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#2218892 - 01/22/14 04:35 PM Teacher or no??  
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blackspaven Offline
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Today I got some unfortunate news that my teacher for the last 9 months has been offered a more full time employment position and cannot carry on with lessons. I'm quite gutted, but onward and upward.

Anyway, she's left me just after the point of having learnt the circle of fifths and a few other things. Now, I get that in general it seems a good idea to have a teacher, but bearing in mind that it seems I have a lot of self study type work to go through from this juncture with regards scales, and I have books I can work from quite competently (25 years playing guitar helped learning the piano), all the teachers in my area seem to be 50% more expensive than she was, so from the opinions of others on here, is there any reason why I shouldn't just plough on with scales and exercises (taken from Albert's 'The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios and Cadences'... VERY helpful!) until I get proficient at them and carry on learning the classical pieces from my books until I get to the point where I feel I need another jolt?

Just thinking back to guitar lessons which I took for a year cos I was in a rut at about 13 years old and then after that I made my own way to a fairly high standard through self study.

Will go back to a teacher at some point, and would have stayed with her if mine was carrying on, but just thinking I think I could well do this bit of theory and learning the keys myself without the need for a new teacher right now.

Opinions?


Kawai CN24 & Roland VR700.
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#2218901 - 01/22/14 04:39 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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Michael Martinez Offline
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Forge ahead on your own until you get to a point where you're stuck or need inspiration. Also consider getting in a band, because you learn a lot playing with other musicians.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 01/22/14 04:39 PM.

Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
#2218905 - 01/22/14 04:43 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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blackspaven Offline
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Fair enough, thanks. It's kind of what I was thinking of doing but I wondered if there is anything drastically different between guitar and piano that I am missing and requires a teacher constantly.

At the mo, I'm really inspired to learn and play scales, parallel, contrary motion, all that... I'm finding it quite therapeutic, so it seems I have a wealth of things to crack on with.

Just slightly concerned I may miss something technical with how the scales relate to each other or summat (ie. circle of fifths, into the flats are fourths, the relative minor is a second, etc.), but that's more a music thing than specifically piano, I guess.


Kawai CN24 & Roland VR700.
Straight up jackin'! ;0)
#2218919 - 01/22/14 04:58 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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peterws Offline
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Each to his own really. They tell me playing scales, contrary motion et al is beneficial if you have the time and really want to progress. At my age, I just have fun. But some of the stuff I`ve done on the ABF recitals has stretched me beyond my elastic limit . . . .and we all have only so much time.

A teacher will always encourage and hopefully guide you in an efficient manner, perhaps through the grades. That is a good incentive. I`d keep it up, but there`s no hurry. Have fun.


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

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#2218942 - 01/22/14 05:25 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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earlofmar Offline
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While I also enjoy playing and learning scales most people here write they should only be given a relatively small amount of your practice time - say 5 to 10 minutes per day.

That leaves a lot of time you should be doing other things most of which will be selecting and working on new pieces. There are pros and cons of having a teacher and after nine months you should be able to answer your own question if you found having one beneficial or not. That decision will also depend on your goals which I know for myself even after fourteen months are quite uncertain how far one can progress. If your goals are lofty enough then an investment in getting there to me is a no brainer.

However the self motivated adult learning can achieve quite a lot on their own and perhaps just give it some time and re-evaluate as you go.

In regards to cost you generally get what you pay for but if you can't afford the more expensive teachers you can always have fortnightly lessons or even just one a month as a short of check up on progress. Some teachers also offer 30min, 45min lessons at reduced cost.


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

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#2218945 - 01/22/14 05:27 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: peterws]  
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blackspaven Offline
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Yeah, it's ironic bearing in mind I was a bit lazy when teaching myself guitar, and sounds perverse, but I'm getting at least as much fun out of doing scales at the moment cos I think it's the satisfaction of my fingers learning the muscle memory as to what they're meant to be doing, so fortunately for me i'm finding even the traditionally boring parts of learning great fun at the mo. smile

...obviously, sitting down and challenging myself to learn Dream Theater pieces and other new stuff is a good craic too though.

Yup, I read people suggesting how much time to allow different parts, but some days I'm playing up to 2-3 hours a day of all sorts of things without any hint of fatigue or boredom, so I have no idea how that fits into that school of thought.

I guess I wonder if it's worth learning the theory of the scale side of things so they're under my belt whilst I'm loving doing it and THEN learning the nuances and other parts of reading and playing music with the aid of a teacher to guide me, I'm just getting other people's responses, I guess.


