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I was around 30 years old when I bought a Baldwin console piano and began lessons. Up to that time I had listened to many genres of music. I had always been fascinated by music in general and famous composers past and present. I knew absolutely nothing about music notation and had no experience with the piano whatsoever. I just knew I wanted to create beautiful music like I had heard others do. My first teacher was middle aged and has since passed on. She was a wonderful teacher and very patient. She started me in a David Carr Glover Primer Book. We also used Fingerpower Primer by Schaum. I still think those are great books even though I don't know anyone who uses them today. After about six months, I progressed to Glover's Level 1 and Fingerpower Level 1. I was working full time and had young children at home, but I always found time to practice. My practice was efficient because of my teacher. Her guidance kept me going. My first year of lessons I became more and more interested and met all the goals my teacher and I set forth. She told me that I had progressed rapidly, but I had nothing to gauge it by, having no prior experience at the piano. I ended up moving and had to quit lessons for financial reasons, but I was so happy to have the basics. Fast forward a few years and I bought another piano and started college as an older student. I first enrolled in a class piano course. After that, I studied theory, harmony, and composition, and took private piano lessons at college. I was so intrigued by theory that I spent all my extra time studying theory and analyzing music. I never achieved the skill level at the keyboard that I wanted because of a lack of practice. My professors kept pushing me however, and I was finally playing pieces like Fur Elise. After college, I seldom played due to my busy teaching career. The only thing I would have changed was to have kept up with my lessons over the years and continued practice. Now that I'm retired I am taking lessons again and enjoying every minute of it. I had so many standout happy moments my first years of piano that it would be hard to name just one, and they just keep coming.

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A blur. I kept a record of all the pieces I tackled. What I learnt is that if your trust your teacher, which I do, be guided by their advice , especially on pieces to play, I did push out on pieces that technically way out there before I was ready; be ever so patience and practice practice sloooooowly; metronome is my friend even though it took me a couple of years shying away from it-still not totally comfortable, but I know I Play better with it than without it; accept where I am now; I am learning theory on every piece I play, I try to bring in scales, etc, but I flip and flop on any real dedication, but I am okay with that too. playing piano on regular basis is as good as dose of daily meditation, and my life is strangely in better place for it!

Last edited by Pianoperformance; 03/02/17 10:32 PM.
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I felt this was a thread worthy of bumping.

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My first years... hmmm
big desire+
crappy piano+
mean teacher+
nonexistent work ethic


ok, thinking about my first years of practicing it's amazing I play at all.


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I bought a DP and self-taught for about four months.......and gradually slacked off and didn't play at all for about six months (and meanwhile retired from my job of 38 years). Then a chance comment from Mr. Stubbie ("So-And-So asked how piano was going and I told him you didn't play anymore.") got me started up again. I got back into a regular practice routine (MOYD helps) and self-taught another couple of years.

Again, comments from Mr. Stubbie about how maybe I should think about getting a teacher made me change course. I found a teacher through the local community college and have been taking lessons for the last three years. Oh, and another comment from Mr. Stubbie ("Have you ever thought about getting a grand piano?" Me, "Why, yes I have.") got me into playing a piano way above my pay grade but a joy to play.

In my early days of self-teaching I worked my way through the AIO books one and two. I never learned any piece well--I didn't really know what I didn't know. I learned about how to practice from this site and from Bernhard's threads on PS. I have always practiced at least an hour a day and nowadays I practice at least two hours a day. My practice has gotten "smarter" but I will never be an efficient practicer unless I have a personality change. smile

My first year, lessons were 30 min. lessons. I then switched to another teacher at the college and went to 60 minute lessons. My teacher moved me along fairly rapidly and I have had to work hard to keep up. I think, on balance, I enjoy and thrive on the challenge. My biggest struggle is performance anxiety at my lesson. Yes, a lesson shouldn't be a performance. I'm working on it.

