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Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
AnthonyPaulO #2814952 02/14/19 04:40 AM
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Fur Elise (first movement) was actually nearly the first thing I learned on the piano (badly), starting out last year, at the age of 52, while waiting for my beginner books to arrive, from an online teacher teaching beginners note by note, and had a blast! What I got from it, was that I probably can learn to play, I need a teacher, and I need to learn to read music! Seriously I don't regret it, but I don't recommend it. I am not sure how much to trust these videos of people learning advanced pieces in the first year, I watched one where the guy played a Chopin in the first month, and at the end of the year was playing concert pieces..

I think you are on the right track with getting a teacher, and the Faber books. It took me a while to find a good teacher, but my playing has improved a lot since starting with her. I had picked up al lot of bad habits - rhythm, hesitations, articulation etc. while using the Faber and Afred books on my own.

The most important thing is to relax enjoy the process!

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Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
Pau Gasol #2815617 02/15/19 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Pau Gasol
Originally Posted by bennevis

No wonder teachers despair of teaching adult beginners (have a look at the Piano Teachers Forum).



Indeed! I made the mistake of wandering over there a few days ago... :scream


Absolutely awful there isn't it? Useful though, a quick visit there made me reconsider and delay starting with a teacher for a couple of months while I found out sufficient to not just be a puppet and to very carefully choose which teacher I decided to use. Heaven help any pupils who fall into the hands of some of those teachers.

Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
gwing #2815636 02/15/19 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by Pau Gasol
Originally Posted by bennevis

No wonder teachers despair of teaching adult beginners (have a look at the Piano Teachers Forum).



Indeed! I made the mistake of wandering over there a few days ago... :scream


Absolutely awful there isn't it? Useful though, a quick visit there made me reconsider and delay starting with a teacher for a couple of months while I found out sufficient to not just be a puppet and to very carefully choose which teacher I decided to use. Heaven help any pupils who fall into the hands of some of those teachers.


My guess is that some of the teachers I would never, ever try are someone else's favorites. I really think it's an individual thing.

I read the posts there and just suck it up when they upset me. I think that is a very hard job, I'm glad there are people who want to do it, and I hope there will never be anyone I despise too much to learn a little something from them. I find some of the insights there fascinating.

Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
TomInCinci #2815643 02/15/19 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by TomInCinci
Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by Pau Gasol
Originally Posted by bennevis

No wonder teachers despair of teaching adult beginners (have a look at the Piano Teachers Forum).



Indeed! I made the mistake of wandering over there a few days ago... :scream


Absolutely awful there isn't it? Useful though, a quick visit there made me reconsider and delay starting with a teacher for a couple of months while I found out sufficient to not just be a puppet and to very carefully choose which teacher I decided to use. Heaven help any pupils who fall into the hands of some of those teachers.


My guess is that some of the teachers I would never, ever try are someone else's favorites. I really think it's an individual thing.

I read the posts there and just suck it up when they upset me. I think that is a very hard job, I'm glad there are people who want to do it, and I hope there will never be anyone I despise too much to learn a little something from them. I find some of the insights there fascinating.


There definitely is a wide range of teachers there. That is why I think it is important to interview each potential teacher.



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Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
gwing #2815646 02/15/19 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by gwing
Absolutely awful there isn't it? Useful though, a quick visit there made me reconsider and delay starting with a teacher for a couple of months while I found out sufficient to not just be a puppet and to very carefully choose which teacher I decided to use. Heaven help any pupils who fall into the hands of some of those teachers.

I wouldn't worry so much in the UK, where piano education is based on the ABRSM/Trinity syllabus and reputable teachers all have qualifications (teaching diplomas from ABRSM/Trinity etc). In the US, anything - and I really do mean anything - goes. All the teachers who currently post in the Piano Teachers Forum are North American. I wouldn't go anywhere near one or two of them with a barge pole.

Don't even go near anyone who claims to be a teacher and has no qualification. And you might want to find out if your potential teacher has adult students.