Kawai CN24 & Roland VR700.
Straight up jackin'! ;0)
#2218983 - 01/22/14 06:10 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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I've played both guitar and piano for 35 years. If you got the basics from your teacher already, you'll do fine. If you're putting 2-3 hours a day, you'll advance rapidly since you already have a music background. If you want to really help solidify theory in your mind, have a go at learning some songs on the piano that you already know on guitar, and vice versa.

Here is my reply to another similar thread:
Play a C scale, at least two octaves. Next, a fifth up, play a G scale. Then another fifth up, play a D scale. But of course, that D scale doesn't really need to be an octave higher than the C you started with, the D scale right above your starting point will be fine. If you continue this pattern, it will take you through all 12 keys. It may take a few weeks to get them all down, but once you do, make it a quick part of your warm up routine, you can rip through these in a few minutes.

Then you can do the same thing with all the minor keys, if you're so inclined.

Same thing with inversions. Start with a simple C triad in the right hand, play the bass C note with your left hand, or better yet two C notes an octave apart with your left hand. Now with the right hand, play the next two inversions and end on the C triad an octave higher from where you started. Then on to the G chord, D chord, A chord, etc, playing octaves in the left hand, inversions in the right. Once you get comfortable, do it in 4/4 time and get a rhythm going. You can rip through these in a few minutes as well.

Then add minor and 7th chords if you're so inclined (highly recommended).

On to arpeggios. Again, play a C octave with your left hand and hold it. With your right hand, play C, followed by E, followed by G, in succession one at a time. Do it for three octaves up, and three octaves back down to your starting point. Then do a G arpeggio, D arpeggio, A, E, etc. Play these as triplets (count 1-2-3, 1-2-3).

If you're diligent, this whole exercise can be reduced to a 10 to 15 minute warm up routine in a month or so. If you're still unclear on what the circle of fifths is, just google it. There are plenty of charts out there that illustrate it clearly.

#2219007 - 01/22/14 06:46 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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Sweet06 Offline
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I was the same way. I was happy as a clam doing hanon #1 when i first started... playing 2-3 hours sometimes longer per day. Now I get in about 2 a day... miss maybe two days a month and I've been going strong for a poor week or so since i've start almost a year ago! You'll progress quickly!


"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"
#2219013 - 01/22/14 06:53 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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You could take a one-off lesson with any teacher you wish now and again. Maybe every month or two. It's a good way to interview possible teachers also.

Another idea is to attend a summer workshop or camp for adult early-level pianists. They are often discussed here.

#2219087 - 01/22/14 08:49 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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Michael Martinez Offline
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Originally Posted by blackspaven
I wondered if there is anything drastically different between guitar and piano that I am missing and requires a teacher constantly.


No there's not, except for chord voicings. Obviously the piano is laid out linearly, which is simpler than a guitar. So you just need to learn some standard "chord voicings" for piano.

Quote
Just slightly concerned I may miss something technical with how the scales relate to each other or summat (ie. circle of fifths, into the flats are fourths, the relative minor is a second, etc.), but that's more a music thing than specifically piano, I guess.


Harmony is harmony regardless of which instrument you're on. In guitar you're doing IV V Is. In piano you're doing IV V Is. In a band setting, piano and guitar are the instruments which provide the harmony. Sometimes piano even more than guitar because guitar players often play power chords (drop out the chord's 3rd) which leaves the harmony ambiguous so it's up to the keyboardist to fill it in.

But regardless of whether you play piano, sax, bass, or whatever, the music language is the same.


It's not necessary to learn and practice "scales." What's necessary is: knowing the notes of the key you're in, and knowing the chord outline superimposed on that key. In guitar you're doing a lot of pentatonic type scales. Same thing on piano(keyboard.) Transpose those guitar concepts directly onto the piano. Practicing scales up and down isn't going to get you anywhere, although it might improve your muscle coordination.

ONe of the best things you can do for learning piano is learning salsa voicings and montunos. Not necessarily the rhythm, but the way the salsa pianist plays harmony. This will actually get you a lot farther along than most other methods.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 01/22/14 08:54 PM.

Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
http://www.michael--martinez.com/music/
#2219115 - 01/22/14 09:37 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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Learning piano is like learning a foreign language: You can probably do it on your own and you will manage to understand what is written and to make yourself understood verbally, but you will likely speak with an accent. If you learn piano just for fun, playing with an "accent" is probably no big deal. But if you want to be a serious classical pianist for example you will definitely need professional guidance. A good teacher will hear/see improper things that you can't hear/see with your own playing, and help you get rid of them. There are much more subtle things to the music scores than the notes and the counts.

