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In short, I would say: take the teacher's advice and follow it. If you really want to change something you will be able to after a few months. First, understand as many basic principles as to can from this teacher. As you learn some of the techniques well, you will get better at figuring out what the masters did as well.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
In short, I would say: take the teacher's advice and follow it. If you really want to change something you will be able to after a few months. First, understand as many basic principles as to can from this teacher. As you learn some of the techniques well, you will get better at figuring out what the masters did as well.


Change what your teacher has taught you in a few months? My projection would be much, much longer than that. Not only should skills be engrained but there should be a strong understanding of the related principles. That is not done overnight. I would suggest following Bennevis’ formula posted above. If the OP gets too far off the track, he is not likely to succeed.


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Originally Posted by ranjit
In short, I would say: take the teacher's advice and follow it. If you really want to change something you will be able to after a few months. First, understand as many basic principles as to can from this teacher. As you learn some of the techniques well, you will get better at figuring out what the masters did as well.
I'd edit that to '...after a few years.'


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by ranjit
In short, I would say: take the teacher's advice and follow it. If you really want to change something you will be able to after a few months. First, understand as many basic principles as to can from this teacher. As you learn some of the techniques well, you will get better at figuring out what the masters did as well.


Change what your teacher has taught you in a few months? My projection would be much, much longer than that. Not only should skills be engrained but there should be a strong understanding of the related principles. That is not done overnight. I would suggest following Bennevis’ formula posted above. If the OP gets too far off the track, he is not likely to succeed.
Well if the OP learns fast, he will probably get some idea of the principles in a few months. At least I found that I've implemented several things my teacher has suggested in a few months. A few years seems too far into the future and it's unlikely that the OP (or myself, for that matter) would be willing to wait that long. The OP has decent hand-eye coordination and he will probably want to experiment with his technique, which is fine (even I do all the time). But sticking to it for a few months will ensure that he'll at least know the basics of what his teacher teaches.

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You can’t rush learning. I know, I tried, lol. I was playing pieces way above my reading level and was encouraged to keep going, but eventually realized this was wrong for me. I found a new teacher and I’m following exactly what she tells me and, lo and behold, I feel competent again. My sight reading skills are improving daily, I’m caught up with theory and ear training to the level I’m playing at, and everything now makes sense. I’m perfectly happy staying at this level until summer. If I had taken this route when I came back to the piano over 6 years ago, I’d be comfortably playing Debussy right now. It’s fine, I’ll get there. 🙂

You can’t rush learning. My advice is to do what your teachers tells you to do.


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Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by ranjit
In short, I would say: take the teacher's advice and follow it. If you really want to change something you will be able to after a few months. First, understand as many basic principles as to can from this teacher. As you learn some of the techniques well, you will get better at figuring out what the masters did as well.
Change what your teacher has taught you in a few months? My projection would be much, much longer than that. Not only should skills be engrained but there should be a strong understanding of the related principles. That is not done overnight. I would suggest following Bennevis’ formula posted above. If the OP gets too far off the track, he is not likely to succeed.
Well if the OP learns fast, he will probably get some idea of the principles in a few months. At least I found that I've implemented several things my teacher has suggested in a few months. A few years seems too far into the future and it's unlikely that the OP (or myself, for that matter) would be willing to wait that long. The OP has decent hand-eye coordination and he will probably want to experiment with his technique, which is fine (even I do all the time). But sticking to it for a few months will ensure that he'll at least know the basics of what his teacher teaches.
It takes many years to learn what I would call the basics of technique to a decent level. I think the correct time span is is more like a 6-10 years for figuring out or concerning himself with what the OP's favorite pianists are doing and being ready to make any major changes in the technique a good teacher gives him. More likely, he will never have to change the technical approach a good teacher teaches.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by ranjit
In short, I would say: take the teacher's advice and follow it. If you really want to change something you will be able to after a few months. First, understand as many basic principles as to can from this teacher. As you learn some of the techniques well, you will get better at figuring out what the masters did as well.
Change what your teacher has taught you in a few months? My projection would be much, much longer than that. Not only should skills be engrained but there should be a strong understanding of the related principles. That is not done overnight. I would suggest following Bennevis’ formula posted above. If the OP gets too far off the track, he is not likely to succeed.
Well if the OP learns fast, he will probably get some idea of the principles in a few months. At least I found that I've implemented several things my teacher has suggested in a few months. A few years seems too far into the future and it's unlikely that the OP (or myself, for that matter) would be willing to wait that long. The OP has decent hand-eye coordination and he will probably want to experiment with his technique, which is fine (even I do all the time). But sticking to it for a few months will ensure that he'll at least know the basics of what his teacher teaches.
It takes many years to learn what I would call the basics of technique to a decent level. I think the correct time span is is more like a 6-10 years for figuring out or concerning himself with what the OP's favorite pianists are doing and being ready to make any major changes in the technique a good teacher gives him. More likely, he will never have to change the technical approach a good teacher teaches.
Well, I think this is a very conventional line of thinking. Unfortunately not all students are so obedient wink Based on what I see from the OP, he will always keep tinkering with technique and trying out new approaches. Which is okay imo, I do the same and my teacher does not complain. What's important is to understand the technique they demonstrate well enough ,to the point where you can more or less execute it on demand.

