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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Mosotti] #2750591
07/10/18 12:43 PM
07/10/18 12:43 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 15,968
Canada
keystring Offline
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Responding mostly to Mossotti

First, the idea of a teacher must be tempered with the idea of a suitable, competent, good teacher. The really good ones seem to be an exception rather than a rule. Even if you talk to people who ended up becoming professional pianists and/or teachers, is very rare that they didn't have to fix what was mistaught by at least one teacher, or what a teacher failed to teach. If you do get misguided or poor teaching, it can be more harmful than self-teaching. Why? Because if you teach yourself and something doesn't seem to be working or hurts, you're likely to check what you're doing and find something better. But if it is coming from a supposed expert, you will question that pain or lack of progress, blame yourself, and continue doing the wrong thing that you are told to do. You will find such stories both from folks here who were poorly taught as children, or with their first teacher(s) as adults.

Next, you have judged Sinophilia's playing according to criteria that you have been learning as a student. If your teacher is guiding you and it is working, definitely stay with that. But know that you are only getting a small part of the picture and as yet lack the broader perspective. There are ideas out there about the fingertips needing to be a certain angle: that motion comes primarily from the arms, or shoulders, or rotation, or fingers - the truth is that it varies constantly according to the music and other things. With an astute teacher, s/he will balance out advice according to where the student is at - the totally arm-person may be guided toward more hands and fingers, and vice versa, etc. etc. etc. Advice about technique will also depend on the repertoire.

The most harmful teachers that I have run across has been those teachers who have one single formula: they are wedded to a specific idea or philosophy. That philosophy may not suit the student they are teaching, but they will push it anyway. Students of such teachers may also end up thinking that there are set ways of playing and doing things.

I would not judge anyone's playing. Even experienced teachers will be very careful about that; I'm a student who has been learning things about piano pedagogy: that is not enough. But if you are going to try to get an idea, then also listen. What I read was about which rules of playing were not being followed, such as you learned them; I did not read anything about what was heard. With the PRECAUTION: my ears are not that weak, but they are not fine enough for me to try to assess anyone. Above all, a student --- because a judicious teacher will know where that student is on his or her journey. Something that may seem "not perfect" may be ideal for this particular stage. A good teacher will know what the next step will be.

As a kind of conclusion: Having a competent and good teacher to guide you along is definitely an advantage. Doing things on your own will definitely land you in potholes that you won't be aware of. But that isn't possible for everyone: and imho, poor teaching is worse.

Btw: Many "self-taught" students these days are not totally self-taught, because there are a lot of resources out there. In some cases they include feedback.
In fact, in violin forums I have run into students who have private teachers who simply assign them pieces and tell them to make it sound nice: they are getting theory and technique through the on-line sites and teachers while their private teachers still think "adults don't want theory, or technique, or work hard" --- all the while wondering why this particular student is doing so well. No guff! It is not at all black and white. There are many shades of gray.

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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: keystring] #2750592
07/10/18 12:48 PM
07/10/18 12:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 271
Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by keystring
I would not judge anyone's playing. Even experienced teachers will be very careful about that; I'm a student who has been learning things about piano pedagogy: that is not enough.

Yet everyone seems willing to judge Lang Lang and Valentina Lisitsa's technique. LOL. (BTW, I completely agree with you -- just pointing out how many "experts" in technique there are when it comes to judging not a beginner, but professional concert pianists! laugh )


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750600
07/10/18 01:21 PM
07/10/18 01:21 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 525
India
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Hi Morten,

I too, am a self learner. I'm quite happy with my progress over the years. It is entirely possible to be able learn to play the piano competently without having a teacher. The main thing is, you should be prepared for your progress to be a lot slower without a teacher. The progress that one will make with a teacher may be many times as fast as one without a teacher. This doesn't mean it isn't possible to learn without a teacher, especially in this digital age with the wealth of information available on the internet.

I'll tell you some of the worst habits I picked up when starting out. Hopefully, they'll help you out.
The worst habit I picked up as a self learner was to keep repeating mistakes. Lets's say that I made a mistake in bar 10 or 11, I would stop, and then start again from the beginning, only to repeat the mistake. This caused me to reinforce the mistake and always stumble at that point. Once I corrected this behaviour, my playing improved at a remarkably fast rate.
Another bad habit I used to make was relying entirely on muscle memory. So any "wrong" notes that I learned would take a long time to correct. And any lapse would cause me to stumble and be unable to recover. Supplementing it with visual, auditory and keyboard memory helped me a lot in this area.
Another bad habit was to keep playing the same pieces over and over again. This was especially true on days when I was too tired or didn't feel like concentrating on learning something. I would sort of go on autopilot and passively listen to myself play while my mind wandered. It took a lot of concentration and willpower to get over this.
There were a lot more (and probably still are), but these were the worst.

