25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher

Posted by: mattmorgan44

25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/05/13 08:39 AM

Hello everyone,

Finally I can post!

I am 25 years old and I have always loved the piano, but over the last year my passion for the piano has sky rocketed. I took piano lessons when I was young but only to the end of grade one. I loved piano but I was not interested in lessons or exams at that age.

Now I am extremely motivated to learn. Over the last month I have been practicing about 2-4 hours per day. However, I have not practiced any scales because I am afraid of forming bad habits or technique.

So, I am in need of a good teacher. I have been researching as much as I can but its hard to find recommendations for teachers. I am on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. I know it is unlikely I will get recommendations for my area but there's no harm in asking. So if there are any Aussies that know very good teachers on the Gold Coast, please let me know.

For everyone else, I would really appreciate any advice on anything I could do to find those exceptional teachers. I want to take my playing as far as I can. I am willing to work very hard and put in A LOT of time as I know it is not easy to achieve my desired level at my age.

Also, thanks to this forum I purchased a Roland RD700NX to practice on. An acoustic piano was not practical for where I am living. But I (nearly completely) love the RD (I think I will start a new thread some time to try fix that "nearly completely"). So thanks for those recommendations on the Roland smile

Thanks, Matt
Posted by: Goof

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/05/13 03:44 PM

I would not be too afraid of developing bad habits! If you are playing 2-4 hours a days and making headway you are doing fine! Also you can look on the internet for free lessons: I have found Jos Wright is about the best, many others talk too much and do not show their FINGERS !
Posted by: Starr Keys

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/05/13 05:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Goof
I would not too afraid of developing bad habits! If you are playing 2-4 hours a days and making headway you are doing fine! Also you can look on the internet for free lessons: I have found Jos Wright is about the best, many others talk too much and do not show their FINGERS !


+1. Thanks for the recommendation. I assume it's for Josh Wright smile

I also would suggest paying a visit to the music department of your local college and attending a class there if you can. I've heard several recommendations for teachers since I started doing that in January. I've also gotten the impression that most of the piano instructors at my college give private lessons.
Posted by: ElleC

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/05/13 06:03 PM

good luck with your search. i was just in that position a few months ago. i tried out 6 different teachers before i committed to 1! having a good teacher that you can develop a rapport with definitely helps with progress and keeping motivated.
Posted by: Goof

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/05/13 07:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Starr Keys
Originally Posted By: Goof
I would not too afraid of developing bad habits! If you are playing 2-4 hours a days and making headway you are doing fine! Also you can look on the internet for free lessons: I have found Jos Wright is about the best, many others talk too much and do not show their FINGERS !


+1. Thanks for the recommendation. I assume it's for Josh Wright smile

I also would suggest paying a visit to the music department of your local college and attending a class there if you can. I've heard several recommendations for teachers since I started doing that in January. I've also gotten the impression that most of the piano instructors at my college give private lessons.
Posted by: Goof

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/05/13 07:27 PM

Yep I looked again on Utube and the "site" is joshwright.
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/06/13 12:51 AM

Good luck!

If your going to get a teacher.... my advice would be to have some initial goals to work on short term, see how you get on for a few months and then assess your compatabilaty. I changed teacher after a few months. Felt bad about it at the time but it was the best thing i could have done. My new teacher nick took a few weeks to really gel with me... now he knows my passion, persistence and discipline, he is most enthusiastic and explaining things thouraghly.... but it did take a little while.... so give each teacher a few weeks/months imo.... one lesson is not enough time to assess each other.

Keep up the enthusiasmk, bare in mind it is a very long, rocky road but so worth it! :-)
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/06/13 03:42 PM

you should make a thread on the Piano Teachers forum for advice in finding a teacher near you here: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/forums/26/1/Piano%20Teachers%20Forum.html

and a thread about your problems with the RD-700NX in the Digital Pianos forum here: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...20&%20.html



you'll probably get more direct advice with your two questions in those respective sub-forums
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/08/13 03:20 AM

Thank you for your replies!

I went to a piano shop and spoke to a lady there (who was also a teacher) and she
had a list of names of over one hundred teachers in my smallish city! She gave me the names of four teachers that she highly recommended. So I checked each out as best I could on the Music Teachers Association website and have since contacted the one that seemed would be a good fit.

So I am over the moon that I finally have some direction smile smile

Unfortunately the teacher I contacted is so busy that she has no spots available and has a waiting list, but due to me being mature age and able to take lessons in the early afternoon, she says she can offer me a placement that would most likely start late May.

If the waiting list is any indication of her teaching ability I am definitely willing to wait to take lessons with her

I have asked, if she happens to have a cancellation in the mean time, if I could have an introductory lesson of sorts just to check my hand posture and technique etc so that I can at least practice scales every day without being worried of forming bad technique while I wait for lessons. Goof and Starr Keys you have eased my mind a little on that front but I'm still conscious of it.

I have been watching quite a lot on youtube and will definitely check out Josh Wright, thank you!

ElleC and UK Paul, thank you very much for the advice. I hadn't thought much about needing to change teachers. Reason being I didn't think I would be able to assess if a teacher is good or not, not having a lot of knowledge about proper technique myself. I am realising it would be important to have a good rapport with my teacher. Thank you

And thanks BobPickle I will post about the RD with your link.

Really appreciate your replies. Thanks
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/08/13 11:34 AM

Just because a piano teacher has a waiting list is no proof she's be the right teacher for you. My advice would be to have trial lessons with another couple of teachers right now.
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/09/13 04:06 AM

That may be true. Would you or anyone else kindly inform me how I could distinguish an okay teacher from an exceptional teacher without much experience myself?

I would be happy to trial some teachers as soon as possible. More than happy - I am dying to get into it! Not knowing how I would assess each teacher is what is stopping me.

Will I just know? From obvious cues like being easy to understand, clear direction, being passionate and connecting well with the teacher etc?

As I have said before I wouldn't know if I am being taught great technique because I obviously don't know good from great in that area that I am most concerned with

Thanks
Posted by: rnaple

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/09/13 04:36 AM

One suggestion. Look for a retired music teacher from school.
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/09/13 05:14 PM

Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
Not knowing how I would assess each teacher is what is stopping me.

Will I just know? From obvious cues like being easy to understand, clear direction, being passionate and connecting well with the teacher etc?



Matt, you are asking interesting questions here, about which there will be disagreement. My answer, as a piano teacher who specializes in adult learners, is that yes, you will just know. But only if you try out a few teachers, and very few students ever do this.

It's delicate, because after a positive first meeting with a teacher, usually both of you are ready to say yes to commencing regular lessons. And usually a teacher has not charged for this first meeting, so now she is going to be less than delighted if you suddenly say, "Thanks, but I need to try three other teachers before I get back to you."

