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#1065213 - 06/17/04 11:28 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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signa Offline
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it seems to be all original works Alex is playing. very impressive after only short period of time!

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#1065214 - 06/17/04 12:10 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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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
#1065215 - 06/17/04 12:45 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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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.

#1065216 - 06/17/04 02:58 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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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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#1065217 - 06/17/04 04:11 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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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

#1065218 - 06/17/04 04:19 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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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!
#1065219 - 06/17/04 04:19 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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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
#1065220 - 06/17/04 04:37 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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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.

#1065221 - 06/17/04 04:55 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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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."

#1065222 - 06/17/04 05:24 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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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!

#1065223 - 06/17/04 05:58 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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I see that my post has generated some questions. I really would not like my posts to sound like someone with little experience bragging about their repertoire, please dont consider those as such.

I would like to emphasize, that I am not playing the Liszt etude at this point, this was merely a suggestion that my teacher has made for the future after I finish the piece I am working on.
this might be in a few months.

The reason why she says i am ready for it is becasue the Czerny etude that I play, has a technique that prepares one for such things encountered in Liszt's Gnomereign. I have not yet attempted to learn Gnomenreigen, so i really have no idea how it will go. But I trust her judgement, she is a professional pianist.

As far as the other pieces go I play them, indeed, maybe i dont play them up to tempo of the recordings of professional pianists, but its not at very slow pace where the piece falls apart, I would call it reasonable tempo, and yes I try to play with correct phrasing and expression. Quality of tone and expression is my and my teacher's first priority in these lessons. I would not say I can play something unless my teacher has commented that the piece sounds like as it should.

I have been listening to piano repertoire for a very long time extensively and have an idea what pieces should sound, perhaps this helps my progress. I am extremely motivated in piano and quite surprised that some find my progress hard to believe with dedicated practice of 1.5 hours a day and very high motivation.

I would love to post recordings for critiques, and will do so if I can get some recordnig equipment.

#1065224 - 06/17/04 06:39 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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#1065225 - 06/17/04 08:43 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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This is a great thread. I have been taking lessons for almost 3 Ĺ years. Iím in RCM grade 5 for practical piano and grade 2 theory. Iím not anywhereís ready to tackle some of the pieces Iíve seen in earlier posts. I have always wanted to play the piano. When I was growing up I would call local piano techerís and ask them to come to my house and try to talk my parents into allowing me to take lessons. We had an old untuned upright piano that I would try to imitate popular songs on.Then in late 2000, through a twist of fate I was able to purchase a Yamaha Clavinova and a small Yamaha upright. I started out learning on my own with Jump Musicís Piano Discovery Software. I really thought piano lessons were only available for children. Then I went to a Yamaha Music School for 5 months where they used Alfredís Adult All in One series. My teacher suggested I switch to the RCM programme. My first RCM teacher didnít think adults were capable of learning to play the piano. After finding a teacher who took adults, I worked through the preliminary, grade 1 and grade 2 in 4 months. Grade 3 took 9 months and in grade 4, 18 months as I wasnít able to focus or practice consistently. Grade 5 is progressing much more smoothly. I canít express how much I am enjoying this journey. I feel like Iím reliving a part of history when I Ďm learning a Baroque or Classical piece.
I have only performed in 3 recitals. Two were in someoneís home and were attended by my teacherís adult students. The first one was in a festival. Each performance has been better than the last. I have to simulate the recital experience in my mind many times before the actual event. A real challenge for me is adapting to different pianos. The piano I played on at my first recital had very loose keys. By the time I was on the second line of my piece, my fingers were flying off the keyboard. I had to restart 4 times before I could control the tempo. This experience has made me nervous about playing in front of an audience of strangers.
I wish I had started earlier, but Iím here now and am not looking back. Iíve noticed in the last year as the pieces have become more difficult and after a layoff from my job, I am not practicing as much as I was. My teacher thinks learning to play an instrument is serious work and should not be approached as fun. Iím having lots of fun.


Please excuse me. I have to go practice
#1065226 - 06/17/04 09:22 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Linda, I don't get it. What's so funny?

