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#1117432 - 09/13/08 06:23 PM Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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RobM Offline
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I'm not sure if this has been done before....at least not for a while as far as I'm aware. After reading another thread just now where it was stated that self teaching is actually quite rare, I became curious as to how many of us here at the ABF are entirely self taught or take lessons?

As for me, I'm self taught so far. This hasn't really been a conscious decision up until now; I simply haven't had the money to pay for lessons. But now that I'm no longer a student and I've landed a somewhat decent job, I suppose I could take up lessons if I want to. But I'm not sure if I do really. I seem to be fairly set in my ways and the thought of practising scales and the like has no appeal to me whatsoever.

If you could humour me and quickly submit to this poll to satisfy my curiosity, that would be great! Thanks! laugh


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#1117433 - 09/13/08 06:28 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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RobM,

Do you want to restrict your poll to beginners? I think that being self-taught is more common among restarters, and I'm not sure you want your results skewed by that.

Many of us who are now self-teaching had lessons in the past, too, so are not "entirely self-taught." As we're not currently taking lessons either, we don't fit into either category. I figured maybe the poll isn't for us anyway!

Steven

#1117434 - 09/13/08 06:32 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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uh oh, another post of mine into the ether!

The short version - I thought, tho the statement had a fuzzy reference, that it was "impressive" performances by those who are self-taught are rarer than we might think.

And then I skewed your poll results smile

Cathy


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#1117435 - 09/13/08 06:33 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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I don't really mind to be honest - people will know what answer is better suited for them. But like you say, if you had lessons for a few years as a child and then have re-started at a later age without taking lessons, then I suppose 'Self taught' would probably be the more appropriate choice.


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#1117436 - 09/13/08 06:36 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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RobM,

Does self-taught include folks who are using methods such as Sudnow, Piano Magic, etc.? Such folks aren't really self-taught, but they do not take traditional lessons either.

Also, how about if someone used to take lessons from a teacher and he or she is now using such a nontraditinal method? What should they fill in?

angelo

#1117437 - 09/13/08 06:48 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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RobM Offline
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Haha, sorry I didn't intend for this to become complicated! smile

Basically if you don't have a piano teacher, or if you haven't had a teacher for some time, then opt for the self taught option. This doesn't need to be 100% accurate - I was just curious to see how many people here take (or have recently taken) piano lessons as I'm not sure if I'm missing out on something, or if there are many others like me who do not have a piano teacher.


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#1117438 - 09/13/08 06:49 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Quote
Originally posted by angelojf:
RobM,

Does self-taught include folks who are using methods such as Sudnow, Piano Magic, etc.? Such folks aren't really self-taught, but they do not take traditional lessons either.

Also, how about if someone used to take lessons from a teacher and he or she is now using such a nontraditinal method? What should they fill in?

angelo
"Self-taught" is used in different ways, for sure. I prefer, for me, "not in traditional lessons", which then would include cds, books, internet, looking over the shoulders of friends, stealing licks from the banjo player, etc. And I voted accordingly. But I sure agree that most if not all of us stand on the shoulders of giants, whether we're take "lessons" from a "teacher" or not, and that most of us learn in a myriad of ways (including listening to music we like) whether we are "self-taught" or are "taking lessons."

The world of learning to play piano is pretty broad.

Cathy


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#1117439 - 09/14/08 07:04 AM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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What if you were an adult beginner, had some lousy lessons later on, had the best lessons possible for some years then have no lessons for several years? And have a degree in music but majored on oboe?


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#1117440 - 09/14/08 12:02 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Not sure how to answer this. I'm currently self-teaching, BUT I have a doctorate in music (cello) and years of mostly bad piano lessons in the past. So I guess I'm building on my already achieved knowledge. But it's true that I have not had any lessons since restarting.


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#1117441 - 09/14/08 01:44 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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I am trying to self teach using a combination of books (Faber, Alfred, Scott Houston, etc..)...

- Mark


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#1117442 - 09/14/08 01:48 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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I started taking lessons in 1967 at the age of 8years old. On 18th December 1968 I passed the LCM Introductory Exam with 80%. When lessons were increaded to 10shillings/50p my father said we could not afford it so I left and the piano was sold for £10.

I restarted in 2007 and my teacher was very good however, after 6months he retired and emigrated. I had to struggle with self-teaching for five months until I restarted lessons last week.

If my first lesson is anything to go by I am very impressed with my new teacher. I just couldn't cope with self-teaching any longer.

It may be extreme to compare it with aircraft pilots self-teaching but I think you can get lost on your own.

#1117443 - 09/14/08 02:58 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Hi Rob

Just one thing that grabbed me about your post.

You said that you are set in your ways and that you don't want to practice scales etc.

Well, all I can say is try taking a lesson! As an adult, your tutor will first ask you what you want and what you don't! And guess what - If you don't want to practice scales....then I'm sure he/she won't force the issue. Just be honest and tell the tutor that you're self taught but just wanted to try a lesson as a one off.

Then after that it's your choice!

I too was self taught but decided to try a lesson and couldn't believe how much this has helped me.

