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#936174 - 12/14/08 02:25 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gary D.:
If you practice 2.5 hours a day, average, 365 days a year for 11 years, you'll hit that number.

365*2.5*11 = 10037.5

I think that's enough time and effort for some people, maybe a lot of people, to play well enough to please themselves, and maybe quite a few people.

But I don't think it's enough to expect a career, performing in public. Not that much time alone, for the average person. [/b]
Chopin said 3 hours a day was enough. Rubinstein said ten years from age 70 would also be enough.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#936175 - 12/14/08 06:13 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
 Quote:
I used Mozart's example as a surrogate for "unusual talent".
Which of the two Mozart siblings? The children were strictly and stringently taught under close supervision by their father, an expert in the field, from a very early age and both were considered little geniuses. This is our focused supervised practice. The connections were also there to make certain that they were noticed, because performances must also happen in front of someone who will appreciate and further you in public. Are there any 'Mozarts' whom we will never get to know about? [/b]
Beethoven tried something similar with his nephew Karl (surrogate son?) and the young man ended up commiting suicide. Chopin is an example of the opposite approach. He started picking piano up as a toddler from his older sister, then his mother, and then from a violinist who had the good sense simply guide him while he taught himself. Chopin may have managed on his "three hours" because he was a true genius and unencumbered with excess pedagogical baggage. (And yes, Chopin could play the violin though there no mention of him ever touching one after he left Poland.)
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#936176 - 12/14/08 09:20 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
TonyB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 464
Loc: Twin Cities
 Quote:
But the other question is this: is Jane Regular wanting to become the next Mozart, or does she want to become a good concert pianist? There was only one Mozart, but there are a lot of good concert pianists out there. Most of them are unknown, sure - such are the vagaries of fame. But they do play the piano very well. (note that Mozart was not considered particularly special in his time, either).

We tend to focus on the few extraordinary geniuses when thinking about music, and only when thinking about music. When I went to law school (at a moderately advanced age), no one told me "Well, you'll never be another Clarence Darrow; what's the point?" People seem to recognize that a mere mortal can become a good lawyer by putting in the effort and the practice time, and that one doesn't need to be arguing cases in the cradle to even think about succeeding in law school.

It's also true of music. If you put in the effort and the practice time - intelligent, focused practice - you'll get good. But it has to be focused and intelligent practice; you have to know what you're good at and what you're bad at, and tailor the practice to your individual strengths and weaknesses. If you do that, you'll succeed.

In this thread, this post of Larisa's is the most down to earth and straightforward response on this subject area that I have yet seen. We as adult learners spend so much time with this baggage, that I strongly recommend we each print this quote and put on our respective music stands as adult learners regardless of the approach we are each choosing to take. Then we can leave this baggage behind and just enjoy the journey.

Tony
_________________________
Roland V-Grand
Casio PX-5S
My blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#936177 - 12/14/08 09:25 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larisa:
(note that Mozart was not considered particularly special in his time, either). [/b]
I agree Larisa's post is excellent, but I can't let her get away with this. Here is Haydn on Mozart:
 Quote:
"If only I could impress Mozart's inimitable works on the soul of every friend of music, and the souls of high personages in particular, as deeply, with the same musical understanding and with the same deep feeling, as I understand and feel them, the nations would vie with each other to possess such a jewel."
Or to Leopold:
 Quote:
Before God and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name: He has taste, and, furthermore, the most profound knowledge of composition
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#936178 - 12/14/08 09:34 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by TonyB:
In this thread, this post of Larisa's is the most down to earth and straightforward response on this subject area that I have yet seen. We as adult learners spend so much time with this baggage, that I strongly recommend we each print this quote and put on our respective music stands as adult learners regardless of the approach we are each choosing to take. Then we can leave this baggage behind and just enjoy the journey.

Tony [/b]
Except that the last paragraph is just the same shopworn "hard work will get you anywhere" bromide that people desperately need to believe in even if it sets them up for disappointment.