If I could have changed anything it would have been (1) take lessons as a child and (2) start with a teacher when I did take up piano as an older adult, rather than self-teach. Those first couple of years learning the fundamentals are important.

My goals are to play piano in a decent fashion for the rest of my life. My short term goals are all related to the pieces I'm working on and incorporating suggestions from my teacher.

I am more interested now than when I first began. I've taken four semesters of music theory classes (very interesting), a couple of ear training/sight-singing classes, and am about to take a few music history classes. As for the music itself, yikes, I want to play it all.


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What a great thread idea, I must have missed it before, thanks for bumping it up.

I've been doing this for just over 4 years years now, starting from essentially zero at age 47.
Thanks to EarlofMar for the template grin

How much did you practice and did you feel that was the correct amount?
Every day with very few exceptions, I practice in the morning for ~30 min and then late afternoon/early eve for 45 min on average. Early on, I engaged the awesome power of habit so it makes it easier to sit down even if I don't really feel like practicing.

Did you feel you practiced efficiently?
I know I didn't. I've always felt there is a fine line to straddle between making good progress and sustainability. I know there is a need for many to find some "optimal practice strategy" or something but even if it exists, if it drives you to quit in frustration after 3 months, how "optimal" is it?
That said, after 4 years I'm a little more secure about not quitting, and the pieces I'm working on require better practice habits. I can't make any progress on Bach Inventions, for example, with a few sloppy run-throughs each day. So I have had to learn to be more efficient.

Did you feel your progress was fast/slow?
It's never fast enough so I have to say slow. To be honest, as long as I'm making progress I really don't care. Fast or slow implies something relative, so relative to what?

Would you liked to have changed anything?
Hmm, not really. I could have started with my teacher a little earlier than I did (6 months). I wish I had spent more on my piano but the one I have is pretty nice so no real complaints.

Do you recall any stand out moments what you were really happy with?
Not really single moments but occasionally I mentally step back and really feel and hear the improvement compared to years ago. Particularly for easier romantic-style pieces.

Did you become more or less interested than when you first begun?
I think it's been about the same. Maybe a slight increase over the years.

Any books you felt really accelerated your progress?
Not really. I have a lot of books too, some of which I've enjoyed reading. I think learning theory has helped quite a bit.

Did you meet your short term goals?
I've avoided setting goals, for me at least, I think the downsides outweigh the positives. They add stress for what benefit? I'm self-driven enough that I will make progress without setting specific goals.


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Stubbie -

*****Again, comments from Mr. Stubbie about how maybe I should think about getting a teacher made me change course. I found a teacher through the local community college and have been taking lessons for the last three years. Oh, and another comment from Mr. Stubbie ("Have you ever thought about getting a grand piano?" Me, "Why, yes I have.") got me into playing a piano way above my pay grade but a joy to play.*****

Mr Stubbie is a keeper!


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I have been taking lessons right at 3 years as of July. Played as a child and started again at the age of 54.

How much did you practice and did you feel that was the correct amount?
Practice 3 hours a day (most days). Weekends practice more. When I practice it feels like I just sat down, I don't know where the time goes. Always feel like I am not prepared for my lessons. Take 2 hours lessons in piano once a week.

Did you feel you practiced efficiently?
Not always, I am still learning how to practice efficiently.

Did you feel your progress was fast/slow?
I thought piano was going to be easy, all you do is practice and then you get it right? I told my teacher I was going to finish the John Schaum books (yes all of them) in 2 years. Well at my third year I finished the G book. The harder the books the slower the going.

Would you liked to have changed anything?
I wish I never stopped as a child

Do you recall any stand out moments what you were really happy with?
I wrote a publication called Prescription of Music Lessons that is in the Federal Practitioner (peer reviewed journal). This article discusses piano lessons for the older adult and the health benefits of playing the piano. The article is not about music therapy.


