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#2139610 - 08/27/13 11:04 AM Let's learn together  
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 7
fingersport Offline
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fingersport  Offline
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Sydney, Australia
Hi,

I am a mother of two kids under 7yrs who took up piano lessons three years ago when my eldest daughter started. First 2 levels flew by and now I am doing AMEB year 3 exams this November. My daughter is doing her year 2 exams. Son will be doing preliminary.

Now my mind keeps on procrastinating when it comes to practising. My daughter loves piano and I struggle to get her off the instrument but I fear that my inertia is setting a bad example for the kids.

Learning piano as an adult can be quite lonely, even though I am doing it with my kids. My husband doesn't get why I am doing this and I feel quite embarrassed at the piano recitals. Most of the other adult piano players I know are proficient and unfortunately I am not yet. I takes me a fortnight to learn a new piece and the pieces are getting harder. If only there was another adult piano learner in my area to motivate me... I don't know how I am progressing compared to other adult learners.

I thought it might be a good idea to share my current works on this forum as I achieve them, if for no other reason than to motivate me to practise more and chronicle my own progress. Currently, I am working on The Flower Duet by Leo Delibes. Struggling to stretch my fingerspan which only just reaches an octave (I have small Asian hands). Any suggestions for increasing span length or agility?

Would love to read/hear what pieces you are currently working on.

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#2139630 - 08/27/13 11:32 AM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 540
adultpianist Offline
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adultpianist  Offline
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Originally Posted by fingersport
Hi,

I am a mother of two kids under 7yrs who took up piano lessons three years ago when my eldest daughter started. First 2 levels flew by and now I am doing AMEB year 3 exams this November. My daughter is doing her year 2 exams. Son will be doing preliminary.

Now my mind keeps on procrastinating when it comes to practising. My daughter loves piano and I struggle to get her off the instrument but I fear that my inertia is setting a bad example for the kids.

Learning piano as an adult can be quite lonely, even though I am doing it with my kids. My husband doesn't get why I am doing this and I feel quite embarrassed at the piano recitals. Most of the other adult piano players I know are proficient and unfortunately I am not yet. I takes me a fortnight to learn a new piece and the pieces are getting harder. If only there was another adult piano learner in my area to motivate me... I don't know how I am progressing compared to other adult learners.

I thought it might be a good idea to share my current works on this forum as I achieve them, if for no other reason than to motivate me to practise more and chronicle my own progress. Currently, I am working on The Flower Duet by Leo Delibes. Struggling to stretch my fingerspan which only just reaches an octave (I have small Asian hands). Any suggestions for increasing span length or agility?

Would love to read/hear what pieces you are currently working on.


I am also an adult learner. There is no right way to progress. We all progress at our own pace. My pieces are getting harder and take longer to learn but I love piano and never procrastinate. Why are you procrastinating?

#2139633 - 08/27/13 11:44 AM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Jun 2011
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PianoStudent88 Offline
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fingersport, have you been taught how to practice? As your pieces get longer and more advanced, it becomes more and more important to have other and better strategies than playing through the whole piece over and over. If you haven't been taught how to practice, you may be procrastinating because you're not seeing progress on your pieces. Let us know if you'd like ideas about practicing and learning longer pieces.

Also it sounds like you might be looking for some ways to stay motivated when you're no longer getting the immediate gratification of a piece learned every week.

Balancing piano time with your daughter: can you schedule a daily time "this is mommy's time to practice"? Can you help your daughter with ideas of other fun things to do instead of piano while mommy is practicing?


Piano Career Academy - Ilinca Vartic teaches the Russian school of piano playing
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#2139654 - 08/27/13 12:39 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Dec 2009
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CarlosCC Offline
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Hi fingersport and welcome to PW. You're in great company, here!

First of all: Congratulations for having a family of pianists!

I agree with PianoStudent88: try to arrange a schedule for you and your daughter to practice piano. Agree on what you both think is reasonable and then try to fulfill what was agreed.

Don't feel embarrassed at the piano recitals. I'm sure you play better that the majority of the listeners. And you don't have to prove nothing to anyone; the important is to enjoy your playing so, relax, and enjoy the journey.



