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Re: Former students who still play piano
Jeff Clef #2161951 10/04/13 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef

If students can be made to believe that musicians are as sexually desirable as football team members, and that the same (or even better) social status is conferred upon them, that mindset will do flips to change itself.


I am actually cautiously optimistic about this.

When my kids were still in high school, I attended their concert programs and talent shows. I saw some impressive respect for the musicians, equivalent to that of the athletes.

But you may be missing a distinction that seems important to me.

What about the guy who takes football lessons, learns to block and tackle, pass and run, kick field goals, but never tries out for the team?

Isn't that more equivalent to the typical piano student?


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Re: Former students who still play piano
Candywoman #2161955 10/05/13 12:24 AM
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Jeff Clef, can you shorten your line of #s, or add some spaces to it? It has made the page unnaturally wide and difficult to read in at least some browsers.


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Re: Former students who still play piano
Candywoman #2162014 10/05/13 06:55 AM
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"...Jeff Clef, can you shorten your line of #s, ..?"

I'm sorry about that. The "Edit" button has closed, and I can't change the post. I'll remember for next time.


Clef

Re: Former students who still play piano
The Monkeys #2162054 10/05/13 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by The Monkeys
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by TimR
Piano lessons are about studying piano, not playing piano.

Most students never do any math after high school, either.
Wow, I don't know what to say to this comparison. It's wrong on so many levels.


Well, I think there are some truth in it.
Just piano requires way more effort to maintain.

Math, once you truly understand the concepts, you can get it back after 10 years with a reasonable amount of effort.
Not sure how it is like to pick up piano again after not playing for 10 years.

I think, if a students, after years of piano study, while capable, doesn't play for self enjoyment, only plays the assigned piece for lessons, then there is a writing on the wall, the time and money can be better spent.



Being a Math guy (MS), i have to disagree. I think Math and piano (like many other items)are very similar, the further you progress - then stop for a while, the more difficult it is to pick back up where you left off.

Sure in both cases you can sit down and add/subtract/etc and also play simple pieces after being absent for a while, but try some intricate classical piece or spatial topology.

Jonathan

Re: Former students who still play piano
Candywoman #2162315 10/05/13 10:31 PM
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As a more casual music student, and as a parent of kids taking music lessons I don't think these are the right questions to ask. I don't just have my kids doing music lessons to learn mastery of an instrument. It's about learning to work incrementally at something over a long period of time. It's about learning to work with a mentor. It's taught ME quite a bit about what makes my kids tick - what motivates them, what gets them to the instrument day after day. I quit my instrument of choice at age 15. Guess what - I practice that instrument every day with a child now and hope to be able to join a community orchestra when my kids get a little older. No - I'll never be a professional, and that's fine. That was the right choice for me. I can listen to music now with much greater interest, appreciation, and a more discerning ear. Having a kid take piano and go on in it is wonderful, and I'm fine with my kids making that choice. I'd also be fine with my kids asking to quit once they reach a certain point. The benefits of being engaged in learning a musical instrument go much deeper and don't always manifest themselves in obvious ways.


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Re: Former students who still play piano
kck #2162433 10/06/13 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by kck
As a more casual music student, and as a parent of kids taking music lessons I don't think these are the right questions to ask. I don't just have my kids doing music lessons to learn mastery of an instrument. It's about learning to work incrementally at something over a long period of time. It's about learning to work with a mentor. It's taught ME quite a bit about what makes my kids tick - what motivates them, what gets them to the instrument day after day. I quit my instrument of choice at age 15. Guess what - I practice that instrument every day with a child now and hope to be able to join a community orchestra when my kids get a little older. No - I'll never be a professional, and that's fine. That was the right choice for me. I can listen to music now with much greater interest, appreciation, and a more discerning ear. Having a kid take piano and go on in it is wonderful, and I'm fine with my kids making that choice. I'd also be fine with my kids asking to quit once they reach a certain point. The benefits of being engaged in learning a musical instrument go much deeper and don't always manifest themselves in obvious ways.
See, this is what I mean. You, yourself, took lessons as a child and quit, but you knew the importance of it to get your kids involved, and now you're back at it yourself. This kind of thing is exactly why I love teaching - you are investing in someone's life and happiness. When it ceases to be that for them, and there always comes that time, then move on. Usually it comes back later in life. thumb


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Re: Former students who still play piano
Morodiene #2162552 10/06/13 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
See, this is what I mean. You, yourself, took lessons as a child and quit, but you knew the importance of it to get your kids involved, and now you're back at it yourself.