Something that would help you develop musicality is to record yourself playing as much as you can, and then listen to yourself. Eventually, you'll notice the parts of your playing that you like and the parts you don't like. You might not always make these observations while playing, since it takes a lot of concentration to play the right notes at the right time. Also, listening to other people play the same piece will give you a good idea about which parts you would like to improve on.
Also, it would help to record yourself playing on video and then study the video and check for any excess tension. This should help you realise where you're tensing up while playing (which isn't as obvious while playing). As long as you don't get too tense while playing, and as long as you don't try to play something that is far above your level which requires advanced techniques, I don't think there's much of a risk of injury.

These are just my opinions as a self learner. I make no claim of presenting anything I've said as "facts", but these observations have worked out pretty well for me.

It's a very enjoyable journey as long as you are patient. All the best smile

PS: Don't hesitate to post recordings here and ask for feedback. There are many good people here who offer excellent advice. This feedback is the next best thing to having a teacher IMO.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: zrtf90] #2750612
07/10/18 02:54 PM
07/10/18 02:54 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 11
Romania
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Originally Posted by zrtf90

I played piano for around ten years before getting a teacher, I had no issues that needed correcting and I reached Grade 8 (ABRSM) within a few short years.

You make the same mistake as many who achieved something by themselves. You assume that anyone is capable of doing the same thing (using their "intelligence" and their "self analyze" skills lol). But what you don't seem to realize is that you're an exception, not the norm. I'm a senior software developer with no degree. I work on mission critical enterprise software and I've learned everything I'm using daily by myself. Yet I don't go around telling people to drop out of college. You know why? Because I know that the chances of someone to get to the same level by themselves is pretty slim. In fact I've never personally met a self-taught programmer at this level. Of course they exists, but they are rare

Now with music I think it's much harder to do the right thing, because it's not an exact science. If you look something on the internet about specific programming things, there are only a few paths you can go to solve a specific problem. With music, it's practically an infinity of advice and theories. Also on youtube there are some very bad or at least weird and creepy "teachers", which I won't mention of course.

One day I've entered by mistake on some piano app channel and I received their stupid ads for like 2 months afterwards. "Hey, look, it's Johnny day 1, look the same Johnny in 3 weeks". What they weren't saying was that Johnny had no idea what he was playing, no idea how to put some life into those note, only banging them.

So kudos to you for your great achievement, but don't expect to apply the same path to all people. In fact, the OP is learning music by watching hands. I would say that's a very bad habit already, and won't get him to any grade 8 in anything, not that grade 8 means something more than a personal achievement. Nobody cares about your grades in music, only about the music. If you want to impress me with something, or maybe better said if you want to bring some joy to me, give me something to listen to, not a diploma.

Of course if one really can't put some effort into it, that is perfectly fine. But chances are that in the future they will regret it. If you do something, you better do it right, even if you're not aiming for the stars. I'm pretty sure that the time he spends staring at some hands to figure out notes could be also spent with a teacher and learning how to read and get much much much better results for the same time spent smile

There's also another great reason to get a teacher: it will motivate you. Not everyone has the drive to practice consistently.

I'm sorry for hijacking the thread into oblivion, but I think beginners should me made aware of better alternatives, not be blindly answered. I was also in the same situation not long ago, between "learning alone" and staring at Synthesia on youtube and getting a teacher. Fortunately my research was greatly in favor of getting a teacher, and I'm very happy I did that. Luckily for me, I didn't do my research in this thread smile

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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: sinophilia] #2750654
07/10/18 07:09 PM
07/10/18 07:09 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
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Originally Posted by sinophilia
Originally Posted by Mosotti
...you will develop some nasty habits which will be very hard to get rid off.


Please, this is a myth that gets perpetuated ad libitum, but it's not necessarily true - certainly not for everyone. And there are a lot of people who studied with teachers all their life and still have so-called bad habits.

Defining bad habits is another challenge in itself, because we're all different and in the end, all that matters is that it sounds good and it doesn't hurt. Maybe we should focus on good habits, good advice - and there's plenty of that out there, from teachers and other fellow students.

Of course having a (good) teacher is better. But nasty habits? Honestly I don't think I have any. Maybe normal human tendencies that prevent us from doing what's best all the time. But you keep yourself in check and you'll be fine.


The only nasty habits I ever developed were from teachers: playing stuff that bored me and 2) playing while stressed that I may do something "wrong" according to the teacher or audience or who ever. Boredom and stress are incompatible with enjoying any art plus it is unhealthy. I love learning on my own.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Mosotti] #2750655
07/10/18 07:12 PM
07/10/18 07:12 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 15,968
Canada
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Mosotti, would you have a chance to read what I wrote addressing your post and maybe respond? smile

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750670
07/10/18 07:58 PM
07/10/18 07:58 PM
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Posts: 4
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I am a self-learner. I am still near the beginning of my process. Here is what I would recommend.

Don't do Faber or Alfred. The music is very uninspiring, bland, and sometimes just plain boring. Someone mentioned Fundamental Keys by Rachel Jimenez. This is good but goes too fast. She tried to fix this but gave up after book one of three.

