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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: dogperson] #2946410 02/13/20 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by LarryK
My classical guitar ensemble teacher was complaining to me the other day about how he had students who were trying to get through their studies on $500 factory built guitars. Their parents are paying $50k a year in tuition fees at a top music school! It doesn’t make sense for someone who is studying an instrument seriously to play on a substandard instrument. I started on a $900 guitar, then went to $2k, then $6k, then $10k, and I have arrived, the guitar is better than I am and it is a joy to play.

Parents can be really cheap in terms of buying instruments, because, after all, they’re not playing them.

Piano lessons are probably around $5k a year, so, not cheap, so I don’t feel any hesitation in paying the big bucks for a quality piano.

If I need the sostenuto pedal at some point, I’ll sell the DYUS1 and buy a D3SX ENPRO grand. smile


I wouldn’t assume that it is only cheap parents who don’t buy a better instrument: am I wrong, or couldn’t some of these cases be scholarship students without significant external financial support? ? $2000 may be over the parents’ or students’ financial means. Teachers do not teach for free, nor should they.


Generally speaking, in order to gain admission to one of these music schools, your parents must have the financial resources to pay for about ten years of private lessons. So, I would say that most are not scholarship students, although a few might be. Teachers don't teach for free, nor should they.

Last edited by LarryK; 02/13/20 01:26 PM.

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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: LarryK] #2946425 02/13/20 02:25 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by dogperson
I wouldn’t assume that it is only cheap parents who don’t buy a better instrument: am I wrong, or couldn’t some of these cases be scholarship students without significant external financial support? ? $2000 may be over the parents’ or students’ financial means. Teachers do not teach for free, nor should they.
Generally speaking, in order to gain admission to one of these music schools, your parents must have the financial resources to pay for about ten years of private lessons. So, I would say that most are not scholarship students, although a few might be. Teachers don't teach for free, nor should they.

In Russia before 1991, attending music schools was free - the salaries of the teachers were paid by the State. Of course, everything is different now.


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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2946426 02/13/20 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by dogperson
I wouldn’t assume that it is only cheap parents who don’t buy a better instrument: am I wrong, or couldn’t some of these cases be scholarship students without significant external financial support? ? $2000 may be over the parents’ or students’ financial means. Teachers do not teach for free, nor should they.
Generally speaking, in order to gain admission to one of these music schools, your parents must have the financial resources to pay for about ten years of private lessons. So, I would say that most are not scholarship students, although a few might be. Teachers don't teach for free, nor should they.

In Russia before 1991, attending music schools was free - the salaries of the teachers were paid by the State. Of course, everything is changed now.


Indeed, and something that certainly helped my teacher when the gates to the West were opened.

Alas, nothing like that exists in America, as far as I know, and I suppose it no longer exists in Russia, but I don’t know that for a fact.

The incredible thing is that music schools are full of students even though the ability to command a decent wage, after graduation, is difficult.

Last edited by LarryK; 02/13/20 02:29 PM.

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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Brinestone] #2946448 02/13/20 03:26 PM
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I anticipated lessons as a teen, if only because my teacher had a grand, a Norheimer, if memory serves, no more than 6 feet. When my parents coughed up for a Kawai grand, my eagerness abated. For better or worse, many parents refuse to fork out for a real piano when the kid may give up after a year.

Understandable.

Sure, a Steinway B ... or God forbid... a D... would be great for SOME students. But, then again, that Steinway better be in good condition... well-regulated and well-tuned most of the time ... or you're wasting your money.

I saw a YT video of Benjamin Grosvenor practicing, as a child, on a Roland or Yamaha synth. The action would have been pretty weird, but not completely different from playing an organ.

Which suggests a limit: I think it would be pretty hard to get the hang of a Chopin Nocturne on an organ, or organ-like instrument (which includes most electronic pianos.) I could be wrong.....


J. S. Bach Well-tempered Clavier, complete preludes and fugues (with significant MIDI analysis):

https://soundcloud.com/johnlgrant



Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Brinestone] #2946472 02/13/20 04:29 PM
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Some students will want you to have a Steinway grand, some won't care. These are different kinds of people, with different values. If you don't have a Steinway grand, either save up for one, or find some other aspect of your teaching that you can stand behind proudly, and try to attract those kinds of students.

Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: LarryK] #2946522 02/13/20 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Quality instruments matter, and they inspire. I have yet to hear a digital piano that inspires me. It’s not about being entertained, it’s about seeing the potential in a high quality piano, and my teacher shows me that potential when she plays my simple pieces on her grand. After I hear how they can sound, I try to approach that ideal when I play the same pieces.

Larry, we just hammered through some things in the ABF around violins, so you know that I got hurt both by a bad instrument and poorly thought out teaching. So you'll know that I'm not insensitive to sufficient quality of an instrument. I'd like to explore this in more depth.

First thing: I like to see the potential in me as a student, rather than the potential in the instrument. That is where potential lies. In this regard, I don't want my instrument to hamper what I can learn to do - more on this later. The quality of the teacher, however, comes above the quality of the instrument he has, because it is the teacher who can unlock my potential through what and how he teaches - or throw me under the bus.

I don't know how far along you are in your piano studies, so some or all of what I mention may be things you already know. Here are the things that allow me technically to bring out the music on the piano: dynamics, as in phrasing, cresc. etc. and also voicing between "voices": timing incl. agogic accents, and articulation which is in part timing; pedal - and that's a biggy. The shades of sound you can get through pedal comes close to what you can get via the violin bow. How much do you blend 2 or more notes for what effect? "half pedal", what we have dubbed "quick pedal" etc. I, as student need to get the skill to do this, the knowledge of where to apply it, and the ears to hear it. My teacher must know how to bring these across to me, and when in my journey; and s/he has to know these things in the first place. Mediocre teaching with a wondrous instrument is a waste of my time. The teaching comes first.

Quote
and my teacher shows me that potential when she plays my simple pieces on her grand. After I hear how they can sound, I try to approach that ideal when I play the same pieces.


Two things with this. First: I am impressed when a teacher takes a "simple piece" I am working on, with whatever instrument, and the teacher draws things out of the piece with that instrument, and then also teaches me what specific things I need to do to start creating music out of that piece. Well, that's actually two things. I can give a couple of examples, from the time when I had a cheaper digital piano. In this case I learned to create the illusion of crescendo in the main voice, in the "usual" higher registers, where those notes were often long notes - on piano you cannot alter the dynamics of a note once you played it - by having the LH swell gradually. The listener's ear hears an effect. 2. On another occasion, where there was a series of even notes in the LH, I learned to bring out the "significant" notes, not just by dynamics, but through pedal - depending on where you pedal, one of two notes will last twice as long as the other, and become prominent.

Meanwhile, when I had to choose between two violins I brought them to a teacher I trusted, and he confirmed my choice. I commented, "You bring out a much better sound than I can." He said, "Of course, because I know how to do things that you still have to learn." i.e. a good instrument by itself is only a fraction of the story.

At present I have a "hybrid" - a Kawai CA97. I cannot have an acoustic where I live. There was another that sounded better: this one functions better, which I need for my learning. The behaviour of the keys in how they move under the fingers, including that little "catch" with grands also have, as well as the electronic response that was built in. My cheap DP forced me to push down almost all the way which created poor habits. But the upright that I had played on, with its sticky keys, uneven action, sluggish pedal, was worse. The soft pedal behaves like a grand soft pedal. You get an altered quality of sound mimicking that of a grand, rather than "quieter" as per uprights.

Quote
After hearing my teacher call my keyboard a "gadget" week after week, I couldn't get rid of it soon enough....

This brings about multiple concerns. The first is the possible and maybe even probably lack of knowledge about digital pianos. This is a concern I have seen expressed by some good teachers about their colleagues. Teachers are "advising" students about digital pianos when they literally know nothing about them. Well wait, you said "keyboard". Did you have a keyboard, or a digital piano? If your teacher actually played your "keyboard" (or dp) then he'd be more likely to know whether it's a gadget. But if it were a blanket statement, that is problematic.

