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#2282343 - 05/28/14 02:56 PM QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life?  
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Stubbie Offline
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Have you learned lessons about life--profound or mundane--from your piano endeavors? Something you came to realize about yourself, first at the piano, but that you realize, now, carries over into your interactions with others, other endeavors, the world?


Many times when I encounter something new in piano (e.g. technique or new piece) it seems impossible to me in the beginning. I now realize that if I keep at it, and break things down into manageable chunks, soon it becomes quite do-able. I'm experiencing more or less the same thing in one of my other hobbies, birding. At first every bird looked like a sparrow and sounded like "chirp chirp." (I exaggerate here, but you get the idea. smile ) Now I can identify quite a few birds by sight and sound. Plus, the more birds and bird songs I learn, the easier new ones get. And as in piano, my learning curve has not been linear.

In a nutshell, piano has taught me to be less daunted by learning new things, to be patient with myself and with the pace at which they transition from "impossible" to routine.


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#2282364 - 05/28/14 03:50 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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Sand Tiger Offline
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I have often read the advice on this forum, to slow down, to break things into manageable pieces. There have been so many times I am able to apply this lesson to other life situations. If I am moving so fast so mistakes are happening, I remind myself to slow down, take a breath, do one thing at a time, possibly break the task into smaller pieces.

Another thing I am coming to grips with on piano is my limitations. There are certain piano related things I am okay at. While other things might be an enormous struggle for me (as compared to the average person much less the talented person). This is another life lesson, that banging my head on a wall, continuing to throw time and effort at things or situations, that I may have little aptitude for, or little control over, can be as draining and frustrating for me as trying to learn certain piano related skills. Whether the cost in time and effort is worth it, is something I can decide. There is no real "have to," when in comes to hobbies. Hobbies are supposed to be fun.

Perhaps the most important is a third lesson of gratitude. I am thankful for the skills that I can learn, to enjoy the things I can do. There is a world of skills that might require more effort, more time, possibly more money, than I want to throw in, and that is okay. I can make a decision. I can try. I can make a mistake. If it turns out to be too much, there is no shame in that either.

#2282396 - 05/28/14 05:07 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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manyhands Offline
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Yes my perfectionism expectations have taken beneficial adjustment. In school one expects to go to class knowing the work 100%. Piano is gradual progress not weekly perfection. To enjoy the PROCESS takes patience with myself.


many hands many smiles

Big Mama Yama U1
#2282415 - 05/28/14 05:45 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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I have done quite a lot in my 56 years, and I am thinking of the life changing events that have made me what I am today. Rather than piano teaching me something about life, if seems everything I have done to date has prepared me for piano.


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

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#2282418 - 05/28/14 05:59 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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This is going to be a very interesting thread.

I'm learning that the things I tell my (English language ) students apply to me...

1. be patient with yourself.
2. don't expect to get everything right the first time
3. work on your English (piano) every day, even if it is only
15 minutes
4. be as kind and understanding with yourself as you are with
your classmates /students
5. Expect and accept plateaus. They are necessary.

I'm really realizing that I have never had to work very hard at anything in my life to do well - except for maths. Most things I've tried have come fairly easily, but piano has been a rougher road. Perhaps this is because piano is more important to me so I have a higher standard of what is acceptable ---or maybe because it really is simply much harder than other things I've done. Whatever the reason, it has often been a source of great frustration and I've had to work at (and am still working at) accepting the necessity and pleasure of enjoying the journey and putting less focus on the destination.







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#2282421 - 05/28/14 06:01 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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In jazz, when you hit a wrong note or play a phrase that doesn't fit, you can treat it as a motif, repeat it, maybe change the chords to fit the phrase, develop it by playing variations on it, turn it into something wonderful, if you have the chops.

I've tried the same approach in life.

Doesn't work, I just keep digging myself into a deeper hole. frown

Need life chops, I guess!

Ed


http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.

#2282427 - 05/28/14 06:14 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: earlofmar]  
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
Rather than piano teaching me something about life, if seems everything I have done to date has prepared me for piano.


In a lot of ways, this fits with my experience. I actually practiced a martial art for about 10 years (I slowly stopped as I devoted more and more time to piano). I started that as an adult beginner as well, I think I was around 20 years old. The process of starting as a complete beginner, and really just enjoying daily practice without much expectations had a huge impact on how I live my life (sorry if that sounds cliche!) I ended up practicing every day (twice sometimes with morning practice) and teaching children and beginners classes as well.

I think the discipline I learned in martial arts (which is a group activity with lots of people encouraging you) has played a huge part in the success I've been able to experience at the piano (which 6 days out of 7 is a solitary activity in which you have to encourage yourself!)

