2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad) Piano Sight Reading
train piano sight reading with your iPhone or iPad
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
61 members (Carey, cfhosford, bobrunyan, CyberGene, ando, BeeZee4, bluebilly, 10 invisible), 636 guests, and 450 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 44
2
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
2
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 44
Its my 2nd post here, hi everybody.

I started to learn piano around Oct.2020 without a teacher, but with some books and I am in my 40s. As a born music enthusiast, I played various instruments throughout my teenager years in an amateur capacity, violin, harmonica, cello, guitar, horns, you name it, but never touched piano. After my 20's, I dumped music all together for other things. I am not an English native speaker but i'll try my best to explain what on my mind, so please bear with me.

1. I understand that it is bad habit to press the wrong note. I also understand that the solution is to slow down to such a tempo that I can press every note correctly. But recently there's a situation in which no matter how slow I go, I still could press the wrong key. Its Chopin's Waltz in A minor, starting in the 2nd measure. Left hand, before the chord, there's a note that is on the far left of the keyboard. It is a jump of 2 octaves. I was told that I wasn't supposed to look at my hands or the keyboard. In light of this, I have to guess where the far left note is and check if it is the correct note by ear. My success rate wasn't great, like 30%. After a few days (total maybe 4 hours), I increased this success rate to 50%. I know I'll finally nail it, maybe after 50 hours. But is this only way to practice it? Or is it a totally bad habit as each time I hit the wrong note I'm re-enforcing some wrong spacial awareness? Or the fact I can't hit the correct note means that this piece is beyond my level?

2. I've tried Bach's well tempered clavier book I's prelude no.2 and I memorized it in about 5 weeks. Sure my level wasn't recital ready at that moment, but I at least can perform it in my living room to my son, who joked that I am "amateur at best". When I was new to this prelude, I practiced using hands-together in the first 10 measures and then the next 10 measure I was using hands-separate. I found the hands-separate method is way way harder than the hands together method. To give you a perspective, say, if I can fluently play 5 measures by one hand in 2 aggregate hours and another 2 hours for the other hand, I'll have to spend more than 5 hours to make these 5 measures to be played hands together. That's a total of 9 hours. If I practice hands-together in the first place, 5 measures only takes about 3 hours. So is hands separate really necessary? Or is it really a personal preferences?

3. I've read a lot on the forum these days, I've seen people saying that they injured their hands. Is it a chronicle thing that people tend to get in the long run? What kind of music/chord/position are more likely to hurt the hands? Had to ask coz I want to avoid it. nip it in the bud.

Thank you for your time.

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,274
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,274
1. Look at the keyboard. Watch the pros play - they are constantly looking up and down. Playing without looking is great, but for large leaps - look before you leap, especially at your skill level. Looking up and down and not losing your place in the music is a difficult skill to master also.

2. The hands help each other. Some things are easier HT. Others are easier HS. Try both and see what works for you. I only go HS when I have some difficult problem to solve in one hand.

3. I've never gotten injured in 11 years of a couple of hours a day. That's all I can say on that subject...

Sam

Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,642
W
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,642
24000rpm, your English is perfectly fine. Welcome to the forum.

I'm not judging your decisions, but just wanted to give you some thoughts:

You say you started piano in October 2020.

Waltz in A minor by Chopin op. posth. B 150 is rated as grade 6 by RCM. Not exactly a beginner's piece.

Sam S's advice about looking at the keyboard...I absolutely agree with him. I know some people on this forum keep advising to never look at the keyboard. I strongly disagree with that advice. In the real world, pianists DO look at the keyboard when appropriate. Be careful what you read on the internet. Not all advice is correct.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 02/18/21 05:28 PM.

Kawai K-500
Casio PX-735 (in retirement)
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,925
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,925
Sam said it well.

For leaps, look. However, the price you pay for looking is finding your way back to the correct spot in the score.

Playing HT requires coordination between the hands--while the music being played comes out as an organic whole, each of your hands can be going quite separate ways and your brain has to work harder to manage this.

No injuries here, either. If something starts to hurt, stop and recuperate. Take frequent breaks.

Last edited by Stubbie; 02/18/21 05:28 PM.

[Linked Image]
Yamaha C3X
In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 186
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 186
1. Agreed with the other posters. Looking while jumping is very normal and even professional pianists do it. There will come a point where you want to develop the muscle memory to be able to jump without looking. But that is an advanced skill which it is rather pointless attempting until you are a few years into playing the piano. Or rather, you can practice doing it, but don't waste your time on it.

2. Playing hands together from the start is normal. However, you might want to play hands separate to work on the evenness of each hand.

3. I've never been injured as well, but I've only been playing for five years. Just make sure you don't play through pain at all.

Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 350
T
Full Member
Online Content
Full Member
T
Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 350
imo, if your success rate is 50%, then half the time, your hands are learning the wrong thing.
I’m only a beginner but my theory would be that if you can’t do something without looking at your hands then look at your hands until you can.


Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,838
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,838
Originally Posted by treefrog
imo, if your success rate is 50%, then half the time, your hands are learning the wrong thing.
I’m only a beginner but my theory would be that if you can’t do something without looking at your hands then look at your hands until you can.


IMO great advice
thumb

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,235
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,235
This idea that you are not supposed to look at your hands is bogus.

Beginners often have a habit of literally staring non-stop at their hands, rarely if ever looking at the music.

That is bad, but the alternative of never looking at your hands is not much better, especially for jumps, and even for other hand changes / movements, even if they are not a big jump.

The basic idea is to actually be able to play the music. laugh


Piano teacher.
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,809
D
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,809
Welcome to the forum! I agree with everyone's comments here. I worry that you are trying to advance too fast.

Getting a teacher is much to be recommended at this early stage, to make sure that you start off on a sound basis. A teacher would also make sure that you don't get into bad habits with your posture and the way you hold your arms, hands, fingers, such as might eventually lead to injury.

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 186
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 186
Originally Posted by treefrog
imo, if your success rate is 50%, then half the time, your hands are learning the wrong thing.
I’m only a beginner but my theory would be that if you can’t do something without looking at your hands then look at your hands until you can.
Hmm, I'm not quite sure about that. You are trying to estimate the distance without looking, do eventually you will get better at estimating that distance. No amount of jumping while looking at the keyboard will enable you to jump without looking. I still can't jump without glancing at the keyboard and I've probably spent hundreds if not thousands of hours on jumps.

Last edited by ranjit; 02/18/21 10:21 PM.
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 44
2
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
2
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 44
great to hear from all these advice. It is really hard to find a good teacher. Not that I don't want to hire one. back in December, I had a dinner with a friend, who used to be a professional french horn player. He introduced me to his friend back in the days when they were friends in a conservatory in Estonia. The friend of his plays excellent piano, but she refuses to teach adults...... but I managed to add her social media contact. Since then I asked a few casual questions online and that's it. They way she answers my questions is vague ,so....

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,838
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,838
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by treefrog
imo, if your success rate is 50%, then half the time, your hands are learning the wrong thing.
I’m only a beginner but my theory would be that if you can’t do something without looking at your hands then look at your hands until you can.
Hmm, I'm not quite sure about that. You are trying to estimate the distance without looking, do eventually you will get better at estimating that distance. No amount of jumping while looking at the keyboard will enable you to jump without looking. I still can't jump without glancing at the keyboard and I've probably spent hundreds if not thousands of hours on jumps.


Because you can’t doesn't mean your experience will be the same for everyone else. Others can do it.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 186
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 186
Originally Posted by dogperson
Because you can’t doesn't mean your experience will be the same for everyone else. Others can do it.
You misunderstand me. I mean that you need to consciously practice jumping while not looking at your hands, it will not happen automatically. And repeating the perfect jump thousands of times while looking at your hand will not automatically translate to being able to make the jump without looking. So you need to consciously practice feeling the distance of the jump. And the processes involved in jumping while looking at your hand are different from those involved in blind jumping. That's why I mentioned that despite the time I have spent on doing jumps over the years, I can't accurately jump without looking because I didn't specifically practice that skill.

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 186
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 186
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
The friend of his plays excellent piano, but she refuses to teach adults...... but I managed to add her social media contact. Since then I asked a few casual questions online and that's it. They way she answers my questions is vague ,so....
Yes, you should try to find a good teacher who teaches adults. Ask around, calling university professors is also a good idea. Also, teachers are often much more willing to teach adult students if they can already demonstrate some proficiency and commitment at the instrument. If you are willing to go the whole nine yards, you can polish up a few pieces and mention that, which should pique their interest (but this will probably take a few years!)

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,838
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,838
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by 24000rpm
The friend of his plays excellent piano, but she refuses to teach adults...... but I managed to add her social media contact. Since then I asked a few casual questions online and that's it. They way she answers my questions is vague ,so....
Yes, you should try to find a good teacher who teaches adults. Ask around, calling university professors is also a good idea. Also, teachers are often much more willing to teach adult students if they can already demonstrate some proficiency and commitment at the instrument. If you are willing to go the whole nine yards, you can polish up a few pieces and mention that, which should pique their interest (but this will probably take a few years!)


I strongly disagree with this and don’t understand how someone who just has had his first teacher is offering it. You do not need to intrigue a new teacher as an adult or thoroughly learn a couple of pieces first. Yes, some teachers are reluctant to take adult students but it is because they previously had adult students who exhibit some or all of the following: cancel lessons more than as except fir illness, don’t practice, are insistent on being taught ‘their way’, or don’t listen. Never cancel because work is ‘too busy’ or you haven’t practiced much.

Don’t be that student and they will be thrilled. When you speak with a teacher be direct about what kind of music you want to learn, how much you are able to practice, what is your long-term goal. You want to learn about them as well giving them a chance to learn about you.

There are ways to search for a good teacher. One is mtna.org. You can search by zip code. I found my teacher by talking to my tech.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 186
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 186
Sure, but I don't think OP is based in the US (he mentioned a conservatory in Estonia). It was under the assumption that he could not find teachers who teach adult students. He was talking about teachers flat-out refusing to teach adults. It might be the norm over there for good teachers to not take adult students.

