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#508024 - 11/13/07 12:57 AM Introducing myself
Mick James Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 9
It's not often I come across online communities as helpful and close-knit as this, and after lurking these forums for the better part of a month, I thought I'd finally introduce myself.

In case my English comes off weird to anyone, I've been studying a foreign language for just over a year now, 6 hours a day. Things don't seem to come out quite the same anymore. ALSO, I've never been good at properly remembering terminology or names of things.

I'm James Andrew M. I'm 20 years old, currently in California for classes. I've been playing the piano for almost 13 years (technically).

I was sort of forced into piano by my parents when I was 7 / 8 -ish, as well as Tae Kwon Do at the same time. At that point in my life, I was sort of overwhelmed at having both activities to pracice, and piano seemed easier for me to pick up on, so I dropped my martial arts. I think I only made it to yellow belt anyway.

I started out with a teacher who, if I recall, said he had taught himself to play by ear. He started me out on the Alfred books, and within less than a month, had apparently taught me everything he could, and moved me on to a college student who was studying at Wichita State University under Dr. Julie Bees. I took lessons from him for a while on a decent digital keyboard, and participated in a recital (my first) under him, and before my first year of piano lessons were up, I was learning from Dr. Julie Bees at the university.

I took lessons from her, and performed in a couple more student recitals, until we moved to Iowa when I was 10 years old. At this point I was studying the Grand Valse Brilliante by Chopin, which I eventually performed in a student recital under Mrs. Stang from Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

Unfortunately, from the time I was 12 years old until I was 18, I had lots of issues keeping interested in piano, and quit lessons multiple times, totaling for a few years without a teacher. I participated in a couple of competitions out of the University of Iowa, they -may- have been called IMTA or something. I was an honorable mention both times under the "D" level. I performed the Grand Valse Brilliante, and Claire de Lune, as well as K457 in these competitions. I'm not sure how to judge myself as far as playing capability now.

My interest in piano didn't really start until I was 18 years old, after having quit lessons a couple times. I dropped out of high school, and found myself around the house a lot with only a part time job. I started re-playing many of the pieces I'd learned in the past (with really poor technique, I think). My interest was continually growing, but sort of hit a wall when I joined the Army a year ago. After basic, I managed to buy a Casio PX-575R which seems to serve me well for now.

I'm going to cut my little auto-biography relatively short now, so I don't put anyone off by making them think I like to talk about myself a lot. I really don't :p

With all that being said, I'm really glad to be apart of these forums and I look forward to chatting with everyone.
I don't read the sheet music, the sheet music reads me.

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#508025 - 11/13/07 01:14 AM Re: Introducing myself
Rosanna Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/07
Posts: 1360
Loc: San Francisco Bay area
James, welcome to this little "close-knit" community! Your bio is very interesting. It seems like you've achieved a good technical level despite the stops and starts. It's good to hear that you've rekindled your interest in playing - without being forced by your parents! If you ever need motivation, inspiration, and tips, you know where you can get them!

If you can record and post your playing, I am sure everyone would love to hear you play.

This is a very useful link on how to record:


#508026 - 11/13/07 01:15 AM Re: Introducing myself
Rosanna Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/07
Posts: 1360
Loc: San Francisco Bay area
double posted

#508027 - 11/13/07 01:28 AM Re: Introducing myself
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 552
Loc: U.S.A.
Welcome, JamesAM. So glad you decided to join this community, which is mostly friendly (well, unless we're out of the bed from the wrong side).

Also, I have the greatest respect for an Army man, and I wish you the best of luck. If you can settle down at some point, I would suggest that you invest in a real acoustic piano. You will find that you improve faster and playing the piano will be more satisfying in the long run.

Once you decide to become a pianist you will find out you'll never have another moment of boredom for the rest of your life!

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#508028 - 11/13/07 07:45 AM Re: Introducing myself
Aviator1010110 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 134
Loc: United States
Welcome! What foreign language are you studying? I studied German, and a few years ago I was able to fly over to Germany. Once in some of the smaller villages I actually had to speak German to get information, much to the surprise of the locals.

It looks like you are well on your way technically. I see your "Ultimate Goal" is Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa/Horowitz). I am in the memorization process with that one right now. It's a difficult piece but not as difficult as it sounds. I think the most difficult challenge with it is getting the different parts/melodies to sound completely independent of each other. I would also recommend that you try to purchase an acoustic piano once you settle down, especially at the level you are playing now.
Technical skills should never come before artistry. I think of technical ability as a necessary tool for extracting a truly moving performance from a sensitive interpretation. -Aviator1010110

#508029 - 11/13/07 06:04 PM Re: Introducing myself
Mick James Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 9
Thanks very much for the warm welcome =)

I'm learning Arabic at the moment. Sounds like I'll be using it alot in the future (or at least the next few years in the Army).

Fortunately, I do have a Yamaha Grand piano back home, waiting for me to use it this coming Christmas exodus when I go back. I'm excited to see if I've improved any (or if it sounds better, at least) since I was home in July, which was before I'd really gotten back into practicing the piano.
I don't read the sheet music, the sheet music reads me.

#508030 - 11/13/07 11:18 PM Re: Introducing myself
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 552
Loc: U.S.A.
I'm sure a few of us are wondering when do you get time to practice when you are serving our country and also learning to speak Arabic? Do you have much free time to do other things, like play the piano?

#508031 - 11/13/07 11:38 PM Re: Introducing myself
Mick James Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/03/07
Posts: 9
Well right now, It's pretty much classes, which are pretty difficult. Aside from the language course and physical conditioning, the military tries to give us a decent amount of "free time" intended for studying, or whatever it takes to be successful in our languages. I seem to be doing pretty well without studying much, so I try and spend my time doing more relaxing activities such as practicing piano and of course, video games. =)
I don't read the sheet music, the sheet music reads me.

#508032 - 11/14/07 08:21 PM Re: Introducing myself
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3917
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
I spent a year in the Army studying a language (Indonesian) myself, about 40 years ago. I don't regret a minute of it. I hope you can find a place to practice (some bases have rec centers with practice rooms and instruments). Welcome to the forum.
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

#508033 - 11/16/07 01:09 PM Re: Introducing myself
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1522
Loc: Portland, Or.
Welcome James. Glad you have joined us. Learning Arabic sounds pretty formidable.
Hope you will find time to practice, and perhaps send us a recording of your playing. Gaby Tu

#508034 - 11/16/07 02:16 PM Re: Introducing myself
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington

The world is your oyster! I think you have a lot of opportunity in your life with your study of languages and the language of music.

You are most welcome here!


#508035 - 11/17/07 03:13 PM Re: Introducing myself
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
Welcome James \:\)

#508036 - 11/17/07 07:20 PM Re: Introducing myself
Harumaki Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/01/07
Posts: 9
Loc: U.S.A.
Welcome James. *shakes hand*


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