Piano World Home Page

Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner

Posted By: KL NY

Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/16/19 02:16 PM

I have a few years of lesson from teenage year. Now i can't afford the lesson , I have been playing on and off through the years. Now start to get more serious on playing.

Right now I am at level 2-3. How far can a self learner goes ? What your opinion and experience on this? I try to be realistic on this journey and expect soon or later there is a limit how much i can learn by myself.

Thank
Posted By: dmd

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/16/19 02:52 PM

I would not spend another moment concerning myself with it.

I would just start enjoying the time you spend playing the piano.

You will naturally progress as you learn things through books, videos, forums, online courses and any other means you employ.

You will get as far (levels) as your enthusiasm, efforts, and learning methods will take you.

You may find that your journey takes you in a direction not even related to levels …. jazz, blues, rock …. who knows.

Each day …. sit at the piano and enjoy yourself. Strive for "better" but do not be consumed by "how far" you are getting.

Good Luck
Posted By: thepianoplayer416

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/16/19 03:33 PM

I was playing on and off for a few years before getting enrolled in an adult evening class. I don't have to think about the level I'm at as long as I enjoy the pieces I'm playing. There are many original pieces and simplified arrangements of the same pieces. In the beginning I may be playing an arrangement of a Schubert Serenade (even in another Key). As I get better I would eventually download the original.

Unless you're aiming to be a professional musician, you can spend years with the same pieces. And the more pieces you play, the better you get and you learn more things about the same pieces, the composer who wrote them, etc. It's an endless learning process. Coming from a non-musical family I'm happy to be the only person playing a few tunes on a keyboard even when I'm just doing pieces at an intermediate level.
Posted By: barbaram

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/16/19 03:44 PM

Originally Posted by dmd
I would not spend another moment concerning myself with it.

I would just start enjoying the time you spend playing the piano.

Each day …. sit at the piano and enjoy yourself. Strive for "better" but do not be consumed by "how far" you are getting.



+1
Just enjoy the journey and make it a consistent part of your life. There are many resources available to support your learning journey besides the traditional 1-1 in person teacher route. See what works for you.
If traditional lessons are in fact what works best for you (they are for me), they may fit back into your life down the line. In the meantime take advantage of whatever works for you and fits into your life now.
Posted By: sinophilia

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/16/19 03:58 PM

How far can you go? Well it really depends on your ambitions and how much time and effort you are willing to put into it, and to some extent also by your own personal "talent". The fact that you had some years of lessons as a teenager is definitely an advantage, starting from scratch as an adult is more difficult.

I've been learning by myself for 7 years, practicing between 1 and 1.5 hours a day on average, and I got to an intermediate level. I learn easy pieces faster, I can sight-read some things, and I can learn wonderful pieces at about ABRSM 6/RCM 8 level in a few months without killing myself. How well I eventually play them, that's very hard to say... the polishing/performing/recording part is the most frustrating, and increasingly so as your own expectations change and grow.

In the end, just go for it, and you'll soon understand how it goes and how much you enjoy it.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/16/19 10:36 PM

Originally Posted by barbaram
Originally Posted by dmd
I would not spend another moment concerning myself with it.

I would just start enjoying the time you spend playing the piano.

Each day …. sit at the piano and enjoy yourself. Strive for "better" but do not be consumed by "how far" you are getting.



+1
Just enjoy the journey and make it a consistent part of your life. There are many resources available to support your learning journey besides the traditional 1-1 in person teacher route. See what works for you.
If traditional lessons are in fact what works best for you (they are for me), they may fit back into your life down the line. In the meantime take advantage of whatever works for you and fits into your life now.





+2. Enjoy your own personal piano journey!
Posted By: One Ohm

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/16/19 10:44 PM

I heard in one of Adras Schiff lectures recently, that Chopin did not receive any formal piano lessons. Maybe his mother taught him piano? I have not verified any of this, but it was a surprise when I heard it in the lecture. Here is the link to the lecture. Schiff Lecture On Chopin. Listen for a couple minutes at the time linked.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/16/19 11:06 PM

While I don't strongly disagree with what has been posted above, I do offer one caveat for someone who wants to "start getting more serious on playing." It depends how serious you want to get and what your ultimate goals are. If you are playing simply for your enjoyment, then do continue as others have suggested. However, if getting more serious involves - eventually - attempting repertoire that is more challenging that what you can currently play, the self-taught learner may - and I repeat may - develop bad habits, poor skills and even possible injury without the guidance of a good teacher.

