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Re: learning piano later in life #416249
07/29/03 05:59 PM
07/29/03 05:59 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
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pianodevo Offline
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pianodevo  Offline
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Benedict,

You commented that

Which is exactly why I believe harmony should be part of piano teaching from the start so that when we learn and play a piece, we tap on a memory bank of harmonic patterns that give its meaning to the keys we are playing.

In theory there is no arguing with what you've said - I agree! *However*, a couple of times I grabbed a book on harmony ... looked at it for awhile ... and put it back. Once my teacher -- a Russian virtuous named Eleanora -- had a book on harmony which I was perusing in her presence. I asked her if learning the stuff in the book would help me play better ... she replied, "No it won't."

And as a nonprofessional, there are limits to what I will or have to do with piano, and limits on time for music.

So.... do you have any quick-and-dirty method for learning SOME harmony [beyond 1 - 4 - 5 - 1 chords and the little more that I do know], that would actually help my playing or speed of learning significantly? I'm an advanced intermediate player.


pianodevo
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Re: learning piano later in life #416250
07/29/03 06:29 PM
07/29/03 06:29 PM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 569
Anaheim Hills, CA
Frank R Offline
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Anaheim Hills, CA
Very interesting posts. I am also an adult beginner 55 years old. I have been taking lessons for 6 months. My dad was a pro sax player and I played clarinet for about 3 years 40 years ago. It's Surprising how much that we remember of what we learned as kids. Note reading came back within a couple of weeks, but what's up with this bass clef stuff? Finished the first Alfred book about a month ago. I was suprised at some of the comments re. the Alfred series. Seems like there is some good left hand work. Book two is looking much more challenging. I'm not aware of most of the classical references. Working on jazz Standards, Stardust and the like. Also working on cord inversions majors, minors, dominant 7ths etc. Not easy, but am loving THE PROCESS. I have The Entertainer to a point that I can almost play at proper tempo. My teacher keeps wanting slow practice counting with the metronome, I hate it but it really seems to be working. I practice quite a bit, 1-2 hours a day. But I figure that starting at 55 I have a lot of catching up to do. I have been a pretty active person I work full time, referee high school and college basketball (probably only for another 3-5 years) and just gave up hang gliding (wife's decision). The funny thing is I am enjoying the piano so much I don't even care about giving up the rest. As someone else posted I am looking forward to a retirement with the family grand-children (hopefully) and a lot of time at the piano.


Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!
Re: learning piano later in life #416251
07/29/03 07:29 PM
07/29/03 07:29 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 405
South Bay, CA
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Friday Offline
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South Bay, CA
Thanks Nancy for that explaination.

In the past, my teachers just gave me a sheet of music and literally showed me how to play it. One of the main reasons why I am "teacherless" now is because I am undecided on which approach I want to take with my lessons.

I don't have a lot of musical talent, just play for myself really; and always thought that theory was just for the serious music student. But learning about harmony, and how majors and minors affect the music, etc. does appeal to me.

You've given me a lot to think about.


Shoe!

F.
Re: learning piano later in life #416252
05/09/04 03:38 PM
05/09/04 03:38 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
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New York
Jeffrey Offline
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Jeffrey  Offline
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New York
I thought it would be good to revive this thread. I am also a adult beginner (37, work in finance), love music, couldn't read music, and just got the urge to learn to play. Got a digital keyboard for my birthday in Feb., and just purchased a new upright. Got a teacher in the first week, after teaching myself a little musical notation. His method is to assign simple, but real pieces, in a certain key, or with a certain point behind them.

For example, first lesson was to play Bach's Minuet in G, then next lesson teach me what the G major-scale is. This week I am doing "A Fine Romance" (in C-major), which is teaching me that scale, plus how to read a fake book, and some simpler 7-chords. I like this alot better than the "Adult Piano" (Alfred, etc.)Ilooked at before getting a teacher. Now that I have the upright, I am moving from lessons every 2-3 weeks, to once a week. I guess there is no particular reason for this post, but it is good to know there are other adult beginners out there, and to see how their lessons are progressing. Good luck to all! I do highly recommend a teacher for a complete beginner, and not the self-teach books. I feel my progress is much much quicker with the guidance.

Re: learning piano later in life #416253
05/09/04 05:25 PM
05/09/04 05:25 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 717
England
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Praetorian_AD Offline
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England
Quote
Originally posted by benedict:
IMHO, theory does not exist.
'There is no theory. Pleasure is the law.'
-Claude Debussy

Conscious quote from your compatriot, Benedict?

smile

Peter

Re: learning piano later in life #416254
05/09/04 06:43 PM
05/09/04 06:43 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 828
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TheloniousPunk Offline
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Pianodevo, I am struck by the irony of your post mentioning Cortot's advice on technique. You probably know that people always ridicule Cortot for his wrong notes. Of course, they were said to be due to the fact that he was very busy and did not have time to practice, and he was a virtuoso anyway. I'm going to look for that book.

It's great to read posts from other people who started late. I started in August, and I still stink. And I still haven't gotten my piano set up correctly, and I've had a problem with stubborn tendinitis in one finger. It's a comfort to know that I'm not the only one who has experienced frustration.

Re: learning piano later in life #416255
05/09/04 07:11 PM
05/09/04 07:11 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,948
New York
Jeffrey Offline
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Jeffrey  Offline
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What methods do other adult beginners use to start learning?

Re: learning piano later in life #416256
05/10/04 12:42 AM
05/10/04 12:42 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 46
Hammerklavier Offline
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I am using "Hours with the masters vol. 2", a collection of pieces according to difficulty level (ABRSM Grade 3) and "Tuneful Graded Studies", a collection of studies. Both are edited by Dorothy Bradley and published by Bosworth. I think I am the only person using this series as I have never heard anyone using them yet.

