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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2714027
02/13/18 04:18 PM
02/13/18 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.


I think maybe hearing what you really sound like is a skill that must be developed, and that's not an easy process.

Tim, at the risk of sounding snarky, I have to say: It is 2017. It has never been easier for any of us to record ourselves. So why do people do it so infrequently?

Answer: they don't like the truth.

People can say, "I just can't play anything well when I record. I play much better when I don't record."

And so on.

The excuses are limitless.

There is no faster reality check than recording, and it doesn't have to be a long recording, or a whole piece. It can be one section.

I started recording myself when I was quite young, and at that time it was way way WAY harder to do it. All of my important performances were recorded.

It's easy to tell yourself that you are better than you actually are when there is no evidence of your true level.

Last edited by Gary D.; 02/13/18 04:19 PM.

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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2714038
02/13/18 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.


I think maybe hearing what you really sound like is a skill that must be developed, and that's not an easy process.

Tim, at the risk of sounding snarky, I have to say: It is 2017.

I think you may have missed something grin

But seriously, now that I know how much work it requires to make yourself sound even decent, maybe for some adults daydreaming with the piano on their own is indeed the better option... Interestingly both of my friends described above can read notation even if not playing "correctly" and have learned that on their piano lessons. So were the lessons a waste of time for them?

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2714290
02/14/18 03:36 PM
02/14/18 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.


I think maybe hearing what you really sound like is a skill that must be developed, and that's not an easy process.

Tim, at the risk of sounding snarky, I have to say: It is 2017. It has never been easier for any of us to record ourselves. So why do people do it so infrequently?

Answer: they don't like the truth..


It is painful to be forced to confront the reality sometimes! I agree. That's most of the reason we don't like to record.

But I think there is also something about learning to hear. I use the recorder partly to try to calibrate my ear and improve listening.

Last night I was recording parts of a practice session, playing a short phrase, listening, repeating. You nailed it about technology, by the way. I have an H2 plugged into a laptop running Audacity, the output goes into a stereo amplifier and good speakers. I can replay instantly from any point. In the old days with a reel to reel? Even a phone is better. It might not catch nuances of tone but it is accurate on pitch and rhythm.

There was a slurred section that sounded smooth and connected to my ear and sloppy/smeary to the recording. The recording does not lie, but the ear has not always yet been trained to catch things. Repeating the section improves the execution, but hopefully also the connection to the ear. Some people already have that connection, I have to work at it.


gotta go practice
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2714317
02/14/18 06:11 PM
02/14/18 06:11 PM
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Regarding the original question of why not only taking kids:

In my case it's simply a matter of enjoying variety in my studio; I enjoy teaching kids, but there are only so many hours a week I can stand to talk in cutesy-baby voices, be diplomatic with parents, play traffic cop for not practicing, or post stickers; etc. Sometimes I need the medium of mature adult conversation as a creative release. (Vice Versa for if I only had to deal with adults and their issues).

Last edited by Opus_Maximus; 02/14/18 06:12 PM.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2714343
02/14/18 09:39 PM
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My teacher recommends to record myself. I am finishing up my 4th year of lessons. I just use my recorder on my phone for audio. I wait until it is pretty good and then I can tell with the recording what I need to practice more. It is a benefit to record so easily.


Deb
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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: outo] #2714434
02/15/18 04:20 AM
02/15/18 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by outo

I think you may have missed something grin

Sorry to be dense. What did I miss?
Quote

But seriously, now that I know how much work it requires to make yourself sound even decent, maybe for some adults daydreaming with the piano on their own is indeed the better option...

There are different degrees of daydreaming. But don't get used to doing it if you want to play in front of other people and care about the result.
Quote

Interestingly both of my friends described above can read notation even if not playing "correctly" and have learned that on their piano lessons. So were the lessons a waste of time for them?

You'd have to ask them.

Would you be content to play like them? Do you like what they are accomplishing?

Are they happy now? Will they be happy 5 years from now? Ten?


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2714436
02/15/18 04:32 AM
02/15/18 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.


I think maybe hearing what you really sound like is a skill that must be developed, and that's not an easy process.

