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#2192970 - 12/05/13 02:19 PM How do little kids play such difficult pieces?  
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I have always wondered - can those 6 and 7 year old genius kids really read music? My hunch is that they are often more likely just remembering how to emulate their teacher when playing new music. It seems doubtful to me that these kids would have mastered the art of sightreading to such a level already, in such a short period of time. Yes, they most likely have excellent memories and hand coordinations...but still, they can't just "play", can they? Does anyone know?

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#2192989 - 12/05/13 02:49 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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That's a funny thought. It depends on the person, of course. Mostly, my impression of those kids is that some of them don't appreciate the music properly, it's just hitting the right notes and doing what the teacher says.

[Explanation: Please read my next post below.]

Last edited by Bluoh; 12/06/13 01:25 PM. Reason: Redacted explanation in next post
#2192993 - 12/05/13 03:00 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Bluoh]  
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I guess you can be any age and not experience the depths of emotion that music trawls in. Maybe you can imagine it (kids have great imagination and are very emotional) Maybe that is enough.
But how do they stretch to those notes? The younger they start the better I guess. But they must miss out on a lot of fun.


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#2192995 - 12/05/13 03:04 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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I'd bet they have them memorized and aren't stuck on psychological barriers like "this is too hard for me" or "im too old to learn this" which are just basically excuses. I'd be impressed if they can sight read difficult pieces. Sight-reading plain just takes time and lots of doing it.


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#2193023 - 12/05/13 03:53 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Bluoh]  
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Originally Posted by Bluoh
After all, if you're 6, how can you have experienced intense sadness or elation, let alone know what it means, and express it properly?

I think it's entirely possible. I experienced my first death at 6. It was so traumatic, the memory is still with me today.


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#2193052 - 12/05/13 04:37 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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I have to agree with Durulux. Not all six-year-olds have been sheltered from the harshness of reality all their lives. As the saying goes, you have to know what it means to be deeply unhappy in order to appreciate true happiness. Some six-year-olds definitely *have* that knowledge, even if they are not (yet) able to articulate it. Music might provide the same emotional outlet to them that it provides to so many of us.

I also think that some six-year-olds do, in fact, read music at a level far beyond what their age would suggest. That, along with physical dexterity and, perhaps, emotional depth beyond their years, is why we call them prodigies.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

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#2193180 - 12/05/13 09:40 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Emotional trauma as the necessary condition for playing musically? What an odd idea.

I would venture a guess that only a tiny fraction of true prodigies have ever felt anything like the kind of wrenching emotional experience we usually associate with adulthood. And the output of those prodigies, even the ones who may have experienced loss, probably had little or nothing to do with having lived through emotional pain themselves.

The scientific study of prodigy is largely about brain function.

#2193182 - 12/05/13 09:52 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Very true. We also tend to associate "emotional trauma" with the most horrific events we can imagine, or have experienced. But emotional experience comes in many forms. Some people are traumatized over a paper cut. Others can go through a meat grinder and, provided they live, be emotionally neutral. The sum of experience is not enough of a telling factor in determining emotional depth.

(And then, of course, emotional depth is not necessarily a determining factor in having the ability to translate music into emotion, emotion into an idea, an idea into technique, and technique back into sound.)


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#2193183 - 12/05/13 09:54 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Yes. I don't understand the huge emphasis being placed on trauma here. I like to fancy I don't need to live through an apocalypse to play the piano musically. Then again, I may be wrong. wink


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#2193186 - 12/05/13 09:58 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Saranoya]  
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Originally Posted by Saranoya
I have to agree with Durulux.

There's a spelling I haven't seen before. And I thought I'd seen them all! laugh Derelux, Durelux, Derelex, Derulex, Derelux...


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2193191 - 12/05/13 10:05 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Saranoya
I have to agree with Durulux.

There's a spelling I haven't seen before. And I thought I'd seen them all! laugh Derelux, Durelux, Derelex, Derulex, Derelux...

haha you see, what I did was -- when I created my account, I thought of what name would be impossible to spell. Apparently, I picked a winner. grin


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#2193299 - 12/06/13 02:29 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Sorry about the name, Derulux.