My advice is to spend some time on the phone with each potential teacher, and don't go ahead with a studio meeting if you don't have a good feeling. But insist on a paid lesson, instead of a free audition, because then it's easier to walk away and simply thank the person for her time, and tell her this is a big decision for you, and you need to visit other teachers as well. If she is gracious and appreciative of what you are doing, she should get bonus points in your grading scheme.

One question you might ask a potential mentor is whether she has any experience in teaching adult learners and if so, what has she learned from it.

Good luck, and keep us posted!
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/10/13 02:55 AM

Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
That may be true. Would you or anyone else kindly inform me how I could distinguish an okay teacher from an exceptional teacher without much experience myself?


This is a very good question. I'd say trust your intuition (and possibly make notes of it after meeting different candidates to review later) during trial lessons with several teachers (I wish I did this as an adult beginner).

I'd recommend you look through this recent thread chock full of thoughts, advice, and great additional resources: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...Cho.html#UNREAD
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 01:18 AM

Hello again,

Firstly, thanks to everyone - your advice was very helpful. Bob thank you for that link I learned a thing or two there smile

Peter, you convinced me that trying multiple teachers until I find the right one is the right thing to do. With every teacher I contacted I made it clear that the first lesson would be a paid lesson.

So here's where I'm at.. I have been calling people, reading on line, talking to the teacher in the piano shop etc and narrowed my search down to 4 teachers that I really wanted to take a lesson with. I have contacted three of them so far and only one replied! And that one was the lady I mentioned in my second post who was recommended to me in person.

You may remember she was fully booked and wasn't able to take me for a couple of months. However, she had a cancellation and I was able to take my first lesson with her a couple of weeks ago.

As far as having a good report with a teacher, she was very very nice and we got along fine. But many of the concerns I had were realised in this lesson.

I think I mentioned this above - playing piano is what I want to do with the rest of my life. That includes obtaining work with my playing if I achieve a level that allows that. I know that I am very old to be getting serious about piano but I made it very clear to the teacher that I would do whatever it takes to achieve my goal. If it takes 4,5,10 hours of practise every day for the next decade I will do it. But even after all of our email exchanges discussing these things this teacher didn't seem to understand my goal. This was made clear when she strongly suggested following the "piano for leisure" program and exams rather than the traditional "pianoforte" program and exams because "it is less work load". And was also made clear when she assigned me very little 'homework' to do in the next 6 weeks before I see her again (probably working out to 5 minutes per day!). I asked for and was provided a little extra.

Now her not understanding or possibly not believing how serious I am about piano is a little frustrating but probably isn't a deal breaker if she is going to be amazing when it comes to my playing and guiding my technique. And this was what worries me most about the teacher. I played some pieces for her to get an idea where I am at and then she showed me some finger exercises and scales that she would play and I would copy. We did this for a little while and she would just keep saying "good, good" etc but not once mention my technique or any areas I need to focus on. Eventually I had to ask her "is my hand in the correct position""am I hitting the keys correctly" etc and she would always reply "your doing fine".

I can teach myself to play piano from books and the Internet. I can find the finger exercises, scales and all the theory to learn in my own time. I wanted a teacher to guide my playing and my technique and make sure I don't form any bad habits (among all the other benifits of taking formal lessons).

The lesson went for 1 1/4 hours and it followed this way. If I wanted to know if I was doing anything wrong, I had to ask. I asked if my chair was the right distance to the piano and she said "it's fine" but soon after said "actually, it should really be further back" and we moved it to the correct position. So if she wasn't going to correct a small issue such as the chair, I wonder if she will really correct or guide me when it comes to much more technical aspects of playing.

So I would really appreciate your thoughts on my experience and the teacher. Should I continue lessons with her and give her more time or look for another teacher? Am I being too pedantic? Should a teacher correct my technique or is there no 'correct' technique and that's why she didn't pay attention to it?

In short, would the best teachers pay close attention to detail or is that not how piano is taught these days? When I was very young, my teacher was VERY strict. If a single finger was not in the correct position she would correct it and make me start over. Maybe teaching methods have changed?

I am sorry for such a long post that may sound like a rant. I promise it's not a rant I am just desperate to make sure I chose the teacher that will best help me achieve my goal.

Thank you so much for your time and your help,

Matt
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 01:36 AM

Lol, welcome to my world.... dont be too hard on her...takes a few lessons to get going and i imagine most adult learners have high aspirations. Practicing ten hours a day wont make you a pianist. Patience ,dedication and corre t application will. If she is setting you a little work, then fill the rest of your time up with theory,sight reading and fake book practice.... plus your own pieces. Thats what i do anyway, and as much as i like my teacher... hes not perfect. I did change from my last one though due to being frustrated for your reasons pretty much... but i now have accepted that i do the leg work, every day... day in day out... out my teacher just guides me when i cant figure something out myself... youll need to be constantly self critical and regularly ask questions maybe... or raise your concerns.... give it a few weeks and then look for another teacher.


Adult learners fly in with so many expectations and enthusiasm, i certainly did...
Posted by: Whizbang

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 02:04 AM

Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
playing piano is what I want to do with the rest of my life. That includes obtaining work with my playing if I achieve a level that allows that. I know that I am very old to be getting serious about piano but I made it very clear to the teacher that I would do whatever it takes to achieve my goal. If it takes 4,5,10 hours of practise every day for the next decade I will do it.


Speaking with a couple more decades of experience than you--don't set yourself up like this.

Try piano. Enjoy piano. Work mindfully. If you end up viewing it as a duty, you may feel so resentful and/or so demoralized that you will despair and quit.

The trick to piano is not quitting.
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 02:35 AM

Thanks for your feedback guys. Sorry though because I think I have mislead with the part Whizbang quoted. It might sound like I am looking at practising hours on end as a means to an end. That is not the case whatsoever smile I love playing, I love practicing and at the moment I even love learning all the theory I can get my hands on. I know many people can relate to this as the honeymoon period and will warn me that it can end suddenly. And I'm sure it will be rocky, especially the theory wink But I am in a unique position with how my life has taken me to the piano - It would take me a whole thread to explain the reasons why I won't quit and will never stop playing but rest assured I am playing because I love every second of it. Also if I never work as a pianist I will not be disappointed at all.

Reading back on my post it seams I am focusing solely on the goal and not the process. That's only the case because this thread is about me finding a teacher that will help me achieve that goal. But I assure you enjoying playing is more important to me than any goal I have set for myself.