That is the reason I sent both my kids to lessons (piano for one, trumpet for the other) when they were in middle school.

The early experience gives them the option to take it back up later. Maybe they will, maybe they won't, but they have a choice that I think would otherwise be lost to them. It is very rare for adults without early experience to take up any instrument with any degree of success, but more common for returnees to rejoin and have fun. IMO anyway.


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Re: Former students who still play piano
TimR #2162632 10/06/13 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Morodiene
See, this is what I mean. You, yourself, took lessons as a child and quit, but you knew the importance of it to get your kids involved, and now you're back at it yourself.


That is the reason I sent both my kids to lessons (piano for one, trumpet for the other) when they were in middle school.

The early experience gives them the option to take it back up later. Maybe they will, maybe they won't, but they have a choice that I think would otherwise be lost to them. It is very rare for adults without early experience to take up any instrument with any degree of success, but more common for returnees to rejoin and have fun. IMO anyway.


Yup! I'm having loads of fun returning to the piano. I had 13 years of lessons as a child through my sophomore year in college. Then life happened, and I had to drop lessons and pursue my working career, and other things. I didn't practice and was without a piano for many years. However, I maintained my interest in music by attending concerts, collecting and listening to a wide range of recordings, etc.

I just recently retired, and I returned to piano 2 years ago. I'm having a blast! My teacher is terrific.

I must stop writing this now and go practice! smile


Carl

Re: Former students who still play piano
TimR #2162635 10/06/13 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
It is very rare for adults without early experience to take up any instrument with any degree of success, but more common for returnees to rejoin and have fun. IMO anyway.
Do you actually know this?

Re: Former students who still play piano
keystring #2162739 10/06/13 07:57 PM
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It is very rare for adults without early experience to take up any instrument with any degree of success, but more common for returnees to rejoin and have fun. IMO anyway.
Do you actually know this?

___________________________________________________

well, there is a reason. When you first learn to play an instrument, it is quite challenging because you don't know enough to know what is important to focus on and in what order, but with experience you know exactly what you have to do and when so it is a much better journey the second time - but that is true about everything else in life, too.

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Re: Former students who still play piano
keystring #2162766 10/06/13 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by TimR
It is very rare for adults without early experience to take up any instrument with any degree of success, but more common for returnees to rejoin and have fun. IMO anyway.
Do you actually know this?
There actually is some research about the development of the brain in relation to learning a language before the age of 12. If a person does this they are less likely to have an accent when speaking it. I think the same applies to learning music as well - if you are exposed to it before the age of 12 then you will have more ease in returning to it later vs. someone who never opened that door in time. Doesn't mean it can't be overcome in either case, but I think it's simply harder.


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Re: Former students who still play piano
Candywoman #2162933 10/07/13 09:52 AM
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Not meaning to hijack the thread, but don't you think many of your students could have simply list in touch with you? I cannot remember my childhood piano teacher's given name. Not sure Tsunami and the earthquake got her or not (yes, I'm from Fukushima Japan). Did my frantic google search with no results. I took lessons 7 or 8 years. Quit because I could not bear to keep losing to my talented brother. Yep very stupid. Deeply regretted it afterwards but too stubborn to come back sooner. I came back first time during my college in 1991 for 3 years until I graduation marriage job training etc. I restared lessons in late 2008 and nonstop since then. Very happy now and would like very much my first teacher Mrs. Akechi to know. I don't think I'm unique. I meet many people like me. It's just you don't hear from them since they restart late, in their forties, fifties and up.

Re: Former students who still play piano
Candywoman #2162975 10/07/13 11:23 AM
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I haven't responded to the theories about learning at later ages, comparison with language acquisition etc. (which is something I've taught) because I didn't want to sidetrack the thread. Suffice it to say that how we approach learning at different ages, and also what teaching choices are made, will have an effect. However, Candywoman is wondering about students who have taken lessons, and what proportion will continue playing or at least return to it - not whether late starters have a chance.