Edit: Also, I don't think there's anything wrong in trying to analyze ones favorite pianists. Let a man enjoy his youth! By the time the OP is 35, do you think he'll still have the interest and patience to figure out what his favorite pianists are doing? Maybe, maybe not. I dislike this culture of -- wait a decade, maybe then you can try something fun. I think it's just dogmatic.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
By the time the OP is 35, do you think he'll still have the interest and patience to figure out what his favorite pianists are doing? Maybe, maybe not. I dislike this culture of -- wait a decade, maybe then you can try something fun. I think it's just dogmatic.
I'm a little past 35 (actually, a lot more than a little, if you get my drift), but I have the interest and patience to figure out what my favorite pianists are doing, just by listening carefully, unlike when I was still a student.

The main difference is that now, I can actually do what they do, because I have the skills. Back when I was a teen, I could probably guess how Mikhail Pletnev achieved his amazing effects in his octaves, but it was no use to me, because I couldn't actually play the octaves at anything like his speed. What was the point of wasting time on figuring that, when I could use that time to learn properly from my teacher and develop the requisite transcendental technique for those transcendental studies?


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
More likely, he will never have to change the technical approach a good teacher teaches.
Exactly.

I don't understand this whole thread, to be honest. Your "style" comes after years of perfecting your technique, it's something that happens naturally with each individual pianist. I feel like it's not something you should mimic in another pianist. Just be yourself.


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Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
More likely, he will never have to change the technical approach a good teacher teaches.
Exactly.

I don't understand this whole thread, to be honest. Your "style" comes after years of perfecting your technique, it's something that happens naturally with each individual pianist. I feel like it's not something you should mimic in another pianist. Just be yourself.


My adult piano camp instructor is a concert pianist/author/composer. He is adamant that his students not dissect the performances in recordings as he doesn’t want any mimicking of what other performers have done. When you have developed technical skills, most pianists want to find their personal voice…. And Make their own voice as good as it can be. The greats were great because they were themselves.

There is the story that Horowitz told his student, Byron Janus ‘I don’t want you to be a good Horowitz copy, I want you to be a great Byron Janus’.

If concert pianists copy what the greats before them did, we Would have very little variety in what we hear now

Last edited by dogperson; 10/31/21 04:17 PM.

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Originally Posted by pablobear
I'm considering not resuming lessons with my Russian master teacher, just because of this. I've had the feeling she is a bit different of my style or what I'm looking for.. She seems like a bit materialistic or a piano competitiony girl (she is jury or judge on competitions, I believe Chopin Competition actually)...

I'm curious on your input.. She does have a lot of students with very fast progress and is good but I ask her this... She is definitely a credible teacher, she studied w/ Lhevinne, and Nikolyaeva she was even Lhevinne protege student. But, to be honest, I'm not that big of a fan of her playing. I think she has a very very good interpretation of Liszt B min sonata, but, of the recordings I've heard of her they aren't my type so much... She is very credible, and makes students progress very fast, even myself... When I did 5 lessons with her where we went over cream color book, it helped a lot. But, IDK...

Here is my recent texts with her, and this is why I'm considering finding a different teacher who will be up my ally more...

"There is an autobiography of Anton Rubinstein I'm reading... I'm also figuring out the kind of style I want, I think my favorite pianist all around may be Sofronitsky, Cortot, or Feinberg, or a combination of all 3... Do you think you can teach me what they do and stuff which will make my interpretation tone like theirs?"

her response is...

"NO... I teach the way it is done in the Russia Conservatory and at the Julliard SChool. You are still playing your 2c Czerny's you should be progressing faster.."

then she brag about her adult students who've been playing for 2 months and already playing more difficult rep, which I sort of doubt, I'd argue my own composition, and then just other stuff I can do is probably much more... But, I also do believe her to some extent... It's just her demeanor is not what I'm looking for, and I value just an overall musical education much more. I cannot speak for sure about her intentions, because, over the phone her texting is not that good.

