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#681520 - 08/27/02 09:40 AM Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Tantrum Whisper Offline
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Fairfax, VA
I just started playing the piano this year . . . I notice that most pianists began playing in/before grade school. . . I would be interested in finding out the age you all started to play and how long you all have been playing. Feedback will be appreciated.

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#681521 - 08/29/02 12:30 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Dave S Offline
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Houston TX
Fear Not!!! I have known many people who started piano lessons as an adult and are now able to play quite wonderfully. I can promise you one thing: If you take the time to learn piano, you will never regret it!

The key to learning the piano is:

1. Practice at least 30 minutes every day. The reason that most people (including kids) fail or get discouraged is they are not consistent with their practicing. Even the great pianists find time in each day to practice. Liberace once said,"If I miss one practice, I know it. If I miss two, my critics notice. If I miss three, the audience knows it!"

2. Keep yourself interested by constantly putting new music in front of you. This will keep you from getting bored. Don't over-extend yourself by trying to learn music way above your level. You will find a good sheet music store will keep many levels of sheet music in stock.
There should be songs that you like at whatever level you are at, beginner or advanced.

3. Have fun at it. Don't get stressed out when it seems like you are not succeeding. Stop and remind yourself of what it will be like in the end when you can play whatever you want! Listen to music that inspires you.

Please keep us posted as to how you are doing in your lessons.

Good Luck,

Dave S


Dave S.- Piano Sales
Houston Piano Company- Houston, TX
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#681522 - 08/29/02 12:47 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Stanza Offline
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Chapel Hill, NC
You can do it, no question about it. There are a couple of major pitfalls to be aware of:

1) Be Patient!. You can not do in a few weeks or months what a kid does in years of lessons. It is like investing. A little at a time over a long time ends up paying off big. You have to pay your dues and do scales, theory, finger exercizes, ect. As you go through graded lessons you will learn the various techniques like playing octaves, triplets, different time signatures, etc. Give yourself a good long time frame.

2) Don't be embarrassed by playing "simple" pieces. Most other instruments are not polyphonic like the piano yet there are virutosos making beautiful music. Even the simpler pieces will have you playing more notes than can anyone in the orchestra. The good news is that there is now a good number of adult lesson series. You don't have to start by playing "Tommy the Tugboat" etc.

3) You need a teacher. Not only for instruction but to keep you progressing. i.e. "I have a lesson Tuesday, I had better practice this weekend!".

Good Luck


Estonia L190 #7004
Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30
#681523 - 08/29/02 12:57 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Tantrum Whisper Offline
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Fairfax, VA
Thanks for those kind words of encouragement! I am 24 and I started playing in April and it is August now and I can already see I'm getting better. My teacher says patience is a virtue, I just don't think I was built with much in that department! But with every new note I learn more about myself! I just get so worried that I will never be able to get to the point where I can play what really melts my heart (classical and jazz)! I should be starting Alfred's second adult book at my next lesson . . . I will keep you all apprised of my progress . . . my plans are to master the piano and I figure as long as I practice I'll learn, so I just practice every night and I'll see where it takes me! You all made my day cause when I opened my next book I got a little discouraged! I just need to remember that I am laying the foundation and that's always the most time consuming thing to do!!! Thanks again!
wink

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#681524 - 08/30/02 04:16 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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central oregon
You are only 24? Why, that is young.... you still have plenty of brain cells left. smile I know people who began piano lessons in their 40's and now play real classical music.

The advantage that children have is that they do not mind playing "tommy the tubboat" or my personal favorite wink "the wigwam song". We adults can be impatient, trying to get to the next book, the next level.....and we compare ourselves to other adults who have played all their lives. frown Of course it is good to have something to look forward to but music at any level should be FUN.

Enjoy your lessons. Have you been over to the pianists corner? You can learn alot over there as well. Have fun.

#681525 - 08/30/02 10:27 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Paul K Offline
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Bethesda, MD
Quote
Originally posted by nancyww:
The advantage that children have is that they do not mind playing "tommy the tubboat" or my personal favorite wink "the wigwam song". We adults can be impatient, trying to get to the next book, the next level.....and we compare ourselves to other adults who have played all their lives. frown Of course it is good to have something to look forward to but music at any level should be FUN.
Hear, hear. I've had this problem recently as I continually compare my playing to my girlfriend's. She's had 19 years of playing experience, much of it at a competetive level; I played for 9 years (not competetion level), stopped for 5 years, and started agian this summer. Obviously, she's much better than me, can pick up almost any piece short of say, a Rachmaninov concerto, and has the technical skill to have it sounding decently in very short order.