There are also students who for one reason or another can only have a digital piano. In that case, I'd like the teacher to be competent enough to advise and guide the student, so the teacher should also know something about them. Many do not. Personally I would not want to have an upright instead of my hybrid. In the best of worlds I'd have a quality grand piano, checked out by a teacher I'm with and/or maybe a trustworthy tech, that gets well maintained, as often as needed, with competent people in the area that can do that maintaining. As it is, I can scoot over to the local Yamaha store, rent time on their grand for some extra practising, bolstered by what I'm learning on my hybrid dp, which I can do because of the similarity of the piano's behaviour. .... I work with a teacher who played grand pianos first, still praises a good quality grand to high heaven and nothing can replace this, but also is fully knowledgeable about the other kinds of pianos. That includes knowing what to look for in a dp, what to avoid, and this is also so for both types of acoustics.

Well, this got too long. But it is also a big topic. One sees too much quick reaction around it, often without much research.

Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Brinestone] #2946524 02/13/20 06:17 PM
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I'm loving the responses. Lots of very reasonable, thoughtful posts. Thanks, all!

I think I would like a baby grand someday, but I realized looking at this older one that when I get one, I want to spend more and get one I'm really excited about rather than one that is better than my piano in ways and worse in others. And I may want to wait until I have a studio big enough for both the baby grand and my upright because the upright was a gift from my beloved and belated granny, and it made me sad to think of selling it to make room for a piano without as much sentimental value to me.


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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: keystring] #2946679 02/14/20 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by LarryK
Quality instruments matter, and they inspire. I have yet to hear a digital piano that inspires me. It’s not about being entertained, it’s about seeing the potential in a high quality piano, and my teacher shows me that potential when she plays my simple pieces on her grand. After I hear how they can sound, I try to approach that ideal when I play the same pieces.

Larry, we just hammered through some things in the ABF around violins, so you know that I got hurt both by a bad instrument and poorly thought out teaching. So you'll know that I'm not insensitive to sufficient quality of an instrument. I'd like to explore this in more depth.

First thing: I like to see the potential in me as a student, rather than the potential in the instrument. That is where potential lies. In this regard, I don't want my instrument to hamper what I can learn to do - more on this later. The quality of the teacher, however, comes above the quality of the instrument he has, because it is the teacher who can unlock my potential through what and how he teaches - or throw me under the bus.

I don't know how far along you are in your piano studies, so some or all of what I mention may be things you already know. Here are the things that allow me technically to bring out the music on the piano: dynamics, as in phrasing, cresc. etc. and also voicing between "voices": timing incl. agogic accents, and articulation which is in part timing; pedal - and that's a biggy. The shades of sound you can get through pedal comes close to what you can get via the violin bow. How much do you blend 2 or more notes for what effect? "half pedal", what we have dubbed "quick pedal" etc. I, as student need to get the skill to do this, the knowledge of where to apply it, and the ears to hear it. My teacher must know how to bring these across to me, and when in my journey; and s/he has to know these things in the first place. Mediocre teaching with a wondrous instrument is a waste of my time. The teaching comes first.

Quote
and my teacher shows me that potential when she plays my simple pieces on her grand. After I hear how they can sound, I try to approach that ideal when I play the same pieces.


Two things with this. First: I am impressed when a teacher takes a "simple piece" I am working on, with whatever instrument, and the teacher draws things out of the piece with that instrument, and then also teaches me what specific things I need to do to start creating music out of that piece. Well, that's actually two things. I can give a couple of examples, from the time when I had a cheaper digital piano. In this case I learned to create the illusion of crescendo in the main voice, in the "usual" higher registers, where those notes were often long notes - on piano you cannot alter the dynamics of a note once you played it - by having the LH swell gradually. The listener's ear hears an effect. 2. On another occasion, where there was a series of even notes in the LH, I learned to bring out the "significant" notes, not just by dynamics, but through pedal - depending on where you pedal, one of two notes will last twice as long as the other, and become prominent.

Meanwhile, when I had to choose between two violins I brought them to a teacher I trusted, and he confirmed my choice. I commented, "You bring out a much better sound than I can." He said, "Of course, because I know how to do things that you still have to learn." i.e. a good instrument by itself is only a fraction of the story.

At present I have a "hybrid" - a Kawai CA97. I cannot have an acoustic where I live. There was another that sounded better: this one functions better, which I need for my learning. The behaviour of the keys in how they move under the fingers, including that little "catch" with grands also have, as well as the electronic response that was built in. My cheap DP forced me to push down almost all the way which created poor habits. But the upright that I had played on, with its sticky keys, uneven action, sluggish pedal, was worse. The soft pedal behaves like a grand soft pedal. You get an altered quality of sound mimicking that of a grand, rather than "quieter" as per uprights.

