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Still discouraged #2920334 12/06/19 01:48 AM
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Mils Offline OP
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Does anyone find that because you are an adult student, that tyor teacher isn’t concerned with you perfecting a piece of music? Or, are your teachers not giving enough attention to technique?
In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.

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Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920337 12/06/19 02:19 AM
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No, I never feel that way, never! Now I have video teachers, and I send in videos and get feedback, and I never feel they take it easy with me because I am old anyway. Quite on the contrary, I get honest feedback and I feel the teachers are engaged in my progress.

Have you ever talked with your teacher how you feel? Maybe there is just some misunderstanding there. For instance, the teacher's experience with adult students is that they quit, and the teacher thinks that if they take it easy with you, the chances are better that you don't quit.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920338 12/06/19 02:22 AM
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Hi Mils
Teachers can have different goals for having you learn music which can offer not include perfecting it. For instance, if a piece is assigned so you can learn dotted rhythms, your teacher might consider the piece is completed when you can play the right notes and the new skill of the dotted rhythm. The time may not be spent to perfect it because a new skill is waiting to be learned in another piece of music.

Sometimes a piece may not be perfected because you have learned what you need at that point of time and don’t yet have all the skills to really master it.

Really, what works best is to start communicating with your teacher. Wonder why you are moving on from a piece? Ask. If you like a piece well enough where you would like to perfect it? Talk about it.

I’m sure you have a reason for thinking you aren’t learning enough technique. Is it that enough time isn’t being spent in a new skill? Ask for more pieces with the particular element or another demonstration/explanation. Talking can work out a lot of questions; this advice doesn’t apply to beginners but to all of us no matter what the level. You can help turn frustration into success.

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920341 12/06/19 02:52 AM
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Sorry for the extra note: you mentioned in another post that you felt your 30 min lessons were not long enough. Are you able financially to have a longer lesson? I think it will tremendously help your feelings of frustration because you will have more time for questions and teacher demonstrations. When I extended my lesson time, I felt a huge sense of relief since we no longer felt rushed.

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920351 12/06/19 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Mils

In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.


Hold it there. You say you feel "ridiculous" going to lessons and struggling with pieces 7 year olds play easily. That my friend is your own insecurity talking. I am in the same boat as you. A lone adult in a sea of elementary and high school children much better than I. But what of it? Don't go into this comparing yourself to anybody else. Your there to learn piano for yourself in your own way. Even 7 year olds have a price to pay to keep moving forward, and maybe yours is double the hours a piece than someone else. Who cares? That's a distraction. Do your best to focus on you. Your motivation to play piano is your own and take ownership of that and be OK 100% with it. Then, when you go to lessons or recitals you will feel confident and secure in what you want out of it. Focus on the steps in front of you not the summit. As others said, communicate with your teacher and stay in your own head. It's not an easy road, but if you understand this and focus it will help you feel good about the many, many small gains and that is what propels you forward to keep going and enjoy the process.

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920354 12/06/19 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Mils
Does anyone find that because you are an adult student, that tyor teacher isn’t concerned with you perfecting a piece of music? Or, are your teachers not giving enough attention to technique?
In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.

Absolutely. Teachers are human and are involved in a business. The "business" of teaching changes everything. I've noticed, in more than one studio (and this cuts across all types of teaching activities, such as sports), that teachers favor those that they believe can win trophies, get the attention of parents,, and bring in parents who are willing to spend money so their child also becomes a winner. It's the nature of the business. I saw it clearly in a martial arts school that I once belonged to a well as music teachers. Money affects behavior. One expensive music school in my area auditions students for entrance presumably to cull out students that do not meet their criteria. Music for the elite who have the big bucks.

As for lessons themselves, it is completely arbitrary, and a business decision to insist on lessons ever well. Teachers are working for their living, and whether or not the additional lesson is needed or helpful to the student, adult or child, is irrelevant. What is the priority is the hourly slot is filled on a weekly basis. I completely understand such policies but I also understand that students are paying for time that they don't really need. This is one of the reasons I do self-study. I dislike wasting large amounts of money. In my area teachers are charging $80-$100 for a reserved slot.