But I do have an idea of what I would like to be playing in the future. And I am aware that starting (much more seriously) at 25yo is very different to starting at 6yo, so I want to give myself the best opportunity I can to get there. So my questions still stand and I appreciate all the help smile
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 02:52 AM

My piano is my second girlfriend lol... that really does sum up the pleasure/pain ratio !
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 02:54 AM

Where are you by the way... members here on the forum may live near you and have reccomendations...
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 02:55 AM

Ps, i dabbled for eight years before seriously taking to it in october....


Never too late, im 32 :-)
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 02:57 AM

Paul I think I read a thread about your teacher and could relate quite a bit. If that was you? Including a video of you playing?

I might just copy you some time soon and post a video of me playing and it might ease my mind a bit, or make me aware of anything to work on.

Anyway I understand that practicing 10 hours a day won't make me a pianist. But surely someone doing dedicated practice 10 hours a day would get pretty far in the long run. At the moment I am spending about 4 hours per day at the piano. About 2/3 of the time it is usually what I would call focused practice. Whether it be scales or exercises or slowly learning a piece and not giving up on it (which takes a lot of patience!). And then 1/3 just messing around or trying to come up with my own music smile

I completely agree with what your saying about doing the leg work. I will and am learning everything I can on my own and will continue to do so if whoever my teacher ends up being doesn't supply enough work between lessons.

Edit: hey I'm on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It's in my first post smile
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 03:28 AM

Aah.. bit far from me so cant reccomend anyone personnally... i should pay more attention to the posts.

I dont think i put up a video... but i did start a thread o the very same issue.

I would love to be able to invest as much time as you can, and for sure the oppertunity for you to progress at a fast pace is available to you, fair play for investing so much of your day to your passion.

I remember a quote

"Talent and genius is very rarely born

It is dedication and correct application that others view as talent and genius.."

I guess the dedication is there for you, good luck, i do hope you can find a teacher to guide you in the correct application!
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 03:41 AM

Thanks for the kind words and I really appreciate your advice smile
Posted by: earlofmar

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 05:20 AM

mattmorgan44, I have only been playing for five months and had a teacher for four. I don’t have any previous piano experience so I am not an authority on the subject. I do however have a good understanding of how driven you appear to be and to be honest it could be anything we are talking about here (car racing, adventure sports, stamp collecting, lol).

Firstly I don’t think anyone would agree there is a right learning process, otherwise we would all choose that method. I do believe things have changed and teachers are not so rigorous about sitting right, finger positions etc. You only have to look at some great musicians who don’t fit the mould so to speak.

As driven as you are you are going to question everything and that’s not a bad thing, it’s your job to be alert. So I suspect you might be wary of even the best teacher.

Your teacher will spend a while sizing you up, how many students come in with the same story of wanting to be a great pianist only to give up a year or so in. You may have to give this one time, and you may get a better response when you start showing improvement she is able to monitor.

Your first teacher is not a union set in stone, you may improve beyond this teacher’s ability to teach and nurture your playing. When that time arrives you may decide to get a better teacher. I believe, (and I could be wrong), your first teacher does not need to be a great teacher just a good one and just as important your teacher should be someone you can talk with and exchange ideas. For ultimately as an adult the boundaries between teacher and student are less defined so the relationship is vitally important. I believe it is more of a collaborative team approach than a master and apprentice.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 05:42 AM

mattmorgan44, I have read your post, here:



Finally I can post!

I am 25 years old and I have always loved the piano, but over the last year my passion for the piano has sky rocketed. I took piano lessons when I was young but only to the end of grade one. I loved piano but I was not interested in lessons or exams at that age.

Now I am extremely motivated to learn. Over the last month I have been practicing about 2-4 hours per day. However, I have not practiced any scales because I am afraid of forming bad habits or technique.

So, I am in need of a good teacher. I have been researching as much as I can but its hard to find recommendations for teachers. I am on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. I know it is unlikely I will get recommendations for my area but there's no harm in asking. So if there are any Aussies that know very good teachers on the Gold Coast, please let me know.

For everyone else, I would really appreciate any advice on anything I could do to find those exceptional teachers. I want to take my playing as far as I can. I am willing to work very hard and put in A LOT of time as I know it is not easy to achieve my desired level at my age.

Also, thanks to this forum I purchased a Roland RD700NX to practice on. An acoustic piano was not practical for where I am living. But I (nearly completely) love the RD (I think I will start a new thread some time to try fix that "nearly completely"). So thanks for those recommendations on the Roland smile

_____________________________________________


I share your passion and love of playing the piano. The difference between you and I is that you are 25 and I am closer to 100.

People often try piano several times because things in life can interfer with the lesson and practice. But leaning the piano can be done serious at any age with or without a teacher. It is important to get a good teacher and you have come to the right place to get help in finding a good teacher.

Find a good teaching is like finding a good friend. You meet lots of people everyday in your life, but only a few people are the right kind of person to be your best friend. You learn who that person is over many weeks, months, and years as you get to know them better - because you learn that some of these people are nice, not nice, smart or not so smart or honest or not so honest. But that takes time and experience and I know that you know that.

When you are looking for a good music teacher to help you become a good, serious piano player, it takes time for you and the teacher to get to know you well enough to teach you all the things like good habits, good technique, and help correct your bad habits and your bad technique. In the same way that it takes time to learn about friends, it also takes time to learn about a student and for you to learn about a teacher. It can't be done in just 1 or 2 lessons.

As you have probably learned already, and remember from your childhood experience that learning anything including the piano is a very slow process taking a long time but doing the leaning part is done a little bit everday.

When you learned to ride a bike, it took you a while to learn how to balance and make sharp turns. You didn't learn that in one day but only after many days of riding a bike did you get better, bit by bit. Well, learning the piano is the same thing.

Hand position, technique, body position, chair position are critical in learning to play the piano, and you are right to be concerned with these matters as a serious piano student. But these things take time to learn bit by bit. If a teacher asked you to fix your hand position, and asked you to change your chair position, and ask you to change your technique in playing scales all within one half hour of your first lesson, you would be confused, like I would be with all these changes within a very, very, very short period of time, in addition to learning a piece of music. What I am trying to say is that the teacher can play the piano and the teacher knows what you have to learn and correct, but it takes a few lessons to get things fixed.

I love playing the piano. I live in shack in Canada away from people, so I can play the piano at anytime of the day and night, and I do, but it is important when learning to play the piano to practice different things for short periods of time.

So you can play 2 or 3 or 4 hours a day, if you wish, but you would not want to play a piece for several hours to make the piece sound good. Your brain is smart like you are, but your brain has to learn everything that you know, and to store it like a computer, but your brain is a slow learner, so you have to teach your brain new things like playing the piano or riding a bike very slowly. What I do is I practice a piece for 15 or 20 minutes and go for a short walk, or have something to eat, or have a nap or work on scales, or technique. Then I go back to the piece and practice the piece again. I do that so that my brain doesn't get tired, lazy, or confused. I like to be nice to my brain so that it will help me learn the piano.