Even if you accept that "good" is a relative term, it's just not everyone's destiny to "get good" by dint of hours of effort alone if there is no aptitude whatsoever. But if you know "what you're good at and what you're bad at," you would probably know when you're spinning your wheels in vain pursuit of a hopeless cause, too.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#936179 - 12/14/08 09:55 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
TonyB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 464
Loc: Twin Cities
There are man aspects to learning to play a musical instrument. A particular approach to learning, certain aspects of one is approaching learning - these can be modified to advantage by understanding one's strengths and leveraging them. In other words, a person, through knowledge of one's strengths and aptitudes can adjust their approach to learning to play piano in various ways so as to make the results of their efforts more fruitful.

I wonder how many people REALLY "have no aptitude whatsoever". As Larisa pointed out, music seems to be unique in how people regard it as requiring genius to even pursue it. It is one thing to say that if a person puts in enormous hours, they are guaranteed to overcome any lack of "genius" and become a world class musician, and quite another to say that a person who puts in the effort could enjoy playing the piano at some level.

Tony
_________________________
Roland V-Grand
Casio PX-5S
My blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#936180 - 12/14/08 10:03 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by TonyB:
There are man aspects to learning to play a musical instrument. [/b]
Are there women aspects too? Most students, young and old, are very wasteful of their practice time so, I think I agree with you and Larisa re: potential.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#936181 - 12/14/08 10:08 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by TonyB:
I wonder how many people REALLY "have no aptitude whatsoever". As Larisa pointed out, music seems to be unique in how people regard it as requiring genius to even pursue it. It is one thing to say that if a person puts in enormous hours, they are guaranteed to overcome any lack of "genius" and become a world class musician, and quite another to say that a person who puts in the effort could enjoy playing the piano at some level.[/b]
Tony, I agree. And even those hypothetical people with zero aptitude—however few there may be—could find it an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. I don't think it can be overstated that it's the process, the journey, that matters.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#936182 - 12/14/08 10:15 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Learning is a satifying process in itself. My feeling is that by the time a serious student has put in enough hours to learn whether or not he actually has "talent," it will no longer matter. Lack of talent is I think most often an excuse given by those not willing to put in the time.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#936183 - 12/14/08 10:18 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
TonyB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 464
Loc: Twin Cities
Keyboardklutz and Steven:

Keyboardklutz: Sorry, that was a typo. I try to proof-read before hitting RET, but sometimes I don't see every mistake. Yes, practicing is not an easy thing to get right. One of things I like about Duane Shinn is that he has lots of information about how to practice his materials. For the self-learner, that is EXTREMELY important.

Steven: My wife has thought all her life that she was "tone deaf" because as a little kid, the music teacher tested everybody for tone deafness by having them identify the higher or lower note. My apparently misunderstood what she was to do and was forever therefore labeled "tone deaf". These sad stories are amazingly common. My experiences teaching adults and kids guitar has made this subject a matter of high interest for me. As Sudnow says, there are many "myths" about music, and these myths tend to prevent the average adult from ever pursuing playing an instrument, despite an interest in doing so.

Tony
_________________________
Roland V-Grand
Casio PX-5S
My blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#936184 - 12/14/08 10:26 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7417
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Gary wrote:
 Quote:
Let's examine the 10,000 hour idea, in this way.

If you practice 2.5 hours a day, average, 365 days a year for 11 years, you'll hit that number.

365*2.5*11 = 10037.5

I think that's enough time and effort for some people, maybe a lot of people, to play well enough to please themselves, and maybe quite a few people.

But I don't think it's enough to expect a career, performing in public. Not that much time alone, for the average person.
Regretfully, too many readers will assume 2.5 hours a day of piano playing is 2.5 hours a day of practicing, and then wonder, after 10,000 hours of playing the piano, why they are mediocre.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#936185 - 12/14/08 12:47 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by sophial:
However, there are some reasons I don’t buy the full argument that 10,000 hours is sufficient to turn anyone selected at random into a professional performing pianist.
[/b]
The studies certainly don't say this, so you are, in effect, only disagreeing with your own strawman.