Tim, at the risk of sounding snarky, I have to say: It is 2017. It has never been easier for any of us to record ourselves. So why do people do it so infrequently?

Answer: they don't like the truth..


It is painful to be forced to confront the reality sometimes! I agree. That's most of the reason we don't like to record.

But I think there is also something about learning to hear. I use the recorder partly to try to calibrate my ear and improve listening.

Last night I was recording parts of a practice session, playing a short phrase, listening, repeating. You nailed it about technology, by the way. I have an H2 plugged into a laptop running Audacity, the output goes into a stereo amplifier and good speakers. I can replay instantly from any point. In the old days with a reel to reel? Even a phone is better. It might not catch nuances of tone but it is accurate on pitch and rhythm.

There was a slurred section that sounded smooth and connected to my ear and sloppy/smeary to the recording. The recording does not lie, but the ear has not always yet been trained to catch things. Repeating the section improves the execution, but hopefully also the connection to the ear. Some people already have that connection, I have to work at it.

Tim, in all the years I recorded myself, or was recorded (at my request), never once did the results match what I expected even close to 100%.

Brass players, like singers, hear themselves with a completely different sound from what everyone else hears. It's a bit like recording your voice. After awhile you realize that what you really sound like is not what you hear in a recording. You may eventually come to like the real sound of your voice, but it will never sound like what vibrates through your head to your ears. And the same thing happens when we play brass, the frankly I think usually the recorded sound is better, unlike a speaking voice.

So recording is an amazing learning tool, and we need to realize that before recording no one knew what that difference is. The greatest singers in the world did not know what other people heard. Or brass players.

And, by the way, this is why "vocal masturbation" is a term you will hear in voice studios. It means that you feel an amazing resonance in your own body as you sing, but it does not have much to do with how your sound is projected, and projection is about 90% of the game for great singers.

Now, think about the piano. The greatest pianists in the world never knew for sure what their audiences heard. They only knew what they heard, as they heard other players on stage, as they were listening many feet away.

If you are sitting on stage, playing a 9 foot grand, you hear everything "up close and personal". That doesn't tell you what someone out in the audience is hearing. You don't hear the hall acoustics, the bounce, the reverb. And without recordings, you are forced to trust feedback about what is actually getting out there.

But today's pianists, because they all record, know what the microphones pick up, and even in studio recordings there is a process that tried to duplicate the spaciousness of a hall.

Old masters were aware of all this on some level, again, because they heard it happen to others, but they always had to guess exactly what their playing really sounded like, many feet away. Today a player records, listens to the recording, and is continually flipping back and forth between what he hears, sitting at the piano, and what everyone else hears, which is all that really matters. And he can decide if he wants to heard as if the listener is sitting next to him, or 20 feet away.

Recording is horrible at first, because it never sounds like what you think it will sound like. It's the feeling of something almost random that is vexing. But over time what you hear on playback is just different. Often it is worse. Pitch is worse. Things are muddy that you think are clean.

But other things can be way better.

It's just different.

Students need to learn this, then become comfortable with it.

I had to save money to buy a real to real tape recorder. Recording was hard. Today anyone with a tablet can start doing it.

Last edited by Gary D.; 02/15/18 04:38 AM.

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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2714498
02/15/18 10:12 AM
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Just as a note we use Music Memos on the iPhone to record my son. It's a free app and it's super easy for those that literally just want to record.


Yamaha G2
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2714561
02/15/18 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by outo

I think you may have missed something grin

Sorry to be dense. What did I miss?

The new years eve smile

Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by outo

But seriously, now that I know how much work it requires to make yourself sound even decent, maybe for some adults daydreaming with the piano on their own is indeed the better option...

There are different degrees of daydreaming. But don't get used to doing it if you want to play in front of other people and care about the result.

I wouldn't...

Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by outo

Interestingly both of my friends described above can read notation even if not playing "correctly" and have learned that on their piano lessons. So were the lessons a waste of time for them?

You'd have to ask them.

Would you be content to play like them? Do you like what they are accomplishing?

Are they happy now? Will they be happy 5 years from now? Ten?


