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How did you start on piano? #2798661
01/05/19 08:43 AM
01/05/19 08:43 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,529
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bennevis Offline OP
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
bennevis  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,529
Having been brought up myself in a standardized system of music education, where everyone who learnt a musical instrument (or singing) progressed through a classical-based grade exam system, it was something of a cultural shock when I joined PW and discovered (mainly in ABF and Piano Teachers Forum rather than this one) how diverse other people's learning experiences were.

Most of us in Pianist Corner are steeped in classical music and started learning from young, so I'm interested in finding out about the learning experiences about others here. Even if you only lurk rather than participate in Pianist Corner, please feel free to join in the fun. (As for mine, I've talked about it ad nauseam in several previous posts, so I'll spare you the gory details here..... wink ).

In particular:

1) How old were you when you started piano?
2) Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
3) Did you try to teach yourself initially?
4) Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?
5) What method book (if any) did your teacher use?
6) Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical? Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?
7) If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?
8) Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams - and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)?
9) How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today - e.g. do you think you'd have become a jazzer etc if you had a different kind of teacher?
10) What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons as a kid - e.g. what pieces were you playing, or what grade (RCM etc) did you reach? Or - you never really stopped having lessons?
11) If you restarted lessons later in life - why, and how long have you been having lessons for, and how have you gained from them?
12) Are you doing recitals now (whether formal or informal), and/or perform regularly in other capacities (collaborative etc) or participate in piano competitions? Are you professional, or semi-professional, or strictly amateur?
13) Have your musical tastes changed in the intervening years - e.g. from classical to jazz or vice versa? If they have, was there something that spurred the change?
14) If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could? For instance, not stopping lessons when you did (whether or not it was of your own volition), or starting lessons earlier or later, or having a teacher who taught differently, or in a different genre or method?
15) Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds? For instance, if you only play classical, do you prefer to listen to pop or jazz or heavy metal or rap (etc) for relaxation?

Please feel free to skip any of the questions above, or elaborate on anything else about your experiences.

Many people start (or restart) music lessons in the New Year - as can be gleaned from new posters in ABF - and I think many of them would also be interested in the responses of people here.

This is not one of those "my method is better than yours" or "my playing is better than yours, because I did so-and-so" threads, and is entirely non-judgemental and non-competitive and non-confrontational (as my shrink would say, if I had one wink ). It's simply to celebrate (or not......) our collective experiences and share them with others, especially learners in their early stages who may be wondering how experienced pianists get to where they are, and how and why they are ticking.


"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."
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Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2798688
01/05/19 10:39 AM
01/05/19 10:39 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 280
Virginia
coaster Offline
Full Member
coaster  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 280
Virginia
How old were you when you started piano?
Nearly 6 years old

Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
I asked Mom to show me how she knew what the notes on the page meant. She showed me, and days later, I was playing Christmas carols out of her book. I didn't even know there was such a thing as piano lessons, so I didn't ask. She found me a teacher, since it seemed I had some talent for it. However, I was a very lazy student and lessons were a financial hardship, so my parents actually threatened me more often with taking lessons away, rather than pushing me to continue.

Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?
I liked lessons but didn't like to practice. My mom once yelled at me all the way home from my lesson (which was almost a 2-hour drive one way) that she just DROVE more in that DAY than I had practiced all WEEK. (That was a long, unpleasant trip.)

What method book (if any) did your teacher use?
My first teacher (Lucy Chu) taught the Yamaha method and I took group piano lessons at first. Another girl and I progressed way more quickly than others, so eventually it was just me & her, until we were 11 years old. After that, we went to separate teachers who specialized in teaching advanced repertoire to young children. (On a side note, Lucy Chu eventually began marketing her own teaching aids (manipulatives, flash cards, etc.) called EZ Notes.

Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical? Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?
Classical. My mom had a lot of old sheet music from the 30s-50s that I sometimes played around with, just for fun.

If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?
Not really, unless you count playing for church.

Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams - and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)?
Lots of competitions. Recitals, too. At the time, I didn't think anything of it. It seemed totally normal, like "this is my life and this is what I do." I was fine doing it, I was fine when I stopped in college.

Are you doing recitals now (whether formal or informal), and/or perform regularly in other capacities (collaborative etc) or participate in piano competitions? Are you professional, or semi-professional, or strictly amateur?
I'm doing the amateur competition thing (for now.) Not sure how long I'll keep doing it, just because I'm very busy now with a full-time job. Probably at least through 2020 Cliburn. I'd like to try that again. After that, who knows? I really enjoyed PianoTexas. I might keep doing that after 2020, no matter what.

If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could?
I would not have turned down the opportunity to study with Nelita True at Eastman. However, I feel funny saying that, because I really am happy with the way my life turned out - I would not have met my husband nor had the children I have now if I hadn't gone to Virginia Tech. However, I can't help but wonder sometimes what I might have accomplished if I had gone to Eastman and developed the work ethic I have now.

Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds?
I am probably just weird, but I rarely listen to music of any kind... not for relaxation or even just in the background. I find it irritating to have music playing when I'm doing something else. I prefer silence, even when I'm driving. If I listen to music, watch a video, or go to a concert, it's for a purpose, if that makes any sense. In spite of the fact that I don't listen to it, I do enjoy all kinds of music, except rap and country.

