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Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? #2840913 04/20/19 11:58 AM
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Parcival Offline OP
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Hi everyone,

I'm new on the forums and new in the piano world.

I'm 30 and have been making music for almost 10 years (with breaks).
Now I want to study the piano, but at the moment I can't take lessons due to various reasons, but that will likely change at some point.
So my questions is this: is it doable for me to study mostly on my own at the beginning? I might be able to take a few lessons just to get me started and make sure there are no major technique failures, but not on the regular for now.

If I stick with it I'd get a teacher in the long run and probably make it my main instrument.
At the moment I mainly just play bass.

My musical background:
Played the saxophone for 8 years, in a 50+ member classical/contemporary orchestra including regular participation in graded recitals with said orchestra.
2 years of guitar/electric bass

I have a firm grasp on basic theory/harmony and if I've got 4 weeks or so I'm sure I can read treble clef again. Used to sight read everything with the sax.

I know piano will take a long time to learn but I also know that I practice regularly on my own and am pretty pedantic with technique (I think I paid more attention to my hand position on guitar than my teacher did).

The goal would be to play for my own enjoyment.

Is this realistic?

Thanks for helping!

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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840916 04/20/19 12:12 PM
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Nope. Sorry. Don't do it. Dont go it alone.

You need a teacher mostly at the beginning. At the beginning is when you are most likely to ingrain bad habits and death moves.

Even advanced students have teachers. (I'm talking classical here, perhaps other styles can get by with less.)


"the lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." -- Chaucer.
Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840919 04/20/19 12:15 PM
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At your age, you can succeed by just doing what you said.

You might be wise to get a teacher early on to get started and then only periodically as you feel a need.

If you ever become financially able, you should try for lessons more often.

This is not the formula for a classical piano virtuoso but for a "play for own enjoyment" at home and perhaps gigs down the road.

Good Luck


Don

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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: dmd] #2840926 04/20/19 12:39 PM
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Parcival Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Fidel
Nope. Sorry. Don't do it. Dont go it alone.

You need a teacher mostly at the beginning. At the beginning is when you are most likely to ingrain bad habits and death moves.

Even advanced students have teachers. (I'm talking classical here, perhaps other styles can get by with less.)


I don't want to go all alone, I just can't do weekly lessons right now. I'm looking at available options at the moment, but I might only be able to go every 2-3 weeks. I need to see if I can find a teacher that will work with me on that basis. I'll make some calls next week.

Originally Posted by dmd
At your age, you can succeed by just doing what you said.

You might be wise to get a teacher early on to get started and then only periodically as you feel a need.

If you ever become financially able, you should try for lessons more often.

This is not the formula for a classical piano virtuoso but for a "play for own enjoyment" at home and perhaps gigs down the road.

Good Luck


It's not the finances, it's more the time at the moment. I have time to practice, but mostly later at night.

Thanks for your replies so far!

Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840929 04/20/19 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Parcival
It's not the finances, it's more the time at the moment. I have time to practice, but mostly later at night.

One option is to try to find a video teacher in a different time zone. Another one is to subscribe to a website in which you can watch videod lessons. In the last case, I would recommend Piano career academy.


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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840931 04/20/19 12:53 PM
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Make a simple calculation: learning new skills takes less time than correcting bad habits, for which a teacher is 100% necessary. He also demonstrates how to learn independently.

Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840933 04/20/19 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Parcival
I don't want to go all alone, I just can't do weekly lessons right now. I'm looking at available options at the moment, but I might only be able to go every 2-3 weeks.
Either two or three weeks in between lessons is perfectly fine, especially for adults. In fact, for some people not taking a lesson every week may be better than once a week since there is more time to work on whatever the teacher suggests. I think most of the previous responses thought you weren't going to take ANY lessons which is a much more difficult way to progress.

Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840935 04/20/19 01:04 PM
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I would echo the sentiment that it's absolutely critical to have a teacher at the outset at least. It's far easier to have mistakes in playing technique corrected at the outset than it is to try to "unlearn" them once they're ingrained, and correct technique is everything in playing the piano.


Chris

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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840937 04/20/19 01:05 PM
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Parcival Offline OP
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Okay, I see the general consensus.

So let me rephrase my question:
Provided I find someone I like, is something like having lessons only every 2-3 weeks okay? If someone will take me on a variable basis.

Edit: whoops, too slow. Didn't see the last replys.