I would not be happy to play like that. But my other friend has taken lessons even longer than me (so few more than 5 years) and still seems to be quite happy to go on the same way.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: outo] #2714765
02/16/18 08:54 AM
02/16/18 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by outo

I would not be happy to play like that. But my other friend has taken lessons even longer than me (so few more than 5 years) and still seems to be quite happy to go on the same way.


I have a relative who has probably taken lessons about 8 years now, somewhere in that neighborhood, from a music store. Judging from what I see on his piano when I visit, he is still in beginner books but is much further along, there are lots more notes than there used to be.

He can play much harder pieces than formerly. But. I have yet to hear him play anything fluently, even the simplest.


gotta go practice
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2714793
02/16/18 11:15 AM
02/16/18 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
... I have a relative who has probably taken lessons about 8 years now ... Judging from what I see on his piano ... He can play much harder pieces than formerly. But. I have yet to hear him play anything fluently, even the simplest.

When I decided to re-start piano, this is what I noticed when I visited several teachers and schools. There's a trap where many people take years of piano lessons and end up as a 'very good student'. They can play the crap out of advanced pieces, but somewhere along the line someone forgot to show them how to be a 'musician'.

Sometimes it is the teacher's fault, but many times it's also the fault of the student or the parents. They settle for the easier path of just reading and memorizing the notes rather than do the harder work to develop proper musicianship skills.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Groove On] #2714816
02/16/18 12:47 PM
02/16/18 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Groove On
Sometimes it is the teacher's fault, but many times it's also the fault of the student or the parents. They settle for the easier path of just reading and memorizing the notes rather than do the harder work to develop proper musicianship skills.


How do you develop musicianship skills? What is the anatomy of these musicianship skills, their components? If a teacher is giving them and the student is ignoring the guidance, then it is a student problem. But supposing a teacher says "Play with more feeling." - can one do anything with that?

I already have an idea of some of the elements that would be involved. But before I write anything, I'd be interested in how you and others see this. smile If your teacher has been giving you musicianship skills, are you able to pinpoint some of them, or get close to how it is being done?

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: keystring] #2714873
02/16/18 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Groove On
Sometimes it is the teacher's fault, but many times it's also the fault of the student or the parents. They settle for the easier path of just reading and memorizing the notes rather than do the harder work to develop proper musicianship skills.


How do you develop musicianship skills? What is the anatomy of these musicianship skills, their components? If a teacher is giving them and the student is ignoring the guidance, then it is a student problem. But supposing a teacher says "Play with more feeling." - can one do anything with that?

I already have an idea of some of the elements that would be involved. But before I write anything, I'd be interested in how you and others see this. smile If your teacher has been giving you musicianship skills, are you able to pinpoint some of them, or get close to how it is being done?

My teacher certainly tries to give me musicianship skills. smile Some of the actual mechanics include articulation to bring out (for example) the melody. Another skill would be playing into the keys and lifting to bring out dynamics and articulation. Another is awareness of the 'shape' of the piece, of (for example) sequences or an ascending or descending bass line and how those things might dictate articulation and/or dynamics. These are just a few examples.

I understand these things on an intellectual level, but can't always--yet--pull them off physically.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2714894
02/16/18 05:55 PM
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Musicianship on the piano can only develop with a combination of sufficient technical skills and a lot of listening - dedicated listening to great music, and I don't just mean piano music.

For instance, Chopin exhorted his pupils to listen to a lot of bel canto opera by the likes of Bellini and Donizetti. Why? Because his melodies are deep-rooted in bel canto:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg4L5tcxFcA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb4VY8gYZt4

How can anyone understand Mozart without knowing his operas?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U37SB4i54JU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIW_2VObIsA

Without the technical means (e.g. finger independence to project the melody and voice the underlying chords, articulate and phrase etc), one cannot realize one's musical skills; without musical skills, the pianist will just rattle off the notes uncomprehendingly and unfeelingly and think he's doing a good job because all the notes are correct and in the right order. Or he might just imitate his teacher blindly and play like a clone because he doesn't know anything else.