Since the purpose of this questionnaire is to possibly help young people, I would end with giving the advice that if you have a talent for the piano, you love it (or like it a lot) and you've got the opportunity to try to make it a career... try. Then you'll know for sure "what might have been."


aka Lady Arabesque
Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2798714
01/05/19 11:42 AM
01/05/19 11:42 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 673
South Wales
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Colin Miles Offline
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Colin Miles  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 673
South Wales
1) How old were you when you started piano?
Seven
2) Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
Apparently Dr, Goldfoot diagnosed me with an overactive brain and recommended the piano - and I used to sit under the piano when on holiday in Barry - so my parents thought it might be a good idea.
3) Did you try to teach yourself initially?
No
4) Did you enjoy your lessons - never thought about it
and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?
Until I was about 15 or 16
5) What method book (if any) did your teacher use?
Not sure if they had method books back then!
6) Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical?
Only classical
Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?
NO!
7) If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?
A little - but not much opportunity because of home circumstances.
8) Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams -
Until I was 11 it seemed I did nothing but exams and competitions
and did you enjoy them,
Enjoy them - never thought about I, it was what I was supposed to do.
or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)?
In hindsight probably beneficial
9) How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today - e.g. do you think you'd have become a jazzer etc if you had a different kind of teacher?
I don't think my tastes would be any different
10) What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons as a kid - e.g. what pieces were you playing, or what grade (RCM etc) did you reach? Or - you never really stopped having lessons?
I stopped exams at the age of 11 as I had only one more to go before I qualified as a teacher, which my new teacher didn't think appropriate - and quite right too.
11) If you restarted lessons later in life - why, and how long have you been having lessons for, and how have you gained from them?
I now use online videos as lessons. This forum is also always useful. Far more useful information now available than was ever the case when I was young.
12) Are you doing recitals now (whether formal or informal), and/or perform regularly in other capacities (collaborative etc) or participate in piano competitions?
No
Are you professional, or semi-professional, or strictly amateur?
Strictly amateur
13) Have your musical tastes changed in the intervening years - e.g. from classical to jazz or vice versa? If they have, was there something that spurred the change?
No
14) If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could? For instance, not stopping lessons when you did (whether or not it was of your own volition), or starting lessons earlier or later, or having a teacher who taught differently, or in a different genre or method?
Access to a far wider range of music would probably have aroused greater interest. And my second teacher from 11 to 18 was a very nice bloke, but never inspired me, or even really tried. My predecessors at the school went on to be professional musicians/composers and I was supposed to follow on. Never going to happen because I had too many other interests, as well as home problems.
15) Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds? For instance, if you only play classical, do you prefer to listen to pop or jazz or heavy metal or rap (etc) for relaxation?
I listen to all kinds of music except rap and heavy metal though my eldest grandson has such a band!


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2798744
01/05/19 01:22 PM
01/05/19 01:22 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,053
T
Tim Adrianson Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Tim Adrianson  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,053
Hi, Bennevis! Whew! Quite a survey -- will take a while to answer!

How old were you when you started piano?

Quite young -- I'm thinking around 5 or so. I can remember being with other kids in a group session, learning "knicks" (meaning half or whole rests) and big notes.

Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?

Neither, really -- I didn't ask to learn; my parents provided the opportunity, but I didn't really have to be pushed.

Did you try to teach yourself initially?

No -- too young (see 1)

Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?

I typically enjoyed the lessons; I liked meeting the challenges presented in each lesson. I think they were 30 minutes long.

What method book did your teacher use?

You know, I can't remember who it was -- although I do remember that it WAS a graded series, sometimes supplemented with material that the series didn't have.

Were you taught only Classical, or did you learn Pop, Jazz alongside it? Did you have any say in what you wanted to play?

Some Classical, most composed by whoever wrote the graded series. I had no say in what I wanted to play -- I just did other things on the side.

If your teacher taught only Classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?

Yes, I did -- a lot of independent sight reading, although much of that happened to be Classical.

Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams -- and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial?

I participated in annual Student recitals during Grade School -- I remember in 6th grade giving a special solo "concert" as the second half of the recital. I did not participate in Competitions, because the Public Schools but not the Catholic Schools had them, and I only studied under the Dominican nuns. I recall liking them -- I usually played well.

How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today?

Not much, really.

What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons?

Oh, I'd say roughly Level 6 or 7.

If you started lessons later in life, etc.

Really not applicable -- I stopped with formal lessons at age 15 or so. I did take lessons my Freshman and Sophomore year of college, and was invited to consider majoring in Piano by the professor, but my family was frankly hostile to that possibility.

Are you doing recitals now, and/or perform regularly in other capacities? Are you professional, semiprofessional, or strictly amateur?

Wow, all of a sudden, it's 50 -60 years later! I do now perform regularly in a monthly soiree group, usually soloist but sometimes accompanist. I also provide "special music" for church on a periodic basis. I have participated in quite a number of Amateur piano competitions, from 2001 to 2015. I'm strictly amateur.

Have your musical tastes changed in the intervening years? If they have, was there something to spur the change?

No, my tastes really haven't changed -- they were eclectic from my youth; I was interested in Pop and Jazz as well as Classical. I would say that I was introduced to Theater Music as a result of getting involved with community theatre -- for many years, I provided the piano work for numerous community theatre productions, from 1975 - 95 or so.

If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could?

Yes, I would have changed MOST things -- I would have gone through the public school system rather than the Catholic school system; I would have chosen NOT to listen to my mother (my dad was dead by that time) and pursued a career in music, probably as a teacher. I think that, given proper support, I could have been good at it.

Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other genres?

Similar to what Coaster said, I don't listen as much to music as I used to -- I've gotten more into the playing rather than listening mode.


Last edited by Tim Adrianson; 01/05/19 01:29 PM.
Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2798788
01/05/19 03:07 PM
01/05/19 03:07 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,198
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Carey  Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,198
Phoenix, Arizona
1) How old were you when you started piano?
Seven

2) Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
A teacher at a private school I attended suggested to my mother that I should take lessons. Mom asked me if I wanted to learn, and I was so excited that I didn't stop hopping around for about five minutes.

3) Did you try to teach yourself initially?
In reality my first two teachers weren't very helpful, so I basically taught myself using method books for the first couple of years. Was able to get half way through the primer book and reached a roadblock. Stopped lessons for a year, then picked it up again at age nine.

4) Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?
If I did well, I enjoyed my lessons. The going rate for a 30 minute lesson back then was $3. I was exposed to a lot of second hand smoke during those 30 minutes. ha

5) What method book (if any) did your teacher use?
Thompson (Red and Green series) and Schaum. In addition, when I was nine a family acquaintance who had studied piano in Berlin Germany in the 1920s gave me a stack of her classical music books (high quality stuff - complete Mozart and Beethoven Sonatas, Chopin Mazurkas, Liszt, Brahms, etc.) which I still use and cherish today.

6) Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical? Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?
Primarily classical, but because my Dad was a ballroom dance teacher and my Mom an aspiring singer/actress I was exposed to and played popular music.

7) If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?
My third teacher (when I was ten) was a Hollywood studio musician, so while he primarily taught me classical, he also exposed me to popular forms (in addition to more second hand smoke) smile.

) Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams - and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)?
Played one solo piece (poorly) in a recital at age 11, and did an exam at age 14. Found the exam to be beneficial. Overall, my solo classical piano performance experience was quite limited until I got to grad school. I did do a lot of accompanying, however.

9) How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today - e.g. do you think you'd have become a jazzer etc if you had a different kind of teacher?
I'm an old soul. I gravitated to classical music at a very young age. But, paradoxically I was always better at playing popular music (show tunes, etc.) and was never good enough at classical to be able to major in it as an undergrad. Never got into jazz.

10) What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons as a kid - e.g. what pieces were you playing, or what grade (RCM etc) did you reach? Or - you never really stopped having lessons?
Had my last lesson at age 29 in grad school.

12) Are you doing recitals now (whether formal or informal), and/or perform regularly in other capacities (collaborative etc) or participate in piano competitions? Are you professional, or semi-professional, or strictly amateur?
Strictly amateur. Occasionally play at church and at a monthly piano club. Primary focus is learning and recording new repertoire and maintaining my YouTube channel (hobby).

13) Have your musical tastes changed in the intervening years - e.g. from classical to jazz or vice versa? If they have, was there something that spurred the change?
I'm kind of set in my ways. My spouse and children have much more eclectic tastes in music so I've been exposed to those styles as well.

14) If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could? For instance, not stopping lessons when you did (whether or not it was of your own volition), or starting lessons earlier or later, or having a teacher who taught differently, or in a different genre or method?
Hard to play the "what if" game at this point. Things didn't come together for me piano-wise until I was in my 20s. While I lacked the solid training and performance background of my peers in college, I was still able to earn a MM in piano performance and find a job teaching piano at a small midwestern college. Even started a DMA program but ultimately realized that I didn't have the goods - so went back to school and changed careers. Spent the next 30 years running arts programs in four different states as a government arts administrator. Rarely touched the piano during the first 20 years (too busy making living), but found I missed it too much. By the time I retired in 2009, I was ready to practice again, however I lacked confidence and initially set my goals somewhat low !! I've learned a lot since then.

15) Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds? For instance, if you only play classical, do you prefer to listen to pop or jazz or heavy metal or rap (etc) for relaxation?
Rarely - classical is it. You go around once in life - might as well focus on the things you truly enjoy. (And besides, heavy metal and rap just irritate the heck out of me ha).


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
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YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2798812
01/05/19 04:36 PM
01/05/19 04:36 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,615
SE USA
WhoDwaldi Offline
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WhoDwaldi  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,615
SE USA
Age 7: I was fascinated with the piano playing of my public school music teacher (a very fine soprano, but she played well) and pestered my parents for a piano and lessons. They initially bought me a tiny "play be numbers" organ and books. I had at it, didn't feel like I was getting anywhere with it by myself, but they were somehow satisfied.

Age 9: Started lessons with a very young teacher who had been to a top conservatory and had taught in their prep department. I adored her and really clicked with the original Palmer/Lethco "Creating Music" books. My teacher was very good at selecting mainly classical works that suited my level and personality. She would usually offer a bit of choice, play through a page or two, and see what made me light up when selecting repertoire.

I did decently enough in (modest) competitions and recitals not to feel discouraged by all of that. The culture, then, was much less "pushy."

Studied music and math at university, dual degrees. I went to a school with a fine piano department, but it was known (then) as primarily a choral/opera school. The pianists were all friendly with each other as an oppressed minority, and it helped our musicianship to have more than Rachmaninoff in our ears. The rest is history. 😁


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 550-C 5'-10"
Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2798896
01/05/19 09:48 PM
01/05/19 09:48 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 537
Toronto, Canada
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thepianoplayer416 Offline
500 Post Club Member
thepianoplayer416  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 537
Toronto, Canada
In the beginning I had a few lessons before age 10. Mom had a friend who taught piano. In a month the our first and last acoustic piano was out of the house. Our family had not owned a piano since.

Mom came from a family of business people. Everybody would discuss the latest in the financial markets. Coming from a non-musical family she believed that if anybody has the talent for music, they would show it in the first few months. Music is in their genes that no amount of pushing can get someone to an advanced level.

In my younger days I took up violin out of convenience because someone else in the family started lessons. We shared a teacher and instrument. When I was growing up, my exposure to music was limited to the Beethoven & Mozart LPs that dad used to play in the house that I wouldn't get very far in music. Once a friend of the family brought their 2 sons who were in Suzuki piano & violin. They played a few pieces including the "Minuet in G" in our living room. Everybody thought the 2 boys had talent for music but they eventually moved on to other career choices.

I started getting into piano music in my mid-30s for personal reasons. I got a keyboard long after others in the family already stopped playing. People around don't talk about playing music at family gatherings. People get into their latest electronic gadgets, going to different places for vacation, etc. Besides myself and the 2 who were in the Suzuki music program because they had experience playing in recitals, everybody else quit playing altogether.

At the end of the day, music is a personal thing. A lot of parents get their kids into private lessons or into a music program. If they don't like music, they just stop playing after the lessons are over. You can't expect someone to work their way up to an advanced level and they are going to have music appreciation.

Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2798985
01/06/19 06:27 AM
01/06/19 06:27 AM
Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 388
Ireland
Sibylle Offline
Full Member
Sibylle  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 388
Ireland
I love this thread and reading all the answers from people! What an insight into motivation and passion.

Here's mine.

1) How old were you when you started piano?
8.

2) Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
I started begging when I was 6. I mentioned this in another thread somewhere, but long story short, we had very little money and I've always been a "multi-passionate" who easily gets enthusiastic about something but doesn't always stick with it. My mum was understandably wary that they'd go to the considerable expense of buying a piano and getting me lessons, and then I'd lose interest after six months. Took me a while to convince her it would be different this time. And it was smile

3) Did you try to teach yourself initially?
No, I always knew I needed a teacher.

4) Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?
In my first year, I had four different teachers. The first sometimes didn't turn up for the lesson at all or was very late and eventually got fired. I loved the second, but she went into maternity leave less than 6 months later. The third was a forbidding guy who overestimated me, which might have been flattering but was mostly scary, as I was brought up to "do what the teacher says" and tried very hard to get a grip on the pieces he set me.

Thankfully, my wonderful, lovely Eveline arrived at the music school just then, fresh from the conservatory, and I was transferred to her. She was 24, I was 9, and she taught me for the next 10 years, until I finished school and moved away and stopped having lessons. I loved it, and she once told me later that I was one of the few kids who enjoyed practising, not just playing. I always wanted to learn the next, harder piece and loved (still do, in fact) nothing more than sinking my teeth into a challenging piece and then figuring it out. We remained friends afterwards, and I credit her for pretty much everything I know about the piano.

5) What method book (if any) did your teacher use?
No method book. Here's how my lessons went:

When I started, I could already read music as I had learned that in the children's choir I was in (this also shortened my waiting time for a teacher at the music school). I learned by getting set different pieces and working on those. In the lessons, we'd go through technical difficulties and musical challenges. Eveline had a wonderful way to teach me about music history and composers on the side, as well as any theory I needed. It was never "10 minutes of this, 20 minutes of that", it all happened organically and naturally. I never knew about grades or anything, it was down to her judgment and her judgment was invariably spot-on. In later years, I played some pieces that were a little too advanced for me, in a slightly slower tempo. She never would have allowed me to play shoddily, though, so she didn't give me anything truly beyond my skill. I had to play them well, albeit more slowly, and I played them well in a musical sense too.

6) Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical? Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?
I think I played "Yesterday" and "Let it be", but much as I like to listen to pop and rock music (and later on sang in a band for a while), I was only ever interested in classical music on the piano. I definitely had a say in it.

7) If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?
See above. Never really wanted to, so it didn't happen.

8) Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams - and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)?
Recitals mostly, like an evening where all the students of my teacher and another's played a piece each, mostly in front of parents and some friends. The music school did concerts too in our town's theater, and there were school concerts. I once participated in a German competition called "Jugend Musiziert" when I was 10, but that again wasn't something I was very interested in. I enjoyed playing in front of my school or at the theater, though, and played a lot of solo piano and four-handed with my friend, who was also one of Eveline's students.

9) How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today - e.g. do you think you'd have become a jazzer etc if you had a different kind of teacher?
If I'd wanted to, I could have played other types of music, but like I said above, I only ever wanted to play classical. My tastes there have definitely been influenced by Eveline. Even as an adult, when I "discovered" a composer, or another pianist I loved, it usually turned out she really liked them too. We rarely disagreed except on some details.

10) What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons as a kid - e.g. what pieces were you playing, or what grade (RCM etc) did you reach? Or - you never really stopped having lessons?
I played a pretty good Rachmaninov Prelude Op. 23 No. 5, Beethoven's Tempest sonata, and a slightly slower version of Chopin's Polonaise op. 44. The first piece I taught myself completely on my own was my much-beloved Nocturne op. 27 No. 2, which I played to Eveline during one visit and she said something very nice about it smile

11) If you restarted lessons later in life - why, and how long have you been having lessons for, and how have you gained from them?
No more lessons. Maybe one day... but right now, I feel I've had the best tuition anyone could hope for, and considering that my teacher and friend died a few years ago, the subject hits much too close to home to even consider it at this point.

12) Are you doing recitals now (whether formal or informal), and/or perform regularly in other capacities (collaborative etc) or participate in piano competitions? Are you professional, or semi-professional, or strictly amateur?
None of the above. I'm dedicated to the point of fanaticism, now that I finally have a piano again, to improving myself once more, but the aim is pure selfish enjoyment.

13) Have your musical tastes changed in the intervening years - e.g. from classical to jazz or vice versa? If they have, was there something that spurred the change?
I've mellowed towards anything pre-Beethoven, but only slightly grin

14) If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could? For instance, not stopping lessons when you did (whether or not it was of your own volition), or starting lessons earlier or later, or having a teacher who taught differently, or in a different genre or method?
I wouldn't change a thing. I just wish Eveline was still around - apart from the obvious, I miss her knowledge and opinions. She never "taught" me again after I stopped my lessons, but I did talk to her about pieces I was working on, and I could have asked for advice if I needed it. I really, really feel the loss of my sheet music with all the fingerings and hints from her.

15) Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds? For instance, if you only play classical, do you prefer to listen to pop or jazz or heavy metal or rap (etc) for relaxation?
I always say I'm into only one kind of music, the good kind! I like to listen to classical, but also, pop, rock, metal, electronic, pretty much anything as long as it's created and played by people who know their stuff. For example, I love 70s prog rock, Yes, Jethro Tull, King Crimson and the like, but also prog metal like the early Dream Theater. I could go on, but this post is very long already so I'll leave it here, lol.


Sibylle

My piano background

"Not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious." -Brendan Gill
Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2798987
01/06/19 06:38 AM
01/06/19 06:38 AM
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Posts: 1,829
Auckland, New Zealand
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1) How old were you when you started piano?
Very young, long before school anyway.

2) Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
My father, a very good pianist, got me started, then I asked for a teacher.

3) Did you try to teach yourself initially?
I have always taught myself to some extent.

4) Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?
Had my first teacher from seven to ten. Yes, I enjoyed it.

5) What method book (if any) did your teacher use?
John Thompson as I recall, but there was a lot of other stuff.

6) Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical? Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?
Fairly eclectic. Yes, I had a say in selection of music.

