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Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... #2844518
05/02/19 03:38 PM
05/02/19 03:38 PM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 19
Colorado Springs, CO
John_C Offline OP
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Colorado Springs, CO
Hi folks,

My first post to kind of introduce myself.

I'm 57, male, nearing retirement, and wanting to learn how to play the piano. I just purchased a new Casio PX-160; it has weighted keys and I did not want to spend too much starting out. I also have an earlier revision of the Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course 'Lesson' and 'Theory' books, Levels 1 through 3 (from 1983).

I have absolutely no musical education whatsoever so I'm as new to this as you can get. But I want to learn. I tried teaching myself some basics on a simple keyboard about 20 years ago but I was in the military then and had to deal with long working hours and frequent deployments. I couldn't keep myself motivated and never made it beyond Level 1 of the Alfred's books. Life went on.

I plan to start on my own, 30 - 45 minutes a day. As time permits, I also hope to also pick up some instruction from the Internet / YouTube based on recommendations found in this forum. I know a formal teacher is highly recommended but I want to see if and how I progress on my own, at least initially.

I'd appreciate any tips the forum members here may have to offer. Wish me luck!
________________________
John_C - Colorado Springs

Last edited by John_C; 05/02/19 03:39 PM.

John_C - Colorado Springs
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Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844529
05/02/19 03:52 PM
05/02/19 03:52 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by John_C

I plan to start on my own, 30 - 45 minutes a day. As time permits, I also hope to also pick up some instruction from the Internet / YouTube based on recommendations found in this forum. I know a formal teacher is highly recommended but I want to see if and how I progress on my own, at least initially.

I won't be the first to ask you this, but I'll jump in first, seeing as I'm around smirk - is there any particular reason why you don't want a teacher?

Most adults who tried before and didn't get anywhere go for a teacher second time round. The early stages - when you develop a proper keyboard technique and learn to read music and count beats - are the most crucial.

Of course, if you're just wanting to dabble for fun, especially if just playing pop etc, you won't need one......


"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: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844530
05/02/19 03:57 PM
05/02/19 03:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 19
Colorado Springs, CO
John_C Offline OP
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John_C  Offline OP
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Colorado Springs, CO
Regarding a teacher, not sure how to find someone locally who has experience working with adults. And how would I know if they are good or not? Plus at this point, I'm trying to limit my costs.


John_C - Colorado Springs
Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844539
05/02/19 04:12 PM
05/02/19 04:12 PM
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 238
Sweden
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A good starting point is to listen to lots of piano music and also go to as many concerts and recitals as possible, in the music genre you prefer, of course. Immerse yourself in piano music. Make sure you learn to read music properly, read also piano literature. There are many nice resources on Internet. Also be very patient, don't try to rush things. Good luck and welcome to the piano world ...

Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: ghosthand] #2844546
05/02/19 04:26 PM
05/02/19 04:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 19
Colorado Springs, CO
John_C Offline OP
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John_C  Offline OP
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Colorado Springs, CO
Originally Posted by ghosthand
Also be very patient, don't try to rush things.


Thanks, @ghosthand. I think a contributing factor to my failure at self-teaching 20 years ago was that I had little patience; I wanted to start playing rock and pop hits right from the beginning.

I realize this time out that this will be a slow, learning process, and it will take time.


John_C - Colorado Springs
Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844547
05/02/19 04:32 PM
05/02/19 04:32 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 5,140
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Originally Posted by John_C
I wanted to start playing rock and pop hits right from the beginning.

If you are interested in pop and rock piano, you might want to take a look at this thread for a chord piano approach. There are a few active learners on the thread who might fill you in on how it's going for them. It has a cost, but it's less than a weekly teacher. Also, in case you don't stick with it, you could take the first few lessons a la carte. I don't have experience with it myself, but I do read the thread with some interest.


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: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844588
05/02/19 06:43 PM
05/02/19 06:43 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 856
Upstate SC
dobro Offline
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Welcome john_C, we are glad to have you along. Spend some time with the Theory book and if you come upon something you don’t know, stop and get an answer. I “learned” some errors early on and it’s a pain to undo. I’m a beginner myself but I think I’m qualified to advise that. Again, welcome and keep us posted.


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Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844591
05/02/19 06:52 PM
05/02/19 06:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,542
Pennsylvania
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As you go through your method books ….

Try to learn the material very well before moving on.

Try to play everything musically …. not mechanically …. try to make everything sound nice.

AND … play things with a good sense of time. Use a metronome periodically to be sure you are doing this.

Good Luck


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844600
05/02/19 08:10 PM
05/02/19 08:10 PM
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PianoTV on YouTube would be a good place to start. You might want to start with the second video from the top, entitled “Am I too old to learn piano?” Welcome aboard.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844601
05/02/19 08:18 PM
05/02/19 08:18 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 286
Southeast USA
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Welcome John! I started 11 months ago at age 59 from scratch. It is really hard to learn piano but quite rewarding. Keep in mind it is really hard and you are a babe in the woods. I recommend you spend several hours reading threads in the ABF - it can save you a lot of wasted time learning from others.