I actually wasn't trying to say that being traumatized is a necessary condition for playing well. I'm sure it isn't. Some people would say one doesn't even need to be all that in touch with one's emotions to play well. In fact, I used to know a girl with very little emotional depth, and even less empathy, who was nevertheless considered a piano prodigy. Personally, I always thought her playing was highly sophisticated in a technical sense, but expressively empty. Who am I, though?

What Bluoh said, however, is that young children can't have experienced true sadness or elation. That, I vehemently disagree with. They can, and they need not even have been through anything particularly horrid for that to be true.

I actually don't think those who have experienced what an adult would call intense sadness or elation are bound to be better musicians. To the extent that they were genuinely traumatized by whatever experience brought them true sadness, they'd actually run the risk of becoming *more* emotionally disconnected than most, by way of a coping mechanism.

But I do believe that some children are more conscious of their emotions than others. That's what I mean by 'emotional depth beyond their years'. And to me, a true musical prodigy is a child who not only has extraordinary hearing, dexterity and focus for their age, but also the ability to let their music speak, which I do think requires an emotional awareness, if you will, that most six-year-olds lack.


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#2193300 - 12/06/13 02:39 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Originally Posted by Argerich5405
I have always wondered - can those 6 and 7 year old genius kids really read music? My hunch is that they are often more likely just remembering how to emulate their teacher when playing new music. It seems doubtful to me that these kids would have mastered the art of sightreading to such a level already, in such a short period of time. Yes, they most likely have excellent memories and hand coordinations...but still, they can't just "play", can they? Does anyone know?


I'm not sure I completely understand the question (or that I remember how to spell Derulux properly after Polyphonist's post). How is it possible kids play such pieces? How do they learn to play such pieces (i.e. what processes do they use)? Are kids just memorizing, sightreading, or some combination thereof?

You might try clarifying further and also posting on the teacher's forum where teachers of such talented little children may reside. With a few exceptions, we're largely adult beginners at the piano, as the forum subtitle implies.


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#2193302 - 12/06/13 02:55 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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My kid started at 8 and just played sort of technically. She began playing really musically around 10. Now at 13 she's really playing on a deeper level. It took me four years to play with depth as opposed to just sort of slogging along but she's surpassed me as she can memorize a piece in no time! I think when she has a song in her repertoire, she can focus just on the expression of the piece.

Edited to say, I guess that doesn't answer the question but I get what you're talking about !

Last edited by HalfStep; 12/06/13 02:57 AM.
#2193305 - 12/06/13 03:10 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Originally Posted by Saranova
Sorry about the name, Derulux.

haha no problem! If it bothered me, I would have picked "Jim". wink


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#2193361 - 12/06/13 07:43 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Bobpickle]  
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Originally Posted by Bobpickle
Originally Posted by Argerich5405
I have always wondered - can those 6 and 7 year old genius kids really read music? My hunch is that they are often more likely just remembering how to emulate their teacher when playing new music. It seems doubtful to me that these kids would have mastered the art of sightreading to such a level already, in such a short period of time. Yes, they most likely have excellent memories and hand coordinations...but still, they can't just "play", can they? Does anyone know?


I'm not sure I completely understand the question (or that I remember how to spell Derulux properly after Polyphonist's post). How is it possible kids play such pieces? How do they learn to play such pieces (i.e. what processes do they use)? Are kids just memorizing, sightreading, or some combination thereof?


I suspect the question is: assuming little kids can't actually *read* the advanced music some of them are playing, how *do* they learn it?

I think the answer to that is twofold.

One, I'm not sure we can simply assume that *all* six-year-olds are incapable of reading advanced music. I know of one person who has been learning to play since he was five, and who was sight-reading the kind of stuff I'm sweating over now (Bach preludes and two-part inventions, Grieg miniatures, some of the easier Chopin stuff) by the time he was seven years old. It doesn't seem like a stretch to me that a particularly talented six-year-old might be able to read and play more advanced stuff than that, if it's not prima vista, and/or if he or she is extremely dedicated, and/or well-guided by a knowledgeable teacher.

