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Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936134
12/12/08 03:24 PM
12/12/08 03:24 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by theJourney:
Progress usually proceeds in dramatic spurts followed by endless plateaus and the occasional brick wall.
This was good to read. I'm an adult beginner at a mid- (late on a good day) intermediate level and have been in each of these places but lately see more plateaus and brick walls... :rolleyes:


It's the journey not the destination..
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Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936135
12/12/08 03:56 PM
12/12/08 03:56 PM
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Boynton Beach, FL
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Excellent post, Greg! Impatience is self-defeating in most adult students. The ones who succeed the most from lessons are the ones who know they know nothing and approach it that way. I have one adult student who has been struggling with lessons for the past year with me. She was a transfer and has has many years of lessons, and has barely made it to late elementary/early intermediate playing. Despite my recommendations, she insists on cramming her practice into one day a week, thinking that 1 1/2 hours is equivalent to daily practice. She also insisted on playing hands together when I specifically told her to do hands separately. I finally got her to agree to try my way before dismissing it this week, so we'll see. But in her impatience to play hands together, she is actually taking longer to learn the piece.


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Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936136
12/12/08 04:12 PM
12/12/08 04:12 PM
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Olympia, Washington, USA
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Monika, thanks for the citation. That is most interesting. Especially as it appears their studies control for differences in basic intelligence. Now I have some real ammo for a couple of wayward HS students! laugh

There's an old story about Frank Sinatra, who claimed to have sung every song in his repertoire 1,000 times before ever singing it once in public. The skill of his singing certainly supports that claim!


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936137
12/12/08 04:19 PM
12/12/08 04:19 PM
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Denver, CO
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I apologize for keeping this thread slightly OT here,

Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:
I haven't read Levitin's book, and I have a fundamental disagreement with his assertion about any fixed number of hours resulting in expertise. For that to be true, there would have to be a level playing field in which all participants have an equal amount of talent or to be equally untalented. That premise is patently false.
Soto Voce, I agree with your statement above, and having read Levitin's book I can state that that is not quite what he is saying.

As I recall it, the way Levitin worded it was that a study of experts indicated that they all had at least 10,000 hours of practice in their field.

In other words, there is such a strong correlation between 10,000 hours and being considered an expert in a field that one could consider 10,000 hours to be a necessary condition for being an expert.

That is very different from saying that 10,000 hours is sufficient for being an expert.

I'm sure Monica can provide further information if I am reading it incorrectly.
Rich


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Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936138
12/12/08 04:27 PM
12/12/08 04:27 PM
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Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936139
12/12/08 04:34 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by IPIBAHN - Sandy:
Quote
Originally posted by theJourney:
[b] Progress usually proceeds in dramatic spurts followed by endless plateaus and the occasional brick wall.
This was good to read. I'm an adult beginner at a mid- (late on a good day) intermediate level and have been in each of these places but lately see more plateaus and brick walls... :rolleyes: [/b]
I like your tagline.... wink

Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936140
12/12/08 04:47 PM
12/12/08 04:47 PM
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Barcelona
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Interesting thread,

I'm not a teacher, but an adult beginner with one.

MAK, *age* has the annoying habit of reminding us our limitations, but sometimes things also depend in some degree on how bad you want to achieve them.

My tecaher only has 3 adults.
One of them, I don't know. The other is a middle aged lawyer with 3 years of lessons. The 3rd is me, with 1 year and 2 months.

Two months ago, I "catched up" the lawyer. Now we're playing at the same level. He commented that fact with our teacher, not in a wrong way -of course, he's a very nice man, perfectly polite-, he just talked about talent and all this.
Our teacher replied (in a very spartan Russian way): She's not more talented nor smarter than you. She only works harder.

The only secret is finding the time to practice every day and stick to your practice routine NET (= No Excuses Tolerated). Not always easy given the life we lead :rolleyes:

Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936141
12/12/08 05:00 PM
12/12/08 05:00 PM
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Posts: 18,346
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Offline

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Quote
Originally posted by DragonPianoPlayer:
I apologize for keeping this thread slightly OT here,

Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:
[b] I haven't read Levitin's book, and I have a fundamental disagreement with his assertion about any fixed number of hours resulting in expertise. For that to be true, there would have to be a level playing field in which all participants have an equal amount of talent or to be equally untalented. That premise is patently false.
Soto Voce, I agree with your statement above, and having read Levitin's book I can state that that is not quite what he is saying.

As I recall it, the way Levitin worded it was that a study of experts indicated that they all had at least 10,000 hours of practice in their field.

