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Asking for time to adjust to a piano
#2902978 10/22/19 05:11 AM
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I had my first lesson with a new teacher today. The lesson was taken on a Petrof upright which sounds quite nice. But I had no ability to control it. I practise on a digital, but I have played on a Yamaha grand a couple of times at a local piano meet up, I've always turned up early for the meet up and got myself 10-15 minutes time to adjust to the piano which mostly worked. Still not like I play on my own piano but not a disaster with some control of dynamics and not having bass support just swamp the melody.

The Petrof upright was a disaster. So of course for me, no matter what the teacher was asking me to do, my brain was just going I have got to get control of this beast, and so nothing went well. I am guessing the teacher thinks I've got some horrendous habits like no thought to phrasing and dynamics.

I was wondering if you teachers think it might be appropriate for me to ask for 5-10 minutes at the beginning of my hour long lessons just playing on it, getting my fingers used to it. Hopefully after a few weekly lessons that may no longer be necessary and I will be able to adjust quite quickly to it. In the end being able to adjust can only be a good thing, but at the moment it just feel frustrating.

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Re: Asking for time to adjust to a piano
KevinM #2902979 10/22/19 05:38 AM
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I think this is a great idea and shouldn't be an issue. I had a very similar experience when I went for my first trial lesson with my teacher, all compounded with general nerves and performance anxiety.
He's also somewhat old-fashioned in his views on digital pianos so I was proving his prejudices to an extent.
That said he seemed pretty well able to differentiate between issues caused by my limited opportunities to play acoustic pianos, nerves, and genuine deficiencies in technique etc.

He generally gives me a couple of minutes to warm up in the music room by myself before he comes in, and this is helpful. It's become less necessary as time passes, but still useful. I didn't have the good sense to suggest it, I think he (rightly) figured out straight away that it would help me settle down, be a little less nervous and be better able to manage the acoustic, and as the studio is in his home he always seemed to need to quickly take care of something elsewhere in the house before we got started with our lesson.


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Re: Asking for time to adjust to a piano
KevinM #2903023 10/22/19 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I was wondering if you teachers think it might be appropriate for me to ask for 5-10 minutes at the beginning of my hour long lessons just playing on it, getting my fingers used to it. Hopefully after a few weekly lessons that may no longer be necessary and I will be able to adjust quite quickly to it. In the end being able to adjust can only be a good thing, but at the moment it just feel frustrating.


I feel your pain! In my studio I practice and teach on a Baldwin SD-10 concert grand. Then when I go to study with my Professor (a retired conservatory department chair), she has this "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad" Yamaha upright. (Why are those so popular? I don't get it!) I always feel like I'm fighting with that thing, trying to bend it to my will, whereas my big Baldwin almost reads my mind. I'll be honest, even a few minutes of warming up on that thing doesn't help me - I struggle with it all through each lesson!

But still the lessons are incredibly productive. She can tell when I'm struggling with the piano vs. struggling with the music or technique. Although I despise her piano, it's ultimately a big deal.

Have you discussed this issue with your teacher? I'm sure they will be sympathetic. Ultimately a professional should be able to work with any piano (within reason), but I would not expect a student to do so.

Originally Posted by barbaram
That said he seemed pretty well able to differentiate between issues caused by my limited opportunities to play acoustic pianos, nerves, and genuine deficiencies in technique etc.


Experienced teachers can indeed differentiate those problems.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Cedar Park, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko"
Re: Asking for time to adjust to a piano
Dr. Rogers #2903050 10/22/19 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
Originally Posted by KevinM
I was wondering if you teachers think it might be appropriate for me to ask for 5-10 minutes at the beginning of my hour long lessons just playing on it, getting my fingers used to it. Hopefully after a few weekly lessons that may no longer be necessary and I will be able to adjust quite quickly to it. In the end being able to adjust can only be a good thing, but at the moment it just feel frustrating.


I feel your pain! In my studio I practice and teach on a Baldwin SD-10 concert grand. Then when I go to study with my Professor (a retired conservatory department chair), she has this "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad" Yamaha upright. (Why are those so popular? I don't get it!) I always feel like I'm fighting with that thing, trying to bend it to my will, whereas my big Baldwin almost reads my mind. I'll be honest, even a few minutes of warming up on that thing doesn't help me - I struggle with it all through each lesson!

But still the lessons are incredibly productive. She can tell when I'm struggling with the piano vs. struggling with the music or technique. Although I despise her piano, it's ultimately a big deal.

Have you discussed this issue with your teacher? I'm sure they will be sympathetic. Ultimately a professional should be able to work with any piano (within reason), but I would not expect a student to do so.

Originally Posted by barbaram
That said he seemed pretty well able to differentiate between issues caused by my limited opportunities to play acoustic pianos, nerves, and genuine deficiencies in technique etc.


Experienced teachers can indeed differentiate those problems.


I suspect the Petrof will be quite nice I just have to learn to adjust. I didn't think to ask during the lesson only afterwards, but I just wanted to make sure asking for a little time to get a bit of a feel and hopefully after weekly practises on it I will learn to adjust very quickly.

It may well be a good teacher can judge the difference but the deficiencies of my playing in comparison to at home because I'm not focusing on what is being asked of me are large.

I would like to learn to adjust to it as I think that is a good thing in and of itself. Being able to deal with different pianos is a good thing.

Re: Asking for time to adjust to a piano
KevinM #2903057 10/22/19 10:55 AM
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It will take a while, When you always practice on a digital, playing on an acoustic is very hard.

You can begin by turning up the volume to max on your DP to force yourself to play softer.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: Asking for time to adjust to a piano
Learux #2903059 10/22/19 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Learux
It will take a while, When you always practice on a digital, playing on an acoustic is very hard.


Changing from one acoustic to another is hard. I think DPs provide a variation on a theme.

Re: Asking for time to adjust to a piano
KevinM #2903061 10/22/19 11:02 AM
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KevinM
Yes, learning to deal with different pianos is a good thing, but like everything else, it takes time and experience. Eventually, you want to consciously expose yourself to as many different pianos as possible: the good, and the oh so very bad. Look for pianos in public places, dealers, libraries, senior centers/nursing homes. Play a few minutes on each every time you find a piano. Think about the adjustments you made.

It does get easier and quicker to adapt.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Asking for time to adjust to a piano
Dr. Rogers #2903854 10/23/19 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
I feel your pain! In my studio I practice and teach on a Baldwin SD-10 concert grand. Then when I go to study with my Professor (a retired conservatory department chair), she has this "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad" Yamaha upright. (Why are those so popular? I don't get it!) I always feel like I'm fighting with that thing, trying to bend it to my will, whereas my big Baldwin almost reads my mind. I'll be honest, even a few minutes of warming up on that thing doesn't help me - I struggle with it all through each lesson!

Have you thought about paying your professor more to come teach you at your studio??

I had lessons after college with professors whose Steinway at home is so bad, I had to stop the lessons. If I have to cough up over $120/hour for a lesson, I think I deserve to play on a decent instrument.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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