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How to play the piano without a piano #2915146 11/22/19 05:22 PM
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Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915179 11/22/19 06:35 PM
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It's amazing he did so well. Beginners often don't realize that making music on an acoustic piano is so much more than pushing the "buttons" at the right time.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915187 11/22/19 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BeeZee4

What an incredible, inspirational success story! Thank-you for posting the link to this article.

Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915188 11/22/19 07:12 PM
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What an inspiring story—-the dedication to do so much with so little! 😊


"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: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915227 11/22/19 09:27 PM
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The story is interesting and almost too good to be true.

In my childhood I had 2 toy pianos including a mini battery-operated keyboard with a songbook with colored notes and a mini grand piano with a xylophone sound.My mother got me a teacher for a few lessons. There was a piano in the house and shortly after it was gone. Took me a few decades to get into piano playing and nowhere near an advanced performance level.

I had music class in school for violin. There were recordings of orchestral pieces with violin parts I'd borrow from the library. I had a primitive computer in the 1980s and entered the sound frequencies of each and every note of some violin pieces I was learning in class before a notation software was available. The Internet wasn't commonplace but I would go to the public library with sound recordings (LPs & cassettes). Getting good marks in school was 1 thing but I was not at the level of a virtuoso.

If an article is posted on someone who learned to play a violin or a guitar to a high level without touching an instrument, I'd say that person must be very talented. Some people used the word "dedication". Just spending time visualizing yourself playing an instrument isn't the same as actually touching the instrument. You may be able to learn the finger and note sequences but getting the right sound like detach, staccato, slurred, soft & loud is not something I'd be able to learn without access to a piano. I'd go as far as learning to read the notes on paper. I'm not going to get into the "nature-nurture" debate but the people in my family would say a person needs to have the talent to play music. Just being dedicated and spending a lot of time isn't enough.

Nowadays there is the option of a roll-up piano with 88 rubber keys that isn't expensive. It is not going to have the touch of a grand piano but for a low price may just do the trick. I know 2 people who got free pianos. 1 from a church who was doing house cleaning and another moved out of town and decided not to take the piano. For lessons the least I might do is to find someone nearby who are taking lessons to teach a few basics in return for favors. For a practice piano, I'd ask a friend who has a piano or a church nearby. In my area, there are several public libraries with pianos / keyboards that can be borrowed up to 2 hours in a given day. I don't think learning by putting hands on a piece of paper is sufficient for me. It's like putting a roll-up piano on the table without turning it on to learn the notes. The article didn't say if A. Garrido had full access to the Internet and had seen online playing demos.

Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915234 11/22/19 09:44 PM
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Oh, yeah and just before reading that article I was on a website browsing free acoustic pianos in my neighborhood. There are people trying to get rid of old pianos. There are also music organizations here that arrange for pianos to be donated to kids that want to play. But then, I live in America. We have many music programs for kids whose family can't afford to pay for lessons. That kid in the article just lived in the wrong country.

Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915239 11/22/19 10:11 PM
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Yes, unfortunate that Andrew Garrido did not have access to a piano as a child, or music programs due to financial constraints on his family. So he made do on his own and is now a conservatory student! Kudos to him, for persevering in his passion for the piano. What gets me is here in America there are so many households with pianos or grand pianos that are treated as furniture and not as musical instruments. And here you have a young person who is passionate about music and not having access while learning fundamentals on his own.


Estonia 190 #6209
Working on:
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Ravel: Une Barque sur l'Ocean
Rachmaninoff: Etude Tableaux Op. 39 No. 5 Eb minor
Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915249 11/22/19 11:10 PM
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Definitely agree that many people kept their old pianos sitting in the living room like a piece of furniture. I know 1 lady who moved and the old piano is with the father who doesn't play piano and another teen who quit the Yamaha music program. The piano is probably still sitting at home. I'm sure they can be passed around to people who really need an instrument. The same with electronic keyboards.

The article mentioned the young man Googled the dimensions of a keyboard, drew the keys on to a piece of paper and stuck it on his desk. He used Google. In other words he had Internet access. Even without a teacher, online instructions is certainly possible. The article did not include a lot of specifics how many hours he spent playing pieces on paper, what kinds of pieces he was learning and if he used any repertoire books.

Even without a teacher, I was able to get video tutorials and songbooks from a public library and make a few photocopies. Nowadays you can download sheet music.

