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Re: What To Learn? [Re: Richrf] #2772968
10/16/18 08:47 AM
10/16/18 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Richrf
I've taken all kinds of lessons in my life, from piano, to golf, to tennis, and art and this is why I can report that they were all a complete waste of money and at the end counterproductive.. Whatave learned, I've learned on my own through observation, experimentation, practice, and it is something that is impossible to learn with a teacher. What's more, it is available for anyone to learn if they are so inclined. Everything in life that is relevant to life is free for each person to discover on their own. Music is available to everyone all the time.
My guess is you either had poor teachers/teachers who did not teach what you wanted to learn or you were not open to having lessons and benefiting from them. You could be a very rare outlier in terms of learning but I think the overwhelming majority of people can benefit from lessons from good teachers if they also have the time to practice and believe that the teachers can help them.

What kinds of things did your piano teachers tell you that were a complete waste of money and counterproductive? If you took more than a couple of lessons( I was under the impression you were completely self taught) then it's possible you had enough background to learn well by yourself although I don't think it's possible to progress as fast as one would with a teacher. A lot of people take lessons for 2-10 years and then stop. How many lessons or years of lessons did you have?

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Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2772969
10/16/18 08:50 AM
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It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: What To Learn? [Re: bSharp(C)yclist] #2772972
10/16/18 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I would argue you didn't learn anything on your own, not if you are observing others, reading other people's work, etc. Build a brick house with no windows and keep yourself locked up inside with a piano. If you can learn to play anything you like without any outside resources, then you can say you learned on your own.

But you watch all these videos and post about them. Don't you think those women deserve some sort of credit, or are you going to continue to say you did it all on your own?


Every second in life is a learning process. I learn through increasing awareness, sensitivity, flexibility, and increased relaxation. The most important things I learned about creating music, I learned from practicing Taiji (on my own) and golf. in a way, I owe my golf teachers credit, because it was when I left them, did I finally relax and learn the secret of learning.

We are all students and teachers all the time, just not in a manner we might expect it. Yes, everyone I've observed in my life has had meaning to who I am.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2772973
10/16/18 09:03 AM
10/16/18 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Richrf
I've taken all kinds of lessons in my life, from piano, to golf, to tennis, and art and this is why I can report that they were all a complete waste of money and at the end counterproductive.. Whatave learned, I've learned on my own through observation, experimentation, practice, and it is something that is impossible to learn with a teacher. What's more, it is available for anyone to learn if they are so inclined. Everything in life that is relevant to life is free for each person to discover on their own. Music is available to everyone all the time.
My guess is you either had poor teachers/teachers who did not teach what you wanted to learn or you were not open to having lessons and benefiting from them. You could be a very rare outlier in terms of learning but I think the overwhelming majority of people can benefit from lessons from good teachers if they also have the time to practice and believe that the teachers can help them.

What kinds of things did your piano teachers tell you that were a complete waste of money and counterproductive? If you took more than a couple of lessons( I was under the impression you were completely self taught) then it's possible you had enough background to learn well by yourself although I don't think it's possible to progress as fast as one would with a teacher. A lot of people take lessons for 2-10 years and then stop. How many lessons or years of lessons did you have?


Are you really expecting anyone to answer a questionnaire about their lesson experience so they can be judged remotely, by an unknown person, with unknown skills? If I were in Rich’s place, I would refuse and I hope he does

Would you appreciate the same question? Woild you appreciate being asked for proof about how well you play or whether you were taking lessons/how long you took lessons. I think not

I assume you will continue this until you feel like you have ‘won’, whatever that means to you. Rich is not asking for input about whether he has made the ‘right’ decision




Last edited by dogperson; 10/16/18 09:09 AM.
Re: What To Learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2772980
10/16/18 09:23 AM
10/16/18 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
My guess is you either had poor teachers/teachers who did not teach what you wanted to learn or you were not open to having lessons and benefiting from them.


It's not the teacher, it's the process. Teaching has become a business based upon a weekly revenue model. There is no avoiding this, if someone wishes to make a profession from it. However, this revenue model has nothing to do with how people learn. The older apprentice model is more closely aligned with how people learn. It takes lots of time, lots of self-study, lots of patience, with intermittent new ideas introduced by a teacher/observer.