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#2139655 - 08/27/13 12:46 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Jan 2012
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Peter K. Mose  Offline
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Toronto, Ontario
In a major city like Sydney, there are easily hundreds of late-beginner adult pianists just like you. Questioning themselves, feeling frustrated or even embarrassed about pursuing the piano, and yet still taking lessons. Still making music.

Ask your teacher if she can connect you with an informal group of adult learners. Organize a "scaredy-cat" recital this fall, with no outside attendees welcome besides you piano players.

Or just get together for coffee and chat about the piano. No teachers allowed, only adult students.

It may also be time for a different piano teacher for you, someone more attuned. Australia is a famous country for adult education, so maybe you can find a lead through an adult ed program at a university, instead of through the piano teacher grapevine.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 08/27/13 12:48 PM.
#2139656 - 08/27/13 12:49 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 173
Major Major Offline
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Hi fingersport,

If you are struggling with fingerspan and want to increase agility I offer the following suggestion that has been a game changer for me:

Get a copy of "What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body" by Thomas Mark (I got mine from Amazon). It was reccomened to me by a friend who ia a Professor of Music and I think you would find the information very helpful as well. I can't tell you how much benefit I have derived from learning the material in this book.

I discovered many new things including a different method of playing octaves and arpeggios based on the proper "mapping" of the hand, wrist, forearm, etc. It seems that some of the older methods and exercises (especially streching ones) may actually do more harm than good so the book is a very worthwhile investment. Once I understood the actual body mechanics of playing the different methods made sense. I now avoid any type of stretching and substitute other methods described in the book.

It took a while to get used to the new movements but the difference is amazing and well worth the effort to retrain myself. The bit of soreness I used to experience is gone. My reach and speed has increased without stress or discomfort. Of course, as with all things piano, it takes time to break some old habits and learn some new "tricks". Some of the movements even felt a bit awkward at first but that soon passed.

BTW, I too experience the lonely journey since my wife is not interested in my pursuit of the piano and we do not have family living in our area. I thought of trying to start and adult piano group through Craigs List but most folks are afraid to get involved with strangers. I think playing in the presence of others is an important aspect of becoming proficient but performing with young students is not an adult's cup of tea. Recording your playing for submission to on line recitals is just not the same as having a live audience.





[i][/i]

Last edited by PianoismyScrip; 08/27/13 12:50 PM.
#2139657 - 08/27/13 12:53 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Sep 2006
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jotur Offline
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Hi, fingersport - welcome to PW ABF - it's definitely motivating to have others to talk with.

As for small hands, don't worry about it. Many of us do. When I started back after 35+ years I couldn't reach an octave in either hand. I still can't reach more than that, but my left hand is mostly comfortable with an octave and my right hand is getting there. It will come naturally as you play more. The real thing is to not over do it so that you end up with tendinitis or something. Your teacher will assign pieces as you go that gradually help you do more.

In the mean time - there's the MOYD thread here (Master of Your Domain) if you want to commit to practising every day (I don't - it's just not the way I work, but many people find it fun), and the Achievement of the week thread, in which we celebrate what we've done (you'll see when you read it that that is a wide variety of achievements), FOYD (focus on your domain) where we discuss goals in both the short and long term, and a couple of how-we-practise and how-we-learn threads that have a lot of info on practising techniques. Don't get overwhelmed with all of the options!

I like the suggestion above that you and your daughter set a mutual goal of practice time - it's like having a practice buddy the way that people have exercise buddies, or students have study buddies. It's been proven to be effective.

But whatever options you choose, you've come to the right place. We're all in this together.

Cathy


Cathy
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Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous
#2139679 - 08/27/13 02:27 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: May 2013
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carolinagirl Offline
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I feel many of the same things that you do. I am an adult learner, although not nearly as far along as you are. I do have a teacher, but most of her other students are children and older teens, and I am a grandmother. My husband has no interest in the piano, and I practice with headphones on....sort of isolated from the rest of the world. I will not take part in a recital because I would be too embarrassed to be the only adult playing. So I go to my weekly lessons, and play every day whenever my daily life permits. I am looking forward to the day that I feel like I play well enough to play for friends and family. Until then....it's very lonely. But also very peaceful and relaxing and I am good with that.