Re: learning piano later in life #416257
05/10/04 04:21 AM
05/10/04 04:21 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,519
European Union
benedict Offline
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benedict  Offline
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Praetorian,
Quote
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by benedict:
IMHO, theory does not exist.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

'There is no theory. Pleasure is the law.'
-Claude Debussy

Conscious quote from your compatriot, Benedict?
I did not know this. Actually, I happen to live very close to Debussy's birthplace (Saint Germain en Laye)

I think that Debussy speak about a very good experience of the music of his time and of the past. He certainly means that once you have a good knowledge of music, then, you are free to create the music you feel pleases you and those you want to give pleasure to.

For someone who has not been lucky enough to acquire this knowledge and mastery of music, there is a path that will give him all the tools.

In both cases, theory is NOT a path: it is an abstraction of how music works in practice.
It is, I suppose a bit like the art of a chef : through experience (and initiation), one gets to know the tradition and then is free to create what will be the tradition.
But theory is not what matters. What makes the difference is art : beauty is indeed a path.

And cuisine can be a thing of beauty, can't it ?

smile


Benedict
Re: learning piano later in life #416258
05/10/04 01:03 PM
05/10/04 01:03 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 646
Plano, Texas
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jdsher Offline
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Plano, Texas
Jeffrey: I am an adult beginner. I've been learning since September. My teacher started me with the Faber and Faber book, but I went through it pretty quickly ~3 months. There are still some things I like to play in it, ie Minuet in G from the book of Magdelena Bach and some Mozart arrangements. What I am doing now is learning Traumerei by Robert Schumann. I started with an arrangement and am now learning the "real thing". I've also made my own arrangement of Mendelssohn's "Sheperd's Complaint" that I work on from time to time. In addition I've been using the theory workbooks my teacher gives me to fill out. These workbooks emphasize basic music theory and am up to book seven. I practice 30-45 minutes everday and attend lessons once a week for 45 minutes.
Jon


"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein
Charles Walter W190 Ebony
Re: learning piano later in life #416259
05/10/04 05:34 PM
05/10/04 05:34 PM
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pianodevo Offline
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TheloniusPunk wrote:

Pianodevo, I am struck by the irony of your post mentioning Cortot's advice on technique. You probably know that people always ridicule Cortot for his wrong notes. Of course, they were said to be due to the fact that he was very busy and did not have time to practice, and he was a virtuoso anyway. I'm going to look for that book.

Thanks for the info on Cortot's playing -- I did not know he was famous for wrong notes. laugh

About his book, which I believe is called "Rational Principles of Pianoforte Playing," I would NOT advise spending money to buy it. However if you can borrow it from the lib, it IMHO has some worthwhile exercises. I ended up xeroxing a copy at Kinko's on 11 x 17 paper for about $15.

I went through the whole thing, choosing what I thought useful (and tolerable), and totally ignored his mandate to transpose into all keys, etc. Doing what he wants would take forever.

Now I'm going through *some* of the exercises a second time.

As an example of the value in the book, Cortot gives several fingerings for the chromatic scale: one for speed, one for general use, etc. I found playing these useful for finger dexterity, and potentially useful later for pieces.

[BTW TP, your PW name is one of my very favorites! Most clever. wink


pianodevo
Re: learning piano later in life #416260
05/10/04 07:07 PM
05/10/04 07:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,948
New York
Jeffrey Offline
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Jeffrey  Offline
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P - Who is Cortot? I looked him up in the Encyclopedia of Piano, but no luck. I assume he wrote exercises like Hanon, but I am not sure.

Re: learning piano later in life #416261
05/10/04 08:12 PM
05/10/04 08:12 PM
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TheloniousPunk Offline
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Joined: Nov 2003
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US
Cortot = Alfred Cortot. French pianist known for his renditions of Chopin's work.

There is a great 6-CD set of his Chopin recordings.

Cortot was a very busy guy, and he did not have the luxury of devoting all his time to the piano. He was famous for playing wrong notes, but his recordings are still very enjoyable. I find them interesting partly because he had strange ideas about timing.

In Rubinstein's autobiography, Rubinstein comments on audiences counting on Cortot to have memory lapses.

You can see him play on the DVD Art of Piano: Great Pianists of the 20th Century.

Re: learning piano later in life #416262
05/11/04 05:30 PM
05/11/04 05:30 PM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 569
Anaheim Hills, CA
Frank R Offline
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Anaheim Hills, CA
Jeffrey,

I am also an adult beginner (16 mos.). My teacher uses the Alfred series for adult beginners. I am about 3/4 of the way thru book two. The second book is very challanging. My teacher won't let me slide on anything. I can see the pay-off though. Also, doing a lot of cords and fake book work along with scales and timing (beating the heck out of me with timing). After book three he tells me that we will be working on the Cert. of Merit program. Don't know too many details about it yet but I understand it is mostly classical and is a California music program. Maybe other states too but I'm not sure. I don't think we will be doing the program on an official basis. It's designed for students to get to level 10 by the time that they are high school seniors. At 56 yrs. I don't think I need to take the tests and all of that stuff. The music is graded so there is a progression to follow and I think that is why we are going to use the program, mostly as a guideline. I understand some old guys do it though, who knows maybe I'll have to give some of the kids a run for it. laugh

Practice for me is an hour and a half every morning and one to two hours in the evening. Weekends are another story 3+ hrs. depending if my wife makes me do my chors. mad I have a 30 min. lesson once a week.

Can you say OBSESSION help


Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!
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