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Learning on my own - need some input #2749416
07/05/18 04:15 AM
07/05/18 04:15 AM
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Morten Olsson Offline OP
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Hi all,

I bought a digital piano a a few months ago and have been practicing daily ever since.
The practice part is where I need some input.

Due to practical circumstances - work, small kids etc - I am unable to get an actual teacher at this time. I realise this is far from optimal but it is not something that I can change at this time.

I have been using a couple of iPad apps so far and if nothing else they have got me playing. At this stage I know the names of the keys, how to construct basic chords (major, minor, 7’s,, add6 etc) and I have learned to play some music that is pleasing to both play and listen to using Flowkey.

I have gone though most of the basic theory in Flowkey which has gotten me to where I am now. At this stage I mainly learn by memorizing - since the Flowkey app shows both scrolling sheet music and a video of an actual pianist playing the piece - I tend to end up just looking at the video instead of doing the hard work of learning from the sheet music.

What I would like to do now is progress both in my understanding of theory, my ability to read sheet music and of course in the actual dexterity and musicality required to play with confidence and feeling.

I put in about 30-60 minutes each evening and am prepared to keep putting in the work. I have a quite high tolerance for “boring” and repetitive activities as long as there is a point to them. I do find that I need to spend at least some of my practice time playing actual music that I like to listen to in order to keep motivated and actually enjoy myself.

Based on the above I would appreciate any recommendations on how to proceed from here. One book that keeps popping up is the Alfred All-In-One course - would going through this a way forward or are there other books or apps you would recommend ?

Best regards
Morten

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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749431
07/05/18 05:34 AM
07/05/18 05:34 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
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Union SC
monkeeys Offline
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Welcome morten, I’m a beginner and I’ve found Alfred’s to be pretty good. I’m focused on getting the fundamentals well grounded at this point in my studies. That tolerance for repetition is good to have in this endeavor. Keep us posted.


Alesis Coda Pro
PianoVideoLessons.com Currently Unit 4
Alfred Adult Piano 1-ebook version
Grateful Dead fan since 1987
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749444
07/05/18 07:09 AM
07/05/18 07:09 AM
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Hershey, PA, USA
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
Hi all,

I bought a digital piano a a few months ago and have been practicing daily ever since.
The practice part is where I need some input.

.....

Based on the above I would appreciate any recommendations on how to proceed from here. One book that keeps popping up is the Alfred All-In-One course - would going through this a way forward or are there other books or apps you would recommend ?

Best regards
Morten


"Difficulties deferred and challenges unmet will eventually return with a vengeance to bite one in the butt." (paraphrasing Chopin)
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749446
07/05/18 07:17 AM
07/05/18 07:17 AM
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Hershey, PA, USA
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The Alfred AIO series is basically a sound method - it presents music theory in small, easy to understand bites consistently throughout the 3 levels of instruction and the music covers a variety of genres and is presented in a slowing increasing gradation of difficulty that is easily handled by most beginning pianists - all things considered it's recommended without too much reservation. Many use the series in conjunction with other methods/sources, and it works nicely that way.


"Difficulties deferred and challenges unmet will eventually return with a vengeance to bite one in the butt." (paraphrasing Chopin)
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749447
07/05/18 07:26 AM
07/05/18 07:26 AM
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Tennessee
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This youtube teacher discusses and plays through Alfred and other popular piano method books. May be a good supplement for you if you are going self study.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIeSnI-BmRMkxURGZ7nHtzQ


Last edited by Chili_Time; 07/05/18 07:27 AM.

Started Playing October 1, 2017. First Lesson Oct. 17, 2017. Currently in Faber Accelerated Piano Adventures Book 2 For The Older Beginner. Yamaha P-115.
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749477
07/05/18 09:17 AM
07/05/18 09:17 AM
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Richmond, BC, Canada
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
Hi all,

I have gone though most of the basic theory in Flowkey which has gotten me to where I am now. At this stage I mainly learn by memorizing - since the Flowkey app shows both scrolling sheet music and a video of an actual pianist playing the piece - I tend to end up just looking at the video instead of doing the hard work of learning from the sheet music.

What I would like to do now is progress both in my understanding of theory, my ability to read sheet music and of course in the actual dexterity and musicality required to play with confidence and feeling.


Congratulations on wanting to drop the crutches, and learn to walk on your own. IMHO, the first thing to do:

. . . Drop the crutches -- stop using FlowKey.

Alfred's (according to most accounts here -- I've never used it) would be a good place to start learning to play from a score.

A warning:

. . . "Playing with confidence and feeling" is a lot harder than it seems.

If your progress is slow, don't get discouraged. Just keep plugging away . . . your playing will improve, gradually.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749550
07/05/18 02:25 PM
07/05/18 02:25 PM
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Dublin
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The most important skill is ear training. Along with theory, it will make progress so much easier. You need to become a musician before becoming a pianist.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749557
07/05/18 03:02 PM
07/05/18 03:02 PM
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Southeast USA
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I've been at it for a month. I think for musicality one needs to be very solid on rhythm, have some feeling for dynamics and be a decent sight reader (i am sure there is more) - but this is what i prioritize the most right now. I'm doing the Alfred's Adult AIO with a teacher. If you do Alfred's don't go to fast - doing EVERYTHING it says and only advance if you have reasonably demonstrated the ability described. My teacher has to approve my demonstration (actually i will cover several new exercises each week and she will write in my log book what i still need to work on). It's harder to do it in front of my teacher as apposed to in my room by myself (a widely held sentiment). What you can do instead is record your playing then listen to it and then decide if you are good. Most say recording yourself has a similar effect to playing in front of someone.