What I have found works the best are these three sets of books:
1) The Classical Piano Method by Heumann (four books per level).
2) Scales Bootcamp by Johnston (Good for years and years)
3) Sight Reading and Harmony by Hall (Good for years and years)

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750675
07/10/18 08:18 PM
07/10/18 08:18 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 598
In the Ozarks of Missouri
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Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is time to return to being CIVIL in these posts. Everyone has their own opinions, thoughts and methods.
There is no need to denigrate another just because their "methods, thoughts and opinions" are different from yours.

Let's be adults!

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750690
07/10/18 10:59 PM
07/10/18 10:59 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 235
Toronto, Canada
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About 6 months ago came across Piano Marvel online self-taught system. Watched a few YouTube videos posted by people using Piano Marvel and they seem to be able to make progress in a short time.

There are a number of online teachers as well such as Piano Lessons on the Web you can easily find video tutorials on YouTube.

One of the least preferred learning approach is the Suzuki method that came out of Japan in the middle of the last century mainly to get young children into Classical music. The key features of the approach is parental involvement (having at least 1 parent present during each lesson) to reinforce the concepts learned. The founder S Suzuki devised a set of song books that hasn't change much in 50 years except for a few fingering changes to playing a song. The songs are not exactly engaging considering that you can find thousands of songs online. They prefer that you work through their song books before moving onto other repertoire. They just recycle the same songs that were compiled over 50 years ago. For a small children and their parents with no music exposure, they would consider getting into a "structured" approach. Every kid is supposed to have the talent for music and you get 50 or more to play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" at sync just to prove a point. You can get a 5-year old to learn "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Lightly Row" but for adults, gets a bit silly to perform these songs in a recital even if you only played for a year or less.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750727
07/11/18 06:15 AM
07/11/18 06:15 AM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,639
Ireland (ex England)
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zrtf90 Offline
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Extrapolating your own experience to everyone else is simply idiotic.
And I didn't - but I'm going to quote this often. I know someone who regularly posts here about his own experience without adding constructively to the conversation.

Originally Posted by bennevis
A good teacher will ensure that any bad habits are nipped in the bud before they have time to get ingrained
A good teacher, maybe. Most teachers, most unlikely. Take any number of similar activities that are best teacher directed, golf, drawing, chess, tennis, and consider how many students are making solid and rapid progress without flaws in the technique. Ask on the Teachers forum here about their transfer students.

While a student spends more time at the piano away from the teacher the chances of building technical flaws increase. Top level pianists go back to teachers, top level golfers, tour tennis players. Why? Because teachers can't work on everything at once but have to pick a few flaws to work on. Everyone has things they need to work on. Everyone.

Yes, a teacher will speed up the process but no, they won't fix everything. Piano playing isn't something you learn quickly, it's done by developing skills over long periods from frequent and consistent practise, mostly done alone. Good habits will develop and bad. And just because a bad habit develops doesn't mean that it can't be fixed in a short time. New habits can take hold in around three weeks.

Often tackling a more advanced piece shows up a flaw in the technique and often a solution presents itself that fixes the issue. A teacher may have done that quicker and may have had a ready solution but it doesn't mean the advancing student can't use his ear, his experimentation and a little research to reach a workable solution. You do need more time but you don't need super intelligence or discipline...Like what I've got laugh

Originally Posted by bennevis
Of course, I don't have your musical and technical talent. I'm sure you always know when you're about to become sloppy, and nip yourself in the bud before that happens. Or you're so talented that you never come close to developing sloppy habits, because you're able to analyse yourself constantly.
Yeah, right! I think I covered that above.

Originally Posted by bennevis
Piano playing is a technical activity, not a mind game. Do you know of anyone who learnt to play piano simply by thinking or meditating? Did anyone ever learn to play fluent scales by thinking about them?
Missing the point! I know of no-one who was successful without applying thought. We don't need to train our fingers. Young children can play fast, loud and well before their fingers have even reached full size. Babies can hold their own bodyweight in one hand. It's our coordination that needs training. That's a mental thing, you need myelin not muscle; we have enough muscle.

Originally Posted by bennevis
And scales & arpeggios are an important part of classical technique, therefore they should be started quite early on if classical music is one's goal (and of course, with a teacher). Within the first few months of starting piano, in fact. All reputable piano exam boards for classical music - ABRSM, Trinity, AMEB, RCM - require them from the earliest grades. Do you know better than them?
Yes, they are important but I don't get the "therefore" clause. Knowing them is the most important thing. Not daily practise of them in the early days. That can come later when the technique is more rounded. They are not so early advised for those self studying, either. Teachers can introduce them sooner. They work only the stronger fingers, in a limited range of attack direction and touches and are frequently subjected to abuse even with teacher guidance. It's the PRINCIPLES of scale playing that need emphasis and daily exercise.

And basing a curriculum on an exam syllabus is not the smartest approach to learning piano. There's too much that's needed but not tested and yes, I think there's too much emphasis on the scales in the earliest grades. And starting scales with C Major is foolish. Chopin, Neuhaus et al thought so, too.


