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#3021954 09/06/20 12:13 PM
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At the tender young age of 67, I'm finally getting around to learning to play piano. I have no delusions of ever getting proficient; it's just another hobby to enjoy in retirement. I have a few things in my favor- I play trumpet, so I read music well. I'm left-handed, but my bass clef reading is slow. I understand scales, and some chords.

I'm starting more or less at the beginning, with a gifted piano major for a teacher. Since I can skip a lot of theory, it's mostly about where to put my fingers, and practice, practice, practice. I can already play simple quarter note chords.

I'm wondering how often I should take lessons, how long the lessons should be, and how many months/years/decades to continue lessons for. The only place I might ever play for other people would be at church, and the music would be pretty simple. We've had one 30 minute lesson so far. We're meeting via Zoom, because I have several risk factors for Covid, so I rarely leave the house.

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I am three years older than you and still taking lessons. I need the lessons not to read the notes although I often have to be reminded how to play them to improve the sound of the music. My lessons are once per week and last for forty five minutes. How often you attend will depend on how much practice and therefore progress you will make each week but as a suggestion once per week and for thirty minutes sounds about right.

Good luck with your endeavours and I hope that learning piano brings you as much joy as it does to me.

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Originally Posted by Mushcreek
I'm wondering how often I should take lessons, how long the lessons should be, and how many months/years/decades to continue lessons for. The only place I might ever play for other people would be at church, and the music would be pretty simple.


From a 75-year-old, who re-started playing at about age 67:

(a) Once a week is enough. Once every two weeks may be enough, if you can maintain a good practice regimen between lessons. (As I think about this, you'll be learning a lot of new stuff -- "weekly" is a good idea.)

(b) Lesson length -- if you're tired, you won't be learning much. Track your own concentration. An hour of concentrated instruction is a little too long for me.

(c) You're in a position where you have no external drivers. If lessons stop being enjoyable, or you have a long period of "no progress", re-evaluate what you want to study, or who you want to study it with. As long as you're having fun -- why stop?

Church is good. God is very forgiving of mistakes, and so are most co-religionists.

Enjoy yourself --


. Charles
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Hi Mushcreek, welcome to PW and to learning to play the piano!

Originally Posted by Mushcreek
I'm wondering how often I should take lessons, how long the lessons should be, and how many months/years/decades to continue lessons for. The only place I might ever play for other people would be at church, and the music would be pretty simple. We've had one 30 minute lesson so far. We're meeting via Zoom, because I have several risk factors for Covid, so I rarely leave the house.

I would recommend you to be generous with the number of lessons and the frequency in the beginning, so you'll learn the technique correctly right from the start. Maybe, because you have experience with another instrument, after a while you'll find out that you don't need as many lessons. Or, on the contrary, that there is never enough time to work with everything during the lessons. You'll notice!

For how long you should continue lessons, who can tell? It all depends on how much you enjoy practising and playing the piano, how much you like to develop further. Maybe you feel happy to play pieces on your own after a couple of years. Maybe you don't. You'll see. You just started this exciting journey. Enjoy, and see where it'll take you.


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My mum whom started about 6 months ago is having 45 mins lessons. It was definitely one of the best things I ever did for her source her a lovely teacher and buying her a digital piano (what she wanted). She practices many hours a day and is a lot happier as a person and you would be surprised at the progress she is making.

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Greetings from a 75 year old-timer in his fourth year of piano. By all means get a teacher, and you can be sure they'll welcome the difference from bored 10 years old kids.


Steinway "A" (Hamburg, 2020). Roland LX 706 (2018). Viscount Sonus 45 hybrid organ with 165 real pipes by Pesce (2019). Franco-german 1780 style harpsichord by Marc Fontaine (2020). English-school harpsichord by Jacobus Kirkmann (authentic, 1761).
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Hi, im a returner instead of a beginner and im having one 60 or 90 minute lesson every 2 to 3 weeks. I can't do it every week as im working so would not have enough time to practise.

I probably couldn't have a 90 minute lesson if i was a complete beginner as i wouldn't have enough rep to play. But i am finding the longer lessons better for me as i can get through bits of more than one piece and can try them out several times.

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I took lessons sometimes more than once a week in the beginning when I returned to piano at 40. We didn't always treat them as lessons, with assignments to come back having mastered before the next lesson, which would not have been feasible. I liked to call it "guided practice". For me, a lot of the beginning aspects of it was not just learning piano, but learning how to learn piano, if that makes sense. Later, I was able to accomplish more between lessons. Otherwise I think I would have been spinning my wheels and then having to unlearn things I practiced wrong.

I started a bit ahead of the game (many years of childhood lessons, restarted at the late intermediate/early advanced level) but had to relearn a lot of technique. However, a lot of what those lessons also did was help me develop effective practice approaches because while I was an adult, the last time I'd asked my brain to learn piano, it was as a child and those habits were not really very good.

