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Bennevis
Are most 3 month players playing this Mozart?


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Originally Posted by Granyala
Originally Posted by bennevis
This is a very specialist forum, not like cooking (everyone can boil an egg......can't everyone? smirk )
What?
I never boiled an egg, nor do I ever intend to do such a ridiculous thing.

I can make a modest Sushi though.

Getting to the actual topic:
yes I know these questions. I know this nagging "what is the point, why am I doing this to myself?".
Piano can be a lot of fun but most of the time, learning any serious skill is just frustrating as [insert colorful expression].
You are not only fighting your mind and body but most importantly, you fight your own, often exaggerated expectations and the pressure you put onto yourself. It is not easy to dump years into a project and have pretty much nothing to show for it.

I admire people that can always see the silver lining, always seem to be able to extract the tiniest improvement and focus on that. I am not that kind of person. Every mistake I make is like a punch in the face to me. I hate it, it frustrates me to no end to be so utterly incompetent after 2.5 years of near daily practice. Some say that is to be expected, that doesn't make the process fun though.

In piano there seem to be only extremes. Either pieces are a snoozefest or a brickwall re-enforced with steel concrete.

I admire people that got through this phase and got to the good stuff. I am as stubborn as they come, once I have committed myself to a course but I am beginning to have doubts if I will ever make it.

/end personal rant (sometimes it feels good to say these things)

Well said. I can relate. Often it feel like we’re going no where fast!

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Originally Posted by Granyala
[...]Piano can be a lot of fun but most of the time, learning any serious skill is just frustrating as [insert colorful expression].
You are not only fighting your mind and body but most importantly, you fight your own, often exaggerated expectations and the pressure you put onto yourself. It is not easy to dump years into a project and have pretty much nothing to show for it.
[...] Every mistake I make is like a punch in the face to me. I hate it, it frustrates me to no end to be so utterly incompetent after 2.5 years of near daily practice. Some say that is to be expected, that doesn't make the process fun though.

In piano there seem to be only extremes. Either pieces are a snoozefest or a brickwall re-enforced with steel concrete.

[...]

All I can say is that I am very glad that I haven't had this kind of experience - nor do I have this defeatist attitude - towards my life-long journey through piano learning.

Yes, there have been challenges that were difficult to surmount, but, all in all, it's been a wonderfully satisfying experience.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
nor do I have this defeatist attitude
It's not defeatist, or else I would not keep going. I'm just not one of these "everything is awesome!" persons.
If I play like crap, I hear that and it disturbs me. My mom is the complete opposite. She plows through a piece on her flute makes 99 mistakes nods in approval and states "that was nice". Me, sitting there just going ... erm... okay (in my head, because I know she could do better). I could never do or perceive it that way. It's nothing I can influence, either something sounds good or it doesn't.

Surmounting doable challenges is fun, sure. Bashing your head (or in our case: hands^^) against one is not.
Unfortunately, with many pieces you have to invest a certain amount of time until you recognize whether it stands a chance of bringing it to fluidity or not.

Sure there are good days when you get semi-fluently through a piece and can recognize "man that was a good run for my abilities", despite minor mistakes. But these seem to be rare occurrences unless the piece is doze-off easy.

Last edited by Granyala; 03/06/21 03:02 PM.

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I’ve thought about adult beginners vs child beginners for a while, and these are my thoughts why it is generally easier for kids:

No, not better brain plasticity or hand agility but expectations: kids don’t have much life experiences with success and failure, no self-competition where you question ‘am I learning fast enough’, ‘am I going as fast as others’, ‘will I get there’. Kids don’t worry about effort to time ratios: they just plod along.

Adults have a whole lifetime to accumulate successes/failures and self-doubt.
Do I have a solution? No, except just recognize what internal factors may be at work and work on quelling the negative thoughts.

