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Struggle to learn anything new
#3048685 11/23/20 07:32 PM
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I’m getting a little defeated with my piano journey. While I know patience and trusting the process is key it’s hard to stay motivated when simple things take me forever. For example just a new voice leading exercise I’m working takes well over a week and it’s just a 7 bars some basic rhythm. It’s like everything I learn takes forever even if I try to learn a beginner song days and days to get a couple bars down well. It really feels like at my rate it’ll be 10+ years before I can play songs and have a repertoire. And I know some say that’s fine but at that rate it almost feels like like I’m wasting time sitting at piano daily. I can’t even stay motivated to learn new stuff cause the time it takes.

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Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048700 11/23/20 07:59 PM
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Do you have a teacher? If it takes days to learn a few measures then the pieces you're working on are too difficult for your present level. I think you and/or your teacher need to try and figure out why things are taking so long. How long have you been studying piano? What are the pieces you are currently studying? If you have a teacher, have you discussed your concerns with them?

Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048706 11/23/20 08:24 PM
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Are you reading notes or memorizing?


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Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048713 11/23/20 08:34 PM
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On the positive side: you hear it yourself when the playing is not right. Some people (beginners) don't hear their own mistakes. It sounds like you don't have a teacher. Get one.
Stick with it, but not forever. I would give it up after maybe six months with a teacher when there is no progress. There are other things in life.
(Some peaces take me forever to learn as well, but I enjoy the process when I notice improvement. If there is no joy, then it makes no sense.)

Last edited by ErfurtBob; 11/23/20 08:36 PM.
Re: Struggle to learn anything new
ErfurtBob #3048721 11/23/20 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Do you have a teacher?
Yes

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
How long have you been studying piano?
About last 2 years very consistent with a teacher. Studied for 1 year many moons ago too.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What are the pieces you are currently studying?
Working from a lead sheet right now as I'm studying pop

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If you have a teacher, have you discussed your concerns with them?
Yes, I'm told progress is good and takes time.


Originally Posted by Learux
Are you reading notes or memorizing?
Reading notes.


Originally Posted by ErfurtBob
On the positive side: you hear it yourself when the playing is not right. Some people (beginners) don't hear their own mistakes. It sounds like you don't have a teacher. Get one.
Stick with it, but not forever. I would give it up after maybe six months with a teacher when there is no progress. There are other things in life.
(Some peaces take me forever to learn as well, but I enjoy the process when I notice improvement. If there is no joy, then it makes no sense.)

It's not about hearing mistakes I'm referring to just time it takes to get things under my fingers good. You would give up all together after 6 months or you would give up that teacher after 6 months?

Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048796 11/24/20 03:07 AM
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How many times a day do you repeat each song's phrase on average?

It may be that you just don't repeat each phrase enough times for it to be "absorbed" by your muscle memory or you work on larger chunks that your fingers can't absorb efficiently for now. To get material into your fingers fast you need to break it into very small chunks, not more than one phrase in length, and then repeat each chunk assertively until you can play it with ease.

Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048812 11/24/20 03:59 AM
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Hi Sebs

Are you trying to learn songs you know and like? Both of those things are important. If your Teacher is choosing the material, and it's not to your taste then that could be an issue. There's nothing worse than trying to learn a musical instrument when you are playing music you dislike, or have no interest in. That's one of the reasons children give up.

In your post you talk about learning voice leading, which is admirable, but seems an advanced thing to be doing if you're struggling to play at quite a simple level. I've been playing for 50 years in a variety of styles, Pop/Rock, Jazz, classical, Ragtime and could just about tell what voice leading is (in relation to Jazz), but I've never consciously studied it. I wonder if your Teacher is making things to complicated for you. Perhaps consider a different Teacher?

And I wouldn't worry about having a repertoire in the future. Learn to play first! There's no shame in playing from any form of notation (chords, lead sheets, fully notated). I played in a rock/blues band for 8 years and was the only person in the band who used any form of notation (chords). It doesn't matter.

