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#577817 - 09/07/01 08:07 PM All pianist have origins.
SethW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/01
Posts: 106
I was just wondering,how long has everyone been playing the piano,and what were the circumstances surrounding it.Were you forced to play as a child.Did you want to play as a child.Did you start as an adult.Did you play as a child,quit,and later saw the light and returned.Did you remember hearing piano music at a very young age,the being of which sparked your interest in the piano.

I was put into piano lessons at a very young age(It is practically tradition for asian kids to study music).I did not realy like or hate the piano.It was not untill I was a teenager that I truly began fostering an interest in the instrument.I was always listening to recordings ,reading up in detail about all the composers(beyond the superficial details you learn in general piano lessons),and playing all the time.I think this ,in part, makes certain pianist better then others.Some people are forced to play and might be very good.But it is those who truly are drawn and appreciate the instrument who come out on top,in virtue of patience and perserverence.

So,as stated earlier,what were the circumstances and deteails involving your piano history.

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#577818 - 09/07/01 08:37 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
Piano World Offline

Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 6089
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
We always had a piano in the house when I was growing up (old upright). My father was an iron worker by trade but he played the piano well, sister played too.
I got interested when I was about 10. My parents didn't think I'd stay with it but they let me take some lessons.
I grew up playing in bands (rock, jazz, R&B, GB), worked in music stores, owned a music store, became a piano tuner, and built Piano World.
I guess you could say I stuck with it :-)
And now, many years later I'm still fascinated by the piano and love to play.

Frank B.
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#577819 - 09/07/01 09:40 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
ekristek Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/01
Posts: 4
I started playing when I was about nine. I played for three years and then quit. I picked it up again when I started high school. I just moved to Columbia, MO for college and am now looking for a piano teacher. That's my "origin" in a nutshell. \:\)

#577820 - 09/07/01 11:07 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
Okay. Here is my long story:

When I was younger, I lived with my great-grandparents. They owned an old upright that they had in their basement, as well as a player piano that didn't work. I would always tinker around on both pianos (until they sold the player, then I was left with the upright) every chance that I got. My great-grandfather used to play for me sometimes. It was classical music. Some of you may now be thinking "that must be boring for a young child to have to listen to some old guy play classical piano". WRONG! I loved it. Infact, most of the times he did play for me, it was because I wanted him to play for me. I think that this is when I developed an appreciation for Classical Piano Music. My discovering my talent and learning how to play doesn't come for about another 6 to 7 years later.

I was at a friends house (by this time both of my great-grandparents had passed away) and I was getting ready to leave. He owned and still does own a 100 year old cabnet grand piano which he keeps next to front door. On my way by it, I started pushing random keys when I heard what sounded like the opening of the Entertainer by Scott Joplin. So I played it again. Within about a minute, I had taught myself, by ear, to play the entirer opening of the Entertainer. When I got home, I got out my little keyboard that I had (about three octives wide) and played it again and again and again. Then, I tried to play the rest of the peice (left hand not there, only right) and got pretty far at it by ear. I then tried learning other things by ear, and bought some theory books and chord books for beginers. After about 6 months more on my little keyboard, I got a casio 5 octive keyboard for christmas, where I advanced on for the next year. The following christmas after I got my casio, I received my Wurlitzer Upright Piano. By this time, I had learned how to read sheet music. This coming christmas will be the one year mark of my ownership of the piano. I had to really talk my dad into letting me get the piano though, he didn't origianlly want me to have it. Thank god that I did talk him into it in the end though. He said that He'd get it for me for christmas, which he did. After those years of being self taught, I have most recently (about three weeks ago now) started lessons. I am now advancing on the piano farther then I ever have before now that I know more about it from the lessons that I've took so far, and they've only just begun! So, my whole discovery of my talent was by mere accident! And that is my story up to date.

Sorry, probably more than you wanted to read but I didn't want to leave a whole lot out.
For off-topic discussion, please feel free to visit www.coffee-room.com

#577821 - 09/08/01 12:36 AM Re: All pianist have origins.
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
i was actually a totally anti-classical person until sometime last year. i had the cliched opinion that classical was terribly boring. i took lessons on electronic organ from the age of 4 and quit abruptly in april this year... why? because i heard Ashkenazy playing Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu... that was all it took... my entire attention was diverted to Chopin's music and naturally i tried a lot of it out on my electronic organ but i got so irritated with my organ that i talked my dad into getting me a piano... which he did...=] and then... chopin led to beethoven... to ravel and rachmaninov and debussy and prokofiev and faure and well, yeah... i'm hooked...=]

#577822 - 09/08/01 12:49 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
ChemicalGrl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 643
Loc: Durham, North Carolina
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ...