If you are using a digital, it might help with your dynamics if you turn the volume up forcing you to play with a softer touch most of the time. For timing, I am (besides counting out loud) using Adam Small's 'Basic Timing for the pianist' - a book of exercises of increasing difficulty. It also helps with sight reading. Good Luck!


Progman
1997 Baldwin 'Classic' Console
Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749560
07/05/18 03:20 PM
07/05/18 03:20 PM
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Thank you very much for all the good advice and kind words.
I shall acquire the Alfred book and get cracking - just as soon as I finish the two pieces I’m currently learning with the ill adviced Flowkey app wink

John - would you mind going into a bit of detail on what “ear training” is ?

Thanks again.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749610
07/05/18 08:50 PM
07/05/18 08:50 PM
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In my opinion, Alfref's is the worst of the options. The approach is robotic, stilted, and leaves the left hand totally underdeveloped.

My favorite is the Russian Method, but you have to be in a certain frame of mind and have a certain degree of confidence to use it, given the overwhelming use of the other more common methods.

If I were to choose among the commonly recommended methods, I would choose Faber.

One other thing, never allow yourself to be bored. It is totally unnecessary. The key is to love what you are doing all the time.

Good luck!

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749666
07/06/18 04:26 AM
07/06/18 04:26 AM
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Morten Olsson Offline OP
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Hi Rich - thanks for chiming in.

I have yet to buy the Alfred book - would the Faber one you refer to be this:

https://pianoadventures.com/publications/adult-piano-adventures-all-in-one-course-book-1/

Or something else ?

In what ways would you say the Faber one differs from or improves on the Alfred one ?

Thanks again.

Last edited by Morten Olsson; 07/06/18 04:26 AM.
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749670
07/06/18 05:05 AM
07/06/18 05:05 AM
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Italy
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The Alfred books (there are 3 of them, now even in a self-teaching edition) have been very good for me as a teacherless adult beginner. I went through them in my first 2 years, gradually adding other things, and I think they helped me a lot with basics in all genres (there's quite a lot of folk and blues and it really helps with rhythm) and overall direction. Okay, it's not very sophisticated, you start with rigid positions, simple keys, etc., which is something that not all instructors advocate, but you can easily add more layers of complexity by watching videos/reading articles by Neil Stannard, Shirley Kirsten, Graham Fitch, Josh Wright, etc.


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia - http://youtube.com/sinophilia
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Richrf] #2749678
07/06/18 05:44 AM
07/06/18 05:44 AM
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
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Originally Posted by Richrf
In my opinion, Alfref's is the worst of the options. The approach is robotic, stilted, and leaves the left hand totally underdeveloped.

My favorite is the Russian Method, but you have to be in a certain frame of mind and have a certain degree of confidence to use it, given the overwhelming use of the other more common methods.

If I were to choose among the commonly recommended methods, I would choose Faber.

One other thing, never allow yourself to be bored. It is totally unnecessary. The key is to love what you are doing all the time.

Good luck!


I agree with Richrf. I have Alfred's (don't use it at all anymore) and I have Faber's Adult Piano Adventures - the entire sets of Books 1 & 2. I actually enjoy Faber!! I am also looking into the Russian Method, and have bought the books. Research the Russian Method and you might be pleasantly surprised. Have fun in your journey!

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749684
07/06/18 06:33 AM
07/06/18 06:33 AM
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Thanks yet again :-)

The Faber's books look neat.
I looked up the "Russian method" - all I found initially was a discussion from this very forum that said it was a more technically oriented approach to learning. Out of interest which specific books are you talking about ?

Really looking forward to picking one or the other and digging in.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749857
07/06/18 07:44 PM
07/06/18 07:44 PM
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I use the Faber book and really enjoy it. But I'd probably enjoy any of the books because I just love playing.


Started Playing October 1, 2017. First Lesson Oct. 17, 2017. Currently in Faber Accelerated Piano Adventures Book 2 For The Older Beginner. Yamaha P-115.
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749865
07/06/18 08:13 PM
07/06/18 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
Hi Rich - thanks for chiming in.

I have yet to buy the Alfred book - would the Faber one you refer to be this:

https://pianoadventures.com/publications/adult-piano-adventures-all-in-one-course-book-1/

Or something else ?

In what ways would you say the Faber one differs from or improves on the Alfred one ?

Thanks again.


Faber has several videos on YouTube explaining the approach he uses in his book. I think it is a very good idea to watch these videos so you have some foundational knowledge of the method you may be adopting. I like his approach. It makes sense to me.

As for the Russian Method, you may want to glance at some of the videos that are based on this method. It may be of interest to you or may not. The online course that I took for $33 a month was a fair price. Unfortunately, it is no longer available at that price. The books themselves are wonderful and teach a very well rounded curriculum. However, as I said, you have to have to be in a certain frame of mind to adopt and enjoy the approach. For me, I am not interested in tunes, but rather to develop a real connection with my instrument. Thec Russian Method suits me. Currently I study by myself and very much enjoy to freedom to explore.

Hope this helps.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2749866
07/06/18 08:21 PM
07/06/18 08:21 PM
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Can look into online instructions to supplement playing by the book. Found a YouTube channel a while ago "Piano Lessons on the Web". You can find lessons on music theories, playing techniques, sight-reading tips, etc.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750147
07/08/18 12:50 AM
07/08/18 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
. . .

John - would you mind going into a bit of detail on what “ear training” is ?



PMFJI --

"Ear training" develops a varied collection of skills, over a wide range of difficulty. Examples:

. . . Teacher plays two notes sequentially, asks "What's the interval between the notes?"