Two, I don't think being able to read music is an absolute necessity in order to play the piano well. Being a good reader makes things easier, sure. And for people who wish to explore music that has never before been recorded or performed, reading is the only option. But there are those who don't play what they read. They play what they hear. This is not a question of merely 'imitating' a teacher (or a recording). Some people compose new music this way: they play what their imagination feeds them. If they can do that, *and* they can easily memorise music they hear on the radio (or wherever), then they don't *need* a score to learn new music, even new music written by someone else: they'll learn from the 'recording' that's in their imagination. Some people seem to think that this automatically means they won't develop the ability to give their own artistic interpretation to an existing piece. But I don't think that's necessarily true. Once we have the notes an rhythm down, I think we *all* start to play around with our music in order to make it sound the way we want it to. To some extent, we let go of what's written black on white, and we let the music tell *our* story. I don't see why someone who learned by listening to a recording couldn't do that, if they 'let go' of their source material (the recording).

There's also something in-between. This is me: I can read music, but just barely. I don't *read* music so much as I 'decipher' it, measure by measure or phrase by phrase. I read much too slowly, and it takes up too much of my mental energy, for me to then be able to immediately translate what I'm reading into the appropriate key presses on the piano. So instead, I memorise *before* I start practicing. Sometimes an entire score. More often, just a single phrase or a couple of measures at a time.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

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#2193368 - 12/06/13 07:57 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Originally Posted by Argerich5405
My hunch is that they are often more likely just remembering how to emulate their teacher when playing new music.

It's just not any other kid that does that.
It all comes down to the science of numbers.

Since (especially in countries like China) such vast numbers of kids do play piano a couple of m eventually are very good.

It's not that the average is higher, it's just that there's so much of m that with an normal standard deviation it is inevitable that there are also more outliers (positive and negative wink ) than with a smaller population.

Some cultural difference will make the average level perhaps a bit higher (because of forced dedication ;))

Last edited by wimpiano; 12/06/13 08:01 AM.

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#2193408 - 12/06/13 09:39 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: WimPiano]  
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Could also be the different approach to criticism. We Westerners tend to resent it, whilst for the East it seems to be a normal part of life to take criticism merely as a touch of attention to something that can be improved. And everything can be improved.

As per feeling, when I look at a little kid playing -whatever his/her ethnicity- I normally can't really see them connecting to the piece, I only see little faces concentrating about the notes they hit. I said normally, but tbh I haven't seen yet a little kid really driven by the music they play, only enjoying the challenge of technical difficulty.

Of course I believe that everybody, even at a short age, can be emotional, but I don't think that that alone makes them play better. Constant practice does... but at the risk of not connecting emotionally, only technically.

I think we need a mix of both things.





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#2193411 - 12/06/13 09:41 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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I don't have any students I consider prodigies, but I do take very young beginners and I don't teach music reading until they have learned to read sentences, so sometimes it happens that I have a talented student with 3-4 years playing experience who hasn't started reading yet. They learn the parts independently by ear, starting with one melody line, reinforcing memory with daily or near-daily practice. The other voices are then learned either by adding them in one at a time (if the non-melody voice(s) are a fairly straightforward accompanying part) or by learning them separately by ear and then combining them (if the piece really has two or more melodic lines). They don't just imitate their teacher; they have good recordings to listen to, and they learn to listen for the different voices, not just the top-most RH one.

Because this is teaching straight to memory the notes are learned slower than if someone is learning from a score. On the other hand, someone learning from a score who wishes to play musically really should take at least that much time playing the voices separately, committing their contours to ear-memory, and trying to understand what the various voices are doing.

I do not encourage young children to play music that calls for an emotional range beyond what they can handle. For the most part we stick with music that helps them express joy, energy, and quiet thoughtfulness, until they are older. However, musical children are often more emotionally aware than normal, and there are some who sound quite mature.

I don't know if this addresses the "such difficult pieces" you asked about. I have in mind repertoire like Beethoven sonatinas and the non-simplified edition of "Linus & Lucy." With the students I'm thinking of, though, the same process would work with more advanced music, and they'd be able to handle more advanced music if they didn't have the occasional little-kid behavior issues that can interfere with productive practicing smile

Last edited by hreichgott; 12/06/13 09:45 AM.