7) If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?
N/A

8) Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams - and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)?
Recitals yes, the others no. No, they gave me a lasting loathing of performing.

9) How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today - e.g. do you think you'd have become a jazzer etc if you had a different kind of teacher?
Her emphasis was on love of music and creating it, so yes, in retrospect I think her unusual approach influenced me deeply. I located her thirty years later and we became friends until she died.

10) What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons as a kid - e.g. what pieces were you playing, or what grade (RCM etc) did you reach? Or - you never really stopped having lessons?
No formal standard but I did play some difficult music.

11) If you restarted lessons later in life - why, and how long have you been having lessons for, and how have you gained from them?
I restarted at fourteen with my second teacher after hearing the Rhapsody In Blue and learning it for myself, among other influences.

12) Are you doing recitals now (whether formal or informal), and/or perform regularly in other capacities (collaborative etc) or participate in piano competitions? Are you professional, or semi-professional, or strictly amateur?
Good grief no, I hate performing. My second teacher was a leading professional classical pianist, jazz pianist, composer and conductor. He wanted me to be professional but his stories of his experiences hardened my resolve to earn my living another way, any other way !

13) Have your musical tastes changed in the intervening years - e.g. from classical to jazz or vice versa? If they have, was there something that spurred the change?
Yes, away from both classical and jazz and towards creating my own improvised music. Yes, several reasons and influences too numerous to go into here, but the changes didn't happen conclusively until I was fifty-five.

14) If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could? For instance, not stopping lessons when you did (whether or not it was of your own volition), or starting lessons earlier or later, or having a teacher who taught differently, or in a different genre or method?
I wouldn't change very much and I consider myself amazingly lucky to have had the wonderfully creative, unorthodox teachers I did. I sometimes regret the total lack of training in technique, everything was music with both of them. But would the loss have outweighed the gain ? Impossible to know.

15) Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds? For instance, if you only play classical, do you prefer to listen to pop or jazz or heavy metal or rap (etc) for relaxation?
I spend a lot of time listening to my own music, of course, but I also listen to a continually expanding variety of other music, much of it orchestral.



Last edited by Ted; 01/06/19 06:39 AM.

"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2799096
01/06/19 01:14 PM
01/06/19 01:14 PM
Joined: May 2012
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) How old were you when you started piano?
14

2) Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
Neither

3) Did you try to teach yourself initially?
Yes

4) Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?
Never took lessons

5) What method book (if any) did your teacher use?
None

6) Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical? Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?
Classical, ragtime, showtunes. Yes I had say because I taught myself

7) If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?
-

8) Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams - and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)?
-

9) How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today - e.g. do you think you'd have become a jazzer etc if you had a different kind of teacher?
-

10) What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons as a kid - e.g. what pieces were you playing, or what grade (RCM etc) did you reach? Or - you never really stopped having lessons?
-

11) If you restarted lessons later in life - why, and how long have you been having lessons for, and how have you gained from them?
-

12) Are you doing recitals now (whether formal or informal), and/or perform regularly in other capacities (collaborative etc) or participate in piano competitions? Are you professional, or semi-professional, or strictly amateur?
I never perform

13) Have your musical tastes changed in the intervening years - e.g. from classical to jazz or vice versa? If they have, was there something that spurred the change?
Always had eclectic taste

14) If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could? For instance, not stopping lessons when you did (whether or not it was of your own volition), or starting lessons earlier or later, or having a teacher who taught differently, or in a different genre or method?
Hard to say

15) Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds? For instance, if you only play classical, do you prefer to listen to pop or jazz or heavy metal or rap (etc) for relaxation?
I listen to everything

Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2799100
01/06/19 01:52 PM
01/06/19 01:52 PM
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Thanks, everyone (so far), who posted about their experiences. It's been interesting and enlightening to read about how other pianists got started, and the similarities as well as the differences between people's learning experiences. For me, they have also helped to flesh out my 'picture' of those whom I've got to know from their posts in PW over the years thumb.

What's evident so far is that we 'long-term pianists' never fell out of love with the piano and its rep, whatever vicissitudes we might encounter over the years.

For anyone who haven't yet posted, please don't be put off by my long list of questions (many of which are the common ones I get asked by people, BTW) - feel free to say anything you like in your own way, rather than answer them one by one. They're just meant to be prompts grin.


"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: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2799178
01/06/19 06:01 PM
01/06/19 06:01 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 419
upstate NY
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Bennevis I will try to describe my piano journey but may not answer all your questions.
I started piano at 6 at the same time I started dance. I only took lessons for two years as a child and never wanted to practice. It was more fun at that age to dance . I took dance all the way through the
First semester in college. To fulfill a general education requirement , I took piano during my first year in college. Well I quickly fell in love with the piano and found myself happily practicing two to three hours a day. It was a small college and one man was the whole music department. I had private lessons from him for two years.

I transferred in my junior year to a university that had both a good psychology department and music school. I had a young teacher just a couple of years out of Juilliard. He pushed hard to get everything he could get out of you. Once I got used to him, I thrived with him. I practiced 4 to 5 hours a day. He left at the end of my junior year and the teacher in my senior year was not a good fit. He was not mean but I felt that he expected next to nothing from me . I ended up quitting in the middle of my senior year. I have payed a little on my own but then marriage, children and work happened and I ended up not touching a piano for over 30 years. Yes I wish I had not given up on the piano in my senior year.

I restarted lessons almost 8 years ago at 65. I was fortunate that I found the right teacher for me on the first try. At the time he was teaching at a music school which has an excellent reputation. The conductors of our local symphony and the head of the piano department at the university have sent their children there. When I asked about their teachers, they said that he was calm but expected a lot of his students and could be outspoken about it. I realized that was what I was waiting to hear. Even though I was just doing this for myself, I knew that I never wanted a teacher again who I felt would expect very little and would not take me seriously because of my age. He left the school about 5 years ago to teach on his own and I went with him. I do still take a class at the school in addition to my private lesson. There are six other adults in the class and it gives us an opportunity to play together.

