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#998024 - 11/13/08 05:53 PM New Member - Prodigal Pianist
Ayreonaut Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/10/08
Posts: 4
Loc: Richmond, VA
Hey Folks,

I discovered this forum while doing my homework concerning buying a piano. Thanks for all of your helpful posts! I looking forward to joining you in supporting one another.

I'm an American who grew up in South Korea, where my Dad was a missionary. My parents started me in piano lessons when I was 7. We didn't have a piano, but in Korea that's no hindrance since you practice at your teacher's house every day. After 50 minutes of practice you get a 10 minute lesson five times a week.

My piano teacher was a Korean lady who was educated in the US. I practiced and learned in her two bedroom apartment in which she had an upright in each bedroom and a grand in the living room. I studied there for one year.

The next year my Dad was on furlough in the US visiting his supporting churches. I attended a Christian school in Knoxville where piano lessons were an elective. The American piano teacher was somewhat upset that I had been playing piano for a year and had not learned to sight read very well at all. So for the second year of my piano lessons, I spent most of my time sight reading.

When I returned to my Korean piano teacher the following year, she had purchased a building and had at least ten pianos in it. I took lessons there from her for the next four years. But as time went by, her clientele grew so that I didn't receive very much lesson time any more.

The next year and a half my Dad was on furlough again, and I didn't take lessons or play much that year.

My last four years in Korea were my high school years. Thank God my parents were able to save up enough to buy a piano for our home. (Yamaha) But the bad news is that in high school I had three different teachers. The first was a professor of organ at a university and she said that I had a good touch, but thought it was a shame that I couldn't sight read hymns. So she set me on that course, but my level was far beneath her and she soon referred me to a Korean student of hers.

He wasn't with me for long before he concluded that my level was beneath him, so he referred me to a student of his. She wasn't much help. So I decided that I could do just as well on my own. My senior year I played without a teacher.

Then I went to college and stopped playing. I got married, went to work, had two kids. I didn't play at all for ten years.

A few years ago we bought a house and wanted a piano but had no extra money. We looked around and someone gave us one. It was an old monster upright with terrible action and was out of tune. I was unable to play classical music on it at all, but it was OK for banging out hymns. So I've actually improved somewhat at sight reading hymns and can sight read almost every hymn (with three or fewer flats or sharps in the key signature!)

But we recently have become able to buy a decent piano. I discovered this site and Larry Fine's book. I had no idea that buying a piano would involve haggling! We bought a new 49.5" upright May Berlin. It was delivered yesterday. I left work to be home when it arrived. I'm very happy to have a decent piano again.

I'm very determined to surpass the level at which I played before. I really should have been a better player after ten years of lessons, but my own lack of discipline as a child and the mixed nature of my piano education did not combine to make an excellent pianist of me.

As an adult, I'd like to do it right this time. I would appreciate your advice about finding a good teacher and developing an approach to practice so that I won't be wasting my time.

I read some of C.C. Chang's "Fundamentals of Piano Practice." I honestly don't know what to think. My Korean piano teachers taught me the traditional practice routine that Chang calls "all wrong." For problem passages I was told to play HS ten times and then HT ten times. My American teachers were very upset that I was taught to plan the same piece over and over again until memorized so that my sight reading skills were neglected. They wanted me to be able to sight read hymns etc. HT at tempo.

I'd like to be able to play more difficult classical music and be able to sight read hymns and beyond. Are two separate approaches required?

I'm very interested to hear your opinions. Actually the biggest question in my mind right now is ... Should I find a piano teacher, and how do I choose a good one?

P.S. My sons are both taking lessons now and my wife plays at church. Our piano should get a lot of use!

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#998025 - 11/13/08 06:27 PM Re: New Member - Prodigal Pianist
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Hi Ayreonaut--Welcome to the forums! I am sure you'll be able to learn to play very well.

I am an adult player, and I've been taking lessons again for seven years. I find it really helps me focus. Plus, my teacher has adult recitals twice a year, and I find that I love working toward a public performance as well as getting together for potluck dinner afterward. It has become a favorite event for my husband and me.

There are all sorts of approaches. I'm not a very good sight reader, so when things get hard, I memorize. I'd like to sightread better, but I prefer playing more difficult things and haven't put time into it. I would think hard about what I wanted to achieve, then go in that direction. You may do that for a few years, then switch gears to sightreading, fake books, jazz, or just stay on the same track. The important thing is to enjoy yourself, whatever that means to you. For me it's setting some goals and working toward them, but for others it's just spending time at the piano.

Four of us in the house play our piano (Yamaha U-3 we got used), and it is going all the time!

Nancy
_________________________

Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#998026 - 11/13/08 07:05 PM Re: New Member - Prodigal Pianist
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Imagine my surprise at seeing my screen name in the title of this thread! \:D My initial reaction was, "Hey, I'm not new!" \:\)

Welcome!
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#998027 - 11/13/08 07:27 PM Re: New Member - Prodigal Pianist
Ayreonaut Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/10/08
Posts: 4
Loc: Richmond, VA
Thanks Prodigal. I didn't mean to hijack your screen name! I guess prodigal must describe a lot of us who left off our childhood training and then returned to our senses.

Nancy, your point about motivation is a good one. I think that having a weekly lesson will help me stay focused as well as working toward a recital. I just need to find one that knows what they're talking about...

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#998028 - 11/14/08 02:56 PM Re: New Member - Prodigal Pianist
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
During all these years you've never played
anything but acoustic pianos, and so you
know no other type of piano. But during
this same time period there has been a revolution
in the piano world, and that revolution
is digital pianos. We are now living
in the Digital Piano Age, an era that
roughly parallels the personal computer
age. Today every home can have an
inexpensive, grand piano-like dp, like
every home can have an inexpensive pc
with the kind of computing power that
was once reserved for only research
labs.

So this is the first thing you need to
be aware of. It is natural for a player
with a classical background to be
dismissive of dp's as "not the real
thing." But dp's offer so many benefits
to players at all levels, that any
player today who is not taking advantage
of all they can offer him is missing
out big-time. You say you want to
improve on your previous experience
with the piano. Well, the way to do
that is with a dp.

Like many on this forum I'm an adult
restarter. I had yrs. of classical lessons
on acoustic pianos as a child, but then
quit for 20 yrs. When I restarted as
an adult, with high hopes of improving
on my previous experience with the piano,
I initially bought an acoustic piano.
But since 1989 I've been playing only
digitals, and they have enabled to
make unbelievable progress, progress
that would have been impossible on an
acoustic piano.

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#998029 - 11/14/08 05:10 PM Re: New Member - Prodigal Pianist
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ayreonaut:
Thanks Prodigal. I didn't mean to hijack your screen name! I guess prodigal must describe a lot of us who left off our childhood training and then returned to our senses.
[/b]
You didn't hijack anything...I was tickled to find that someone else thought of the phrase! Sometimes I wonder if people 'get it' (assuming they spend any time at all trying to decipher screen names)

It sure does describe us! \:D
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#998030 - 11/15/08 04:00 AM Re: New Member - Prodigal Pianist
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Welcome, Ayreonaut. Fascinating approach to learning in Korea. I posted it in the teacher's forum.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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