I am sure that the people in this news group will help you find a good teacher and you will continue to learn and enjoying playing the piano. I have only been playing for a years, and I still love playing the piano everyday.



Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 09:28 AM

Thank you for your reply smile

Originally Posted By: earlofmar
Firstly I don’t think anyone would agree there is a right learning process, otherwise we would all choose that method. I do believe things have changed and teachers are not so rigorous about sitting right, finger positions etc. You only have to look at some great musicians who don’t fit the mould so to speak.


Thank you! This partly addresses my main question. If anyone can back this up I would appreciate it. I want to know if there is a correct technique and whether teachers should teach a technique at all or let students play how ever they want to.

Originally Posted By: earlofmar
As driven as you are you are going to question everything and that’s not a bad thing, it’s your job to be alert. So I suspect you might be wary of even the best teacher.


This relates to what we were talking about at the start of this thread. I probably would be wary of even the best teacher but only because I wouldn't know (s)he's the best. As a beginner, I can't tell the best from the worst, and that is how my questions arose. However, if the teacher critiqued me and advised me about where I could improve, I would probably be content. The teacher I saw didn't critique me at all, and always answered with "your doing fine". Thus my concern.

Originally Posted By: earlofmar
Your teacher will spend a while sizing you up, how many students come in with the same story of wanting to be a great pianist only to give up a year or so in. You may have to give this one time, and you may get a better response when you start showing improvement she is able to monitor.


May well be true. Although we did exchange emails for some time. But I will take that on board

Originally Posted By: earlofmar
Your first teacher is not a union set in stone, you may improve beyond this teacher’s ability to teach and nurture your playing. When that time arrives you may decide to get a better teacher.I believe, (and I could be wrong), your first teacher does not need to be a great teacher just a good oneand just as important your teacher should be someone you can talk with and exchange ideas. For ultimately as an adult the boundaries between teacher and student are less defined so the relationship is vitally important. I believe it is more of a collaborative team approach than a master and apprentice.


Well this is exactly what I want to know! In a hypothetical situation say there are two identical students (identical twins), both extremely motivated, both do countless hours of studying and practice in their own time.

Twin A goes to an average teacher (Joan) for their first year of learning piano through to an intermediate level and then switches to an amazing teacher (Beck) at an intermediate/advanced level onwards.
Twin B goes to Beck, the amazing teacher, from day one.

After 5 years, will there be a difference in their ability? At first it might seem like an obvious yes. But keep in mind they are seeing their respective teachers once a week for an hour and then spending 20-30 hours per week practicing/studying on their own.

The answer to this question would decide for me whether I should just stick it out with any teacher until I'm at an advanced level and look for that exceptional teacher over time, or, wait and find that exceptional teacher before starting my first lessons. Will the first year with a teacher have a significant affect on my playing and technique in 10 years time? I have heard many times that habits can be formed that are very hard to break, and that is the reason for my concern
Posted by: Ataru074

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 10:01 AM

Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44

After 5 years, will there be a difference in their ability? At first it might seem like an obvious yes. But keep in mind they are seeing their respective teachers once a week for an hour and then spending 20-30 hours per week practicing/studying on their own.
The answer to this question would decide for me whether I should just stick it out with any teacher until I'm at an advanced level and look for that exceptional teacher over time, or, wait and find that exceptional teacher before starting my first lessons. Will the first year with a teacher have a significant affect on my playing and technique in 10 years time? I have heard many times that habits can be formed that are very hard to break, and that is the reason for my concern


Be very careful with super-talented teachers. Teaching is different from playing and you want the right teacher for each stage of learning you might be.
The needs of a beginner are different from the needs of an advanced students... and a very gifted teacher that is working with excellent pupils at virtuoso level might not be a wise choice for a beginner or intermediate... remember, the absolute MASTER Liszt told to sloppy students to wash their dirty linens at home and even if they don't admit it, most "high end" teachers expect the same from you.

In general I prefer teacher that aren't super gifted.. their gift might allow them to don't struggle at all on issues I have, that also mean they will struggle to understand and "feel the pain"... but as you progress in your studies, and your foundation is built solid, you'll need more to enhance musicality and the tricky virtuoso technique...

Also, set back your expectations in terms of hour at the keyboard... music is not only pounding keys... if you have the luck of having 4 to 6 hours a day to dedicate to music, IMHO, especially at the beginning you should dedicate some time to solfege ( to build your inner rithm and enhance your note reading ) solfege transposition, aural training, listening as much music as you can, especially the one you don't know .. for example go here and listen anything is in the lists (and more later, but it's a good beginning for countless hours) http://www.classical.net/music/rep/top.php...
as general rule, you're training your body and your mind... so don't forget to dedicate also some of that time to your interior peace.. take a walk in the park, enjoy nature and her beauty... that is music too... think what would be the pastoral symphony if you never see a summer storm approaching or you never seen animals gathering at a pond for real.. not in a disney movie.

you might realistically need 1 1/2 hour of focused practice at the beginning... more and your brain won't receive it, more and you will get injured.... step up to couple of hours after 2/3 years... and build up to 3 after 5 years... at that level your body and your mind would be trained enough to endure 3 hours at the keyboard... spend the rest of the time living and having fun. you need to experience emotions, beauty and ugliness, joy and sorrow to be able to transmit it through the keyboard.... don't be an "engineer" of the keyboard.. be a musician.
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 04/30/13 10:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Michael_99
I share your passion and love of playing the piano. The difference between you and I is that you are 25 and I am closer to 100..............

...............When you are looking for a good music teacher to help you become a good, serious piano player, it takes time for you and the teacher to get to know you well enough to teach you all the things like good habits, good technique, and help correct your bad habits and your bad technique. In the same way that it takes time to learn about friends, it also takes time to learn about a student and for you to learn about a teacher. It can't be done in just 1 or 2 lessons.


Michael,

Thank you so much for taking the time to post and share your advice with me. There is a lot of wisdom here and none of it is falling on deaf ears smile

I will give my current teacher some time and put my concerns aside for a few lessons at least.


Originally Posted By: Michael_99
As you have probably learned already, and remember from your childhood experience that learning anything including the piano is a very slow process taking a long time but doing the leaning part is done a little bit everday.

Hand position, technique, body position, chair position are critical in learning to play the piano, and you are right to be concerned with these matters as a serious piano student. But these things take time to learn bit by bit. If a teacher asked you to fix your hand position, and asked you to change your chair position, and ask you to change your technique in playing scales all within one half hour of your first lesson, you would be confused, like I would be with all these changes within a very, very, very short period of time, in addition to learning a piece of music. What I am trying to say is that the teacher can play the piano and the teacher knows what you have to learn and correct, but it takes a few lessons to get things fixed.