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#936186 - 12/14/08 01:06 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by -Frycek:
Learning is a satifying process in itself. My feeling is that by the time a serious student has put in enough hours to learn whether or not he actually has "talent," it will no longer matter. Lack of talent is I think most often an excuse given by those not willing to put in the time. [/b]
Show me someone with lots of talent and I will show you someone who (also) put in lots and lots and lots of work when you weren't looking...

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#936187 - 12/14/08 01:10 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3489
Loc: US
Monica K. wrote: "I am not saying that 10,000 hours will make anybody into, say, a Horowitz. But I would argue that it would make anybody into a highly accomplished pianist capable of having a rewarding professional career."

Journey, I was responding to this statement of Monica's that it would make "anybody" into a professional pianist and as I said, I'm not sure I buy that based on evidence to date.

Also, if you read my post, I am not discounting at all the role that practice and years of focused hard work play in developing into an accomplished pianist -- what I'm not sure of is whether it is sufficient to that extent.

What is also clear is that we won't know how far we can get until we try.

Sophia

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#936188 - 12/14/08 01:14 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Which is not quite the same thing as becoming a professional concert pianist.

Monica also indicated she did not have access to the materials when writing. I can heartily recommend them as reading (and reflection) -- especially since they are based on real people, real lives and real habits.

Perhaps we can start a separate thread later for debate by those who have actually read and thought about the same research?

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#936189 - 12/14/08 01:30 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11846
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
]Show me someone with lots of talent and I will show you someone who (also) put in lots and lots and lots of work when you weren't looking...
Having observed first hand for a number of years, and then discussed when adulthood was reached:
- a quest for efficiency from the beginning, wryly translated as a philosophy of laziness, i.e. the best and easiest way to achieve something
- starting the endeavour with intent and purpose from the beginning: wish to acquire proficiency
- keen powers of observation
- perfect pitch even before training, i.e. natural
- good physical coordination
- ability to plan, organize, set goals, follow through, willingness to do so
- ability to separate the chaff from the wheat
- practicing that was sufficient and appropriate (not excessive for the sake of filling hours)
- discernment
- ability to deal with stress of pressure, balance out life, realism
- working with teachers and getting the main point (again, discernment)

There was a strong philosophy that ran *against* long practicing, and toward sufficient and efficient practicing in order to achieve what you are trying to reach with as little effort (time use, straining, tension) as possible. I saw this in the beginner who only practiced 15 minutes if that is what it took, and 5 hours at university level if that is what it took.

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#936190 - 12/14/08 01:40 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by theJourney:
Which is not quite the same thing as becoming a professional concert pianist.

Monica also indicated she did not have access to the materials when writing. I can heartily recommend them as reading (and reflection) -- especially since they are based on real people, real lives and real habits.

Perhaps we can start a separate thread later for debate by those who have actually read and thought about the same research? [/b]
Are we not real people with real lives and real habits?

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#936191 - 12/14/08 01:41 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Dunno. You look like a rainbow Cheshire cat from NY to me. \:D
I was referring to the earlier comment that studies are narrowly defined and therefore somehow not extrapolatable to the real world (where many would-be expert pianists spend lots of time hanging out on internet fora instead of practicing intently?)

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#936192 - 12/14/08 01:46 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
But if we judged people by their avatars, you would be a blank.
 Quote:
Originally posted by theJourney:
I was referring to the earlier comment that studies are narrowly defined and therefore somehow not extrapolatable to the real world (where many would-be expert pianists spend lots of time hanging out on internet fora instead of practicing intently?) [/b]
And could-be experts who are more endowed with indolence than talent.
 Quote:
Originally posted by theJourney:
Show me someone with lots of talent and I will show you someone who (also) put in lots and lots and lots of work when you weren't looking... [/b]
Except when they're lazy or unmotivated.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#936193 - 12/14/08 01:47 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
 Quote:
]Show me someone with lots of talent and I will show you someone who (also) put in lots and lots and lots of work when you weren't looking...
Having observed first hand for a number of years, and then discussed when adulthood was reached:
- a quest for efficiency from the beginning, wryly translated as a philosophy of laziness, i.e. the best and easiest way to achieve something
- starting the endeavour with intent and purpose from the beginning: wish to acquire proficiency
- keen powers of observation
- perfect pitch even before training, i.e. natural
- good physical coordination
- ability to plan, organize, set goals, follow through, willingness to do so
- ability to separate the chaff from the wheat
- practicing that was sufficient and appropriate (not excessive for the sake of filling hours)
- discernment
- ability to deal with stress of pressure, balance out life, realism
- working with teachers and getting the main point (again, discernment)