Richard
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750730
07/11/18 06:35 AM
07/11/18 06:35 AM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,639
Ireland (ex England)
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zrtf90 Offline
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Originally Posted by mosotti
You make the same mistake as many who achieved something by themselves. You assume that anyone is capable of doing the same thing...
The mistake and the assumption are yours, I made no such remarks but was simply countering misguided opinions to the contrary.

Originally Posted by mosotti
Of course if one really can't put some effort into it, that is perfectly fine. But chances are that in the future they will regret it.If you do something, you better do it right, even if you're not aiming for the stars.
I disagree with this wholeheartedly. You may take up an activity casually and without teacher direction for many years making only slow progress and improve rapidly when engaging a teacher later on.

We may equally regret not starting on our own. But regret, like guilt, only spoils your present, it has no effect on the past.

Originally Posted by mosotti
I'm pretty sure that the time he spends staring at some hands to figure out notes could be also spent with a teacher and learning how to read and get much much much better results for the same time spent
Oh, dear. I find myself agreeing with you. On the other hand, a teacher is not on the cards for the OP. Does that mean he shouldn't start piano on his own?

Not a jot!

Most can make progress on their own. We aren't all looking for conservatory entrance or a concert career. We want an activity to engage our minds in to take away the stresses and strains of our quotidian existence. Progress, especially at a rate of knots, need not be an issue. It can be the pleasure or just the relief of the immediate time spent. Progress may be nice but it isn't the be all and end all. But still a little concentration every day, but not too much, will procure results.

Originally Posted by mosotti
There's also another great reason to get a teacher: it will motivate you. Not everyone has the drive to practice consistently.
Nor the need! Especially if engaging a teacher is a logistical impracticality.

I'm not saying a teacher is a bad thing. It's just not always so important. For many, especially early on, it's a consummation devoutly to be wished. But if it's not on the cards that doesn't make the endeavour pointless or parlous.

If we can take up piano in our dotage and still make progress, and we can and we do, we can sure fix a few problems initiated earlier on and build on whatever progress we may have made.


Richard
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: zrtf90] #2750745
07/11/18 09:45 AM
07/11/18 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by bennevis
Extrapolating your own experience to everyone else is simply idiotic.
And I didn't

You should re-read your own post.

You're basically telling everyone that no-one needs a teacher because you never needed one, yet you got Grade 8. You forgot to mention that you're a genius, and we know what Einstein say about geniuses.....

Incidentally, I never tell everyone they need a teacher, despite my own positive experiences that got me to where I am now, despite my total lack of anything resembling talent. But I do tell people that if classical music is their goal, they do need one. I've seen too many self-taught people bang out Für Elise and the like with very poor technique in showrooms (often likely to lead to injuries), and when I ask them how long they've had lessons, they say proudly that they taught themselves......

Quote
Originally Posted by bennevis
A good teacher will ensure that any bad habits are nipped in the bud before they have time to get ingrained
A good teacher, maybe. Most teachers, most unlikely.

Most teachers with teaching diplomas, very likely. I'm not talking about cowboy teachers, I'm talking about properly qualified teachers. I know many people who had lessons, and not a single one has deficient technique that would impede further progress, should they want to go further. I also know many people who once had lessons in childhood but stopped for many years, yet they still retain a good piano technique.

In fact, I know of no-one who had lessons with properly qualified teachers and have deficient techniques for their standard.
Quote
Take any number of similar activities that are best teacher directed, golf, drawing, chess, tennis, and consider how many students are making solid and rapid progress without flaws in the technique. Ask on the Teachers forum here about their transfer students.

There are many cowboy teachers around, not least on YT. And in USA, many (?most) teachers don't have any qualifications - you take pot luck unless you have recommendations from some reputable source.

Quote
While a student spends more time at the piano away from the teacher the chances of building technical flaws increase.

You do realise you're now contradicting your own self-proclaimed law?

Think about it......
Quote
Yes, a teacher will speed up the process but no, they won't fix everything. Piano playing isn't something you learn quickly, it's done by developing skills over long periods from frequent and consistent practise, mostly done alone. Good habits will develop and bad. And just because a bad habit develops doesn't mean that it can't be fixed in a short time. New habits can take hold in around three weeks.

Yet again, you're talking through your hat.

An ingrained bad technique that's been built up over many years is almost impossible to eradicate, with something as technical as piano playing. Do you actually have any experience at all? I've seen all sorts - "collapsed joints", stiff wrists, the lot. And I know several teachers who tell me of their experiences with self-taught students who realise that they can't progress without a teacher, and never knew how bad their playing technique was, and still couldn't fix them after several months.

Quote
Often tackling a more advanced piece shows up a flaw in the technique and often a solution presents itself that fixes the issue. A teacher may have done that quicker and may have had a ready solution but it doesn't mean the advancing student can't use his ear, his experimentation and a little research to reach a workable solution. You do need more time but you don't need super intelligence or discipline...Like what I've got laugh

I don't doubt your self-proclaimed super-intelligence, but your premise is totally flawed, which makes me doubt your SI.

Let's see: Your premise is: "Everyone should know what they don't know, even if they don't know they don't know".

