Am I being realistic?

Posted by: deadmen

Am I being realistic? - 10/07/06 09:20 PM

Im a senior in high school and for last year I was set on going to berklee to study guitar(I have already been accepted).....well some things happened that i wont go into detail about but basically I fell in love with the piano and decided to put my energy and time into it.Well basically is there enough time for me to get up to par to study at university level..about a year....i am ready to really give everything to it, I usually have about 9 hours a day i can practice on week days and weekends I will just practice all day....I took theory classes a while ago using a piano,pretty much every thing i had on guitar transfered to the piano pretty well so im not completely new.. im just looking for some motivation or a reality check...thanks for replys
Posted by: signa

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/07/06 10:12 PM

it's going to be tough for you. you have to see if you can get audition pieces done within one year. if you just started playing piano, i'm not sure you'd have enough time to accomplish that.
Posted by: Palindrome

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/07/06 10:48 PM

(1)It's surprising, at times, how much technique transfers over from one instrument to another.

(2)Don't practice so much you injure your hands. I think pianists may be more prone to this than other instrumentalists, but I've heard of acoustic string instrument players (e.g., David Grisman) being sidelined for a while with overuse problems.

(3)You might talk to the Berklee people about this.
Posted by: deadmen

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/07/06 11:30 PM

I already developed carpal tunnel a while ago from playing guitar too much but i got some accupuncture and do a stretching routine after every hour of playing so that got fixed up...also what should i be focusing on ......i have ALOTT of time to practice just dont know what to....
Posted by: virtuoso418

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 12:47 AM

berklee? or Berkeley in California?
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 01:19 AM

Piano at Berklee or somewhere else?
Posted by: deadmen

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 02:48 AM

Probably not at Berklee....I would like to gain some more expeirience before spending that kind of money,,,,could anyone recommend some decent schools that arent ridicoulously expensive???and that might actually accept me
Posted by: Requiem Aeternam

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 02:50 AM

Everyone likes to be optimistic and sugar coat things so as not to break any youngling's heart on here but allow me to be the sole voice of dissent then and tell you that NO are you not being anywhere near realistic although I suppose anything is possible. But from my own experience, I just don't see it being possible for you to become a advanced pianist in 1 years time.

However, give some more information, 1 years time do you mean that you plan to study as PIANO PERFORMANCE MAJOR in FALL OF 2007? Because that would PROBABLY mean (I'm assuming) that you would have to audition sometime in spring or at latest summer of 2007 which would mean you have far less than a year's time but rather only months. So tell us more about the situation, also depending upon the school and its standards in the music dept I think it might be possible to learn some pieces for an audition in a years time such as a Bach invention, a Mozart sonata movement, a chopin nocturne, etc all of these have relatively easy pieces that I just mentioned and can be learned by beginners but it depends like I said what the standard is of the music program you are attempting to apply to, obviously if it's a music conservatory you stand no chance whatsoever but if it's a normal liberal arts school or whatnot you may stand some chance I don't know for sure.
Posted by: Requiem Aeternam

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 02:55 AM

And if you are REALLY REALLY sure abuot this and have your heart set on it and truly think you can devote that ridiculous amount of time to practicing that you claim you can, then get immediately to your scales, all major and minor possibly get a piano teacher, get HANON or similar finger dexterity exercise book, and assuming you know how to read sheet music start working on some Clementi sonatinas, Bach invention in C major, Bach prelude in C major from wwell tempered clavier book 1, things of this nature, and in the time you're NOT practicing start reading piano theory books about technique and start asking as many questions as possible on pianoworld and posting multitudes of topics and make sure you practice everything super slow at first.
Posted by: deadmen

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 04:13 AM

My plan is to study at a relatively "lower" school for a year or so and transfer to a more prestigous school if I feel im good enough.....as for practicing I have no problem with disiplined practice for very long periods and I have already learned all my music theory from 4 years in my high school jazz band(which Is really helping).I really would like to learn ONLY Chopin as he is the reason for my craziness and swithing from guitar...
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 09:20 AM

Anything is possible, I guess, but ...