Teachers are not infallible gods, they are ordinary people who are in the business of teaching, and often the business gets precedence over the student.

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Richrf] #2920361 12/06/19 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Mils
Does anyone find that because you are an adult student, that tyor teacher isn’t concerned with you perfecting a piece of music? Or, are your teachers not giving enough attention to technique?
In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.

Absolutely. Teachers are human and are involved in a business. The "business" of teaching changes everything. I've noticed, in more than one studio (and this cuts across all types of teaching activities, such as sports), that teachers favor those that they believe can win trophies, get the attention of parents,, and bring in parents who are willing to spend money so their child also becomes a winner. It's the nature of the business. I saw it clearly in a martial arts school that I once belonged to a well as music teachers. Money affects behavior. One expensive music school in my area auditions students for entrance presumably to cull out students that do not meet their criteria. Music for the elite who have the big bucks.

As for lessons themselves, it is completely arbitrary, and a business decision to insist on lessons ever well. Teachers are working for their living, and whether or not the additional lesson is needed or helpful to the student, adult or child, is irrelevant. What is the priority is the hourly slot is filled on a weekly basis. I completely understand such policies but I also understand that students are paying for time that they don't really need. This is one of the reasons I do self-study. I dislike wasting large amounts of money. In my area teachers are charging $80-$100 for a reserved slot.

Teachers are not infallible gods, they are ordinary people who are in the business of teaching, and often the business gets precedence over the student.


Hi RichF
There are a number of pianists here who have studied with or are studying with teachers and are very happy with that decision. Therefore when these members see a post, the first knee-jerk response was often ‘get a teacher’. We’ve had a lot of discussions about this and have a general agreement that this is discouraging to those that are self-teaching and the number of ‘get a teacher’ automatic replies has really decreased.

I hope you can recognize as well that self study works well for you but will not work for everyone ..Lessons are necessary for some people. Teachers are good for some students. We are not a one-size fits all

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920368 12/06/19 08:14 AM
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We all move at our own pace.

You might want to work with your teacher to choose a piece that you target for perfection. Many pieces just aren't worth it, but when you find a keeper it can be pretty fun.


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Re: Still discouraged [Re: Richrf] #2920370 12/06/19 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Mils
Does anyone find that because you are an adult student, that tyor teacher isn’t concerned with you perfecting a piece of music? Or, are your teachers not giving enough attention to technique?
In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.

Absolutely. Teachers are human and are involved in a business. The "business" of teaching changes everything. I've noticed, in more than one studio (and this cuts across all types of teaching activities, such as sports), that teachers favor those that they believe can win trophies, get the attention of parents,, and bring in parents who are willing to spend money so their child also becomes a winner. It's the nature of the business. I saw it clearly in a martial arts school that I once belonged to a well as music teachers. Money affects behavior. One expensive music school in my area auditions students for entrance presumably to cull out students that do not meet their criteria. Music for the elite who have the big bucks.

As for lessons themselves, it is completely arbitrary, and a business decision to insist on lessons ever well. Teachers are working for their living, and whether or not the additional lesson is needed or helpful to the student, adult or child, is irrelevant. What is the priority is the hourly slot is filled on a weekly basis. I completely understand such policies but I also understand that students are paying for time that they don't really need. This is one of the reasons I do self-study. I dislike wasting large amounts of money. In my area teachers are charging $80-$100 for a reserved slot.

Teachers are not infallible gods, they are ordinary people who are in the business of teaching, and often the business gets precedence over the student.

Richrf, I think your missed our endless debate thread. Screaming into the thread is a good place for members to get out their "get a teacher" angst, or in your case, the "fire your teacher" angst smile That way we don't overwhelm new members with such "endless debates."


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920376 12/06/19 08:57 AM
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Is this a new teacher?