Quote
After hearing my teacher call my keyboard a "gadget" week after week, I couldn't get rid of it soon enough....

This brings about multiple concerns. The first is the possible and maybe even probably lack of knowledge about digital pianos. This is a concern I have seen expressed by some good teachers about their colleagues. Teachers are "advising" students about digital pianos when they literally know nothing about them. Well wait, you said "keyboard". Did you have a keyboard, or a digital piano? If your teacher actually played your "keyboard" (or dp) then he'd be more likely to know whether it's a gadget. But if it were a blanket statement, that is problematic.

There are also students who for one reason or another can only have a digital piano. In that case, I'd like the teacher to be competent enough to advise and guide the student, so the teacher should also know something about them. Many do not. Personally I would not want to have an upright instead of my hybrid. In the best of worlds I'd have a quality grand piano, checked out by a teacher I'm with and/or maybe a trustworthy tech, that gets well maintained, as often as needed, with competent people in the area that can do that maintaining. As it is, I can scoot over to the local Yamaha store, rent time on their grand for some extra practising, bolstered by what I'm learning on my hybrid dp, which I can do because of the similarity of the piano's behaviour. .... I work with a teacher who played grand pianos first, still praises a good quality grand to high heaven and nothing can replace this, but also is fully knowledgeable about the other kinds of pianos. That includes knowing what to look for in a dp, what to avoid, and this is also so for both types of acoustics.

Well, this got too long. But it is also a big topic. One sees too much quick reaction around it, often without much research.


Thank you for your detailed response. I don’t mean to sound so judgmental with regards to digital pianos and yes, some of them are better than bad uprights. My friend with 50 years of playing behind him, and a degree in composition, loves his Yamaha NU1 and doesn’t understand why I want hammers and strings.

Well, I’m an analog guy when it comes to instruments. I tried and gave up on electric guitars, amplifiers, and complicated signal chains. I just play a nylon stringed classical guitar. Think Segovia. On the classical guitar, my only tone or volume controls are my hands. It’s kind of like that on an acoustic piano.

I’m also just relating my experiences adapting to my Russian teacher. She’s an incredible player and attended the Gnessin institute in Moscow at 5 years of age and graduated from the Moscow Conservatory and was a professional harpsichord player. She has wonderful taste in music and a beautiful tone. She also likes to teach adults which is great because I’m an adult, lol.

By the way, her use of the word “gadget” may not have been meant in a disparaging way, it is probably how I assumed it was meant, but it could be her lack of ability to come up with another word. She is kind of old school and that means an acoustic piano.

Quality instruments help release the potential in students. Poor instruments can hamper the development of a student.

Like they say in photography, any camera is better than no camera, so, any piano is better than no piano. I had no piano growing up and I am sad about that but I can’t change the past. I can only try to change the future. I wish everyone well in their studies no matter what instrument they own.

Last edited by LarryK; 02/14/20 06:50 AM.

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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: LarryK] #2946695 02/14/20 07:28 AM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by LarryK
After hearing my teacher call my keyboard a "gadget" week after week, I couldn't get rid of it soon enough....
If your teacher actually played your "keyboard" (or dp) then he'd be more likely to know whether it's a gadget. But if it were a blanket statement, that is problematic.
By the way, her use of the word “gadget” may not have been meant in a disparaging way, it is probably how I assumed it was meant, but it could be her lack of ability to come up with another word. She is kind of old school and that means an acoustic piano.

Such an innocent boy! 😂 I'd bet dollars to donuts, she meant it to be dismissive, disparaging, or condescending.

To better understand your teacher, I highly recommend this course: Understanding Russians: Contexts of Intercultural Communication.

(Signed the guy with a Russian spouse these last last 26 years.)


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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: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2946707 02/14/20 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by LarryK
After hearing my teacher call my keyboard a "gadget" week after week, I couldn't get rid of it soon enough....
If your teacher actually played your "keyboard" (or dp) then he'd be more likely to know whether it's a gadget. But if it were a blanket statement, that is problematic.
By the way, her use of the word “gadget” may not have been meant in a disparaging way, it is probably how I assumed it was meant, but it could be her lack of ability to come up with another word. She is kind of old school and that means an acoustic piano.