Did you become more or less interested than when you first begun?
I am more interested

Any books you felt really accelerated your progress?
No, it was the private piano and theory lessons. I used books in conjunction with that for my weekly lessons.

Did you meet your short term goals?
I thought I was going to finish all the schaum books, I needed a reality check.

A goal properly set is halfway reached. Zig Ziglar

Great topic Deb


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Learned to somehow play the piano around 1980. Switched to synths and keyboards pretty quickly (to create pop/rock songs). Bought a digital piano at the beginning of this year and decided to learn to play the piano properly and all over again, using method books, so no teacher. My answers are based on the last 6 months or so.

How much did you practice and did you feel that was the correct amount?
At first I played up to a few hours a day, happy as I was with my brand new piano. Right now I try to play at least half an hour a day or so. Sometimes I don't play at all. It depends if I have a nice piece to work on. I think I started off playing too much and now I play too little.

Did you feel you practiced efficiently?
No. Things got better after a few tips from this forum but I wouldn't call my way of doing things efficiently. I tend to change goals all the time.

Did you feel your progress was fast/slow?
Fast at first, slow right now. But I have to add I am not that interested anymore in progress.

Would you liked to have changed anything?
My age. Wish I started to do all this earlier.

Do you recall any stand out moments what you were really happy with?
Yes, the moment I discovered that my skills were good enough to enable me to skip all the corny beginners crap. After finishing Fundamental Keys in two weeks or so I switched to simply playing pieces I'd like to play and that are a bit my level.

Did you become more or less interested than when you first begun?
I do spend less time behind the piano right now but I am not less interested. I simply spend a lot of time on the piano at first because I was eager to find out how good or bad I was and also to figure out what I could and wanted to play: classic, jazz, blues, pop, from sheets or fake books, etc. I do think I like classics from sheet music most (19th century and up) and that is what I am mainly playing right now. I've got a new piece I am trying to learn which I like a lot and it shows in the amount if time I am spending at the piano. I guess I often need something new...

Any books you felt really accelerated your progress?
Fundamental keys! It learned me a few things I didn't know. But as soon as I had learned those new tricks I figured out what I could or couldn't play with my current skills and I raced through all pieces in no time, only (sort of) mastering three of them (the ones I really liked). Now I am simply playing what I like to play.

Did you meet your short term goals?
Not really. I promised myself to take it slowly and learn everything properly, step by step, and to spend at least two years on Fundemantal Keys LOL, but I was, how shall I put it, too advanced already and couldn't bring up the patience to go through all those beginners exercises. I did however learn, mainly thanks to this forum, how to learn a new piece properly (slowly, no mistakes, measure by measure or line by line, etc.) so I can say that after just a half year or so I am where I like to be. Maybe I will make progress in the future but I don't have any real goals. I just want to enjoy myself playing pieces I like to play.

Last edited by J van E; 07/26/17 05:59 AM.
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Started in Dec 2016, been practicing half hr every day during weekdays, more on weekends.
I felt my progress was fast but steady. I didn't skip any beginner exercises (because I AM a beginner :), but tried to get 90% or above on the exercieses.
Exciting moment was when I was able to play "drop variation" on my new roland DP.
I did exceed my short term goal (originally planned to pass keyboard grade 3 by year end). After I finish this online program (it supports up to keyboard grade 5), I plan to alter between on piano learning (such as Alfred book) and keyboard learning (the complete keyboard player series, and fakebook).

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I got so annoyed at forgetting, I actually got a pen and wrote the finger numbers on the back of my fingers.

Pleased to report that I am beyond that, now.

Last edited by PhilipInChina; 07/26/17 10:50 AM. Reason: pyto

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Originally Posted by Scottswald
Just a thread that I'd be very interested in hearing the forum members stories about.


Over the first 2-3 years of playing - what were your experiences?