Why all the nay-sayers? Does no one have vision any more? It may turn out we're having our legs pulled, or not. I, for one, am enthralled to have this opportunity of believing Alexbp is telling it like it is.

More power to you, Alexbp! And if I turn out to be wrong, good on me!


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
#1065227 - 06/17/04 11:18 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Beethoven's op.14.2 is more of an intermediate level piece, while op.14.1 is supposed to be much easier. so, it means Alex is now at that level, which is, believe it or not after 8 months, a fact. i would like to believe it. why don't we admit somebody could advance more quickly than others? besides, if you take a lesson everyday or even every other day with a good teacher for 8 months, it doesn't sound like so unreachable.

#1065228 - 06/18/04 09:39 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Hi All,

I made some recordings yesterday with a basic sound recorder in the P.C. Would anyone know a website or someplace i can host these files so i can post a link to listen to them. The files are approximately 3.5 and 1.5 mb.

Alex.

#1065229 - 06/18/04 10:13 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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I found a place to host the recordings. I recorded them yesterday with a built in microphone of the pc on the sound recorder. I will attempt to post the links.

Czerny Etude Op. 740 #13, for Velocity :

Czerny Etude

Beethoven Sonata Op. 14 #2 in G Movement 1:

Sonata Op. 14

There are some memory slips towards the end of the sonata, sorry for that. I welcome any comments/suggestions/critiques.

Alex.

#1065230 - 06/18/04 10:23 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Alexbp: I am receiving an error message that the site could not be found. Could you double check them and let us know.
Jon


"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein
#1065231 - 06/18/04 10:44 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Oh, the feature works only for yahoo members, ok i am trying to figure something out....

#1065232 - 06/18/04 11:53 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Ok, another attempt to post my recordings, maybe it works this time.

Beethoven Sonata:
Sonata Op. 14 #2
Czerny Etude:
Czerny Etude

Alex.

#1065233 - 06/18/04 01:44 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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it's not bad at all, Alex, although it may have proved the point from some people that you are not quite polished or ready for the prime time yet. nevertherless, it is impressive for one having only less than one year study. there are not many people who could do this within one year, me included!

#1065234 - 06/18/04 01:49 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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how can i delete this?

#1065235 - 06/18/04 02:31 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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I was able to hear the recording on jukebox. Very nice. I am just amazed and blown away that anyone can play like that in such a short period . At five months of playing 99.9% of people are playing very very easy tunes. I hate to be a pesimist but with all due respecit, I think I smell a rodent. I hope I'm wrong on this one, if so, apologies are in order.


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!
#1065236 - 06/18/04 06:08 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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That's pretty good, Alex. I've never heard those pieces before, but they sound nice.

Here's what I don't get, though. You say you've had no previous musical training. But it takes a bit of time even to read two lines of music well. How'd you manage it so quickly, as you said you were playing these pieces just weeks after you started, IIRC?

Anyway, I'd love to know more about how you're coming along so well. How often do you take lessons? How long are they? What pieces and exercises (Hanon, etc.) have you worked on in addition to the chords/scales work you described? What books do you use? Do you work these pieces up hands together right off the bat?

And would you mind recording the Turkish Rondo for us? I was looking at the music just last night, hoping to have a go at it sometime next year. Maybe!

Cindy

#1065237 - 06/18/04 07:04 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Alex, I can say that I believe that you've been playing for 8 months. The two samples you posted are what I consider "decent" for 8 months, though it's not surprising. Your pedal use is good. The scale technique can use some metronome work. Use your ears on the left hand notes, be careful not to drown out the melody. The samples lack musical depth but that comes with experience. Truth is, the samples you played are what I would expect my students to be able to play in their first year. Left hand usage is minimalistic and straightforward. Right hand notes are scales and variations. I'm glad you are motivated and you have a love for music.