I started thinking about this when I read ‘A Soprano on Her Head’. There is a chapter, ‘The Judges’, dealing with quieting the internal judges during performance. I think the principle may also apply to learning. Can I be full of hot air? Absolutely. I am not a psychologist by profession. Just something to think about

BTW ‘The Soprano ‘ Book is highly recommended... I perform very occasionally and have performance anxiety. When I first read ‘The Judges’ chapter my first thought was ‘whew, glad I don’t have that problem’ and then about two days later I realized that yes, I did have lurking judges. Mind opening

Last edited by dogperson; 03/06/21 03:51 PM.
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Originally Posted by dogperson
I started thinking about this when I read ‘A Soprano on Her Head’. There is a chapter, ‘The Judges’, dealing with quieting the internal judges during performance. I think the principle may also apply to learning.
Oh yes, I know these judges. Ugh.
They come in every time I play a flute duet with my mom. You make a tiny mistake or the tone isn't up to snuff, they immediately direct attention away from where it should be.

I can only imagine how bad this can get if you perform for an audience. I try my best to stuff socks in their mouths but them bastards just keep coming! *chuckles*

It DEFINITELY applies to learning too. We ourselves are our worst critics and yes, that is the biggest advantage children have (after having ridiculous amounts of free time, that is). For the most part, they don't give any hoots. Teacher says "You did well!" -> Kiddo is happy.

Piano teacher says "You did well!" to me -> "Yeah, she's humoring you. Pedagogy at work. She wasn't listening anyway." .... damn adult psyche. :<

Last edited by Granyala; 03/06/21 04:11 PM.

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Originally Posted by dmd
However, I think it still might be a good idea to require them to post a few responses prior to that first new thread they create.

I absolutely disagree. When I first posted here it was to ask a question. If that had not been allowed I probably would never have joined - and I am still here, 15 years and 2700 posts later. There is nothing wrong with a newcomer asking a question - newcomers should be encouraged. If we are lucky they will stick around. If they don't stick around, no harm done.

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Originally Posted by David-G
Originally Posted by dmd
However, I think it still might be a good idea to require them to post a few responses prior to that first new thread they create.

I absolutely disagree. When I first posted here it was to ask a question. If that had not been allowed I probably would never have joined - and I am still here, 15 years and 2700 posts later. There is nothing wrong with a newcomer asking a question - newcomers should be encouraged. If we are lucky they will stick around. If they don't stick around, no harm done.
Well it's been almost a week and the newcomer has not responded to any of the answers, maybe he gave up the piano and this forum.


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Originally Posted by Granyala
....We ourselves are our worst critics and yes, that is the biggest advantage children have (after having ridiculous amounts of free time, that is). For the most part, they don't give any hoots. Teacher says "You did well!" -> Kiddo is happy.

Piano teacher says "You did well!" to me -> "Yeah, she's humoring you. Pedagogy at work. She wasn't listening anyway." .... damn adult psyche. :<
smile I got a laugh out of that, no disrespect for your dilemma intended. I've been known to respond to a "You did well" from my teacher with a "No I didn't."

Adults are far more self-aware than children and have far more ego on the line, as well. Ego, not as in a swelled sense of oneself, but just self-image. It's hard to let one's ego/self-image go and take on the clean slate aspect of a child's approach, but that's what one needs to do.

Disclosure: I've been recording parts of my practice these last few weeks and listening. Sheesh. And how many years have I been playing? Someone, somewhere, said that it's okay to be disappointed, but we should not be discouraged. I was....disappointed.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Bennevis
Are most 3 month players playing this Mozart?
It is a stretch for most students at 3/12, but it was the first Mozart my teacher gave me, which led me on a life-long love of classical music, and I practiced it like I'd never practiced any stuff I played before. I have no idea how well - or how badly - I played it then. But I considered myself to be a proper pianist for the first time, because it was my first "real" piano piece.

And it's also the first Mozart I give my students - yes, at around 3 months, give or take a couple of months. I tell them the story of little Wolfie touring Europe with his ambitious father in a horse-drawn carriage, not just showing off his skills to everyone, but also learning from every musician he met......which made him the composer he was.

(It's one of the 142 short easy pieces in the Easy Classics to Moderns volume, which I recommend for all students doing classical piano as their first classical book, and which will last them for some three years.)


