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Is it too late? #1289436
10/18/09 06:00 PM
10/18/09 06:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3
J
jjvthree Offline OP
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jjvthree  Offline OP
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J

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3
Hey, I'm really worried. It's been a while since i've payed piano and i'm scared i've lost the abiity to be able to play like i want to. i've heard that after a certain age, you'll never attain the dexterity needed for some piano peices. If i had lessons from about age five to seven-ish, how long can i go without playing before i lose what natural talent and dexterity i had permanantly. thanks.

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Re: Is it too late? [Re: jjvthree] #1289440
10/18/09 06:09 PM
10/18/09 06:09 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 8,453
Horowitzian Offline
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Certainly, if a virtuoso technique is what you aspire to, you're probably late in the game starting even in your teens. Otherwise, I think you'll be surprised at what is possible under a good teacher. smile Go for it and don't worry about what people say. thumb

Last edited by Horowitzian; 10/18/09 06:11 PM. Reason: darn typos! :-)

Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
Re: Is it too late? [Re: jjvthree] #1289441
10/18/09 06:11 PM
10/18/09 06:11 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 728
South Carolina, USA
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wdot Offline
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Originally Posted by jjvthree
Hey, I'm really worried. It's been a while since i've payed piano and i'm scared i've lost the abiity to be able to play like i want to. i've heard that after a certain age, you'll never attain the dexterity needed for some piano peices. If i had lessons from about age five to seven-ish, how long can i go without playing before i lose what natural talent and dexterity i had permanantly. thanks.


How old are you? You're not likely to have developed much dexterity with wwo years of lessons during early childhood. Whatever natural talent you have is still there.

Stop worrying and start playing.

Re: Is it too late? [Re: wdot] #1289442
10/18/09 06:15 PM
10/18/09 06:15 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3
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jjvthree Offline OP
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jjvthree  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3
i'm gonna have to teach myself, as bad as that is, until we can afford lessons. i'm turning 15. i wish i could go back in time and kick little me for quitting...

Edit: and it was actually leaning towards three to four years of lessons... but whatever.

Last edited by jjvthree; 10/18/09 06:22 PM.
Re: Is it too late? [Re: jjvthree] #1289448
10/18/09 06:25 PM
10/18/09 06:25 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,187
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charleslang Offline
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If you're teaching yourself make sure you play evenly and have control of every note you play. It's common for self-teachers to play without as much control as others.

One way to help is to listen to other performances of pieces you're learning and also to listen to your own playing, recorded. It can sound/look different than you think it is. Also you can consult with others on this forum and get feedback. Do Hanon exercises, but those have to be done right as well in order to get independence of your fingers.

Really there is no substitute for a teacher but if it's not an alternative financially then these are a few ways to make it go better. Also, a teacher will give you constructive criticism while others are hesitant to criticize you, and so bad techniques are learned and kept too often.


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
Re: Is it too late? [Re: charleslang] #1289450
10/18/09 06:29 PM
10/18/09 06:29 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3
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jjvthree Offline OP
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jjvthree  Offline OP
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J

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3
Yeah, that's why i'm hesitaint to teach myself... i'm considering waiting, since we shoud be able to afford it soon (months) and i'd hate to pick up bad habits...

Re: Is it too late? [Re: jjvthree] #1289522
10/18/09 09:23 PM
10/18/09 09:23 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 294
Hacienda Heights, CA
Philip Lu Offline
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Philip Lu  Offline
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Posts: 294
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hmm... This scares me a bit. I've been self-teaching myself for the past two years because my parents won't hire a teacher for me. I hope I have enough control.


"Nie Dam Sie!"
Re: Is it too late? [Re: Philip Lu] #1289568
10/18/09 11:05 PM
10/18/09 11:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 228
Dreamaurora Offline
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Dreamaurora  Offline
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It's never too late. I started learning piano at 17 years old and I completed a full time undergraduate degree in piano performance by the time I am 26. As long you have the right motivation and a very good teacher you can still be quite accomplished. A word of advice, don't just grab the cheapest teacher you could find. Save up more money and find the most qualified and accomplished teachers you can find in the area. Good training cost a premium but you will appreciate it in the long run.

Re: Is it too late? [Re: Dreamaurora] #1289595
10/19/09 12:35 AM
10/19/09 12:35 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
keyboardklutz Offline
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London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Best advice Dreama!


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

Re: Is it too late? [Re: keyboardklutz] #1289719
10/19/09 08:30 AM
10/19/09 08:30 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,983
boston north
lilylady Offline
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boston north
I suggest going over to the Adult Beginners (RETURNERS) section of piano world and have a go at reading the archives there. Lots of returners - some beginners and some advanced and they will give you a lot of encouragment.