Yamaha CLP 440 Delivered on April 16 2013
Started playing piano April 16 2013
#2139822 - 08/27/13 07:26 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: PianoStudent88]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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adultpianist Offline
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
fingersport, have you been taught how to practice? As your pieces get longer and more advanced, it becomes more and more important to have other and better strategies than playing through the whole piece over and over. If you haven't been taught how to practice, you may be procrastinating because you're not seeing progress on your pieces. Let us know if you'd like ideas about practicing and learning longer pieces.

Also it sounds like you might be looking for some ways to stay motivated when you're no longer getting the immediate gratification of a piece learned every week.

Balancing piano time with your daughter: can you schedule a daily time "this is mommy's time to practice"? Can you help your daughter with ideas of other fun things to do instead of piano while mommy is practicing?


I have never been taught how to practice, but I am intelligent enough to work that out for myself. To cite an example of what I mean. I go to a music school, so we take all the school holidays. I am working towards my Grade 4 ABRSM. Before we broke up for the summer break, I had only done one out of the three pieces for the exam. My teacher briefly went through the second piece and told me to work at it at home. It was a two page piece and she said it would be quite technical. I sat down and tried the first page. I tried it bar by bar so I tried two bars, then another two bars and then I played the first page from beginning to end until I was satisfied that it was correct. I had to do a lot of double notes, holding notes etc. I think I must have played it over and over but refused to move onto the second page until I had got the first page right. Then I did the same with the second page and then tried the whole piece playing both pages. I made notes as I went along to track my progress and which bits I found the most difficult and how I went about dealing with them so I will take those notes back to my teacher and show her and she can see that I have not wasted my time and had seriously worked on this piece. I would be interested to find out if she agrees with my method of practice or not, but at the end of the day, it worked for me and now I can play this fairly technical piece easily.

#2139826 - 08/27/13 07:35 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
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Brian K. Offline
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Brian K.  Offline
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As far as practicing piano being embarrassing, maybe pick up a digital piano so you can practice with headphones. You go into your own little world, and you come some time later knowing a nice, new perfected piece! No one needs to know the work involved in how you got there (the "embarrassing" part). I also feel a little embarrassed going over a certain thing over and over and over... I'd hate not having the headphone option.

As far as your husband is concerned... Well, why is he NOT trying to learn new skills? IMO, learning the piano is just another of several skills that I'm working on in life. It's on of my favorite addiction/obsessions!


My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race" and make a living from your passions. I now play guitar for a living at night and learn piano during the day!

http://www.musicianlifestyle.com
#2139827 - 08/27/13 07:40 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
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PianoStudent88 Offline
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adultpianist, congratulations on finding a practice method that works for you. Some people aren't so fortunate as to figure this out on their own, and I don't think it's because of a lack of intelligence.


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Theta Music Trainer - fun ear training games
#2139870 - 08/27/13 09:31 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: PianoStudent88]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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adultpianist Offline
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adultpianist  Offline
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
adultpianist, congratulations on finding a practice method that works for you. Some people aren't so fortunate as to figure this out on their own, and I don't think it's because of a lack of intelligence.


Thank you. I have to struggle at what I do. But the end results are worth it. I read an article interview and a musician was asked who their greatest influence was so I thought I would ask myself that and came up with the pianist Helene Grimaud. She is a natual which was evient when she was young. I found this clip of her descibing diferent ways of playing a piece and her extraordinary depth of technical knowledge of the piece and the score. She cannot be more than about 15 in this clip

http://youtu.be/LjBo2oFIpiE



#2139878 - 08/27/13 09:45 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Mar 2013
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earlofmar Online content
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Welcome to the forum fingersport, you are definitely not alone in your worries. I think we all alternate between highs and lows with this instrument and it is such a personal journey it is difficult not to feel alone. However a fortnight to learn a new piece is not slow. I would maybe learn the notes of a piece in a week if I am motivated but then take anything up to two months to get it to a recital standard. Chronicling your experiences in a diary is something I do and find quite useful. Reading back every now and again will give you a surprise how far you have come and helps motivation for the future.



Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2139882 - 08/27/13 09:51 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
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PianoStudent88 Offline
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Thank you for that video, adultpianist. It is marvelous. And then at the end Gil Shaham shows up for a cameo!


Piano Career Academy - Ilinca Vartic teaches the Russian school of piano playing
Musical-U - guidance for increasing musicality
Theta Music Trainer - fun ear training games
#2139885 - 08/27/13 10:03 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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adultpianist Offline
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
Thank you for that video, adultpianist. It is marvelous. And then at the end Gil Shaham shows up for a cameo!