Such an innocent boy! 😂 I'd bet dollars to donuts, she meant it to be dismissive, disparaging, or condescending.

To better understand your teacher, I highly recommend this course: Understanding Russians: Contexts of Intercultural Communication.

(Signed the guy with a Russian spouse these last last 26 years.)


Hahahaha, TS, you are a treasure, and one of the main reasons I stick around here.

You are probably right, and, yes, I am a lamb among wolves when dealing with the Russians. How I ever got the courage to play for my teacher, I don’t know. I just wish I had never tried to teach myself, lol. It would have been better to have shown up at the first lesson claiming to have never touched a piano than to have shown up and played the way I did.

I need that course! Thanks for the link.

Last edited by LarryK; 02/14/20 08:33 AM.

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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Brinestone] #2946719 02/14/20 09:01 AM
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Ok, TS, predict the future. Will my teacher love the DYUS1 or hate it? I think she’ll get a kick out of it, but I could be wrong, I often am. I am a bit terrified of showing the piano to her when it eventually shows up.

Some Russians have embraced the Disklavier. Look at this:


Last edited by LarryK; 02/14/20 09:03 AM.

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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Brinestone] #2946759 02/14/20 10:30 AM
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Larry
Don’t be terrified of showing her the piano—-you bought what will work for you, not what would work for your teacher. That is the way it should be and her opinion, if negative, shouldn’t influence your enjoyment.

If you think it will possibly dull your enthusiasm, don’t show it to her or discuss any details.


"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
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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: dogperson] #2946788 02/14/20 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Larry
Don’t be terrified of showing her the piano—-you bought what will work for you, not what would work for your teacher. That is the way it should be and her opinion, if negative, shouldn’t influence your enjoyment.

If you think it will possibly dull your enthusiasm, don’t show it to her or discuss any details.


I know, and I agree, but I can't help but hope that it is not a complete bust with my teacher. I didn't try to explain the DYUS1 to her because every time I try to explain it to someone, they get confused and don't know what it is, lol.

I spent a lot of mental effort to convince myself that there was only one piano that would meet all of my criteria. After I got to that point, it was easy to place the order, haha.


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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: LarryK] #2946837 02/14/20 01:16 PM
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Larry, thanks for responding.
Originally Posted by LarryJK
Well, I’m an analog guy when it comes to instruments. I tried and gave up on electric guitars, amplifiers, and complicated signal chains. I just play a nylon stringed classical guitar. Think Segovia. On the classical guitar, my only tone or volume controls are my hands. It’s kind of like that on an acoustic piano.

Classical guitar was my first string instrument and the book I learned on was actually written by Segovia, so I can relate to what you are saying. To this:
Quote
On the classical guitar, my only tone or volume controls are my hands. It’s kind of like that on an acoustic piano.

In playing a good digital piano, and learning to play, the only controls are also in the hands and feet. (you forgot feet wink ) Sure you can twiddle knobs and such to get this or that artificial effect. But you can also treat that piano as a piano, and as a student I would and do. The attributes or variables that I listed: volume, time (articulation), blending or dryness of sound, these are done with the hands and feet, on the keys and using the sustain pedal and perhaps the soft pedal.

Btw, you haven't actually mentioned the specifics I wrote of in regard to the components for turning music into music. This actually lies in the heart of the matter for both the:
- instrument, whether it allows for those components
- teacher, who should be teaching how to use and access these, so that you don't just hear impressive playing, but how that impressive playing is produced. I gave some examples. What are your thoughts on them.

My initial premise was that I place the quality of the teaching first and second, and the instrument the teacher plays a distant third - because it is the teaching that will ultimately allow me to produce good music on my instrument. Secondly, the instrument needs to be responsive enough in the right way so that when I try to do what I've been told to do, it will respond to that doing. What do you think of these two things?

Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Brinestone] #2946846 02/14/20 01:38 PM
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I thought yesterday of an example of learning to do, as opposed to being inspired by how nice a teacher can make the music sound, minus this part. The first example comes from violin, because these experiences shaped my ultimate attitude toward everything.