You could make a start from this list:
https://epta-uk.org/FindaTeacher

That's assuming you do want to learn piano properly, rather than be a one-YT hit wonder, of course. If you just want to do your own thing, you might be better off learning what you like on your own. BTW, learning from a 'traditional' teacher doesn't mean you have to do exams, or stick with classical - it just means that you're taught all the basics properly, and you can then go off and play pop or whatever, having equipped yourself with the requisite skills. Like Elton John etc.


"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: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
gwing #2815661 02/15/19 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by Pau Gasol
Originally Posted by bennevis

No wonder teachers despair of teaching adult beginners (have a look at the Piano Teachers Forum).



Indeed! I made the mistake of wandering over there a few days ago... :scream


Absolutely awful there isn't it? Useful though, a quick visit there made me reconsider and delay starting with a teacher for a couple of months while I found out sufficient to not just be a puppet and to very carefully choose which teacher I decided to use. Heaven help any pupils who fall into the hands of some of those teachers.


The conclusion I drew was - and to be fair maybe this is just one teacher's opinion - students today are stupider and more distracted than ever before, their parents are dimwitted simpletons, and worst of all, the adult students are unmotivated and prone to taking months off at a time to travel abroad, and only want to learn enough essentials to play a few favorite "songs". "Songs" in quotations marks being my favorite part. Fur Elise obviously is not a "song".

Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
AnthonyPaulO #2815677 02/15/19 10:16 AM
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I wander over to the Teacher forum and enjoy reading all the viewpoints there. In my opinion it’s better to have a mean but effective teacher than a nice teacher who only tells you what you want to hear. Adult piano students are a tough bunch and I admit there are days I go
Home after my lesson thinking my teacher is wrong or I know X better or that my learning is progressing too slow or in the wrong direction etc etc. I see more of “I play better than other people think” mentalities in ABF (and it comes across in the recitals) than “OMG I really am in much more need of professional guidance to help me improve”. I know I am guilty of playing wrong notes and rhythms so confidently that non pianists are in awe but a pianist with trained ears will know immediately what parts of the piece were played incorrectly, what technique is being used incorrectly, what mental blocks the student must still learn and overcome,etc.

I also agree that parenting plays a large role in how younger students learn and approach the piano and the above poster is right on target with acknowledging the problem of technological distractions, parents who don’t encourage effective practice habits at home. Being a good pianist requires years of hard work and sacrifice and it’s not many people who want that path especially when the competition is hard the higher up you go and the financial rewards are a pittance..the latter a key reason why motivation levels are low. Parents are proud to say their child is a doctor, lawyer, Congress person, scientist but not many will say pianist as lessons are expensive and music degrees conferred at colleges and conservatories are a dime a dozen (just look at how many Juilliard graduates end up working in non music industries because there is little demand for cocktail pianists).

Last edited by AssociateX; 02/15/19 10:24 AM.

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Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
AssociateX #2815691 02/15/19 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by AssociateX
(just look at how many Juilliard graduates end up working in non music industries because there is little demand for cocktail pianists).

This article on this topic is 15 years old and specifically excludes pianists, but I wonder if anything has changed to make it less true in these last 15 years?


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
NobleHouse #2815700 02/15/19 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by NobleHouse


There definitely is a wide range of teachers there. That is why I think it is important to interview each potential teacher.


Amen to that. I have added some questions to my list after reading some things I don't care to experience in person.

I have another hobby, a serious hobby where too many people end up dead, where the instruction is one on one and in close quarters. Most of the teachers do not want to be teachers but are doing it so they can move up the ladder someday while paying the bills today. While I was looking for an instructor I just happened upon the 'hang out table' while a crusty old dude was there. I started talking to him and told him I would like to try him out. He told me that was fine but we would be trying each other out! He didn't need the money or the hours, he just enjoyed teaching people who showed promise. He said I would need to understand that he could fire me at any time. Briefly, we got along great and he became my favorite teacher of all time. But it would suit me just fine if anyone who didn't want to teach me would just tell me to move on...