Makes perfect sense.......

Quote
We don't need to train our fingers. Young children can play fast, loud and well before their fingers have even reached full size. Babies can hold their own bodyweight in one hand. It's our coordination that needs training. That's a mental thing, you need myelin not muscle; we have enough muscle.

I suggest you go back to your anatomy book.

Incidentally, muscles also get developed by piano playing. Can a six-year-old play as loudly as a teenager?

Quote

Originally Posted by bennevis
And scales & arpeggios are an important part of classical technique, therefore they should be started quite early on if classical music is one's goal (and of course, with a teacher). Within the first few months of starting piano, in fact. All reputable piano exam boards for classical music - ABRSM, Trinity, AMEB, RCM - require them from the earliest grades. Do you know better than them?
Yes, they are important but I don't get the "therefore" clause. Knowing them is the most important thing. Not daily practise of them in the early days. That can come later when the technique is more rounded. They are not so early advised for those self studying, either. Teachers can introduce them sooner. They work only the stronger fingers, in a limited range of attack direction and touches and are frequently subjected to abuse even with teacher guidance. It's the PRINCIPLES of scale playing that need emphasis and daily exercise.

And basing a curriculum on an exam syllabus is not the smartest approach to learning piano. There's too much that's needed but not tested and yes, I think there's too much emphasis on the scales in the earliest grades. And starting scales with C Major is foolish. Chopin, Neuhaus et al thought so, too.


An exam syllabus from an international exam board is the best way to ensure no corners get cut. But of course you have your own half-baked theories and suppositions which don't bear any scrutiny in real life.

Your posts show a lot of non-self-critical analyses based on pure supposition (you believe something is right, therefore it's right), much of which is totally illogical. (Like : exercise daily the principles of scale playing, but don't practise scales.) Do you ever talk to fellow musicians and teachers?

How does a good pianist play the numerous scales & arpeggios in a typical Mozart - or Chopin - piece straight off without having to practise each and every one individually? By "exercising the principles" without actually practising any scales? grin

You really don't seem to understand the principles of training......


"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: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: bennevis] #2750747
07/11/18 10:34 AM
07/11/18 10:34 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,214
Florida
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by bennevis
Extrapolating your own experience to everyone else is simply idiotic.
And I didn't

You should re-read your own post.

You're basically telling everyone that no-one needs a teacher because you never needed one, yet you got Grade 8. You forgot to mention that you're a genius, and we know what Einstein say about geniuses.....

Incidentally, I never tell everyone they need a teacher, despite my own positive experiences that got me to where I am now, despite my total lack of anything resembling talent. But I do tell people that if classical music is their goal, they do need one. I've seen too many self-taught people bang out Für Elise and the like with very poor technique in showrooms (often likely to lead to injuries), and when I ask them how long they've had lessons, they say proudly that they taught themselves......

Quote
Originally Posted by bennevis
A good teacher will ensure that any bad habits are nipped in the bud before they have time to get ingrained
A good teacher, maybe. Most teachers, most unlikely.

Most teachers with teaching diplomas, very likely. I'm not talking about cowboy teachers, I'm talking about properly qualified teachers. I know many people who had lessons, and not a single one has deficient technique that would impede further progress, should they want to go further. I also know many people who once had lessons in childhood but stopped for many years, yet they still retain a good piano technique.

In fact, I know of no-one who had lessons with properly qualified teachers and have deficient techniques for their standard.
Quote
Take any number of similar activities that are best teacher directed, golf, drawing, chess, tennis, and consider how many students are making solid and rapid progress without flaws in the technique. Ask on the Teachers forum here about their transfer students.

There are many cowboy teachers around, not least on YT. And in USA, many (?most) teachers don't have any qualifications - you take pot luck unless you have recommendations from some reputable source.

Quote
While a student spends more time at the piano away from the teacher the chances of building technical flaws increase.

You do realise you're now contradicting your own self-proclaimed law?

Think about it......
Quote
Yes, a teacher will speed up the process but no, they won't fix everything. Piano playing isn't something you learn quickly, it's done by developing skills over long periods from frequent and consistent practise, mostly done alone. Good habits will develop and bad. And just because a bad habit develops doesn't mean that it can't be fixed in a short time. New habits can take hold in around three weeks.

Yet again, you're talking through your hat.

An ingrained bad technique that's been built up over many years is almost impossible to eradicate, with something as technical as piano playing. Do you actually have any experience at all? I've seen all sorts - "collapsed joints", stiff wrists, the lot. And I know several teachers who tell me of their experiences with self-taught students who realise that they can't progress without a teacher, and never knew how bad their playing technique was, and still couldn't fix them after several months.

Quote
Often tackling a more advanced piece shows up a flaw in the technique and often a solution presents itself that fixes the issue. A teacher may have done that quicker and may have had a ready solution but it doesn't mean the advancing student can't use his ear, his experimentation and a little research to reach a workable solution. You do need more time but you don't need super intelligence or discipline...Like what I've got laugh

I don't doubt your self-proclaimed super-intelligence, but your premise is totally flawed, which makes me doubt your SI.