I think what's happening is that you seem to be going into your lessons thinking "a good teacher should/will do xyz". Then, when the teacher doesn't automatically do those things, you get frustrated and question their teaching ability. The thing to remember is that there are MANY different teaching methods and every student learns in a different way. Teachers are (should be) adaptable to different students' needs and wants, but it takes a few lessons for them to identify what those needs and wants are. Some students may get intimidated and bored with a lot of technique. You may like it. Just because your teacher tries the first way (less technique) first, doesn't mean they don't know how to teach it. They're just testing things out to find what works for you since they don't know you. Getting frustrated with this would be like going to a teacher wanting to learn pop music, not telling them that's your goal, and then getting frustrated when they pull out a classical music book.

You need to talk to your teacher. Clearly lay out what your goals are and what you're looking for in your lessons. That will take a lot of the trial and error out of the classes for the teacher, and get you started with what you want quicker.

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920378 12/06/19 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Mils
Does anyone find that because you are an adult student, that tyor teacher isn’t concerned with you perfecting a piece of music? Or, are your teachers not giving enough attention to technique?
In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.

In my case it's the opposite, my piano teacher sometimes behaves as if I was going to be a professional musician...so there are many kinds of teachers.

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920384 12/06/19 09:38 AM
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I have several comments:

1) I agree with a previous poster that you might be experiencing some insecurity. I’ll be sitting my RCM Prep B exam in January among a sea of 4, 5, 6 year olds. When I arrive at the exam centre, which is a music school, I’m sure I will be mistaken for a parent, instead of an examinee. Well, I’ve got to be ok with that. Sure it bothers me but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for doing what I really want, which is sitting the exams. I did book an exam centre far away from my community though. If I’m going to look foolish, I want to look foolish in front of strangers. That’s how I cope with it. Maybe you can find a coping mechanism too? For example, find a teacher who works out of his own home studio or a teacher that comes to your home so you won’t be in a sea of kids?

2) This is related to #1. You have to accept that you will struggle with easy pieces at the beginning. I am doing Prep B as I mentioned above and to me that’s embarrassing but I still tell people like I’m not embarrassed. Why? Because I chose to do this, really want it and I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I’ll get there. So will you but you must overcome the toughest part, which is being a beginner. Yesterday I saw a bit of light... my teacher said we should move on to grade 1 even before my exam. I secretly smiled from within because I’m finally moving out of kindergarten!

3) This is related to #1 & 2 above. I just took a quick glance at your previous thread titles and they're generally of disappointment. Maybe there’s more to your disappointment and frustration than just piano? I certainly have a whole bunch of baggage to deal with but for me my piano and music are my therapy. I cannot let it stress me out! If I let it, what else will I have to make me happy in life? Not much unfortunately. You might be like me, a perfectionist. When something is not perfect, I get super disappointed and frustrated and give up. It’s an all or nothing for me. I’m trying to change that attitude.

3) If you can afford it, 45 minute lessons are a minimum in my opinion. I find that with 45 minutes, I only have time to go over repertoire, ask questions and practice a bit of technique. I don’t know how that can be accomplished in less time (eg., 30 minutes). In fact, I don’t even get theory, sight reading or ear training in that 45 minute lesson. Simply not enough time! I have to book extra 45 minute lessons if I want that extra stuff.

4) Maybe you do need a new teacher (again). I don’t remember your previous thread(s) very much so forgive me if you already have a new teacher. Sometimes you need to go through a few before you find a good fit.

Good luck. It sounds like you want to seriously succeed but have some stuff to work through.

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920385 12/06/19 09:54 AM
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Oops, I forgot to answer your first 2 questions because I saw so much other “stuff” behind those questions. Sorry.

Originally Posted by Mils
Does anyone find that because you are an adult student, that tyor teacher isn’t concerned with you perfecting a piece of music? Or, are your teachers not giving enough attention to technique?
In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.


No and no. My teacher is preparing me for RCM exams so we do lots of technique. She wants me to do well even though we both know this is just a hobby for me. Sometimes I think, “Why is she making me do all this technique stuff, I’m only in Prep B! The examiners must not care at this level.” Of course, she says that they may not care now, but they will later so I must start early and get a good foundation.