I think you are being totally unrealistic. If you are planning to be a piano major, do you really think that any school will find a spot for you among the (possibly) hundreds of applicants who have spent their young years practicing and playing the piano, and who have developed not only advanced technique but also familiarity with and the ability to play piano music of all periods?

Furthermore, you may have nine hours a day to practice, but every serious piano student knows that (practically) no one can practice efficiently for that length of time each day. You may have the physical stamina to put in nine hours a day - and risk serious injury doing so - but a lot of that time will be wasted time. I would hazard a guess that you don't really understand what time and effort are required to become a sufficiently good pianist to be accepted as a piano major at the university level.

You would undoubtedly have to display some level of technical achievement but also the ability to play Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern music as well. How do you hope to develop those requisites in less than a year, given that applications would have to be in by the winter of the year before you enter?

I'm with Requiem Aeternum on this one; I don't think you are being at all realistic.

That said: anything is possible, I guess, but ...

Regards,
Posted by: Boxer

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 09:41 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by deadmen:
I really would like to learn ONLY Chopin as he is the reason for my craziness and swithing from guitar... [/b]
No, you are not being realistic. Don't get false hope from the "anything is possible" comments. From a purely physical perspective you simply won't be good enough after only one year.

Your statement which I quoted above indicates that you are also not realistically mentally ready/committed to this. If you "only" want to learn Chopin, then being a piano major is probably not your calling.

My internet psychoanalytic powers tell me that you are an intense, passionate person who may be just a tad burnt out on guitar because you are overdoing it. You're already good enough on Guitar to matriculate to Berklee. So take a break, indulge your new interest and explore piano/Chopin. But not for 9 hours a day, though. Go make a few friends, go out on a date, live life a bit. Then in the Spring after a nice breather and battery recharge you can reevaluate whether guitar is something you want to continue with.
Posted by: pianoanne

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 09:49 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by deadmen:
I really would like to learn ONLY Chopin as he is the reason for my craziness and swithing from guitar... [/b]
Is this a serious comment? Have you taken a look at any school's audition requirements? No matter how small the school they will require an audition of contrasting styles. You will have to play a work by Bach, and at the minimum it will have to be a 2 part Invention. You will need the first movement of a Classical Sonata (Mozart, Beethoven or Haydn), and finally a Romantic work and there you can play Chopin.

I don't believe you really understand the committment it is to be a piano major in college. I would stick with guitar if I were you and try to find some Chopin Transcriptions to play on the Guitar, and maybe at Berkley you can get piano lessons as an elective. Berkley is a good school, I wouldn't give that up for some unrealistic dream that I perceive you are not all that serious about. (the only playing Chopin comment really sold this opinion for me).
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 10:30 AM

apianonne:

deadmean is not talking about Berkley, but about Berklee. I do wonder, however, if he really knows what he wants or where to get it, given the following (From Berklee's website) :

"Founded in 1945, Berklee College of Music is the world's largest independent music college and the premier institution for the study of contemporary music. The college's 3,800 students and 460 faculty members interact in an environment designed to provide the most complete learning experience possible, including all of the opportunities and challenges presented by a career in the contemporary music industry.

Using Berklee's extensive facilities, located in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, students develop musical competencies in such areas as composition, performance and recording/production , and also learn to make the informed business decisions necessary to career success.

Since the college's inception, one of its primary goals has been to foster international understanding through the medium of contemporary music. Young musicians come to Berklee from every corner of the earth to study music, and as a result, Berklee is a uniquely international college. Of all U.S. colleges and universities, Berklee has the largest percentage of undergraduate students from outside the U.S.—26 percent—representing more than 70 countries.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 10:37 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by deadmen:
[...] my craziness [...][/b]
I am not intending to be unkind, but this is probably the most rational thing you've said so far. You really need to wake up and take a serious reality check.

Regards,
Posted by: Requiem Aeternam

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 12:21 PM

roflmao excellent posts Bruce.

Deadmen you DO realize that for a college audition for piano performance you are required to play at the LEAST 4 different composers from 4 different eras and sometimes 5? That will mean you must play one BAROQUE work (i.e. Bach), one CLASSICAL work (i.e. Mozart or Beethoven), one ROMANTIC work (i.e. Chopin) and one MODERN work (i.e. Prokofiev, Barber, etc).
Posted by: BDB

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 12:32 PM

Start at Berklee in guitar, take all the piano courses you can, and see if you can transfer programs, if you still want to.
Posted by: Codetta

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 01:02 PM

I have to enter my opinion here, too. No, Requiem, you are not the only voice of dissent. I agree with you.