A few suggestions you could comment on just to give an idea:

How much did you practice and did you feel that was the correct amount?
I've never practiced enough. I'm not even going to try and fool myself. Some days I've sat at the piano for hours. Other days I've passed the piano barely acknowledging it exists.

Did you feel you practiced efficiently?
As I've progressed in lessons, I've applied things I've learned. For instance, separating bars and measures, starting from the end, practicing five and ten times without error. Practicing super slow hands separately, etc.

Did you feel your progress was fast/slow?
I don't feel that we should judge progress as an individual. Perhaps overall in a general sense, "it might be 10 years to be able to play what's considered a Level 8 piece", or "after five years of continuous lessons, one should have become familiar with scales, arpeggios, triads, chords, etc.". However, progress isn't a linear progression. Look at it like how your kids grew up, or weight loss, or your investment portfolio. If you check your weight one day, you'll find you've lost five pounds, and then the next day see that you've gained two pounds! You'll be very disheartened if you judge yourself on speed versus anything else. Before I started learning, I only walked past pianos wishing I could play it. And now, I sit learning! I can read easy notes. I could never do that before. I can look at a piece and tell if it will be harder or easier for me to learn. I can tell what a key signature is. I can see how Handel composed differently than Bach! This is not just speed progression.

Would you liked to have changed anything?
So far, not really. My career and "life" gets in the way of learning. As long as I'm moving, it doesn't matter the speed, as long as it's not standing still.

Do you recall any stand out moments what you were really happy with?
My teacher to this day seems to be very happy with my progress. I'm very surprised, but I count this as a win.

Did you become more or less interested than when you first begun?
I've always been interested, but I'm becoming more and more so.

Any books you felt really accelerated your progress?
"Fundamentals of Piano Theory" and "Scale Skills" by Keith Snell so far I feel are truly helpful. My teacher uses these to teach me.

Did you meet your short term goals?
My short term goals were to "start piano lessons", and play these extremely hard pieces that at the time I thought were easy. Little did I know. Now I'm just along for the ride.

In the next year, I hope to use some of these online software or Youtube and join the Adult Recitals in some of these sub-forums. I've been trying to gear up to do so, but keep putting it off. So maybe that's another short-term goal.

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How much did you practice and did you feel that was the correct amount?
I am trying keep my MOYD 2017 commitment but I do it rather formally than actually. SwissMS says there "Five minutes counts... " so I am not reporting absence when I spend literally 10-15 minutes (let's be honest - just to put "V" mark on that day instead of inventing a good reason for absence frown ), otherwise I should report too many days unfortunately. If you didn't do it yet I would highly recommend joining that MOYD program because yes, even 5 minutes do something, on one hand. But on other hand, I am not fooling myself - 40-50 minutes in average is definitely not enough. Trying to pull this average to ~1.5 hour per day using weekend does NOT work as good as it was when I managed to practice 1 hour every single day. So in short: I would suggest to consider this question in strong connection with regularity.

Did you feel you practiced efficiently?
1001th time echoing the same idea on this forum: only when I practiced with my teacher (1 lesson on weekend and doing her assignments during workdays). Due to some reasons I didn't have lessons last 6 months. Even trying to practice almost every day (see above) I have to admit that my progress last 6 months was nearly zero. I am very glad that I managed not to degrade during this time (we just resumed lessons last weekend)

Did you feel your progress was fast/slow?
I suspect that 52 years of listening and watching players (first TV, later youtube) that preceded my first lesson did leave some paths in the brain that helped me a lot at the beginning. I was told (by teacher) that I am progressing much faster than many children. But that worked only first 3-4 months. After certain point the progress slows down. And I have read somewhere in this forum that it is normal for adults. I think there is a connection with my following answer:

Would you liked to have changed anything?
Yes, my expectations. Of how soon I am going to be able to play, how well, and what at all. And how easy it should be smile

Do you recall any stand out moments what you were really happy with?
When I liked what I heard, and that was me playing smile . But I had very few such moments so far.