Last edited by Parcival; 04/20/19 01:07 PM.
Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840941 04/20/19 01:13 PM
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To the OP
My opinion:
- The "beginning" is the time to work with a teacher, NOT alone. Based on what you have written about your background you certainly seem to have what it takes to learn to play the piano, and well. BUT - please take some time to learn "good" technique. There are lots of opinions on just what that is. I come down on the side that says there is more than one good way to play from a technical point of view, but learning how that is done is rarely successful without a teacher, at least SOME of the time.
- You write that you don't really have time for weekly lessons now. Could you Skype a lesson (not EVERY one, but when you were really super-busy)? That might be a way to handle things.
- Yes, eventually you will get to a point where a lesson every two or three weeks is all you will need. It depends on how much time you have to practice in between lessons. There's no sense spending time and money on a lesson if you haven't had time to cover much material. That said, when I first start my students, whenever possible I try to get them to come twice a week (half time each session) rather than one long session. Beginning work can be intense.
===========================
Good Luck with learning the piano whatever you decide to do.


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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840946 04/20/19 01:25 PM
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I think it's worth trying anyway. Now in YouTube era finding information for self-teaching is much easier.

But if you have such opportunity later, it's certainly better to have weekly lessons. Piano is a difficult instrument to play, it requires great attention to coordinate all your body motions when playing. When self-teaching you need to coordinate all your body motions, note all your musical flaws and note all your technical difficulties and flaws at the same time. This requires enormous attention and self-control. A teacher will make things easier.

Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840948 04/20/19 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Seeker
To the OP
My opinion:
- The "beginning" is the time to work with a teacher, NOT alone. Based on what you have written about your background you certainly seem to have what it takes to learn to play the piano, and well. BUT - please take some time to learn "good" technique. There are lots of opinions on just what that is. I come down on the side that says there is more than one good way to play from a technical point of view, but learning how that is done is rarely successful without a teacher, at least SOME of the time.
- You write that you don't really have time for weekly lessons now. Could you Skype a lesson (not EVERY one, but when you were really super-busy)? That might be a way to handle things.
- Yes, eventually you will get to a point where a lesson every two or three weeks is all you will need. It depends on how much time you have to practice in between lessons. There's no sense spending time and money on a lesson if you haven't had time to cover much material. That said, when I first start my students, whenever possible I try to get them to come twice a week (half time each session) rather than one long session. Beginning work can be intense.
===========================
Good Luck with learning the piano whatever you decide to do.


Thanks for your opinion!
Well, practice time is not the problem, I play around 1-2 h a day, it's just that these hours are usually between 10 pm and midnight. I work irregular, sometimes shift system, sometimes night.

There is a teacher near me, I'll just call next week, tell her my situation and if she's willing to put up with that, I'll go see her and see if I like her.

Last edited by Parcival; 04/20/19 01:27 PM.
Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840954 04/20/19 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Parcival
Well, practice time is not the problem, I play around 1-2 h a day, it's just that these hours are usually between 10 pm and midnight. I work irregular, sometimes shift system, sometimes night.

I usually practice between 2-4am. Practice time doesn't matter. You just have to be available at a time a teacher is available, even one in a different time zone.


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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2840959 04/20/19 02:03 PM
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Does not even have to be in a different time zone. For example my teacher finishes about 9p. The studio gives the kids the early hours adults get the late hours. Then he goes to the gym. Following he has group jam sessions or plays at a local late night establishments. Not everyone is on a day shift schedule. There may be teachers that can teach at 2-4 a.m.


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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840966 04/20/19 02:21 PM
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As others have mentioned, it is very important to have a teacher, particularly when starting out in order to develop good habits from the beginning.


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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: Parcival] #2840988 04/20/19 03:24 PM
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Welcome to the forum. There are also people who can send you lessons you can download and watch in your own time. You can learn plenty by yourself, yet technique may be best with a teacher. I'd go for it. Don't put this off!


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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: cmb13] #2840997 04/20/19 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Welcome to the forum. There are also people who can send you lessons you can download and watch in your own time. You can learn plenty by yourself, yet technique may be best with a teacher. I'd go for it. Don't put this off!


+1 Go for it and give it a try.


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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: cmb13] #2841005 04/20/19 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
There are also people who can send you lessons you can download and watch in your own time. You can learn plenty by yourself, yet technique may be best with a teacher. I'd go for it. Don't put this off!
Not only technique, but musicianship is best learned with a teacher.

Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: pianoloverus] #2841016 04/20/19 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Not only technique, but musicianship is best learned with a teacher.


In an ideal world, yes, but if getting to lessons is an issue, I think that teaching yourself and getting your mistakes corrected by a teacher is a reasonable compromise.


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Re: Realistic (semi-) self-study plan? [Re: pianoloverus] #2841018 04/20/19 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by cmb13
There are also people who can send you lessons you can download and watch in your own time. You can learn plenty by yourself, yet technique may be best with a teacher. I'd go for it. Don't put this off!
Not only technique, but musicianship is best learned with a teacher.


Good point, true. But if he can get a head start rather than waiting for an unforeseen period of time, it may be worth it. That can be adddd in.


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