I was in the second grade and in between schools (a usual happenstance when you grow up in a military family) and had been begging my mum to let me take violin lessons at school. She finally relented, thinking it would be a good thing for me. Unfortunately, on the day I was to have started, I had to inform the teacher that my father had been transferred and that we were going to leave the next day. So then I'm settled in the new house and wanting to take some sort of music lesson. As it turned out, the person my mom found to babysit my brother and me also taught piano. A couple months later, my parents bought a piano and called it my birthday present.

And the rest, they say, was history. \:\)
Lyn F.

#577823 - 09/08/01 05:52 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
Amy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 433
Loc: Upstate New York
My mom played the piano while she was growing up so we had a piano in the house. When I was about 3 or 4 I would always play around with the piano. My older brother started taking lessons when I was at that age. He came home with all his books from lessons (the ones that had all the letter names written in) so I played all the music that he played. When I was 6 my parents finally let me take lessons and I loved it! About a year after I started taking lessons I was playing better than my brother so he stopped playing. Now, I play every chance I get and when i'm not playing i'm listening to piano CDs or going to concerts. I guess that you can say i'm obsessed!!
*Visit my page! http://www.expage.com/pianopalace

#577824 - 09/08/01 07:09 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
SottoVoce Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 12
My parents made me start taking lessons at 4 because they believed, for one thing, that music helps performance at school. I disliked it for years but eventually started to turn around. Meanwhile their belief, for the most part, came true too.

#577825 - 09/10/01 04:29 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
The paternal side of my family is very musical--many of my aunts played "by ear" and were quite good at it. So we had a piano in our house; my parents thought it would be good to have one accessible to us. When I was around 5 or 6 my Aunt Emma gave us some music books and one of them contained a diagram of the keyboard with lines drawn from the keyboard to the staff to show note placement. With this book I learned to read music. One of the very first pieces I learned was Brahms' Lullaby which was in this book and I have a very soft spot for it still. Brahms is now one of my favorite composers (I wonder why?).

We couldn't afford lessons (I'm one of 9 children) but I did get one lesson from the High School band teacher when I was in Junior High. He taught me how to pass the thumb under when playing a scale. I joined Band when I entered Junior High (couldn't join when I was in elementary because my father had a spat with the band director at one of the town meetings--I guess it was forgotten by the time I turned 12). I learned more music theory by being in band for 7 years.

Graduation from H.S.... 1...Work... 2...3...Tumultuous years...4...Move to NYC...5...6...7...More tumult....8...Some settling down...9...up...10...11...down...12...More settling down...13...up...14...15...down...16 up and down years later I find out that one of my co-workers has a masters degree in music from Columbia and he give lessons. I take lessons from him for a year and a half then find my current teacher and work with her for 10 more years.

That's a nutshell.
"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

#577826 - 09/10/01 05:24 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
I forgot to say, I love this topic, thank you SethW. Everyone's stories are a delight to read.
"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

#577827 - 09/10/01 05:51 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
Josh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 155
Loc: Lexington, KY
My aunt lives in a tiny burg here in KY and is her church's pianist. She's been playing forever and has even been to Europe to play. We go to her house for Christmas every year and, needless to say, she has a piano. It was just this past Christmas that I got bored and sat down at her old upright (the sustain pedal on it no longer functions - it's that old) and began to tink around on it. I was amazed to find that every other white key harmonized! I became more intrigued with this discovery. Soon I had picked out "my own" version of the Pachelbel canon.
Upon returning home, I got out our dusty 20-something key keyboard from the 80s and continued to toy with my discovery. Soon, I also incorporated the left hand, and was fascinated with my acheivement (note: my version was NOT in the key Pachelbel wrote it in). I got a 76-key Yamaha keyboard as a belated Christmas present. My mom, who used to play, can read music and taught me some things about the instrument, such as octaves, etc. (I can't read music). After about 5 months I was playing the entire first movement of Moonlight sonata (by watching my mom play it and listening to a Dubravka Tomsic recording of it at least 2000 times - no joke). I moved on to Claire de lune, (which i can play up to the roll so far), Liebestraum (up to where he frantically ascends the keyboard), Fur Elise, and some of Mozart's andante grazioso. I learned all these by watching them played. We just built a new house got an entry level baby grand for it. I'm hooked on this fascinating instrument hands down. I sneak into the fine arts building at my university and play their Steinways when I have time. My next goal is to read music and take some lessons. Wow this turned out way longer than intended, my apologies. Anyways thats my story and I'm stickin to it.