Of course I understand that learning piano is a very slow process. Very very slow. And I do understand that to get good takes many many years developing muscle memory. I actually studied this at uni for some time.

I did however, hope that my teacher would address issues such as the chair distance, body position, hand position and even my technique to some extent in my first lesson. It worried me that none of those things were addressed. I never wanted to be taught technique from A-Z in the first lesson, but hoped a teacher would pay attention to detail and correct any bad technique before it is a bad habit. However now that I am getting some responses such as yours I am thinking I need to adjust my expectations and give the teacher a little more time to get settled in and get to know each other:)


Originally Posted By: Michael_99
I love playing the piano. I live in shack in Canada away from people, so I can play the piano at anytime of the day and night, and I do, but it is important when learning to play the piano to practice different things for short periods of time.

So you can play 2 or 3 or 4 hours a day, if you wish, but you would not want to play a piece for several hours to make the piece sound good. Your brain is smart like you are, but your brain has to learn everything that you know, and to store it like a computer, but your brain is a slow learner, so you have to teach your brain new things like playing the piano or riding a bike very slowly. What I do is I practice a piece for 15 or 20 minutes and go for a short walk, or have something to eat, or have a nap or work on scales, or technique. Then I go back to the piece and practice the piece again. I do that so that my brain doesn't get tired, lazy, or confused. I like to be nice to my brain so that it will help me learn the piano.

I am sure that the people in this news group will help you find a good teacher and you will continue to learn and enjoying playing the piano. I have only been playing for a years, and I still love playing the piano everyday.


You are lucky to be able to play as loud as you please! But seriously, thank you for that advice. I watched a youtube video about how your brain organizes, interprets, stores information etc things that you learn during the day. And that if you practice on piano a section of a song during the day, you will find that same section much easier the next day after a sleep. To my amazement I found this to be VERY true. I would struggle with a piece of music and practice it until I was ok at it and the next day I would notice a huge improvement. So what you are saying about practicing in fragments and taking breaks in between makes sense to me smile

Thank you
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 05/02/13 09:30 AM

Originally Posted By: Ataru074
Be very careful with super-talented teachers. Teaching is different from playing and you want the right teacher for each stage of learning you might be.
The needs of a beginner are different from the needs of an advanced students... and a very gifted teacher that is working with excellent pupils at virtuoso level might not be a wise choice for a beginner or intermediate... remember, the absolute MASTER Liszt told to sloppy students to wash their dirty linens at home and even if they don't admit it, most "high end" teachers expect the same from you.

In general I prefer teacher that aren't super gifted.. their gift might allow them to don't struggle at all on issues I have, that also mean they will struggle to understand and "feel the pain"... but as you progress in your studies, and your foundation is built solid, you'll need more to enhance musicality and the tricky virtuoso technique...


Thank you for your advice. I am happy to hear this because I am looking for reasons to stay with my current teacher. I like her and there are benefits such as her recitals and events are held at my local piano store (where I can meet like minded people) and other events that I would participate in if I stay with her. The other teacher that I have been trying to organise a trial lesson with was a concert pianist and is incredibly talanted and accomplished, so if you are right I can feel a little easier about not pursuing lessons with him at this stage.

What I have been worried about all along and mentioned numerous times is forming a technique that can't be changed later once I am at an advanced level. Because of the power of muscle memory. But from some of your responses I am assuming you can change your technique later on if necessary. I posted because I have the benefit of asking you guys before forming my technique and habits. If learning from the concert pianist from day 1 would benefit me I would pursue that. If not, I won't.


Originally Posted By: Ataru074
Also, set back your expectations in terms of hour at the keyboard... music is not only pounding keys... if you have the luck of having 4 to 6 hours a day to dedicate to music, IMHO, especially at the beginning you should dedicate some time to solfege ( to build your inner rithm and enhance your note reading ) solfege transposition, aural training, listening as much music as you can, especially the one you don't know .. for example go here and listen anything is in the lists (and more later, but it's a good beginning for countless hours) http://www.classical.net/music/rep/top.php...
as general rule, you're training your body and your mind... so don't forget to dedicate also some of that time to your interior peace.. take a walk in the park, enjoy nature and her beauty... that is music too... think what would be the pastoral symphony if you never see a summer storm approaching or you never seen animals gathering at a pond for real.. not in a disney movie.

you might realistically need 1 1/2 hour of focused practice at the beginning... more and your brain won't receive it, more and you will get injured.... step up to couple of hours after 2/3 years... and build up to 3 after 5 years... at that level your body and your mind would be trained enough to endure 3 hours at the keyboard... spend the rest of the time living and having fun. you need to experience emotions, beauty and ugliness, joy and sorrow to be able to transmit it through the keyboard.... don't be an "engineer" of the keyboard.. be a musician.


1 1/2 hours of practise per day at this stage would be torture for me! Maybe I need to explain my situation a little better but that is a long story. I don't only have 4-6 hours per day to spend pursuing piano; I have 14 hours (allowing 8 hours for sleep). But don't call me a lucky #*%* too soon wink I am unable to work a normal job now after a serious injury quite a few years back. Piano has saved me in a way. I am incredibly passionate about it and I am going to spend my life enjoying playing and developing my playing to the absolute best of my ability. And that is why I am here for advice on the best way to spend all of that time and the pathways I should consider.

Your advice in the quote above still stands, I just hope the 1 1/2 hours of practise before my brain won't receive any more is an underestimate. I could never be an "engineer" of the keyboard. Reading: "music isn't just pounding on keys" made me a little angry for a second but only because on forums people don't know each other (well newbs at least). I have been through a lot in my relatively short life and I really feel I can express myself on the piano. One of my biggest goals in playing piano is to be able to play in a way that lets other people feel the powerful emotion I feel when I play.
Originally Posted By: Ataru074
you need to experience emotions, beauty and ugliness, joy and sorrow to be able to transmit it through the keyboard.... don't be an "engineer" of the keyboard.. be a musician.
Forunately/Unfortunately I am covered on this front. Well and truly :(:)

This might all sound very cocky or naive. I hope not. I sincerely want advice on my pathway to becoming the best pianist I can. So if you were 25yo and now have and want to spend approx 10-12 hours per day on piano (theory and prac), what would your steps be?