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Originally Posted by dogperson
I’ve thought about adult beginners vs child beginners for a while, and these are my thoughts why it is generally easier for kids:

No, not better brain plasticity or hand agility but expectations: kids don’t have much life experiences with success and failure, no self-competition where you question ‘am I learning fast enough’, ‘am I going as fast as others’, ‘will I get there’. Kids don’t worry about effort to time ratios: they just plod along.
I'd put it another way: kids know they'd get there eventually. They see progress in everything they learn to do - whether it's riding a bicycle or a skateboard. As long as they persevere. Or just getting better at things they already can do, like running (faster), jumping (further), throwing (more accurately).

And - not least - they trust their teachers. If their teacher tells them they are progressing well, they believe her. If their teacher passes them on a piece they're learning, they happily move on. Whereas I see all too often adults in ABF stagnating because they keep trying to perfect a piece to a self-imposed 'level' (a level achievable only by a student with a few years' more piano playing under his fingers) rather than moving on, learning new skills, improving on existing ones etc. Because they cannot accept that they cannot yet play like that hot shot on YouTube.

And of course, teachers indulge their adult students in ways they wouldn't indulge child students, not least allowing them to spend months and months trying to play something far beyond them.......


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Granyala, after 7 years of piano lessons I passed level 8 theory, nothing has come easy. However, people learn differently and have different talents. I ask, are you better than 2 years ago. I have been working on Jambalaya (Eugenie Rocherolle) duet for 2 pianos. Finally made it to the end after a year, however it still needs work with timing and not hesitating. Who would think after a year it is not perfect? I know a woman who is about 60 and a second degree black belt, she told me she was really horrible when she started, felt like quitting a lot, however after ten years I am pretty good.


I really thought you practice and "get it." I found it does not work that way. I had a teacher tell me 2 hours of practice does not make a person 2 hours better than when they started. I am now enjoying the journey. I do what I can and progress, every year I am a bit better. Its not my career and no one is going to hire me to play, so I play for myself and my husband. Relax and have fun.


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Originally Posted by Stubbie
smile I got a laugh out of that, no disrespect for your dilemma intended.

Disclosure: I've been recording parts of my practice these last few weeks and listening. Sheesh. And how many years have I been playing? Someone, somewhere, said that it's okay to be disappointed, but we should not be discouraged. I was....disappointed.

None taken. It was sort of humorous, I mean I have these thoughts but while having them I also know that they are not true and that it's just my brain messing with me. Sometimes I fall for it, sometimes I don't.

When I recorded myself, my tempo was so erratic, that I was instinctively searching for the empty bottle of booze. (I don't drink alcohol at all). So I know how that feels. laugh

Originally Posted by bennevis
Whereas I see all too often adults in ABF stagnating because they keep trying to perfect a piece to a self-imposed 'level' (a level achievable only by a student with a few years' more piano playing under his fingers) rather than moving on, learning new skills, improving on existing ones etc. Because they cannot accept that they cannot yet play like that hot shot on YouTube.

And of course, teachers indulge their adult students in ways they wouldn't indulge child students, not least allowing them to spend months and months trying to play something far beyond them.......
Aye, I think the main problem are my/our ears. We have decades of experience listening to the best the world has to offer, in a cheating scenario (perfect records) nonetheless. So that's what my/our ears expect we should play like.

If my teacher gives me a piece and I ask her "Is it doable for my level?" and she says "Yup", I expect that kind of fluidity/musical performance at the end. Maybe not record perfection, after all I play live but I expect to get through it with some minor slip-ups. So I believe she and I have quite different definitions of "doable".

Originally Posted by DFSRN
Granyala, after 7 years of piano lessons I passed level 8 theory, nothing has come easy. However, people learn differently and have different talents. I ask, are you better than 2 years ago.

Who would think after a year it is not perfect?

I really thought you practice and "get it." I found it does not work that way.
Congrats on passing theory. If Theory would be all there was, piano or rather music would be so simple.
It's the "body needs to do sth." part that I struggle with. laugh

I think that's the kicker and the source of a lot of frustration: I cannot tell whether I am better than 2 years ago. Subjectively I would say: nope. Teacher is content with my progress but I don't see any.