#577828 - 09/10/01 10:17 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
ZeldaHanson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 276
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, USA
You learned Clair De Lune by ear?
Glenn Gould in regards to music:

The problem begins when one forgets the artificiality of it all, when one neglects to pay homage to those designations that to our minds-to our reflect senses, perhaps-make of music an analyzable commodity. The trouble begins when we start to become so impressed by the strategies of ours systematized thought that we forget that it does relate to an obverse, that it is hewn from negation, that it is but a very small security against the void of negation which surrounds it.

#577829 - 09/10/01 10:45 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
Josh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 155
Loc: Lexington, KY
And by watching it played. Like I said, I can only play it up to the roll.

#577830 - 09/10/01 10:46 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
Joe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 86
Loc: New Jersey
I started playing piano in college. I barely knew what a piano was as a kid, I lived in the (no joke) middle of the woods in Maine, and had very little contact with music. I eventually started teaching myself guitar, and after high school I decided to go to a county college and take some music courses to learn to read music. It was there that I heard the classical piano students playing stuff like Beethoven and Chopin (they turned out to have a great 2 year music program) and my jaw just hit the floor. I remember thinking "You can do THAT with a PIANO??" and I knew that was what I wanted to do. I graduated there as a piano major, then went on to a four year school for piano performance. It was rough in the college years not having a piano, I used to hang out at school practicing till 1 or 2 in the morning, living on coffee, ring dings, and dipsy doodles. Yuck.

Well I, like most older beginners, am no concert pianist, but there are plenty of opportunities out there to make music and teach, and I love it, I really really love my work.

To answer the other question, It's been about 14 years since I took up the piano.

#577831 - 09/11/01 01:43 AM Re: All pianist have origins.
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5485
what a great topic. thanks, seth, for giving everyone the opportunity to tell their stories. they are fun to read.

my mother's dad was a self-taught pianist; he played a kind of stride/ragtime riff on old chesnuts from the turn of the century, like "who's sorry now?" and "ragtime cowboy joe" and "shine on harvest moon" and my grandmother would sing along (she had a pretty bad voice). he never did learn how to read music but he was always the life of any party from the time he was a teenager; everyone would crowd around the piano and sing. you could name any tune or sing a few bars, and he'd dress it up in his own personal style and be off to the races with it. i grew up listening to him play.

my mom was into antiques and found an old player piano when i was about 2 or three, and when my grandpa wasn't there to play, i'd sit in her lap and be amazed watching the keys move all by themselves while she worked the pedals.

from these two influences, i grew up fascinated by the instrument and taught myself to play by ear, and even made up pieces.

my dad was a professional classical musician, a clarinetist, and all his siblings and cousins were professional musicians, too. but strangely, with all this musical background in the family, i never got the chance to take piano lessons growing up. our family was not well off, and they didn't teach it for free at school, like they did band instruments. so i grew up studying the flute instead.

one christmas my dad gave me the complete record set of "the well tempered clavier" with glenn gould performing. i was hooked. i next got "the goldberg variations" (gould's '50s recording), and could only dream of ever taking up the instrument myself.

i finally got lessons on my own, after i graduated from college. i played a few years, even studied at a conservatory for a while, then the complications of life forced me to give it up. i just took it up again last year, at the age of 44, and i feel like i could not be much more dedicated to playing at this point, unless i gave up my job.... \:\)

the piano has been an on-again, off-again love affair in my life, i guess. but this time i think i'm finally ready to commit.

now in paperback:

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

#577832 - 09/11/01 10:22 AM Re: All pianist have origins.
Allen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/01
Posts: 38
Loc: Detroit Michigan
I have been taking lessons for around 15 months now. I was always fascinated with the piano at a young age. My parents could not afford a piano when I was growing up, but I can remember my music school teacher in elementary school, would start her class by playing "My country tis of thee", and everyone would sing along! I can remember wanting to be able to play just like the teacher, because it sounded so good to me. My two nieces both took lessons when they were young and my sister had a piano in her home. They were pretty good at it and loved to play. One of my nieces still does play, and has a piano in her own home. My other niece said that she made a lot of mistakes at her recital and she felt so embarrassed that she never wanted to play again! I became interested in wanting to learn how to play the piano again as an adult, when I was taking Alto Saxophone lessons at a music store a few years ago. I think the thing I enjoyed most about the lessons was learning how to read music, and it was fun. There was a piano in the music store and I would always stop and listen to one of the teachers there playing on it. I think I was drawn to it right away, after hearing how well he played, and I started taking lessons from him. About three months after I started piano lessons at the music store, they closed down, and I was left without a teacher. I then started taking lessons from a music school for a year or so, and now I am taking lessons from a private teacher in her home once a week. I did not realize that it would involve so much time and work to learn how to play, but I want to be good at it someday, no mater how much work it takes, I don't care. I really love the instrument, and I guess that is why I bought a new piano last year, and I have not regretted it for one moment!