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,838
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,838
Originally Posted by ranjit
Sure, but I don't think OP is based in the US (he mentioned a conservatory in Estonia). It was under the assumption that he could not find teachers who teach adult students. He was talking about teachers flat-out refusing to teach adults. It might be the norm over there for good teachers to not take adult students.


If he is in Estonia, It doesn’t change my opinion of your advice. The only thing I would change about mine is a reference to the mtna.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,470
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,470
Originally Posted by ranjit
..... teachers are often much more willing to teach adult students if they can already demonstrate some proficiency and commitment at the instrument. If you are willing to go the whole nine yards, you can polish up a few pieces and mention that, which should pique their interest (but this will probably take a few years!)
That is total fallacy.

Teachers hate, more than anything else, having to undo bad habits that self-taught students have developed over months or years - awkward movements (not just fingers, but also wrists and forearms), 'stiffness', tension, the lot - because almost always, those students (invariably adults) resist anything that involves going back to far easier stuff to retrain their techniques, often including from scratch. (There are a few posts in PW from students who have done that, but only because that was the only way out of recurring tension problems and/or injuries, having tried everything else - and they realized they had a problem, and were willing to do whatever it takes.)

BTW, conservatory teachers teach predominantly advanced students, but those students have been well-taught from early childhood - and they don't have to undo learned bad habits......

As I've mentioned in the past, I've seen and heard quite a few self-taught pianists over the years, and since I started teaching, I've been wondering how I would tackle their problems if I was to teach them. As it happened, a good friend of mine, a piano teacher of many years (now semi-retired) started taking on a few adults for the first time as students two years ago. She told me that she was curious to see how things would pan out with teaching adults compared to teaching kids, and she could always just go into full retirement if it all became too stressful.

Well, sorry to say, things were as bad as she'd feared - most of the adult students who signed up had been self-teaching for years, and only decided to get a teacher because they got "stuck". She told me that they all had bad ingrained technical problems, which they wouldn't admit to: all they wanted was for her to get them to the next level (think stuff like the F-I). She decided (fairly quickly, once she'd assessed them) that she wouldn't pick them out on such issues, and just teach them what they want, and let them think they were progressing well, no matter how awkward their playing actually was. However, she did have better luck with her two adult beginners, who were more willing to learn the basics properly and more willing to listen.

What I'd advise adults thinking of taking up piano and wanting to learn things properly is: get a good teacher right from the start. In fact, book your lessons before your piano arrives, so that you can start off on the right foot. And be willing to listen and be guided by your teacher, rather than have your own pre-conceived ideas of what your teacher should be teaching you. And most definitely - do not assume you'll be playing so-and-so in six months, another so-and-so in twelve months etc. Almost certainly, your expectations would have been totally unrealistic, even if you're a hot shot (or think you're a hot shot smirk ).

As for me, I don't have any plans to teach adults for the foreseeable future. My day job means I can pick & choose (and I'm only teaching piano because it gives me satisfaction in a different way from it - and I don't need additional stress)........whistle


"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."
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 44
2
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
2
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 44
I spent an aggregate 4.5 hours on this piece today, this time I look at my hand during the jump. This is a 2 page piece and now I can play it slowly for the first 1/3 of the piece, without any mistakes. After reading the whole piece, I am fairly positive that I can play the piece in about 3 weeks (not at a recital level though). I've heard people spending 3 months on a piece. Am I stretching myself?



Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
24000rpm, your English is perfectly fine. Welcome to the forum.

I'm not judging your decisions, but just wanted to give you some thoughts:

You say you started piano in October 2020.

Waltz in A minor by Chopin op. posth. B 150 is rated as grade 6 by RCM. Not exactly a beginner's piece.

Sam S's advice about looking at the keyboard...I absolutely agree with him. I know some people on this forum keep advising to never look at the keyboard. I strongly disagree with that advice. In the real world, pianists DO look at the keyboard when appropriate. Be careful what you read on the internet. Not all advice is correct.

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,838
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,838
2400 rpm
The answer to your question ‘Am I stretching myself?’ Is ‘depends’. Is this the only piece that you have been working on? If yes, it would be best to progress by primarily working on pieces at your grade level, while working on a serious stretch piece along the way but as a secondary practice goal. It is like limiting yourself at the dessert bar 😊


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  BB Player 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Couch to Concert Hall
Couch to Concert Hall
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
The Logo of the Future - Steingraeber
by Skjalg - 04/19/21 10:47 AM
Practuce With Czerny
by BbAltered - 04/19/21 10:05 AM
What to check when getting a new piano
by Dong Huynh - 04/19/21 05:13 AM
Standchen which version of sheet music ?
by jzmeister1 - 04/19/21 03:47 AM
Strings termination
by Guido, Roma - Italy - 04/19/21 03:04 AM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics206,394
Posts3,084,083
Members101,239
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5