Helene is marvelous. A good ambasador to the music world.

#2139909 - 08/27/13 10:54 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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Whizbang Online content
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Whizbang  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
In a major city like Sydney, there are easily hundreds of late-beginner adult pianists just like you. Questioning themselves, feeling frustrated or even embarrassed about pursuing the piano, and yet still taking lessons. Still making music.


As someone who is still studying piano after many years, I can say that these feelings are still quite familiar to me.


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#2139916 - 08/27/13 11:09 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Nov 2011
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fingersport Offline
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Sydney, Australia
Thanks so much for your encouraging replies. I will definitely be picking up a coy of Thomas Mark's book. As for procrastinating, I don't know why it happens. So many valid reasons for doing other things (I do a lot of volunteer work at the local school, write grant applications, pro bono translation activities, help the bandmaster teach keyboard and recorder, have two young kids of my own, juggle part time work as a pharmacist etc etc). Too many balls in the air and loathe to drop any of them but never been a problem to find practise time until recently. Probably I can trace it back to the time I had a mental blank playing Moonlight at a music recital. I was the only adult playing along with infants and high school kids. After two attempts I couldn't play past the first few bars and had stupidly forgotten the sheet music at home. It was a humiliating moment. Since then I have had this fear of recitals and failure.
I have asked my piano teacher to link me up with her other adult students but so far noone has contacted me. I have very effective methods for practising, that is not the problem. Not sure why this rut. Piano playing is so relaxing and gives me joy regardless of the sound I produce but lately it doesn't have the magnetic pull to compel me as before. I need a kick. My teacher come back from her travels this week so hopefully she will shake me out of my inertia. Sorry for bad grammar, writing on iphone screen is hard to do.

#2139964 - 08/28/13 01:20 AM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
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Michael_99 Offline
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fingersport, I have read your post, here:

re let's learn together

I am a mother of two kids under 7yrs who took up piano lessons three years ago when my eldest daughter started. First 2 levels flew by and now I am doing AMEB year 3 exams this November. My daughter is doing her year 2 exams. Son will be doing preliminary.

Now my mind keeps on procrastinating when it comes to practising. My daughter loves piano and I struggle to get her off the instrument but I fear that my inertia is setting a bad example for the kids.

Learning piano as an adult can be quite lonely, even though I am doing it with my kids. My husband doesn't get why I am doing this and I feel quite embarrassed at the piano recitals. Most of the other adult piano players I know are proficient and unfortunately I am not yet. I takes me a fortnight to learn a new piece and the pieces are getting harder. If only there was another adult piano learner in my area to motivate me... I don't know how I am progressing compared to other adult learners.

I thought it might be a good idea to share my current works on this forum as I achieve them, if for no other reason than to motivate me to practise more and chronicle my own progress. Currently, I am working on The Flower Duet by Leo Delibes. Struggling to stretch my fingerspan which only just reaches an octave (I have small Asian hands). Any suggestions for increasing span length or agility?

Would love to read/hear what pieces you are currently working on.

______________________________________________________________________________

as I understand your post, fingersport, you mention a lot of things including procrastinating when it comes to practicing.

As a beginner piano player, your posting is very interesting.

When I was about 23, I taught a course to adults at night school. Every fall when the course was started and lasted two years, there would be 40 or more students of all ages and backgrounds. I would start off by telling the students that it was a boring course, that if they had loved ones, they would be upset and probably leave or want a divorce because the course is very demanding and - probably most people could do it, but by Christmas half the students will be gone and in two years only 1 to 3 students would have finished the course and would get a very good paying job. But the problem is that it is very boring and requires commitment of time and energy. I would tell them that if they typed or played the piano, their chance of completing the course was very good, not because they typed or played the piano, but they are the kind of people that will not quit no matter what the course demands. They have the commitment and the drive that is necessary.


When you say, fingersport, I am a mother of two kids under 7yrs who took up piano lessons three years ago when my eldest daughter started. First 2 levels flew by and now I am doing AMEB year 3 exams this November. My daughter is doing her year 2 exams. Son will be doing preliminary.

It is important to know that age is not a factor. I am 64 and no different than any student of any age. But what is key is that you have to be rested, relaxed and focused. If you are caring for a husband, and children and trying to squeeze in your needs, too, it can be very demanding.