. . . Teacher plays two notes at the same time, asks "What's the interval between the notes?"

. . . Teacher plays a scale, asks: "Major scale or minor scale?"

. . . Teachere plays a triad, asks: "What kind of triad ?" (e.g. major / minor/ diminished)

. . . Teacher plays a four-note chord (e.g. Fmin6), asks: "What was that?"

. . . Teacher plays a triad, asks: "What inversion?"

. . . Teacher plays a C, then plays some other pitch, asks "What's the pitch of the second note?"

. . . Student closes eyes, teacher plays a note, says "Play the note a major third above that."

And so on.

I disagree with John. I think that "playing skills" and "ear training skills" develop together, rather than "ear training" being needed before you start to play. But if you want to be a musician, you must consciously develop your hearing skills, as well as your playing skills.

A story:

I wanted to join a choir, for which an audition was required. I spent lots of time with my teacher, working on things that she expected to be tested, and I thought I was well prepared. At the audition, everything was going fine, until the choir director decided to do something nasty:

. . . "OK -- I'll play the soprano / alto / bass parts of this hymn, and you sing the tenor part."

_That_, I wasn't prepared for. It tests two skills -- the ability to sight-read a line, and the ability to "hold one's own part" against other voices. That second skill is partly "can you sing?", and partly "can you listen, while you sing?"

I did OK, but it was a memorable <gulp> moment.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750284
07/08/18 07:01 PM
07/08/18 07:01 PM
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Twin Cities
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Here is another avenue for self-teaching along classical lines:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6urkeK7KgD4M9FI4JqF_rU6bZ6srK3Ry

This is a playlist of 45 videos that go with a set of pdf books you order from the woman who is teaching. She is well qualified, as her bio will show.

I don't need to go into a lot of detail because you can watch a couple of the videos and decide whether it is suitable or not.

Tony

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750345
07/09/18 06:40 AM
07/09/18 06:40 AM
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I recommend using three or more methods concurrently. I would put Faber and John Thompson (not so good on its own, excellent as a supplement) above Alfred's. I have heard good reports - from teachers - of the Music Tree method. I haven't seen or used the Bastien or Hal Leonard methods but understand them to be better than Alfred's (or not worse). Alfred's is the most popular but that's it's strongest point.

I would include Beyer Op. 101 as a supplement if you're going the classical route.

The Suzuki method itself requires a teacher but the source material is excellent from level two and up. My choice of method without a teacher would be the text of John Thompson's Modern Course up to volume three with the pieces from the Suzuki method from level two and up, supplemented with Beyer Op. 101 and, perhaps, The Music Tree.


Richard
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750365
07/09/18 08:14 AM
07/09/18 08:14 AM
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Romania
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If money is not a problem, I think you should really try to get a teacher. If there's no one there to correct you (and the books and youtube won't correct you), you will develop some nasty habits which will be very hard to get rid off. I also have a small kid, he was 2 months old when I started with the lessons, but I found a teacher close to work, so I just make a detour on the way home.

You can also try these:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0793551218/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0793525675/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0793525578/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Also you should really stop learning pieces by looking at hands and Synthesia and crazy scrolling apps that teach you piano in "3 weeks" and start learning to read smile

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Mosotti] #2750380
07/09/18 09:04 AM
07/09/18 09:04 AM
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,765
Italy
sinophilia Offline

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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.


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia - http://youtube.com/sinophilia
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: sinophilia] #2750386
07/09/18 09:32 AM
07/09/18 09:32 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,765
Florida
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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.


Although I’ve always had a teacher, I would agree with this post. In order to succeed as a self learner, you need to have discipline to learn skills in a systematic way. Sinophilia has done that. Be patient, learn skills, record yourself visually and audiotally....., and be critical.

I would use the technique books of Hanon, Czerny and Schmidt with caution. Poor technique can lead to injury


"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: Morten Olsson] #2750423
07/09/18 11:18 AM
07/09/18 11:18 AM
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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.

It is not a myth, and what you say, that people studying with a teacher might also develop bad habits is not an argument. The role of the teacher is to correct those things, but it's up to the student to apply the teacher's advice.

Originally Posted by sinophilia

Of course having a (good) teacher is better. But nasty habits? Honestly I don't think I have any.


Was this confirmed by an experienced piano teacher / player? I'm not a teacher, I'm a poor beginner, but looking at your videos I can say that your fingers are too flat and you play too close to the keyboard margin. Because of that you don't properly articulate your fingers and you don't press the keys with the tip of the fingers but in most cases with the whole front of the finger. Please compare your fingers in your Traumerei video with this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHlfNYY1YIY

Ignore that it's Lisitsa (I just got the first result) and look for example where her thumb touches the keys and where your thumbs are touching the keys (almost falling off the keyboard). Also observe how she presses the keys, especially the black ones, with the tips of her fingers. This creates better control and a better sound quality. Look at her hand form and then check your hands, see any difference? It's not very visible in your videos but it seems that you play a lot from the wrist and not using the fingers.

Now this is a problem I also have and I try to correct it, but in my case is mostly because I have a digital piano where it's much harder to press between keys and also the black keys are hard to press. I've ordered a better digital piano with a better action (hopefully) smile

Originally Posted by Mosotti

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.

It's not hard to define bad habits. Here's the definition: bad habits are those habits that will prevent you to progress at some point or even worse, will have your hands severely damaged.

Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by sinophilia
[quote=Mosotti]...you will develop some nasty habits which will be very hard to get rid off.