On your question about how to find a good teacher (there are LOT'S of threads on that subject!), I recommend asking around at work for someone that has kids taking lessons. Not all Teachers will take adult beginners - the success rate is not good and adults can really be a pain. If you get a few names call them up and ask them how long they have been teaching, how many students they have and how many are Adults. Best to find one that has good experience and has adults. You can save some money by going every other week and 30 minute lesson. Good Luck!


Progman
Baldwin Console + Kawai ES100
Alfreds bk 1 + Teacher
Long Live ELP
Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844605
05/02/19 08:42 PM
05/02/19 08:42 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 640
Toronto, Canada
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thepianoplayer416 Offline
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I don't think there is an age limit to learning piano unless you have a physical disability like arthritis. Josh Wright did a video on adults learning piano and his oldest student was in the 80s. The advantage older folks like us have is that we have more experience in life and we can sit still longer. Nowadays young people tend to get distracted by their electronic devices.

The first thing I was brought up was the idea you need to start piano at an early age. If you didn't show talent then you're not going to get into piano later in life. I started as an adult and didn't think it was an issue. The only issue was that I had other responsibilities but I still tried to squeeze an hour of practice every day.

It's easy for somebody to say you need to play musically but in the beginning most people has to go through the stage of playing in a mechanical manner.

The Y-T channel I go to to get playing tips is Piano Lessons On The Web with Tim as the online teacher.

Good luck...

Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844623
05/02/19 10:15 PM
05/02/19 10:15 PM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 168
Hawai'i Island
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Aloha and welcome to the world of making your own music.

As you probably know from earlier, it's going to require a lot of patience. But, you don't have be another Horowitz to start having fun! The most critical thing, and perhaps the biggest challenge, IMO, is making sure you get some time in every day, without fail. An hour is great, but even just a few minutes is miles better than none. This is especially critical in the early stages. Not practicing regularly will result in slow or no progress, followed in short order by frustration and boredom with the whole thing. It's amazing how many competing things in life can conspire against daily practice. Again, even just a few minutes, with the key words being, every day, and you might surprise yourself at how fast you can progress.

My other suggestion is to make every effort to find a teacher. A decent teacher can save a lot of later grief over having to un-learn bad habits acquired early.

All the best with your restart! Have fun!

Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844659
05/03/19 01:33 AM
05/03/19 01:33 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 619
Sweden
Animisha Online content
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Welcome to this forum, and to playing the piano John C!

I was also in my fifties when I started with Casio PX and Alfred's. I think that you'll find that you can progress quite well on your own, but that is also because Alfred's tell so little about technique that you don't know what you don't know. I made it to the third book until I started wondering why my piano playing didn't sound beautifully...
One of the first texts I read then was this one about the wrist. It was a true eye-opener. As far as I remember, the wrist is never even mentioned in the Alfred's books.

Wishing you luck!


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844668
05/03/19 02:26 AM
05/03/19 02:26 AM
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,826
Italy
sinophilia Offline

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Welcome John, being near retirement at 57 sounds great! Here in Europe I will probably have to wait until 70 laugh

Last month I was in Colorado for the first time, went through it by train and stopped on the Rockies for 2 days, it was a blast! I spent the whole time looking out of the window and taking pictures. It's an incredible place, can't wait to visit again.

Please remember, there is absolutely no shame in self-teaching, and don't let anybody make you feel guilty about it. It will work as long as you are disciplined and stick with it! You can still get plenty of great advice from great teachers online - Graham Fitch, Shirley Kirsten, Josh Wright, John Mortensen, Neil Stannard... Good luck and have fun, whatever method you choose.


Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
http://soundcloud.com/sinophilia - http://youtube.com/sinophilia
Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844679
05/03/19 03:39 AM
05/03/19 03:39 AM
Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 300
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Originally Posted by John_C
Originally Posted by ghosthand
Also be very patient, don't try to rush things.


Thanks, @ghosthand. I think a contributing factor to my failure at self-teaching 20 years ago was that I had little patience; I wanted to start playing rock and pop hits right from the beginning.

I realize this time out that this will be a slow, learning process, and it will take time.

It depends on your goals.

In my noob opinion, there are two VERY different paths being referred to here.

1.) The classical approach.
This is the "get a teacher and learn to read music" path. This is slow and difficult for many people who just want to start to produce some music.

2.) The Chord based-do as I do and learn" approach.
This is just the opposite. You learn by imitating just like when you learned to speak. You didn't learn your first words because you learned how to spell them and drill the individual letters that spelled mama into your brain...no, you imitated the sounds you heard around you. After you learned a word, you learned another word and then you put those words into your first short sentence. You kept acquiring the "word skills" to make sentences to communicate in this new language and it wasn't until about 5 or more years later that you went to school and learned to write this new language and to read it.

It's the way guitarists learn (except for classical guitarists) they learn to bang out a few chords and then they are the life of the party! They are having fun and playing songs, and may or may not go on to read music or whatever else they do.


For myself, I've tried both. I also played pop/rock guitar for 30 years and also classical guitar so I kind of have an idea of the basic differences in approach.