#2219298 - 01/23/14 08:53 AM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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Quote
Will go back to a teacher at some point, and would have stayed with her if mine was carrying on, but just thinking I think I could well do this bit of theory and learning the keys myself without the need for a new teacher right now.

@blackspaven,
I have been without a teacher since the end of Sept. and have been able to progress in many things but it does require a lot of discipline on your part. You can get blasť about daily study and practice when you have no one to give account to. (lessons)

Just be determined to discipline yourself and you can progress without a teacher for awhile (maybe forever grin). Also the quality and length of the instruction you had previously will determine how well you progress.


Ragdoll

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#2219338 - 01/23/14 10:16 AM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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barbaram Offline
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My teacher is emigrating in a couple of months and I am going through the same thought process.
I definitely want to find a replacement teacher for my children, but the right teacher for my (beginner) kids is not necessarily the right teacher for me. On the other hand, our current set up is so convenient, as the teacher comes to our house and we have our lessons one after the other. Life is very busy, so efficient use of time is a major consideration!

#2219347 - 01/23/14 10:30 AM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: barbaram]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by barbaram
My teacher is emigrating in a couple of months and I am going through the same thought process.
I definitely want to find a replacement teacher for my children, but the right teacher for my (beginner) kids is not necessarily the right teacher for me. On the other hand, our current set up is so convenient, as the teacher comes to our house and we have our lessons one after the other. Life is very busy, so efficient use of time is a major consideration!
It's interesting that you feel it necessary for your children to have a teacher, but not you. Go ahead and stop lessons for yourself for a while and see how it goes. When you're no longer happy, then begin the search for a teacher for you.

Do not expect to find one to come to the home and teach both children and adults and do it cheaply. Chances are you will have to drive your children to one teacher, and yourself to yours at another time of the week.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2219444 - 01/23/14 01:25 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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blackspaven, you might want to look into taking lessons via skype. That would allow you to work with a teacher anywhere in the world, avoiding the issues of local pricing/availability.

Btw, I've started to fall in love with playing scales now that I'm really getting the hang of it. It's strangely challenging and relaxing at the same time. And I do believe that developing muscle memory (not to mention the ear training that occurs) is invaluable.

barbaram, a skype-based teacher might work for you, too, but not for the kids I imagine. Then again, kids are pretty computer-oriented these days, so it would depend on their age, personality, playing level.

Good luck, both of you!


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#2219458 - 01/23/14 01:45 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: Michael Martinez]  
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R_B Offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
Originally Posted by blackspaven
I wondered if there is anything drastically different between guitar and piano that I am missing and requires a teacher constantly.


No there's not, except for chord voicings. Obviously the piano is laid out linearly, which is simpler than a guitar. So you just need to learn some standard "chord voicings" for piano.

Quote
Just slightly concerned I may miss something technical with how the scales relate to each other or summat (ie. circle of fifths, into the flats are fourths, the relative minor is a second, etc.), but that's more a music thing than specifically piano, I guess.


Harmony is harmony regardless of which instrument you're on. In guitar you're doing IV V Is. In piano you're doing IV V Is. In a band setting, piano and guitar are the instruments which provide the harmony. Sometimes piano even more than guitar because guitar players often play power chords (drop out the chord's 3rd) which leaves the harmony ambiguous so it's up to the keyboardist to fill it in.

But regardless of whether you play piano, sax, bass, or whatever, the music language is the same.


It's not necessary to learn and practice "scales." What's necessary is: knowing the notes of the key you're in, and knowing the chord outline superimposed on that key. In guitar you're doing a lot of pentatonic type scales. Same thing on piano(keyboard.) Transpose those guitar concepts directly onto the piano. Practicing scales up and down isn't going to get you anywhere, although it might improve your muscle coordination.

ONe of the best things you can do for learning piano is learning salsa voicings and montunos. Not necessarily the rhythm, but the way the salsa pianist plays harmony. This will actually get you a lot farther along than most other methods.


Just to support MM's point on harmony.
Check out some jazz, blues & improvisational tutorials too.
I particularly like Bill Hilton's videos, but there are others that you might prefer.

Until you have confidence enough to play with other people get some practice playing with VIRTUAL other band members - garage band if you are a mac user or band in a box if you do PCs.
This can improve your harmony knowledge too, since you will be following lead sheets and probably writing them too.
Progressions... progress, learn to hear/feel where they are going to go to next.


#2219471 - 01/23/14 02:12 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
It's interesting that you feel it necessary for your children to have a teacher, but not you. Go ahead and stop lessons for yourself for a while and see how it goes. When you're no longer happy, then begin the search for a teacher for you.