I am very happy that I found the piano again and love my lessons and practicing. As for performing it is not something I enjoy but have done since I restarted lessons. The school has what they call gatherings for adults
where the adults play for each other’s and the teachers. No one else is allowed to attend. My teacher now has his own recitals which I have played at. There is usually only one other adult.
I have also gone to Summer Keys , a music program for adults in Maine and have played each year there. I wish I could say it had gotten easier but I still get nervous.

I really only want to play classical.


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Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2799249
01/06/19 11:40 PM
01/06/19 11:40 PM
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Toronto, Canada
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Quite a diverse crowd with many people who started piano early. I tried once before age 10 unsuccessfully and didn't get near a piano / keyboard before age 30. In my younger days nobody around got into music or learned to play an instrument to an advanced level. I didn't anticipate getting into piano at all because I didn't have talent.

Once a cousin tried to teach me to play a song out of a beginner's book ("Indian Song"). The piece had 2 lines that sounded like it was in C minor. The L-part had 2 chords: Cm & Gm in repetition. I had no concept what a chord is. Having to play 4 notes at a time was intimidating enough to put me off a piano / keyboard for another decade.

In my younger days I didn't have enough exposure to music of any kind whether Classical or Pop. It's hard to imagine today I'm playing almost every day. 2 weeks ago I played an arrangement of "O Holy Night" in a church which was unimaginable in my childhood. Nowadays people are living longer. A lot of older adults are starting piano for the first time which is a positive thing.

Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2799355
01/07/19 12:36 PM
01/07/19 12:36 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 551
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Bennevis I really like your survey. At least for me, I see the similarities as well as differences and these are the things that connect us all.
I started to study the piano at 15. Before studying, I could play by ear - that is, hear a song, go to a piano and in no time work it out, melody and accompaniment. I had always loved the piano. My Mother (who played classical piano) took my sister and I to our first movie when we were kids - "The Sound of Music". When we got home, I got my toy piano and proceeded to play "Do-Re-Mi" perfectly. She was totally surprised. If anything in my musical education could have been different, it would be that I should have started studying the piano right after this incident. I was about 7-8 years old. The only difference this would have made was that I would have had a lot more study as well as repertoire. My goal was not to be a concert pianist, but to learn anything and everything I could about mastering the piano. I am still learning.I went on to earn a B.A. in music for the City College, City University of New York in 1979. I love Classical music, Jazz (specifically Trios) and am receptive to other genres with the exception of rap. I played professionally in my twin sister's band for many years (she is still professionally performing and recording. We have co-written several songs and continue to write together). I am now retired from a successful career in Law Enforcement (hey, ya gotta eat! - no regrets - I bought my Grand Piano and house). I say successful because I never got hurt, never hurt anyone and left a positive impact with my peers. I relocated to the wonderful city of Philadelphia from New York upon retirement. In addition to playing my piano,(composing, learning pieces I have always wanted to learn) I enjoy attending concerts at the Kimmel Center and all of the jazz venues here in Philly. I am very grateful for the gift of music bestowed upon me - growing up listening to and being exposed to. the most diverse palette of sound; from Prokofieff, Beethoven, Strauss, Stravinsky, The Cuban Jam Sessions, Sarah Vaughn, Nat King Cole, Billy Holiday, Traditional African Diaspora, Célia Cruz, Frank Sinatra - just to name a few. Right now I am learning to play more jazz pieces and pieces from the vast classical repertoire that a single lifetime insufficiently allows. No different than many of my fellow piano world participants. Bennevis, thank you for this. It is good to look back. I am so grateful.


Barbara
...without music, no life...
Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2799364
01/07/19 01:25 PM
01/07/19 01:25 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 107
Madison
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1) How old were you when you started piano?
8 years old, I took two years of very lame 30 minute-a-week lessons.

2) Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
Both. It was simply part of their world that I start lessons at about 8, but I wanted to. My older sister and mother played, as well as an aunt who taught lessons in another city.

3) Did you try to teach yourself initially? Not even close

4) Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?

The second year my lessons took place during school recess in a room that had windows facing the playground. Now you know why it was only 2 years. However, the BIG issue was absolutely no instruction on how to practice. I would sit down to "practice" and it could be nothing more than trying to play what I was assigned because no other instruction on HOW was given. Defining terms like forte or decrescendo is NOT instruction on how to practice. So I showed up at lessons each week wanting so badly to be progressing and knowing I would disappoint my teacher. That was a wretched feeling for a little type A academic overachiever.

5) What method book (if any) did your teacher use? Alfred's kiddie books divided into method, lesson and technique.


6) Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical? Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?

Only the Alfred books. Nothing extra. At home my mother played Chopin and once a week there was a two hour dance lesson with a teacher who had us training and performing to Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, etc. Those lessons continued eleven years and formed the basis of my classical music love.

As an adult I enjoy classical, blues and some jazz as long as it's not free form improv, which sets my teeth on edge. I have a not so secret desire to play everything Ray Charles in addition to my worship of Tchaikovsky.


7) If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?

See above. Never thought about it until some adult lessons in my twenties when the teacher gave me a piece out from Jazz, Rags, and Blues- Mier. She felt I should be focusing on Blues, but never taught me anything about the genre. Just assigned some pieces from the book.


8) Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams - and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)? Is LOATHE too strong a word?


9) How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today - e.g. do you think you'd have become a jazzer etc if you had a different kind of teacher?

I wish every teacher could have been my summer school band director. For a month each of 6 summers I played flute in a school type band and we practiced 1.5 hours 5 days a week for that month. We frequently had counselor types coming in telling us we had to stop well past that hour and a half because we and our director could have kept going for hours. His enthusiasm and love of music were infectious. Wishing I could stay longer and play with the jazz band he rehearsed right after us probably started my liking of jazz and blues.




10) What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons as a kid - e.g. what pieces were you playing, or what grade (RCM etc) did you reach? Or - you never really stopped having lessons?