I would use the technique books of Hanon, Czerny and Schmidt with caution. Poor technique can lead to injury

You don't injure yourself if you follow the teacher's advice. For example the first advice I got was to stop everything if I feel any pain. That is a good advice, right? smile

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Mosotti] #2750437
07/09/18 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Mosotti
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.
It is not a myth, and what you say, that people studying with a teacher might also develop bad habits is not an argument. The role of the teacher is to correct those things, but it's up to the student to apply the teacher's advice.
I certainly agree with this. The degree of "nastiness" is not that important. It's pretty unlikely that one will not learn some incorrect ways of playing without the help of a teacher, especially in the first few years. So if one can afford it and has sufficient time to practice it makes a lot of sense IMO.

The YT performance of Traumerai mentioned by Mosotti does show some very basic things that might have been corrected by a good teacher. The first one I would mention is the rhythm.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: sinophilia] #2750440
07/09/18 12:38 PM
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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.



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.

I disagree. But that's also tempered with what you hope to achieve.

I know of only one person who's played for decades, and never had a teacher. He can't read music, and plays entirely by ear, and by copying others by rote. His technique wouldn't pass muster in the ABRSM grade 1 exam: he cannot play a simple scale evenly, at any speed, because he has to twist awkwardly to get his thumb beneath.

Does that matter? Not to him - what he can't play, he simply doesn't. His rep is almost entirely RH melody (using almost exclusively fingers 1, 2 and 3: he shifts his whole hand across) and LH chords.

And he's never had any injuries. So, he's fine, by any standards.......


"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: Morten Olsson] #2750445
07/09/18 01:09 PM
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Certainly having a teacher is no guarantee of not developing bad habits, but self-teaching and not developing bad habits is the exception, in my opinion. With self-teaching, in order to not develop some poor habits (poor technique), you need to have a fair amount of knowledge about playing before you even start. Few beginners have this (or even know to look for it).

Before getting a teacher, I self-taught for several years using Alfred's AIO, and, yes, I have some bad habits that still haunt me. I regret now that I waited so long to get a teacher.


Three method books for self-teachers have had regular followers here on the ABF. One is the Alfred Adult All-in-One books, another is the Faber Piano Adventures series, and a third is Fundamental Keys. Any of these will teach you the basics in a graded manner (the pieces get harder as you move through the series). None is perfect; using several of them together is not a bad idea. Learn to read music notation. It will open up a world of music. Learn to hear music. It will open up a world of music as well. Above all, don't be in a hurry and do strive to enjoy the process. Best wishes on your progress!


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750513
07/10/18 02:33 AM
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Whatever. You made it, you turned this thread into the same old argument about teacher or no teacher!

The OP just asked advice on how to learn without a teacher, is it so hard to understand?


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750533
07/10/18 06:23 AM
07/10/18 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Masotti
I'm a poor beginner, but looking at your videos I can say...
And going by what you said, you know nothing about playing the piano! Or watching videos! Most of your post is just wrong - all, in fact, except the bit about ordering a better digital piano, which I can't verify.

I'll charitably assume you misunderstood the defining bad habits part.

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.

Having a teacher speeds up the rate of learning and may include (depending on the teacher) some postural benefits, a wider variety of technical solutions and better musicianship. It does not reduce the frequency of bad habits or poor playing. In many cases it takes the problem solving out of the student's hands and makes them teacher dependent, reducing their ability to advance on their own.

I'm not against having a teacher, per se, and Mrs Crotchet down the road might be fine for the average child beginner but the better you are at applying intelligence and discipline to the problem the better the teacher needs to be to make a good match.

Hanon, Czerny and the like are the sources of many unhealthy playing techniques. Only a fool would recommend them to someone self-teaching. They are better aimed at those with already good technique, aiming at a conservatory or potential career on the platform and with appropriate teachers behind them.

There's an active post in the forum now about a Pischna study. It has taken a potentially difficult passage from a piece of music and changed it into a repetitive, mind-numbing exercise on the stupid belief that frequent repetition up and down the keyboard will fix the problem. Many teachers use the same formula. That's no way to solve problems. Piano playing is a mental activity not a fingers game.

A wide ranging repertoire is the source of good piano technique for the first few years at which time technique can be bolstered with scales and arpeggios - though not all piano styles will benefit from them equally.


Richard
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: zrtf90] #2750565
07/10/18 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by Masotti
I'm a poor beginner, but looking at your videos I can say...
And going by what you said, you know nothing about playing the piano! Or watching videos! Most of your post is just wrong - all, in fact, except the bit about ordering a better digital piano, which I can't verify.

I'll charitably assume you misunderstood the defining bad habits part.

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.

Having a teacher speeds up the rate of learning and may include (depending on the teacher) some postural benefits, a wider variety of technical solutions and better musicianship. It does not reduce the frequency of bad habits or poor playing. In many cases it takes the problem solving out of the student's hands and makes them teacher dependent, reducing their ability to advance on their own.

Not for the first time, you're talking a load of tosh.

Just because you've been lucky, and probably have some inherent talent, doesn't mean that everyone else will. Extrapolating your own experience to everyone else is simply idiotic.

A good teacher will ensure that any bad habits are nipped in the bud before they have time to get ingrained - like those of my friend that I mentioned earlier. Fortunately for him, he has no interest in classical music. But what if I had gone the same way as him and then discovered in my middle age that I've developed a love for Mozart? I well remember my first teacher having to correct my finger & hand positioning several times over many lessons and giving me specific pieces to develop 'weak' fingers. All things I'd never have known was a problem.......until I started playing more advanced pieces, and realised her wisdom.

