chaun C.Chang and most of the books ideas seem very logical and musical.....when i begin playing(one more week hopefully)I will probably be using the ideas presented here in my practice sessions and ive oredered a few of the books reccomended as must reads in the book and also purchased a book of Chopins nocturnes ,waltzes and ,preludes.....has anyone followed this books ideas and how did they work out for you?

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#580796 - 10/15/06 01:03 AM Re: Am I being realistic?
Requiem Aeternam Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1395
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
if thats the famous chang who has the internet book I know there are alot of people that swear by his techniques and follow him but personally I consider a few of his very dogmatic ideas to be highly questionable, most notably (I forget what he calls it) the one about learning passages by massive over and over repetition I personally find this to promote rote muscle memory way too much and will be greatly detrimental to your ability to memorize the piece as a whole correctly in a more fully realized way so as to prevent memory lapses during performance of said piece.
_________________________
"He who turns himself into a beast, gets rid of the pain of being a man."

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#580797 - 10/15/06 06:02 AM Re: Am I being realistic?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
When Bruce D gave us the interesting backdrop to the Berklee College of Music ...
“the premier institution for the study of contemporary music” with “3,800 students and 460 faculty members interact in an environment designed to provide the most complete learning experience possible” and adding “learn to make the informed business decisions necessary to career success” ... I was hooked immediately ... but then I grew up on Gershwin.

The “deadmen” non-de-plume disguises the heady mission of a bright young musician who presently twangs a guitar ... must be a classical guitar to have developed tunnel syndrome through over-practising. Might I suggest that the very choice of the classical guitar is deadmen’s natural instinct to use an instrument which captures the multi-voice range of the orchestra ... bridging to the piano is a natural development towards the ultimate “orchestral” musical instrument.

What surprises me is deadmen’s Pied Piper lure to Chopin ... heck, at his age I was making
death-defying rugby tackles, learning to drive a car and how to get the girls to take notice.
Jazz was king ... the likes of long-since dead heavies like Bach, Mozart and Beethoven
were definitely not on the menu ... swing was the thing ... only later did Beethoven become a god ... as did princes Schumann, Mendelssohn, Grieg and poetic Chopin ... only with my golf handicap expanding ( dratted Anno Domini, don’t you know) did the marvel of Debussy impressionism register ... as did the roller-coaster of Rachmaninoff’s 4 Piano Concertos.

The long and short is that deadmen has got his acoustic piano ... but sight-reading keyboard music is still to raise it’s heavy demands ... essentially classical guitar involves the weave of single strings ... sight-reading the path of a sequence of single notes ... the piano however demands the simultaneous reading of multiple notes ... thus the dire warnings by posters about expecting too quick progress.

But after all is said and done ... none of us would ever want to be away from our piano ...
once the bug bites ... you’re a slave for life . But what doesn’t gel is how Chopin fits into the curriculum of a contemporary music college. Maybe you start with Scott Joplin, jazz and swing and graduate with a FC Nocturne ... sign me on!!

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