Let's see: Your premise is: "Everyone should know what they don't know, even if they don't know they don't know".

Makes perfect sense.......

Quote
We don't need to train our fingers. Young children can play fast, loud and well before their fingers have even reached full size. Babies can hold their own bodyweight in one hand. It's our coordination that needs training. That's a mental thing, you need myelin not muscle; we have enough muscle.

I suggest you go back to your anatomy book.

Incidentally, muscles also get developed by piano playing. Can a six-year-old play as loudly as a teenager?

Quote

Originally Posted by bennevis
And scales & arpeggios are an important part of classical technique, therefore they should be started quite early on if classical music is one's goal (and of course, with a teacher). Within the first few months of starting piano, in fact. All reputable piano exam boards for classical music - ABRSM, Trinity, AMEB, RCM - require them from the earliest grades. Do you know better than them?
Yes, they are important but I don't get the "therefore" clause. Knowing them is the most important thing. Not daily practise of them in the early days. That can come later when the technique is more rounded. They are not so early advised for those self studying, either. Teachers can introduce them sooner. They work only the stronger fingers, in a limited range of attack direction and touches and are frequently subjected to abuse even with teacher guidance. It's the PRINCIPLES of scale playing that need emphasis and daily exercise.

And basing a curriculum on an exam syllabus is not the smartest approach to learning piano. There's too much that's needed but not tested and yes, I think there's too much emphasis on the scales in the earliest grades. And starting scales with C Major is foolish. Chopin, Neuhaus et al thought so, too.


An exam syllabus from an international exam board is the best way to ensure no corners get cut. But of course you have your own half-baked theories and suppositions which don't bear any scrutiny in real life.

Your posts show a lot of non-self-critical analyses based on pure supposition (you believe something is right, therefore it's right), much of which is totally illogical. (Like : exercise daily the principles of scale playing, but don't practise scales.) Do you ever talk to fellow musicians and teachers?

How does a good pianist play the numerous scales & arpeggios in a typical Mozart - or Chopin - piece straight off without having to practise each and every one individually? By "exercising the principles" without actually practising any scales? grin

You really don't seem to understand the principles of training......


Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is time to return to being CIVIL in these posts. Everyone has their own opinions, thoughts and methods.
There is no need to denigrate another just because their "methods, thoughts and opinions" are different from yours.

Let's be adults!


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: NobleHouse] #2750752
07/11/18 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is time to return to being CIVIL in these posts. Everyone has their own opinions, thoughts and methods.
There is no need to denigrate another just because their "methods, thoughts and opinions" are different from yours.

Let's be adults!


It happens every time any kind of non traditional learning methods are brought up.


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: monkeeys] #2750758
07/11/18 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by monkeeys
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is time to return to being CIVIL in these posts. Everyone has their own opinions, thoughts and methods.
There is no need to denigrate another just because their "methods, thoughts and opinions" are different from yours.

Let's be adults!


It happens every time any kind of non traditional learning methods are brought up.

Some people can only use nontraditional methods. Others prefer to use nontraditional methods for a multiplicity of reasons. But when asked for recommendations, people don't have to make recommendations based on outliers. There are probably reasons why nontraditional methods are limited. And recommending a nontraditional method over a traditional method of course introduces its own questions.

Based on personal experiences, I could recommend that children don't need teachers for math after 4th grade, but that would be because of some things I recognize as unique to only some individuals. Such a recommendation would be absurd since almost everyone need teachers for math. I see classical piano in the same light. Prima facie, it is not the case that self-teaching classical piano would have better results than traditional pedagogy -- after all, it seems apparent to me that if people could get the same from self-teaching classical piano as they could from actual piano teachers, all the conservatories would close and all concert pianists would be self-taught.


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: monkeeys] #2750759
07/11/18 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by monkeeys


It happens every time any kind of non traditional learning methods are brought up.


There are different schools of thought and approaches to various problems within "traditional" learning methods; Incivility can and sometimes does occur in discussions in those areas also.


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: monkeeys] #2750767
07/11/18 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by monkeeys
It happens every time any kind of non traditional learning methods are brought up.


I am still hoping for a response by Mosotti to what I wrote. One of the things there was when Mosotti cited a particular way of placing the fingers - taught by that student's teacher - and seems to assume that there is only one proper way of doing this. If this is any kind of "tradition" or "teaching" it is one of many. I went into the whys and wherefores of this, and I do hope it gets looked at. Rocket has stated a similar thing, and more succinctly than I was able to.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2750769
07/11/18 12:39 PM
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Quote

Some people can only use nontraditional methods. Others prefer to use nontraditional methods for a multiplicity of reasons. But when asked for recommendations, people don't have to make recommendations based on outliers. There are probably reasons why nontraditional methods are limited. And recommending a nontraditional method over a traditional method of course introduces its own questions.


Learning for yourself and learning by seeing the example of others is not a non-traditional method. This is the traditional method, the millennial method, if you want, and it never disappeared. In many musical traditions this is the only method that exists. Youtube videos, for example, may seem like a great novelty but they are just a new way of doing something very old.