When you say, fingersport, Now my mind keeps on procrastinating when it comes to practising. My daughter loves piano and I struggle to get her off the instrument but I fear that my inertia is setting a bad example for the kids.

What is awesome is you gave an example of one who is as I described when you say "my daughter loves the piano and I struggle to get her off the instrument."

When you say, fingersport, that you fear that my inertia is setting a bad example for the kids.

LOVE is very powerful and no one of any age will be distracted by anyone including a parent for what the parent does or doesn't do.


When you say, fingersport, Learning piano as an adult can be quite lonely, even though I am doing it with my kids.

Yes, sitting on a piano bench can be lonely - be you a child or an adult - but, if like me - it is not lonely because I have a piano and since playing the piano is all about playing with the heart and listen with your ears, I am never lonely because like your daughter, she loves playing the piano because it gives her such joy.

When you say, fingersport, My husband doesn't get why I am doing this and I feel quite embarrassed at the piano recitals. Most of the other adult piano players I know are proficient and unfortunately I am not yet. I takes me a fortnight to learn a new piece and the pieces are getting harder. If only there was another adult piano learner in my area to motivate me... I don't know how I am progressing compared to other adult learners.

Let me pause for a moment. The students used to asked me how can you manage to do the job meaning that it was difficult, etc. I would tell the students as I would tell you now about piano - that by the time you have spent - in the case of piano playing - at least 10 years working hard - that believe me you will by that time - and working hard - be able to handle any piano problem that comes along. The magic is that motivation comes from within. You daughter has it; you can see it in the way she "wants" to play the piano. The piano experience is a personal journey and cannot be compared to others. Your journey, is yours alone.


when you say, fingersport, I thought it might be a good idea to share my current works on this forum as I achieve them, if for no other reason than to motivate me to practise more and chronicle my own progress.

I am only a beginner so you will be guided by more advanced piano players who have greater knowledge and vast experience.

But for me as a beginner, I play the pieces I have learned often because even though they are only simple pieces of 4 measures of music, with my heart and my ears, they can be so beautiful to play and hear even though they are nothing - not famous - you alone can make them sound so awesome if you play musically and with care.


When you say, fingersport, Currently, I am working on The Flower Duet by Leo Delibes. Struggling to stretch my fingerspan which only just reaches an octave (I have small Asian hands). Any suggestions for increasing span length or agility?

I have been playing only 2 years and I can reach an octave, but none of the music I play as of yet has required me to play an octave reach. I know that I read a famous composer who tried to make a device to stretch his hands/fingers and destroyed his ability to play the piano. You have to be kind to your hands and not to hurt them.


when you say, fingersport, Would love to read/hear what pieces you are currently working on.

I would humbly suggest You would probably not love to read/hear what pieces I am currently working on.

Here are some of them:
Fletcher
here we go
the flyer
the boatman
off to the circus
tiger hunt

John Thompson book 1
Music Land
runaway river
the traffic cop
swans on the lake
lightly row

John Thompson book 2
In the Alps
On Yonder Rock Reclining
Country Gardens

In closing, don't give up, do what you can when you can and always be relaxed and enjoy the journey.

3G27DLTABF

#2140012 - 08/28/13 03:09 AM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: May 2012
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Bobpickle Offline

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Bobpickle  Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Joined: May 2012
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Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted by fingersport
Any suggestions for increasing span length or agility?


Increasing interval span length is possible, but don't count on it happening soon (http://www.jeff-brent.com/Lessons/lh10ths.html). You should learn to adjust music where necessary to accommodate your hands (even this really doesn't need to be done often).

Do you like to read? There's a really good book by famous piano teacher and former teacher Seymour Bernstein that I think you'd enjoy - and that addresses a lot of your questions/concerns - called With Your Own Two Hands: Self-Discovery Through Music.


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#2140053 - 08/28/13 05:33 AM Re: Let's learn together [Re: Bobpickle]  
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adultpianist Offline
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 540
I feel I am alone here because from reading the various responses, other people have procrastinated. I do not wish to blow my own trumpet but I have never procrastinated. I have never had a can't be bothered attiude. Yes I get tired with what life brings me, but I still manage to tinker my keys with joy and enthusiasm

Last edited by adultpianist; 08/28/13 05:33 AM.
#2140369 - 08/28/13 06:12 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 18
Ivory Ticklynn Offline
Junior Member
Ivory Ticklynn  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 18
Cudahy, Wisconsin
error post

Last edited by Violette; 08/28/13 06:15 PM.

