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Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065203
06/16/04 05:10 PM
06/16/04 05:10 PM
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Posts: 1,515
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pianojuggler Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by teachum:
I can't read very fast, but I can memorize really well so I have a tendency to memorize and then stop reading the music.
Teachum, out of curiosity are you in Cd'A?

I do this, too. By the time I get a piece memorized, there as many things scribbled on the page by my teacher and me as there were notes to begin with. After a while, I stop "reading" the music, and I'm paying attention only to the notes. Then I wean myself off of the notes, and the piece is completely in my head.

I don't know if this is a good thing or not. My sight-reading stinks. I try to get my teacher to do sight-reading exercises, but I wish we'd do more of them.

Everything takes time, I guess.

Quote
Originally posted by MLT:
...in a tuxedo, with a really big piano, playing perfectly in front of tons of admiring people, solely creating a thing of such beauty that people could not help but to stand and yell “bravo!!” and maybe chicks would throw their undies at me...
I had never had that image in mind when I started piano lessons... But now that you mention it...

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Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065204
06/16/04 06:40 PM
06/16/04 06:40 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,918
idaho
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teachum Offline
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Joined: May 2004
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idaho
Boy am I embarassed! My post went on three times! I'm really not that egotistical. I was having troubles with my connection and didn't think it was going through and kept hitting the button. Ooops!

Pianojuggler - I am in Spirit Lake, north of CDA.

It's fun to read about everyone's experiences learning as an adult. I think I'm going to do great with my new teacher. I plan on taking weekly for the summer and then hopefully, a couple of times/month during the fall and winter when school is in session. That should keep me focused and goal oriented.

I am really enjoying working on the Clementi Sonatinas. They are not difficult, but they sound great and fun and bouncy. I bought Czerny and Bach inventions for 2 and 3 parts. Any thoughts on those, anyone? Several of the pianist interviews in Cooke's book mention them as good for technical skills and reading practice.


You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany
Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065205
06/16/04 08:18 PM
06/16/04 08:18 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 48
Colombia
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Balparda Offline
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Colombia
I kind of consired myself a 'kinda-adult begginer'. I started aboout 4 months ago, at the age of 18. Med school doesn't leave me that much time to practice, but I still manage to get about 1 hour a day, a bit more on the weekends.

So far, I've learned completely two of my own compositions, called 'Crypt' and 'At the End of the Rainbow' (you can check out some of my works at http://www.sibeliusmusic.com/cgi-bin/search.pl?com=advancedsearch&ComposerName="Jon%20Balparda"&Arranger="Jon%20Balparda"&or=1)

RIght now, I'm working on a piano solo arrangement of Evanescense's Bring me to Life, and a Nobuo Uematsu (sp?) song called 'Walt for the Moon'

I feel like I'm not advancing that quick, due to the fact that I'm not a kid anymore, and, as has been said before, you learn stuff easier the younger you are.

Right now, I'm trying to find a good teacher. I used to have one, but what we did in our classes was:
1st Class: Practice the C scale *for the whole 45 minutes*
2nd Class: Practice the G scale *for the whole 45 minutes*
3rd Class: I go to him with a song I would like to work on, and he said we were not gonna play anything at all until I could play ALL scales. Practice the D scale *for the whole 45 minutes*
4th Class: Ask the teacher if he's kidding when he says we won't play ANYTHING before I have memorized ALL scales; he sais he's never spoken more seriously. Practice A scale *for the whole 45 minutes*
5th Class and up: I never show up again...

Man, this teacher could kill anybody's desire to play... He wasn't really nice and polite, either...


-Jon


Amy Lee is hot...
Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065206
06/16/04 09:02 PM
06/16/04 09:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 477
northwest NJ
devils4ever Offline
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Back when I was taking lessons for the first time, I did scales after a couple of months. I practiced one scale for the week along with 2 other pieces, then we moved on to another scale. It only took a few months to go through all the scales and then I never did them again. Actually, I never minded doing scales. I found them to be a challenge like anything else. I agree though, doing ONLY scales, especially for beginners, will kill any enthusiasm.

