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Adult Returners - what's your story? #2511651
02/17/16 08:46 AM
02/17/16 08:46 AM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 589
Australia
cathryn999 Offline OP
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cathryn999  Offline OP
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Australia
At my first lesson with my new teacher the other day, he asked "so what's your story"? I hesitated. "Well", i said, "I learned piano from when I was 5 - 15. Then life came along.. oh, I had a piano and I played on and off but you know, kids, works, marriage, divorce... eventually I sold my piano about 10 years ago. Then about 6 months ago I had a major life crisis (my partner had a major psychotic episode and disappeared off the face of the planet... I was certain the next phone call I got would be the one that said he'd been found... ... anyway....)

I said "I really needed something to help *me* find myself again. I remembered piano. It used to fundamentally be a part of who I was. So for my birthday I bought a one, off gumtree - it was a clunky old thing, Alex Steinbach, terrible sound. After it was delivered I was so afraid. Afraid I wouldn't remember. Afraid my fingers wouldn't work. I made everyone leave the house. I closed the door. I sat in front of it for ages, just looking at the keys. And then I..."

and I demonstrated, playing for him the opening bars of a Mozart Sonata.

I said "I was amazed! I remembered!"

He nodded and smiled. "How did that feel"?

I had a lump in my throat. I said "It was like finding an old friend".

It's hard to believe that it was just 6 (nearly 7 now) months ago... so much has happened since I let that old friend back into my heart. Perhaps I regret selling my piano ten years ago, but perhaps if I hadn't I would have always just occasionally played a tune, badly, after a glass of wine or two, and never made that great leap forward to re-starting lessons.

That's my story. Other adult re-starters, what's yours, care to share? Why did you re-start, and what's been your experience since?


The difference between dreams and reality is action.
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Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511654
02/17/16 09:12 AM
02/17/16 09:12 AM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 2,182
First Town, First State
BrianDX Offline
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Wow cathryn99 I thought I had issues. Best of luck to you going forward.

My story is pretty straight-forward:
I never had music lessons growing up. At the age of 35 I took up piano lessons with two young kids in our house with a local teacher. She was nice and supportive, but I never got very far, and she moved out of state a year later so that was the end of that.

Almost three years ago we saw a story in out local paper about a teacher not far from us who specialized in teaching adults. To make a long story short, we have been studying with her for almost 30 months, and it has truly been a life changing experience for both my wife and I.

I've already progressed beyond my initial hopes, so who knows what's next? smile

Add in the fact that a year ago I suddenly starting composing my own pieces (and have played two of them in public), well, I'm blown away.


Yamaha C2X | Yamaha M500-F
Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
Curriculum: Faber Developing Artist (Book 3)
Current: German Dance in D Major (Haydn) (OF); Melody (Schumann) (OF)
Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511664
02/17/16 09:30 AM
02/17/16 09:30 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,451
Finland
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outo Offline
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Purely by chance I must say. Never had any interest of returning to piano (that I happily abandoned at age 11 or so) until I just sat down on a borrowed digital one day and thought that I might try to learn to read some simple music. Then just thought I would see if I could learn a few pieces I really like. And then found it too hard to learn a Chopin nocturne or etude on my own (with absolutely no prior experience on advanced piano pieces, even from childhood). So I figured out I need a teacher and then I figured I need an acoustic piano for lessons. So I bought a piano and started regular lessons after 3 months of self learning simple pieces. And have been obsessed with learning to play better (not necessarily virtuoso music) ever since. Not that it's been easy, I did and do struggle with many basic things and my teacher has extremely high standards...

Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511675
02/17/16 10:11 AM
02/17/16 10:11 AM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 589
Australia
cathryn999 Offline OP
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Australia
Wow Brian DX, that is a pretty fantastic progression. You say you never had music lessons growing up - do you mind me asking, what was the impetus to suddenly start at the age of 35? I'm jealous that not only are you playing in public but playing your own music - awesome stuff!