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920386 12/06/19 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[quote=Richrf][quote=Mils]Does anyone find that because you are an adult student, that tyor teacher isn’t concerned with you perfecting a piece of music? Or, are your teachers not giving enough attention to technique?
In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.

Richrf, I think your missed our endless debate thread. Screaming into the thread is a good place for members to get out their "get a teacher" angst, or in your case, the "fire your teacher" angst smile That way we don't overwhelm new members with such "endless debates."


The only reason I responded was because once again the OP was being blamed for a problem that is pervasive in music teaching and elsewhere.

It's not about firing the teacher, it is a reality check on the music teaching business which is necessarily distorted by the objective to make a living. I never knew what good technique was until I accidently saw a child who was being taught good technique which was nothing like what I was being taught. Yes, I fired the teacher. I don't mind getting the short stick but I want a big discount. In this regard, YouTube is a great leveler. Everyone gets to see the same thing.

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920387 12/06/19 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Mils
Does anyone find that because you are an adult student, that tyor teacher isn’t concerned with you perfecting a piece of music? Or, are your teachers not giving enough attention to technique?
In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.


I looked over your other threads and found that they all involve pretty much the same theme.

You feel like you are not being taught correctly and/or you are a very bad learner with little hope of learning to play.

In other words …. you are not happy with how fast you are learning.

In my opinion, you need to decide if you want to learn to play badly enough to do what "experts" tell you to do without questioning things each time progress does not match your expectations.

Forget how well you are doing and just keep plugging along doing what your teacher asks you to do to the best of your ability without trying to blame someone else (teacher) when things do not go well.

Then, years from now …. you will be able to play a few things in a manner that pleases you.

Good Luck


Don

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Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920391 12/06/19 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by dmd
Forget how well you are doing and just keep plugging along doing what your teacher asks you to do to the best of your ability without trying to blame someone else (teacher) when things do not go well.

Then, years from now …. you will be able to play a few things in a manner that pleases you.

This makes me think of when your children bring home their drawings from school:

[Linked Image]

and you praise them and post them on the refrigerator.

And after some time, those drawings make way for other drawings of progressively greater sophistication and artistry, and you praise them, take down some older ones off the refrigerator and post the new ones.

Isn't it just human to progress this way? Step by step?


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"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: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920412 12/06/19 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Mils
Does anyone find that because you are an adult student, that your teacher isn’t concerned with you perfecting a piece of music? Or, are your teachers not giving enough attention to technique?
In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.


Short off - This is impossible to answer properly as is, because it requires an exploration. I was in a situation 15 years ago when I first took lessons: my fellow student/friend had her experience, and others I've talked to since. There is a lot to unravel, and the only way to do so is by exploring things. Anything else risks falling into assumptions.

I would say (for me) perfecting a piece is not the point. Developing skills, sufficiently, is the point. The piece is your practice field for the skills. There are a few traps right there. We can grasp things quickly with our intellect, and have a sense of how they should sound - so we can end up seeming to "grasp" more than we do (with our minds, but not untrained bodies), and we may fool the teacher in what we produce. So the teacher goes too fast, skims the surface, and you feel you're missing something. Which you can be. But perfecting the piece (without the skills) will just get you feeling inadequate and frustrated. (2) Many teachers fear insulting their students by doing very fundamental skill-things that they might do with the little kids. The "like a 7 year old" thing. Teachers have complained that when they want to give their adult students foundations, the students come in trying to impress them with the fancy stuff they've done with the piece, but haven't touched the foundations. Or have done a different fancier piece than the one assigned. I believe there is often a need for dialogue to find out what goals can be, what it's about etc., so that you're on the same page.

My first teacher and I spent 3 - 4 years guessing about each other. We were perpetually in a "state of wonder": wondering why the other was doing what they did. Once we talked it out, it turned out that we had the same goals, which he had not dared give me under the assumption that these things would turn me off. What a waste of years!

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2920424 12/06/19 01:00 PM
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Probably the majority who took lessons as a child don't end up as a profession musician. I know 2 people who were enrolled in Suzuki violin & piano as a child. Both ended up with careers away from music but still play regularly.