Did you become more or less interested than when you first begun?
Definitely more. Not only I got something that I wanted but a lot of something that couldn't even think about

Did you meet your short term goals?
I didn't have them. Honestly, I always had only long term goals: to play that and that (and that ... long list) piece like Emil Gilels did but with some ... hm... "corrections". You know, despite my answer about expectations I still have these goals. So let's talk again in about 50 years smile


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How much did you practice and did you feel that was the correct amount?

I practiced a lot, but not terribly efficiently in the first year. I would get to maybe about half way through the process of learning a piece, and then need to put it aside because I'd spent too much time on it and it was going stale.

Did you feel you practiced efficiently?

No - a lot of banging the head against the wall hoping to get through this time. that wasn't my teacher's fault, it was me - nodding my head in lessons and then not doing what we had talked about during my practice sessions.

Did you feel your progress was fast/slow?

Hard to tell - I moved from the "for children books" to adult books pretty qauickly, but adjusted for lack of polish, hard to say it was fast progress.

Would you liked to have changed anything?

Oh yes. Internalizing efficient practice methods earlier would have been a big plus. Maybe not jumping to adult intermediate pieces a s quickly would have been better. But I was really interested in what I was learning, so I don't know if I should ask to change that.

Do you recall any stand out moments what you were really happy with?

Lots and lots of them. All having to do with the times when (miracle!) I did manage to execute a well-planned practice session and have a solid piece of progress as a result. Bach Inventions in particular - there's a neat kind of puzzle solving that goes on when you're learning them.

Did you become more or less interested than when you first begun?

Just gets better and better. Learning how to learn, having something lovely to show for it (even if it's not a full piece) is a huge positive for me, and reminds me to enjoy the details of life.

Any books you felt really accelerated your progress?

Not so muchi n the beginning, but what I'm doing now (somewhat inspired by the 40 pieces a year challenge) is to have some easier books on hand for the evenings when I want to learn something bite-sized. Anything called "little classics", for example. Also, I"ve started working on my mom's/grandma's huge collection of sheet music from the 30s and 40s. My teacher kindly pointed out that you don't actually have to play all the notes (thank god, I was imaging that the pianists of the 40s all had hands that would span an 11th!!!!!!) and you will still get a neat sound, and get to know chords that don't show up much in the old masters. .

Actually, let me say one - Bartok's "For Children" - I had no idea it existed until my son's teacher gave him a couple of pieces from it. The wierdness of it grabbed my imagination, and the challenges it posed made me want to step up and learn them.

Did you meet your short term goals?

Not sure I had a short term goal. My goal was to see if I could really learn the piano after years of just kind of poking at it and thinking "maybe some day". If the short term goal is "learn this measure", "make progress", then I can meet a short term goal every day. So I guess the answer is "yes", but, as they say, "it's not the destination, it's the journey".

Last edited by Medved1; 07/30/17 10:19 PM. Reason: adding a sentence

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Over the first 2-3 years of playing - what were your experiences?

I played as a child, and all I remember was I simply loved piano. No one ever had to tell me to practice. I only had three years of piano lessons, but I continued to play on my own until I left for college. When I returned as an adult, that love of piano quickly returned. I learned pieces very quickly, and moved into Chopin Nocturnes withing six months. And played them badly.

How much did you practice and did you feel that was the correct amount?

I practiced a couple of hours a day. It was enough to advance rapidly. I was excited about the the music I was learning, but frustrated that I seemed to be beating my head against the wall to learn complicated pieces too soon.

Did you feel you practiced efficiently?

In my first couple of years back at the piano I would say I practiced very inefficiently. I spent a lot of hours at the piano, but I did not have the foundation to play the pieces I was learning, and I did not really know how to learn a piece efficiently. This forum has taught me how to practice over the years.

Did you feel your progress was fast/slow?