#1065238 - 06/18/04 09:02 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Coming very late into this discussion. Another adult retread student. Had lessons for four years as a child, started taking again 7 1/2 years ago when I was 45. Had to start from scratch as I'd forgotten how to read music. Not as accomplished as Alexbp, but I was playing Bach's Minuet in G after three months of lessons, and played it in my first recital. (I actually have an mpeg of that performance, but I don't know how to post it) I was absolutely driven and obsessed to advance and worked very hard. After 2/12 years my repertoire consisted of Chopin's Waltz in B minor Op. 69, no. 2; Durand's Waltz in E Flat Major; the first movement of Mozart's K.331 (excepting the 2nd and 6th variations) and Bach's Invention in A minor.

Then something happened and I don't know how to politely explain it -- my focus got fuzzy and my memory came and went at times along with terrible bouts of heat. I've not ever been able to advance at the speed I was making earlier on. It's like part of my brain rewired itself and closed off some parts. confused Learning pieces has been very hard work for the last five years or so and there are times I don't think I've progressed at all since 1999. Has anyone else hit a wall like this?

Anyway, I'm so glad to find so many who are also re-discovering the joys of playing piano. Someone asked earlier about how to find a teacher. I suggest asking your piano technician for three references. That's how I found my wonderful teacher.

Current repertoire is small -- Chopin's Nocturne #21 in C minor, a Bouree from a Bach English Suite, Beethoven's adagio from Op. 13, the variations movement from Op. 57 and the menuetto from Op. 31 No. 3 and Chopin's Mazurka Op. 68 No. 3. I know I'll never play many of the pieces that stir something within me, but I'm proud of all I've been able to accomplish so late in life.


There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. - Beverly Sills
#1065239 - 06/18/04 11:39 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Hi All, thanks for the comments and critiques.

Cindy,
the way I started to learn pieces is literally bar by bar the way I could. Yes, i could not really read the notes well, very slowly and tediously, and even now my sight reading is not very good. Basically every week my teacher assigns me part of a piece, few lines or half a page or a page or so. I did not start learning the Beethoven sonata right away. In fact I started it about 3.5 months ago.

I first practice it hands separately if its difficult, if not I try to read slowly hands together and so on until i dont need to look at the music score. In case of Bach pieces, I fist must learn each hand separately well, before joining them.

I have a very good teacher who is also my aunt. She is a pianist trained in a conservatory in Russia, and has a lot of experience performing and teaching students of various levels. My lessons are usually about 2 hours every week, but there is really no time limitation, we spend as much time as necessary. Even though I only started playing last October, I grew up around music and started listening to it extensively a long time ago, and still listen to it alot. As a kid, my parents did not insist that I learn music, since i was involved in other activities/sports, although I do sort of regret of not starting earlier.

I do not use other exercies or Hanon, besides the traditional scales and arpeggios and etc.. We don't use any method books, just pieces from the classical repertoire. My teacher has a method which is customized individually for each student. She assigns pieces which she sees will work for the student, so there are no general guidelines.

I will post a recording of the Turkish rondo, but I have to bring it to a reasonable shape first. I actually haven't played it in a few months , so I don't even remember all the notes well. The recordings I posted is in my recent repertoire.

Alex.

#1065240 - 06/19/04 01:59 AM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Nah, there are many more adult or late starter prodigies than we realise in this world.

Take a look here:

I can play Tchaikovsky\'s 1st concerto after 1 year

#1065241 - 06/19/04 12:20 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Ha! Right ... I would like to see that!

#1065242 - 06/19/04 12:34 PM Re: Adult Beginners -- How's It Going?  
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Alex's teacher's methods sound a lot like my old teacher (who was a Juliard graduate). I never did any work out of methods books, it was always real music. I could read music,(not very fast) but like Alex, I have always tended to work just a few measures at a time, hands separately with a lot of counting and memorize as I go. It seems to work for me. Now though, I am seeing that in order to do some of the more technical work in pieces, I need more scales and arpeggio work. A good example is the 11 note run on the Chopin Nocture op. 72 #1 I have been working on. If I had done more work with chromatic scales, the fingering on that run would have come naturally. At this point in my musical ed I'm willing to back up a little, work on simpler pieces and get some more skills under my belt. I'll save those darn Schubert Impromptus for later!!!


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

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany
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