A single new idea may take many months or years of relaxed practice to internalize into the body/mind. It doesn't happen on a weekly basis and weekly lessons merely become counterproductive because of the stress that is introduced - much of which is readily observable on a daily basis on this forum.

There is a video channel called WaterPiano, where the teacher suggests digesting every scale fully in memory before taking any formal lessons. I'm not advocating this approach, but it gives some clue into the real process of learning.


Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2772984
10/16/18 09:38 AM
10/16/18 09:38 AM
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Well, I must compliment the posters on this thread for not devolving into verbal violence as is so common on other fora. Really, this is quite a big thing in my book. Kudos to you all.

Finn seems to have disappeared and I can understand why from his title, "What to Learn", not how to learn or whom to learn from. Richrf is clearly a hobbyist and doesn't require a teacher. He seems to object to an iron clad rule that everyone needs a teacher to progress , or more importantly to have fun ( an iron clad rule for him, it seems).That all sounds totally right and reasonable. I am just not sure he is in a position to teach Finn, or others "what to learn" or how to learn it, For example, his fundamental skills list for self learning ( piano) does not include a biggie. Breathing. He may see breathing as a part of relaxation, and I might say rather relaxation is a part of breathing. There can be music without relaxation, but there can be no music without breathing! And that is true on many levels, the most basic to the most sublime. It makes sense for a hobbyist to miss this one or not take it in, but no good teacher can avoid its criticality to being a great or even average musician.

Whizbang, you are right, some members post a link to their music, but not the posters on this thread. I just thought of posting in the appointed places, but perhaps I will add this to my profile as well. But Richard has honestly revealed what he knows and doesn't know without a link. A hobbyist who hasn't delved into breathing is fine in my book. Music making is for everyone and the first sapiens who made music didn't have a teacher.... Unless you count his self observation of that great teacher, nature, which fills the bill forRichard's needs and I agree! Especially for him ( and the caveman). But some caveman after the first looked more closely at the idea of musicianship and thought it so cool he decided to teach what he had learned. Not the first caveman to make music but the first teacher of music, and he probably didn't charge! Not sure if Richard would not go to him out of principle.

I might have stumbled on the importance of breathing ( and did) in other pursuits of mine like Tai Chi, but without a teacher who knew what was on the bottom line I could never have fulfilled my own musical dreams. I still haven't, but my teachers made this particular journey possible for me
I know Richard accepts that for others from what he has written,

I just keep thinking about Finn, who now has a glimmering. But he started in a strange place. His own method based on his own observations of how learning works. If just listening to one "teacher" of non teaching he might assume, " Well, I am right. I don't need a teacher!" The self observation he was proud of hijacked by a point of view, that's what can happen when you don't know and don't know you don't know, That is why a truly fair minded teacher will say," This is what works for me and others artistically, but please investigate it all and decide for yourself." How many teachers or non teachers do that? I think Richard does. The rest... especially on the teachers side of this hoary ( I am told) debate?

Meanwhile, I think Finn got what he needed and split. And rightly so. He wanted facts not philosophy. And he has all the posters on this thread to thank for it. This is a very kind, civil, and well informed ( especially collectively) place.

Just a last thought and quote. The great zen teacher, Shunryu Suzuki, whom it might be argued did a lot more for practical zen in the US than the first to bring it, D.T Suzuki, entitled his one and only book: Zen Mind Beginner's Mind. And re that title he said: To the beginner the possibiities are many. To the expert the possibilities are few. He taught that zen, in order to be fully realized requires a beginner's mind and implied that everything else does as well. Well, he should know. He was an expert!


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Re: What To Learn? [Re: IosPlayer] #2772987
10/16/18 09:55 AM
10/16/18 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by IosPlayer

For example, his fundamental skills list for self learning ( piano) does not include a biggie. Breathing. He may see breathing as a part of relaxation, and I might say rather relaxation is a part of breathing. There can be music without relaxation, but there can be no music without breathing! And that is true on many levels, the most basic to the most sublime. It makes sense for a hobbyist to miss this one or not take it in, but no good teacher can avoid its criticality to being a great or even average musician.