BTW, my teacher never let me practice them hands together, always one hand at a time. Not sure why.


"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase
Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065207
06/16/04 09:43 PM
06/16/04 09:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,948
New York
Jeffrey Offline
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Just to share my experience. I started playing piano at 37, about 4 months ago. I feel I've gotten a fairly progressive teacher, given the posts above. We've spent the last 2 months on jazz and blues basics - 12-bar blues shuffle, reading from a fake book (just did 11 and 13 chords this evening), voice leading and chord voicing, chord inversions, and we will start some simple improvisation techniques for next lesson, and then learn about modes.

I am not fluent in any of this, of course, also the only classical pieces I can play even ok are Bach's Minuet in G and a simplified Fur Elise. We have spent less time on perfecting simple classical pieces, and more time on learning fake book reading and chord inversions (I can do triad chords and most root position 7-chords by sight, but I still have to think about most inversions.)

I asked him if I was "missing" something by not starting in the traditional way of playing classical scales and then perfecting simpler classical pieces. His response was that I probably lag behind in those classical skills, but have more skills on jazz and reading from a fake book, than someone of my experience who took a more traditional route. I said I wanted to continue with the modern stuff for a few months, and then maybe backtrack to some more traditional classical pieces and learn the technique and fingering for them. He was fine with that.

Do other adult beginners learn the way I am (a modern fake book approach, not much simple classical or scales), and are there any opinions pro or con, on the method I am describing? I will say that piano lessons are more fun than I imagined this way, and I really feel I am learning a lot of piano playing and theory, but lessons are very different from what I imagined they would be.

Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065208
06/16/04 09:53 PM
06/16/04 09:53 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 477
northwest NJ
devils4ever Offline
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Jeffrey,

My first teacher only taught classical. So, I never learned jazz, blues, or pop. I can't read from a fake book, I need to see every single note to play. There is no improvising in classical. You play what you see and that's it. (Well, maybe in the cadenzas.) I'm not sure which is better. I'm looking now for an teacher to start again. I might look for one that can teach blues or jazz as well as classical.


"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase
Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065209
06/16/04 10:49 PM
06/16/04 10:49 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
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Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
Quote
I am really enjoying working on the Clementi Sonatinas. They are not difficult, but they sound great and fun and bouncy. I bought Czerny and Bach inventions for 2 and 3 parts. Any thoughts on those, anyone? Several of the pianist interviews in Cooke's book mention them as good for technical skills and reading practice.
Bach's 2/3-part inventions are definite for improving skills, especially finger work. most of them look simple on notes, but it is not easy to play well. they are meant to be study pieces (mainly for composition), but yet some of them sound extremly beautiful. among what i have learned, 2-part invention no.4 is easier than no.13. currently i am learning sinfonia no.2 (3 part), which is not quite difficult except a few bars with RH trill and melody together. anyway, it is a good learning experience if you try to play any of them.

I never played Czerny, but as i read somewhere it is not recommended by a lot of people, and it is solely for improving skills on playing Beethoven's sonatas.

Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065210
06/17/04 09:30 AM
06/17/04 09:30 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,515
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pianojuggler Offline
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Going the fake book route is fine if that's what you want out of your playing. Not everyone wants to play classical music. That's the cool thing about being an adult. You get to make choices about what and how you want to play.

After four weeks of nothing but scales, I would have quit, too. I hope I would have quit and found another teather, not just quit.


If you're looking for me, I'll be out on the web looking for a Scarlatti fake book.

Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065211
06/17/04 09:36 AM
06/17/04 09:36 AM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 40
Boston
Alexbp Offline
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Boston
Great to hear everyone's experiences, I see that many people started piano as adults. Its very inspirational. I started last October at age 23 with no previous music playing experience. I took a month or so of lessons at around 18, but with college life and all didnt have possibility to practice. Although i have been extensively listening to alot of the piano repoertoire since about 16.

