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Joined: Sep 2009
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Pologuy Offline OP
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Question for the teachers on here...

I know everyone is different, has different learning speeds, etc...

But, on average, in your experience - how long would it take a very determined beginner to be playing "not extremely difficult" contemporary music fluently like Chariots of Fire by Vangelis, Forrest Gump theme, Terms of Endearment theme, etc...

Someone who is very determined, and is willing to set aside at least 2 hours every day to practice, etc.

Any thoughts...?


Looking to purchase: Kawai MP(12), or Kawai VPC(2), or something Yamaha...
Current: Yamaha Synthesizer
Previous: Kawai CP205, Kawai CP207, Yamaha Synthesizers
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It depends on the difficulty of the arrangement.

Most of those pieces weren't written for solo piano -- the original is an _orchestral_ piece.

An arranger takes the orchestral score, and "reduces" it so it can be played by two hands, on a keyboard:

. . . he can keep all the original notes, and make it really hard to play;

. . . he can keep the most important notes (and themes), and make it easy to play.

So it's not easy to answer your question. The answer also depends on:

. . . How much talent does the student have?

And you (and your teacher) don't know that, until you've been playing for a while.

(I don't teach, and there will be better replies.)


. Charles
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Pologuy Offline OP
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Well, I would say, quite a bit of potential talent - took piano lessons when he was in 5th grade for a few months - had to give it up due to his parents divorce, etc...

Quite a bit of determination also...

Just wants to start piano again.

Not looking to play concert pianist type transcriptions - but not entry level/intermediate either - if that makes sense...

I mean are we talking 2 years...? 3, 4...?

Again, I know everyone is different - just looking for some sort of idea...


Looking to purchase: Kawai MP(12), or Kawai VPC(2), or something Yamaha...
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just my personal experience, going from 0 to Max Richter's "Where is my mind?" took me 18 months. i had a teacher; and practiced 1 hour a day, every day, going through a basic skills curriculum.

i'm not that smart. and not that young.

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Originally Posted by Pologuy
Well, I would say, quite a bit of potential talent - took piano lessons when he was in 5th grade for a few months - had to give it up due to his parents divorce, etc...

Quite a bit of determination also...

Just wants to start piano again.

Not looking to play concert pianist type transcriptions - but not entry level/intermediate either - if that makes sense...

.
It basically depends on how easy you want the arrangements.

The simplest - melody RH and bass notes LH - can be achieved within a couple of months for Chariots of Fire (the only theme song I know from your list) but it is thin-sounding, though easily recognizable (if he gets the rhythm correct).

Next step up, simple 3-note chords LH and melody RH: takes a year.

Anything more complicated, like arpeggios LH and chords RH - well, 3-6 years.

On the other hand, if he can't read music and wants to learn & play from the music (rather than just copy from Synthesia note-by-note and by rote), there's that to factor into the learning time.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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It is also quite different if that you dedicate all your time to learn that few pieces and that few pieces only. The end result is that you are somehow able to pull it off and play that few pieces somehow convincingly. However, learning another piece in similar difficulty will take you almost as long.


Or you learn to play music in general, and you can sight-read many contemporary music arrangements on the spot and play it convincingly, and you can polish it in a single seating to the performance level.

The second path takes years, 5-10 years, 5 years for the extremely talented I would say.

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A lot of Pop tunes tend to be repetitive. Unlike Classical music, the notes are straightforward and based on the key signature and usually with no extra sharps or flats added in.

The first piece I attempted was "Rainbow Connection" from the Muppets movie. The arrangement I downloaded started in 1 key and moved up a pitch half way through.

I downloaded a copy of "Chariot of Fire" theme in the original key Db with 5 flats. The number of flats looks intimidating at first. Once you repeated the same notes half-dozen times you know exactly which notes to play. After a week you already acquired muscle memory to play the piece blindfolded.

A lot of Pop songs like Abba "Winner Takes All" in F# with 6 sharps or "Take a Chance on Me" in B with 5 sharps isn't exactly technical once you learn the notes. All the sharps are in the key signature with no extra ones added in the song. Once you learn the piano keys to press, the rest is just repetition.

If you're not comfortable with playing a lot of sharps & flats, there are pieces like "Mama Mia!" in D with 2 sharps or arrangements of popular pieces with fewer sharps & flats such as the "Chariot of Fire" theme in D instead of Db.

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It won’t take as long as you think if you are determined. I once had a student who wasn’t learning anything with his teacher because she refused to let kids learn pop music. My philosophy is that 99.99% of kids aren’t going to be college bound or pros, so as long as they are playing something, it’s better than nothing.

That student switched to me and was doing any pop music he wanted within a few months or less.


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Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
I once had a student who wasn’t learning anything with his teacher because she refused to let kids learn pop music.
It's just awful - a disabled teacher!


Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

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