Actually, there is no life without breathing.

When I speak of relaxation, I use it in relation to the learning process, and of course, when one relaxes the mind, breathing becomes different in nature. Ultimately, it is all about the mind.

There are no monetary barriers to learning music, just different paths and no path is more correct or better than others. The music I create sans formal, weekly lessons, for me is far more refreshing, harmonious, and beautiful than before. My wife agrees. An I missing something? Who knows, and I really don't think much of it. I am satisfied but always open to new ideas that may flow my way.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: dogperson] #2772988
10/16/18 09:57 AM
10/16/18 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Richrf
I've taken all kinds of lessons in my life, from piano, to golf, to tennis, and art and this is why I can report that they were all a complete waste of money and at the end counterproductive.. Whatave learned, I've learned on my own through observation, experimentation, practice, and it is something that is impossible to learn with a teacher. What's more, it is available for anyone to learn if they are so inclined. Everything in life that is relevant to life is free for each person to discover on their own. Music is available to everyone all the time.
My guess is you either had poor teachers/teachers who did not teach what you wanted to learn or you were not open to having lessons and benefiting from them. You could be a very rare outlier in terms of learning but I think the overwhelming majority of people can benefit from lessons from good teachers if they also have the time to practice and believe that the teachers can help them.

What kinds of things did your piano teachers tell you that were a complete waste of money and counterproductive? If you took more than a couple of lessons( I was under the impression you were completely self taught) then it's possible you had enough background to learn well by yourself although I don't think it's possible to progress as fast as one would with a teacher. A lot of people take lessons for 2-10 years and then stop. How many lessons or years of lessons did you have?


Are you really expecting anyone to answer a questionnaire about their lesson experience so they can be judged remotely, by an unknown person, with unknown skills? If I were in Rich’s place, I would refuse and I hope he does

Would you appreciate the same question? Woild you appreciate being asked for proof about how well you play or whether you were taking lessons/how long you took lessons. I think not

I assume you will continue this until you feel like you have ‘won’, whatever that means to you. Rich is not asking for input about whether he has made the ‘right’ decision
I asked two questions and one was based directly on what he said.

What I find hard to imagine is that even if one was studying with a relatively poor teacher, the teacher never pointed out something useful that the student didn't know. When studying with a good teacher, I think a lesson would usually include many, many things a student didn't know or wasn't aware of that could improve their playing.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2773012
10/16/18 11:03 AM
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Yes, there is nothing right or wrong but the mind makes it so. Breathing is so obvious. Even on a battlefield there are relaxed minds.... I hear their breathing.

Just having some fun making a my particular point, Richard. You sound like a sensible and fair minded guy, and not easily offended! My hat is off to you.


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Re: What To Learn? [Re: IosPlayer] #2773021
10/16/18 11:22 AM
10/16/18 11:22 AM
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I breathe, therefore I am - Socrates (or someone like him).

Talking about stress, I paid a lot of money for a stress-free week recently (though I didn’t stress myself over it). The result was that I put on seven pounds and lost a lot of fitness: I couldn’t even run up ten flights of stairs without panting. Not good.

Which is why I am currently on a stressful holiday (lots of strenuous exertion etc) and I feel great 👍.

Incidentally, when I started putting myself under stress with my piano 🎹 playing some years ago (taking on a monthly recital series), my playing improved by leaps and bounds - which of course gratified me and made me feel great 👍.

Stress makes the world 🌍 go round, and makes all life better itself - Confucius


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2773028
10/16/18 11:47 AM
10/16/18 11:47 AM
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Interesting. An advocate for more stress in our lives. No doubt, your own inclinations affect your advice to others. Here is an alternative view in stress, less we get carried away with the more stress is better viewpoint of life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/

Re: What To Learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2773085
10/16/18 02:42 PM
10/16/18 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What I find hard to imagine is that even if one was studying with a relatively poor teacher, the teacher never pointed out something useful that the student didn't know.


