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Joined: Apr 2009
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Originally Posted by Greener
Of all people Charles, I never would have figured. But the Wagon train keeps rolling and the dogs keep barking.

He is right about that, greener.

I do not think this is the place for "personal spiritual beliefs".


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You know, if you don't stoke the fire it fizzles out.

We all have a conscious and sub-conscious mind, so I don't know what religion you might think I might be promoting.

I call it positive thinking. Anyway, I get the message and will abide.

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Materialistic dogma aside, we'll never achieve anything unless we put our mind to it, and that implies imagining the outcome before it happens. The other option is to stumble upon it by chance, and that may win you a price in the lottery, but it will not work in piano playing.


Roland FP-30, Roland E-28
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Vikendios
I understand your point, but the fact is I am an adult (and an old one at that, so presumably with quite some baggage and experience), and do not wish to be treated like a child, nor to blissfully please my teacher. In fact I want my teacher to please me.
Obviously, your situation is different as you are not an adult beginner, but it brings to mind a scene in a Tom Cruise movie (*), where he asks his partner as they were both together in a very precarious situation (i.e. very bad people want to hurt them very badly): "Do you trust me?"

If a student doesn't trust his teacher implicitly to teach him properly, he should get rid of him/her and look for another one. If he thinks he knows better than teachers, he should teach himself (it's almost always himself, never herself). There have been lots of threads in ABF about what happens when students don't trust their teachers, just because they didn't teach in the manner, or at the pace that they wanted or expected (even though to us old hands, they were teaching properly).

My old friend's personal story, which he doesn't mind me telling ad nauseam (- he tells me good tales bear repeated repeats): he started piano lessons at 60, after a lifetime of attending concerts by all the greatest pianists past & present (he lives very close to London) - he's seen Horowitz, Richter, Gilels, Rubinstein, Michelangeli.....etc, etc. And he has a huge CD collection of all the greatest pianists who ever recorded. So, you could say he knows what great piano playing is all about: he's seen the greats play up close, scrutinized their movements, their technique, their pedalling, even heard their humming/groaning/singing.

He did his research thoroughly and found a good teacher who specialized in teaching adults. After an initial hiccup (when his new teacher treated him as a "knowledgeable adult student" - after all, he knew what great piano playing is about, didn't he? - but he found himself floundering with basic concepts), he asked his teacher to teach him exactly the same way, using the same materials, as he would teach his child students. His teacher, to his relief, was happy to agree that was the best way, and started completely from scratch: counting beats aloud, getting fully acquainted with note-reading using very basic tunes with single notes on each hand, using all fingers and both hands equally at all times etc. In fact, from what I saw when I visited him, his teacher used the same books my first teacher used with me, and the same ones I use with my child students; and he was taught everything exactly the same way, with baby steps, not running before walking, lots of revision of basic concepts all the way etc.

The result, several years on, is that he is now an accomplished pianist, able to learn new pieces from Bach to Bacharach (OK, maybe not Bacharach, as he's not into pop) all by himself with no technical weaknesses and proper musicality, and he can also sight-sing (he joined a choir which performed everything from Handel to Lauridsen before the pandemic, and has recently restarted again with lifting of restrictions), as well as play by ear and improvise (though unlike me, he doesn't dabble in non-classical). His teacher is now more like a mentor and good friend to him, though he is still taking lessons.

(* Mr Cruise came to mind because in a clip on BBC TV just now, he dropped in by helicopter on a family in rural Warwickshire while filming Mission Possible XX, and as a reward for giving him permission to land on their field, took them up for the ride of their lives.....)


Bennevis, thank you for sharing the story of your friend. That's very encouraging! Also his approach makes a lot of sense. I tried the Clementi sonatina in C this spring before starting lessons, and though I could play it I know it's technically not very good and I can never play anything like that without making mistakes, so I think on my own I was playing things I wasn't really ready for. It makes a lot of sense to start easy and make sure one has a strong grasp of the basics.

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Originally Posted by JohnnyIssieBangie
OP, you can play hymns? What for yourself?
You can only play hymns?
Or you play them in a church?
On an organ?
How is a hymn different?
It has musical notes, maybe some spiritual la-la-la but it's still musical notes?
Four line melodies no problem, fugue's no problem, but you fall apart playing a Bach Minuet.
I'm confused.
Just listening to a Fugue melts my brain, let alone play it. If I could play a Bach Fugue then I fail to see how I could fall apart playing a Minuet.
Hmmm it smells like something to me. Smells like you're frustrated about not getting from your teacher what you want. It's very simple really. Find another teacher. It's up to you to find a teacher that works for you. It's not up to a teacher to give you something you need, since you're the only one who's in charge of your satisfaction. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you're doing something wrong. I'm saying it sounds like you're having an issue with one thing and focussing on another thing. If a teacher is pleasing you, then you're likely not learning anything. Learning tends to suck, it's frustrating, it's well hard w*o*r*k hence it's also called practice.

All that blah blah about ... you're never too old to learn something is horse doo-doo.
It's just smoke that's been blown up your behind.
The kind of smoke old people tell themselves because they have too many regrets of rubbish they were doing when they were younger. When they really should have spent it doing something else. Regret is a bastard.
Fact is, no you're not too old to learn, but yes you're probably too old to get really good at it. Your body especially fingers, knees, eyes are simply not able to do certain things anywhere near well enough to be better than mediocre. It's a fact. I don't care if you agree or not, it's still a fact.
I'm not on the young side anymore, but even at my age after sitting playing for about 3 hours I can really start to feel it, everywhere.

Learning and playing piano, is all about what YOU want. You create your reality. Every minute of it. If you're already frustrated, you won't get anywhere.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and do what you gotta do, within realistic boundaries.
Or stick to what you're good at, like Fugue's (apparently)




JohnnyIssieBangie,
I only play for myself, for fun, and yes, only hymns. I love church music, never had lessons beyond a year when I was quite young, and hymns are easy so that's what I picked up later. I am good at sight reading hymns from years of singing four part harmonies. (And I am not talking about boring gospel songs or simple common practice hymns. There's a wealth of amazing, interesting church music out there... Tallis, Genevan, Becker.... How many congregations do you know of that can sing anything like this anymore:
)

I don't play fugues. I was mentioning the skills I don't have since I've played only one very specific type of music and that the closest thing to polyphonic music I have ever played was fuguing tunes. I don't know if you're familiar with them (mostly in Sacred Harp/early American folk/singing school hymns) but they're a far cry from playing a fugue. (Tunes like Rainbow, Russia, Desert, Invitation are some of the more popular ones.)

The Bach Minuets are easy and not a problem. I mentioned that I made mistakes playing them for the teacher at my first lesson because I was suffering from nerves. But, in general, classical music is certainly quite different from what I'm used to. It requires a lot of skills and techniques I'm not familiar with at all. And so although I can read the music just fine, it's difficult for me to play.

I like the teacher I chose, and now that I'm a few weeks in I think I made the right decision. I was just suffering from nerves/second thoughts before the first lesson, which I think is understandable. Also, I might be too old to get really good, but I don't expect to, or to get anywhere close to advanced. I am too old for that and too busy. I absolutely love playing, however, and would like to improve and expand what I can play, and I think I'm certainly capable of doing that at the ripe old age of 32. smile

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