My progress was quite rapid in the first couple of years. I remember learning Fur Elise in one week, a Chopin Nocturne in a month. I was consuming music as quickly as my teacher assigned it to me. That said, the reality was my technique was terrible, and I had huge holes in my foundation.

Would you liked to have changed anything?

I would have paid more attention to the basic foundational work, and left the ego pieces for later. I would have done scales and appeggios, studied more theory, sight read more, and played easier pieces to build a solid base. A few years ago I started doing ABRSM exams and working with teachers who corrected my technique. I wish I had done that years ago.

Do you recall any stand out moments what you were really happy with?

In the first couple of years as a returning adult, my greatest joy of discovering all of the beautiful music that I could play. I fell in love with Chopin Nocturnes. Probably my high point was learning The E minor - 72.1

Did you become more or less interested than when you first begun?

I became more interested! I just could not get enough.

Any books you felt really accelerated your progress?

This did not come until much later. When I started playing the graded repertoire and technical requirements and studying theory, my playing improved rapidly. This was not until 2014, and I had already been playing for six years as an adult.

Did you meet your short term goals?

In the early years, each piece was a short term goal. I learned them all, so I guess I met my short term goal. I did not think in terms of being a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. I just played whatever my teacher suggested, and I loved it.

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How much did you practice and did you feel that was the correct amount?
I might average 30 minutes a day. There were periods I played less, and others more.

Did you feel you practiced efficiently?
Yes laugh I mean, I could see I was learning and there was no other way I could have practiced.

Did you feel your progress was fast/slow?
I might be wrong, but I've always thought (and said here) that I've progressed more in the Reading skill, as compared to the average and according to what I read in these forums. Or maybe I think this to comfort myself because what is clear is that I didn't progress in other skills others are very good at, like memorizing, playing by rote, which are skills that manifest in being able to play some little difficult famous pieces. I never learnt one like that myself.


Would you like to have changed anything?
That's a difficult question for me. It was the way it was and nothing so catastrophic for my life as to feel I would have liked it different. I've had all kind of reactions in my body, but that has only led me to being more aware about my posture, both at the piano and in general, and to the need of my body for exercise (the reason I started learning piano was to exercise my hands and it has proved to work well for me).


Do you recall any stand out moments that you were really happy with?
Every time I could notice some progress. Last one was yesterday: I had never finished the book "The Joy of First Year Piano" and, in general, new pieces were always quite a challenge and required some work the first days, but yesterday I started new pieces and could read them at a relatively good pace (as compared to before) on the first reading. smile Maybe it is a coincidence and these pieces were easier.


Did you become more or less interested than when you first begun?
More or less the same. I keep at it, but I am not and have not been passionate as to dedicate it many hours a day. Well, I have dedicated many hours to reading about it, and the first weeks/months I spent lots of time with learning the basic concepts here and there.


Any books you felt really accelerated your progress?
I like all my books, and following method books has suited my personal style (I've mainly used Bastien and Thompson). I've bought many others and give them a try whenever I feel like.


Did you meet your short term goals?
No. I have forgotten my goals, but when I started I was clueless about the possibilities for learning and thought I could learn to play some of my favorite songs by ear. Well, I know I could have advanced in that direction if I had been learning in a different style, but soon decided that was too difficult for me and I'd rather learn to read.

Last edited by Albunea; 07/31/17 06:29 AM.
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How much did you practice and did you feel that was the correct amount?
I started in March 2012, and I practiced less than 30 minutes a day in my first year and maybe 40 minutes a day in my second year. It was enough to get through the Alfred's course, but I soon realised that I needed to do more if I wanted to stop feeling like a complete beginner. In 2014 I started keeping track of my practice time, but I still manage only about 60-75 minutes as daily average. After 5 years and a half I haven't reached 2,000 hours total yet, mainly because I take too many days off.