I suspect that you have never encountered poor teaching. The following examples come from my own experiences, and those of people I've talked to including a dear friend:

- You're given a basic "technique" that is drummed into you from the start; say, that your fingers must be little round hammers that must bang down strongly with "strength" with your carefully shaped round hands. Eventually you can't advance, or there is certain kinds of music you just can' seem to be able to play. Why won't broad sweeping arpeggios in Chopin work for you, and why do you feel so strained? Your teacher sighs and says many of her students have problems with more advanced music - it must be a matter of talent. You figure that you, too, must be lacking that talent.

- You're told you should feel the music more, and she then shows you how wonderful it should sound. But no matter how hard you try to feel things, and even if you do, you can't seem to sound remotely like her. (If you start looking critically, you might notice that curiously, your teacher doesn't seem to be using the technique she taught you to use - her hands look different).

- You're given quick short-cut explanations of how music works, or how to approach the music. You might discover years later that how music works isn't anything like what you were told, and that "information" has actually impeded you from what you might have found on your own. Sometimes the teacher him/herself doesn't know, or thinks this kind of real information is only for "real" students with a future. You end up floundering due to misinformation / lack of information.

Let's talk about the importance of fingering in piano. You struggle and struggle, because you've never been told about this. Instead, your teacher tells you to "not be so tense". (Variants of this story from two people, who finally figured it out.)

Not only might you not have anything useful pointed out, but what does get pointed out might be wrong and destructive to your progress. Relearning and unlearning incorrect information intellectually is relatively easy. Unlearning wrong training that you diligently applied in daily practice is much harder. A GOOD teacher is a rare and precious gem. A DECENT teacher is also a good find. If you're mistaught, then your time is wasted more than theirs, because you're the one practising between lessons - wrongly.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2773091
10/16/18 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Richrf
Interesting. An advocate for more stress in our lives. No doubt, your own inclinations affect your advice to others. Here is an alternative view in stress, less we get carried away with the more stress is better viewpoint of life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/

The article discusses destructive, negative experiences such as violence, harm, and neglect. I don't think that this is what is meant. There is also an expression "bored to death". Challenges, if they can be met, can give a surge of energy. Being given an impossible task will eventually do the opposite. Harm, violence, and neglect are never good or beneficial.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: keystring] #2773130
10/16/18 04:56 PM
10/16/18 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What I find hard to imagine is that even if one was studying with a relatively poor teacher, the teacher never pointed out something useful that the student didn't know.


I suspect that you have never encountered poor teaching. The following examples come from my own experiences, and those of people I've talked to including a dear friend:

- You're given a basic "technique" that is drummed into you from the start; say, that your fingers must be little round hammers that must bang down strongly with "strength" with your carefully shaped round hands. Eventually you can't advance, or there is certain kinds of music you just can' seem to be able to play. Why won't broad sweeping arpeggios in Chopin work for you, and why do you feel so strained? Your teacher sighs and says many of her students have problems with more advanced music - it must be a matter of talent. You figure that you, too, must be lacking that talent.

- You're told you should feel the music more, and she then shows you how wonderful it should sound. But no matter how hard you try to feel things, and even if you do, you can't seem to sound remotely like her. (If you start looking critically, you might notice that curiously, your teacher doesn't seem to be using the technique she taught you to use - her hands look different).

- You're given quick short-cut explanations of how music works, or how to approach the music. You might discover years later that how music works isn't anything like what you were told, and that "information" has actually impeded you from what you might have found on your own. Sometimes the teacher him/herself doesn't know, or thinks this kind of real information is only for "real" students with a future. You end up floundering due to misinformation / lack of information.

Let's talk about the importance of fingering in piano. You struggle and struggle, because you've never been told about this. Instead, your teacher tells you to "not be so tense". (Variants of this story from two people, who finally figured it out.)