I went to a highly thought-of university and got my bachelor and masters degrees in piano performance. That being said: even though I was MORE THAN qualified (after having studied piano for 12 years - since the age of 6) I still had to work my tail off! And I came in there knowing all the major and minor scales plus the required repertoire from all 4 periods of music.

Deadman: just know that you will NOT be allowed to learn and focus only on Chopin. I hope you weren't serious when you said that. There's no school worth it's salt that would let you do that. If you're so enthralled with Chopin then by all means, find a qualified teacher and go for it.

Competition at music schools in this day and age is highly competitive - almost unrealistic at times. I talked a few weeks ago with a friend of mine who is highly involved with the music dept. at USC and the requirements for being accepted there are going to be upgraded - A LOT! This is just a sign of the times.

I like your enthusiasm but I think you need to have a reality check. Why not go to some student recitals at the local universities and see what is demanded? Then take a long, hard look at what you REALLY need to do.

(you can ALWAYS study Chopin without a degree)
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 01:23 PM

I just realized you have not yet told us what your level of playing is at the piano. Can you sight read music? Have you ever played a Beethoven sonata or a Bach prelude and Fugue? Do you know all of your scales and etudes?

I noticed you said "university level", which implies not a conservatoroy, but an acutal music dept. of a college. The problem with these types of questions - and they come up a lot here - is we are just sitting on the other side of the computer screen, we don't know your personality or your playing. From what it sounds like, I would say you have no chance of getting into a great CONSERVATORY this year, or probably the next few years. But if you do work hard, and depending on the level of your playing right now, which none of us actually know, I would dare say that it is quite possible that by next year, if you really work, you could prepare an audition program for a university music dept...and thus would complete your dream of studying piano at the university level.
Posted by: laney

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 06:13 PM

If you have lots of natural talent, organizational skills and the motivation, then you can switch to piano.

My recommendation would be to find a piano professor at any college (even a community college) near you. Take a few lessons and see how it goes. Any local prof could give you advice on schools.

You couldn't exclusively play Chopin as an undergrad, but you could probably become a Chopin specialist in grad school. It wouldn't be easy, but it's possible.

I had to pick between 2 instruments, and it was not easy. I could have majored in either, but ultimately I had to pick the one I couldn't live without. I still play the other for fun, though. There are many paths for you. Good luck finding the right one!
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 06:58 PM

Sure you can do it. I had a couple of classmates who were double majoring in music and pre-med and they were both Ab Fab...
Posted by: deadmen

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 08:14 PM

Thanks guys......Ill really try to evaluate my situation...but i really think im dead set on piano...guitar doesnt really do it for me anymore and it really never did I just was always good at it and gave alot of time to it always forcing myself to practice with no direction,with piano I have a clear vision of what I like and would want to acheive ...as for my Chopin comment , I am willing to learn any thing but chopin is just what I really want to focus on.....Would the requirements still be as high if I were to go to school to receive a double major??like studying Psychology or something else and Piano......because from what I have seen,even incredible virtuoso guitarists and pianists with degrees from the top schools have trouble paying the bills
Posted by: deadmen

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 08:15 PM

Thanks guys......Ill really try to evaluate my situation...but i really think im dead set on piano...guitar doesnt really do it for me anymore and it really never did I just was always good at it and gave alot of time to it always forcing myself to practice with no direction,with piano I have a clear vision of what I like and would want to acheive ...as for my Chopin comment , I am willing to learn any thing but chopin is just what I really want to focus on.....Would the requirements still be as high if I were to go to school to receive a double major??like studying Psychology or something else and Piano......because from what I have seen,even incredible virtuoso guitarists and pianists with degrees from the top schools have trouble paying the bills and having another degree besides music seems more realistic
Posted by: Requiem Aeternam