I'm no Liberace, but I do live about a mile from the bar where he used to ride the bus to and play.
#2140370 - 08/28/13 06:14 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 18
Ivory Ticklynn Offline
Junior Member
Ivory Ticklynn  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 18
Cudahy, Wisconsin
Fingersport, have you considered that you might prefer a different instrument than the piano? That could be a Blasphemous statement on this forum, I know. But if I were to take up the cello, I think I'd procrastinate. Though I'm sure I'd find it somewhat enjoyable, the cello is not my thing. Maybe piano is not your thing.

It takes you a fortnight to learn a piece? I'm jealous. Often takes me longer to get it to where it sounds good.

Sometimes I wish I could be a little more lonely. I practice at a community center where everybody within ear shot of the big room with the pool tables and piano can hear me.

Thanks for the book suggestions that appeared here.


I'm no Liberace, but I do live about a mile from the bar where he used to ride the bus to and play.
#2140419 - 08/28/13 07:39 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 5
TwinkleStarLimbo Offline
Junior Member
TwinkleStarLimbo  Offline
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Joined: May 2012
Posts: 5
Colorado
Another adult learner here... Been at it for about two years. Progress at times is miraculous and other times is painstakingly slow (mostly due to health issues and frequent hospitalizations).

And luckily, my better half is a saint. After 3 months of lessons, my teacher put the full version of Fur Elise in front of me and begun the long, laborious, tedious, horrendously painfully slow learning process of that piece (it was my first piece of "real" music as she puts it. Although I do play on a digital piano, my better half prefers I practice in the evenings when he goes to bed so that he can go to sleep to my *ahem, cough, gag, choke* music... lol He put up with that darned piece for almost a year before it was polished. To this day, he still likes it when I play at his bedtime.

As far as how you are progressing compared to others, I've learned we all learn at different rates. I learn relatively quickly because I generally practice 2 to 3 hours a day. Then there are those times where I can't seem to make any progress for a couple of months then suddenly make leaps and bounds out of nowhere.

My point being, don't compare yourself other people because everybody's situations and innate abilities are different coming into the piano lessons. Just have the perseverance to continue no matter what and remember all those years when you wished you could play the piano but didn't. Then remember how *well* you played at 6 months and compare that to how you play now.. I guarantee you will have a smile on your face thinking about that.

I, too, have small hands and can comfortably reach an octave and really stretch to reach a 9th. Somestimes it is easier to play an octave with fingers 1 and 4 than with 1 and 5, just something I do. Also, your teacher can teach you a few tricks for those stretches beyond.

Currently, I am working on the following pieces:

- Bach: Invention #8
- Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
- Clementi: Sonatina in C Major
- Chopin Grand Valse Brilliante #1, Op. 18
- Chopin: Andante Spianato

- Hatch: Petula Clark's "Downtown"



#2140432 - 08/28/13 08:25 PM Re: Let's learn together [Re: TwinkleStarLimbo]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 540
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member
adultpianist  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 540
Originally Posted by TwinkleStarLimbo
Another adult learner here... Been at it for about two years. Progress at times is miraculous and other times is painstakingly slow (mostly due to health issues and frequent hospitalizations).

And luckily, my better half is a saint. After 3 months of lessons, my teacher put the full version of Fur Elise in front of me and begun the long, laborious, tedious, horrendously painfully slow learning process of that piece (it was my first piece of "real" music as she puts it. Although I do play on a digital piano, my better half prefers I practice in the evenings when he goes to bed so that he can go to sleep to my *ahem, cough, gag, choke* music... lol He put up with that darned piece for almost a year before it was polished. To this day, he still likes it when I play at his bedtime.

As far as how you are progressing compared to others, I've learned we all learn at different rates. I learn relatively quickly because I generally practice 2 to 3 hours a day. Then there are those times where I can't seem to make any progress for a couple of months then suddenly make leaps and bounds out of nowhere.