Keep us posted!

Mark

#1117444 - 09/14/08 03:14 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Although I am currently without a teacher, I don't believe I can consider myself as being self-taught, as I find that during practice I rely heavily on things that previous teachers have taught me--such as phrasing, pedaling, tied notes, proper attention to length of rests, etc. ect.

I miss not having a teacher, but am grateful for all the good lessons I have had in the past that are helping me today. Hence, my belief, that although I do not have a teacher sitting at my side each time I play, they are still with me, as their instructions have become imbedded in my brain, and affect my current playing. Gaby Tu

#1117445 - 09/14/08 05:36 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Tornado Alley meets Bible Belt
100% self-taught, never seen a piano teacher.
I started 2 years ago with the Alfred books, but my dislike for them grew stronger and stronger; I quit a few pages into vol. 3. I'm currently using "Keys to stylistic mastery".
I've also done quite a bit of reading on the subject.

Perhaps I will take lessons at some point, but right now, I'm still enjoying it this way and also seem to be making some kind of progress. With or without a teacher, I know that I will never get very good at this.


Beginner, started in Summer 2006, self-taught
#1117446 - 09/14/08 06:26 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Glitzer, I bet you have seen a piano teacher. We are everywhere you know. wink

I am a little dissapointed that I can't see the results without voting. I can't vote because I would have to say that I am self taught at the moment having not had a lesson for several years. But then I am slightly biased towards people having a teacher!


Pianist and piano teacher.
#1117447 - 09/14/08 06:32 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Chris, I just voted. So far it's 53% with teachers, 47% without so pretty even.


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#1117448 - 09/14/08 07:13 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Quote
Originally posted by Chris H.:
Glitzer, I bet you have seen a piano teacher. We are everywhere you know. wink
Yes, I guess I have and I probably should see one...

Quote
Originally posted by -Frycek:
So far it's 53% with teachers, 47% without so pretty even.
Probably it's too early to tell, but this came as a mild surprise to me at least (many posts here are oft the type "my teacher this", "my teacher that", so everybody seems to have one).


Beginner, started in Summer 2006, self-taught
#1117449 - 09/14/08 07:46 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Quote
Originally posted by Chris H.:
Glitzer, I bet you have seen a piano teacher. We are everywhere you know. wink

I am a little dissapointed that I can't see the results without voting. I can't vote because I would have to say that I am self taught at the moment having not had a lesson for several years. But then I am slightly biased towards people having a teacher!
I haven't had a lesson in about 40 years, but I immediately voted as "taught". wink

The reason is simple. I had lessons from age 8 through the end of my undergraduate degree. And I would have continued to study if I had had the money to do so.

To me self-taught means that you have never had lessons. Period.

I do understand why many people have reservations about lessons. I studied German on my own, with no help. I did finally take a course, about seven years later, but for me this was just review of what I alreayd knew. I examined how language was being taught in this area and was horrified, which is why I worked on my own. I read German fluently, by the way and get emails daily from people written entirely in German.

I think *anyone* who is learning piano is better of with a teacher IF s/he can find a good one who is good *fit". That's the problem though. For instance, many adults may be afraid that they will be immediately plugged into a system, and that system may be very rigid about things that are (initially) not of interest to some adults.


Piano Teacher
#1117450 - 09/14/08 10:13 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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No lessons for me. In addition, I never *taught* myself anything. I guess I qualify as a *hack*! wink

#1117451 - 09/14/08 10:35 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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My first three years were self-taught; the last two have been with a teacher. I don't take a lesson every week; lately it has been every three weeks.

I do know one thing, at least for me; a good teacher makes a difference. While there are some very good books we can use such as Faber and Celebration a good teacher can show us things we will not see otherwise, at least I would not. I began to see this after two years of working on my own.

As for finding a good teacher, that was not easy for me. I wanted someone who was flexible and reasonably priced. I asked every person I knew for over a month until I found one. My teacher plays organ for a church and also teaches at a small college.

My advice to all who venture into music, seek a guide, someone who has a lot of experience and can show you things you would not have seen without that person’s help, or maybe not as quickly without that person’s help.

In my case my teacher has helped me a lot with phrasing, at least that is what I need the most help with now.


"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon
#1117452 - 09/14/08 10:49 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Quote
Originally posted by Gary D.:
For instance, many adults may be afraid that they will be immediately plugged into a system, and that system may be very rigid about things that are (initially) not of interest to some adults.
I agree that teaching adults is different than children. The teacher must respect the adult student and lessons must become a collaboration between teacher and student.

On the other hand, there are those who truly desire to learn piano and have ambitious goals, but are equally adamant in their biases about what they will and won't try to reach those goals (whether it's scales, exercises, or graded repertory). I suspect that many of these folks struggle to reach their goals efficiently because they have trouble really putting themselves into the hands of a teacher.

Finding a good teacher is hard. Trusting a good teacher is often harder.

Just MHO.