I learned the Moonlight Sonata (1st movement) as my second piece a few months in. Took me around 6 months to get through. Since then I play it every second day to keep it alive in memory. Still can't do it w/o mistakes or w/o the right hand going limp/tense and losing control @ 3/2rd into the piece. So yes: I do know how it feels.

Agreed on the practice thing.

Currently I am working on this piece: https://musescore.com/user/140596/scores/5056339
Dear God those stupid chords are killing me. After 4 weeks I can't play the first line fluently. I understand the piece, no problem, nothing difficult happening here but my dumb hands just don't want to cooperate. >.<

Just press a few keys, how hard can it be?!


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Granyala, if you are playing this after 2.5 years, I think you are doing well. Just have fun, life to too short.

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Originally Posted by DFSRN
Granyala, if you are playing this after 2.5 years, I think you are doing well. Just have fun, life to too short.

deb

Agree! Im no expert but his piece does not look simple whatsoever.

I do know exactly what Granyala is referring to. I can relate and I like to think most pianists have also experienced this too when they first started. I'd imagine this is why there's such a small percent of people that can play piano.

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I’ve played for 64 years. Let’s face it. You need to have some musical gifts to begin with. Loving music is not one of them. That’s where the pain begins for many.

Secondly, music teachers can be great, mediocre or downright destructive. Their influence on beginners is fundamental.

Thirdly, self judging needs to be handled in a landscape apart from music, I believe. Understanding self judging in itself can be a monumental endeavor. When we carry the baggage of judgmental thinking onboard the musical train it becomes quite uncertain whether we will get anywhere.

Lastly, the criticism of others is usually detrimental. Lack of affirmation equally disheartening.

If you have no clue as to the above and wish to make music it can be difficult indeed.


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Originally Posted by IosPlayer
I’ve played for 64 years. Let’s face it. You need to have some musical gifts to begin with. Loving music is not one of them. That’s where the pain begins for many.

Secondly, music teachers can be great, mediocre or downright destructive. Their influence on beginners is fundamental.

Thirdly, self judging needs to be handled in a landscape apart from music, I believe. Understanding self judging in itself can be a monumental endeavor. When we carry the baggage of judgmental thinking onboard the musical train it becomes quite uncertain whether we will get anywhere.

Lastly, the criticism of others is usually detrimental. Lack of affirmation equally disheartening.

If you have no clue as to the above and wish to make music it can be difficult indeed.

What are some example of musical gifts?

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A lot of parents enroll their kids into music programs or with private teachers with good intentions. Many think if they get good at playing, they're going to like it. If a kid is not showing interest in music, forget it.

Suzuki music has been saying every child has the talent/gift for music. With the right nurturing they can succeed. Getting a child into a music program is the easy part. Getting him/her to stay isn't so easy.

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I remember decades ago when I had my first piano lesson. I was in my early teen and was the oldest student in the room. I was learning the most basic things while others younger than 10 years old were play more advanced pieces. Yet, I was so excited every time I go to my lesson and couldn't wait to play for my teacher what I've been practising and looked forward to learn more. Even if my teacher only assigned 3 new pieces at a time, I would learn the pieces in the book all the way to a piece I no longer know how to play and I would have a set of questions ready for my teacher in the next lesson. I enjoyed learning new things so much.

If your teacher is going at a pace too slow for you, let your teacher know. On the other hand, if you've only learned for a month and you're disappointed for not able to play music from the greats, you have some serious expectation adjustments to make. Something this good doesn't come so easily. Put in your effort for 3 to 5 years and then perhaps you can start to play easier pieces from great composers. You have a lot to prepare before you get there.

Good luck!


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Originally Posted by DFSRN
Granyala, if you are playing this after 2.5 years, I think you are doing well.
Originally Posted by Sebs
Agree! Im no expert but his piece does not look simple whatsoever.

Thanks for the kind words, both of you.
Yes, I agree: if piano was easy or w/o frustration, pretty much everyone would be able to play it.


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