Outo: what a wonderful chance. Think what you would have missed out on if you hadn't sat down at that borrowed digital!



The difference between dreams and reality is action.
Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511681
02/17/16 10:22 AM
02/17/16 10:22 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,451
Finland
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outo Offline
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Originally Posted by cathryn999

Think what you would have missed out on if you hadn't sat down at that borrowed digital!



I do sometimes...a lot of stress surely grin

But my visions for the future have also changed...never thought of retirement before. Now it kind of feels something to look forward to: Nothing else to do but practice all day (or night).

Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511702
02/17/16 11:21 AM
02/17/16 11:21 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 274
Tuscany Italy
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Hi cathryn, now yours looks like a story... my best wishes.

I've learned a bit of piano in my early teens, from an older lady ( my dearest Maria Luisa ) wich was a family friend. I always disappointed her, didn't ever find the discipline to study properly, i guess i made her suffer buckets of frustration, all the time, since i preferred to play by ear, which i was good at.

So i went on for twenty years playing some tune by ear, tinkering with workstations, but never really learned to be good at simply playing the piano, so i got stranded.

Now i'm fourty y.o., found a teacher, a piano, and am studying again since three months, and am already convinced sometimes this keeps me alive!

( and i hope my old friend can hear me now, while i play along).

Last edited by Bellicapelli; 02/17/16 11:23 AM.

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Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511711
02/17/16 11:46 AM
02/17/16 11:46 AM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 272
Boston
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We always had a piano in the house growing up. My mom played a bit, I took lessons as a kid. I liked playing but I hated practicing so needless to say I did not get very far and eventually quit around 11 yo.

Because the piano was always there and because my mom played from time to time, I would hear a beautiful piece and want to try it so I taught myself some pieces when I was around 16-17. Nothing complicated since I did not have a teacher, but I did enjoy the sporadic practice time I put in.

Then life happened... moving out, college, graduate school, marriage, kids. Fast forward to now, I am almost 40, kids are 7 and 8, we bought a piano. My MIL is a musician and really wanted the kids to learn. At first I didn't think I'd ever touch the thing. After all, it's only for the kids and a nice-looking piece of furniture.

Somehow, while helping the kids practice, I got sucked in. Now I can't wait for them to be done with their daily practice so I can get the piano to myself smile


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Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: INBoston] #2511728
02/17/16 12:32 PM
02/17/16 12:32 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,459
Costa del Sol
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I took lessons as a child, but I do not remember for how long. I remember a recital or two, so it was probably two-three years. Then my family moved to a small town that had no piano teacher. I continued to play until I went to college, but without guidance I did not develop much, though I remember playing Monlight Sonata 1st movement, and I accompanied the Junior HS choir.

I remember standing outside the conservatory at university, wishing so much that I could make music like what I was hearing. I played in the dorm common room my freshman year, until one day a conservatory student sat down and took over the piano to impress the girls. That was the last time I played piano. It totally took the wind out of my sails.

Fast forward about 35 years, and my husband bought a keyboard, because he wanted to learn to play. He quickly lost interest, but I was immediately hooked. I could barely remember how to read music, but it came back quickly. Soon after we purchased a Mason Hamlin BB, and I was taking lessons and loving it!

Then, we moved to Switzerland and I had to sell my beloved M&H. That is just too much piano for an apartment. And, I needed to take German lessons before I could take piano lessons! I missed piano very much, so we eventually purchased a digital, and then a Bechstein grand. I found an excellent piano teacher who has been my guide to the present.

Piano is also my physical therapy. I have MS, and playing piano has completely irradicated the tremors in my hands. My fine motor control has improved dramatically. So I owe a lot to piano, and I believe the only limits are the ones we impose on ourselves.




Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511739
02/17/16 01:00 PM
02/17/16 01:00 PM
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Posts: 221
New Jersey
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Played clarinet, on and off, for 50 years, but never felt like I really connected with the music. Thought about piano for the past 15 years, as my mother used to play, and finally decided to take lessons. The goal is to learn improvisation and eventually sit in on sessions with friends. I found a fabulous teacher and sometime within the next three years I hope to extract some music from the random stuff floating through my head. I feel like there's some songs in there and I just can't play them yet.


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Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511746
02/17/16 01:20 PM
02/17/16 01:20 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 290
Near Yosemite, California
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These are wonderful stories! (cathryn999 my best wishes too)

My family always had a piano - my Dad has played by ear for 80ish years now. I took some lessons as a girl, and although I liked it, I didn't practice enough to get anywhere. Although I stopped playing piano while young, there was always music playing in the house and I also have a decent voice (not a special one but not bad) and was in various choirs and chorales up through college. My first (now ex) husband plays guitar and my son also turned out to be a musician - a Berklee graduate - and actually makes a living with it, mostly teaching.

Anyway, I've always had it in the back of my mind that I'd like to try again at learning to play but didn't have enough oomph to do anything about it until about a year ago. My sister in law had an unfortunate decline in her ability to live independently and had to move into assisted living, and during the course of her transition was having a difficult time finding someone to take her Everett spinet. I decided to ask if I could have it, and she agreed.

Once the piano arrived here, I felt an obligation to play it, so I started on a course of teaching myself, using the Alfred's Level 1 book. Obligation turned to dedication and enjoyment and I find it often joyful even in the thorniest thicket of figuring out a piece. I've found a teacher that I respect a lot and now I can't imagine life without playing.


Schumann - Sheherazade Op. 68 No 32, Ravel Prelude in A minor 1913, Scarlatti Sonata in D Minor K32/ Soundcloud

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Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511747
02/17/16 01:21 PM
02/17/16 01:21 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 48
Greece
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cathryn999 welcome.Best of luck and enjoy the journey.

As a kid never had lessons.Learning music was not a priority at my family and sadly was not for me
But as far as i can remember ,I grew up next to a radio listening music (rock,pop,dance you name it) .

Some three years ago(i was 42 back then), my daughter started pressing me to buy an acoustic guitar.
Wasn't sure she how far she was read to go but i was curious (and hopping she would see me trying and follow my exaple....).
That time i decided that i should do something with the music which was playing in my head.
So we both bought an musical instrument (i bought a midi keyboard back then).

I started self-learning and after three months found my self a teacher.
MY progress so far is quite fast and as long as i see my self improving on keys i will keep trying.

I hope that some time at 10 years (maybe) i will be able to play the song i like, without spending three months on a song.......and some time after that playing at gig ?

Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511784
02/17/16 02:43 PM
02/17/16 02:43 PM
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Like cathryn999 I had lessons for about 10 years as a child. Classical music was the first kind of music I learned to love, listening to my mother play the piano and then learning it myself. I have good musical aptitudes so was able to advance fairly well. I was also very undisciplined, tending to slack off from assignments I didn't like, most especially dry technical exercises, and that probably limited my advancement. In the 30-some years since I've had occasional periods where I had regular access to a piano, but generally not. My mother's piano has been sitting unused and I have room for it now, and more importantly a strong desire to get back to music and a commitment to regular practice. I haven't had a lesson since my school days, and while I generally like to be my own teacher (not just in music), I expect I will get a lot of benefit from a teacher who can re-train me with a solid technical foundation. The piano arrives next week and I hope to start lessons next month (I'm already in contact with a teacher). My goal is not so much to learn particular pieces as to learn to be a better musician.


I left the piano for a while, but it never left me
Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511849
02/17/16 05:01 PM
02/17/16 05:01 PM
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Great stories. Here's a bit of mine. I had written quite a life story, but I’ll truncate it.

