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Growing up with an Acoustic Piano
#3051418 11/30/20 07:35 PM
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This may straddle the acoustic forum too, but I thought it would be interesting to ask the question, and may be more pertinent to older folk?.....

Did growing up around an acoustic piano, even if you didn't play as a child, have an influence on your interest in piano, digital or acoustic, in later life? I'm wondering if there is a weighting of folks whom didn't play as a kid, but had the influence around them, to take it up when in adulthood, whom otherwise wouldn't have.

I got to thinking this as I donated a digital piano for encouragement to my granddaughter when she was 2, she's almost 4 now, to just be able to tinker in the hope when she is older she may have the interest, either formal lessons or be gifted.
I live remotely and can't directly influence her from day to day.

It is becoming rarer now for kids to grow up in a household with any kind of piano nowadays, let alone acoustic.
Sadly, many households these days are so incredibly isolated from anything other than consumer media content, the kids appear to have no comprehension of the creative "language" involved and are so musically illiterate frown

Last edited by Deltajockey; 11/30/20 07:39 PM.
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Re: Growing up with an Acoustic Piano
Deltajockey #3051439 11/30/20 09:00 PM
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The difficulty isn't getting her the device, its the Competing devices, which will outpace the battle for her attention.

It's easier to listen to music than learning to sing. The vast majority of humans are merely in a consumerist spiral without clear understanding of which way is up.

People in these reduced function rungs constitute the majority of our more difficult physical labor force. Society is purposefully socio-economically stratified for the sake of capitalist rule.

The device is simple, but a whole life plan to meaningfully involve music comprehension is not. You can lead your camel to water, you can't make it drink, and if what you offer the camel is pond water, while the capitalists are selling iced-coffee, the battle is lost.

Last edited by jeffcat; 11/30/20 09:00 PM.
Re: Growing up with an Acoustic Piano
Deltajockey #3051509 12/01/20 04:20 AM
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I had no formal music tuition as such - apart from ‘music’ lessons which were basically a sing-along once a week. The ‘music teacher’ would play on the piano, and we’d all sing along to whatever he was playing. Proper tuition was an extracurricular extra (££) which most children didn’t experience (including myself).

My brother (a year older than me), did start on a violin for a few months. We moved, so his lessons stopped. He was bought a little a Casio keyboard a year or two later (for Christmas). He then had recorder lessons. So, at this point I had never touched an instrument... and he had tried three.

Next thing you know, we were each bought a Yamaha acoustic guitar. We had lessons for a year (learning to read tab). I was the music teacher’s ‘star’. So, having no experience with other instruments did not mean that I was at a disadvantage at this stage.

My initial experience/memory was rather negative - being compared with one’s sibling (I was WAY better than him) led to that negativity. Parents reading this, beware! Treat each child as an individual - thanks.

We moved again... no proper guitar teacher who could move us along. Lessons stopped, and we played for fun. Played in a teenage band (thankfully there were no smartphones back in the day - cringe worthy!!!) - I sang... because I was TOLD to sing... because I was better at it, and so my brother played the guitar. So again, having less experience wasn’t a disadvantage. Turns out I could sing too!

Roll forwards a few years... went to another school... there were music practice rooms and everything! Each practice room had a piano. I was obsessed with those pianos... but couldn’t play them. I befriended a pianist and we’d spend our evenings playing/making noise for fun (with me on the guitar). If I wasn’t doing that, I was outside listening to others play the piano. I fell in love with the piano. It was a good year. Played guitar at the school’s formal concert with my buddy - blues. Nothing rehearsed, we just got on stage and had some fun. Again, probably cringe worthy. 🙈

Got to uni - having briefly got into blues/jazz the previous year, I joined the big band. They were VERY inclusive - but everyone there had proper music tuition. Sheet music was given out each week... I hadn’t a clue what it meant. Never looked at sheet music before. The proper guitarist there helped and showed me some chords. I learned to play some pieces with them.

Come Christmas, I was on stage in a packed theatre (technically in the West End). I played with the band (sitting out some pieces that I didn’t know). I gave up after that because it was too hard for me to do it by ear - pieces were only rehearsed once or twice. Everyone whom could access the sheet music could play at home, however I needed the whole band there in order to play/practice by ear/memory.

I stoped playing altogether

20 years later... I decided to fix all that. Firstly by buying the instrument that I had fallen in love with as a teenager - a piano. Then, by finding a teacher to help me start. WISH I’d done it earlier. I’m adamant that I’ll get this music notation thingy cracked... but it’s going to take years.

So in summary - yes, I believe that having various instruments in ones’s life is beneficial/influential. Formal tuition is a big benefit... but if one can’t afford that, getting your hands on something and having a crack at it is beneficial too. Listening to other people... hanging out with them can also have an influence. We need more musical people... we need more instruments lying around the place... and we need to hang out more.