In my family everybody would say that you are not supposed to learn even the fundamentals without a teacher because you might do things wrong. I'm the opposite. I've seen a lot of people who learned to speak foreign languages without a teacher. When I was 11, a cousin tried to teach me a simple song on her family piano. The song has just 2 lines on the page in large print. The L has the same 3-note chords repeated over and over and the R plays 1 note at a time (4 notes together). I did learn to play a recorder. I was sitting in front of a piano with the beginner's book and couldn't do it. The hand coordination wasn't there. I think the young man has a lot of talent to be able to visualize himself playing an instrument, learn the finger sequences to songs and eventually play on a piano.

The article left some unanswered questions. Personally I wouldn't be able to learn piano well without developing a sense of touch with a real instrument from day 1. A lot of people would feel the same. In my city there are toy stores that sell electronic keyboards with around 40 keys for kids and they don't cost a lot. Might not be much but it's a start.

Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915252 11/22/19 11:19 PM
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I'm shocked no one donated a keyboard to him. If I had heard about him as a kid, I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I might have. It's a shame to let talent go to waste because of financial constraints. I'm so happy to read that it all turned out well.


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Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915266 11/23/19 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by BeeZee4


Hard to believe, isn't it?

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915267 11/23/19 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by BeeZee4
What gets me is here in America there are so many households with pianos or grand pianos that are treated as furniture and not as musical instruments. And here you have a young person who is passionate about music and not having access while learning fundamentals on his own.
There is nothing wrong with having a piano purely as furniture. And If the person didn't have that piano it wouldn't end up in the hands of the person who couldn't afford it. If no one bought pianos primarily as furniture many piano makers would go out of business.

Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915269 11/23/19 12:48 AM
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I think the title of this thread is an exaggeration, From the article the pianist reached grade 1 after practicing on his paper piano and then having a few lessons and real piano for a short period. He had some limited use of various pianos and then reached grade 5. IOW I think the story is exaggerated to make it more appealing to readers; Of course, it was still a big achievement but it was not "without a piano".

Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915278 11/23/19 01:53 AM
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We are such a cynical bunch, aren’t we? He had limited lessons and very limited exposure to a personal piano. Should we really care if he had three lessons or three months? Should we care if he had a piano for xxx days vs xxx days? What he accomplished is still amazing. All of us on these forums have it so much better no matter what we have. Has anyone here posted, ‘I have a roll up keyboard and I’m studying for Grade 4 exams.’ or ‘I’ve made my own keyboard out of paper’. No

Enough of my rant.., maybe I’m feeling a little guilty that I’ve had so much more..., and haven’t accomplished nearly enough relative to this young man. This week is Thanksgiving in the US.... time for me to be a little grateful when I play a little on my piano.

The End. My apologies again for the rant.


"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: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: dogperson] #2915299 11/23/19 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
We are such a cynical bunch, aren’t we? He had limited lessons and very limited exposure to a personal piano. Should we really care if he had three lessons or three months? Should we care if he had a piano for xxx days vs xxx days? What he accomplished is still amazing. All of us on these forums have it so much better no matter what we have. Has anyone here posted, ‘I have a roll up keyboard and I’m studying for Grade 4 exams.’ or ‘I’ve made my own keyboard out of paper’. No

Enough of my rant.., maybe I’m feeling a little guilty that I’ve had so much more..., and haven’t accomplished nearly enough relative to this young man. This week is Thanksgiving in the US.... time for me to be a little grateful when I play a little on my piano.

The End. My apologies again for the rant.

dogperson, I completely agree with you; it's indeed a bit disappointing to read some of the negative comments on here. We live in such a cynical society these days... it's almost as if people don't want to believe that this young man did something quite unusual and special in the development of his musical talent, and while under far less than ideal circumstances. We should be happy for his success, no?

Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915305 11/23/19 05:37 AM
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An acoustic piano has 88 keys and at least 2 foot pedals which we take for granted. An electronic keyboard isn't always the case, especially an old model. Once a friend brought her son to our house with a potable keyboard. This was at least 10 years ago when he was enrolled in Suzuki piano. He played "Minuet in G" from the Notebook for Anna M for us. Back then nobody in the family had enough musical training to make a fuss about the keyboard not having even 76 keys or foot pedals attachment. For the next few minutes we heard lovely playing.

10 years ago the technology wasn't as advanced. Some cheaper keyboards didn't have touch sensitivity. Today we'd consider these as toys or for people who would play a few simple pieces. My keyboard is a portable 88. At 90 lbs (just over 40 kg) I wouldn't consider it portable. It is more than 5 years old so giving it away isn't a big issue. When I got it, I wanted to be able to do serious playing so the keyboard needed to have at least 76 keys, a nice piano sound, touch sensitivity & foot pedals. I got a low-end model that had all 4 requirements.