My children are just beginning and without the structure they won't continue in any meaningful way. If I want them to learn then they need a teacher.
I'm a returning player with a very solid musical education behind me. I very much benefit from having a teacher, but not having one won't stop me playing.

Originally Posted by Morodiene

Do not expect to find one to come to the home and teach both children and adults and do it cheaply.

Agreed. This is what I have now, but it's a trade off. She's not really the right teacher for me, but it's the convenience that makes it possible at all. (I'm very happy with her as a teacher for the kids.)

Originally Posted by Morodiene

Chances are you will have to drive your children to one teacher, and yourself to yours at another time of the week.


Practically speaking, I just won't be able to make that commitment for myself - I can't ever be guaranteed child free except when I'm in work. If we need to do it for the children though, it's a lot less problematic.


#2220316 - 01/25/14 01:00 AM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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Originally Posted by blackspaven
is there any reason why I shouldn't just plough on with scales and exercises (taken from Albert's 'The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios and Cadences'... VERY helpful!) until I get proficient at them and carry on learning the classical pieces from my books until I get to the point where I feel I need another jolt?


Practicing scales and exercises outside of the context of pieces (unless advised by a teacher or professional for a specific technical purpose) is time inefficiently spent unless your end-goal is just simply to be able to play your scales with the one fingering (that may or may not be useful in pieces you try or are trying to learn). Forum member Richard (zrtf90) wrote a couple terrific posts on the topic in this thread: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...ver_from_4th_to_1st_fin.html#Post2192307

and I have plenty of other supplementary resources on the topic, as well, if you'd like them


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#2221309 - 01/27/14 09:13 AM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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It's always good to have guidance even if it is not on a regular basis. I think if you could find someone willing to provide one-off consultative lessons, that would be better than just dropping lessons all together.


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
#2221445 - 01/27/14 01:47 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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I practice scales, but only the scales relevant to my current position in my method book. For example, I am currently at the D major section of the book, so I practice that scale. I find it very helpful.


Playing: Yamaha GC2
#2221466 - 01/27/14 02:33 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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@bobpickle
Is that why my teacher tells me we will learn scales on an as you need basis? I pester him about it sometimes (my dad gets on my case for not doing scales) and he always says they are boring and we'll learn them as we need them.


"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"
#2221469 - 01/27/14 02:40 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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Ooh, thanks, Bob! (Cheque's in the mail. LOL!)

Beginning to recognise your new avatar. Happy New Year! smile




Richard
#2221678 - 01/27/14 10:33 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: Sweet06]  
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Originally Posted by Sweet06
@bobpickle
Is that why my teacher tells me we will learn scales on an as you need basis? I pester him about it sometimes (my dad gets on my case for not doing scales) and he always says they are boring and we'll learn them as we need them.


At the end of the day scales are just one of many techniques needed to tackle the various pieces that comprise the instrument's repertoire. Pretend for a minute that scales were instead a passage of a random Beethoven sonata. Would it make sense to practice that out of context when you may or may not be encountering that same passage (with the same fingering and all) in the near future? Of course not. And chances are, without learning the entirety of the piece from which the passage was derived, you'll soon grow bored of practicing just the passage on a regular basis, which in turn will ultimately result in a diminished technique for playing it (meaning that little resulted from the whole endeavor other than wasted time).

The best approach for acquiring technique is pragmatically on an as-needed basis. Logic is valuable as a tool to a teacher, but not as a resource for a student.


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#2221682 - 01/27/14 10:50 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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Thank you so much. That really confirms my suspicions that I lucked out getting a really great teacher right off the bat!


"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"
#2224282 - 02/01/14 05:33 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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I'm using this method without a teacher and don't really feel the need for one.


http://fundamentalkeys.com/index.html



#2224301 - 02/01/14 06:35 PM Re: Teacher or no?? [Re: blackspaven]  
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I heard an interview with Leon Fleisher on the radio today. He said that the most important roles of a teacher are to teach the student how to learn and to teach them how to make their own informed musical decisions.

Looking back, I can now see that when I started lessons (after many years of self-teaching), this was where I desperately needed help. Sheer luck brought me to a teacher who clearly has this same viewpoint, and working with him has helped me accomplish things I never could have done alone.

But if you've already gotten a good background of learning how to learn and understanding the musical language, being on your own for now might not be a hindrance. I'm sure you'll feel it if it comes to a point that you're stalled, or something seems lacking, and know then that you need a teacher.


Mary Bee
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