Although I thoroughly believe in having lessons, just to get yourself started again, if I were you, I'd have a go at it by myself first. Pick up some VERY EASY books and see if there are some things that you remember as you try out a few pieces. Teachers will be able to pick up where you have left off (with lots of reviewing)

Have fun!


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
Re: Is it too late? [Re: lilylady] #1289747
10/19/09 09:23 AM
10/19/09 09:23 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,990
Haverhill, Massachusetts
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John Citron Offline
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John Citron  Offline
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Haverhill, Massachusetts
I'm a fulltime freshman college and hopefully a piano performance major at the ripe old age of 48 going on 49. I had lessons from the time I was 7 until I graduated from high school, worked by myself for about 10 years, studied for about 10 years, then worked on my own until recently. The point I'm making is you can do what you want at any age. I was never a virtuoso player, and never aspired to be one. This is something that is in part your personality and your abilities.

Now I would suggest, as the others have here, that you seek out a good teacher as soon as possible. By all means don't rush out and find the cheapest one, or go for the first one you find. Ask around and interview the teacher just as he or she will interview you.

Now for a little bit of a warning regarding working on your own. At your beginning stages, you can build up some really bad habits that will never be broken no matter how hard you try later on. You develop them without realizing it. For some reason your brain and muscles will remember the wrong way of doing things well before the right way, and once they've been aquired you'll never get rid of them. I'm saying this from personal experience. Over the years I've built up a number of anomalies in my playing that need to be worked out. I've discovered them when it's too late to undo, and my teachers have pointed them out as well. You'll find that you'll be able to work on them while you study, but as soon as you stop, they'll come back again as though they were never vanquished.

The other thing too is in the beginning you really can hurt yourself physically. If you go about a finger exercise for example the wrong way, you can injure your tendons or muscles by twisting, or end up building up stiffness, so that you'll never be able to play properly even if you study with someone. This is something to consider, particularly if you are considering a music career later on. You don't want to break the mold before everything is formed.

John

ps. Hi Lilly Lady! How as the trip to Cape Cod? I was too busy with mid-term studying, piano practice, and projects to get down there.

Last edited by John Citron; 10/19/09 09:25 AM. Reason: reworded something.

Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
Re: Is it too late? [Re: John Citron] #1289787
10/19/09 10:29 AM
10/19/09 10:29 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,687
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Posts: 1,687
There are some piano teachers who have good heart.
If you really show the desire to learn, you may be able to get free lesson (Once in a while from them).
It is better than not having taught at all. For example, you can get a lesson once a month. The teacher will show you what to do.

Gather your courage and send letters to teachers whom you know.... One of them, for sure, will take you.

Last edited by RonaldSteinway; 10/19/09 10:29 AM.
Re: Is it too late? [Re: jjvthree] #1290014
10/19/09 04:29 PM
10/19/09 04:29 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 204
L
Ludwig van Bilge Offline
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Posts: 204
Originally Posted by jjvthree
i'm turning 15.

Listen to you. You're 15 and you're wondering if you're too old to play piano?

Forty or fifty years from now you'll look back and shake your head & laugh that you could have asked such a question. And by then you'll be a pretty good pianist if you stay with it.

How I wish I started at 15.

Re: Is it too late? [Re: jjvthree] #1290071
10/19/09 06:16 PM
10/19/09 06:16 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,941
Australia
Canonie Offline
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Canonie  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,941
Australia
Originally Posted by jjvthree
Hey, I'm really worried. It's been a while since i've payed piano and i'm scared i've lost the abiity to be able to play like i want to. i've heard that after a certain age, you'll never attain the dexterity needed for some piano peices. If i had lessons from about age five to seven-ish, how long can i go without playing before i lose what natural talent and dexterity i had permanantly. thanks.


Hey jjvthree
I reckon that those 4 early years are going to be very useful for picking up piano again. Those patterns and sounds are in there somewhere. You're only 15 and you have had early exposure. If you're determined, there is an exciting musical journey ahead of you.

If it's only a few months until you get a teacher, I don't see any harm in trying to remember old pieces, read some pieces, play by ear, copy pieces on youtube. Then when you start with a teacher you will move faster and appreciate the difference. The student of mine who made fastest progress to "Willy Nilly" (a watershed piece, very popular in my school) was a 13 year old who had done a few months of trying things out on her own. And that really seemed to help both her learning speed and determination. Each week her hands/arms etc move towards more piano fluency and a nice set up.