I, ovbiously, do not have that ability; didn't even before I stopped for 5 years. But, after playing around for about a month on my own, even without a teacher I can tell the improvement I've made. I'm only a year younger than you Tantrum Whisper, at 23, so I wouldn't worry that you're too old to learn at all.


-Paul
#681526 - 08/30/02 01:02 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Tantrum Whisper Offline
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I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted! I thank you all for giving me more hope. It is hard wanting to be there now. In my mind I can see myself at the piano playing with Olga's fire and intensity however my in my reality Joplin's Entertainer is finally starting to fall into place. I feel better knowing my boyfriend's suffering (hearing my play songs over and over and over) isn't someday going to pay off! Thanks again. laugh you all have made my day!

#681527 - 09/04/02 10:50 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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John51 Offline
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I've finally booked my first lesson. (I'm 51, did you guess? smile ) What clinched it was the radio presenter saying something like. "I too have the dream that one morning I'll wake up and be able to play that piece I've always struggled with." He then played "Sparkys piano."
If it's difficult for Humphrey Littleton, I thought, it's difficult for everyone, so I booked the lesson.


Whaddya mean I shouldn't be swinging it? Beethoven wrote some great rags.
#681528 - 09/19/02 07:34 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Just Karen Offline
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This week will mark my (wait for it....) THIRD lesson laugh

I am a ripe 'old' 33 but you know what? I dont care! I have always loved listening to the piano but for some reason (slap myself on the forehead) I never thought about learning how to play myself...until now!

My teacher tells me I have natural rhythm (I will have to take her word for it wink ) but it made me feel good and inspired me to go for it!

My other half plays accoustic fingerstyle guitar so he encourages me, which helps too smile

Good for you (hey, good for all of us) smile


I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language.

Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence?
#681529 - 09/19/02 08:18 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Tantrum Whisper Offline
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Just Karen and John 51,

The personal stories help a lot! Thanks for yet another reason to go forward!

#681530 - 09/19/02 11:49 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Eldon Offline
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Tantrum,
My good friend and Dr. started piano lessons about two years ago. He's making great progress and loves it. As a child in India, he had no musical experiences, whatsoever.


Sincerely,
Eldon
#681531 - 09/19/02 12:16 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Tantrum Whisper Offline
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I feel so embarrassed now . . . I am doing exactly what someone listed as the biggest problems for adults when starting new in the piano . . . I am trying to compare myself to those who are 24 and have been playing for years! I really appreciate all the feedback! I guess I really need to listen to my piano teacher when he says that I am moving along very well. It's just the age we live in where we want everything YESTERDAY! Thanks again!

#681532 - 09/19/02 01:31 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Just Karen Offline
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I know EXACTLY what you mean...I am looking (searching, hoping) for my first piano.

I am getting so frustrated becuase my budget doesnt match my 'wants'. frown

I have to buy a 'starter' piano because that is all I can afford but I want a nice Bluthner that I have seen (that is 3x what I can afford).

Hang in there....you (and I will get there in the end, whatever it is we want!

smile


I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language.

Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence?
#681533 - 09/21/02 11:49 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Nina Offline
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Didn't Noah Adams (NPR newscaster) write a book a few years back about learning piano as an adult? In his case, I believe he was in his 40s, perhaps 50s, when he took the plunge.

I've not read it, but it might be a fun one to check out of the library! I think it was called something like "Adventures in Piano Lessons," or something else equally obvious.

Nina

#681534 - 09/22/02 12:26 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Just Karen Offline
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I will do a search for that book Nina, thanks!

I am so frustrated right now because I do my 'homework' between lessons and learn the VERY basic song that has been set but I want to do more. I am looking ahead in my book and of course I cant play them and I am frustrated.

I have asked my teacher if I can come more often but she doesnt recommend it as she suggests that when we get further along in the lessons I will need a week in between to practice.

I feel like I want to press a 'fast forward' button to get past all the basic beginning stuff.

Oh well! smirk


I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language.

Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence?
#681535 - 09/23/02 09:43 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Tantrum Whisper Offline
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I'm venting so please excuse me: This weekend when I went for my lesson there was this salesman trying his best to get me to buy a piano. Well he actually made me so upset that I'm sure I will never stop playing the piano. He all but told me that my beginning on a Yamaha keyboard made it so I will never play for a living. I found myself defending my passion against his close minded ways. I do admit to wanting to get a REAL piano as soon as possible but I can't believe the tactics these salesman would go to (including trying to crush my spirit before my lesson) just to sell me a piano. I got rid of him by telling him that it's been a dream of mine to play the piano since I can remember. I told him to never assume that every person is the same. Then I made it a point to tell him that I had already promised to buy a piano next year from another saleswoman there who tried to encourage my passion earlier this month. He of course just walked away but I went into my lesson with fire steaming from my fingers cause I didn't even make one mistake! As I was leaving the rude salesman looked surprised that it was me in that room playing without missing a beat. I went home and practiced for 6 hours on my nothing Yamaha keyboard on Saturday and Sunday.