There was a strong philosophy that ran *against* long practicing, and toward sufficient and efficient practicing in order to achieve what you are trying to reach with as little effort (time use, straining, tension) as possible. I saw this in the beginner who only practiced 15 minutes if that is what it took, and 5 hours at university level if that is what it took. [/b]
How has that worked out for you?
In what field, domain or area of expertise are you generally considered by others to be an expert?

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#936194 - 12/14/08 01:54 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
But if we judged people by their avatars, you would be a blank.

Steven [/b]
Well, if you must judge others, it is more fair to start with a blank.

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#936195 - 12/14/08 02:04 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11846
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
How has that worked out for you?
In what field, domain or area of expertise are you generally considered by others to be an expert?
The young man in question went from beginner to successful entry into a music program at a top university within 5 years of having begun any music instructions at all, and under 3 years with the auditioned instrument.

That particular role model has only happened recently in a span of less than 10 years so it cannot apply to my particular pursuits that were carried out earlier. Why do you ask?

What I have listed include things that I have learned from and adopted when I found them more effective than whatever approaches I had before. This includes, but is not limited to, musical pursuits. I am still learning.

KS
addendum: I Saw "Adult beginner" and thought I was in the ABF. The question may still apply whether any of these attitudes or approaches might be considered effect ones by teachers.

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#936196 - 12/14/08 04:06 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
Larisa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larisa:
(note that Mozart was not considered particularly special in his time, either). [/b]
I agree Larisa's post is excellent, but I can't let her get away with this. Here is Haydn on Mozart:
 Quote:
"If only I could impress Mozart's inimitable works on the soul of every friend of music, and the souls of high personages in particular, as deeply, with the same musical understanding and with the same deep feeling, as I understand and feel them, the nations would vie with each other to possess such a jewel."
Or to Leopold:
 Quote:
Before God and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name: He has taste, and, furthermore, the most profound knowledge of composition
[/b]
Hmm, but is it fair to quote Leopold on this? He might be a bit biased. Haydn, sure. A good musician can always recognize another good musician.

But note that the Viennese public of the time was not terribly impressed. Mozart had to go all the way to Prague to get the kind of reception his operas deserved. In Vienna, he was one of many - perhaps, a talented composer, but hardly the object of worship that we view him as today.

LM

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#936197 - 12/14/08 04:29 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Mozart was one of the top names in the music world throughout Europe in the 1780's. I wouldn't call that 'not considered particularly special'.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#936198 - 12/14/08 05:06 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
Larisa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
 Quote:
Originally posted by TonyB:
In this thread, this post of Larisa's is the most down to earth and straightforward response on this subject area that I have yet seen. We as adult learners spend so much time with this baggage, that I strongly recommend we each print this quote and put on our respective music stands as adult learners regardless of the approach we are each choosing to take. Then we can leave this baggage behind and just enjoy the journey.

Tony [/b]
Except that the last paragraph is just the same shopworn "hard work will get you anywhere" bromide that people desperately need to believe in even if it sets them up for disappointment.

Even if you accept that "good" is a relative term, it's just not everyone's destiny to "get good" by dint of hours of effort alone if there is no aptitude whatsoever. But if you know "what you're good at and what you're bad at," you would probably know when you're spinning your wheels in vain pursuit of a hopeless cause, too.

Steven [/b]
Hmm. I still think that motivation will get you anywhere - and that no cause is truly hopeless. But I tend to be an optimist when it comes to music. And other things as well. It's always very satisfying to be proven right.