- I had been fascinated by pianos throughout childhood but my family didn't have the money nor space for one.
- I did play sax and clarinet and went to music school, where I spent a lot of time with pianos. I took to it quite well but still didn’t have one at home to practice over breaks, which my piano instructor found appalling. After that I got an 80s Casio 201 (I still have it but several keys do not work as I loaned it to someone whose cat slept on it).
- I had a "What am I doing" crisis as I was a decent saxophonist but not at Blue Note record level. I’d also met a lot of musicians who were struggling financially, including some who had cut Blue Note records. Becoming a “band director” would have greatly disappointed my parents.
- I left music school and worked as an audio engineer, mainly in a mastering studio. (I had learned quite a bit about recording).
- I went back to school but chose English Literature. I worked and took classes, both full time, and later accepted a graduate assistantship for my M.A.
- Then came life among the cubicles and a very nasty hiking accident. I'd stopped regularly playing by this time but would play a piano whenever I'd see one, including a late night in Seattle playing blues in a hotel lobby for some drunken co-workers.
- My entire group was laid off. To keep occupied and reasonably sane, especially as issues from the accident were becoming challenging—I wound up being hospitalized for five months—I decided to play again. Getting out the sax or clarinet would be depressing. I wanted to get a piano but was concerned about the cost and space, especially as I anticipated having to move for the next job. So I got a guitar.
- A decade later, I'd recovered from the accident and long hospital stint, had been at another job for quite some time and had kept playing guitar. I again found myself at a crossroads. I was having problems doctors traced to long, odd hours with a long commute, high stress, never taking lunches, etc. The company was also increasingly doing questionable things and taking on more clients which I found morally objectionable. So I left.

Okay so the truncated version is still too long. Anyway…

Last November I traveled to attend a funeral for my aunt, one of the people who was very important throughout my life and an amazing person. During the services, I took a walk to be alone for a bit and, in the back of a rural southern church, saw a very beat up piano. It was kind of comforting in a way, and I really wanted to play it. I lightly pressed a couple of keys, which were very out of tune, and remembered how much I loved playing piano. I decided to get a digital piano, which became a partial Christmas present.

So here I am.

Last edited by TimPoe; 02/17/16 05:06 PM.
Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511890
02/17/16 07:01 PM
02/17/16 07:01 PM
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My story is pretty straight forward. Like many I took piano lessons for a few years as a child but the whole practice thing became a struggle between my mother and me and I quit. I played clarinet in marching band and concert band while in high school. But through college, getting married and a career, no music but it was always at the back of my mind. After I retired, l started piano lessons with a wonderful teacher and have enjoyed every day. I have taken lessons now for six years. I started with a digital piano, a few months later got an upright and several months ago a grand piano. Two years ago, my husband of 40 years died suddenly of a heart attack. My piano is one of the things that is helping me get through this time. I love playing every day.

Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: Tim P] #2511896
02/17/16 07:28 PM
02/17/16 07:28 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 442
upstate NY
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Cathryn,
That is quite a story. I am glad you found the piano again and it sounds like you have found a great teacher. I only took lessons for a couple of years as a kid from 6 to 8 and never wanted to practice. after two years, my parents let me quit. I also took dance which I did continue through high school. Of course now I wish i had not quit.

I got to college and decided to take piano to fulfill a general education requirement. I knew that I wanted to work with children and thought it would be nice to learn how to play some easy childrens' songs. Well, unlike when I was a child absolutely fell in love with the piano and was quickly practicing 2 to 3 hours a day.

It was a small woman's college and one man was the whole music department. He taught piano, did the choir and one theory and one music history course. at the end of my freshman year, I decided to transfer in my junior year to a university that had both a good psychology department which was my major and a music school.

I spent my second year taking all the music courses offered at my college and practicing at least 3 hours a day and more during breaks. I was trying to do a double major but did not finish the music. I did have more than enough for a minor. In my junior year at the new school, I had a young teacher just a few years out of Julliard. He was an extremely dedicated teacher who gave a tremendous amount. My lesson always ran at least half way into his free period. In the evenings, he was often around popping in and out of practice rooms.

