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#962790 - 04/08/04 09:27 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
I started at 37 six months ago. When I was younger I almost took a professional orchestral career on the clarinet - studying piano seriously I know why I decided not to. I should have been a pianist.

Presently playing some Bach Inventions and Chopin Preludes, working for a recital later this year. I'm having the absolute best time of my life.
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#962791 - 04/08/04 11:45 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
Dan M: How many hours a day do you get to practice? Do you think that your early exposure to music theory made you progress so quickly? I have been playing about 6 months and finished the Faber book about 2 months ago. Now my teacher and I just work on arranged pieces and try to add some parts of the real thing when I can. I am only able to get about 30-60 minutes/day if I'm lucky.
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#962792 - 04/09/04 05:50 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Hi JD,
Yes of course the knowledge I already have helps a lot. I could intuitively/automatically read music, had a good grounding in theory, was experienced in performance and interpretation, and had developed an ear (which continued to develop since then because of my love of music). But I think the greatest contributor to learning quickly is that music taught me how to learn.

The main thing I learned earlier was that practice time is sacred. I thought of it this way, I did a radio broadcast once in Europe for estimated 3 million people. That is a defining concert in a musicians life. But in fact, each concert is a defining moment that can't be repeated, the small ones and the big ones. These times are sacred, you must open yourself up to let the best music possible happen. The single largest contributor to that is your preparation.

So I realized that each single practice session that leads up to a concert (or any type of performance) must have this same care and consideration as the performance. There is no time to waste, the level of the skills you develop as a musician don't allow you to mindlessly practice, or make needless mistakes.

Another way to look at it is that you also have to practice musical 'mindfulness' and attention with the music you are learning, or you won't be able to call on that in performance.

So, I get up a 5AM every morning for two hours, because that is the only time my world is quiet. And I am the least distracted. I record each session on very high quality recording equipment, and I review it later. For each session I write a 'pratice plan' the day before, consisting of the routine and focus areas. I play very slowly, I aim to make as few mistakes as possible. I'll 'set' a passage in my mind before I touch the keyboard. It pays off.

That's the idea, but there are other techniques that aid this, such as making sure to build in fun and creativity (sight reading, some noodling, learning classical improv). Additionally, through hard lessons, I learned not to take a technical approach to learning music (piano in this case), but a musical approach. In other words, I do not take on a new work and think about how technically I'll manage to play this - those are details that will simply get worked out as needed. From start to finish I approach it as a audience member, which is a musical approach. I start by deciding the musical results I want, and then just quietly figure whatever is needed to realize that. It's not that the technical aspects are not important, it's just that they aren't the focus of the work.

Hope that helps ...

Dan

 Quote:
Originally posted by jdsher:
Dan M: How many hours a day do you get to practice? Do you think that your early exposure to music theory made you progress so quickly? I have been playing about 6 months and finished the Faber book about 2 months ago. Now my teacher and I just work on arranged pieces and try to add some parts of the real thing when I can. I am only able to get about 30-60 minutes/day if I'm lucky.
Jon [/b]
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#962793 - 04/09/04 05:53 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Jon,
I forgot to add, that 30-60 minutes per day is all you need, if you know how to use them. In two hours, I only get an hour, to an hour and a half of actual playing time. It's enough.

Dan
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

Top
#962794 - 04/09/04 11:48 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
jdsher Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 643
Loc: Plano, Texas
Dan M: Thank you so much for your thoughtful insights. During slow times at work I review my new pieces and do my "homework", which is a music theory workbook from my teacher. I also try to think about what I want to accomplish during my practice time. I've started timing how much I spend on warm up and scales (10 minutes) repetoire (30-40 minutes) and sight reading (10-20 minutes). I am curious about this broadcast you did.
"I did a radio broadcast once in Europe for estimated 3 million people."
What kind of music were you playing? Is this something that you recorded that perhaps we could hear?
Jon
_________________________
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein

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#962795 - 04/10/04 11:27 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
Hi Jon,
No unfortunately, it was a live broadcast after winning an orchestral competetion in vienna - no recording.

Dan
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#962796 - 04/16/04 07:41 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
young2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 4
I'm 32 and wanting to start piano lesson, but still looking for a piano. I can't decide to buy a decent quality (Chinese)piano with no re-sale value or a better quality (Japancese)piano that could be re-sale/trade-in later on.
What model/brand do you owned?

Anyway, it's great to have support from people. Today, I told my friend actually my neighbour about wanting to take piano lessons... and her remark was, "some people have talents......"

How discouraging that comment is....! Why, would I not be any good playing the piano?!

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#962797 - 04/16/04 02:51 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
johnc_brits Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Brits, South Africa
Young2

We have a documentary video on David Oistrakh. (Artist of the People)

Davids son Igor relates the story that his grandparents took David to a member of the orchestra for evaluation when he was a small boy. The member of the orchestra shook his head and said something like: “Definitely NOT music, he has NO talent”.

His parents did not take the advice, thankfully. He is my favorite violinist.

Richter said of Oistrakh :” What a violinist ! Such UNFORCED POWER”

JohnC
_________________________
Maestro Music South Africa
Representing: Bluthner, Grotrian, Haessler and Irmler

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#962798 - 05/03/04 12:27 AM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
millpond Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/04
Posts: 70
Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
This brings to mind the scenes of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day making up for lost time with one day's piano lessons over and over and over... Have you seen it?
_________________________
RMT (Ontario Registered Music Teachers Assoc.)

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#962799 - 05/12/04 10:20 PM Re: Starting lessons @ 39
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
1to1 - Congrats! I am 37 and just started lessons about 3 months ago. Wish I had done it sooner. Kids have fewer time pressures and may pick some things up quicker. But adults have a lifetime of listening to music to fall back on. My teacher mixes easy classical (Bach's Minuet in G, simplified Fur Elise) with some scales and Hanon exercises, with some standards (Moon River etc.) from a fake book to teach chords and so I feel I have accomplished something. My goal is to play some pieces on the Well Tempered Clavier, and some ragtime, and I'll probably get other goals as well.

Young - My opinion is to get the best piano your current budget allows. You will enjoy playing much more. I effortlessly increased my playing from 20-30 minutes a day on my digital keyboard, to well over an hour a day when I got a good real piano I like the sound of. (Piano search posted in the piano forum.)

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