From the fist lesson I started learning with the traditional classical approach of scales, arpeggios along with the pieces. Everything that I learn and my teacher gives me is from the classical repertoire. As far as scales go, since I started, practiced 1 scale a week in the circle of fifths Cmaj,Amin,Gmaj,Emin.. etc., majors and minors and did all the arpeggios of main and 7th cords with their inverstions for each scale. I also play each scale in third, tenth and sixths interval, hands together in common and opposite directions. I am on my second round of scales, but this time we do it chromatically, Cmaj,Cmin,C#majC#min..etc. I also recently started to play thirds and Octaves for each scale. I find that scales and arpeggios help alot with learning just about any repertoire.

I try to practice at least 1.5 hours a day to advance as I would like, and try to practice sightreading for at least 10 minutes a day. I have learned up to now the following pieces, but, some of the earlier pieces I don;t remember all the notes anymore smile

Chopin Prelude #7 A maj.
Fur Elise (regular version)
Bach 2 part Invention #8 Fmaj
Mozart Rondo a la Turca
Chopin Nocturne #20 C#min
Czerny Etude #13 for Velocity from op. 740
Beethoven Sonata Op. 14 #2 Gmaj Movement 1
Right now learning Bach Prelude & Fugue Book 1 in Emaj.
When i finish learning the P&F my teacher would like to start me on Liszt's Gnomenreigen etude, she says I am technically ready for it.

We work alot on the quality tone and my teacher pays alot of attention to details and not just notes. Learning the notes is just the fist step in all the pieces, then we work alot on the quality and make sure the pieces sound as they should.

Alex.

Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065212
06/17/04 10:17 AM
06/17/04 10:17 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,416
Washington D.C. Metro
Cindysphinx Offline OP
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Cindysphinx  Offline OP
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Washington D.C. Metro
I have a question, Alex. Are these arrangements or are you doing the original works? I ask because Mozart's Turkish Rondo is screamin' hard, and I can't imagine playing it after 5 years, let alone after 5 months.

Dang. You guys are inspiring me. I'm going to have to really get after it!

Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065213
06/17/04 10:28 AM
06/17/04 10:28 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
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it seems to be all original works Alex is playing. very impressive after only short period of time!

Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065214
06/17/04 11:10 AM
06/17/04 11:10 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 643
Plano, Texas
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jdsher Offline
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Plano, Texas
Great thread Cindysphinx, I still think there ought to be a seperate folder just for us adult beginners to support each other. I started taking lessons last September. My wife signed up our son for keyboarding at his school and that got me thinking about fufilling a life long dream of learning to play piano. I decided to call up my son's keyboarding teacher and ask her if she taught adults. She did, and now she is my teacher. We have a great time at lessons. We discuss music, theory and anything I am interested in. It's funny what happens when two people who are passionate about music get together. I started with the Faber & Faber book and have moved on to learning several pieces. I am working on Traumerei by Schumann, I love this piece and I can play it through just not with good tempo or voicing. I wrote my own arrangement of Shepherd's complaint (the original version is way too hard) and am almost there with tempo, voicing is still hard. I am also trying some Bealtles arrangements that are great, but two hands playing disperate melodies is so tough for my brain. I practice about 30-45 minutes just about every day. I think everyone here knows that sometimes things come up and we can't carve out the time. I go to lessons weekly for about an hour. I must admit that I am obsessed with the piano, I can't stop thinking about the it and the feeling that comes from making my own music.
Jon


"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein
Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065215
06/17/04 11:45 AM
06/17/04 11:45 AM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 40
Boston
Alexbp Offline
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Posts: 40
Boston
CindySphinx,
The works that I mentioned I learned are all original. Rondo a la Turca is challenging especially the middle section with the "runs" , it took me about a month and a half to learn that piece. Perhaps not at the tempo that you hear in the recordings, but all the notes and phrasing were there. I plan to lelearn that piece in some time again along with the rest of that sonata K331.

Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065216
06/17/04 01:58 PM
06/17/04 01:58 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,128
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Victoria, BC
Quote
Originally posted by Alexbp:

Chopin Prelude #7 A maj.
Fur Elise (regular version)
Bach 2 part Invention #8 Fmaj
Mozart Rondo a la Turca
Chopin Nocturne #20 C#min
Czerny Etude #13 for Velocity from op. 740
Beethoven Sonata Op. 14 #2 Gmaj Movement 1
Right now learning Bach Prelude & Fugue Book 1 in Emaj.
When i finish learning the P&F my teacher would like to start me on Liszt's Gnomenreigen etude, she says I am technically ready for it.

Alex.
Does it not amaze anyone else - almost to the point of disbelief - that here is someone who, having started the piano at age 23 with no previous playing experience and who "tries to practice 1.5 hours a day", has, after eight months, learned the repertoire listed, is currently studying a Bach Prelude and Fugue (3-voice) and is now ready for a Liszt etude?

The E major Prelude and Fuge are RCM Grade 10 and the Liszt Gnomenreigen is ARCT - Performer's, no less!

How does one develop ten year's worth of technique in eight months?

I ask you ...


The mind, as they say, boggles, unless, of course, the leg is being pulled!


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065217
06/17/04 03:11 PM
06/17/04 03:11 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 559
Chicago
Rick Offline
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Chicago
I agree Bruce. And that opus 14, no2 is no walk in the park either! But I can't honestly imagine what the incentive would be for some totally anonymous person to lie. So I don't know what to think about posts like these.

Rick

Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065218
06/17/04 03:19 PM
06/17/04 03:19 PM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 569
Anaheim Hills, CA
Frank R Offline
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I am wondering the same thing. I have been playing for 1.5 years and practice EVERY DAY 1.5-3 hours and am just now working on Chopin's Edude, Opus 10, 3. Makes me wonder if I'm really slow. confused


Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!
Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065219
06/17/04 03:19 PM
06/17/04 03:19 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,857
North Groton, NH
Bernard Offline
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Let's not forget: some people are gifted. Alex has said they are not all up to tempo. I think it's exciting.


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065220
06/17/04 03:37 PM
06/17/04 03:37 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,621
New York City
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Quote
Originally posted by Bernard:
Let's not forget: some people are gifted. Alex has said they are not all up to tempo. I think it's exciting.
I wouldn't called being truly ready to play the Liszt Etude after 8 months "gifted". I would call it progressing at a rate that Kissen, Josef Hofmann, and even Liszt himself did not achieve. Even playing the Beethoven Sonata mentioned after 8 months is something that maybe one in five thousand people *might* be able to do.

Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065221
06/17/04 03:55 PM
06/17/04 03:55 PM
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Posts: 1,254
Minneesooota
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What does it really mean to be "technically ready to play Liszt Etude"... if it's being able to play a few scales at 132 on the metronome, or arpeggios running up and the keys then I argue that most pianists are "technically ready to play Liszt Etude".

I am wary of these people who proclaim they can play Liszt and this and that when really what they do is they can play a small stretch of Liszt at half tempo with mistakes and little artistic interpretation. I'm not specifically pointing my finger at Alexbp, but in general to people who say, "I've taken one year of lessons and I can play Hammerklavier".

If these people claim to make the progress they made why don't they hook up a cheapo microphone, record a sample and Wow us with the Liszt B minor Sonata they just "mastered."

Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going? #1065222
06/17/04 04:24 PM
06/17/04 04:24 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,416
Washington D.C. Metro
Cindysphinx Offline OP
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Washington D.C. Metro
Well, for what it's worth, when I say I can "play" a piece, I mean I can play the entire piece to tempo with reasonable expression such that I could perform it at a recital. That's what I assume Alex meant.

I too would love to hear Alex play, though. A rate of progress like that is truly inspiring and means that someone with a tremendous gift straight from God is among us!

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