I can totally relate to wanting more lessons so I can just be a great pianist as soon as possible but I realized this weekend that the only person I have to worry about is myself. And as long as I am giving 110% I will achieve my dream even if I am just an intermediate player now.

Thanks for the book referral I will make sure to check it out! For all beginners out there just keep playing and you too shall be great! We just have to believe so it can become a reality!

#681536 - 09/23/02 11:35 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Just Karen Offline
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TW, that is really bad...sorry that he was so awful to you mad Good for you though, showing him that regardless of what HE thinks you can (and did by the sound of it) play FABULOUS!

He was just thinking of the $$$ not the person....too often salesmen forget the human aspect when dealing with people.

Chin up friend, I am sure you are AWESOME already and will only get better laugh


I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language.

Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence?
#681537 - 09/24/02 02:59 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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John51 Offline
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England
I'm finding those digevents with Bob Estrin very motivational. (Lots of guitar and drum lessons on that site also.)
He explains the WHY of doing your practice, and he's not into beating you up if you have to miss a day.
Now I know my practice HAS to be difficult, I can live with it. Those of us who didn't learn music tend to assume that you guys with the magic fingers were born like that, and didn't have days like I'm having now. smile


Whaddya mean I shouldn't be swinging it? Beethoven wrote some great rags.
#681538 - 09/24/02 05:36 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Ted Offline
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Tantrum:

Just ignore the episode with the salesman. When I was about your age I had far worse treatment. I had saved enough from working on the waterfront for three years to buy a grand. After work I did the rounds of the showrooms. I looked a bit scruffy and was carrying some booze but I was quite clean. I went into the most prominent dealer and asked, "May I try out that grand please ?".

He looked me up and down and replied, "Certainly not. Someone like you would be better off playing one of our old bangers out the back."
I then walked to the next showroom and told the gentleman I wished to buy a grand.
He said, "People like you don't need grands. Your sort would be better off with a second hand upright."

There was only one other dealer, the agent for Weinbach, about a two mile walk away. I took a few swigs of booze and set out. On arrival I told the man I wished to buy a Weinbach grand. He smiled at me as if I were a human being and said, "Sure, but a decent one won't be coming in for a few months. I'll take your name. Try out that one over there."

He was as good as his word and a year later he phoned. A new Weinbach had arrived and did I still want it.

I have it still. It's action needs attention after thirty years of thrashing but that's easily fixed. I have never set foot in those other stores again on principle.

The music world's full of silly sods who know everything about everything. Ignore them and go your own way. In music, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."

Good luck.


"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows
#681539 - 09/24/02 05:43 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Tantrum Whisper Offline
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Ted your story angers me!!! But I'm glad you kept on going until you got want you wanted! That's what I keep telling myself . . . I just have to keep going until I'm where I want to be!!! Don't worry that gentleman won't get a dime of my money but I will do my best to make sure he is there to see me buy a piano from his fellow colleague that treated me with respect! Thanks for the story . . . it gives me just one more reason to continue to play!

#681540 - 09/29/02 12:09 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Pianorak Offline
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<< . . . Liberace once said,"If I miss one practice, I know it. If I miss two, my critics notice. If I miss three, the audience knows it!">>

It's funny, the late ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev is also credited with this same quote. I wonder who else has said it? eek

#681541 - 10/06/02 03:21 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Ed Offline
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It's a great quote, and probably a popular expression among all performing artists. smile

#681542 - 11/05/02 03:52 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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jimmyD Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Nina:
Didn't Noah Adams (NPR newscaster) write a book a few years back about learning piano as an adult? In his case, I believe he was in his 40s, perhaps 50s, when he took the plunge.

I've not read it, but it might be a fun one to check out of the library! I think it was called something like "Adventures in Piano Lessons," or something else equally obvious.

Nina
This is such a coincidence. I just ordered the book, used, from amazon for around $9.50. I had this book several years ago and read it, then lended it to someone and never got it back. I got the urge to read it again, so I ordered it. I loved this book. It's very uplifting. The title is "Piano Lessons". I recommend it!
smile

#681543 - 11/06/02 10:15 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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jimmyD Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Pianorak:
<< . . . Liberace once said,"If I miss one practice, I know it. If I miss two, my critics notice. If I miss three, the audience knows it!">>

It's funny, the late ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev is also credited with this same quote. I wonder who else has said it? eek
And weren't the critics always hard on him since he was more concerned with showmanship rather than technique? And didn't he respond to the critics by saying he was "laughing all the way to the bank"?