There, I had a clear vision of how I wanted the music to sound. It was an etude that focused especially on varying dynamics, and I loved this etude as music - I heard it "poignantly" in my mind. I tried and tried to bring out what I heard in my mind. In recent years I went back, have a much better violin, tried again and the results were still limited. I only knew about "bow speed" and "weight". I was better than back then, because I'd replaced the tight grip with a flexible hand. I now knew about tilt. I did not know about sounding point - it makes a whale of a difference how close you are to the bridge, combined with the other factors (speed, weight, tilt, sounding point). So of course it was a continual partial fail.

This is what I mean by being taught "how", rather than just being shown how beautiful your simple piece can be, but now what specific things go into making it beautiful. This is the teaching factor.

I've already given one example from piano: A piece that has some long melodic notes, with a crescendo marked underneath - an impossibility on piano. You cannot crescendo a half note or whole note once you have struck the key. But you can have the accompaniment gradually rise. You may (later) learn to give a particular flick of the pedal for this or that effect; choose how much you will have two notes blend, knowing why . These are all the "hows". And that depends on the teacher's teaching, and your ability to respond to it.

Btw, my dp has that sostenuto pedal, and it works. wink What you wrote:
Quote
I spent a lot of mental effort to convince myself that there was only one piano that would meet all of my criteria. After I got to that point, it was easy to place the order,

That was what I did with this last piano. I literally went back and forth between the grand pianos and this one, comparing behaviour and sensations. I'd like to be able to transition easily between my piano and an acoustic grand, and since it is designed as it is, this will let me do so. The uprights have some differences from a grand.

On the teaching front, the important thing is that my teacher has a thorough understanding not only of piano music and how to play the piano, and music, but also of instruments, and then how to teach. That means a thorough familiarity with grand pianos, as well as uprights, as well as digital pianos. So I am well advised on all fronts.

My walls, with four neighbours (either side, above below) are such that an acoustic would stay mostly unplayed. I am considering a secondary electric practice violin with ear phones for that same reason. I'm hampered big time due to the "thin walls" problem.

Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: keystring] #2946849 02/14/20 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Larry, thanks for responding.
Originally Posted by LarryK
Well, I’m an analog guy when it comes to instruments. I tried and gave up on electric guitars, amplifiers, and complicated signal chains. I just play a nylon stringed classical guitar. Think Segovia. On the classical guitar, my only tone or volume controls are my hands. It’s kind of like that on an acoustic piano.



Originally Posted by keystring

Classical guitar was my first string instrument and the book I learned on was actually written by Segovia, so I can relate to what you are saying. To this:


Do you mean the Segovia studies which were written by Fernando Sor? I am not aware of any classical guitar method books written by Segovia.

Originally Posted by LarryK
On the classical guitar, my only tone or volume controls are my hands. It’s kind of like that on an acoustic piano.


Originally Posted by keystring

In playing a good digital piano, and learning to play, the only controls are also in the hands and feet. (you forgot feet wink ) Sure you can twiddle knobs and such to get this or that artificial effect. But you can also treat that piano as a piano, and as a student I would and do. The attributes or variables that I listed: volume, time (articulation), blending or dryness of sound, these are done with the hands and feet, on the keys and using the sustain pedal and perhaps the soft pedal.


Yes, I left off feet because it didn't fit my classical guitar analogy, but, yes, feet. It is quite a shock to play a grand piano, press the left pedal, and see the whole keyboard shift right by one inch! Haha. I play with both feet now, just like how I used to drive a stick shift in a car.

It can be argued that acoustic pianos are anachronisms, but they're persistent anachronisms.

Originally Posted by keystring

Btw, you haven't actually mentioned the specifics I wrote of in regard to the components for turning music into music. This actually lies in the heart of the matter for both the:
- instrument, whether it allows for those components
- teacher, who should be teaching how to use and access these, so that you don't just hear impressive playing, but how that impressive playing is produced. I gave some examples. What are your thoughts on them.

My initial premise was that I place the quality of the teaching first and second, and the instrument the teacher plays a distant third - because it is the teaching that will ultimately allow me to produce good music on my instrument. Secondly, the instrument needs to be responsive enough in the right way so that when I try to do what I've been told to do, it will respond to that doing. What do you think of these two things?