My point being, don't compare yourself other people because everybody's situations and innate abilities are different coming into the piano lessons. Just have the perseverance to continue no matter what and remember all those years when you wished you could play the piano but didn't. Then remember how *well* you played at 6 months and compare that to how you play now.. I guarantee you will have a smile on your face thinking about that.

I, too, have small hands and can comfortably reach an octave and really stretch to reach a 9th. Somestimes it is easier to play an octave with fingers 1 and 4 than with 1 and 5, just something I do. Also, your teacher can teach you a few tricks for those stretches beyond.

Currently, I am working on the following pieces:

- Bach: Invention #8
- Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
- Clementi: Sonatina in C Major
- Chopin Grand Valse Brilliante #1, Op. 18
- Chopin: Andante Spianato

- Hatch: Petula Clark's "Downtown"




I compare myself to other people becaue I often think to myself... if they can do it, so can I. That is what keeps me going.

#2143362 - 09/03/13 10:29 AM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 7
fingersport Offline
Junior Member
fingersport  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 7
Sydney, Australia
Hello again my piano playing friends. I have been practicing for a hour each day since my last post. Thank you so much for your encouraging comments, especially to Michael. My Flower Duet is progressing along nicely though I struggle with the octaves in it. Can only manage an octave at full stretch and my fingers feel taut afterwards. Not sure if I'm doing some damage to my hands. I too like to practice at night when my husband and kids are in bed. Our house is quite large so I can practice at full volume on my upright knowing that they are not likely to be disturbed by it in their rooms. I like to turn the lights off except for a nearby chandelier and then it is just me, my piano and the night.

TwinkleStar, I remember learning Fur Elise for months and months. I play it every few weeks still. I make a point of playing my repertoire over and over as I do not wish to forget anything that was so hard fought to learn in the first instance.

Piano is my love though I have been teaching myself the flute for the last month. Flute is surprisingly similar to the recorder and not difficult to learn at a beginner level once you have practiced your embouchure. I took up the flute to help the bandmaster teach the primary students and also to teach my daughter a band instrument. She is still too small to hold a flute so I will probably introduce her to it in another 2 years. I love the sound and craftsmanship of musical instruments and my hope is to be able to play Flower Duet on two flutes and one piano with some of the band students.

In between the Flower Duet, I have been teaching myself Inspector Gadget and My Favourite Things as my daughter likes these songs. Usually once I have mastered something, I teach her and she gets it within the week. A child who is motivated tends to learn very quickly. I then get our piano teacher to fine tune her touch and technique for each piece. We are very lucky as our piano teacher lives 5 minutes from our home. She is a Vietnamese Russian trained concert pianist with a phd in music and pedagogy. It is such a blessing to have such a great teacher. I am also starting Wind Beneath my Wings as my spare piece for my exams. Once I set up the tripod, I will film myself and children playing piano so that I can chronicle our journey.

#2299387 - 07/07/14 05:02 AM Re: Let's learn together [Re: fingersport]  
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 2
Purplepantz Offline
Junior Member
Purplepantz  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 2
Hi Fingersport
I too am learning the Flower Duet at the moment, it's a lovely piece. I had a lot of trouble in finding a practice regime that worked for me. Eventually, after following a tip from my tutor, I decided to practice first thing in the morning. At first alarm, I would roll out of bed, into my robe and onto the piano stool. Headphones on, I would start with my scales and then move on to my learning pieces. Once I had spent enough time on them, I would then 'reward' myself by playing the pieces that I enjoy playing for the sake of it, rather than because I wanted to improve them. I have found that this regime has been far more successful for me, to the extent that, now, if I don't get that morning practice in, I feel as if something is missing throughout the day.

It sounds as if your practice is back on track now, but if you ever get off-kilter again, maybe try this technique- it worked for me laugh

#2299432 - 07/07/14 08:29 AM Re: Let's learn together [Re: Purplepantz]  
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,237
malkin Offline
4000 Post Club Member
malkin  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,237
*sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted by Purplepantz
Hi Fingersport
I too am learning the Flower Duet at the moment,..


Welcome to the forum Purplepantz.
(Just a tip: you might want to check the date on a post before posting a reply)


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

#2299755 - 07/08/14 06:16 AM Re: Let's learn together [Re: malkin]  
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 2
Purplepantz Offline
Junior Member
Purplepantz  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 2
Thanks, Malkin laugh


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