#681544 - 11/16/02 12:40 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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OlderGuy Offline
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Ithaca, NY
It was my lifelong dream to learn the piano. Now I am 55 (holly cow!) and since January, 02, I have been taking lessons once a week.
There are some many things that makes it hard!
My list what is the most difficult:
(1) Correct timing in general, that is the hardest
(2) Two hand coordination.
(3) Playing from the scores and not memory.
(4) Playing correctly very slow.
(5) Right fingering.
(6) Playing/learning pieces that I don't like

My experience is that it teaches you to be humble.
Often when I look at a new piece, I say, "that looks really easy...". Next thing I know I am sitting there for days and sweating to get it right.
If I don't practice a particular piece for a few weeks then I have to works on it for hours again
to get it back. Is it normal or just me?
Sometimes ut is very hard to sit down and practice after I just listened some genius playing a masterpeice.
One advice for the novice from a novice: be patient with your teacher, he/she will also be patient with you.

- Peter
PS. I have a KAWAI ESX 88 fully weighted dig. piano. I love it.

#681545 - 11/16/02 07:45 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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John51 Offline
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OlderGuy, it's not just you. I hate the practice, or to be more accurate, I have real trouble doing enough before my head hurts.
To get round this, I break it up a bit by "doodling", trying to pick bits out by ear. So far I've managed "When the saints come marching in", the bass line to "Bonie Moronie" and the basic LH boogie riff etc. These bits are more fluid than anything I can sight read at present.
Also I won't even try to play two handed until I can play it MM72 hands separate. (Gives me a couple of hours to hold a cup of tea.)


Whaddya mean I shouldn't be swinging it? Beethoven wrote some great rags.
#681546 - 12/18/02 12:39 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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amit Offline
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pune
Well Let me first congratulate you on joining the word of Piano!!
Let me assure you that its real fun to learn playing the Piano..The only very important thing is you should get a good teacher who can really understand your strenghts and weaknessess get the pianist out of you..I am 30 and started learning Piano only last year.
My teacher feels that I am progressing quite fast much more than he had expected. However as Dave has rightly said practise is what makes the whole difference..I practise atleast for 60 minutes...mind you I don't have a piano...I practise on a dumb key board....so if I can do it I think any one can!!!
what you require is a strong willingness to learn, sincerity and consistency.

#681547 - 12/19/02 03:07 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Tantrum Whisper Offline
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Fairfax, VA
Well it's been a good 4 months since I posted this question and I wanted to thank you all for your stories and thoughts. I am now playing on an advanced intermediate level. You all were right, I practice at least a 1/2 hour a day and I hear the world of difference in my playing. I wish you all a happy holiday! Thanks again!

#681548 - 12/29/02 11:20 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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I've just decided to learn to play the piano which I've always wanted to do but never followed through on and I'm 64. First I must buy the piano (I started a new topic on Yamaha Clavinovas-so I can practice quietly), then find a teacher, then find time to practice (I still work full time as a secretary). I'm very excited and hopeful that I can do this. Anybody else start this late?

#681549 - 12/31/02 01:58 PM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Tantrum Whisper Offline
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Tantrum Whisper  Offline
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for yclarke123,

Don't fret! Now that I've been taking classes I've met at least a dozen beginners your age. You'll be fine the only advise I can offer is to PRACTICE even when you feel like you will never get the song down. Soon that song will be a great memory as you are ten songs down the line. . .

Goodluck to you. Let us know how you are coming along!

#681550 - 02/20/03 11:33 AM Re: Any luck learning piano once an adult  
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Rod Offline
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Hi. I know this topic hasn't been replied to for nearly two months, but there's something I wanted to say.
Well, I'm 53. I started playing when I was 6, mostly by ear and eventually took lessons during which I went through the curriculum in record time. I was quite an accomplished pianist by the age of 12. I kept up playing classical and other music until about ten years ago.
What happened?? One word: "computer".
When they came out, I spent all my spare time at my computer keyboard rather than the piano. Now, I can't read music very well and I'm extremely "rusty".
Thank God I have realized what I've done to my piano abilities. As I mentioned on another post, I've just bought a new Roland FP5 and I'm going to get myself back to how good I was then, no matter what. Piano is a wonderful instrument and I really feel bad that I let myself slip that bad. The new digitals are darn close to acoustics when it comes to touch, etc., and I'm going to practice until I can make Chopin proud of me again.
Thanks and good playing, no matter what your age.
Rod

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