I came across a "Williams Legato" 88 keyboard 2 years ago. It's probably the cheapest full-sized keyboard you can get. In my city there is the Freecycle Network. People who want to get rid of all sorts of stuff would put up ads online. I'd check Freecycle a few times a week to see if anybody wants to get rid of a piano. I can arrange with the owner to pick up the piano for free. Found a few free uprights (owner moving or downsizing, piano needs a new home) on Kijiji as well. You need to pay for the transportation & tuning but still a good deal.

Besides the library where I can borrow a DP for up to 2 hours a day, there is a grand piano in a bookstore I would pass by regularly. Customers do play with it but you wouldn't want to go there for practice regularly. The owner may not like the idea. I wouldn't want to show up at the same piano store to practice everyday without buying anything. A friend used to practice on another friend's piano before he got a free upright from someone moving out of town. Anybody in my city can have a piano at home for free. There are people downsizing all the time. For lessons you have to rely on online tutorials and get the most out of what is available for free. And people like Mr. G do learn on their own until they have the financial means to get a teacher.

Based on the news article, Mr. G definitely has the talent for music. What he accomplished in the first few years without a teacher and supposedly without a piano is incredible. However, having access to a free piano isn't a big deal in my city.

Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: camperbc] #2915442 11/23/19 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by camperbc
[quote=dogperson]We are such a cynical bunch, aren’t we? He had limited lessons and very limited exposure to a personal piano. Should we really care if he had three lessons or three months? Should we care if he had a piano for xxx days vs xxx days?

We live in such a cynical society these days... it's almost as if people don't want to believe that this young man did something quite unusual and special in the development of his musical talent, and while under far less than ideal circumstances. We should be happy for his success, no?



Sadly, the world as a whole is very cynical now...


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Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915454 11/23/19 12:57 PM
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I don’t think being skeptical of someone that says they reached grade 5 by practising on a drawing of a piano is something to be embarrassed about. There’s plenty of incredible and amazing stuff that happens in the world, and there is also a lot of exaggeration and half truths on the internet, even in published media outlets.

I just read a story about a 9 year old Belgian boy that is graduating with a university degree in electrical engineering who completed it in 9 months. That is very hard to believe, but also something I very much doubt they would lie about.

On the other hand a child passing grade 5 by practising on a drawing of a piano seems exactly like something that is only a half truth that just makes for a good story. Obviously he is passionate about piano and it’s a great story that he overcame his disadvantage to achieve and pursue as he is. That is a lovely story, but it doesn’t give you a free pass on incredible claims.

If that makes me a crusty old bitter cynic then so be it.

Last edited by AndrewJCW; 11/23/19 01:00 PM.
Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915461 11/23/19 01:16 PM
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The next time someone's teacher says they have to have an acoustic...

Or a grand....

With sostenuto....

Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: AndrewJCW] #2915478 11/23/19 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
... If that makes me a crusty old bitter cynic then so be it.


It does indeed.

Re: How to play the piano without a piano [Re: BeeZee4] #2915640 11/24/19 12:04 AM
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Once someone in the family went for her RCM Gr. 1 violin exam. She had the benefits of 2 years of instructions, a teacher and a violin (not a paper cutout with a ruler for a bow). The last 2 weeks she practiced frantically and made recordings with a cassette recorder to listen for mistakes. Her playing of "Minuet in G" wasn't exceptional and she barely passed the exam.

I was enrolled in music class in a public school that provided all the instruments (clarinet, saxophone, violin, cello, timpani, etc). Some who had private lessons would own their instruments. Every student had access to an instrument during the school year even when most of us didn't own an instrument. You can have an instrument at home without a teacher(self-teach) but a teacher wouldn't want you to practice on a paper cutout and visualize yourself playing the real thing.

In my part of the world there are new immigrants who arrived recently and don't have the economic means to provide computers or instruments for their kids. I often see a lineup of people at the public library waiting for their turn to get an hour of computer or piano time. There are also people with cheap keyboards at home who would prefer to practice on the better instrument in the library.

An option for a piano would be posting an ad online on the Freecycle Network or Kijiji for a piano. I'm sure people who are downsizing would be more than willing to give it away. Don't forget the crowdfunding option. There are generous donors out there as long as you have a legit cause. In other words, it's not necessary to practice on a paper cutout.

It's a bit far-fetched to see someone practice their piano skills on a paper version. You wouldn't see people practice their computer skills on a paper cutout either. I'm not going to comment on someone who claimed to be able to play songs by practicing on a cutout at home. I have a roll-up piano and find it difficult to play on the flat keys. You can't get the feel of the keys without an instrument with standard-sized keys.

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