If you desire the first path, you do need a teacher...no two ways about it. If you desire the second path I can suggest a few things.

There are several sites that provide this sort of teaching and it IS possible to learn to play using this method. My favorite site to learn this style is "Piano Lingo" though there are others. Play Piano Today is one. Scott The Piano Guy is another. There are a LOT of resources on Youtube also.

If I can do it...you can! I'm 59 and starting to play and when I got my keyboard at the first of this year I couldn't even make a noise that was pleasant and now I can play decently enough to not annoy anyone who's listening too badly. I'm working through chords in all keys and learning some basic rhythm patterns and songs that I like too.

Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844718
05/03/19 08:09 AM
05/03/19 08:09 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,368
south florida
JimF Offline
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Welcome John_C.

Put me in the "if I can do it you can too" group. I was 56 when I wrote this ten years ago:

Quote
Hello everyone.

I've been lurking since last May when I started in on the Alfred AIO #1. Never played any instrument before, although I took piano lessons for a few months as a child when I was much more interested in things like baseball or climbing trees. For some reason at age 56 it hit me that I would like to play the piano.

So far I am enjoying the voyage and have just moved on to book 2, although my Amazing Grace could still stand a lot more polishing. Acutally I got all the way through book one back in July, but after talking to someone about using the metronome (which I had not, ever), decided to go back to the beginning and redo the whole book making sure I checked everything with the metronome. I detest the stupid thing (which I call "the little nazi in my keyboard") but it sure proved that I had work to do on my rhythm.

The forum discussions have been very helpful and I want to thank all of you for participating. Hopefully, now that I've registered, I will be able to contribute as well as receive.

Last edited by JimF; 10/12/09 07:29 PM.


So, from Blow the Man Down and Amazing Grace to today's Chopin, Liszt, and Debussy in my Sig line. (I broke down and got a teacher 2 months after that first post)

You can do it.

My best recommendations?

Get a teacher asap, even if it's less frequent than weekly
Practice daily, even if only for a few minutes
Be open to learning a wide range of music, across genres and historical eras.
Become a strong reader of music.
Enjoy the learning process, it never ends.

Good luck,

Jim


Consolation No.2 E maj, F.Liszt
Nocturne C# minor, FChopin
Clair de Lune, C.Debussy



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Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844723
05/03/19 08:18 AM
05/03/19 08:18 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 5,140
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Originally Posted by John_C
Hi folks,

My first post to kind of introduce myself.

I'm 57, male, nearing retirement, and wanting to learn how to play the piano.

Welcome to PW, John. You are in good company. The last ABF survey taken back in August 2018 showed that 48.5% of respondents were over 45 years old, and 22.7% are over 56.

Enjoy your piano journey!


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: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: John_C] #2844789
05/03/19 12:07 PM
05/03/19 12:07 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,095
Moscow, Russia
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Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline
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The most difficult thing in self-teaching is to play and to listen to what you're playing simultaneously as if you were a spectator. I guess only a small percentage of students are capable of that right from the start, it requires great attention and effort, and the success of your self-teaching will mostly depend on the development of this skill. Listen very carefully to every note you play, not letting yourself to ignore the slightest imperfection. You can help the development of this skill by frequent recording of your playing and listening to the recordings. But if after, say, 40 recordings you understand that you still don't notice many of the recorded imperfections while playing, then you better give up the idea of self-teaching and find yourself a teacher.

And remember that playing the piano should be physically pleasurable at all times. If it's not, you must be doing something wrong.

Good luck in your journey!

Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: JimF] #2844817
05/03/19 01:35 PM
05/03/19 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by JimF


So, from Blow the Man Down and Amazing Grace to today's Chopin, Liszt, and Debussy in my Sig line. (I broke down and got a teacher 2 months after that first post)



If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is.

Re: Yep, another old timer thinking he can learn the piano.... [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2844821
05/03/19 01:53 PM
05/03/19 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
The most difficult thing in self-teaching is to play and to listen to what you're playing simultaneously as if you were a spectator. I guess only a small percentage of students are capable of that right from the start, it requires great attention and effort, and the success of your self-teaching will mostly depend on the development of this skill. Listen very carefully to every note you play, not letting yourself to ignore the slightest imperfection. You can help the development of this skill by frequent recording of your playing and listening to the recordings. But if after, say, 40 recordings you understand that you still don't notice many of the recorded imperfections while playing, then you better give up the idea of self-teaching and find yourself a teacher.

And remember that playing the piano should be physically pleasurable at all times. If it's not, you must be doing something wrong.

Good luck in your journey!


Besides just listening to yourself, you have to watch your own physical movements and correct them when they’re wrong. This is difficult to do and is where a teacher is invaluable. Having a teacher correct my physical movements was done when I studied the violin, classical guitar, and now, piano. My classical guitar teacher would say, you’re collapsing your hand, and I wouldn’t realize it because I was concentrating on playing the notes. I never would have gotten far teaching myself, and I would have engrained a lot of bad habits along the way.


Yamaha P-515, Pianoteq Standard 6
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