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#604513 - 02/23/03 09:38 PM Yikes! Thats kind of dicouraging...
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
So, I was playing my piano last night when, out of nowhere, my dad says "You know, you're not as sharp as you used to be". When I asked him what he meant, he said that I no longer play as well as I used to, kind of like I am starting to loose my touch. When I got to really thinking about it, I can see how he is kind of right. Do pianists normally experience extended slumps like the one I am starting to find myself enter???
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#604514 - 02/23/03 11:17 PM Re: Yikes! Thats kind of dicouraging...
ChemicalGrl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 643
Loc: Durham, North Carolina
I'll have to admit that I felt this way once upon a time. Maybe that's why I left the piano for a while (basically the entire time I was in college pursuing my degrees).

Seems like learning the piano, as in learning most things, one would experience a quick rise, only to hit a plateau, and stay on that plateau for a while. Sometimes while staying on that plateau, you might feel frustrated that you can't seem to make any progress. (That's actually how I am feeling right now with one of the hymns my teacher has me learning on the organ :rolleyes: ) but eventually you'll move off the plateau and experience another rise before you hit the next plateau. And so on and so forth.

So don't be discouraged. Just keep practicing and you'll be fine.

Lyn F.
Lyn F.

#604515 - 02/24/03 05:34 AM Re: Yikes! Thats kind of dicouraging...
benedict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 2519
Loc: European Union

Why do you think this happened ?

And would you have noticed or cared if your father had not made this comment ?

#604516 - 02/24/03 02:43 PM Re: Yikes! Thats kind of dicouraging...
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1576
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
It's possible to be overly sensitive to remarks of family members and close friends. By virtue of their position they have a right to say things you would consider ill-founded or rude coming from outsiders. On the other hand they do have the advantage of constant exposure to your playing and are therefore likely to notice subtle changes.

When you're both calm and have a few moments to spare I would ask him to objectively elaborate. It will soon become apparent whether or not you should be concerned. Sometimes people with little or no musical knowledge or ability can make statements of astonishing insight - I've never worked out why this is so.
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

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#604517 - 02/24/03 03:14 PM Re: Yikes! Thats kind of dicouraging...
benedict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 2519
Loc: European Union

This "crisis" could be a great opportunity to think about your motivation.
Sooner or later, you will have to rely on your inner sense of what is right for you.

Sometimes, a young (or older) person progresses from the inside without any outside signs.

Sometimes, there is no real growth because the inner impulse is not there.

You could ask yourself : What do I really want from life ?
And how does music plays a part in this craving I have to accomplish myself ?

Your answer will come from within.
So your "slump" (is it real or is it your Dad's feeling) could prove very very useful.

The great thing about a loving parent is both this parent's love and the strength this love gives us to find our own way.

Your way should always come as a good surprise.

I'm not 100% sure of what I tell you.
Only 95%.

#604518 - 02/24/03 03:46 PM Re: Yikes! Thats kind of dicouraging...
BruceD Offline

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 20233
Loc: Victoria, BC
My dear (now departed) Father who, alas, had no interest in and/or appreciation for music of any kind - least of all classical - put up with a lot from me, I guess, when I had to practice in the small house I grew up in. Of course, at the age of 14 or so, and already in love with the piano and piano music, I had little notion of how excruciating it was for him to listen to my practicing.

After one particularly trying day at work, he came home to hear me dutifully practicing Pischna exercises and disappeared into the bedroom chanting in perfect time to my music - but out of tune, of course - "I don't care if I go crazy, I don't care if I go crazy, I don't care if I go crazy ...!"

If you know the opening exercises of The Little Pischna you'll understand the appropriateness of the "lyrics" my Father invented. These "lyrics" are with me still, lo these many years hence: I guess that's why I don't practice Pischna any more; the memory is somewhat painful!

- - - - -
Estonia 190

#604519 - 02/24/03 03:53 PM Re: Yikes! Thats kind of dicouraging...
bcarey Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 3378
Loc: North Carolina
Just remember that when your father is listening most, you are probably practicing, not performing.

#604520 - 02/24/03 03:56 PM Re: Yikes! Thats kind of dicouraging...
Praetorian_AD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/01
Posts: 717
Loc: England
Hey jgoo, if I were you I wouldn't even pay the slightest bit of attention to that utterance(presuming your Dad is not a musician). In my experience, no casual listeners understand how we musicians go about our practice (which is not to say they can't be quite insightful about performance, like Ted said, but which is entirely different) If you've changed recently from bashing through your pieces to slowly repeating and working them out, then your dad has probably just taken notice of that.

You see, I think that non-musicians have some kind of notion sometimes that when great pianists go and practice, they just run through their pieces at full speed over and over. Of course, the greatest musicians are the ones who probably spend the least percentage of their time doing this and the most time going through excruciatingly slow parts of their music. That's something I try to keep in mind when I sit and practice.

Anyway, I would listen more to your own ear (which can't really become anything but more trained day by day) and judge the feel of your technique (which should always improve with slow practice unless something is REALLY going wrong!). Of course we all hit slumps - I've had one so bad these past couple of weeks I couldn't even bring myself to practce for more than 5 mins. Point is, your teacher's and ultimately your opinion are much more important. Keep on truckin'!



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