#577833 - 09/11/01 10:47 AM Re: All pianist have origins.

Having read all the other stories it's about time to post mine.

My father always wanted to have one of his daughters play the piano. My mother was much less in favour of this idea. When I was about 3 or 4 years I was given a glockenspiel and my mum went to a musical schoolwith me. The musical school turned out to be a large room full of dozens of other children making a lot of noise with their instruments. I instantly hated it and - so my mother says - started to cry. This experience made it clear to her that I have no musical talents whatsoever, reported it back to my father and that was the end of me playing any kind of instrument during my childhood.
At 12 I got a classmate who was learning piano and played quite well. I was fascinated and really enjoyed listening to her (even if she was only practising etudes it sounded wonderful to me). I really wanted to learned that as well but didn't dare to tell my parents. Who would after being told over and over that one has no musical ability let alone talent?
My parents would have never bought anything as expensive as a piano without being a 100% sure that I
a) stick to it and
b) am talented enough to justify the investment
since we weren't well of and renting a piano was not an option nearly 20 years ago.
But, the love for the instrument didn't die away and while I couldn't afford to buy a piano I could at least listen to CDs.

At the age of 28 and still a student I finally was able to save money and purchase a digital. I chose the digital for the same reasons that surely would have kept my parents from being a piano when I was 12. Funny, I think.
The first two and half years I have tried to teach myself how to play the piano because paying for lessons was beyond my pocketbook.
Now, nearly three years later I have exchanged the digital for an acoustic and started taking lessons as well.
I'm glad that I had the courage to finally start on the piano because it gives me so much pleasure. There is still so much to learn and to discover that it will keep me busy for the rest of my life.
So, in answer to the question with which this thread started: I'm a late starter, will never be a concert pianist and do not desire it but I will have a constant source of fun and enjoyment - something to come home to after work.

#577834 - 09/11/01 08:08 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
Carol Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/24/01
Posts: 18
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Thanks for asking. It was the first time in my life I had to make an important decision and I'll never forget it. Out of a clear blue sky when I was 6 my mother asked me if I would like to take piano or dancing lessons. I never thought of taking anything at that point, but we had 2 big old upright pianos in the front living room and I was curious about how to play so I said piano. Thank goodness!

One of the pianos was so huge we thought my grandfather must have built the house around it and my father finally broke it to pieces to get it out of the house. I loved the piano right from the start. I think I cried over it in the beginning if I couldn't get something just right. We were lucky to live in a town with a major conservatory of music so I always had a good teacher available and wonderful parents who provided lesson til I graduated from high school.

End of my boring story! Carol

#577835 - 09/11/01 09:33 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
Joe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 86
Loc: New Jersey
Wow, these are some really great stories!

#577836 - 09/12/01 05:09 PM Re: All pianist have origins.
Daniel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 57
Loc: Denmark
Nice subject, I really enjoyed reading all the posts \:\)

My story goes something like this..
We have allways had an old upright standing in our livingroom, and sometimes (rarely though) my father would sit down and play some of the old folk songs he had taught himself when he was a boy. At the age of 8 (I think) I asked him if he could teach me one of the pieces he played (which I liked very much).. It turned out it was the first movement of the moonlight sonata.. but he never really seemed to have the time for it. So I started out on my own a couple of years later, and everytime nobody was at home I would sit down by the piano and start practising. At first I played a couple of easy folk songs (which I had heard my father play so I knew the melody).. but not long after I started working on the moonlight sonata.. I finished the 1'st movement, and after I started practising the 3'rd movement of the moonlight my parents desided to let me take piano lessons (IF I wanted to!!). I sure did.
- No I was not at all capable of learning the whole 3'rd movement, but I really enjoyed trying!.
After about a year and a half my teacher suddently stopped teaching and I was left without a teacher at the age of 13. This hit me pretty hard and I never got around to finding another teacher until a year ago (7 years later). I never stopped playing though, and I've learned alot by myself!

Right now im waiting breathless for my CLP 950 yamaha digital piano to arrive. It should be here tomorrow !!
Should be easy to carry with me when I move out around next year \:D

- Daniel


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