So, my teacher demonstrates technique to me on the piano all of the time. Sure, she plays the pieces beautifully but she then shows me exactly how she wants my hands to move and she sometimes moves my hands for me in order to demonstrate how I should be moving. My old Russian violin teacher used to do the same thing to me. Studying with a Russian teacher is a hands-on experience, they don't just look at you from across the room, in my experience. While she plays, I stare at her hands from about a foot away from the keyboard. It's like looking at sleight of hand performed by a magician, lol. My teacher is all about how the music sounds, and she is tough on me with regards to being connected to the keyboard and producing a strong sound.

My teacher has already eliminated so many of my bad habits. TS will crack up about this, because I've written about it in the past, but here are some of the habits: I'd stare at the ceiling, and she would say, stop looking up there, there is nothing up there! Point taken. I'd sway like a drunk and she would say, stop moving like that! I'd become fixated on the music and she would say, stop looking at the music, there is nothing new there! Ok, point taken. Stop hovering your hands over the keyboard, move to where you need to be and adjust! Ok, point taken. In the middle of a playing a piece she's come over and push my shoulders down. I haven not forgotten that. On and on and on. Playing the piano is a physical activity and I need help with physically playing the instrument. Every lesson is a revelation to me.

I suppose the most important lesson I have learned is to play so slowly that I can execute all movements in time without stopping. I will never offend my teacher by playing too slowly, she has told me that a dozen times.

Last edited by LarryK; 02/14/20 02:02 PM.

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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Brinestone] #2946906 02/14/20 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Do you mean the Segovia studies which were written by Fernando Sor? I am not aware of any classical guitar method books written by Segovia.

That must be it. I used them in my early twenties when I entered university and have not used or seen the book for years. I am now in my 60's. I just remembered the name "Segovia". An excellent book. I was given the guitar when my parents left the piano back in the old house, and in two days I was playing the full Fuer Elise on guitar - had figured it out. The notes happen to work well with guitar. I probably transposed to a suitable key since my mind was totally in a movable Do solfege world.

[t was good to read your detailed description of how your lessons are going. It sounds like real teaching, and you are not wasting your time or money. That is always good read about.

I also figured that if you are getting insights into the playing side of piano - the technical - you'll understand the part about the instrument needing to have the attributes to be able to respond to that, and in a way not to harm the player. In my situation, the Kawai CA97 has the qualities that I can learn to play the piano, rent time on an acoustic grand, and apply the things I have learned. I'd probably be more lost if I went from it to a grand. Otoh, the first digital piano I had forced me to push the pedal almost to the floor and that gave me habits that were no good for later subtle pedaling, and it also gave me pain in my hips and back. The acoustic grand I had access to actually had a worse pedal action, if you can imagine that. The quality of your piano, and the qualities are important on the side of lessons and practising.

Quote
Playing the piano is a physical activity and I need help with physically playing the instrument. Every lesson is a revelation to me.

That's largely it for me as well. smile

Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: keystring] #2946926 02/14/20 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Do you mean the Segovia studies which were written by Fernando Sor? I am not aware of any classical guitar method books written by Segovia.


Originally Posted by keystring

That must be it. I used them in my early twenties when I entered university and have not used or seen the book for years. I am now in my 60's. I just remembered the name "Segovia". An excellent book. I was given the guitar when my parents left the piano back in the old house, and in two days I was playing the full Fuer Elise on guitar - had figured it out. The notes happen to work well with guitar. I probably transposed to a suitable key since my mind was totally in a movable Do solfege world.


Ha, wonderful! Are you still playing the classical guitar or have you switched to the violin and piano? After ten years of weekly classical guitar lessons, I have switched to every other week, and that is coming up tomorrow so I need to go practice, lol. I still practice both instruments every day. I kind of go back and forth between them like a ping pong ball.

Speaking of Für Elise, here is Igor Levit playing it on an upright piano:



along with the opening movement of the Moonlight Sonata and the Andante from the Tenth Sonata by Beethoven.

I've posted this video in the past so I hope people don't get upset at me for posting it again.

Igor has such amazing control and beautiful phrasing. I want to know what it will take to play like that! Please, somebody tell me. Haha.

Originally Posted by keystring

[t was good to read your detailed description of how your lessons are going. It sounds like real teaching, and you are not wasting your time or money. That is always good read about.