Childhood: Kiddie grade 1
20s: six months of lessons, brushing up to level 1
30s: six months of lessons, she assigned easy classical pieces and with no instruction on how to practice and dropped me as an unmotivated student within months
49 going on 50: Well into Level 1 in 6 months of "self-taught" with a LOT of input from watching pianoTV and reading piano teacher forums on how to teach practicing.

The difference is between age 30 and 45 or so I homeschooled my kids for 15 years. Learned so much about HOW to learn. Read everything I could on teaching and the way the mind processes and retains information. Became a self-starter on practicing and choosing method books. I love Alyssia at pianoTV because she gives such good direction on choosing repertoire and has that same enthusiam/love for it all that band director from summer school had.

If it sounds like I'm blaming my teachers for being a lazy student, you may be right. But I was an academic overachiever. I WANTED to succeed in music in a HUGE way. What I know now is I lacked the vocabulary to even form the right questions about music or to formulate the ideas to ask questions. Don't believe me try to have an idea about things or concepts you don't have words for and see how far you get.

As an adult with the vocabulary and knowledge of an adult along with knowledge of HOW TO LEARN what you don't know without someone just telling you that I got from homeschooling, it's been a completely different ballgame.



11) If you restarted lessons later in life - why, and how long have you been having lessons for, and how have you gained from them?
I'm looking to pick back up with a teacher after I get myself through Faber 5 lesson books on my own. I'll be looking for someone who can balance sight reading with some or a lot of playing by ear and does not turn up his/her nose at blues.



14) If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could? For instance, not stopping lessons when you did (whether or not it was of your own volition), or starting lessons earlier or later, or having a teacher who taught differently, or in a different genre or method?

If I could go back I would have spoken up that lessons during recess where I could see my classmates playing (and they could come up to the windows and blow raspberries at the dork on the piano bench) had to go. And IF ONLY, someone had shown me HOW TO PRACTICE, before I found out myself at 49.

15) Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds? For instance, if you only play classical, do you prefer to listen to pop or jazz or heavy metal or rap (etc) for relaxation?

I'll listen to anything, but techno pop (makes my ears hurt), free form jazz (there's no FORM to it, HATE IT -imho), or rap. On rap I have to say I can enjoy it like a poetry slam, but not as music.

#hollylovesTchaikovskyBeethovenMozartDebussyBachGriegSateGershwinRossiniPucciniRayCharlesBillyJoelEltonJohnHarryConnickjrTheRollingStonesTheBeatlesandBruceSpringsteen


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2799450
01/07/19 05:48 PM
01/07/19 05:48 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 915
Germany
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1) How old were you when you started piano?
7 years.

2) Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
My parents signed me up.

3) Did you try to teach yourself initially?
No, but I was interested in music.

4) Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?
For 12 years.

5) What method book (if any) did your teacher use?
Die ersten Etüden am Klavier

6) Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical? Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?
Classical; no jazz or pop. I insisted to learn the "Moonlight" sonata by Beethoven (op.27/2) when I was 16.

7) If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?
At 13 (I think) I got harmony lessons, which allowed me to play pop tunes. I played them by ear and never had lessons in them.

8) Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams - and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)?
Lots of students recitals; not many competitions. I enjoyed neither.

9) How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today - e.g. do you think you'd have become a jazzer etc if you had a different kind of teacher?
Many classical pieces I can play today are pieces I learned as a teenager.

10) What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons as a kid - e.g. what pieces were you playing, or what grade (RCM etc) did you reach? Or - you never really stopped having lessons?
No grading system. The last piece I learned when I was 19 was a Chopin polonaise in A major.

11) If you restarted lessons later in life - why, and how long have you been having lessons for, and how have you gained from them?
When I was 23 I started to study music and had piano lessons for 5 years. It improved my musicality; and I played genres I hadn't played as a teenager.

12) Are you doing recitals now (whether formal or informal), and/or perform regularly in other capacities (collaborative etc) or participate in piano competitions? Are you professional, or semi-professional, or strictly amateur?
An informal recital for the family once per year; sometimes online recitals; no competitions. Strictly amateur.

13) Have your musical tastes changed in the intervening years - e.g. from classical to jazz or vice versa? If they have, was there something that spurred the change?
I don't think so.

14) If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could? For instance, not stopping lessons when you did (whether or not it was of your own volition), or starting lessons earlier or later, or having a teacher who taught differently, or in a different genre or method?
No.

15) Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds? For instance, if you only play classical, do you prefer to listen to pop or jazz or heavy metal or rap (etc) for relaxation?
Depends on my mood. But I don't listen to much piano music.

Last edited by patH; 01/07/19 05:50 PM.

My grand piano is a Yamaha.
Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2800170
01/09/19 04:00 PM
01/09/19 04:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,198
Finland
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Disclaimer: This was very long time ago so I am not 100% sure of my memories...

1) How old were you when you started piano?
- About 6

2) Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
- No idea, it was sort of expected though to play something and since we had a piano that was an easy choice.

3) Did you try to teach yourself initially?
- No

4) Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?
- I am not sure if I enjoyed them that much. I was a rather weak child and I remember that I found them physically hard at some point. I am sure I did not hate them either because I was never one to give in to anyone, my parents included... I think I took lessons for about 4 years, but only during school years and the first year or so was not with a professional teacher.

5) What method book (if any) did your teacher use?
- Michael Aaron

6) Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical? - Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?
- Only classical(ish) and what was in the books

7) If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?
- Only to accompaning my singing

8) Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams - and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)?
- I only weakly remember one recital and it isn't a happy memory...but there might be other things involved than the actual playing... I lived in a very small place and there was a time when I did not get along very well with most of my peers. No exams for piano, since this was not an option where I lived then (no official music schools nearby).

9) How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today -
- None...except for many years I thought I hated piano music smile

10) What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons as a kid - e.g. what pieces were you playing, or what grade (RCM etc) did you reach? Or - you never really stopped having lessons?
- I think I got to the green book in the MA series, part 3, but did not finish it.