Hope that helps.

Cheers


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Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048820 11/24/20 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Sebs
I’m getting a little defeated with my piano journey. While I know patience and trusting the process is key it’s hard to stay motivated when simple things take me forever. For example just a new voice leading exercise I’m working takes well over a week and it’s just a 7 bars some basic rhythm. It’s like everything I learn takes forever even if I try to learn a beginner song days and days to get a couple bars down well. It really feels like at my rate it’ll be 10+ years before I can play songs and have a repertoire. And I know some say that’s fine but at that rate it almost feels like like I’m wasting time sitting at piano daily. I can’t even stay motivated to learn new stuff cause the time it takes.

I think like many people, you are more interested by the end result than by the journey itself, which you obviously do not enjoy. Indeed 2 years of consistent practice is not much and it may very well take you 10 years (or more) to get to play to a reasonable level. If you do not enjoy spending time, working on the piano, then indeed you are likely to be frustrated most of the time.

I dont know how much time you spend on the piano, but there is a relationship between the number of hours per day and the progress (within a limit). I am not advocating spending 6 hours, but if you spend only 1 hour, then you could bump it up.

Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048823 11/24/20 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Sebs
It really feels like at my rate it’ll be 10+ years before I can play songs and have a repertoire.

It has been my experience that learning speeds up with time. Maybe it seems to you now that it will take 10+ years to acquire a repertoire, but quite conceivably it will in a couple of years seem like that goal is much closer at hand (or maybe even achieved at that time). Don't loose faith!


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Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048836 11/24/20 06:16 AM
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Whether a piece is at the beginner, intermediate or advanced level, the more you know about the songs you're playing, the easier to learn.

In my school days the Internet was not common. I found that it's easier to learn pieces I heard on the radio or audio cassettes. Today, you can find online recordings of many pieces a student would learn. A few weeks ago my piano teacher suggested Minuet in G & Gm Anh. 114 & 115 from the "Notebook for Anna M Bach" for practice. There are many online recordings including mine. Recently I got the score for a church hymn that I heard on the radio years ago. It's a common piece with many recordings.

Don't know the pieces you're learning so can't diagnose the problem. All I can say is I usually find at least 1 recording to the piece I'm working on. My teacher records her lessons and upload them online so her students can listen to the songs at home as she played them. The notes, fingerings, tempo, dynamics, etc. are all in the videos.

Songs at any level have certain amount of repetition. Some sections are repeated exactly so if you can play it once, you can do it again. There are notes, beat patterns, melodies that repeat so I don't need to learn all the notes from top to bottom. I played music with a church group before the C-19 lockdown. Church hymns usually have simple melodies that repeat 3 or 4x depending on the number of verses. Even unfamiliar pieces we're asked to listen to a recording on YouTube and learn it. I spend as much time listening to a recording as learning the fingerings.

Re: Struggle to learn anything new
QuasiUnaFantasia #3048890 11/24/20 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
How many times a day do you repeat each song's phrase on average?
It may be that you just don't repeat each phrase enough times for it to be "absorbed" by your muscle memory or you work on larger chunks that your fingers can't absorb efficiently for now. To get material into your fingers fast you need to break it into very small chunks, not more than one phrase in length, and then repeat each chunk assertively until you can play it with ease.
I was under the impression that high repetition was a bad to do. I typically would work on a phrase for 5-10min max. Maybe I should try more time on phrase and more repetition.

Originally Posted by Simon_b
Hi Sebs

Are you trying to learn songs you know and like?
With my old teacher, no, only assigned songs and one I liked but was way too hard. With my current teacher, yes, but we're working on some foundational pop wok first. Such as theory, voiceleading, how to build/read chords,

Originally Posted by Simon_b
And I wouldn't worry about having a repertoire in the future. Learn to play first! There's no shame in playing from any form of notation (chords, lead sheets, fully notated). I played in a rock/blues band for 8 years and was the only person in the band who used any form of notation (chords). It doesn't matter.
Yes, I have no issues using sheets at all. By repertoire I just meant able to play a handful of tunes even from a sheet.

