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#2066661 - 04/18/13 05:24 PM to do or not to do  
Joined: Dec 2012
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adultpianist Offline
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adultpianist  Offline
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I have just started study for Grade 4. My teacher is already telling me I will pass.

She is then encouraging me to do Grade 5 and then said if I want to do Grade 6 then I have to think very carefully because I cannot do it without doing a theory class and I will have to bear in mind that it will mean attending two classes instead of one and the cost implications of paying double what I pay now. Can I spare the time and can I afford it.

It depends how badly I want to go on and take higher grades and what I intend to do afterwards with the qualification. I guess by that time I will be sufficiently qualifed to get a job in a restaurant or bar entertaining people as they eat and drink, after all.... I am spending an awful lot of money on these lessons and would like to put my progress to good use.

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#2066670 - 04/18/13 05:49 PM Re: to do or not to do [Re: adultpianist]  
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PianoHarry Offline
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PianoHarry  Offline
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Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
I guess it depends on how important the qualification is to you. If you plan on going to the conservatory you may need it to get in. Check.

You can become a wonderful pianist without a qualification.

I think it boils down to whether your interest isn academic or not.

#2066741 - 04/18/13 08:09 PM Re: to do or not to do [Re: PianoHarry]  
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malkin Offline
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If playing piano in a bar or restaurant is your goal, I imagine that potential employers will be more interested in a player's audition rather than a history of exams.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2066768 - 04/18/13 09:46 PM Re: to do or not to do [Re: adultpianist]  
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4evrBeginR Offline
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4evrBeginR  Offline
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California
Originally Posted by adultpianist
I am spending an awful lot of money on these lessons and would like to put my progress to good use.


Hopefully, you are joking here. This is possibly the worst reason for spending money on lessons or preparing for exams. Chances are, you would never recover the money or the time you spent on the piano no matter how many bars you play at. Learn to write a smartphone app. That has far better potential return on investment.


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
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#2066770 - 04/18/13 09:47 PM Re: to do or not to do [Re: adultpianist]  
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Whizbang Online content
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Whizbang  Online Content
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To reiterate what malkin is saying, the skill set for gigging is rather different from that which you acquire from a strictly classical program.

If your goal is to play for bars and restaurants, then you'll likely need to learn improvisation and lead-sheet based playing, with a focus on popular music, show tunes, and standards.


Whizbang [Linked Image]
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#2066848 - 04/19/13 01:25 AM Re: to do or not to do [Re: Whizbang]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Charles Cohen  Offline
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Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted by Whizbang
To reiterate what malkin is saying, the skill set for gigging is rather different from that which you acquire from a strictly classical program.

If your goal is to play for bars and restaurants, then you'll likely need to learn improvisation and lead-sheet based playing, with a focus on popular music, show tunes, and standards.


Yes -- and to do that, you may need the Grade 6 theory!

Pop and jazz (as I am finding out) is a whole different world from:

. . . "Here's the piece, with phrasing and dynamics -- just play the notes!"

Take a look at a book on jazz improvisation (I just got one by Tim Richards, they're in libraries), or check online for "How to play a lead sheet".

If you say "This is easy!", you might do OK without more theory.

If you say "Huh? What _is_ this stuff?", you'll need more theory.

. Charles

PS -- I don't teach.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
#2066858 - 04/19/13 01:51 AM Re: to do or not to do [Re: adultpianist]  
Joined: May 2012
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Bobpickle Offline

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Bobpickle  Offline

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Joined: May 2012
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Cameron Park, California
Who doesn't like theory!? Jazz theory is kind of a different game from what you'd study in a classical class (somewhat), but I think it's a bit more approachable from a beginner's perspective. Playing wise, though, it's far more difficult (at least starting out and getting to sound half-decent) than classical piano, or simply learning from the written page. I do feel from experience that it's easier to learn theory in a structured class setting than on your own, but you can always try and at least supplement with the latter.