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.

Quote
There's an active post in the forum now about a Pischna study. It has taken a potentially difficult passage from a piece of music and changed it into a repetitive, mind-numbing exercise on the stupid belief that frequent repetition up and down the keyboard will fix the problem. Many teachers use the same formula. That's no way to solve problems. Piano playing is a mental activity not a fingers game.

A wide ranging repertoire is the source of good piano technique for the first few years at which time technique can be bolstered with scales and arpeggios - though not all piano styles will benefit from them equally.


Again, you're talking through your hat.

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? Many of the world's great virtuosi past & present developed great technical skills (and revelled in them) long before their musicianship caught up, and that's the way it has to be if you want to reach the top. (Neuhaus mentioned that Richter was a 'banger' in his youth). How can one apply musicianship (whether innate or acquired) if one doesn't have the technique to express it? Gaze up at the ceiling in rapture while playing sloppily? Write a book? (Er, yes. There're quite a few of those around).

"The technique is the expression" - Horowitz.

All teachers stress focused practicing (and time spent on it) - lots of it, consistently, daily - at the piano. Some famous ones even advocate mindless practicing for specific technical problems in order that they can be executed easily without having to think about them.

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?

On the other hand, if you just want to play what you can play, forget all that.......


"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: Mosotti] #2750591
07/10/18 11:43 AM
07/10/18 11:43 AM
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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.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: keystring] #2750592
07/10/18 11:48 AM
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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 )


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2750600
07/10/18 12:21 PM
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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 01:54 PM
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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

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: sinophilia] #2750654
07/10/18 06:09 PM
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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 06:12 PM
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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 06:58 PM
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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 07:18 PM
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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 09:59 PM
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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 05:15 AM
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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 05:35 AM
07/11/18 05:35 AM
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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 08:45 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 09:34 AM
07/11/18 09:34 AM
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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 10:18 AM
07/11/18 10:18 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 10:50 AM
07/11/18 10:50 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 10:53 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.
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: monkeeys] #2750767
07/11/18 11:38 AM
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Canada
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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 11:39 AM
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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
07/11/18 11:45 AM
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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
07/11/18 11:53 AM
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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
07/11/18 11:59 AM
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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
07/11/18 12:17 PM
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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
07/11/18 12:18 PM
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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
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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


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2751698
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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?


Jaime
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2751724
07/15/18 03:32 PM
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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


Jaime
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
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Sol Finker] #2751914
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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


It is a misnomer that one has to play difficult pieces or achieve a certain level of skill development to enjoy playing the piano or any instrument. If you can learn to enjoy every single sound you create, if you can learn to enjoy the very simplest of tunes and pieces you play, you can enjoy playing piano for life. It is a matter of learning to enjoy the little things in life. This you can do on your own but it does take a bit of learning. Complexity it's not necessary though some invite it or insist on it.

What makes a good teacher should you decide to employ one? You should feel totally at ease. You should proceed at a pace that you feel comfortable with. You should love the music you are creating and look forward to every moment you spend at the piano. And you should not ever feel like you have to practice a certain amount each day or each week. You should play when you wish to play, no more and no less. It is your life, your time. Enjoy it!

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2751922
07/16/18 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Richrf
It is a misnomer that one has to play difficult pieces or achieve a certain level of skill development to enjoy playing the piano or any instrument. If you can learn to enjoy every single sound you create, if you can learn to enjoy the very simplest of tunes and pieces you play, you can enjoy playing piano for life. It is a matter of learning to enjoy the little things in life. This you can do on your own but it does take a bit of learning. Complexity it's not necessary though some invite it or insist on it.

What makes a good teacher should you decide to employ one? You should feel totally at ease. You should proceed at a pace that you feel comfortable with. You should love the music you are creating and look forward to every moment you spend at the piano. And you should not ever feel like you have to practice a certain amount each day or each week. You should play when you wish to play, no more and no less. It is your life, your time. Enjoy it!

Excellent post, and I agree!

Reminds me of one of my original songs entitled "Play it like you want to"; some of the lyrics say, "you can tell me what to do, you can tell me what to say, but listen to be baby, I'm gonna play it my way". smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Rickster] #2751925
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Originally Posted by Rickster

Excellent post, and I agree!

Reminds me of one of my original songs entitled "Play it like you want to"; some of the lyrics say, "you can tell me what to do, you can tell me what to say, but listen to be baby, I'm gonna play it my way". smile

Rick


Nice Rick! :-) Learning to trust oneself, believing in oneself, and most of all, enjoying oneself and one's creations is a very nice lesson in life.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2751928
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This is what Sol Finker posted:

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.


He's not looking for a teacher to tell him that whatever he does is fine. He wants proper instruction, not someone that panders to his every wish.

As would I, if I was looking for a teacher now. BTW, all my four teachers gave me proper instruction when I was a student.

If I just wanted to go on my own merry way, why would I want a teacher? My hamster (if I had one) could just as well be my teacher:

https://goo.gl/images/mJd82J


"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] #2751936
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Originally Posted by bennevis
If I just wanted to go on my own merry way, why would I want a teacher? My hamster (if I had one) could just as well be my teacher:

https://goo.gl/images/mJd82J

[Linked Image]


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2751967
07/16/18 05:37 PM
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bennevis, I'm not going to quote your entire post and what you said in your last post, because you cannot go back and edit your post; it is there forever on a public internet forum. But as I read it and thought about what you said, both in content and context, I believe you were basically hurling a big personal insult my way.