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 08:35 PM

p.s. for your info I too switched from guitar to piano though a bit after highschool and am now in my 4th year or so of playing piano and I don't even have the skills to get into most piano major programs yet so imagine where you'll be after only 1 year, then again my first 2 years or so I didn't train nearly as hard as you claim to be ready to though I did have the headstart of having played sax all my life in school bands (so I knew theory and how to read music) and guitar throughout highschool. I DO think it's possible to learn some of the easiest pieces from each category in one year, after all isn't there some guy on here now that's been playing for only a year and practicing insane amounts of hours per day and is already attempting the revolutionary etude and liszt pieces and whatnot. Then again I was playing moonlight 3 after only half a year of playing piano too and yet "playing" isn't exactly the right word to call it, more like ATTEMPTING, here I am almost 4 years later I still can't play the damn thing the way I want so go figure,
BUT like I said, I think it's possible to learn the easiest pieces from each category in a year.
For example, many beginners including myself have learned such things as fur elise before the first year of study was over, and Bach inventions etc, and many music programs will let you in if you are able to play such pieces decently.
So for example say you learn a Bach invention for the Baroque, a easier movement of Mozart sonata for the classical ( k. 545 1st mov or rondo alla turka etc..) then a easy Chopin nocturne for the romantic (opus 9 no 2 in Eb for example), all of these pieces are possible to be learned within the first year of study, and thus if you are able to play them decently perhaps you would stand a chance at SOME schools. Then, once you're actually in, being in the whole environment of seeing other players and teachers and learning from them perhaps/hopefully your technique and skills will improve much faster than they would someone else.
However I would possibly recommend you get a teacher ASAP but one with which you setup an IMMEDIATE understanding of what your goals are, because if you don't most likely the teacher will groom you strictly on fundamentals to the point where you may not learn many pieces at all in your first year or two, but if you find one that agrees to help you pass an audition perhaps he/she can focus his teaching in such a fashion as to expedite the process and help you learn those audition requirements ASAP.

However, as a disclaimer all of this is really hopeful and optimistic and the chances of learning even those easy beginner pieces all in a year's time to a adequate performance level are not that great but 1. you can try anyway or 2. you can start learning now and jus go to school for guitar for at least your first year or first semester and then easily switch over when you're ready by simply requesting a new audition (this is possible.)
Posted by: Eleven

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 10:41 PM

Mkay. Well, to tell the truth, you sound a lot like me. I have something called Asperger's Syndrome, which involves, in short, little to no social ability and obsessive interests. Sounds to me like you were quite obsessed with guitar, and suddenly you feel the same degree of obsession for piano practically overnight. You need to calm down, breathe, and get your priorities straight. Which are you going to choose--something you've been doing your whole life or something you've been doing for 4 years--child's play compared to most of us considering a major in music. I've been there. I have played piano since I was five years old, but one day, at age fifteen, I decided screw piano, I wanted to dance ballet. So for a year I was fascinated with ballet. It was my life. (Thanks to Asperger's, probably.) I lived, breathed, spoke, dreamt about ballet. A year or so ago, I finally realised that I had forgotten what had been important to me for over a decade--playing the piano. So now I'm back at the piano, winning competition after competition, playing pieces that beforehand I had not even dared to dream about playing. My thirst for piano is rekindled, and I'm happy.

Please don't make the same mistake I did...I wasted a year of my life on a phase, and I regret it deeply.
Posted by: deadmen

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 11:40 PM

I wouldnt see the ballet as a waste of your life...you learned something new and probably enjoyed it and you will probably take it up again at some point in your life.....anyways could someone get me started on how to really effectively practice???I bought Hanon and have fininshed up to the third exercise....should most of my time be dedicated to technique or repertoire or sight reading or something else?Basically in my situation what would you be doing
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/08/06 11:56 PM

[...]
 Quote:
anyways could someone get me started on how to really effectively practice???I bought Hanon and have fininshed up to the third exercise....should most of my time be dedicated to technique or repertoire or sight reading or something else?Basically in my situation what would you be doing [/b]
In your situation I would be seeking out a good teacher. You will waste a lot of time and possibly learn poor skills - you might very likely even learn some bad habits you might have to eventuallly break - if you don't have a good teacher.