I also figured that if you are getting insights into the playing side of piano - the technical - you'll understand the part about the instrument needing to have the attributes to be able to respond to that, and in a way not to harm the player. In my situation, the Kawai CA97 has the qualities that I can learn to play the piano, rent time on an acoustic grand, and apply the things I have learned. I'd probably be more lost if I went from it to a grand. Otoh, the first digital piano I had forced me to push the pedal almost to the floor and that gave me habits that were no good for later subtle pedaling, and it also gave me pain in my hips and back. The acoustic grand I had access to actually had a worse pedal action, if you can imagine that. The quality of your piano, and the qualities are important on the side of lessons and practising.


Yes, I think I am receiving good instruction. My teacher is always pulling things out of her hat, as far as which pieces to work on in order to improve my skills. We both see that I am moving forward, and that is all that I can ask, and I am very happy that I found this teacher.

What matters is that you enjoy playing on your piano. Everybody has to decide what kind of piano makes sense for their own situation. I wish I had a way to rent time on a grand during the week. I don't think I will be able to find one to rent in my neighborhood.

Quote
Playing the piano is a physical activity and I need help with physically playing the instrument. Every lesson is a revelation to me.


Originally Posted by keystring

That's largely it for me as well. smile


I'm glad to hear that. The teacher-student relationship is a special one. I have never regretted any of the lessons I have taken.

Last edited by LarryK; 02/14/20 07:00 PM.

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Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Brinestone] #2946943 02/14/20 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryJK
Ha, wonderful! Are you still playing the classical guitar or have you switched to the violin and piano?


Well, the guitar went through a stage where I had to shake legos and crayons out of it when my tykes were little. Then the strings were "suddenly hard to play" - at this point my kids were college age, and one borrowed the neglected guitar. Discovered that my erstwhile untrained self had a) gotten gold plated strings for being "better" when they are also more rigid, b) managed to tune everything something like a 5th too high since I had only relative pitch. One of the gears is completely bent out of shape. I took it some place last year, and it would be better to replace, and with a better guitar. I think I'll turn it into a wall decoration.

Piano is going strong. I pull out my recorders from time to time (descant, also tuned to F as they are, tenor). Violin - took me a decade to take it out again and I'm tentatively in the first stages of remediation.

Quote
Speaking of Für Elise, here is Igor Levit playing it on an upright piano:


Here we have the problem of recording, which is an art by itself. There is a lot of reverb, but I am also wondering whether the recording equipment or software has the problem of "equalizer" - The dynamics are rather flat and the same, both horizontally as the music goes on, and between the voices. A lot of equipment is set up for voice and conference calls, so it amps up quiet sounds, and reduces loud sounds.

Quote
Yes, I think I am receiving good instruction. My teacher is always pulling things out of her hat, as far as which pieces to work on in order to improve my skills. We both see that I am moving forward, and that is all that I can ask, and I am very happy that I found this teacher.

The fact of moving forward is THE thing. And also, not "moving forward" in the sense of "going up grade levels" (with the same level of skills), but actually moving forward in skills and knowledge.

Quote
What matters is that you enjoy playing on your piano. Everybody has to decide what kind of piano makes sense for their own situation.

Well, if we're writing in a forum for teaching (here) or learning (ABF) I'd want to qualify that. If you want to learn how to play, then your instrument has to allow you to learn, and do so without creating injury or bad habits. I think maybe if we look at qualities of the instrument, rather than grand vs. upright vs. digital, we can start making more sense of the choices. For example, the low end 2nd piano I had, had an unresponsive pedal that you had to drive to the floor like a truck driver. This created back pain and poor habits. When we, as students, try to choose an instrument - if the teacher can't be with you, at least telling you want qualities to look and test for seems a good idea. Otherwise, how do we choose?

Quote
I wish I had a way to rent time on a grand during the week.

Maybe if you ask around? That's how I found out about the Yamaha store. I don't have a car; hate busses; am to cheap for a taxi - so I have to be able to bike there. I've only ever done it once, in an unusual circumstance. That lets me know the option exists.

Re: How much does the teacher's piano matter? [Re: Brinestone] #2946946 02/14/20 08:16 PM
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Larry, do a web-search for piano rehearsal space NYC
Here’s one—- grand in every room
https://www.244rehearsalstudiosny.com/


"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
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