I'm thinking that if you have given your student the tools so that they can get at music if they choose to do so, then the chance of their continuing is always there. Can you really know how many continue? If it's in the privacy of the home, maybe it's invisible. I have a friend whose young children called out "De la musique, Papa!" at bedtime. He'd go to the piano and play until they fell asleep. Did his old teacher know?

Re: Former students who still play piano
Candywoman #2162994 10/07/13 12:16 PM
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I don't know for a fact that adults with no childhood background will struggle. I do know that a number of friends of mine who had long had the desire to take up an instrument or sing but waited until life permitted did not succeed, despite considerable effort. So it's a limited sample, but it does seem to make sense.

Back to the original theme:

The piano teachers here were once students. They became accomplished players over time. But, how many would still be playing, if they were not still involved in music? Had they not become teachers, would they still be able to make the very significant investment to maintain skills at a high level? Without an outlet for them (either teaching or gigging?)


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Re: Former students who still play piano
Candywoman #2163021 10/07/13 01:38 PM
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I don't think having a public outlet for music is the only measure or motivator for success. I play mostly on my own, at home, for my own pleasure, but that doesn't keep me from progressing or spending time at the piano. Think of running: many people run for their own reasons without entering races.

Thinking of childhood instruments, I spent many years without a piano after going away to college, so I wasn't playing. That doesn't mean my knowledge went away, or my happy memories of what I played, or my ability to sing the songs I learned (yes, I only played songs, with lyrics). So even without a piano my childhood (self-taught) years of playing piano were a delight to me while I didn't have a piano.

Eventually the itch to have a piano needed scratching, and I'm embarked on a new and different phase of learning and playing piano, which is a renewed pleasure.

Another case study: I played flute as a child, and while I seldom play the flute now, it remains near and dear to my heart and my identity, and when occasions arise where a flute player would be useful, I can easily step in. My high notes are out of practice, but I feel no regret: if I need them back, I'm sure that they'll return with regular practice.

Or another example, outside of music: I rowed for a year in college, and had a chance to scull (just for myself, not in races) for several years about 20 years ago. It's impractical now, but I have treasured memories of being on the water that I'm very glad of, even if it has been years since I last rowed.

So I think perhaps more of a question to measure the success of childhood music lessons is not necessarily if someone still plays, but what place does music hold in their heart? What memories do they carry? Did they have the skills to carry on on their own after lessons ended?


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Re: Former students who still play piano
TimR #2163036 10/07/13 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by TimR
Piano lessons are about studying piano, not playing piano.

Most students never do any math after high school, either.
Wow, I don't know what to say to this comparison. It's wrong on so many levels.


Perhaps I could have phrased it better.

When I first started taking piano lessons myself, for the purpose of being able to play piano for church services, I also joined the two big piano forums (pianoworld and pianostreet). In my usual total ignorance, i thought I'd find peers who shared my worldview. I was rather shocked to find a significant difference that I found difficult to comprehend. In fact I resisted believing it: a huge portion of the students, probably the majority, wanted to continue to improve their skills WITHOUT EVER intending to use them.

My experience with 40 years of brass playing and performing in every ensemble that would let me had not prepared me for this. I thought you took lessons and worked hard, to become the best you could be, so that you could perform. Preferably for pay, but <sigh> more often just for the thrill of it.

Imagine a golfer taking lessons, buying DVDs and books, going to the driving range three times a week and spending a few hours in the backyard every day, and never playing a game? There's one guy like this living in Singapore, and a rumor of a woman in the Ukraine, but other than that this just doesn't happen.

I have slowly come to realize that this is just as valid an approach as any other, but after all this time it still feels a bit strange.

And that's one of the reasons people take years of piano lessons and later walk away from it. They're walking away from school, not from an activity that the school prepared them for.


I play piano for my own enjoyment, and I'm passionate about playing and improving -- I work very hard at it.

That said, I don't particularly enjoy playing for others, and if you told me that no one would ever hear me play besides my wife and dogs (captive audience), it would make no difference in my enthusiasm for and dedication to playing.

