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#1073424 - 12/02/04 11:22 AM worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 477
devils4ever Offline
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devils4ever  Offline
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northwest NJ
Well, last night I had the worst piano lesson ever! frown It wasn't the teacher, it was me. I just could not play.

I've been working on "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" and Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring". I fumbled terribly through both. I hit wrong notes, slowed the tempo, stopped, etc. Basically, did everything wrong or badly.

I'm not sure why. I wasn't particularly nervous or tense or anything. Both pieces are at the edge of my ability, but this was downright embarrassing.

Has this happened to anyone else? Please tell me next week will be better!


"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase
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#1073425 - 12/02/04 11:45 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Oct 2004
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markb Offline
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markb  Offline
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Maryland
Yeah, like every lesson. Although I can't say that I've nailed all of the pieces before I have my lesson, they tend to be worse at the lesson. Problems that didn't surface while practicing suddenly pop up. I don't feel particularly nervous at my lesson, but the feel of a different piano somehow throws me.

I guess I'll have to postpone my Carnegie Hall debut....


markb--The Count of Casio
#1073426 - 12/02/04 12:04 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
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devils4ever Offline
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devils4ever  Offline
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northwest NJ
markb,

My pieces are always a work in progress. The piano definitely was a factor. The upright at home has a much lighter touch than the grand at my lesson.


"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase
#1073427 - 12/02/04 12:06 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: May 2002
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kluurs Offline
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Chicago
It was one of life's ironies that some of my worst lessons were the ones I thought I had prepared particularly well...

Ken

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#1073428 - 12/02/04 02:09 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Aug 2001
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Nina Offline
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Nina  Offline
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Phoenix, AZ
That's happened to me, too. I open my book and stare at the music like I've never seen it before! I'm not using this as a figure of speech... it's like I have some weird sort of amnesia.

The other one that drives me nuts is when you work on a difficult passage and finally get it, only to have another, different one that was completely under your control go out into the ozone.

You're not alone!

#1073429 - 12/02/04 07:07 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Mar 2004
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Sugarbush Offline
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Toronto
I'm not going to make you feel any better, but boy have you all made "me" feel better. I can relate totally....every lesson. Just as one said, if you think you've "nailed it", sure enough when you're "under pressure ( for me anyway) at THE LESSON, I screw it up. I usually try and pick out tricky spots but by the time I have my lesson, one would never know it. "Amnesia " like was mentioned, is dead on. I guess it's just typical. I've talked about these things with my own teacher and she just smiles and moves her head affirmatively !! So we just press onward and try not to be discouraged. However, I guess I'll never see the likes of a great performance hall. Take care everyone and keep smiling and just enjoy the music.These professional performers put in 8-10 hour shifts to play like they do. We all have other lives as well, or at least I assume most of you do.

#1073430 - 12/03/04 04:04 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
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SAnnM AB 2001 Offline
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SAnnM AB 2001  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2004
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Canada
Me too!! I feel much better. After 2 and 1/2 years with the same teacher (was an absolute beginner at 44) I'm finally a little less nervous but still do much better at home. I also find that if we start with some of the exercises rather than repertoire that I've been working on, it helps the nerves and I'm a little more relaxed come time to play actual pieces. I also have the same problem when I concentrate on practicing the difficult passages - the "easy" ones suddenly cause problems they never did before....Thank heavens for a very patient teacher!!


It's the journey not the destination..
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#1073431 - 12/03/04 04:49 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Oct 2004
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Varcon Offline
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Varcon  Offline
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Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
Most students resort to something like "I did this perfectly at home" when something won't work at a lesson. I think the change in touch of the piano is something of a valid reason as well as knowing the teacher is listening somewhat critically to the playing so nervousness intervenes. We had juries yesterday and some of the students were crying before they left the room. Visible shaking of the hands was evident as well.

What should a student remember? Just that--you are a student and learning so mistakes, warps, twists, are going to happen. Adjust to it and move on. If you warm up with exercises--a scale or two, arpeggios, five-finger exercises--then it helps to adjust to the touch and feel of a different instrument. Why are you so confident on your instrument at home? Because you play it regularly and have an ingrained feel for it. How often do you play another instrument? Probably, for the most part, once or twice a week at lessons and the feel is so different it can 'throw' you. Alexander Brailowsky, at a concert in Vienna, Austria, came out and did five-finger exercises before he began playing the program. I can only imagine that he had not played the instrument before or enough to adapt to its touch. Surprised at his action--YES!! I had never experienced that before. So, if possible, 'warm-up' on the instrument first and maybe your lessons will go much better. Good luck!