In other words, there is such a strong correlation between 10,000 hours and being considered an expert in a field that one could consider 10,000 hours to be a necessary condition for being an expert.

That is very different from saying that 10,000 hours is sufficient for being an expert.

I'm sure Monica can provide further information if I am reading it incorrectly.
Rich [/b]
You are correct, Rich, that saying that 10,000 hours is necessary to be an expert is not the same as saying that it's sufficient.

Perhaps surprisingly, though, many of the researchers on expertise argue that it is *also* sufficient. Sotto voce, I encourage you to read Levitin's chapter and some of the references listed in the bibliography I linked to should you be interested in pursuing this further.

Another good reference is Ericsson, K. A., & Lehmann, A. C. (1996). Expert and exceptional performance: Annual Review of Psychology, 47, 273-305.

For copyright reasons, I don't want to quote at length from the article, but here's their summary sentences from the section entitled "Expert Performance and Talent" (pp. 279-281): "Reviews of adult expert performance show that individual differences in basic capacities and abilities are surprisingly poor predictors of performance (Ericsson et al 1993, Regnier et al 1994). These negative findings, together with the strong evidence for adaptive changes through extended practice, suggest that the influence of innate, domain-specific basic capacities (talent) on expert performance is small, possibly even negligible. We believe that the motivational factors that predispose children and adults to engage in deliberate practice are more likely to predict individual differences in levels of attained expert performance."

Translating the academic jargon, my take on what they are saying is that the effect of "innate talent" is very small; instead, if a person is intrinsically motivated enough to engage in 10,000 hours of deliberate practice on a task/skill, he or she will become an expert on it.

These "talent vs. practice" debates never seem to get settled here, partly because there is confusion over what "talent" and "expertise" mean. I am not saying that 10,000 hours will make anybody into, say, a Horowitz. But I would argue that it would make anybody into a highly accomplished pianist capable of having a rewarding professional career.

Okay, I've got errands to run and a child's birthday party to plan, so I'm taking off my professor's hat for now. I do encourage anybody interested in this question to read these articles I've cited. The issues are complex and not easily summarized in a brief post, but please believe me that the researchers have considered and accounted for the factors and issues that many of you raise.

Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936142
12/12/08 05:07 PM
12/12/08 05:07 PM
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Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
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Rich and Monica: Thanks!
Quote
Originally posted by Monica K.:
Translating the academic jargon, my take on what they are saying is that the effect of "innate talent" is very small; instead, if a person is intrinsically motivated enough to engage in 10,000 hours of deliberate practice on a task/skill, he or she will become an expert on it.
This resonates with me, because of the old saw about the tendency not to value what we don't have to work hard for. It's common enough for those for whom something like piano comes easily not to apply themselves with diligence, and the result is underachievement relative to someone with less talent but who was motivated to work harder.

Steven

Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936143
12/12/08 05:17 PM
12/12/08 05:17 PM
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Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936144
12/12/08 05:28 PM
12/12/08 05:28 PM
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Olympia, Washington, USA
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Wasn't it Thomas A. Edison who said that genius is 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration?

I have a HS freshman who has been with me 9 years now and is ever so slowly grinding away at his piano. Not the brightest bulb in his class, but he is dedicated to learning piano in the most tenacious manner. He has learned, more or less, his left hand from his right, he has learned not to pound the keys, he is into lower intermediate literature, and loves many of the jazzy versions of music I dig up for him. His eyes still light up when something comes out right.

He will be the adult who plays the piano at social gatherings, while my genius students, who at the same age are playing Fantasy Impromptu, will not be able to play a note a decade hence.

Life is so unfair!


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936145
12/12/08 05:49 PM
12/12/08 05:49 PM
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New York City
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Quote
Originally posted by MAK:
What level of playing and satisfaction should one one realistically expect in a few years?
On second thought, I've decided that you've set an impossible task for yourself. It will be merciless, grueling, soul-destroying drudgery with no reasonable expectation of success or enjoyment.

Please email me for the correct delivery address for the Bosendorfer.


cool


Greg Guarino
Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936146
12/12/08 06:09 PM
12/12/08 06:09 PM
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Just had an odd little thought - I wonder if many of those with a talent for playing the piano are really those with a talent for learning how to play the piano. It's not necessarily the same thing.