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#2193422 - 12/06/13 10:07 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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>I have always wondered - can those 6 and 7 year old genius kids really read music?

I guess so? You think they learn it from watching youtube tutorials?

>My hunch is that they are often more likely just remembering how to emulate their teacher when playing new music.

Most likely yes, but not 'just' but 'also'. I suppose that's what we all do when learning how to make music?

>It seems doubtful to me that these kids would have mastered the art of sightreading to such a level already, in such a short period of time.

How do you know "short period of time"? It seems to me they need several years to get there, and are spending a lot of time each day on the piano.


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#2193461 - 12/06/13 11:36 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Derulux]  
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Originally Posted by Derulux
Originally Posted by Saranova
Sorry about the name, Derulux.

haha no problem! If it bothered me, I would have picked "Jim". wink


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#2193476 - 12/06/13 12:23 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Originally Posted by Argerich5405
I have always wondered - can those 6 and 7 year old genius kids really read music?


Consider the tasks of learning to speak, read, and write- all arguably more complex than music. Most 7-year olds can do those things pretty well, because they have been totally immersed from the age of zero in an environment that rewards them richly for doing them.
Now, maybe the environment for those children who learn early to play piano and read music has involved similar immersion and rewards.



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#2193494 - 12/06/13 01:08 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Saranoya
I have to agree with Durulux.

There's a spelling I haven't seen before. And I thought I'd seen them all! laugh Derelux, Durelux, Derelex, Derulex, Derelux...



And then there is ….. Derelax. grin



#2193497 - 12/06/13 01:19 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Saranoya
I have to agree with Durulux.

There's a spelling I haven't seen before. And I thought I'd seen them all! laugh Derelux, Durelux, Derelex, Derulex, Derelux...



And then there is ….. Derelax. grin



haha that's one of my favorites. Makes me sound like an over-the-counter medication. grin


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#2193499 - 12/06/13 01:21 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Saranoya]  
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Originally Posted by Saranoya

What Bluoh said, however, is that young children can't have experienced true sadness or elation. That, I vehemently disagree with. They can, and they need not even have been through anything particularly horrid for that to be true.

I actually don't think those who have experienced what an adult would call intense sadness or elation are bound to be better musicians. To the extent that they were genuinely traumatized by whatever experience brought them true sadness, they'd actually run the risk of becoming *more* emotionally disconnected than most, by way of a coping mechanism.


The 'piano prodigies' that pop culture refers to (i.e. those on Ellen's show, etc) are able to communicate a feeling/emotion through their playing, and not just display superior technique.

The difficulty is in combining the three.

How does such a young person have time to live through these emotions, train in technique, then communicate these emotions through their technique, in just a few years?

If you spend time with a young child, you'll see that they probably won't recognize your verbal cues and body language. (Hence the viral videos on Youtube, Conversations with my 2-Year-Old-- the kid doesn't see social cues, creating funny situations.)

Learning to read social cues comes with time, right? Of course, they can memorize everything and run them through each time (when someone smiles and rolls their eyes, they're probably unhappy, etc), but why not let the kid learn these things naturally? Being self-aware is a valuable skill.

Yes, a fraction of young children have experienced a range of emotions. But how can they communicate these emotions, through music? Are they aware of these emotions? That's a minor fraction of a minor fraction of kids.

If a young child can't interpret a pause in verbal speech, how can they interpret this in music? Perhaps music speaks to them differently?

When a 6-year-old child is able to communicate emotions through their art, we're surprised because it's a skill that comes with time and experience in life.

We're left wondering: are those emotions genuine, or are they a mimicry of another person's direction?

So, when is the right age to start piano?

#2193505 - 12/06/13 01:40 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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I think of it in terms of channeling. The truly gifted creative geniuses of our world are able to channel creativity from its source seemingly effortlessly. According to the great Deepak Chopra, all but the most original of ideas come from the same source. We are merely 'tapping in' to all of that creativity as we artists create.

Learning to sight read is more of a left-brained & learned activity. Creativity at its source is not that structured or methodical, it's more like having an antenna that picks up some waves of creative inspiration that become music.

Last edited by johnbarnesiii; 12/06/13 07:52 PM.
#2193745 - 12/07/13 12:57 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Originally Posted by Argerich5405
but still, they can't just "play", can they? Does anyone know?