I will probably meet with her in person for a lesson in Nov. 4 or 5, but I do not know if I really want to go through with this, and I'm considering maybe doing online lesson w/ Alan Fraser, or just finding a completely new teacher who will work to my needs... I also think she definitely knows way more than me, and can make me progress very fast, but, I'm afraid I will lose what I want in the end... I don't want to just be a basic pianist, I want to be a musician like: Cortot, Hoffman, Rubinstein (anton), Feinberg, etc.

I'm curious on what your guys opinions are.. Am I an idiot for not just going with her (she says she will be happy to teach me, and definitely likes me a lot), or is it a good idea I'm considering my options in this manner... If someone can give me some good advice here I would appreciate it greatly, because, once I finish my Biochem degree, I plan to try to audition for music school. She says it's a great idea, and can prepare me for it... But, at the same time, I don't know if I trust her completely...




Also, I probably can give away her identity but I don't know if that is bad manners, if anyone is that curious you can PM me and I can send you some of her recordings..
I wouldn’t be shopping around for piano teachers who will tell you what you want to hear and allow you to only learn how and what you want to learn. You are going to learn the most from the teachers who tell you things you don’t want to hear so long as you listen with an open mind.

Sometimes it’s a tough pill to swallow but if you have a knowledgeable teacher and it sounds as if you do, it’s best at this point in your education to talk less and listen more.

Ironically my new teacher was also trained at the Moscow Conservatory and Julliard. She is sometimes at odds with how children in America are being taught with fundamental problems in regards to their technique that are not addressed early but allowed to be reinforced throughout their critical years of learning.

As an adult learner initially I thought she was discouraging me from playing the advanced repertoire that I like to challenge myself with. My understanding at the time was that she felt adult non professionals should stick with easier pieces of music such as Songs without Words as this was for whom this music was written for. She had me sightread through Happiness Lost and when I finished it I commented to her if I was forced to play this kind of music for the rest of my life I think I’m going to slit my wrists. I think that comment took her by surprise but I don’t think she understood at the time how uninspiring that piece was for me while my previous teacher was working on Busoni’s Chaccone, Widmung, and Rachmaninov transcriptions with me. I went the director of my program and questioned whether this was the right fit for me and we talked for a while and we agreed that there was not really an issue with working on some challenging pieces along side easier pieces- which is what I’ve always wanted. So I gave her a second chance.

Apparently I had misunderstood what she was telling me and she said the pieces I was playing were pieces that she and other professionals would not attempt because for many it would be too difficult. She said that she wasn’t sure if she herself had the facility to play the Chaconne well herself. And that’s what’s she wants from me- to play pieces really well and to perfection not just 80% good. She told there were fundamental things in regards to my technique that were flawed that needed to be fixed before going back and polishing the Chaconne or other advanced pieces I am working on. Some of the details in regards to my technique are not necessarily agreed upon by all piano teachers but she really believes in the Russian School and some of the issues for example of me not playing enough on my fingertips are just basic stuff which a number of other highly qualified teachers did not mention to me or forced me to correct. Keeping an open mind I’m seeing the benefits of what she’s trying to teach me and I’m excited to learn from her. Sometimes it might be a bitter pill to swallow but if your intentions are to be the best pianist you can be you have to swallow your pride and keep an open mind. I’m glad I’m sticking with my new teacher and she is now encouraging for me to work on advanced pieces with her so we’re going back to those pieces as well. I think she’s more comfortable with the idea once she got to see me actually play.


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Originally Posted by ranjit
I dislike this culture of -- wait a decade, maybe then you can try something fun. I think it's just dogmatic.
I dislike this culture of do anything you want instantly. I think it's just silly.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by ranjit
I dislike this culture of -- wait a decade, maybe then you can try something fun. I think it's just dogmatic.
I dislike this culture of do anything you want instantly. I think it's just silly.
I think my comment was misinterpreted. I never said anything about the OP not having fun. I was saying that the idea of trying to analyze and/or play like great pianists is not appropriate for a long time especially because the OP seemed to think of this as a quickly doable goal as soon as he had a few months of learning the basics. There are a thousand other ways he can have fun while learning piano.

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Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
More likely, he will never have to change the technical approach a good teacher teaches.
Exactly.

I don't understand this whole thread, to be honest. Your "style" comes after years of perfecting your technique, it's something that happens naturally with each individual pianist. I feel like it's not something you should mimic in another pianist. Just be yourself.
I wouldn't say so. Your style comes from listening and making judgements about the kind of playing you like, ideally. If understanding or even imitating a concert pianist gets you closer to that goal, so be it.