But that's me, an adult student. I'm not studying piano because my mom wants me to and I wouldn't choose a studio based on how close the nearest Starbucks is. Some of the parent's I see out there, I'm not so sure.

Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
bennevis #2815729 02/15/19 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
... ...If you just want to do your own thing, you might be better off learning what you like on your own. BTW, learning from a 'traditional' teacher doesn't mean you have to do exams, or stick with classical - it just means that you're taught all the basics properly, and you can then go off and play pop or whatever, having equipped yourself with the requisite skills. Like Elton John etc.


Yes, and for contemporary music the UK has its excellent RockSchool for Piano. My boy went through the ABRSM route right up to LRSM, and did the RockSchool grade 8 in tandem with his diploma work.

Me? Just an adult learner on RockSchool Piano plus other music I like to play, both classic and modern. Dare I say I enjoy learning/playing from the many Richard Clayderman song books available! I wish his stuff was on TomPlay. (I can hear some screams from here now.) Well RC was the highest paid pianist in the world a few years ago, maybe still is. smile

Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
RichardHK #2815821 02/15/19 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RichardHK

Me? Just an adult learner on RockSchool Piano plus other music I like to play, both classic and modern. Dare I say I enjoy learning/playing from the many Richard Clayderman song books available! I wish his stuff was on TomPlay. (I can hear some screams from here now.) Well RC was the highest paid pianist in the world a few years ago, maybe still is. smile

No-one who wants to be rich should go into the classical piano business. Instead, they should have cosmetic surgery, dye their hair (if necessary), perfect their smile to the audience, bob their head, and play what the hoi polloi really wants.....

Instead of relying on TomPlay (whatever it is), why not just play Ballade pour Adeline by ear? (OK, it's the only song that he plays that I've heard). Anyone pianist with a basic knowledge of music theory and reasonable aural skills can do it.


"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: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
Tyrone Slothrop #2815871 02/15/19 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by AssociateX
(just look at how many Juilliard graduates end up working in non music industries because there is little demand for cocktail pianists).

This article on this topic is 15 years old and specifically excludes pianists, but I wonder if anything has changed to make it less true in these last 15 years?


Starving artists was not new thing 15 years ago either.

Most classical teaching curriculums are geared towards aspiring professional musicians and concert pianists. It includes everything you'll need to know and better to start young, for the better chance you'll have.

I think a huge opportunity has and still is being missed for adult students that just want to learn to play. There really has not been much available for them. Much the same methods were offered to them if they could hack it and put up with playing nursery rhymes. This is still the attitude of many teachers to this day. If you're not serious enough to do it the right way (whatever that means) then, well sorry but this is all we teach so good luck on your own.

But, then there was the advent of the internet. Lots of people are learning all kinds of stuff at the click of a button. Not surprising really. Some will do extremely well too, in spite of not doing it the right way. It's suppossed to be fun after all.

Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
Greener #2815892 02/15/19 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Greener
But, then there was the advent of the internet. Lots of people are learning all kinds of stuff at the click of a button. Not surprising really. Some will do extremely well too, in spite of not doing it the right way. It's suppossed to be fun after all.

...and then some of them will end up injured. I think self learning is great, as long as no permanent harm is done along the way. But take a look at this video and tell me this poor fellow isn't likely to end up with an RSI, tendonitis, or worse if he continues this way for the next few years. He would be better off, health-wise, getting bored and quitting piano!

My other hobby has been climbing, where doing "fun stuff" but not the right way could lead to death, even, which is not fun. Years ago, my climbing partner and I had to rescue a firefighter who was injured doing fun stuff, but who if we had been in the domain he was an expert in, would have been the one rescuing us instead.

My only concern when I see videos of people self-learning (something I did also at the beginning) is mainly around piano injuries. If not for that, I think there is absolutely no problem with self learning. I have learned stuff even including astrophysics by myself without an instructor! Lots of hobby activities, I do myself and learn myself without a thought to getting a teacher, even if one is available.