I mentioned some of the lyrics to one of my original blues tunes about "playing it like you want to". Then, (and here is where I'll quote you) you said:
Originally Posted by bennevis
"He's not looking for a teacher to tell him that whatever he does is fine. He wants proper instruction, not someone that panders to his every wish. If I just wanted to go on my own merry way, why would I want a teacher? My hamster (if I had one) could just as well be my teacher:
https://goo.gl/images/mJd82J

Does that not correlate to my comments regarding the lyrics to my song? I see a strong correlation. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, well, it must be a duck. Right? Or is it a hamster?

Next, you post a hilarious cartoon character of a hamster playing the piano. Insinuating that anyone who chooses to learn to play the piano on their own is like having a hamster as a teacher. Or, were you insinuating that I was the hamster? Or anyone and everyone who has ever chosen to try and learn to play the piano on their own?

Again, I see your comments as a personal insult, not only to me but also others here who have chosen a different method of learning than you have.

And, as if that alone was not enough of an insult, here comes Tyrone and posts the picture of the hamster in his thread that you posted as a URL in your thread, signifying concurrence and basically rubbing salt in the wound.

I made a statement in another thread here that these discussions about learning to play the piano with or without a teacher never end well. I'm a grown man and my feelings have been pricked and hurt here on PW before, so this kind of treatment is nothing new to me. I hope I'm all wrong about your intentions regarding the content of your thread, but I don't think I am. I would not have insulted you in such fashion.

In fact, I wish you the best that life has to offer, and all the success in the world in achieving your piano playing goals and ambitions.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Rickster] #2751978
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Originally Posted by Rickster
bennevis, I'm not going to quote your entire post and what you said in your last post, because you cannot go back and edit your post; it is there forever on a public internet forum. But as I read it and thought about what you said, both in content and context, I believe you were basically hurling a big personal insult my way.

I mentioned some of the lyrics to one of my original blues tunes about "playing it like you want to". Then, (and here is where I'll quote you) you said:
Originally Posted by bennevis
"He's not looking for a teacher to tell him that whatever he does is fine. He wants proper instruction, not someone that panders to his every wish. If I just wanted to go on my own merry way, why would I want a teacher? My hamster (if I had one) could just as well be my teacher:
https://goo.gl/images/mJd82J

Does that not correlate to my comments regarding the lyrics to my song? I see a strong correlation. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, well, it must be a duck. Right? Or is it a hamster?

Next, you post a hilarious cartoon character of a hamster playing the piano. Insinuating that anyone who chooses to learn to play the piano on their own is like having a hamster as a teacher. Or, were you insinuating that I was the hamster? Or anyone and everyone who has ever chosen to try and learn to play the piano on their own?

You credit me with too much insight into your lyrics.

Do you really want to know the truth? I didn't even look at the lyrics of your song. And I still haven't. (Incidentally, I never listen to or watch PW members' recordings, except in rare circumstances when I'm asked personally by someone to comment by PM).

But you're right about something - I was simply astonished by your pointless response to a poster who said that he wanted a teacher who teaches.

BTW, originally I wrote 'cat' rather than hamster, but then realized that many people play for their cats anyway (which are known to be discerning listeners), so I decided to choose a different (but equally cute) pet with less musical ears.....




"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: Rickster] #2751981
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Next, you post a hilarious cartoon character of a hamster playing the piano.

I must take the blame for the cute hamster on the piano. I was not even thinking of you when I posted that. I was reading Bennevis talking about hamsters as teachers and thought this should be annotated by a piano-playing hamster since this is a piano forum after all!


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: bennevis] #2752013
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Originally Posted by bennevis
BTW, originally I wrote 'cat' ...but then realized that many people play for their cats anyway (which are known to be discerning listeners), so I decided to choose a different (but equally cute) pet with less musical ears ...

Nonetheless, with a good teacher, a hamster should be able to develop those ‘less than musical ears’. Perhaps not to the degree of a more naturally talented cat or dog but I think if the hamster can can diligently apply him/herself to the hamster wheel of piano practice anything is possible.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2752018
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Rickster
Next, you post a hilarious cartoon character of a hamster playing the piano.

I must take the blame for the cute hamster on the piano. I was not even thinking of you when I posted that. I was reading Bennevis talking about hamsters as teachers and thought this should be annotated by a piano-playing hamster since this is a piano forum after all!


I liked the hamster cartoon.
Didn't strike me as aiming to offend anyone, just to amuse smile


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: bennevis] #2752031
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Originally Posted by bennevis
(Incidentally, I never listen to or watch PW members' recordings, except in rare circumstances when I'm asked personally by someone to comment by PM).


Incidentally... this makes me think of the several good people on the ABF who comment far and wide and regularly bestow their wisdom in thousands of words BUT never ever share even a snippet of their playing, and never participate in quarterly or themed recitals. How unfair that we never get the chance to hear the results of such wonderful and profound insights on how each one of us clueless adult learners should practice and play the piano!


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To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Richrf] #2752089
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Originally Posted by Richrf

It is a misnomer that one has to play difficult pieces or achieve a certain level of skill development to enjoy playing the piano or any instrument. If you can learn to enjoy every single sound you create, if you can learn to enjoy the very simplest of tunes and pieces you play, you can enjoy playing piano for life. It is a matter of learning to enjoy the little things in life. This you can do on your own but it does take a bit of learning. Complexity it's not necessary though some invite it or insist on it.

I had to resort to a dictionary, but yes, I agree. I enjoy playing scales, Hanon - not playing it anymore - or whatever. But I do want to make progress so that I can enjoy more every piece I play. And I am not sure whether my dynamics and articulation are correct or not. That is why I am going to try - again - with a teacher.