Originally Posted By: Ataru074
"solfege transposition, aural training, listening as much music as you can"


Thank you very much. I have and will continue to do these things. I have not heard the term "solfege" and will look it up straight after I hit post. Now that you know a little more about my situation would I be best spending more than 1 1/2 hours per day actually on the piano? Will more time in a day really go to waste? Whatever time isn't on the piano will be spent doing the things in the quote above along with theory, history, and reading sheet music. And if anyone has any other suggestions or comments on my pursuit I would love to hear them smile

Thanks you smile
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 05/02/13 10:10 AM

Hi MattMorgan44,

There are many activities that a person can do away from the piano. I took a free music appreciation course:

http://oyc.yale.edu/music/musi-112

There are free YouTube videos, and paid recordings to listen to. Free and paid sheet music to look over and perhaps study. There are books to read.

I can say that two hours a day was too much for me in the beginning because I came to piano with repetitive stress problems. Two hours a day made it much worse, and I had to take a break. There are some other forum beginners that have thrown themselves into piano with many hours a day (four, six, eight, more?), and some have done well.

The other comments about taking care of the body, with proper diet, exercise, sleep, down time, other activities are also important. Some do okay with piano immersion, but some get injured, some burn out quickly. Take breaks. Most like to do 20 minute to 30 minute segments. Listen to the body, if the hands, wrists, shoulders, neck complain, take a break. If the problems persist take a few days off.
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 05/04/13 08:33 AM

Sand Tiger,

Thank you so much for this advice.

I will DEFINITELY look at the yale music appreciation course!

I have been watching a lot of youtube and have downloaded and even paid for a few pieces of sheet music to try out.

Thanks for commenting on the number of hours spent at the piano. I have started a new thread in relation to this. I am happy to hear that some people have done many hours per day successfully, but I am much more aware now that I need to be careful wink and segments is a good idea.

Thanks for all the advice, Matt
Posted by: Enthusiast

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 05/04/13 04:59 PM

Originally Posted By: mattmorgan44
Also, thanks to this forum I purchased a Roland RD700NX to practice on. An acoustic piano was not practical for where I am living. But I (nearly completely) love the RD (I think I will start a new thread some time to try fix that "nearly completely"). So thanks for those recommendations on the Roland smile

Thanks, Matt


Out of interest how did you decide on the RD700NX? I'm also just starting out and am in a similar position where an acoustic would be impractical so am looking for a suitable digital to learn on. How's that model working out for you and what are teachers usually like when it comes to teaching someone on a digital?

I also started the violin last year and when selecting a teacher decided I would try out a few before deciding who to commit to. I found they emphasized different things and picked on different aspects of my playing which I actually benefited from. There were many to pick from in the many directories I found for my area. A google search ought to turn up a list you can research then just have some trial lessons with several.
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 05/04/13 11:25 PM

Hi Enthusiast,

I decided on the RD700NX after reading many posts here and other forums, and watching many, many reviews and demos on youtube. I research my purchases to death lol.

I was considering mainly the RD700 and the Yamaha CP5, but I was also interested in the digital uprights from Roland and Yamaha. Such as the Roland HP-505, HP-507 and LX-15. And Yamahas range of digital uprights (I think the range is called CLP). And I also considered the Yamaha Motif XF-8, the Roland Jupiter and the Kronos.

My main factor to consider while choosing was the action. How realistic the feel of these digital pianos are compared to an acoustic piano. Reason being, I won't need to perform with the instrument for a long time, so the feel of the keybed was much more important than the sound it produced. My thinking was that the closer to an acoustic the action is, the better my technique will be able to develop and become. And that is all I cared about for this purchase.

So in all my research, in all the posts and comparisons between the models, the RD700NX was said to have the closest action to "the real thing". I don't think I heard a single argument to the contrary. And it is very good. I am very happy with it.

I played quite a few instruments - most of the Roland line including the V-Piano and the big V Grand and quite a few acoustic pianos (just to compare). My opinion is that Roland's digital pianos like the RD-700 have a similar feel to some very expensive grand pianos. The cheaper acoustic pianos ($7-25,000) felt VERY different (I didn't like the feel at all but I think I would get used to it when I eventually get an acoustic).

The Motif, Jupiter and Kronos were ruled out because they are workstations and you pay for the incredible features of a workstation. The RD700 and CP-5 are dedicated stage pianos. You don't get nearly as many features but they are designed solely to feel and sound like a grand piano. I didn't get a chance to play the CP-5 but I was content that I would chose the RD700 anyway due to what I have read. I believe the CP-5 has an equally weighted action which for me would probably rule it out alone. I also read that it has shallow key depth, but that is also second hand information.

I suggest you play these instruments for yourself and see what you like the feel of. The Roland keys are heavy. I actually tested them using USA coins as weights (left over from a holiday there). The weight required to depress the keys at all was 53 grams at the top and 62 grams at the bottom. At middle C, 45grams is considered light, ~50 grams is considered normal, and 55grams a bit heavy (according to what I found online - please verify). So according to this scale that I found online my RD700 has heavy to very heavy keys. A lot of people believe learning on slightly heavier keys will make you a better piano player. But many many hours on heavy keys can lead to problems. I am no expert on key weight. These are just things I was curious about and read up on.

Finally, I had a problem getting a sound I really liked out of the RD700NX. I tried so hard for days to adjust settings and even downloaded software pianos (hooking the RD700 up to my laptop and using the computer software to play different piano sounds - sounds recorded from real grand pianos). I tried 3 different quality headphones but nothing worked. It sounded muddy or muted. A bit hard to explain. I went back to the shop and talked about it and jaws dropped- I felt like they were going to shoot me for saying that about the RD700 lol. I had already decided that I wanted to change it for the LX-15 upright. They were very very good about it and were happy to exchange it but wanted to send someone out to look at it first. Well I agreed but I listened to and played the LX-15 and HP-507 (HP-507 is cheaper but still more expensive than the RD700) and I was sold on the HP-507. To my ear and the piano teachers ear, the HP-507 sounded as good as the LX-15. I bought the HP-507 and was to decide whether or not to keep the RD700 after someone came to look at it. Btw, the shop owner said that the HP-507 was a "toy" compared to the RD700. But I absolutely disagree!

The person that came and looked at the RD700 wasn't hearing what I was hearing. He made some very small adjustments but to his ear it was fine so there wasn't much he could do. I kept the RD700 anyway because I got it for a price I could sell it for and not take a loss at all, and I figured it HAS to be able to produce the same sound that the HP-507 makes. Well to this day, with headphones on I still think the standard HP-507 concert grand sound sounds much better than the best sound I can get out of the RD700 so far. But here is the weirdest part. I finally got around to recording myself on the RD700 and playing it on the computer and it sounds AMAZING. As good as I could ever hope for. So the problem lies somewhere in the sound getting to the headphones. Not what the RD700 is actually able to produce. Of course this is only a consideration if you plan to use headphones (which most people looking for a digital piano do). Also, it is quite likely that the problem is just my taste and the sound is perfect to most other people. So don't be discouraged at all until you hear it for yourself. There is a good chance you will love it and it is just me that had trouble with the sound.