See my thread here for a nice list of music theory resources (classical and jazz): http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1948785.html#Post1948785


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#2067076 - 04/19/13 11:35 AM Re: to do or not to do [Re: adultpianist]  
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peterws Offline
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peterws  Offline
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Northern England.
I`ve played in restaurants wi no qualifications; don`t let that bother you. You will need to be brat friendly and brat-parent friendly for that job. Restaurants were the places where the sophisticated and educated hung out. Mix in a few drug dealers - and their brood - and keep yer head down! (Don`t shoot the pianist, he`s doin` his best . . .)

Wasn`t always bad . . . I`m still here . .


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

"[Linked Image]"
#2067101 - 04/19/13 12:10 PM Re: to do or not to do [Re: adultpianist]  
Joined: Apr 2010
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Andy Platt Offline
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Andy Platt  Offline
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Virginia, USA
I took the music theory years(!!) ago so I could take grade 6 flute - and it was relatively simple with no special lessons. But I did take Music O level (that gives an idea how long ago) so it wasn't that tricky.

Anyway, for piano theory I don't take extra lessons. I use the Fundamentals of Piano Theory series and my teacher checks for a couple of minutes while I'm warming up.

ABRSM have some theory books of their own and I'm sure you could do something similar and not have to take additional lessons.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

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#2067198 - 04/19/13 03:51 PM Re: to do or not to do [Re: 4evrBeginR]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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adultpianist Offline
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adultpianist  Offline
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Originally Posted by 4evrBeginR
Originally Posted by adultpianist
I am spending an awful lot of money on these lessons and would like to put my progress to good use.


Hopefully, you are joking here. This is possibly the worst reason for spending money on lessons or preparing for exams. Chances are, you would never recover the money or the time you spent on the piano no matter how many bars you play at. Learn to write a smartphone app. That has far better potential return on investment.


No I am not joking. What I mean is.. I am paying for lessons. I could take the money I spend on lessons and buy clothes or go on trips abroad, but I decded to sacrfice spending money on other things for something I love, and that is playing and learning music/piano. My argument here is, whilst I am not aiming for a professional career as a pianist, and this is just a hobby, the better I become and the more skills I acquire, all the more reason to play for others rather than just using my skills as a means of de-stressing after a hard day at the office. What is the point of getting better when all you do is sit at home on your own and play to yourself. Yes, I am not going to be a professional, but I can play in a bar or a restaurant. I have a restaurant near my house and each Sunday afternoon there is a man who sits there from about 12.30 untl about 3pm and he sits in the corner and plays a variety of music mainly improvising. There is also a guy who plays a piano in a local clothes shop (a bit unusual I must admit). I was walking past the store and heard the piano and went in to see what it was about and they said they deliberately have a pianist playing to attract customers because they seem to hear the piano and go in. I admitted that I had not gone in had it not been for the fact that I heard the pianist and then you stand and listen to the pianist and then look round the store and hopefully buy something.

#2067393 - 04/20/13 12:19 AM Re: to do or not to do [Re: adultpianist]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3,597
Charles Cohen Offline
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Charles Cohen  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3,597
Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted by adultpianist
. . . Yes, I am not going to be a professional, but I can play in a bar or a restaurant. I have a restaurant near my house and each Sunday afternoon there is a man who sits there from about 12.30 untl about 3pm and he sits in the corner and plays a variety of music mainly improvising. There is also a guy who plays a piano in a local clothes shop (a bit unusual I must admit). I was walking past the store and heard the piano and went in to see what it was about and they said they deliberately have a pianist playing to attract customers because they seem to hear the piano and go in. I admitted that I had not gone in had it not been for the fact that I heard the pianist and then you stand and listen to the pianist and then look round the store and hopefully buy something.


1. If you're playing piano, and being paid for it, you are a professional.

2. Next time you see one of those pianists, offer to buy a beer (or coffee), and find out how he/she got the job. And what his/her background is.

That may be more helpful to you than our advice.

. Charles


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

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