Originally Posted by Richrf

What makes a good teacher should you decide to employ one? You should feel totally at ease. You should proceed at a pace that you feel comfortable with. You should love the music you are creating and look forward to every moment you spend at the piano. And you should not ever feel like you have to practice a certain amount each day or each week. You should play when you wish to play, no more and no less. It is your life, your time. Enjoy it!
This has never happened to me so far with a teacher.


Jaime
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Sol Finker] #2752093
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Originally Posted by Sol Finker
And I am not sure whether my dynamics and articulation are correct or not. That is why I am going to try - again - with a teacher.


A teacher will only have you play the dynamics and articulations in a manner that he/she wishes you to play. Do you wish to know the correct articulations for a given piece? Just listen to the dozens upon dozens of ways that it may be played on YouTube by each individual artist. There is no such thing as correct. Everyone does it differently.

What's pleasent to my mind gains my appreciation and joy. What is pleasent to other people will gain their approval and possibly give them enjoyment. At my stage in my life development I no longer seek approval. It is sufficient that I enjoy and if others enjoy what I enjoy then we share something together.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Richrf] #2752122
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Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Sol Finker
And I am not sure whether my dynamics and articulation are correct or not. That is why I am going to try - again - with a teacher.


A teacher will only have you play the dynamics and articulations in a manner that he/she wishes you to play. Do you wish to know the correct articulations for a given piece? Just listen to the dozens upon dozens of ways that it may be played on YouTube by each individual artist. There is no such thing as correct. Everyone does it differently.



It has not been my experience that I need to play articulation and dynamics imposed by my teacher: the only consideration is what the composer indicated on the score......, but I have an enormous amount of latitude in how to interpret that.


"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] #2752125
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Sol Finker
And I am not sure whether my dynamics and articulation are correct or not. That is why I am going to try - again - with a teacher.


A teacher will only have you play the dynamics and articulations in a manner that he/she wishes you to play. Do you wish to know the correct articulations for a given piece? Just listen to the dozens upon dozens of ways that it may be played on YouTube by each individual artist. There is no such thing as correct. Everyone does it differently.



It has not been my experience that I need to play articulation and dynamics imposed by my teacher: the only consideration is what the composer indicated on the score......, but I have an enormous amount of latitude in how to interpret that.


Of course a teacher will teach a student to play in a manner that he/she feels appropriate. Observe classes if different teachers that are on YouTube to verify.

As for the dynamics in a score, they are wholely inadequate to convey precisely what the composer heard in her/his mind, hence the vast differences in interpretations.

Quite simply there is no such thing as correct or proper other than ones own subjective interpretation. For further evidence of this, just take lessons from several teachers in any subject area and observe how each teacher has a different approach. Some may even call their approach correct or proper.

Last edited by Richrf; 07/17/18 11:25 AM.
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752126
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Took delivery of the books yesterday and have been at it for a few hours so far.
Love having actual sheet music on paper instead of the auto scrolling iPad stuff. On a superficial level I have already covered a lot of what’s in the book but I’m going through anything anyway and really enjoying it. Already picked up a few basic things that were never mentioned in the flowkey and simply piano apps and also found a thing or two I’ll probably need some advice on here.
Thanks for all the great input. It’s too bad that the subject seems to cause some friction for some of the members here but on the whole I find the conversation interesting and I may even have some opinions of my own in a year or two smile

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752135
07/17/18 11:59 AM
07/17/18 11:59 AM
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Sol Finker Offline
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
. It’s too bad that the subject seems to cause some friction for some of the members here but on the whole I find the conversation interesting and I may even have some opinions of my own in a year or two smile

I think we are having a good time and - in my case - learning a lot from others.
Thank you for the post.


Jaime
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752149
07/17/18 01:08 PM
07/17/18 01:08 PM
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Posts: 12,080
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
It’s too bad that the subject seems to cause some friction for some of the members here but on the whole I find the conversation interesting and I may even have some opinions of my own in a year or two smile

It doesn't have to be that way. What causes controversy and harsh feelings is when some folks point their finger in your face, crack a whip or twist your arm and dictate to you in no uncertain terms that their opinion is the only one in the universe that matters.

Some people have no idea what diversity means or how it relates to social interaction. All they know is in-your-face rudeness and hatefulness.

I mentioned some of the lyrics to one of my original blues songs earlier, which I'll not mention again, but I always like this song, "My way", by Frank Sinatra. Do it your way, whether it is on the advice of someone else you respect and admire, or just the way you want to do it.

I've lived a life that's full
I've traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

There are certainly more ways to learn to play the piano than one person's in-your-face opinion. Plus, not everyone has the same learning style. I've been a teacher (although not a piano teacher) for 26 years. I know a little about learning styles.

Just a few thoughts... smile

Rick



Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752179
07/17/18 02:53 PM
07/17/18 02:53 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,551
Florida
cmb13 Offline
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cmb13  Offline
Silver Level

Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,551
Florida
I'm not sure how or why I avoided opening this thread over the past several days, probably because I felt that others can do it justice better than I can. But for some reason, today I saw it had grown to four pages, so I figured I see what was going on in here. Boy do I wish I could take that click back!

To the OP, I wish you the best of luck on your journey. I personally have had some good experiences with teachers, and some negative ones. I supplement my lessons with a LOT of research on the internet, and even / especially this forum has taught me tons. People on both sides of this argument, in fact, have all taught me a lot. Life is short, play it as you see fit and feel free to modify your decisions as circumstances change. And Have Fun!!