After starting marital arts (during a break in college) I returned to school, completed a bachelor's degree, got a job over seas and became bilingual. I then took up the piano, and later decided I wanted to go back to school, took the GRE and up to this point have completed a master's degree and am currently working on my PhD. I think I learned the fundamentals of discipline through martial arts, and certainly I've seen proof that I can be disciplined through piano. But I see my experience with martial arts as the real source of the things that I do that allow me to be successful in these long pursuits (foreign language study, piano, graduate school).

The one thing that I have learned through piano that I never had to face in martial arts is how to live with performance anxiety. I don't remember if I was ever nervous during belts tests in martial arts, but if I was it never got in my way.

Piano, on the other hand, and playing for others, produced in my the kind of stage fright/shakes that I never experienced in anything else. But like Casinitaly, because I care about piano so much, I made the effort to learn about it and figure out how to keep it from getting in my way.

This (my ability to deal with performance anxiety) has then been very helpful in other activities, especially in giving presentations of my research, in teaching and in interview situations.

So I guess I would say that martial arts taught me discipline and showed me how to enjoy the process at any level from beginner on. Piano has taught me how to deal with nerves and smile in the face of my own fear.

Both of these are important beyond words in my daily life.


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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#2282435 - 05/28/14 06:49 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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Wow. I am learning so much here. Like most of you, I have learned self-patience; That, with time, you accomplish your goal. More than anything, I learned that the passion for piano never goes away. I had about a 15 year sabbatical ( with intermittent spurts of playing) because of all of the life issues that got in the way. I am seriously grateful in spite of this. I say this, because when I started playing again on a daily basis, I was a different person, with a different focus. The love and yearning to learn new music, a new genre (Jazz), compose my own new music was just as strong if not stronger than ever before. I re-started scales, Bach inventions, etc... Before I knew it I was beyond where I was when I stopped. The piano never left me; the 'Muse" was here, waiting for me. As strange as this may sound to many of you, for me, it is the ultimate unconditional love, spirit.
Whatever your passion(s) in life, It never abandons you. At any given moment, at any given time, you are exactly where you are supposed to be,

Play with joy, play with love.


Barbara
...without music, no life...
#2282477 - 05/28/14 09:09 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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Three things:

1. Pleasure is not necessarily correlated to competence. (I have enormous fun and no one would describe my playing as competent.)
2. All skills do not come equally easily to all people. (I work with kids who struggle to learn skills that many of us never even noticed that we learned without trying.)

and my favorite:

3. Imperfect Mastery. (I expect my special needs kids to work on their skills at whatever level of competence they have. I want them trying to interact even when they aren't very good at it. So the same goes for me with piano: This is where I am; the only way to get better is to put it out there.)


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

#2282605 - 05/29/14 07:23 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
I'm experiencing more or less the same thing in one of my other hobbies, birding. At first every bird looked like a sparrow and sounded like "chirp chirp." (I exaggerate here, but you get the idea. smile ) Now I can identify quite a few birds by sight and sound.


I've learned better the rule of the 3 Ps - Practice, Patience and Persistence...

And as far as recognizing birds there are two frequently around my house that I've come to know well and love: Bluejays and Turkeys. Jays are aggressive and smart - they will actually go from peanut to peanut weighing them until they get the heaviest one before flying off with it to their nests (sometimes they'll pick up two at once). And the "Tom" turkeys (large, adult males) will gobble loudly and strongly when chasing off or viciously attacking the younger males ("jakes") while simultaneously puffing out their chests and fanning their tail feathers in mad pursuit of the (usually) largely uninterseted females - hilarious!


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
#2282637 - 05/29/14 08:45 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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In my life. Many times I've come across doing everything in my life excellent. To take on this attitude because it "rubs off" on what I'm trying to accomplish. I even ran across this straight out in singing. Yet, I have viewed that often as just being an actor. Putting on an act. Not being real. Being false. Yet, singing is a gift to me. It comes naturally.
Now piano is the kicker. The difficult one. There is so much that is to be completely trained in the base mind/nervous system. Including all that I know already from physiological training. Combine that with the mindset I'm picking up in my new System of learning piano. She hasn't come out and said this. But the format of the mind is there. I'm having to change things in my life to be excellent. I cannot tolerate letting things go. A messy home. A home that is not orderly and neat. I can go on with examples. It's just setting up excellence because the base mind/nervous system is stupid and corrupt. It must be disciplined. It must be disciplined in this way to play piano the way I want to. Piano is just too difficult. There is too much in the base mind/nervous system that needs to be trained.
This is only for training the base mind/nervous system to play piano the way I want to. To me this is just something temporary in this life. When I get down to what makes me tick. It is the Spirit of my God. That makes me feel drunk, while at the same time speeds up my mind with clarity. Things of this world seem unimportant. I can make it through a mess and keep myself clear. Face it, the world is a big mess. Daily life is wading through a big mess. But my private life. My home, myself. For the first time I'm having to discipline my base mind/nervous system with excellence surrounding myself. This is not an act. It's not my ego. It's needed to do this physical thing called playing piano.