Did you feel you practiced efficiently?
I basically followed the Alfred's books at first, but then I started researching quite early, so that by my second year I had the basic rules of efficient practicing pretty clear. I have little patience, though, so I rarely do the required repetitions now, and even less back then, when pieces were so much easier.

Did you feel your progress was fast/slow?
It was quite fast in the beginning, going from zero to something, like playing the familiar tunes in Alfred, but then it slowed down considerably during my second year, especially when I started tackling Bach, Chopin and Schumann - probably too soon that I should have.

Would you liked to have changed anything?
I only wish I could practice more, especially now, not so much in the beginning, when I didn't have so many things to practice after all, and my brain would tire very quickly. I don't mind not having a teacher, and I still don't plan on getting one soon, even though I can see the benefits of that.

Do you recall any stand out moments that you were really happy with?
I remember playing a very easy but somehow tricky piece for my first ABF recital. It wasn't too bad! Also, being able to figure out Schumann's first Scene from Childhood in my second year was a real joy, even if I really learnt it properly only later on.

Did you become more or less interested than when you first begun?
My interest grew steadily, especially after buying a real piano in September 2013. I also started to listen to classical music a lot, go to concerts, read anything I could about music, follow online courses, etc. I will be a well-rounded musician sooner or later! laugh

Any books you felt really accelerated your progress?
Definitely Graham Fitch's Practising the Piano, and also the RCM Etudes books. Without a teacher, I need to have a clear idea of where I am and where I have to go.

Did you meet your short term goals?
I didn't have any in the very beginning, apart from finishing the Alfred's books. I simply ploughed through increasingly difficult pieces, not really knowing where this would take me. I still have very simple and practical goals, like practicing more, learning this and that piece, and overall feeling like I'm progressing. "Getting through the grades" (even without taking exams) is enough for me. Slowly does it.

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 109
J
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J
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 109
Over the first 2-3 years of playing - what were your experiences?
I'm just over two years so not quite at the outer limit of what this thread is asking. Here is what I remember in regard to the questions, though.

How much did you practice and did you feel that was the correct amount?
That varies a lot. I practice every day, though, except for the days when I am traveling. I'd guess I get at least 30 minutes a day with upper limits at 4-6 hours on days when I have little else to do. Regarding the "correct" amount, I really have no idea what that would even be. I practice as much as I can afford to, with time being the cost, so I suppose from that point of view it has to be correct.

Did you feel you practiced efficiently?
I have not practiced efficiently, no. Practice is a skill like any other and needs to be nurtured on its own. Everyone grows differently and thus practice in different ways. I'm getting better, better at focusing on difficult passages, better at slowing them down and returning to them. I move through difficult music much faster now than I have previously so I suppose I'm learning how to practice for me. In all likelihood, I'll always be improving at it on some level.

Did you feel your progress was fast/slow?
I'm an adult so I'm always impatient. But I know enough to know that I'm progressing as rapidly as I can afford to. Therefore, my progress just kind of is what it is - neither fast nor slow.

Would you liked to have changed anything?
More time. But no, I'm pleased with how I've grown and learned thus far.

Do you recall any stand out moments what you were really happy with?
The day when I realized I could read the second movement of the Pathétique sonata and understand it. Followed a few months later by the day I could play through it. Followed later still by realizing I hadn't understood it before and could see more clearly now! Lots and lots of those moments. But that second movement is and has always been magical for me, so playing it myself is a special joy and still a treasure.

Did you become more or less interested than when you first begun?
More. But I'm new at this still so it could possibly wane over time.

Any books you felt really accelerated your progress?
Books on composers mostly. I really like the idea of interpreting music since I play pretty much exclusively classical. I realize that composers don't always pour themselves into their art but understanding the human behind the manuscript means something to me. It doesn't necessarily help me play any better technically, but I feel closer to the composer somehow.

Did you meet your short term goals?
I didn't set those on purpose. I have longer-term goals that are as yet unachieved but I really just wanted to play.

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