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Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936147
12/12/08 06:15 PM
12/12/08 06:15 PM
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Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
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Quote
Originally posted by gdguarino:
Please email me for the correct delivery address for the Bosendorfer.
Dang, I hope he hasn't already taken Gyro's advice and traded up to a digital. laugh

Steven

Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936148
12/12/08 07:00 PM
12/12/08 07:00 PM
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Virginia
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Quote
Originally posted by Morodiene:
To play at an advanced level, you're looking at at least 2 hours of practice daily, and that is assuming that practice habits are efficient and productive.
Could I ask how the 2 hours would be divided, e.g. amount of time on technical exercises versus pieces?

I am in the middle, intermediate level, I spend about 15 minutes per piece. I wonder how much more time I will need if/when I reach the late intermediate and early advanced levels.

Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936149
12/12/08 09:42 PM
12/12/08 09:42 PM
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Monica K. wrote: I am not saying that 10,000 hours will make anybody into, say, a Horowitz. But I would argue that it would make anybody into a highly accomplished pianist capable of having a rewarding professional career.

Monica, I love most of your posts but i think you're really out on an untenable limb here. There's just no evidence for this. Piano, like voice, takes a combination of physical abilities and musical talents as well as lots and lots of hard work to make it to the level of a professional. Do you really think that 10,000 hours of singing will give you a voice capable of sustaining a career as a professional singer? If the pipes are not there to begin with, 10,000 hours later you'll have someone who still does not have the pipes but knows how to breathe, phrase, and has good diction-- but not necessarily a beautiful voice. It may not be as obvious with piano, but there are lots of people out there who have played and practiced hard for years and are nowhere close to professional level. Why? because the underlying neural, motor and cognitive talents may not be there to get the performance to that level. They may become COMPETENT pianists at an intermediate to "advanced" level-- but a performing professional? Able to really rip off those Liszt TE's at speed and with full expression and dynamics? I'm not so sure.
Those who put in the 10,000 hours are a self-selected group and so studying them only provides limited answers . Yes, it may be a necessary condition to get good (to put in 10,000+ hours of focused practice) but there is really no good evidence it is sufficient in a randomly selected group of people representative of the population at large.

Sophia

Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936150
12/13/08 02:03 AM
12/13/08 02:03 AM
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Orange County, CA
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Quote
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
He will be the adult who plays the piano at social gatherings, while my genius students, who at the same age are playing Fantasy Impromptu, will not be able to play a note a decade hence.

Life is so unfair!
John--

To my knowledge, I'm the only person from my high school piano class whose career is related to piano at all. We had 20 highly motivated, talented pianists in that class; unfortunately, I was the only one who actually _loved_ piano.

One of my friends from that class, who still keeps in touch with me, says she owns an upright piano and still plays from time to time. She wants her kids to learn piano when they grow older. Her brother, who was much less talented then she was, actually plays the piano more nowadays.

So I agree with you: Life is not fair.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936151
12/13/08 10:03 AM
12/13/08 10:03 AM
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Virginia, USA
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Quote
Originally posted by AZNpiano:

To my knowledge, I'm the only person from my high school piano class whose career is related to piano at all. We had 20 highly motivated, talented pianists in that class; unfortunately, I was the only one who actually _loved_ piano.

So I agree with you: Life is not fair. [/QB]
5% of students turned their avocation into their vocation? That's a great success rate. Far better than I'd expect. How many in your math class became physicists? Any?

The other 95% didn't necessarily fail, either, they may have derived benefits from their hobby that made the rest of their life more worthwhile.


gotta go practice
Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936152
12/13/08 12:11 PM
12/13/08 12:11 PM
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Regarding the 10,000 hours, I wonder how people would define an "expert" pianist? What level of playing are we talking about?

As an adult beginner and an amateur, I don't really expect to become an expert. Anyway, at my rate it will take about 27 years, which will be just in time for a second career after (a late) retirement.

How many hours do you think it would take to become "proficient"?

In any event, my advice to the OP would be not to worry about how far you can eventually get. Too much concern for some far off goal might actually hinder your progress. Just jump in. If you stick with it, you'll get further than you ever thought. And you'll have fun at every level you achieve along the way. I got as much satisfaction the first time I played "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" hands together as I get from anything I can play today.

Matt

Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner #936153
12/13/08 04:07 PM
12/13/08 04:07 PM
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Olympia, Washington, USA
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Matt, please define proficient. If you mean, can read hymns out of a church song book and play them reasonably well, then we're talking somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 hrs. Ditto sheet song music, although we're talking a different skill set here. If you want to play solid intermediate literature, even early advanced, very musically, then up that figure to 4 - 5K hrs. At 10k, we're talking artist level.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
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