I would suggest that, when it becomes possible and if you wish to continue serious playing, you start taking lessons. I understand that that may not be possible at the moment, but if playing the piano is a long-term serious endeavor, then you will eventually need guidance and teaching.

Meanwhile, I will join the others and say: enjoy the journey.

Regards,
Posted By: malkin

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/16/19 11:29 PM

Pretty realistic to say that I'll never be Chopin. But then again, I've taken lessons.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/16/19 11:49 PM

Originally Posted by One Ohm
I heard in one of Adras Schiff lectures recently, that Chopin did not receive any formal piano lessons. Maybe his mother taught him piano? I have not verified any of this, but it was a surprise when I heard it in the lecture. Here is the link to the lecture. Schiff Lecture On Chopin. Listen for a couple minutes at the time linked.
I think Schiff is mistaken, and Chopin had two teachers according to the bio in the link below. It might be more correct to say his lessons were for a fairly short period of time, and he developed much of his technique by himself. He extended the technical approach of the day.
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Frederic-Chopin
Posted By: One Ohm

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/17/19 12:53 AM

pianoloverus - I believe Schiff addresses at least one of the teachers in the link you provided. He stated that the teacher was actually a violin player, not a piano player.

Anyway, my point was not to justify going it alone since Chopin did not take formal lessons. It was just an interesting piece of information.

As BrudeD states, I also highly suggest getting a good teacher if you become serious about advancing. Not a week goes by that my teacher (Eric Jones in Littleton CO.) does not provide some important insight or correction that I would not have found obvious on my own. There is no doubt that my progress would be slower and more tedious without a good teacher. However, it is possible to progress and enjoy the piano without formal lessons. The important thing is to start at something.
Posted By: noobpianist90

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/17/19 04:50 AM

Speaking from experience as a self-learner, there are two things you need in abundance to be successful at self learning. Time and patience. You should expect that your progress will be slow since you will make a lot of mistakes, and you will practice these mistakes. Then you will need to unlearn these mistakes and fix them.

I personally like self learning because it allows me to discover things for myself. Since nobody is showing me how to play a certain passage, I find my own solutions through trial and error. I find a lot of joy in being able to discover these things for myself. As time has gone by, I've gotten better and better at arriving at solutions more quickly.

That being said, I feel it's better to start self learning when you're a bit more advanced. the likelihood of making mistakes at the beginner stage is a lot higher.

As for how far a self learner can go? I don't see any limits. As long as one has enough time and patience, I see no reason why there should be a cap on progress.

Here are some links that have been very useful to me:
Fundamentas of Piano Practice
Painostreet links
Posted By: meaculpa

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/17/19 06:05 AM

Originally Posted by KL NY
I have a few years of lesson from teenage year. Now i can't afford the lesson , I have been playing on and off through the years. Now start to get more serious on playing.

Right now I am at level 2-3. How far can a self learner goes ? What your opinion and experience on this? I try to be realistic on this journey and expect soon or later there is a limit how much i can learn by myself.

Thank





That is an interesting question KL, I guess there is a limit on how much one can learn by himself, it seems as though you have a piano and are fairly good at playing things you have self taught, but sooner or later for progress you will want to go further and more serious,, I'am sorry at the moment you can't afford lessons, but even if you can have one lesson per month it might help, plus you can always email your tutor if you have any questions.
I was in your situation, when I was a busy working mum, I had too many other commitments, and not enough funds for lessons, so I had to wait until such time I could take more formal lessons. Which has now been 4 years, even now my repertoire isn't that much, but I can play easy stuff, sight read , I take lessons every two weeks, or even once a month.
Posted By: thepianoplayer416

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/17/19 06:15 AM

Everybody has a favorite composer or performer. Some people are known for their performances of Chopin. Others like Glenn Gould was into Bach, Stewart Goodyear is into Beethoven. Just because you don't get into Chopin Etudes or Beethoven Sonatas doesn't make you a better or worst performer, everybody have their own taste in music.

Someone like myself get into playing Bach fugues occasionally. I don't find the pieces too challenging when played at a slower tempo although some people would think otherwise. When we have a teacher we get into playing pieces by a number of composers covering different genres. When I'm on my own, I tend to download more pieces by Bach & Handel.
(An aside: I believe I had a past-life in 18th century Europe and got exposed to Baroque music.)
Posted By: Groove On

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/17/19 06:28 AM

One bit of advice that I like - finish it! Whatever learning resources your using, finish it. Work through it thoughtfully and mindfully but get to the end. Even if you’re only getting 50% of the lessons (or even less). Once you ‘finish it’ you’ll have gotten a big percentage of the learning under your belt, and then you can circle back to revisit the sticky bits that stopped you in your tracks. You’ll also have a bigger picture / better perspective of what you’re learning.
Posted By: Mosotti

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/17/19 08:38 AM

My opinion as a beginner smile

The problem with self learning is that there's no one there to correct you. There's no one there to explain things to you. There's more than technique, equally hard or maybe harder is to understand a piece and use the correct phrasing, pedaling etc. A good teacher will also suggest exercises for trouble areas or way to do things you've never thought about trying yourself. He/she will watch you and immediately see that you are tense, where you are tense, that your arms are in a weird position, but you don't even notice, being concentrated on other things, that you use weird fingerings, because you couldn't find a better one yourself and so on.