Originally Posted by Sidokar
I think like many people, you are more interested by the end result than by the journey itself, which you obviously do not enjoy. Indeed 2 years of consistent practice is not much and it may very well take you 10 years (or more) to get to play to a reasonable level. If you do not enjoy spending time, working on the piano, then indeed you are likely to be frustrated most of the time.

I dont know how much time you spend on the piano, but there is a relationship between the number of hours per day and the progress (within a limit). I am not advocating spending 6 hours, but if you spend only 1 hour, then you could bump it up.

I do get excited about the end result as I would like to play many songs but I would not say I don't enjoy the journey. I struggle with two things, am I progressing well and being too hard on myself. Maybe I was just expecting too much from a couple years of practice and Im sure I could bump up time at the piano too.

Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Originally Posted by Sebs
It really feels like at my rate it’ll be 10+ years before I can play songs and have a repertoire.

It has been my experience that learning speeds up with time. Maybe it seems to you now that it will take 10+ years to acquire a repertoire, but quite conceivably it will in a couple of years seem like that goal is much closer at hand (or maybe even achieved at that time). Don't loose faith!
Thanks! Sounds like I need jusst keep plugging away!

Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048894 11/24/20 08:53 AM
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Thanks for all the replies, everyone! I appreciate it. I was with a classical teacher my first 16 months (give or take a couple) then switched to a pop teacher few months ago as that's my goal. Can you please suggest a good way to see if I'm learning and progressing? For example, could I pick a song from grade ABSRM Grade 2 list and roughly how long should it take to play it well? Or any other suggestions? I need to remember that progress is very slow and not linear and it's not like I have so many better things to do so even it's slow Im not wasting time at piano such as what else would I do watch TV, play on ipad, etc.

Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048900 11/24/20 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Sebs
Thanks for all the replies, everyone! I appreciate it. I was with a classical teacher my first 16 months (give or take a couple) then switched to a pop teacher few months ago as that's my goal. Can you please suggest a good way to see if I'm learning and progressing? For example, could I pick a song from grade ABSRM Grade 2 list and roughly how long should it take to play it well? Or any other suggestions? I need to remember that progress is very slow and not linear and it's not like I have so many better things to do so even it's slow Im not wasting time at piano such as what else would I do watch TV, play on ipad, etc.


Hi Sebs
You are like many of us to want a yardstick to gauge our progress. I urge you not to do that but to take it one day at a time and the progress will happen. One person will be faster than you today, while someone else will be slower; but then the relative speeds will change. There will be hills and valleys and you have to be prepared for them. Patience!


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Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048906 11/24/20 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Sebs
Thanks for all the replies, everyone! I appreciate it. I was with a classical teacher my first 16 months (give or take a couple) then switched to a pop teacher few months ago as that's my goal. Can you please suggest a good way to see if I'm learning and progressing? For example, could I pick a song from grade ABSRM Grade 2 list and roughly how long should it take to play it well? Or any other suggestions? I need to remember that progress is very slow and not linear and it's not like I have so many better things to do so even it's slow Im not wasting time at piano such as what else would I do watch TV, play on ipad, etc.

Hi Sebs, I started 20 months ago with 4-5 hours’ practice per week on average and I’m now playing RCM level 2 curriculum. I started with Faber’s Adult all-in-one, then went onto RCM from their Preparatory A level. As you can see, I’m not much of a practicer but I’ve made obvious but slow progress. You can certainly use my experience as a yardstick if you’d like, just to gauge where you’re at.

Of course, I’d be careful not to put too much into comparing with others as that could be frustrating, as everyone’s different for all kinds of reasons. However, I’m the type that still needs to compare, just to know, so I understand where you’re coming from.