The first and the last thing is to assume children learn faster. There are adults who studied abroad and picked up foreign languages along the way. At age 5, mom took me to piano lessons which lasted for a month. All I could remember was finding the Mid-C. I could barely play "Twinkle". At age 35 I learned "Minuet in G" on my own. Coming from a non-musical family, nobody around would admit they took / are taking piano lessons. At family gatherings, there is the embarrassment of admitting you play but not very good. The people around would rather be spending hours in front of their electronic devices. I don't have problems sitting in front of a street piano and playing intermediate level pieces. As adults we picked up a lot of life experiences along the way. Even when I'm not at a piano, I'd be listening to pieces on the radio and analyzing them.

A teacher is like a mentor. Today we can get all sorts of info online. I'm doing a lot more learning on my own while picking up as much as I can off a teacher. There are pieces I downloaded off the Internet and learn on my own. After playing piano / keyboard for a while, you know the types of music you like to get into and the level of the pieces you can handle. Never feel you have to push yourself to get to the next level. You know when you are ready for specific pieces that are challenging.

2 weeks ago I visited an old friend. In his 90s he still play piano at home once in a while. I picked up the song "Georgia" recently and played it on his piano. A lot of kids get into piano because of their parents and they play their pieces like academic exercises. At 90 the old man is still playing and getting the satisfaction out of it..

Re: Still discouraged [Re: Mils] #2923047 12/15/19 06:57 AM
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It sounds like you need to talk to your teacher and let him/her know what you are aiming for. Be specific. "I want to perfect this piece" is too general. Look at where in the piece you don't like your currently playing, e.g. my left hand is too loud, I always mess the notes up in this section, I can't seem to join these notes here etc.

Today, I went to my teacher and asked him to help me with my left thumb. We spent an entire lesson exploring the thumbs. The conclusion is due to my relatively shorter thumbs and being double jointed, it may work more in my favour if I play higher from the keyboard. Then we applied that and experiment using some scales. Then we experiment it on a piece I'm revisiting. This is my 9th year of lessons, and I'm working on my thumbs.

Thinking back, this is not the first time, and it's not just the thumbs. I have spent lessons solving problems with my 2nd finger, 3rd finger, 4th finger and 5th fingers. There were lessons on arm rotations (lots of them), playing at the tip of the fingers, playing with the finger pads, sitting positions, elbow positions etc. You'd think these are sorted in the first few years but my experience taught me otherwise. We always go back to the basics.

Perfecting a piece, if there's such a thing, is to be done during my practise time. I see my teacher as being there to teach me what and how to practice, help solve my problems and show me what to aim for. There are also limitation on how far I can get with a piece due to the limitation of my techniques. Once that limitation is reached, there's no point going any further with that piece. When I have learned new techniques or improved existing ones that I think I can apply to a piece I've learned, I'd revisit that piece with my teacher to bring it up to the next level. For instance, every year I'd go back to Mozart's Sonata K330. Every few years I'd revisit Rachmaninov's G minor prelude. I've also revisited Beethoven's Pathetique sonata, Chopin's Raindrop Prelude etc. Perfecting a piece takes a lifetime, at least for me it is.

That's my 2 cents. Good luck!


Be yourself

Re: Still discouraged [Re: outo] #2924521 12/18/19 09:22 PM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 61
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Mils Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 61
Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by Mils
Does anyone find that because you are an adult student, that tyor teacher isn’t concerned with you perfecting a piece of music? Or, are your teachers not giving enough attention to technique?
In addition to feeling ridiculous about going for lessons and sometimes struggling with pieces that 7 year olds are playing with ease, I don’t know if I’m getting what I should be out of lessons and I wonder if it’s because teachers figure, well, you're old, it’s not like you’re going to play piano for a living or apply to Julliard.

In my case it's the opposite, my piano teacher sometimes behaves as if I was going to be a professional musician...so there are many kinds of teachers.

I wish that were the case. I may be searching for teacher number 3.


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