Maybe it's different with golf. I agree with Mencken's description of golf, by the way: "The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible."


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Re: Former students who still play piano
ClsscLib #2163350 10/08/13 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib

I play piano for my own enjoyment, and I'm passionate about playing and improving -- I work very hard at it.



Good for you! smile That's the best reason for playing the piano.
Whatever other reason(s)any one has for playing the piano (and there are many)if you don't primarily play for your own enjoyment, then, in my view, you are not practising and playing for the right reasons.
Best wishes to you in your playing and improving!

rk


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Re: Former students who still play piano
Derek Hartwell #2163399 10/08/13 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Derek Hartwell
Originally Posted by ClsscLib

I play piano for my own enjoyment, and I'm passionate about playing and improving -- I work very hard at it.



Good for you! smile That's the best reason for playing the piano.
rk


Is it really helpful to make a value judgement? I would suggest saying it is one of the valid reasons for playing piano.

In practical terms it is probably not the reason that does the best job of maintaining a long term habit. But that uses long term maintenance as the criterion, and that's not necessarily the best measure either. (though it is the question the OP asked)

I'm not sure if it is the best reason in terms of building a high degree of skill, either. If you're only playing for your own enjoyment, will you put in as much effort as somebody who needs to win a competition or audition, somebody who has to perform on Sunday or be fired, etc.?

If your measure is pure enjoyment, then maybe so. I did not always enjoy preparing hymns for Sunday, knowing they HAD to be ready at 10:30.01 regardless, and feeling the pressure build during the week while I tried to get them under my fingers. It may not have been fun but it certainly kept me in the practice room!


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Re: Former students who still play piano
TimR #2163433 10/08/13 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR


In practical terms it is probably not the reason that does the best job of maintaining a long term habit. But that uses long term maintenance as the criterion, and that's not necessarily the best measure either. (though it is the question the OP asked)

I'm not sure if it is the best reason in terms of building a high degree of skill, either. If you're only playing for your own enjoyment, will you put in as much effort as somebody who needs to win a competition or audition, somebody who has to perform on Sunday or be fired, etc.?

TimR, I think that you are projecting your own experience onto others. What motivates you will not necessarily motivate others who tick differently. In fact, I can imagine someone working like mad to get reading for a recital or competition, do a brilliant job on it, and then quit because the experience was that unpleasant. Another person may thrive on such a thing.

My own personal take is this. I love working steadily on an instrument, learning as much as possible, honing my skills. That is an adventure and rewarding. I love exploring a piece of music and music itself, drawing as much as possible out of it. These are solitary private activities. If I am with a teacher then it is a shared pleasure, and a chance to grow in exactly the areas I love the most. WHEN I have gotten everything out of a piece that I can, then I'm excited to share it, "Look what I found! Isn't this wonderful?" It is not the goal, but a side perk.

Otoh, if I have to prepare for an event then I can no longer delve into things in the same manner. I may even have to take shortcuts for the sake of results which hinders my own growth (consider growth can be for a lifetime). It has to be music that others will want to listen to, so I can't necessarily work on what I'd like. I may resent the event for interfering with what I enjoy doing the most. I do enjoy performing. However, there are also people who LOVE to play but HATE to perform.

Re: Former students who still play piano
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Derek Hartwell
Originally Posted by ClsscLib

I play piano for my own enjoyment, and I'm passionate about playing and improving -- I work very hard at it.



Good for you! smile That's the best reason for playing the piano.
rk


If you're only playing for your own enjoyment, will you put in as much effort as somebody who needs to win a competition or audition, somebody who has to perform on Sunday or be fired, etc.?


If you are playing for your own enjoyment you put in as much effort as you need to achieve satisfaction for yourself and therefore your own enjoyment. If you need to 'slave away' at great effort to win or even to enter a competition and you are not enjoying it then it must become a 'chore'. If you have to practise hard to play hymns on a Sunday that seems like a chore, too. When music making becomes a chore it's time to give up.
The best reason for playing the piano is for enjoyment and the rewarding musical experience which it brings! smile
Bws.
rk


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