My advice to you would be to play as many stage pianos as you can. Take headphones with you. Play for as long as you can on each of your narrowed down choices. If you like the sound of the RD700NX and the price is in budget, I HIGHLY recommend it. If you don't need the portability and have the budget for the HP-507, I recommend that over the RD700. I'm sure many people would disagree with me and prefer the RD700. Also consider that if you plan to play your music to anyone you will need speakers for the RD-700, which can be costly for quality monitors. The HP-507 obviously has them built into the piano (and it mimics an acoustic). So factor that in the cost as well as needing a stand and possibly peddles (if you want all 3 - which makes the sustain peddle really stable as well) for the RD700.

IMO the RD700NX is the best current choice for someone wanting to learn piano on a digital stage piano. It is EXCELLENT. The PHA-III ivory feel keys are superb and the best I have ever felt on any digital piano. The action is equally excellent and was the deciding factor for me. Still check out the HP-507 if you can smile btw, the HP-507 takes up less space than my RD700 because of the stand that was made for the RD700 (but you can get smaller stands).

This is a very long winded post. Sorry about that but I hope it helps you a little smile

Matt

Ps. The only thing I regret, because I ended up spending so much money anyway, was not checking out the Yamaha Avant Grand N series digital pianos. I think they are VERY expensive. But if your budget allows maybe check them out too.

I should also have mentioned the Roland FP-7F. This is another digital piano you should consider. I believe it is very similar to the RD700NX but has a much lower price tag. I think it's exceptionally good value and it is very highly regarded on these forums. It has the same PHA-III ivory feel keys with escapement! and it has an excellent built in stand that makes it a really neat package taking up less floor real estate. With this stand there are no cross bars for your knees and legs to hit - i learned about those stands the hard way. Yu could spend the savings on some seriously good speakers and many other things you may want when you start playing (one example.. the software available for these pianos is incredible) Definitely check out the FP-7F smile FP-7F - Click Here!!
Posted by: keystring

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 05/05/13 09:39 AM

Coming into this late, but "as promised" in the video thread. smile

In reading this I see you had a number of interviews with this new teacher that you started with, and you say that the lesson was as if you had not talked at all. I gather that you talked about your goals, which are expressed as wanting to become a serious pianist who will before on some level. What I did NOT see at all was what your new teacher's goals are. During the e-mails, did she discuss her goals for students in general, her values and priorities in teaching, or in music? You may not have asked her. A secondary thing would move beyond general, what she might see for you (sight unseen), and here we get into the tricky territory of adult students (which a teacher might want to avoid).

This teacher is so popular that you had a waiting list of a month. What is she popular for? What kind of teaching does she represent? I.e. she could be a brilliant performer so everyone wants to study with her in the hopes that they / their kids will become brilliant. Or her students get good grades in exams, or a lot of her students enter competitions and win or get high scores. Or she's "fun" (though I don't think you'd go for that part.). Do you have some sense of what kind of teaching or values are there?

In other words - I have no sense of what kinds of goals this teacher has, coming from your initial interview. Your goals are clear.

The first lesson would be an assessment. Regardless of your stated goals, the teacher has to see how you play, how you approach things, and then over a few lessons she would have an idea of what to do with you. So in that regard, the lesson makes sense. However, the "Piano for Leisure" suggestion definitely does not! That makes me think that she made up her mind about you before you ever came in, simply based on your age. In regards to the scales and finger exercises, the question is - why were they assigned? When you were assigned these things, did she tell you how she wanted you to play them, what to pay attention to, or anything of that nature?

In terms of stating goals, I think that teachers are leery of students saying they want to be professional pianists or any kind of "be". If you state that you want to work seriously, get the skills and knowledge needed for good piano playing, and will do what is required, this gives you the same thing, but it's taken more seriously. Even so, teachers have negative experiences. If they give something that seems "babyish" the student may rebel. If they give a certain way of doing things, the student may have his own ideas. Or there is enthusiasm for a couple of months and then the student is gone. That's the kind of thing that they see too often, and being burned a couple of times, they're cautious.

It's a really tricky thing to find a teacher who will take you seriously and knows how to guide you, and sometimes trickier to get that teacher to give you a chance. If you do get that teacher, you have to follow through consistently to gain their trust that you will follow through.
Posted by: Enthusiast

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 05/05/13 01:05 PM

Hi Matt thanks for that detailed post, it was actually very interesting to read. Did you ever try or consider the Kwai MP10?

I'm having a bit of a headache choosing as I not only want good authentic keys but also good features and for it to be portable. The fact that I have little experience of playing pianos (only played keyboard for a year when I was 12) makes it more difficult for me to judge. I wouldn't want a teacher to come over and then tell me my Digital wouldn't be suitable for long.

I think Roland's FP7F has been succeeded by the FP-80 which is one I'm seriously considering alongside Kwai's ES7 among others.
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 05/06/13 10:43 AM

Hi keystring, Thanks again for the advice. I am going to have to keep my answers somewhat brief. I know I have a long private message of yours to respond to so will elaborate there.

Originally Posted By: keystring
Coming into this late, but "as promised" in the video thread. smile

In reading this I see you had a number of interviews with this new teacher that you started with, and you say that the lesson was as if you had not talked at all. I gather that you talked about your goals, which are expressed as wanting to become serious pianist who will before on some level. What I did NOT see at all was what your new teacher's goals are. During the e-mails, did she discuss her goals for students in general, her values and priorities in teaching, or in music? You may not have asked her. A secondary thing would move beyond general, what she might see for you (sight unseen), and here we get into the tricky territory of adult students (which a teacher might want to avoid).


Well this is right on target. I am going to take much of the above advice as a to do list seeing as I am staying with the teacher for the time being. I certainly talked about my goals to a reasonable extent but I probably should have been more direct about them. I definitely expressed my desire to be very serious about pursuing piano. Regarding my teachers goals, for her students in general or otherwise, values and priorities etc. and what she sees for me. I didn't really ask about these things because I wouldn't have thought it was the right time (I was going to say not appropriate but its not the word I'm after). like I said, to do list. I think this is excellent advice and a good way to clear things up with her and either get things on track, or know for sure she is not the right teacher for me.

Quote:
This teacher is so popular that you had a waiting list of a month. What is she popular for? What kind of teaching does she represent? I.e. she could be a brilliant performer so everyone wants to study with her in the hopes that they / their kids will become brilliant. Or her students get good grades in exams, or a lot of her students enter competitions and win or get high scores. Or she's "fun" (though I don't think you'd go for that part.). Do you have some sense of what kind of teaching or values are there?