Not only might you not have anything useful pointed out, but what does get pointed out might be wrong and destructive to your progress. Relearning and unlearning incorrect information intellectually is relatively easy. Unlearning wrong training that you diligently applied in daily practice is much harder. A GOOD teacher is a rare and precious gem. A DECENT teacher is also a good find. If you're mistaught, then your time is wasted more than theirs, because you're the one practising between lessons - wrongly.
Yes, it's probably true that my four teachers between ages 9 and 21 were all somewhere between good and very good. I agree a poor teacher can cause major difficulties in the present and future.

OTOH I don't think all this means it's preferable to learn by yourself. It does mean that selecting a teacher is very important. It also shows that a professional level pianist is not necessarily a good teacher who can correctly diagnose a student's problems.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 10/16/18 05:01 PM.
Re: What To Learn? [Re: bSharp(C)yclist] #2773143
10/16/18 05:26 PM
10/16/18 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I would argue you didn't learn anything on your own, not if you are observing others, reading other people's work, etc. Build a brick house with no windows and keep yourself locked up inside with a piano. If you can learn to play anything you like without any outside resources, then you can say you learned on your own.

But you watch all these videos and post about them. Don't you think those women deserve some sort of credit, or are you going to continue to say you did it all on your own?


Absolutely true. No one lives in a vacuum. Plenty of people have teachers via U-tube, they tend not to give them credit for it.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2773208
10/16/18 09:17 PM
10/16/18 09:17 PM
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(wow, turn away for one day and 4 more pages of replies appear! Finn, you are a brave, and also catalytic, OP!)

Would it be possible to re-state the issue as "can you play an instrument at the level you desire (YMMV) without spending a lot of money". I would be more interested in discussing that than beating the dead horse of "should you have a teacher".

I had a conversation last night with my brother, who has spent his life in ballet, on the accessibility of art forms. He retired from performing at the top level, and began teaching and directing, also at world class level. Last night, he made the comparison between movies, at $10/ticket, and opera and ballet at $150 - we instinctively respect the more expensive art form, but in fact both are valuable, and the one that is accessible to more people has a better chance of survival.

I think I hear echos of that conversation in richrf's line of thinking.

We have come a long way from "everyone takes lessons, everyone has a piano in the living room" - some of that could be just the world moving on, but some of it could also be that we have collectively decided that "only the very best" is worth listening to, seeking out, respecting. When in fact, any one who makes any effort at all to learn to play, using whatever tools mean most to them, or are easy for them to get a hold of, is doing something that we hope will make them happy, and may make us happy too because there are more of us practicing the art.

However, I would not let the issue of accessibility distract me from the need to learn as much structure and discipline as I would need to get to the level that will make me happy.

PS - I sat down tonight with renewed commitment to do at least a few minutes of scales and arpeggios during each practice session - been ignoring that for quite a while, but the latest attempt to play Mozart reminded me that there is a gap in my tool kit, and I need to fix that if I want Mozart to sound the way I want it to.


Mason & Hamlin A ('97)
Re: What To Learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2773588
10/18/18 10:00 AM
10/18/18 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Yes, it's probably true that my four teachers between ages 9 and 21 were all somewhere between good and very good. I agree a poor teacher can cause major difficulties in the present and future.

OTOH I don't think all this means it's preferable to learn by yourself. It does mean that selecting a teacher is very important. It also shows that a professional level pianist is not necessarily a good teacher who can correctly diagnose a student's problems.

Thank you for the response. I would say that between learning by yourself and engaging the type of teaching I described, learning by yourself is safer. If "this doesn't feel right" you won't push through anyway just to please your teacher who "must know better". I agree that selecting a teacher is important. The immediate problem there is that if you are a novice, what criteria will you have? If you were poorly taught, you won't know what good teaching involves either. When I left my own situation, that was the first thing I sought to find out - just that.

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Sweetwater - Keyboards
Sweetwater
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Tips on fairly comparing pianos?
by WonderfulSound. 12/11/18 08:23 PM
Question about Roland RP501R
by ster100. 12/11/18 07:24 PM
Should I buy Roland LX15?
by Newbie_Player. 12/11/18 06:58 PM
Models with tablets in advertising copy photos
by FrankCox. 12/11/18 06:04 PM
Anyone vouch for this UK firm ?
by michaelopolis. 12/11/18 05:26 PM
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