#1073432 - 12/03/04 06:22 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Jul 2004
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mikhailoh Offline
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Cincinnati
I have simply gotten used to the fact that I play better at home, almost without exception, than at my lesson.

When I was practicing on my spinet, the touch on the teacher's grand was much heavier. Now that I have a new grand and she has had her piano regulated to be very light, mine is heavier at home.

Unless they will come to your home to do the lesson, I fear it shall always be thus. I think teachers know this and can adjust their expectations.


Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'
#1073433 - 12/03/04 08:19 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 72
wdaveo Offline
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I don't take lessons anymore, but I could NEVER get my fingers to move right at a lesson. I mean I NEVER played a song without some sort of flub up. (Although I usually did OK at home with it.) This was always very frustrating and may have contributed to my quiting lessons (that, and a bum wrist). I think it confirmed to me, at the time, that I just don't have what it takes.

I cannot figure out how performers can play without messing up. And I cannot understand how my 8 yr old can play at a recital without messing up!

#1073434 - 12/03/04 10:36 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 477
devils4ever Offline
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devils4ever  Offline
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Posts: 477
northwest NJ
Quote
Originally posted by wdaveo:
I don't take lessons anymore, but I could NEVER get my fingers to move right at a lesson. I mean I NEVER played a song without some sort of flub up. (Although I usually did OK at home with it.) This was always very frustrating and may have contributed to my quiting lessons (that, and a bum wrist). I think it confirmed to me, at the time, that I just don't have what it takes.

I cannot figure out how performers can play without messing up. And I cannot understand how my 8 yr old can play at a recital without messing up!
Because 8 year olds have no fear!!! laugh

It sounds like you stopped playing. Say it isn't so!


"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase
#1073435 - 12/03/04 12:25 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 72
wdaveo Offline
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Well, I'm trying to keep up with my 10 yr old, who's been playing for 5 years now, but I think he has officially passed me up.

We are shopping for a new grand piano for the family to replace our Clavinova, so I am hoping that will provide some inspiration.

I do still play, but not well at all. I am so embarrassed when I go to the piano store and cannot play anything. I have finally memorized a little ditty to play at the stores - guess it's better than chopsticks (not that there is anything wrong with chopsticks!) smile

Dawn

#1073436 - 12/03/04 04:01 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 180
ragtimebg Offline
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Posts: 180
California
On the golf course, hitting a series of fine golf shots on the driving range is easy. Hitting even one halfway decent shot on the course itself is darn near impossible. It's just the immense difference between practice and performance.


I have a new mistress. She's black and curvy and pretty and sounds great and has great legs. I call her "Petrof".
#1073437 - 12/03/04 04:07 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 3,171
markjpcs Offline
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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 3,171
Wisconsin
Quote
Originally posted by wdaveo:
(not that there is anything wrong with chopsticks!) smile

Dawn
Yes there is! [Linked Image]

#1073438 - 12/03/04 04:37 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 982
sleepingcats Offline
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sleepingcats  Offline
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Joined: May 2004
Posts: 982
Oregon
A couple of my best lessons were when I wasn't prepared because I couldn't practice for a couple of days. I almost cancelled my lesson, but went anyway, and I played one piece better than I ever had.

I think I should stop telling my teacher how much I practiced or DIDN'T practice - then I won't jinx myself! smile


"Cats make purrfect friends"
#1073439 - 12/03/04 06:05 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 388
ilm Offline
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Posts: 388
USA
I agree with a lot of you. Going from one type of piano to your teacher's piano is going to make a big difference. I guess this is why some pianist, like Jon Nakamatsu, only performs on a Steinway. Not sure if he performs only on a German Steinway.

Also, I'm very uncomfortable playing around people, including my instructor. I tend to sometimes notice she is toe tapping or using her hands against her chair to do the timing, and that makes me nervous. By the way, she doesn't sit right next to me, but I'm still aware of her presence.

