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The self-taught pianist drawing crowds
Hundreds of thousands of people have seen student Nuradean Arreythe's piano skills after he learned how to play using online videos.

He practiced on an old keyboard until it broke – but even that hasn't stopped him from playing where he can.

Self taught pianist drawing the crowds

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From the age of 12, he taught himself to play classical music
using an old keyboard and youtube tutorials


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Nice story. Also, he has his head on correctly. He wants to finish University before even thinking about performing.



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Must be nice to have an innate aptitude for it. A lot easier to pick it up! Wonder how many of him there are, compared to people who are physically unable.

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Not direct to the video or the fellow in it, but just a pet peeve of mine: I hate when people claim that they are "self-taught." What they mean is that they haven't taken formal lessons, but they make it sound like they invented piano playing. wink If you're using videos, books, etc., then you are learning from other people, even if it's not real-time. Okay, I'm done ranting!


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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Not direct to the video or the fellow in it, but just a pet peeve of mine: I hate when people claim that they are "self-taught." What they mean is that they haven't taken formal lessons, but they make it sound like they invented piano playing. wink If you're using videos, books, etc., then you are learning from other people, even if it's not real-time. Okay, I'm done ranting!

Yeah, but no. smile You're watering down the definition of the truly self-taught to the few savants that re-invent things. Because even if I am teaching myself from a textbook, then that wouldn't really count as self-taught as someone wrote the textbook. Because what is really the pedagogical difference between a textbook and a video, except the form of media that encapsulates the learning material in question? I think there are already other words/terms for people who invent (or re-invent) stuff and we can continue using the term "self-teaching" when someone doesn't have a live teacher dedicated to them or giving them specific feedback on what they are learning. So yes, Youtube videos should count as self-teaching, but a teacher who gives non-realtime feedback to you based on what you yourself are doing, would not be.


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Not direct to the video or the fellow in it, but just a pet peeve of mine: I hate when people claim that they are "self-taught." What they mean is that they haven't taken formal lessons, but they make it sound like they invented piano playing. wink If you're using videos, books, etc., then you are learning from other people, even if it's not real-time. Okay, I'm done ranting!

Yeah, but no. smile You're watering down the definition of the truly self-taught to the few savants that re-invent things. Because even if I am teaching myself from a textbook, then that wouldn't really count as self-taught as someone wrote the textbook. Because what is really the pedagogical difference between a textbook and a video, except the form of media that encapsulates the learning material in question? I think there are already other words/terms for people who invent (or re-invent) stuff and we can continue using the term "self-teaching" when someone doesn't have a live teacher dedicated to them or giving them specific feedback on what they are learning. So yes, Youtube videos should count as self-teaching, but a teacher who gives non-realtime feedback to you based on what you yourself are doing, would not be.


I have to agree with Tyrone. If there is not a teacher involved at all, and you are just learning from a book or YouTube, then it IS self-teaching in my opinion.



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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
Not direct to the video or the fellow in it, but just a pet peeve of mine: I hate when people claim that they are "self-taught." What they mean is that they haven't taken formal lessons, but they make it sound like they invented piano playing. wink If you're using videos, books, etc., then you are learning from other people, even if it's not real-time. Okay, I'm done ranting!

Yeah, but no. smile You're watering down the definition of the truly self-taught to the few savants that re-invent things. Because even if I am teaching myself from a textbook, then that wouldn't really count as self-taught as someone wrote the textbook. Because what is really the pedagogical difference between a textbook and a video, except the form of media that encapsulates the learning material in question? I think there are already other words/terms for people who invent (or re-invent) stuff and we can continue using the term "self-teaching" when someone doesn't have a live teacher dedicated to them or giving them specific feedback on what they are learning. So yes, Youtube videos should count as self-teaching, but a teacher who gives non-realtime feedback to you based on what you yourself are doing, would not be.

I think we agree. smile What I'm trying to say (not very well) is that when people brag about being self-taught, they are the ones implying the watered-down definition of "self-taught," implying that they are savants of some kind. However, self-taught obviously includes learning from books, videos, etc., which is still admirable, but not as impressive as they are trying to make it sound.


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Quite possibly, he is a savant of some kind. Gifted, and rare. Able to pick it up naturally and a lot quicker than most. Not his doing--just luck of the draw. Doesn't star strike me. Bit envious of his skill, maybe.

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Lots of people have taught themselves to play piano and other instruments by ear and way before there was an internet. One of my favorite Jazz/Avant Garde pianist started as a self-taught classical pianist. People who start this way have a big advantage of developing their ear early. Then if or when they move to studying formal theory they mainly are learning the labels for sounds they have already learned.

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Originally Posted by Docbop
One of my favorite Jazz/Avant Garde pianist started as a self-taught classical pianist.

