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Jorleyy Offline OP
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Simply; is my age something that prevents me from being able to become as good as a professional pianist; does my age prevent me from learning certain things? Does my age mean that I can't learn some things that younger people can?

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Originally Posted by Jorleyy
Does my age mean that I can't learn some things that younger people can?

Like what?


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Originally Posted by Jorleyy
Simply; is my age something that prevents me from being able to become as good as a professional pianist; does my age prevent me from learning certain things? Does my age mean that I can't learn some things that younger people can?

Depends on what you mean by a 'professional pianist'. If you mean one with the virtuoso technique who can toss off Scarbo like so much child's play, you might struggle. But if you mean one who can play most of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic repertoire competently, that's achievable - if you get the right instruction and embark on the correct approach to practicing for the next several years.

But the first thing you need to do is to find a good teacher who will be able to assess your present standard and show you how to get to where you want to be.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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It's well known that language learned prior to age 6-7 can be learned without an accent. Learning a language at age 8 or later will always result in an accent. Learning piano is similar. There are brain connections that simply don't get made that allow someone learning at a younger age to play more fluently than anyone starting at an older age. You can still probably learn to be a very good pianist, but being a world class virtuoso is not in your future.


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I'm not sure why you think it's too late; 20 is still pretty young and your current repertoire is not at a beginner's level. If you get a teacher, you should be able to get quite far.

FYI I'm around your age, and I did the C minor nocturne when I was 16. Within the last year and a half I've done the Chopin sonata as well as Beethoven's op. 109 and 110, so it's not impossible for you to do the same.


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Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

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Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
It's well known that language learned prior to age 6-7 can be learned without an accent. Learning a language at age 8 or later will always result in an accent. Learning piano is similar.


There is a common misconception that language learning is more difficult as an adult, but it's not really true. It's something the linguistics community has investigated deeply, but if you hang around with second-language learners, you will realize they don't spend much time working on their accent.

Another myth that was perpetuated, and quite controversial among neurologists, was that adults can't grow new brain cells. Now we know the truth. Approximately a decade ago, new neuron growth was observed in adults.

Quote
There are brain connections that simply don't get made that allow someone learning at a younger age to play more fluently than anyone starting at an older age.

This can still be a useful train of thought, however. What brain connections are the ones that are missing? What does it prevent adults from doing? Even trying to answer these questions will give you deeper insight.


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That's quite comforting for those of us late starters. I started when I was 11 myself and have often worried that it was far too late to have any type of meaningful career as a pianist. I'm thinking I might just beat the odds though.

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I too have little gaps in my learning because I was completely self-taught. But being self-taught has its positives too. It allowed me to realize my passion for this instrument, when I could have very easily been turned off by piano lessons as a young boy.

If what you say is true, I am very confident that you will be able to reach concert-level technique. Once you get a teacher, all of those little gaps will fill in very fast and you will be caught up in no time. Plus, your teacher will know how to hone in on your skills and help you advance them faster than you could do by yourself.

Don't feel depressed because you're a late-starter like me. You likely have built up a very adequate technique in many aspects. A good teacher will fill in those gaps very quick.

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Originally Posted by JoelW
I too have little gaps in my learning because I was completely self-taught. But being self-taught has its positives too. It allowed me to realize my passion for this instrument, when I could have very easily been turned off by piano lessons as a young boy.
Do excuse me but this is such a lame excuse for anything really!

Why on earth would you be turned off by piano lessons? If this is the case skip school, and professional training all together! grin

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It's entirely possible that a teacher could have turned me off to the whole idea of classical music. It happens way too often. Did you ever hate math one year then love it the next year because you had an awesome teacher? It matters, and it is certainly not a "lame excuse".

That being said, discovering classic music ON MY OWN later in life helped me completely solidify my passion for it, because I was totally free. Free to discover, listen and learn music that I loved.

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There's tons of self taught musicians that I admire (heck I'd even publish some works of theirs, if they'd let me), but this doesn't change the fact that you're creating an excuse to suite a decision made in earlier in life without any ground base, or experience, or logic behind it!

And yes I did hate certain subjects in school and just changed my mind because of a new teacher. You haven't?

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You seem confused.

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Not at all. But I'm not polyphonist to keep replying back and forth and ruin this thread! wink we both made our points...

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You may be quick to run away from an argument, but hey, you started it. We can work this out if you just listen to what I'm saying for a second.

Originally Posted by Nikolas
you're creating an excuse to suite a decision made in earlier in life

I discovered classical music when I was fifteen, and rapidly progressed my ear and technical abilities on my own. For a while, I didn't care about getting a teacher, and frankly, I'm not ashamed of that. I am very good at teaching myself. With that said, I do currently have a teacher and I advocate getting one.

In my previous post, I was simply stating that starting off being self-taught has its advantages. For you to say that one of those advantages is just an "excuse" for something is insulting.

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Originally Posted by JoelW


If what you say is true, I am very confident that you will be able to reach concert-level technique.


What exactly do you mean by concert level technique?



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by JoelW


If what you say is true, I am very confident that you will be able to reach concert-level technique.


What exactly do you mean by concert level technique?

The ability to perform high-level music well. I don't necessarily mean virtuous technique, although it's possible under the right circumstances.

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Joel: You may have all the time in the world to argue all you want through the Internet. I don't!

For me what you said sounded like a sort of an excuse. I don't know you personally to judge you, but this is what your first paragraph read like to me. My bad? So be it. I don't care to keep this argument at all...

And to be clear: You seem so adamant that you're good, did good to yourself, etc, and are claiming that "perhaps getting a teacher would've been worst", which is a fact (due to the "perhaps"). The opposite also stands true.

Also notice that I didn't say a thing about a poor decision, or what not. Just a decision! wink

And with that I'm out of this thread...

EDIT: Mentioned that this is towards Joel...

Last edited by Nikolas; 03/09/14 06:37 AM.
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I definately think that one can learn much as a self-taught pianist; but I have come to a point where I absolutely need a teacher. I do have a teacher but I feel like I need a new one. I am not completely self-taught, I have had a teacher for 3 of my 5 years of playing, but I still feel "self-taught" in a way, because I have always had to figure out many things on my own.

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Just do it.

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Originally Posted by The Wind
Just do it.


Exactly.

Asking unanswerable questions from people who don't know you and who have no idea of your actual ability beyond your own self-reporting (a kind of reporting which is notoriously biased smile ) doesn't do you any good.

We certainly don't know if you can do it. And the only way you will find out if you can do it is by making the attempt.

Personally, my hunch is that you won't do it, but that's just me - I tend to be pretty negative about this kind of thing. When people ask this sort of question (and you aren't the first), my first thought is that the ones who are going to actually do it don't ask these kinds of questions of total strangers. The reason for that is because in their minds, there's no choice - they have to do it, and there's no point in asking about it. That's what real passion does - you don't feel you are being presented with a choice, you simply do it.

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