Paul Buchanan
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#1117453 - 09/14/08 10:57 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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I've been getting sporadic piano lessons since I got back into music; I move around a lot, so I tend to get master classes when I can. But I had regular, intense, and serious piano lessons from the time I was 5 to the time I was 20 or so. My technique, hand position, posture, and all that are more or less set.

I am learning to play the theremin right now, without a teacher, and I am realizing just how hard it is to learn a musical instrument on one's own. I don't know if I'm acquiring any bad habits. I don't know if there are easier ways to do the things I'm struggling with. All I have to refer to are Youtube videos. It's not an efficient way to learn. And mind you, I don't have to worry about things like reading music or learning what an interval is. It would be so much harder if I were really starting from scratch.

#1117454 - 09/16/08 10:18 AM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Interesting thread…

I consider myself “self-taught”; however, I believe that there is no substitute for a good person-to-person teacher.

I also agree that, collectively, none of us can say we were totally “self-taught” and that somewhere along the way someone taught us something musically; if only watching someone else play and taking mental notes.

Fact is, I could use a good piano teacher laugh .

Take care,

Rickster


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#1117455 - 09/17/08 04:10 AM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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I am self taught in many areas - music, drawing, art appreciation, and physics. I never took a physics course in college and now I teach it. I learn well on my own and frankly get very nervous and anxious when I have to perform for a teacher. For me, having a teacher hanging over my head (my perception, not necessarily reality) takes a lot of the fun out of learning and puts the emphasis on preparing for someone else rather than doing it for me.

I do see how having a teacher can motivate people. Knowing that one is trying to meet the goals jointly set with a teacher can indeed help motivate. But I view this as external motivation i.e. "My teacher is going to get on me if I don't play this up to expectations on Saturday," or "I have a lesson coming up on Saturday and I must get better at XYZ piece before then." I'll also admit that I am so tight I squeak when I walk, so the money aspect of lessons is also a negative for me.

[edited for length, sorry!]


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#1117456 - 09/17/08 01:27 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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I agree with Rickster. There is no substitution for a good teacher. I self-taught for a few months but decided that I really needed someone for some good guidance. I have been taking lessons now for about 3 months and have no regrets. I have learned things that would have been difficult to pick up on my own.


MVB
#1117457 - 09/19/08 08:26 AM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Well, I spent the last 2 years of my life doing what I can with no teacher, and a very crappy keyboard.

I'm the type of person that is parinode that my teacher might not teach me "the way of the pros".

It wasn't untill a couple weeks ago that I finally admitted to my self, that I'm waisting more time figuring out how to teach my self then I would have with a poor teacher.

Why start at the bottom like keyboard players did in ancient times? Serious Piano Teachers aren't superficial or commercial, I learned this when I met one, (incredible player). these folks know how to teach piano, because they have what all amatures don't, experience, proper experience. They will guide you to the big picture.

I'm not saying go ahead and abide by every single order thhey give you. Because when it comes down to physical technique, I think there will always have to be some readjustment from person to person based on physical traits. They'll save you alot of time researching how to play certain forms, they'll up the learning rate of your improvisation skills plenty, and the pitfalls of alot of amatures (including myself), learning how to play fast; lets not forget all the little microdetails.

So I could have summed this up by simply saying something like, "getting a teacher will excell your learning rate, and without one, the chances of becoming pro are low.) But this teacher, Julian, he had me playing a burgmuller piece i've been struggling with in like 15 minutes. it would probably have taken me about 3 weeks total. So i got alot of respect for your serious piano teachers out there. And hopefully I'll be able to play with Julian if I go back to Puerto Rico. frown

#1117458 - 09/19/08 04:37 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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It took me 3-4 months to find a teacher and was self teaching during those months. Based on all the stuff I was doing wrong, I must say my instructor was an idiot... smile

#1117459 - 09/19/08 05:06 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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I tell students that lessons are a "team" thing.

In other words, no matter how much I know, I can't teach it to someone who is unwilling to listen and work. To succeed, I need good students.

So when I get a good student, even one who shows the potential for becoming good from the start, the student is just as important for me as I am for the student.

It's a matter of "fit". If you find one piano teacher in your whole life who is just right for you, you are lucky.

You will also find that those of us who truly love to teach have a few stand-out students, over a long time period, who make us smile when we just think about them. smile


Piano Teacher
#1117460 - 09/19/08 05:11 PM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Quote
Originally posted by Mark...:
It took me 3-4 months to find a teacher and was self teaching during those months. Based on all the stuff I was doing wrong, I must say my instructor was an idiot... smile
laugh Mark - not so harsh on that well-meaning, but inexperienced instructor - I'm sure his intentions were good and he was giving it his best shot - but, anyway you were probably not overpaying him - in fact you were more than likely paying him exactly what he was worth wink

Regards, JF


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#1117461 - 09/22/08 07:09 AM Re: Self Teaching vs Lessons [poll]  
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Another self-taught here!
I played guitar for a decade, and have been playing keyboard for the last 2-3 years.
A teacher will speed up the learning process for sure, but you know what they say, sometimes the journey itself is better than the destination.

Or should i say "the point of the journey is not to arrive"

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