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Re: Struggle to learn anything new
WeakLeftHand #3048908 11/24/20 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by Sebs
Thanks for all the replies, everyone! I appreciate it. I was with a classical teacher my first 16 months (give or take a couple) then switched to a pop teacher few months ago as that's my goal. Can you please suggest a good way to see if I'm learning and progressing? For example, could I pick a song from grade ABSRM Grade 2 list and roughly how long should it take to play it well? Or any other suggestions? I need to remember that progress is very slow and not linear and it's not like I have so many better things to do so even it's slow Im not wasting time at piano such as what else would I do watch TV, play on ipad, etc.

Hi Sebs, I started 20 months ago with 4-5 hours’ practice per week on average and I’m now playing RCM level 2 curriculum. I started with Faber’s Adult all-in-one, then went onto RCM from their Preparatory A level. As you can see, I’m not much of a practicer but I’ve made obvious but slow progress. You can certainly use my experience as a yardstick if you’d like, just to gauge where you’re at.

Of course, I’d be careful not to put too much into comparing with others as that could be frustrating, as everyone’s different for all kinds of reasons. However, I’m the type that still needs to compare, just to know, so I understand where you’re coming from.
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by Sebs
Thanks for all the replies, everyone! I appreciate it. I was with a classical teacher my first 16 months (give or take a couple) then switched to a pop teacher few months ago as that's my goal. Can you please suggest a good way to see if I'm learning and progressing? For example, could I pick a song from grade ABSRM Grade 2 list and roughly how long should it take to play it well? Or any other suggestions? I need to remember that progress is very slow and not linear and it's not like I have so many better things to do so even it's slow Im not wasting time at piano such as what else would I do watch TV, play on ipad, etc.

Hi Sebs, I started 20 months ago with 4-5 hours’ practice per week on average and I’m now playing RCM level 2 curriculum. I started with Faber’s Adult all-in-one, then went onto RCM from their Preparatory A level. As you can see, I’m not much of a practicer but I’ve made obvious but slow progress. You can certainly use my experience as a yardstick if you’d like, just to gauge where you’re at.

Of course, I’d be careful not to put too much into comparing with others as that could be frustrating, as everyone’s different for all kinds of reasons. However, I’m the type that still needs to compare, just to know, so I understand where you’re coming from.


Sebs’ lessons are learning to play from a lead sheet for pop music progression . I don’t see how the two can be compared.


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Re: Struggle to learn anything new
dogperson #3048911 11/24/20 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Sebs’ lessons are learning to play from a lead sheet for pop music progression . I don’t see how the two can be compared.

I understand.

#1, he asked about ABRSM, and my experience is with RCM, so I provided my experience.

#2, Sebs has prior classical experience with a prior teacher. I just provided my experience so he can use that info as he wishes. If he doesn’t think it useful, that’s perfectly fine with me.

Perhaps, Sebs was asking about the ABRSM non-classical programs? In that case, well, he can simply ignore my post.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 11/24/20 09:41 AM.

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Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048915 11/24/20 09:55 AM
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Please don't quit! But maybe change things up. I agree it might take 10 years to acquire a reasonably complex repertoire (I'm still working on mine and I've been playing over 40 years). But pop from a lead sheet? I would expect much faster progress.
In the beginning, however, I didn't have the patience or maturity to sit at the piano and work on a single piece for long periods of time. Actually I still don't smile
Here's what I could do: if I wanted to learn a pop or church song I'd find a vinyl LP and play along with it. I would do this for hours without losing interest. It helped me for several reasons:
1. I could hear how it was supposed to be played.
2. Having a full rhythm section helps you to keep a tempo.
3. Even if you mess up it still sounds pretty good because you're just playing along.
4. You naturally start figuring out how to harmonize and hear chord changes and follow along with other band mates.
I did the same thing learning guitar.
When I got my first synthesizer that took it to a whole new level because I had to learn to duplicate the particular sound first then follow the synth line on the album.
Even today I do this with everything, even classical pieces. With YouTube you can slow a piece down and the pitch stays the same and play along with almost anything.
My story and my approach may have been different if my family could have afforded a teacher and lessons (much less a decent piano!) but that didn't happen so I did what worked for me.
The reason I became so motivated is because someone visited our church and he would show me things after services. He'd say pick a song: "Hey Jude" Pick a key: "A" Pick a style: "Russian folk dance." And then he'd just play it. It fascinated me and provided the motivation for a lifelong love.
I'm now at the point in my piano life where I can sit in with a band and jam with ease. My current goal is to become a beast at sight reading. That's the hardest thing I've ever tried since I don't have the early foundation that classically trained pianists have. But I'm seeing progress and that's motivation to not give up.