Before I started learning the piano, I thought it's just about pressing some keys with the right fingers, it's all about practice and time, and eventually you'll get it, but it's really so much more. Every part of your body is practically involved at some point or another. I think it's not that is hard to self learn even fairly advanced pieces, but it's impossible to do it effortlessly without proper technique, plus make them sound good, like a trained pianist does it. And you just can't figure out by yourself what a lot of very gifted people developed over hundreds of years. It's like trying to teach yourself chemistry, you're probably blow yourself up eventually...

Now all of the above apply to classical music, if you just want to play other genres, like new age, easy listening (which I actually like, I'm not one of those that say those are crap), playing in a band, I suppose the requirements are not that high. But even so, if you look at the greatest rock keyboardists most of them had formal piano training...

As for Chopin, it doesn't matter at all what he studied, he was a genius. You should not compare to a genius unless you know you are a genius smile
Posted By: KL NY

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/17/19 11:52 AM

Originally Posted by Mosotti
My opinion as a beginner smile

The problem with self learning is that there's no one there to correct you. There's no one there to explain things to you. There's more than technique, equally hard or maybe harder is to understand a piece and use the correct phrasing, pedaling etc. A good teacher will also suggest exercises for trouble areas or way to do things you've never thought about trying yourself. He/she will watch you and immediately see that you are tense, where you are tense, that your arms are in a weird position, but you don't even notice, being concentrated on other things, that you use weird fingerings, because you couldn't find a better one yourself and so on.

Before I started learning the piano, I thought it's just about pressing some keys with the right fingers, it's all about practice and time, and eventually you'll get it, but it's really so much more. Every part of your body is practically involved at some point or another. I think it's not that is hard to self learn even fairly advanced pieces, but it's impossible to do it effortlessly without proper technique, plus make them sound good, like a trained pianist does it. And you just can't figure out by yourself what a lot of very gifted people developed over hundreds of years. It's like trying to teach yourself chemistry, you're probably blow yourself up eventually...
)


Well said !! i dont need to repeat myself grin That exactly how I feel and experience right now.
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/17/19 03:51 PM

Originally Posted by noobpianist90
I personally like self learning because it allows me to discover things for myself. Since nobody is showing me how to play a certain passage, I find my own solutions through trial and error. I find a lot of joy in being able to discover these things for myself. As time has gone by, I've gotten better and better at arriving at solutions more quickly.
Even when someone has a teacher there always many things one discovers without the teacher's help. But without a teacher, at least for the first 5-10 years, one doesn't know what one doesn't know. A solution one finds by oneself may be OK but not the best or even satisfactory. Many amateur Youtube performances are quite horrible even by the most basic standards but the pianists who posted those videos for the most part probably thought their playing was good or even excellent. They didn't know what they didn't know.
Posted By: noobpianist90

Re: Realistic goal and expectation for a self learner - 05/17/19 04:24 PM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
But without a teacher, at least for the first 5-10 years, one doesn't know what one doesn't know. A solution one finds by oneself may be OK but not the best or even satisfactory. Many amateur Youtube performances are quite horrible even by the most basic standards but the pianists who posted those videos for the most part probably thought their playing was good or even excellent. They didn't know what they didn't know.

I'm not disagreeing with you. That's why I followed up with this:
Originally Posted by noobpianist90
That being said, I feel it's better to start self learning when you're a bit more advanced. the likelihood of making mistakes at the beginner stage is a lot higher.

There are many reasons why I prefer to self learn. I like to have the freedom to take breaks from the piano whenever I feel like it. I've had a teacher before, and taking breaks never went well.
I get what you're saying about the amateur recordings though. Even when I listen to my own recordings from a few years ago, I can hear so many mistakes, most of which I couldn't hear at the time of the recording. That just means that I'm able to discern a lot better now. It shows that I'm improving, albeit slowly. I'm okay with that.
© 2019 Piano World Piano & Digital Piano Forums