I've shared to with some people on PW some videos on preventing and mitigating piano injuries, and I absolutely do believe that one can prevent and mitigate these on ones own without a live teacher, but I'm not sure I personally can as I seem worse at following video instruction myself than many of those here. Follow the right Youtube videos and you might not end up like this Moonlight3 fellow is headed towards. But there are people who self-train without any concern for the sorts of injuries which might occur, they don't bother with the right videos and only want to watch Synthesia on their favorite piece, and then they post when the injury has already happened.


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
AnthonyPaulO #2815912 02/15/19 05:13 PM
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Tyrone, Would you mind reposting those links? Or at least thread names on which to find them?


but think how good I could be in five years...
Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
AnthonyPaulO #2815916 02/15/19 05:15 PM
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I'd never even heard of piano injuries until i came here. Not saying they don't happen; but more serious injuries happen at advanced levels. Professional skiers rarely fall but when they do they often break something as they are going faster.

Injuries are rare and over blown if you ask me. Besides, if i really want to learn to play something, though i appreciate the concern, it's my issue how i learn it. If i hurt myself i am sure there is google search result that will remedy that too.

Better yet though would be an abundance of teachers' willing to teach adult students the fundamentals they need to be decent living room piano players without designs on Carnegie Hall. There is something in between full blown classical teaching and going it entirely alone. The internet is capturing this segment because nobody else is.

Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
HollyBytheLake #2815918 02/15/19 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
Tyrone, Would you mind reposting those links? Or at least thread names on which to find them?

Those who feel a need for such vids should PM me and I'll get them squared away smile


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
bennevis #2816017 02/15/19 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
... ...Instead of relying on TomPlay (whatever it is), why not just play Ballade pour Adeline by ear? (OK, it's the only song that he plays that I've heard). Anyone pianist with a basic knowledge of music theory and reasonable aural skills can do it.

Yes, bennevis, thanks. I am Ok with that approach. The thing about TomPlay is the orchestral backing for piano solo that makes it sound like the real thing! wink But when I get my new Roland piano in the near future I can layer strings to achieve a decent sound.

Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
Greener #2832392 03/28/19 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Greener
I'd never even heard of piano injuries until i came here. Not saying they don't happen; but more serious injuries happen at advanced levels. Professional skiers rarely fall but when they do they often break something as they are going faster.

Injuries are rare and over blown if you ask me. Besides, if i really want to learn to play something, though i appreciate the concern, it's my issue how i learn it. If i hurt myself i am sure there is google search result that will remedy that too.

Injuries do happen


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
AnthonyPaulO #2832435 03/28/19 04:10 PM
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They absolutely do.

Especially adult learners. Anything from RSI to tendonitis, pain from arthritis and back problems.

I have had mild tendonitis since I started playing until recently. My hands get a rough deal, I work with computers all day comes with being a programmer and I have had trouble with tendonitis in the past. Adding piano playing to a day of typing and using a trackpad doesn’t help.

How much I have practised has been absolutely limited by what my hands can take, but I am super conscious of the problem because there have been a couple of times in my life from work I have crippled my right hand.

Playing piano requires you to listen to your body and cut back early at the first hint so you don’t have to actually stop, but if do need to stop do so and don’t try and tough it out.

My biggest problem is lubrication of my tendons, a problem that only gets worse with age. For now omega 3 has worked well but it may not in the future.

So I need to get my technique right now, while I can, because if I leave it to when I have pain i can’t manage it will likely be too late.

Re: Inspired to learn! Need advice on approach
KevinM #2832537 03/28/19 09:19 PM
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Hey Kevin,

I hear the level of your piano to your body might make all the difference. Check to see if it's at the appropriate height, if necessary have someone take a picture of you with you sitting down on it with correct posture and fingers curled on keys and post it so the experts can opine.

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