Another thing is the formal method of teaching especially designed to meet the needs of the development of Western classical music. This method has created its own tradition and achieved great prestige due to its results, but it is not 'the' traditional method.

Now we see a clash between the partisans of these two methods (which are not antagonistic in principle). Can the original traditional method, which was developed primarily to learn simple music, be used to learn more complicated things and sophisticated and subtle instruments like the piano? In fact, it is almost impossible to know because we no longer live in a situation where we can find the original traditional method in the pure state, since it is always 'contaminated' with inputs from the formal method. On the other hand, no teacher can prevent students from watching youtube videos and that they try to repeat some of the things they've seen there.

The result of this is a (possible) merging of the two methods. We already have some teachers who try to teach the formal method online. Is this the inevitable future? I do not think so and I think the two methods will continue to exist in the future (and also some types of fusion methods) but people will be "forced" to see what the other side is doing.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750773
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I also keep reading about learning from "Youtube" vs. learning from teachers who are assumed to be good. If you are going to talk at all about learning on-line, then please first find out what is available on-line.

For piano, I work with a teacher and sometimes teachers. For the first instrument that I studied with a teacher for about 5 years, I do go on-line. This is a complete course of studies of pre-recorded lessons - over 500 of them - put together by a senior, experienced, and very knowledgeable teacher. There is a closed community of paying members; your playing is examined with feedback, and more. I have been two such sets of courses. One thing I see there is adults who have private teachers --- where the private teacher (the only one they can have locally) is barely teaching anything --- esp. in the belief that adults don't want much by way of technique and theory ---- so the real, and solid lessons are happening on-line. I am seeing some really good things out there. I'm in the process of fixing what happened in my several years with a teacher, weekly hourly lesson, where I practised what I was told how I was told ... all the formulas that are supposed to bring success. You need GOOD and suitable teaching: not just teaching!

If you are on the outside looking in, and judging what folks do when they study "on-line" or via such resources, then for heavens sake, first do some solid research on the subject. Don't just assume you have the full picture through a quick google of "piano lessons" or whatever.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750774
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That’s the way the video lessons that I have are keystring. Several levels from recorded video to live online from a teacher. As I’ve stated before, I live in a 2nd rate rural area of SC. Having lessons from a great lady in Canada is a blessing.


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: MarioPf] #2750776
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Originally Posted by MarioPf
.....In fact, it is almost impossible to know because we no longer live in a situation where we can find the original traditional method in the pure state, since it is always 'contaminated' with inputs from the formal method. .....

Generally I agree, but I'd say that there ** is ** no single traditional method.

If you want to go by what young ladies and gentleman of nobility were taught, for example, read perhaps Czerny's "letter to a young lady" (I forget the exact title). Or for that matter, the preamble in the 1907 Klavierschule which was passed on from my grandmother. Here the young student practised in the presence of a tutor every single day. As soon as the student was able to play 5 notes, she was to start writing down from memory what she had played. In what modern (1960's, say) tradition does anyone do this? And which "tradition" of technique do we follow? Anyone who has done some research, or been taught be more than one teacher has probably run into this. Do you teach diatonic music mostly in 5-finger position in the keys of C, F, and G and relative minors for several years, so that students get the illusion of being fluid readers and fast progress? That was "tradition" for a while too! And unfortunately still is.

Or does "tradition" refer to the method of delivery? Very simply I'd say, find the best possible resources, and avoid iffy ones. Good luck in figuring out which is which if you are a beginner. Your best resource may be the local teacher -- or that may be the very person you want to stay away from. Meanwhile, at least some teachers who teach in the studio will avail themselves of all resources that are there. It would be silly not to use the teaching and learning tools available just because they are not on paper. Hopefully they will also guide their students how to use them properly, and thus also prevent misuse.

Just random thoughts. smile

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750778
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What needs to be stressed is the complexity of the technique required when learning a new skill. Strumming a guitar requires no skill - anyone can just pick up a guitar and strum.

On the other hand, playing Recuerdos de la Alhambra requires a lot of skill, and I don't know of anyone who successfully played it without learning classical guitar from a teacher.

And then there're complex stuff that is totally mental, like chess. Anyone can successfully learn chess to a good level from books. I did, and won my first tournament and became county junior champion - with no training whatsoever by playing lots of opponents or learning from others.

When someone conflates highly technical skills that require a lot of dedicated physical training over years with something that just requires a lot of application and thought but no specific training, you know they don't know what they're talking about........


"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: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: monkeeys] #2750783
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Originally Posted by monkeeys
That’s the way the video lessons that I have are keystring. Several levels from recorded video to live online from a teacher. As I’ve stated before, I live in a 2nd rate rural area of SC. Having lessons from a great lady in Canada is a blessing.

That is great to read, monkeeys.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: bennevis] #2750784
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Originally Posted by bennevis
What needs to be stressed is the complexity of the technique required when learning a new skill. .