I credit most of my musicianship to listening - initially to my first teacher playing for me in my home country (when she was my only regular source of classical music) and then to BBC Radio 3 when I moved to the UK, and heard a huge and diverse range of music for the first time with erudite commentaries from presenters, as well as educational programs like Antony Hopkins's Listening to Music. And all for free.......(and these days, there's even more stuff like these which can be accessed at any time: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09m8hp6).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2714922
02/16/18 06:57 PM
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Thank you Stubbie and Bennevis. That is the point that I was trying to make.

A student can't just "make an effort" to develop musicianship or play more musically, and if he's not achieving it, he "hasn't tried hard enough". The teacher plays a role. If you are to bring out a voice, or you could make a passage expressive through a bit of rubato, then you also need to know how to physically bring out that voice, and now to manipulate timing without destroying pulse. Similarly, simply trying to "listen harder" without knowing what to listen for or to hear it, will probably not bring the student far.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2714976
02/17/18 02:06 AM
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Certainly for good musicianship limiting oneself to practice only on the piano is not enough. Many years of singing greatly has helped me on making music on the piano. And singing is still part of my process of learning pieces. At the same time one cannot rely on the general musical understanding only on the piano but must understand the instrument and how it behaves. That to me is technique in addition to developing the physical ability to move the right keys in the right time. Since the thread was about child vs adult, to start on the piano in adulthood without any prior musical experiences must be something quite different. How do piano teachers handle that with maybe an hour a week with the student is a very good question.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2717117
02/25/18 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Andamento
Quote
This leads to over-memorization and muscle memory...


Gary, could you define what you mean by "over-memorization"?

When students rely too much on memorization, thus taking too long to learn things and polish them.

This leads to a very small repertoire, and things have to be played endlessly to keep them up. The result is weak reading.

Interesting. Sounds like a risk at my current stage, actually... But how do people work who have a large repertoire and do not require sheet music?


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2717132
02/25/18 12:24 PM
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keystring and others: when we're talking about "loosing time", we're talking about "entering the flow" or "entering the zone", right?

Every now and then I have piano lessons like that. We sit down and start and I zone in and wake up when my teacher says "oh, time is up already". That's always amazing.


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Hendrik42] #2717187
02/25/18 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
keystring and others: when we're talking about "loosing time", we're talking about "entering the flow" or "entering the zone", right?

Every now and then I have piano lessons like that. We sit down and start and I zone in and wake up when my teacher says "oh, time is up already". That's always amazing.

That's what I mean. Losing time = losing track of time.

I have to point out that getting lost in what you are doing, and enjoying it, will not lead to improvement if a student is doing something that seems fun at the moment but does not lead to anything happening.

But this is very unlikely to continue happening over any long period of time. If you are playing in a way that is not going to lead to progress, you won't enjoy it day after day, as you slowly realize you are fooling yourself.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Hendrik42] #2717188
02/25/18 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Andamento
Quote
This leads to over-memorization and muscle memory...


Gary, could you define what you mean by "over-memorization"?

When students rely too much on memorization, thus taking too long to learn things and polish them.

This leads to a very small repertoire, and things have to be played endlessly to keep them up. The result is weak reading.

Interesting. Sounds like a risk at my current stage, actually... But how do people work who have a large repertoire and do not require sheet music?

You are talking about people who primarily work things out by ear, right?

I talk constantly about reading music because a lack of reading ability means that you can't play anything that is written, that you have not heard.

That's not a good thing.

But there is a flip side to this. If you can only play what you read, how will you ever learn to play something that does not exist in written form?

That requires a totally different set of skills.

Since I work things out that are not written down anywhere, there are two ways to get these things. One is to write them down, as you work them out. They other is to make a map of the chord structure and important musical points, improvise with this, get it in the mind and fingers, then go with the results. In this case there is no score.

If you learn many things this way, how do you fix them if they go off track?

Answer: you have to listen again, to review. You use the ear instead of reading skills.

When traditional players have things go off the rails a little bit, they are unlikely to use ONLY the ear to try to get them back because it is too easy for things to morph a bit, and notes get changed.

When you are playing in an improvisatory manner, you don't have to get the notes "right", because there is no "right". So if things morph a bit, and you like the sound, you go with the new thing, which replaces the old.

This won't work in a Beethoven sonata.


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