George Winston is successful avant-garde pianist who is entirely self taught and does not read music. His published scores are all transcriptions, which is why there are even problems with his officially approved scores not lining up with performances. He will often improvise new measures or changes things on the fly during a performance. Obviously he did all this long before there was such a thing as Synthesia! laugh



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I wondered how certain people who started in their teens can progress much faster than the rest of us. Many have been playing for at least 10 years and still not confident playing at the level someone else who posted videos of themselves playing starting from a few months to a few years.

Found a video the other day about a young teen playing piano from 12-18. In the first segment of his video compilation (3 weeks) his playing of "Für Elise" was average. And his playing keeps getting better and better:



After seeing a video like this, I'm not sure I'm more encouraged playing piano or discouraged because I can never get to his level of playing even after so many years...

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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
I wondered how certain people who started in their teens can progress much faster than the rest of us. Many have been playing for at least 10 years and still not confident playing at the level someone else who posted videos of themselves playing starting from a few months to a few years.

Found a video the other day about a young teen playing piano from 12-18. In the first segment of his video compilation (3 weeks) his playing of "Für Elise" was average. And his playing keeps getting better and better:

After seeing a video like this, I'm not sure I'm more encouraged playing piano or discouraged because I can never get to his level of playing even after so many years...

You might be interested in taking a look at this thread about piano prodigies going on in the piano forum (of all places smile )


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Docbop
One of my favorite Jazz/Avant Garde pianist started as a self-taught classical pianist.

George Winston is successful avant-garde pianist who is entirely self taught and does not read music.


Does not appear to be true. Most bios of George Winston, including his personal page, and Wikipedia, make no mention of any piano training. Extrapolating that to "entirely self-taught" is quite a stretch.

Only this bio that I could find (below) does.

http://www.browsebiography.com/bio-george_winston.html

Excerpt here:

"At the age of eight he took piano lessons but quit playing when he decided that he preferred partaking in baseball with the other boys in his neighborhood".


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Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Docbop
One of my favorite Jazz/Avant Garde pianist started as a self-taught classical pianist.

George Winston is successful avant-garde pianist who is entirely self taught and does not read music.


Does not appear to be true. Most bios of George Winston, including his personal page, and Wikipedia, make no mention of any piano training. Extrapolating that to "entirely self-taught" is quite a stretch.

Only this bio that I could find (below) does.

http://www.browsebiography.com/bio-george_winston.html

Excerpt here:

"At the age of eight he took piano lessons but quit playing when he decided that he preferred partaking in baseball with the other boys in his neighborhood".

Thanks for that! I attended a concert of his in Michigan in the early 90's where it was said that he was self-taught - and that really impressed me. Perhaps this was part of the "rep" he was trying to build. But that was before the days of the Internet and we now know Wikipedia is the true oracle! Since there isn't a George Winston biography yet, I'll just go with what you found! smile

I googled myself and only found this, which says he was mostly self-taught, but not entirely. So another myth punctured. LOL

EDIT: Another google reveals I am not alone in believing he is self-taught and doesn't read music:
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This self-taught musician, who never uses sheet music and doesn't know how to read music...


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Enjoyable thread. To me, 'self taught' means starting from nothing, with no 'how to' guides either printed or on the internet. Seems that this isn't the generally accepted definition here, and of course selecting what materials to use and making proper and effective use of them requires skill but I think is a different degree / kind of 'self-taughtedness' from the 'starting from nothing and doing it all oneself without any training material.' Perhaps there should be levels of 'self-taughtedness.'
I do wonder how well people would get on stuck on a deserted island (palm trees, or at least a bit of jungle)somewhere with no radio / television / internet etc. but a rather nice grand piano (which magically tuned itself? maybe there was a piano tuner hiding somewhere in the jungle or behind a palm tree).
* edited to add - it would need a stack of sheet music somewhere or other or mysteriously arriving by steamer.....forgot about that.

Last edited by petebfrance; 02/18/19 07:41 AM.

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The boy in the opening post of the thread does not demonstrate particularly high level skills. I'd say most pianists after 3 years of lessons would play at that level. The story about him seems more due to his luck of being in the right place at the right time where news organizations could present it as a human interest story because he is self taught. My guess is that many self taught pianists can play at that level after a few years. He's certainly no where near the level needed to gain acceptance into a program for performance majors.

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Originally Posted by petebfrance
Enjoyable thread. To me, 'self taught' means starting from nothing, with no 'how to' guides either printed or on the internet. Seems that this isn't the generally accepted definition here, and of course selecting what materials to use and making proper and effective use of them requires skill but I think is a different degree / kind of 'self-taughtedness' from the 'starting from nothing and doing it all oneself without any training material.' Perhaps there should be levels of 'self-taughtedness.'
I do wonder how well people would get on stuck on a deserted island (palm trees, or at least a bit of jungle)somewhere with no radio / television / internet etc. but a rather nice grand piano (which magically tuned itself? maybe there was a piano tuner hiding somewhere in the jungle or behind a palm tree).
* edited to add - it would need a stack of sheet music somewhere or other or mysteriously arriving by steamer.....forgot about that.