#1073440 - 12/04/04 10:57 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5
jwfangster Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5
Mission Viejo, California
I have the same problem as all of you do. I remember reading somewhere once that some famous pianist (I can't remember who) said that he never practiced, he just rehearsed. I still flub very badly during lessons but I think I've improved a bit keeping that thought in mind while "rehearsing".

#1073441 - 12/05/04 06:09 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,981
Thracozaag Offline
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Thracozaag  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,981
Salt Lake City
Quote
Originally posted by devils4ever:
Well, last night I had the worst piano lesson ever! frown It wasn't the teacher, it was me. I just could not play.

I've been working on "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" and Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring". I fumbled terribly through both. I hit wrong notes, slowed the tempo, stopped, etc. Basically, did everything wrong or badly.

I'm not sure why. I wasn't particularly nervous or tense or anything. Both pieces are at the edge of my ability, but this was downright embarrassing.

Has this happened to anyone else? Please tell me next week will be better!
Sorry to hear that; perhaps this story will cheer you up--

A friend of mine (who will remain nameless) had his trumpet lesson at Curtis and proceeded thusly:

*plays about five notes*
Teacher: "Stop, stop! That sucks! Godammit, it sucked last week...and it still sucks! Get out!!

--end of lesson-- eek

koji (STSD)


"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/
#1073442 - 12/05/04 10:36 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 569
Frank R Offline
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Frank R  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 569
Anaheim Hills, CA
smile WOW.....I thought it was only me.


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!
#1073443 - 12/05/04 11:05 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: May 2004
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teachum Offline
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teachum  Offline
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Joined: May 2004
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idaho
Ditto what everyone has said. The going from spinet to grand thing used to be a biggie to me. Solved that one! But of course now I don't want to play on anything but MY grand! I too resort to, "I know this... or I play this better at home." I think it's all the "meeting someone's expectations" thing. I have gotten better at not being nervous in front of people in general though. Don't feel bad. No biggie!


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

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany
#1073444 - 12/05/04 12:15 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
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Posts: 72
wdaveo Offline
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I always feel like I have to 'pass the test' at lessons. For some reason, I cannot get it into my head that the teacher is there to help me improve, not to judge me.

Maybe it's a problem with the relationship I have (had, cause I don't take lessons anymore) with my teacher.

#1073445 - 12/05/04 12:26 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,416
Cindysphinx Offline
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Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,416
Washington D.C. Metro
If I practice for about 1 hour before lesson, I can usually nail it. If I don't, I'll bumble through.

At least it's an easy formula to remember!

#1073446 - 12/05/04 03:35 PM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
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mamma2my3sons Offline
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Posts: 746
Midwest of the great USA
wow, I was so glad to read all of these. Sometimes I'm at a lesson & it feels like I am trying to decipher hieroglyphics! I struggle at lessons terribly at times. It is very humbling being an adult in music lessons for me even though my teacher is *wonderful*.

I played clarinet very well as a child, teen etc & I had the expectation going into the piano that it would be as successful & smooth.

I think its partly because our minds as adults are not free as when we are children & neither are our schedules! (aside from the physiologic aspect of maturing) I know I certainly don't practice as I should.

Thanks to all who shared here & I am comforted that I am not alone in my struggles!

#1073447 - 12/06/04 06:55 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Apr 2004
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devils4ever Offline
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northwest NJ
Well, I have two days to my next lesson. :rolleyes: I'm praying things go better.

I know I'm paying my teacher to help me improve but it still seems like I'm performing for him. He's VERY good about it all, but deep down inside he must want to push me aside and play it correctly!


"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase
#1073448 - 12/06/04 09:03 AM Re: worst piano lesson ever  
Joined: Aug 2004
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SAnnM AB 2001 Offline
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Canada
I'm enjoying this thread! I had MY worst lesson ever last week. I blamed in on after effects of drugs from outpatient surgery - but that was just an excuse I think. Couldn't hit a right note.....total amnesia...... I'm thinking about taping myself and if this week goes as badly, I'll play or give him the tape.... My teacher also sometimes taps or counts while I play if I increase tempo (which it often). I've gotten used to this though and actually find it quite helpful and somehow helps me concentrate on playing and less on the nerves.


It's the journey not the destination..
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