11) If you restarted lessons later in life - why, and how long have you been having lessons for, and how have you gained from them?
- I got obsessed with listening to piano music and at some point I realized it might still be possible to learn to play some of it. And happened to have a borrowed digital piano to start with. After 3 months of self-teaching and discussions on piano forums I decided that a teacher is a necessity for my goals.
I started lesson August 2011, have had a break since March 2018 and restarted lessons again today smile
I have gained a lot: More tools for independent learning, an acceptable basic technique and better understanding about playing in general.

12) Are you doing recitals now (whether formal or informal), and/or perform regularly in other capacities (collaborative etc) or participate in piano competitions? Are you professional, or semi-professional, or strictly amateur?
- A complete amateur obviously. No recitals, but some performances in group settings

13) Have your musical tastes changed in the intervening years - e.g. from classical to jazz or vice versa? If they have, was there something that spurred the change?
- I don't think my tastes have changed much, I've just found more things of interest. I still like music in other genres, but I have always been prone to focusing on one thing at the time, so right now I almost exclusively listen (and play) classical piano music. And also, probably not a popular opinion, but I do not think piano really suits other kind of music that well...There are better instruments for jazz for example...

14) If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could? For instance, not stopping lessons when you did (whether or not it was of your own volition), or starting lessons earlier or later, or having a teacher who taught differently, or in a different genre or method?
- I do not tend to look back, but it might be possible that in different circumstances I might have continued piano lessons. I never stopped doing music in some form after all.

15) Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds? For instance, if you only play classical, do you prefer to listen to pop or jazz or heavy metal or rap (etc) for relaxation?
- At the moment I still have not finished my explorations on the piano repertoire...so I only occasionally listen to something else.

Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2800263
01/09/19 07:35 PM
01/09/19 07:35 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 48
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MrCatMissMew Offline
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MrCatMissMew  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 48
1) How old were you when you started piano?

Formal lessons from age 6

2) Did your parents push you, or did you ask to learn?
Followed my older brother

3) Did you try to teach yourself initially?
No

4) Did you enjoy your lessons, and how long did you have lessons for, when you were young?
Didn't enjoy lessons with my first teacher. Half hour lessons.


5) What method book (if any) did your teacher use?
John Thompson

6) Were you taught only classical, or did you also learn pop, jazz music etc alongside classical? Did you have any say in what you wanted to learn or play?
Just classical

7) If your teacher only taught you classical, did you branch out yourself into other genres?
No


8) Did you do student recitals, or competitions, or exams - and did you enjoy them, or find them beneficial (even if you didn't enjoy them)?

Did eisteddfords and recitals and exams - enjoyed them

9) How much influence did your early lessons have on what your tastes are today - e.g. do you think you'd have become a jazzer etc if you had a different kind of teacher?
Early lessons - nil. But my second teacher had a big impact.


10) What standard did you reach before you stopped lessons as a kid - e.g. what pieces were you playing, or what grade (RCM etc) did you reach? Or - you never really stopped having lessons?
8th grade (formally)


11) If you restarted lessons later in life - why, and how long have you been having lessons for, and how have you gained from them?


12) Are you doing recitals now (whether formal or informal), and/or perform regularly in other capacities (collaborative etc) or participate in piano competitions? Are you professional, or semi-professional, or strictly amateur?
amateur (and rusty)

13) Have your musical tastes changed in the intervening years - e.g. from classical to jazz or vice versa? If they have, was there something that spurred the change?

No

14) If you could go back to your student years, are there things you would have done differently, or change, if you could? For instance, not stopping lessons when you did (whether or not it was of your own volition), or starting lessons earlier or later, or having a teacher who taught differently, or in a different genre or method?
I didn't do any theory unfortunately. I'd concentrate on that.

15) Do you love to listen to the kind of music you play now, or do you prefer to listen to other kinds? For instance, if you only play classical, do you prefer to listen to pop or jazz or heavy metal or rap (etc) for relaxation?
I listen to way more genres and styles than I play.

Re: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2800997
01/11/19 07:28 PM
01/11/19 07:28 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,529
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bennevis Offline OP
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
bennevis  Offline OP
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
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Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,529
Thanks everyone for contributing your experiences. I found them very interesting and illuminating, and I hope others did too - including any lurkers from other forums who might be interested in how people got to where they are.

I was thinking of expanding this thread to encompass special experiences (musical or otherwise) that stayed in your mind and maybe helped you through during times of loss of motivation etc, but decided to start a new thread for that. Meanwhile, please keep the stories coming....


"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: How did you start on piano? [Re: bennevis] #2801818
01/14/19 09:09 AM
01/14/19 09:09 AM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 25
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ycdp88 Offline
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ycdp88  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 25
Originally Posted by bennevis
Having been brought up myself in a standardized system of music education, where everyone who learnt a musical instrument (or singing) progressed through a classical-based grade exam system, it was something of a cultural shock when I joined PW and discovered (mainly in ABF and Piano Teachers Forum rather than this one) how diverse other people's learning experiences were.

Most of us in Pianist Corner are steeped in classical music and started learning from young, so I'm interested in finding out about the learning experiences about others here. Even if you only lurk rather than participate in Pianist Corner, please feel free to join in the fun.


In a nutshell, had an ear for picking out tunes on a toy piano when I was very young (i.e., 5 - 8 yrs. of age which included plinking out an old 1960's cigarette jingle by ear -- "You can take Salem out of the Country, but ... you can't take the Country out of Salem" --) and started formal lessons when I was 9 yrs. old. After having several years of instruction with a local teacher (one street over from where I resided) my lessons proceeded with another recommended teacher (i.e., Josephine Hatt -- known as "Jo") who taught at the Jordan College of Music and her instructor was the famed Dorothy Munger who had taught piano at Butler University as the lineage of instructors goes all the way back to Beethoven / Liszt.

The lessons ended when I was 15 yrs. of age -- and, have gone forward as a self-taught pianist up to the current day.

Extra note:

Now continuing the thread, below:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2787892/baldwin-sf-10-grand-piano.html#Post2787892

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