HOpe you get a great teacher, and good luck old man

canonie


[Linked Image]
Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.
Re: Is it too late? [Re: Canonie] #1290205
10/19/09 09:21 PM
10/19/09 09:21 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 281
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PartyPianist Offline
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 281
No time is too early and no time is too late. The "stiffening" of the fingers is an old wive's tale. Providing you are thorough with perscribed technical exercises your fingers will strengthen.

Treat piano training as a discovery tour. Once you are sure discovery offers no value, that is the end of that journey.


You play it & I'll hum it, but currently rehearsing:

Bach WTC book 2 no 15 G major, no 20 A minor, no 22 Bb Minor
Mozart A minor Sonata K310
Mendelssohn Op 35 preludes and fuges
Busoni Carmen Fantasy
Rachmaninov Bb prelude OP 23 no 2
Lyapunov Humoreske Op 34
and others
Re: Is it too late? [Re: PartyPianist] #1290572
10/20/09 12:52 PM
10/20/09 12:52 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,266
Ohio, US
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Little_Blue_Engine  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,266
Ohio, US
Originally Posted by PartyPianist
No time is too early and no time is too late. The "stiffening" of the fingers is an old wive's tale. Providing you are thorough with perscribed technical exercises your fingers will strengthen.

Treat piano training as a discovery tour. Once you are sure discovery offers no value, that is the end of that journey.

I started teaching myself a about two years ago and though I don't play very many things well yet, my hands now move in ways I never thought possible two years ago. When I started I couldn't reach a whole octave.


I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: Is it too late? [Re: Little_Blue_Engine] #1290837
10/20/09 07:00 PM
10/20/09 07:00 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 3
R
RSetiawan Offline
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Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 3
I used to learn to play piano by myself for years.
However, two years ago, I made a decision to learn from a piano teacher, and I happened to find a great one who was willing to teach me. I started with Mozart Sonata K330. It took awhile to finish that piece. Even after I finished that piece, I still did not play well. I was ready to give up, because I sounded horrible. But I did not quit. Now after two years, I was often impressed by what my fingers can do. So please do not give up....


Scarlatti Sonata L33
Beethoven Sonata "Pathetique"
Chopin Etude Op. 25 No.2
Chopin Waltz Op. 64 No.2
Bach WTC Bk1 No. 21
Re: Is it too late? [Re: RSetiawan] #1293192
10/24/09 11:19 PM
10/24/09 11:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4
Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A.
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Thorguy Offline
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Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A.
I came out of a very similar situation to yours. I'm sixteen now, and also took lessons for several years as a kid, but only picked it back up again about two years ago. I learned without a teacher for six months or so, most of which I spent learning Clair de Lune (which was way above my skill level at the time). It's been about a year and a half since I started working with a teacher again, and I've been very pleased with my progress; now I'm playing Clair de Lune again (the right way this time), Rachmanninov's Prelude in C# minor, and the D minor prelude and fugue from the WTC 1.

The moral of the story is: It's definitely not too late. Compared to my friends who took piano since they were kids and never stopped, I'm definitely behind, simply because they've got 8 years to my 5. However, I think I perhaps maybe I have a greater appreciation for the instrument than some of them, because playing piano was a very conscious choice for me, rather than something I do just because I've always done it.

As for what you should do now: Definitely get a teacher ASAP. But don't be afraid of playing in the meantime. You can find pieces that are a good level for by looking at a document like this: Graded Pieces; you'd probably be about level 4 or 5. Then you can find sheet music on IMSLP.

Just be careful. Don't try and play really fast pieces or technical exercises; especially stay away from Hanon or other things like that. A good thing you can do for your technique, though, is to learn your major and minor scales; you can get information about that here: Scales

Sorry, I know I just threw a lot at you. I hope some of it is helpful.

Re: Is it too late? [Re: jjvthree] #1293692
10/25/09 09:22 PM
10/25/09 09:22 PM
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drcha Offline
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I'm an amateur, so maybe not the best example. But I did stop playing for about 25 years (age 20-45), then started up again in earnest. I practice about 1-2 hours a day. So, it took me about a year to get back to where I was at age 20. Now after seven years I have advanced far beyond that stage, under a great teacher. I can play things, and play them well, that I never thought I would even be able to attempt in my lifetime. So I do not think that age is really a factor, as long as one is not so old as to have started developing dementia or other cognitive problems. I also went back to school, midlife, in statistics, and completed a masters degree in that. In my opinion, the age card can sometimes become an excuse. If you are motivated and healthy, there is no reason why you cannot learn and improve, and certainly, play like you used to. Of course, it depends what you want to accomplish. Another poster mentioned the need to have started very early if you want a high-powered professional performance career, and I think there may be some truth to this.


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