Yes. There are some excellent on-line resources for such things, when you cannot get a decent teacher locally, which sadly is often the case. (As per one of my recent posts where I got into this.)

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2751093
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Thank you all for all your input.
On the subject of getting a teacher this is definitely something I will do eventually and something I very much look forward to - however it is not going to happen In the near future and I am not willing to refrain from learning and enjoying the piano now just because the way I do it may be less than optimal. I am making progress and perhaps most importantly I absolutely love playing and learning.

I have just ordered the first Fabers Adult book and can’t wait to get my hands on it.
In the mean time I have gone cold turkey on Flowkey and done a lot of hours on Simply Piano which I started at the same time. I find the scrolling notes really annoying but I do learn some basic sight reading and chords even if it is artificially scrolling.

I can tell that all of you are very passionate on the subject of methods for learning and the subject of the value of teachers. I have enjoyed reading every post in the thread so far - many interesting points brought forth that all serve to broaden my limited knowledge on the subject.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2751186
07/13/18 08:48 AM
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This may be more philosophical than practical, but, in my view, you would likely progress faster with a personal teacher and one-on-one lessons. On the other hand, if that is not feasible, or possible, learning on our own is definitely possible.

In my case, and at my age, learning to play the piano is more of a hobby or casual interest. I know I will never be a concert pianist. And, trying different things, methods, watching others play, listening to a variety of thoughts and opinions regard learning to play the piano has been fun and interesting. Especially since I'm not trying to impress anyone but myself.

That being said, I think perhaps I may have impressed a few others along the way. It is even more fun when we realize that others who hear our piano playing say they enjoy it. It doesn't have to be super good, or even polished, with no wrong notes. It's kind of hard to explain.

My input? Follow your heart and your mind and do what YOU enjoy and like and feel is worthy of your time and effort.

Just a few thoughts...

Good luck!

Rick


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2751698
07/15/18 01:20 PM
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A lot of great ideas in this thread.
I've had two teachers so far - the first one 45 years ago and the last one in 2017 for just three months - and both of them have been useless to me.
I retook piano two years ago and since I am not especially gifted, even though I enjoy been self taught - right now playing HL Piano Lessons Book 5 - I think I must look for some advice and I think I need to be reviewed.
How do I know whether a teacher is good or (s)he is bad?
I took cello lessons - just a couple of months - and my teacher observed every and each of my movements and she corrected me in the way she thought was the best.
And this is exactly what I am looking for.
I hesitate. I am 57 now - I am not retired yet - and I want to make the most of my time at the piano.
How do I approach a new teacher? What I am supposed to tell her/him about my learning?
Should I wait a couple of years to improve my technique on my own before resorting to a(nother) teacher?


Yamaha Arius YDP 162
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2751724
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Sol
I would recommend you not wait to look for a teacher, and that you tell your teacher just about what you just said in your post : that you are interested in playing the piano with good technique, that iyou want a teacher that will be highly corrective just like your cello teacher, and that you are willing to commit to practicing.

you need to verbalize and demonstrate what you want......., you demonstrate through the attention you pay at lessons, your questions, and your practice. You need to commit to not canceling.... even if practice has not been robust. Notice I did not necessarily mention improvement weekly.... just effort. on your part. You should be able to tell if you are getting the same level of feedback you received through your cello teacher.

For my first lesson with my current teacher, I had this conversation on the phone before my first lesson, took a couple of pieces with me to my lesson, and received her detailed feedback and demonstration of where I needed to improve. it has remained the same with every lesson since the first one. . My lessons are the highlight of my week.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: dogperson] #2751729
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Sol
I would recommend you not wait to look for a teacher, and that you tell your teacher just about what you just said in your post : that you are interested in playing the piano with good technique, that iyou want a teacher that will be highly corrective just like your cello teacher, and that you are willing to commit to practicing.

you need to verbalize and demonstrate what you want.......,.

Thank you for your good advice.
I'm planning to make a try in October.
I suppose I'll have to play some pieces so that (s)he can make an idea of my playing.
Am I suppose to suggest the Études/Pieces/Repertoire according to my taste?
I guess I have to wait and see what happens.
Thank you


Yamaha Arius YDP 162
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Sol Finker] #2751733
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Originally Posted by Sol Finker
Originally Posted by dogperson
Sol
I would recommend you not wait to look for a teacher, and that you tell your teacher just about what you just said in your post : that you are interested in playing the piano with good technique, that iyou want a teacher that will be highly corrective just like your cello teacher, and that you are willing to commit to practicing.

you need to verbalize and demonstrate what you want.......,.

Thank you for your good advice.
I'm planning to make a try in October.
I suppose I'll have to play some pieces so that (s)he can make an idea of my playing.
Am I suppose to suggest the Études/Pieces/Repertoire according to my taste?
I guess I have to wait and see what happens.
Thank you


Abdolutely.... have a list of what you would like to learn. Your teacher can help you choose, Based upon the skills that you have and the skills that you need. We always negotiate what is ‘next’ versus ‘needs to wait’ . We end up with repertoire I love, that is also what I need


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
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