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back after 34 years
#3051208 11/30/20 11:40 AM
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I'm 54 years old and have not played for 34 years. I studied with Leonard Eisner for 4 years at Juilliard pre-college and then with Robert Goldsand at the Manhattan School of music for 2 years. I experienced a bout of depression beginning of my junior year and took a leave and then completely changed gears, finishing college pre-law at Rutgers and then law school. I could never quite put a finger on why I made that change other than my mental state at the time but regret it. I experienced on and off bouts with depression since then, which explains why I have not played since then. Now with much time to reflect I realize something is missing in my life and am considering starting to play again - and hoping it will be a form of therapy. Any general thoughts would be greatly appreciated as well as advice regarding getting back into the saddle. Thank you.

Re: back after 34 years
JerryLouis #3051215 11/30/20 11:54 AM
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I am sorry to hear about your struggles! I think you should just give it a try. Go into with very little expectations, and maybe in some ways, treat yourself like a beginner. Get a book of scales, a collection of easy music (consider something in the Music for Millions series? Err on the side of easier) and rather than say "I want to play [insert super famous and advanced piece here]" just enjoy the process. You may feel shock at first if it seems like you have forgotten how to play completely, but if you just play a little every day, it will come back. Just move your fingers on the keys, listen to the sounds, and ease back into having music-making a part of your life.

Wait! Do you have a piano available? If not, I recommend getting something nice but inexpensive, maybe consider a digital like something in the Yamaha Arius series (YDP 140, 160, 180 or whatever the recent model numbers are)

You also might visit PW's Adult Beginners Forum where you will find a lot of people who are returning to piano after years or decades away from it. Just repost what you've posted here and you'll find a lot of people who will sympathize and be excited to share in your journey.

Best of luck and do give updates as you get started!


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: back after 34 years
JerryLouis #3051225 11/30/20 12:10 PM
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my case is similar, I didn't Juilliard but I did a local conservatory. I never regret this decision and I always believe it was the right decision in that condition. I am much younger so I haven't played the piano for less years. I started again to play piano in the summer and after some weeks of practice, I am so surprised that I can play much much better than before.
I am sure you will find another feeling and relive some young memories.
here is the result after 4 months of practice with maximum 1h in the week days (not every day) and more hours in the weekends.


Re: back after 34 years
JerryLouis #3051303 11/30/20 02:26 PM
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Very nice - wonderful playing. Yes, I have a piano.

Re: back after 34 years
JerryLouis #3051305 11/30/20 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by JerryLouis
Yes, I have a piano.

Great, that's more than half the battle!

So, do you have specific concerns or questions about how to start?


Started piano June 1999.
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Re: back after 34 years
JerryLouis #3051604 12/01/20 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JerryLouis
Very nice - wonderful playing. Yes, I have a piano.
Thank you Jerry,

Just put here some more details how I have re-started the piano after I stopped play for more than 20 years:

-forget what I was and what I should be, just accept and face what I am. The sound could be terrible, the fingers could be completely out of control at the beginning, just accept it.
-I bought a second hand piano which is much below my budget, one of the reasons is that I was not confident that I can really re-start play.
-I have an important audience, who can tell me "this time is better";"you are not playing your music","I like this part","I really don't like it"...
-The first two weeks, I started with the pieces that I still know well. BACH invention, Rondo alla Turca, Mozart sonata n16 and some pieces of Debussy.
-The third week-fifth week, I started with Goldberg variations and Liszt-Paganini etude 6 Theme and Variations (the first 4 variations). almost 50%,50%. The Liszt etudes caused me some finger pains, but it improves the technic very fast. It is not recommended, maybe a Chopin etude would be better, but just to try something different.
-Once I had the feeling of "[censored]-off" by playing or listening, it means a big step forward.
-sixth week: I give up Liszt because I really don't like it. I am focused on Bach (80%) and other pieces such as Schubert impromptu 142 no 3.
-BACH is the key for this kind of exercise. I am sure everybody with a conservatory background can still remember some of them.
-Some days I won't play anything.
Good luck

Re: back after 34 years
JerryLouis #3051691 12/01/20 02:55 PM
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Welcome!

As an attorney who also came back to piano as a way to reduce the stress imposed on me in my daytime career (securities law), I found it was a very welcome escape.

I did not, however, enter into law after a conservatory-level music education. I quit earlier than you and while I am thrilled to be playing, quitting too early has been one of my life's major regrets.

Re: back after 34 years
JerryLouis #3051711 12/01/20 04:26 PM
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Gosh, sorry I can't be much help since I'm in a similar situation rediscovering the piano, but I absolutely think that it will be a fantastic help therapeutically. There's nothing else like it. To me music is pure magic. I hope you too can find the release you need from getting back into music.

Re: back after 34 years
JerryLouis #3051725 12/01/20 05:05 PM
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The one thing i have learnt over the years is that one should never regret his past choices. It only spoils the present. There are things i wanted to do which i have not be able to, but i dont regret it because i have done some others instead. What is important is that you can now play again and focis on your future enjoyment.

Re: back after 34 years
JerryLouis #3051998 12/02/20 11:20 AM
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I’ve been playing 6 months now, after 40 yrs off.......and I don’t have your back ground, but....ENJOY!

Re: back after 34 years
JerryLouis #3052459 12/03/20 01:43 PM
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I returned to piano in spring 2017, after a gap of more than 50 years. I had only taken lessons for a couple of years as a kid, when I got as far as the John Thompson Third Grade book. So, apart from still being able to read the treble clef, I had to re-learn everything from the start. I did feel that progress went more quickly than expected in my first year back; some of those neural tracks remained. I found a great teacher and upgraded from a digital to a better digital to an upright to, recently, a baby grand. It has all been a constantly interesting set of challenges and a joy. (Much more fun than law school, I can tell you!)

I could regret the gap, but life is life; there's no point, when instead I can bask in the pleasure of my new piano and finally getting my fingers wrapped around the ornaments in a Bach Little Prelude. Last night I sight-read some relatively simple but interesting arrangements based on Christmas carols, and my freshly tuned piano sounded so beautiful. It was bliss. I wish the same for you, JerryLouis.


"Serena," my Estonia L168.

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