I don’t know for sure but I‘d bet if you started very young, at some point, you can “just read and play”.
I believe educators have said that children learn languages more easily than adults.
Also the older you get there are psychological aspects that decrease your “readiness” to learn, not necessarily your innate ability to learn.
So I’d think it’s better to start young.
As far as artistic interpretation and style; that is hard to say for anyone, it may likely come with maturity.
But then, that would be the development of a style that is your own.
And I guess that wasn’t the question.

“Playing by ear” has a lot to do with the skill of “sight reading” I know that that has to be more easily learned or picked up when younger.
.


Cheers!!!

#2193781 - 12/07/13 03:23 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Michael_99 Offline
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Argerich5405, I have read your post, here:

subject: How do little kids play such difficult pieces?

I have always wondered - can those 6 and 7 year old genius kids really read music? My hunch is that they are often more likely just remembering how to emulate their teacher when playing new music. It seems doubtful to me that these kids would have mastered the art of sightreading to such a level already, in such a short period of time. Yes, they most likely have excellent memories and hand coordinations...but still, they can't just "play", can they? Does anyone know?

_____

The magic can be found right in the piano world forums everyday. There is an expression: Love and enjoy your children while they are on your side!

People who love to learn - will learn anything - will do anything to learn something - so young kids will do what they are told - yes, they will explore and experiment, but most kids have a thirst for learning. Now, dealing with adults, they always want conditions on learning anything like what they have to learn, why they have to learn it, why they have to do it this way, how long will it take to learn it that way and is there a better way, and on and on. Adults always want to know how much money they will make if they learn a certain thing.

I am a beginner piano player, but after about a year I realized how I learned or how the reading and the playing of the notes on the piano works and how my brains makes it happen, so then I started looking at more advanced piano music and realized that it will take time to get there but the key is to know the names of the 88 keys on the piano, so how to read the ledger lines. At first I thought was going to be terrible, but now - and I am just beginning this but I can instantly read that 5 ledger lines below the bass clef and the note is ether on a line or a note is below a line in the space, if you will - that is the last C on the piano of the 88 keys. So it is like looking at the ground and seeing nothing until you see a button and instantly recognizing it. And that is like look down and seeing a note hanging below in a space 5 ledger lines below the staff. So learning to read notes in sheets of music - never - has to be at the piano - for me - I never leave home without my credit card - sorry! - I meant to say I never leave home without staff paper and a 3B lead, Staedtler mechanical pencil and every spare moment of my life, I write out mayor scales of all the notes on, below, and above the staffs - all of the 88 keys to read, and begin to play on the piano bit by bit. Now there is lots to learn about chords, and rhythm, but it is definitely is a - show stopper - if you can't read "a single note" in any piece. So to imagine a small kid playing complicated music - knowing they don't have to look after a family or worrying about a job, it is easier to undersand how a kid would find playing the piano very interesting and be absorbing.

cheers,

3D07LL


Last edited by Michael_99; 12/07/13 03:34 AM.
#2193840 - 12/07/13 07:51 AM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Michael_99]  
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Originally Posted by Michael_99
So to imagine a small kid playing complicated music - knowing they don't have to look after a family or worrying about a job, it is easier to undersand how a kid would find playing the piano very interesting and be absorbing.

cheers,

3D07LL


There is no doubt that I’d rather hear a “fair” performance by an adult playing Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now “ than a perfectly played piece by a youngster for the reasoning you described .
I guess music could be rated. like movies …….just the rating wouldn’t be based on illicit language , etc etc but, experience?


Cheers!!!

#2193943 - 12/07/13 12:35 PM Re: How do little kids play such difficult pieces? [Re: Derulux]  
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Ann Arbor, MI
Originally Posted by Derulux
Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Saranoya
I have to agree with Durulux.

There's a spelling I haven't seen before. And I thought I'd seen them all! laugh Derelux, Durelux, Derelex, Derulex, Derelux...



And then there is ….. Derelax. grin



haha that's one of my favorites. Makes me sound like an over-the-counter medication. grin

How about DaRolex hanging on your left wrist? grin


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
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