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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#2282870 - 05/29/14 05:16 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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1. Not everything can be "conquered" by sheer force of will and effort. Some things (like piano) just take time and understanding, and no amount of increased effort is going to change that.

2. Goals change, so allow for that. Same with preferences.

3. There are some pretty nice people everywhere in the world... many of them play the piano and hang at PW. grin


Tarantella, Pieczonka
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#2282878 - 05/29/14 05:38 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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The most important thing I learned at the piano.......Enjoy beauty of things.... Enjoy deep emotions......Enjoy fun of things....

Playing piano helps me to express my feelings...bad, happy, depressed, cheerfully....it's like marriage...for better and worse

Cheers,
JB


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#2283161 - 05/30/14 04:26 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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This time last year I could not name a note. I didn't know the piano terms. I definitely didn't know how to play a song!

My lesson learned is that no matter how slow I'm moving, I will definitely be further in the future as long as I keep pressing. Eventually it will all make sense if I plug and plug at it.

#2283197 - 05/30/14 07:33 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: JazzyMac]  
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There's a lot more out there than just pianos that need a tune up. cry

Last edited by Rerun; 05/30/14 07:48 AM.

Rerun

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#2283213 - 05/30/14 08:39 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: earlofmar]  
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
I have done quite a lot in my 56 years, and I am thinking of the life changing events that have made me what I am today. Rather than piano teaching me something about life, if seems everything I have done to date has prepared me for piano.

Yes, indeed. I started a couple of years ago at 50. It reinforced what we already know: To everything, there is a season.


Rhythm & Chords, it's what I do.
#2283233 - 05/30/14 09:34 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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Those who love what you love are the most joyous company.

Shame isn't fatal. It is certainly no reason to quit.

There is a place for everyone in music.

Even when you play alone, someone benefits.

Foundations come first. They can also come slowly.

Perfect love casts out fear.....oh wait, that was someone else smile

#2283914 - 05/31/14 10:30 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Marinelife]  
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Have I learned something from my piano education the last 9 months, perhaps...

I've been playing golf for 40+ years. For as long as I can remember I've never been on a golf course where I didn't feel some angst, pressure, etc.

Today I played my first round since starting my lessons. I was calm, patient, and did not let an early tough start get me down.
I finished quite well, and had a totally stress-free round for the first time when I can remember.

A coincidence, perhaps. But still... wink



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#2283916 - 05/31/14 10:53 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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Yes... it's called "the art of recovery". When you mess up, big time, while playing the piano in front of 2500 people, what do you do? Recover from the mistake and move on like nothing out of the ordinary happened. smile

There are many other things in life that we may need to recover from... emotional trauma, addictions, depression, physical illness, etc...

Ususally, we come away from these things having learned something important... such as, making a mistake while playing the piano in public is not the end of the world. smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2283985 - 06/01/14 01:26 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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Learning to play piano reminds me of when I started taking dance classes before I became a professional. It is almost like learning to crawl/walk/run. Very humbling to learn to crawl at age 34. It's a reminder to me to be patient with myself and to trust others, my teacher and beyond.

#2284059 - 06/01/14 08:25 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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I learned from my piano journey that learning (in general, any topic) can be successful by frequently triggering the brain to go for the new task, that if not successful right away (whatever are the efforts and concentration you put in), time is sometimes needed for your brain to get comfortable with the new task. Sometimes the learning process will only be successfull by just triggering for the task again and again, and patiently giving things time. It was the piano playing which tought me, that sometimes I can advance, even by having a break for a coupple of days - given that before I frequently triggered the task!

Believe me or not, I never was a geneous in mathematics, although my job requests me to better be one. Because of my piano experiences I started to pick up some basic math topics again, some which always gave me trouble, and started to study them once more. But this time I am not uncomfortable anymore if I seem to not get it during a study session, I am not giving up to early anymore, but having learned that it is valid to sometimes trustfully and patiently pause the studies in order to pick them up the next day again, day after day again if necessary, I am finally advancing where I never believed I would ever be capable to advance.