And what exactly is "no aptitude whatsoever"? As long as you can hear and distinguish sounds, you've got at least some musical aptitude already. As long as your fingers can move well enough to type, you've got some manual dexterity. Yeah, there are some disabilities that may limit you - and even so, some folks are not so limited. Here's an example:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=xhudXJepBAA

It's all about how much you want to play. If you really want it, you'll make it work for you. If you don't, well - no one to blame but yourself.

I took tae kwon do lessons for a while, when I was 24. I am very uncoordinated, and I was the worst student in the class (and all my fellow students were children and teenagers...) But I worked harder than any of my fellow students. It took me longer to progress through the colored belts, but I kept trying anyway. I am sure the whole class, and the teacher, were all laughing at me for being so slow - but I ignored it all. I just kept going. (until it became clear to me that I had to choose between piano and martial arts - but that's another story...)

In fact, I took that class exactly to see for myself what it was like to be the worst person in the class, and what it was like to have "no aptitude whatsoever." Academics had always been easy for me, and I was always near the top of the class; music, too. That martial arts class was the first time I encountered an activity for which I had no "aptitude". But all that my lack of "aptitude" meant was that it wasn't easy. It didn't mean I couldn't learn it. If my hands hadn't given out on me, I would be there still.

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#936199 - 12/14/08 05:15 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Minimal aptitude, then. Sorry for the unnecessary hyperbole.

You mention the manual dexterity of typing, but any number of people are never able to learn to type with proficiency. The same goes for swimming, driving a car with manual transmission, learning a foreign language and probably innumerable other skilled tasks. They will never "get good," even if they enjoy the process of trying immensely.

That's what I meant by "no aptitude whatsoever."

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#936200 - 12/14/08 06:43 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
Larisa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
Minimal aptitude, then. Sorry for the unnecessary hyperbole.

You mention the manual dexterity of typing, but any number of people are never able to learn to type with proficiency. The same goes for swimming, driving a car with manual transmission, learning a foreign language and probably innumerable other skilled tasks. They will never "get good," even if they enjoy the process of trying immensely.

That's what I meant by "no aptitude whatsoever."

Steven [/b]
Funny you should mention foreign languages. I came to the US at the age of 13 knowing no English. Everyone told me I was too old to achieve native-level proficiency. They were wrong.

My mother was 47 when we immigrated. "Everyone" (that same "everyone") told her she would never learn English well enough to teach. You guessed it - "everyone" was wrong. She is now retired from a long and satisfying teaching career; her English was just fine and her students understood her just fine.

Why did we learn English when others failed? We were both very motivated. I had to learn English because no one at my school spoke Russian. There were no ESL classes. It was sink-or-swim. I swam. My mother had to learn English because that was the only way she could teach. Again - no other choice, sink-or-swim.

It's all about motivation. If you really really want something, you'll make things work for you. But you have to be looking for ways to make things work for you - not excuses. If you look for excuses, you'll find any number of them. Excuses are easy to find.

And where are those people who can't learn to type with proficiency? Can we have a show of hands? Most people I know can type fairly well.

Actually, can I use a different example - how many of you live in the United States and cannot learn to drive? A show of hands, please? Driving is a complicated skill, you know. It requires a lot of aptitude and coordination. In many countries where cars are not so dominant, many people never learn to drive and consider it a complex sort of thing. So? Any untalented non-drivers here? Thought not.

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#936201 - 12/14/08 06:47 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1543
Loc: Danville, California
Larisa

Well said.

See my post above.

It's all about motivation.

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#936202 - 12/14/08 06:53 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Those bromides suggesting that anything is possible through work and motivation alone are right up there with "Everything happens for a reason," and "Things always turn out for the best." Like "You can do anything if you try hard enough," they are patently untrue though their palliative value is great.

There's a big difference between learning to do something and doing it with skill. You were the one saying anyone could "get good," Larisa, but everyone's not a good driver, a good typist or a good non-native speaker of English, after all.

Let's just agree to disagree.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#936203 - 12/14/08 08:10 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
Larisa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia
Steven, sure - let's agree to disagree. I do tend to be a bit of an optimist.

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