He also expected a tremendous amount and my practice quickly increased to 4 to 5 hours a day. I have always liked teachers who push but he took pushing to new heights. In the beginning there were times that I thought I couldn't take it. However, he never put you down. If anything, he made you feel like you could do anything. Well, he left at the end of that year, and the next teacher was not a good fit at all.
I think looking back that we were too much alike. I was very shy and reserved and tended to hold my emotions in and the new teacher was also very quiet and reserved. I had gone from a passionate and intense teacher to one who to me seemed uninterested and I felt like he expected next to nothing from me. That is what he got and I quit piano in the middle of my senior year.
Then like many others life got in the way- marriage, children graduate school and work. For the first few years I played a bit on my own but
then stopped completely for over 35 years.

I am a social worker and work with adults with disabilities. One lady who I work with is blind and expressed an interest in learning to play
the piano. The house where she lived asked if anyone knew the keyboard and I did remember that much. I showed her a little while we looked for a teacher for her. We actually found a teacher who was also blind. I went to the music store and when I started looking at music, I felt really discouraged. I did not even really remember how to read
the music. I bought the Alfred books 1 and 2 for adult beginners and went through them on my own in a couple of months. The reading did come back quickly.

I then tried to play one of the easier Chopin waltzes and soon decided that I needed a teacher. I was quite nervous about starting lessons after all those years and knew that for me the teacher was going to be important. I have always struggled with having confidence and playing in front of others with the piano although I do not have these issues in any other area of my life. I talked to a local community music school and asked about their teachers. I chose the one who they said was calm but did expect a lot from his students and could be outspoken about it. I have been with him for 5 years now and cannot imagine piano not being part of my life .He left the school about 2 1/2 years ago and I still take from him. I have an hour and a half lesson once a week and I look forward to my lessons all week. I was 65 with some mild arthritis in my hands when I decided to take lessons again and believe me I was often wondering if I would be able to play classical music again after all that time. Fortunately my new teacher did not share my doubts and has pushed me when I need it and will not let me give up on things that are difficult.
I initially just bought a keyboard and as soon as I started playing it, was spending 2 hours on it and remembering just how much I used to love to play. I then bought a cheap acoustic and last fall bought a grand piano which I love.
Please forgive all the typos. I have to go practice.


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Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511898
02/17/16 07:30 PM
02/17/16 07:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 589
Australia
cathryn999 Offline OP
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cathryn999  Offline OP
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Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 589
Australia
What wonderful stories, and what a wonderful start to my day, thank you!

SwissMS indeed I agree the only limits are the ones we set for ourselves:
[video:yahoo]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDUWoaJtHIk[/video]


(sorry I can't get the video to load here - try this link)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDUWoaJtHIk

Last edited by cathryn999; 02/17/16 07:33 PM.

The difference between dreams and reality is action.
Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511945
02/17/16 10:16 PM
02/17/16 10:16 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 2,182
First Town, First State
BrianDX Offline
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Originally Posted by cathryn999
Wow Brian DX, that is a pretty fantastic progression. You say you never had music lessons growing up - do you mind me asking, what was the impetus to suddenly start at the age of 35? I'm jealous that not only are you playing in public but playing your own music - awesome stuff!

Thanks Cathryn999!

You know, its been over 25 years ago so I don't recall what made me take the initial plunge. My one regret is that I would love to get in contact with my first teacher to let her know how far I've come since we parted. The interesting thing is, she ha a rather unique name, and there was a piano teacher in Indiana by that name; but alas, it was not her.

One other big regret; after keeping my old piano books around for over 20 years, 6 months before starting up again I threw them all away! frown

Still, all is good...