Now please close this thread! There is really no need for hostility - ppl pls state your opinion and move along!


Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin Nocturne 20, Posthumous, in C-Sharp Minor
Pachelbel Canon in D
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Rickster] #2752182
07/17/18 03:01 PM
07/17/18 03:01 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 991
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
It’s too bad that the subject seems to cause some friction for some of the members here but on the whole I find the conversation interesting and I may even have some opinions of my own in a year or two smile

It doesn't have to be that way. What causes controversy and harsh feelings is when some folks point their finger in your face, crack a whip or twist your arm and dictate to you in no uncertain terms that their opinion is the only one in the universe that matters.

Some people have no idea what diversity means or how it relates to social interaction. All they know is in-your-face rudeness and hatefulness.

I mentioned some of the lyrics to one of my original blues songs earlier, which I'll not mention again, but I always like this song, "My way", by Frank Sinatra. Do it your way, whether it is on the advice of someone else you respect and admire, or just the way you want to do it.

I've lived a life that's full
I've traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

There are certainly more ways to learn to play the piano than one person's in-your-face opinion. Plus, not everyone has the same learning style. I've been a teacher (although not a piano teacher) for 26 years. I know a little about learning styles.

Just a few thoughts... smile

Rick



+1. Agree, also as a non-piano educator.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752204
07/17/18 04:26 PM
07/17/18 04:26 PM
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Posts: 85
Southeast USA
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This question about 'learning to play' comes up constantly - I am going through threads from 2012 right now and it was the same back then (although I haven't seen any thread that ended up so devisive). I think there should be a sticky in the Adult Beginners Forum 'Best way to learn - do i need a teacher' or something like that. Maybe that would take this constant question from being repeated again and again.

The other one I snicker at is in the Piano Forum 'Should I get piano X?'. Again and again. I guess it keeps traffic up. Non the less, still a great forum.


Progman
1997 Baldwin 'Classic' Console
Kawai ES100
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Long Live ELP
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752209
07/17/18 04:41 PM
07/17/18 04:41 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,551
Florida
cmb13 Offline
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.....there was a thread on all the ridiculously repetitive questions once....started funny, but let's just say it didn't end well....


Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin Nocturne 20, Posthumous, in C-Sharp Minor
Pachelbel Canon in D
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752238
07/17/18 06:28 PM
07/17/18 06:28 PM
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Posts: 32
Danmark
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It seems to be a subject that many people find interesting - not just the few who end up getting a bit worked up.

As such it would be a shame to consign to a sticky. Likewise with discussions on the pros and cons of various pianos.

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752240
07/17/18 06:30 PM
07/17/18 06:30 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,549
Orange County, California
bSharp(C)yclist Offline
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You could try posting the question on Reddit. Very friendly there, lol ;0 There are also various Piano discussion groups on FB for other points of view.


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Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752241
07/17/18 06:31 PM
07/17/18 06:31 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,549
Orange County, California
bSharp(C)yclist Offline
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You could try posting the question on Reddit. Very friendly there, lol ;0 There are also various Piano discussion groups on FB for other points of view.


♯ ♮ ♭ ø ° Δ ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
YouTube | SoundCloud
[Linked Image] [Linked Image]
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752274
07/17/18 08:39 PM
07/17/18 08:39 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,551
Florida
cmb13 Offline
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cmb13  Offline
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Florida
Are you on any FB piano group? I haven't been active on FB in a few years.


Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin Nocturne 20, Posthumous, in C-Sharp Minor
Pachelbel Canon in D
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752277
07/17/18 09:02 PM
07/17/18 09:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,549
Orange County, California
bSharp(C)yclist Offline
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Hi Craig,

There are two that I follow. Anyone can join. Initial posts aren't instant though. They first need to be approved by moderators.

Piano Technique Discussion Group
Piano Playing Improvement


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[Linked Image] [Linked Image]
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2752278
07/17/18 09:03 PM
07/17/18 09:03 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,549
Orange County, California
bSharp(C)yclist Offline
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Hi Craig,

There are two that I follow. Anyone can join. Initial posts aren't instant though. They first need to be approved by moderators.

Piano Technique Discussion Group
Piano Playing Improvement


♯ ♮ ♭ ø ° Δ ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬
YouTube | SoundCloud
[Linked Image] [Linked Image]
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2758811
08/16/18 06:04 AM
08/16/18 06:04 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 32
Danmark
M
Morten Olsson Offline OP
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Quick update. I am really enjoying the Faber book and also managed to find a teacher that I will have my first session with today - can’t wait to be honest smile

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2758816
08/16/18 06:21 AM
08/16/18 06:21 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 991
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
Quick update. I am really enjoying the Faber book and also managed to find a teacher that I will have my first session with today - can’t wait to be honest smile

Good luck with your lesson today!

Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2758879
08/16/18 10:05 AM
08/16/18 10:05 AM
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Posts: 84
Spain
S
Sol Finker Offline
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Are you on any FB piano group? I haven't been active on FB in a few years.

Does FB exist yet? I thought FB was ancient history.
Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
Quick update. I am really enjoying the Faber book and also managed to find a teacher that I will have my first session with today - can’t wait to be honest smile

Lucky you! I'm still waiting for my teacher-to-be to come back from the Local Festivals.
I texted her last Friday: "Look for date and time for our first class"
She answered: "OK"
And here I am ...

Last edited by Sol Finker; 08/16/18 10:06 AM. Reason: typo

Jaime
Re: Learning on my own - need some input [Re: Morten Olsson] #2758941
08/16/18 01:27 PM
08/16/18 01:27 PM
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Union SC
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Enjoy.


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