PS Smartphones and all recording equipment: not allowed anywhere near me whilst I’m attempting to play. 😂

Last edited by OscarRamsey; 12/01/20 04:26 AM.

Learning to play. Consciously incompetent, which apparently is a good starting point. smirk
Re: Growing up with an Acoustic Piano
Deltajockey #3051511 12/01/20 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Deltajockey
It is becoming rarer now for kids to grow up in a household with any kind of piano nowadays, let alone acoustic.
Sadly, many households these days are so incredibly isolated from anything other than consumer media content, the kids appear to have no comprehension of the creative "language" involved and are so musically illiterate frown

I grew up with an acoustic piano, even a grand piano for that matter. My parents are both playing, my Dad really well, my Mum was an adult beginner when I was 12. I started playing piano when I was young, my parents payed for the lessons. But I stopped around 15/16, too much other stuff going on. And yes I do regret that I stopped playing, would definitly tell my younger self that.

Did this have an impact on my interest in piano? No, not really, my parents are really into classical music, so the interest was there before, and stayed there after. It's just that live didn't seem to have a free spot for me to start playing again until 2 years ago.

As for less kids growing up with a piano, do you have any credible source that backs this theory? The costs for getting into piano playing is really low nowadays, when I was a kid this was quite the expensive hobby to take up. Regular working folk couldn't afford a piano, let alone the lessons. All my "working class" friends learned cheap instruments that you could teach yourself (aka Guitar, Bass).

Today you can get a good insturment for 500$ (that's around 10 times less then we payed for the first used upright that we bought) and to start with lessons you pay 99$ for an app for a year. (That's about 2hrs of lessons, so two weeks where I live). When I look into the Simply Piano facebook group it's full with proud parents and their children playing. It's also full with adults that fulfill their livelong dream of playing.

JoyTunes (the company behind SimplyPiano) claims that SP has a million users per week. That is pretty massive, and doesn't back the claim that children are getting less in contact with piano.

Re: Growing up with an Acoustic Piano
Deltajockey #3051519 12/01/20 05:32 AM
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A very detailed and colorful biography Oscar smile I think you qualify for the early years of musical influence!

Flori...thank you for your perspective too. No I don't have documented data on home musical instrument uptake, it's only my anecdotal data through my experience and those whom I share the topic. My daughter is a primary school teacher and shares her view on this through all the kids she has taught. It's not the cost or availability of keyboard instruments I'm talking about, rather the pace and priorities in life which often put a piano down the list in domestic activities. I think though the Simply Piano users in the millions being online, is spread across the world with online access, so that filters down to a lot less per neighborhood compared to days of old?

I'm also only talking about piano, adding other instruments such as guitar would count for a lot more penetration, though I put some of those in the same category as bicycles, when there would be many more sold and eventually just left in the garage!

I fit the category of early influence, in that I was born into a house with a piano. My older brothers and sisters all had formal lessons, and were somewhat unmotivated, so when I came along my parents decided not to waste any more money. Ironically, I was the child who was interested and began playing by ear from age 4 with my sister's help. I'm a firm believer also that the method needs to fit the child's personality, and this can make or break the motivation.

Re: Growing up with an Acoustic Piano
Deltajockey #3051522 12/01/20 06:17 AM
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I was raised by an upright; a very strict one, might I add; but also a very reliable one.

I remember back then we used to go visit Grand Bech at her farm. We stayed for long, unwinding summers; you see, Grand Bech was more forgiving and never scolded me over repetition. Now, that being said, Grand Bech was a bit old fashioned and absolutely hated the Beatles. “What is this crap you play”, she used to say, “in this house we only play the greats”.

Upright, whilst strict about repetition, had no problem with “popular” music, and, it seems, was very fond of Queen.

Sadly, they’ve both passed on, but the memories from those intense winters with Mama Upi (as I endearingly called her) and those long, laidback summers at Grand Bech remain to this day. I’ve pictures of them that sometimes bring about a sad nostalgia; a sense of longing for days past.

I’ve since moved on, and now live with Digital; granted, it has not been easy, for my family does not approve of Digital.

Re: Growing up with an Acoustic Piano
Deltajockey #3051772 12/01/20 07:14 PM
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I had an upright from an early age; was only me and my elder sister played it. Mother did sometimes, but very rarely; she could've learned a bit more but didn't.
Me and Sis got up to "Dambusters" level ha ha; she was better than me, I'm sure. The piano was a favourite of anyone who played it. Granddad played for the Silents in the cinemas during the Depression, and also played Cello.
First digital I played was a Yamah clp 550.
It was magic. Beautiful. I wanted that, but never got it. The action and tone were super.

Worst thing about acoustics is amplifying them; they simply don't fill a place with enough sound if you have other musicians. An organ and 15 Watt amplifier did the job better.


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