#2284095 - 06/01/14 11:08 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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I think for me, there were things I was capable of learning at each time in my life, and whatever activity I was involved in then had a way in to learn them. Then whatever I learned fed in to the next activity.

Life's been kind of a big feedback loop, and I think any activity I was doing - college/math, ski racing, dancing, hiking/rock climbing, Friends meeting, hospice and other volunteering, piano - has ways to teach anything I needed to learn at that point. People keep maturing, at different rates in different skills, and when they're done they're - done laugh

But I love the openness and centeredness music gives me at this point.

Cathy

Last edited by jotur; 06/01/14 11:09 AM. Reason: spelling

Cathy
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#2284385 - 06/02/14 12:19 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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1. Motivation is sometimes incomprehensible even as it drives one soul in new directions.

2. The human brain is forever malleable and capable of growth. (Provided the Geneva convention is ignored during practice.)

3. Piano World rocks.

julie


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Piano is hard work from beginning to forever. Accept this as truth or risk a quick exit with tail between legs.


#2285277 - 06/03/14 04:56 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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You've likely heard that you will encounter the most growth of character in life, as a result of life struggles and the challenges you endure. More so in fact, then by your successes and accomplishments.

My observation is that this same philosophy is directly transferable to piano playing and with more immediate feedback.

That is, when I'm feeling down, or emotionally affected by some form of duress, is when I will play with more intensity of expression, I will likely play far better and I have a more intense draw to the bench in the first place.

Alternatively, when life is humming along tickety-boo ... there is not as much draw for me. I'm more likely to become quickly bored with what I'm playing currently and not nearly as motivated to practice or play. I need to push myself more in this case.

Of course, this may over simplify things. I certainly do not wish upon a sad or unrelenting challenging life for myself, in order to play with more intensity laugh . Nonetheless, this observation feels real ... for me.





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#2285291 - 06/03/14 05:46 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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Patience is required..

18 months ago I heard a beautiful piece which many state is influenced heavily by Debussy and Clare de Lune.

I could play the first 3 bars 18 months ago, today I can play it with very few mistakes from my overall progress.


I want to be so good at Piano like VK, that Roland gives me a free piano too!
#2285306 - 06/03/14 06:20 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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I have learned that time is available for whatever you wish to do, if you want to find the time to do it badly enough.

I have learned patience with myself - to allow myself the time to learn and to quiet the adult expectation of being good at something immediately. If piano were easy, it wouldn't be so special.

I have learned not to be self-conscious when practicing while family are home. I've discovered they completely tune me out! Except the dogs; they come running and lay near while I play.

I have learned that when someone walks into my home for the first time and sees the piano, the answer to the question, "Do you play?" is 'yes.' Not, "Oh, sort of. I'm not very good, just a student, just messing around." Simply, "Yes."


Collector of sheet music I can't play.
#2285368 - 06/03/14 09:16 PM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: JeanieA]  
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newbert Offline
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newbert  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,148
Upstate New York, USA
Originally Posted by JeanieA
....I have learned patience with myself - to allow myself the time to learn and to quiet the adult expectation of being good at something immediately. If piano were easy, it wouldn't be so special.



I still struggle with this exact thing. I get frustrated much to easily.....


Bert
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#2285495 - 06/04/14 04:30 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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CarlosCC Offline
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CarlosCC  Offline
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Lisbon, Portugal
I have learned that nothing is reached without work and dedication. I also learned that we should never give up, even in the moments of greatest frustration.


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Self-taught since Dec2009
"Don't play what's there, play what's not there."
#2285501 - 06/04/14 05:20 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: CarlosCC]  
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Starr Keys Offline
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Starr Keys  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,010
california
Originally Posted by CarlosCC
I have learned that nothing is reached without work and dedication. I also learned that we should never give up, even in the moments of greatest frustration.


We must have the same teacher, Carlos. This is exactly what I learned.:)

#2300960 - 07/11/14 02:09 AM Re: QOTW: Have you learned "life lessons" from your piano life? [Re: Stubbie]  
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Posts: 280
MarieJ Offline
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MarieJ  Offline

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Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 280
Queensland Australia
I have learned that it is NEVER too late to learn something new.

I was in my late sixties - and beginning to notice arthritis in a couple of fingers - when I decided I'd better make a start if I was ever going to be able to play the piano. Now the best part of the day is the time I spend with my beautiful Yamaha C3.

Enthusiasm must be contagious, because recently my husband caught the bug. Six weeks ago, shortly after his 75th birthday, he bought a clarinet and had his first-ever lesson.


[Linked Image] [Linked Image]XXXVIII-XLVII

An hour or two with my Yamaha C3 and Einaudi's music - STILL my idea of happiness.

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