Yamaha C2X | Yamaha M500-F
Groucho Marx: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."
Curriculum: Faber Developing Artist (Book 3)
Current: German Dance in D Major (Haydn) (OF); Melody (Schumann) (OF)
Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511953
02/17/16 10:37 PM
02/17/16 10:37 PM
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Never played as a kid, but I have fond memories of puttering around on an old derelict piano in an old derelict schoolhouse my parents were hoping to remodel. The plans fell through, the schoolhouse was bulldozed, and I suspect the piano was beyond repair and unwanted, and was bulldozed with it.

I played trumpet in the school band, and a few years ago tried to get back into it. Every time I started sounding okay, chapped lips or bronchitis or something would come along and force a long break, leaving me back at square one. I finally accepted that my lips are no longer what they were as a kid, and never would be.

Somehow I got the idea that playing the piano might be fun instead, and it's more of a solo instrument than a trumpet anyway. (No local brass band to play in!) So I got a cheap keyboard to see if I would like it and could handle it. Things are going pretty well after a couple of months, so now I am planning to sell my comeback trumpet and buy a PX-160 with the money. Hurts to give the trumpet up, but I never got to the point where I could play for more than half an hour at a time, and I can bang away on the keyboard as long as I like without straining anything.


"Are we there yet ?"--dmd
Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511962
02/17/16 11:00 PM
02/17/16 11:00 PM
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Posts: 442
upstate NY
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Thanks for the link to the video. What an inspiring young man.
Judy


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Re: Adult Returners - what's your story? [Re: cathryn999] #2511983
02/18/16 02:23 AM
02/18/16 02:23 AM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 199
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pianofan1017 Offline
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pianofan1017  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 199
I love to read all of your stories.
Here is my story. I always wanted to learn piano as a kid. However, my parents never supported the idea even if I cried for hours outside of the piano store. In my family, study and get good grades was always the first priority. As a kid, I could only stand outside some teacher's studio and listen to their class.
When I went to college, I saved some money from my part time restaurant waitress job and bought my very first $800 dollar piano with one key does not even make sound.
At first it was very difficult to find a teacher because I had a big dream still (I know become concert pianist is totally unrealistic, but still I want to be able to play my favorite piece which is Chopin's Fantasy-Improntu op66) But as soon as I mentioned it to the teacher I found, they told me that is practically impossible. So, after many teacher rejected me, I begged my friend who graduated from master in piano performance from a public university to start teaching me. I just loved it. I had lessons with her for about five years and I was able to play kuhlau's sonatinas. I was very happy.
Then, one Thanksgiving holiday I was robbed and physically assaulted. The bullet went through my right elbow and broken the bones there in pieces. I was grateful to be still alive however. Had four different surgeries to connect the bones and fix nerve damages. Glad I don't play piano for a living, but still I was really upset. I thought I would never able to play it again. But my friend said, "Why not? There is always Ravel's piano concerto for left hand if you really practice your left hand." So, for those years during recovery of my right arm, I only practiced with left hand. Then, my friend got a great opportunity somewhere else and moved out of the country.
Afterwards, I found another teacher. I am able to play with both hands again. I have been with this teacher for three years. Passed ABRSM grade 5 exam and is currently working on grade 6. Had played the easy mozart and beethoven sonatas, chopin nocturnes, tchaikovsky the seasons. However, this teacher is again moving away. I am in the process to look for another teacher.
My goal has not changed. I still want to be able to play chopin's fantasy-impromtu one day. I want to be able to go for ABRSM grade 8 and possibly DipABRSM afterwards. I still dreamed of going to get a degree in a public university and be able to take class with my teacher's teacher someday. I think that would be very cool.
It doesn't matter where my final destination is. It won't hurt to dream a little it might just come true someday.


In Progress:
1.Debussy Arabasque1
2. Czerny 740 no 3
3. Mozart Sonata K330 1st Movement
4. Bach Prelude and Fugue in C Major

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