If it's worth going for, it's worth going about it the right way. Get a good teacher; don't listen to those of us who may try to give you good advice, in spite of our best intentions. We can't see how you're learning; we can't see how you are playing; we can't see how you are progressing; we can't evaluate your needs and how to meet them. Only a good teacher can do that.
From what you have said, you don't have a lot of time to waste; invest whatever funds and focus you may have on getting a good teacher and learning properly from him/her.

Regards,
Posted by: Lee_Gato

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 01:10 AM

Hi deadmen,

I'm assuming you've been accepted as a Guitar major at Berklee, focusing on jazz and commercial music. Now it sounds like you want to start studying classical piano.

In all honesty, it will be an incredible amount of work to pull together enough repetoire to pass a college-level audition even in a couple of years. It would be impossible to gain acceptance to a conservatory, but possible a BA program at a state school. But even then, you will be at an incredible disadvantage compared to your peers.

I had a couple of college classmates (very talented and musical people) who switched to piano from other instruments and they both struggled mightily. One eventually dropped out, and the other finally graduated with a BA in piano perf after about 6 or 7 years. I think the piano faculty felt sorry for him.

I do know this: there are at least a few successful jazz pianists who I can think of who switched to piano from other instruments late in life. Marc Copland had a successful career as a sax player and then decided to switch to piano. George Colligan was a trumpet major at Peabody and then took up jazz piano after he got his degree. Both these guys are (near) top-flight jazz pianists, maybe not in the class of a Brad Mehldau, but no worse than a couple of rungs lower. I must add that both these guys are incredibly gifted and they beat some fairly serious odds to get where they are today.

However; as a far as classical pianists go, I cannot think of anyone of any sort of noterity who started piano after the age of 18-19.

Kind regards and best wishes,

Lee
Posted by: Van

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 02:56 AM

Cal sucks, go Stanford! lol, just fooling with ya, congratulations...I think the guitar kept me sane throughout college and law school, I don't think you're being realistic if you're hoping for a piano scholarship (just think of all the other kids who have trained from 3 years up on classical repetoire and you get the idea)...but don't give up on the piano, get a keyboard for your dorm room and noodle around in your spare time, it'll keep you sane and probably improve your guitar to boot, if nothing else you can always use it to tune your strings \:D
Posted by: swingal

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 02:57 AM

Hello deadmen,

I should carry on with Jazz and if Chopin is your only composer and you can read and play his music at all, I suggest you take a few lessons to get outside proof to yourself of your talent.

I would never dismiss enthusiasm as it is 90% of the importance of any art form.

Alan
Posted by: bukopaudan

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 08:27 PM

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!
Posted by: whippen boy

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 09:10 PM

 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).
Posted by: Van

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 09:18 PM

lol, sorry...ingrained reflex, thought it was a mispelling of berkeley \:\)

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

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 09:27 PM

 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.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 09:33 PM

 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. ;\)
Posted by: whippen boy

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 09:37 PM

BruceD, please go easy on Sid - Stanford fans sometimes need a bit more time to 'get with the program'. ;\)
Posted by: cerulean5

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 09:39 PM

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.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 09:47 PM

 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!
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/09/06 09:55 PM

 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.
Posted by: deadmen

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/10/06 12:30 AM

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
Posted by: Astra

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/10/06 03:25 PM

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?
Posted by: cerulean5

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/10/06 03:34 PM

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
Posted by: newbishly

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/11/06 01:23 AM

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
Posted by: pianoanne

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/11/06 11:03 AM

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.
Posted by: deadmen

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/12/06 12:08 AM

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
Posted by: cerulean5

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/12/06 04:22 PM

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
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/12/06 04:33 PM

 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.
Posted by: Contrapunctus

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/12/06 05:13 PM

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.
Posted by: newbishly

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/13/06 12:22 AM

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
Posted by: newbishly

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/13/06 12:43 AM

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?
Posted by: Contrapunctus

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/13/06 04:49 PM

 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.
Posted by: Requiem Aeternam

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/13/06 11:25 PM

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
Posted by: deadmen

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/15/06 12:00 AM

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?
Posted by: Requiem Aeternam

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/15/06 01:03 AM

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.
Posted by: btb

Re: Am I being realistic? - 10/15/06 06:02 AM

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!!