Re: Struggle to learn anything new
dogperson #3048924 11/24/20 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by Sebs
Thanks for all the replies, everyone! I appreciate it. I was with a classical teacher my first 16 months (give or take a couple) then switched to a pop teacher few months ago as that's my goal. Can you please suggest a good way to see if I'm learning and progressing? For example, could I pick a song from grade ABSRM Grade 2 list and roughly how long should it take to play it well? Or any other suggestions? I need to remember that progress is very slow and not linear and it's not like I have so many better things to do so even it's slow Im not wasting time at piano such as what else would I do watch TV, play on ipad, etc.

Hi Sebs, I started 20 months ago with 4-5 hours’ practice per week on average and I’m now playing RCM level 2 curriculum. I started with Faber’s Adult all-in-one, then went onto RCM from their Preparatory A level. As you can see, I’m not much of a practicer but I’ve made obvious but slow progress. You can certainly use my experience as a yardstick if you’d like, just to gauge where you’re at.

Of course, I’d be careful not to put too much into comparing with others as that could be frustrating, as everyone’s different for all kinds of reasons. However, I’m the type that still needs to compare, just to know, so I understand where you’re coming from.
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by Sebs
Thanks for all the replies, everyone! I appreciate it. I was with a classical teacher my first 16 months (give or take a couple) then switched to a pop teacher few months ago as that's my goal. Can you please suggest a good way to see if I'm learning and progressing? For example, could I pick a song from grade ABSRM Grade 2 list and roughly how long should it take to play it well? Or any other suggestions? I need to remember that progress is very slow and not linear and it's not like I have so many better things to do so even it's slow Im not wasting time at piano such as what else would I do watch TV, play on ipad, etc.

Hi Sebs, I started 20 months ago with 4-5 hours’ practice per week on average and I’m now playing RCM level 2 curriculum. I started with Faber’s Adult all-in-one, then went onto RCM from their Preparatory A level. As you can see, I’m not much of a practicer but I’ve made obvious but slow progress. You can certainly use my experience as a yardstick if you’d like, just to gauge where you’re at.

Of course, I’d be careful not to put too much into comparing with others as that could be frustrating, as everyone’s different for all kinds of reasons. However, I’m the type that still needs to compare, just to know, so I understand where you’re coming from.


Sebs’ lessons are learning to play from a lead sheet for pop music progression . I don’t see how the two can be compared.
I agree.

Re: Struggle to learn anything new
Sebs #3048934 11/24/20 10:44 AM
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I’ve been at it over four years and progress is slow too. Maybe one day if I can sight read well enough (can’t play by ear)things will be different . I enjoy it though and even though progress is slower than I’d like I feel I can still keep improving

Last edited by Wayne2467; 11/24/20 10:45 AM.
Re: Struggle to learn anything new
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Sebs - I don't have any magical words of wisdom, and I've never studied pop so I don't know what those lessons are like. I just hope you don't give up, especially since you do seem to be enjoying yourself overall.

I'm several years into classical lessons now, after a very long break, and it's pretty much been a constant roller coaster. Sometimes I feel really discouraged and like I'm not getting any better, and then every time...there will be a day when I realize some piece, or some technique, is now a lot easier than it used to be. The best progress gauge for me is to revisit pieces that I have previously struggled with. Eventually they all get at least a little easier!


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