In other words - I have no sense of what kinds of goals this teacher has, coming from your initial interview. Your goals are clear.


Well I don't know the reasons exactly. What I do know is she is very attractive on paper. She has numerous qualifications, many many letters after her name lol. She seems very nice. I believe her students get very good (not exceptional) grades and finally I think she is quite well connected in the local piano scene which probably accounts for a lot of her work (which is also a great benefit for any of her students including me).

I may not know her values but I guess I do have a sense of her kind of teaching. I think she is the kind of teacher that wants her students to have fun. That is fine. But I think she is the kind of teacher that wants her students to just have fun. As long as they are having fun, not much more is important. So this lies hand in hand with her not actually having goals for me as a student. She commented many many times that at my age I just need to play for fun and not be too goal oriented. Well that didn't sit right with me considering our email exchanges and my ambitions. I think this is one of the main reasons for my concern and if I had of brought it up in other posts it might have prevented some back lash.

Quote:
The first lesson would be an assessment. Regardless of your stated goals, the teacher has to see how you play, how you approach things, and then over a few lessons she would have an idea of what to do with you. So in that regard, the lesson makes sense. However, the "Piano for Leisure" suggestion definitely does not! That makes me think that she made up her mind about you before you ever came in, simply based on your age. In regards to the scales and finger exercises, the question is - why were they assigned? When you were assigned these things, did she tell you how she wanted you to play them, what to pay attention to, or anything of that nature?


I assumed the scales and exercises were just normal first lesson type stuff. She played and I copied, she commented "good" "fine" etc. I was quite happy doing this really.

Agreed. Yes the first lesson is an assessment, but after so many things adding up, the piano for leisure was like the final straw - it was at the end of the lesson. We had discussed how much time I have and want to spend pursuing piano. Her reasoning for the piano for leisure over traditional piano forte was quote "it's less work load".

Quote:
In terms of stating goals, I think that teachers are leery of students saying they want to be professional pianists or any kind of "be". If you state that you want to work seriously, get the skills and knowledge needed for good piano playing, and will do what is required, this gives you the same thing, but it's taken more seriously. Even so, teachers have negative experiences. If they give something that seems "babyish" the student may rebel. If they give a certain way of doing things, the student may have his own ideas. Or there is enthusiasm for a couple of months and then the student is gone. That's the kind of thing that they see too often, and being burned a couple of times, they're cautious.


I did word my emails carefully as I am aware of teachers having those negative experiences. If I remember correctly, I included in the emails that I would call myself a beginner but have been practicing quite a bit in recent weeks to months. That I had taken a little over a year of lessons when i was very young but wasn't interested in exams at that age. That my passion for piano has sky rocketed over the last year and my circumstances have changed to where I can dedicate as much time as necessary to develop my playing (to the best of my ability). In brackets because I can't remember exactly. I may have shot myself in the foot with a "dedicate my life to piano" line lol. But it was/is true and I did explain what I meant by that. There was no "how quickly can you make me a professional pianist" or "I want to be a concert pianist in 10 years" at least wink

Quote:
It's a really tricky thing to find a teacher who will take you seriously and knows how to guide you, and sometimes trickier to get that teacher to give you a chance. If you do get that teacher, you have to follow through consistently to gain their trust that you will follow through.


Agreed. Thank you for all the advice I really appreciate it. So much for keeping it brief!
Posted by: mattmorgan44

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 05/06/13 10:56 AM

Originally Posted By: Enthusiast
Hi Matt thanks for that detailed post, it was actually very interesting to read. Did you ever try or consider the Kwai MP10?

I'm having a bit of a headache choosing as I not only want good authentic keys but also good features and for it to be portable. The fact that I have little experience of playing pianos (only played keyboard for a year when I was 12) makes it more difficult for me to judge. I wouldn't want a teacher to come over and then tell me my Digital wouldn't be suitable for long.

I think Roland's FP7F has been succeeded by the FP-80 which is one I'm seriously considering alongside Kwai's ES7 among others.


No worries I'm glad to help. Unfortunately I did not try any of the Kwai's so I can't help you there. I only know that the Roland, if it has a similar action to the RD700, which i believe it is VERY similar, is really excellent.

There are some teachers out there that would say students must learn on an acoustic but I believe they are getting fewer and far between.

There are many more that will say an acoustic is better, but a digital will do if it is what is available.

And I believe there is a quickly growing number of teachers that understand how far digital stage pianos have come in recent years. I believe the Yamaha Avant grand digitals use the exact same action as a Yamaha acoustic line (I think). So things have changed. I know personally some teachers that agree that new digital pianos do a good job of mimicking an acoustic in terms of feel and one teacher said the Roland is the closest she has felt to an acoustic grand.

When you are talking to potential teacher(s), ask them what they think. I think most will say it is acceptable and I personally believe a new digital like the RD700 is fine to learn on most likely until advanced grades.

If you have the option of an acoustic, start a thread and get some good advice on whether it will really make a difference to your ability after learning on either one for a few years.

But I do believe the models you are looking at will serve you well.

All the best, Matt

[Edit: Remember I am a beginner too, I have just had the benefit of doing a lot of research and talking to some teachers. But it would be good to get advice from more seasoned piano players :)]
Posted by: keystring

Re: 25 yo taking up piano. Need a good teacher - 05/06/13 12:04 PM

I have a bit of a better picture now, Matt. Thanks for answering. What you get from this teacher depends on what she potentially has to give (combination of teaching ability and musical abilities/knowledge), what you do with it, and tricky bit of goals defined between student and teacher which is the first hang up. You will probably want to redefine your goals to her as wanting to get the skills that are needed to play the piano well, and then (important), express your interest in what she finds important in that regard. I have some reasons for this. If she does actually take you seriously and tells you to do things, make sure that you follow through, in the manner that she says, but intelligently.

Meanwhile you've been given these scales and finger exercises (studies?). You've said that they each might take up 5 minutes of your time. I imagine that they could take a lot longer, because they can contain more that you can put into them. At this point, go back in your memory to the lesson. Did she point out anything as she did these exercises and scales? Were there things she emphasized, even if you thought "I know that already?" If so, that is what you should concentrate on. If she didn't use words, did she seem to be stressing anything in her manner of playing?

IF you have a teacher who can guide you (has the musical knowledge, teaching knowledge) -- which you may or may not have -- then she must be convinced in your interest in what she has to give. Otherwise you might get some routine. When you stress your goals, this should be seen as your willingness to work, but it can be seen as another adult student with an agenda.