Later, when I WAS expected to make progress between lessons, and life got in the way because adults have lives, plenty of my weekly lessons turned into guided practice sessions.

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Hi, Mush - welcome. I am one of the rare piano teachers who specializes in the adult learner - beginners and restarters. I'd say 30 minutes weekly is not enough for you, and doesn't give you a chance to bond with your teacher. I would either change that to an hour Zoom lesson weekly, or two 30-minute Zoom lessons weekly.

If this is too expensive for you, switch to a weekly 45-minute Zoom lesson.

If this is too expensive, my suggestion is to switch to either 45 minutes or 60 minutes every other week. Many of us serious piano teachers have dispensed with 30 minute lessons altogether: they are simply too short to accomplish enough. Everybody over age 12 in my studio gets an hour+ with me weekly. The kids get 45 minutes.

If you find the right fit with a teacher, these lessons will last until one of you goes deaf, or kicks the bucket! Enjoy your musical journey, and keep us posted!

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I'm a few years older than you and still taking lessons (starting my sixth year). I started with 30 min lessons once a week and they just weren't long enough. I then switched to one hour lessons once a week and never had trouble finding enough stuff to do during the lesson. Starting with this semester (I take lessons through a community college) I'm doing one hour lessons every other week, due to the pandemic and associated complications.

You should discuss with your teacher your options for starting with 30 min lessons (if you decide to start that way) and then moving to something longer. You would likely have to reschedule your lesson time, unless she/he happens to be open following your scheduled day and time.

Good luck and enjoy!


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Not a problem adjusting the lesson time. She's a piano major who's taking a gap year before going on to grad school. We had one lesson (virtual), then I ordered the books she recommended, which just came in. I'm up to page 48 of Alfred's Book One, skipping over a lot of stuff I already know.

We'll see about lesson time. I found my hands getting tired after 1/2 hour. I have very strong hands, but of course, I'm asking them to do something new, so just pure hand strength isn't enough. Time will tell how long it takes me to get used to it. On our first lesson, I didn't play a note, so we'll see where it goes on the next lesson. She's a friend as well, so as long as I let her know, I think it can be pretty flexible. If the lesson runs long, I'll simply pay her for a longer lesson.

I'll be curious to see how the virtual lessons work out. She won't be able to see my hands very well unless I hang my laptop from the ceiling. I don't know if that matters or not.

I'm hoping I can get good enough to record basic accompaniments into my computer program. I want to generate my own accompaniments for trumpet and singing, since it's difficult to have in-person rehearsals. Right now, I enter them one-note-at-a-time using notation software. It's a slow and tedious process!

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I restarted at 65 and I am still taking weekly one hour lessons 9 years later.
Judy


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Mushcreek, do you have a digital or an acoustical piano?


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I have an old 61 key Yamaha digital. Not as good as an 88, I know, but it's what I have. It has MIDI output, but so far, I haven't been able to get it to connect with my DAW software. It might just be such old technology that the DAW doesn't recognize it.

It does have weighted keys, but no foot pedals, so I won't learn that whole part of playing the piano. I have no plans to get a 'real' piano; I don't have the money or the room for one.

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Great
Originally Posted by Mushcreek
I'm hoping I can get good enough to record basic accompaniments into my computer program. I want to generate my own accompaniments for trumpet and singing, since it's difficult to have in-person rehearsals. Right now, I enter them one-note-at-a-time using notation software. It's a slow and tedious process!
Great! With a digital piano, this will be so much easier than with an acoustic piano. I am sure you'll learn enough to be able to record those accompaniments. smile


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Have you considered cutting down the number of lessons you have and buying a pedal?

I think having a sustain pedal is important for some pieces and you can't get the same effects without one.


In this country, the cheapest ones are about £10 and you can even get some for free from some of the websites where people exchange things. You might to pay postage and i appreciate that would cost money too.

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Originally Posted by Mushcreek
I have an old 61 key Yamaha digital. Not as good as an 88, I know, but it's what I have. It has MIDI output, but so far, I haven't been able to get it to connect with my DAW software. It might just be such old technology that the DAW doesn't recognize it.
. . .

FWIW --

Does it have "5-pin DIN" MIDI (a 5-pin round DIN jack), or "MIDI-over-USB" (a usually square USB jack, like a USB-linked printer) ?

If it's MIDI-over-USB, investigate whether Yamaha has a MIDI driver for it, that you can install on your PC.

If it's 5-pin MIDI, you need an adapter --

.. What are you using?


. Charles
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It's a 5 pin MIDI, but I'm running it and everything else through a Presonus audio interface. TBH, I'm not much of a technology person, and I'm just starting to fool around with the software. The DAW software has so many controls and options it's rather daunting. I'm able to record with a microphone, but then I'm limited by the tinny little speakers on the keyboard.


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