The hardest thing about self-teaching - by far - is that you don't get any feedback at all about what you are doing.

'Starting from nothing' does not exist (in practice) since it would require the 'true' self-learner to not use any existing musical scores (or listen to music) as well (these are also training materials).


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Originally Posted by Montuno
Originally Posted by petebfrance
Enjoyable thread. To me, 'self taught' means starting from nothing, with no 'how to' guides either printed or on the internet. Seems that this isn't the generally accepted definition here, and of course selecting what materials to use and making proper and effective use of them requires skill but I think is a different degree / kind of 'self-taughtedness' from the 'starting from nothing and doing it all oneself without any training material.' Perhaps there should be levels of 'self-taughtedness.'
I do wonder how well people would get on stuck on a deserted island (palm trees, or at least a bit of jungle)somewhere with no radio / television / internet etc. but a rather nice grand piano (which magically tuned itself? maybe there was a piano tuner hiding somewhere in the jungle or behind a palm tree).
* edited to add - it would need a stack of sheet music somewhere or other or mysteriously arriving by steamer.....forgot about that.


The hardest thing about self-teaching - by far - is that you don't get any feedback at all about what you are doing.

'Starting from nothing' does not exist (in practice) since it would require the 'true' self-learner to not use any existing musical scores (or listen to music) as well (these are also training materials).

Quick response, I know, but I just happened to be passing.
Yep, I agree.
Even though I am largely 'self-taught' (long story, posted here a few times) it was never in a vacuum because wife and family could hear, and my wife, although not a musician, appreciates music and used to attend classical concerts - in short, knows what it 'should sound like.' Also, our children took up the piano and enjoy it so I didn't put them off! Not 'this is what you should do' type feedback, but enough information to tell me that I'm not making an awful racket and am doing something right - feedback can come in different forms.
Incidentally, another aspect about a lot of self-taught pianists these days, apart from what they have done (which is commendable) is that it suggests that there is good material for learning out there and encourages other people to have a go themselves. Lots of positives!


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Docbop
One of my favorite Jazz/Avant Garde pianist started as a self-taught classical pianist.

George Winston is successful avant-garde pianist who is entirely self taught and does not read music.


Does not appear to be true. Most bios of George Winston, including his personal page, and Wikipedia, make no mention of any piano training. Extrapolating that to "entirely self-taught" is quite a stretch.

Only this bio that I could find (below) does.

http://www.browsebiography.com/bio-george_winston.html

Excerpt here:

"At the age of eight he took piano lessons but quit playing when he decided that he preferred partaking in baseball with the other boys in his neighborhood".

Thanks for that! I attended a concert of his in Michigan in the early 90's where it was said that he was self-taught - and that really impressed me. Perhaps this was part of the "rep" he was trying to build. But that was before the days of the Internet and we now know Wikipedia is the true oracle! Since there isn't a George Winston biography yet, I'll just go with what you found! smile

I googled myself and only found this, which says he was mostly self-taught, but not entirely. So another myth punctured. LOL

EDIT: Another google reveals I am not alone in believing he is self-taught and doesn't read music:
Quote
This self-taught musician, who never uses sheet music and doesn't know how to read music...

From George Winston's Piano Solo Book:

"These are exact transcriptions of 20 songs from my albums, with chord labels included. One should feel free to interpret and change them however they want--I do that with all songs that I play. (These transcribed versions are just the way the songs were played on the days that I recorded them). I learn music by ear, and I use chords and music theory to learn and remember music" smile

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Originally Posted by petebfrance
Enjoyable thread. To me, 'self taught' means starting from nothing, with no 'how to' guides either printed or on the internet. Seems that this isn't the generally accepted definition here, and of course selecting what materials to use and making proper and effective use of them requires skill but I think is a different degree / kind of 'self-taughtedness' from the 'starting from nothing and doing it all oneself without any training material.' Perhaps there should be levels of 'self-taughtedness.'
I do wonder how well people would get on stuck on a deserted island (palm trees, or at least a bit of jungle)somewhere with no radio / television / internet etc. but a rather nice grand piano (which magically tuned itself? maybe there was a piano tuner hiding somewhere in the jungle or behind a palm tree).
* edited to add - it would need a stack of sheet music somewhere or other or mysteriously arriving by steamer.....forgot about that.
It seems to me the way "self-taught" is used most often has the meaning "without a teacher." Using training materials, whether on the printed page or over the internet, is common to both with and without a teacher. Listening to training materials (recordings) would be common to both, as well.

I dunno, has anybody, ever, anywhere, started making music from nothing, from zero?


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