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Originally Posted by ranjit
Your style comes from listening and making judgements about the kind of playing you like, ideally. If understanding or even imitating a concert pianist gets you closer to that goal, so be it.
I beg to differ. In fact, I demand to differ smirk .

One's 'style' in performing music comes from developing one's all-round musicality, which in turn comes from listening to lots of good music of all types and all eras - in particular, listening around the music you're actually learning, to grasp the essence of the performance style the composer wanted from his performers. In other words, you learn the style of a composer by listening to the music he was influenced by and that he particularly favored, not by copying others playing 'your' pieces.

For instance, Chopin constantly exhorted his pupils to listen to the bel canto operas of Bellini and Donizetti (just as he did), in order to understand how to phrase his melodies, how to 'breathe' in the long phrases, the ebb and flow, the rubato:



Listen to any great Chopin pianist (yes - I include Cortot), and you can discern how 'vocal' his/her phrasing of the melodies (especially in the nocturnes) is - like a great bel canto singer.

Even more so with Mozart, whose music, even his piano music, is essentially operatic. To understand his piano music, you have to know his operas, especially the three great Lorenzo Da Ponte ones. There is no great Mozart pianist, living or dead, who doesn't know those operas intimately. How would you sing Dove sono? Apply that to his piano melodies, e.g. in the slow movement of K330. Think: this is really an operatic aria for piano.



Musicality develops over time, and from developing an discernment borne of good education (and from good teaching), not by imitating someone whose playing you like in the pieces that you're learning. That will only lead to stunted musical growth and imitative (as well as derivative) playing.


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by ranjit
Your style comes from listening and making judgements about the kind of playing you like, ideally. If understanding or even imitating a concert pianist gets you closer to that goal, so be it.
I beg to differ. In fact, I demand to differ smirk .

One's 'style' in performing music comes from developing one's all-round musicality, which in turn comes from listening to lots of good music of all types and all eras - in particular, listening around the music you're actually learning, to grasp the essence of the performance style the composer wanted from his performers. In other words, you learn the style of a composer by listening to the music he was influenced by and that he particularly favored, not by copying others playing 'your' pieces.

For instance, Chopin constantly exhorted his pupils to listen to the bel canto operas of Bellini and Donizetti (just as he did), in order to understand how to phrase his melodies, how to 'breathe' in the long phrases, the ebb and flow, the rubato:



Listen to any great Chopin pianist (yes - I include Cortot), and you can discern how 'vocal' his/her phrasing of the melodies (especially in the nocturnes) is - like a great bel canto singer.

Even more so with Mozart, whose music, even his piano music, is essentially operatic. To understand his piano music, you have to know his operas, especially the three great Lorenzo Da Ponte ones. There is no great Mozart pianist, living or dead, who doesn't know those operas intimately. How would you sing Dove sono? Apply that to his piano melodies, e.g. in the slow movement of K330. Think: this is really an operatic aria for piano.



Musicality develops over time, and from developing an discernment borne of good education (and from good teaching), not by imitating someone whose playing you like in the pieces that you're learning. That will only lead to stunted musical growth and imitative (as well as derivative) playing.

This was very helpful to me...




Also on having fun...

Call me basics billy, I'm solely having fun now and structuring my motivation/goals in mastering fundamentals and basics. I'm going to stop being a moron, and do things by the book.


My gods are: Cortot, Horowitz, and Sofronitsky,

Started piano during COVID, hopefully I can play Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, and Scriabin compositions one day...
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by ranjit
Your style comes from listening and making judgements about the kind of playing you like, ideally. If understanding or even imitating a concert pianist gets you closer to that goal, so be it.

For instance, Chopin constantly exhorted his pupils to listen to the bel canto operas of Bellini and Donizetti (just as he did), in order to understand how to phrase his melodies, how to 'breathe' in the long phrases, the ebb and flow, the rubato:



Listen to any great Chopin pianist (yes - I include Cortot), and you can discern how 'vocal' his/her phrasing of the melodies (especially in the nocturnes) is - like a great bel canto singer.

This suggestion to his pupils was something I've always remembered when playing Chopin's works.


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Originally Posted by pablobear
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by ranjit
Your style comes from listening and making judgements about the kind of playing you like, ideally. If understanding or even imitating a concert pianist gets you closer to that goal, so be it.
I beg to differ. In fact, I demand to differ smirk .

One's 'style' in performing music comes from developing one's all-round musicality, which in turn comes from listening to lots of good music of all types and all eras - in particular, listening around the music you're actually learning, to grasp the essence of the performance style the composer wanted from his performers. In other words, you learn the style of a composer by listening to the music he was influenced by and that he particularly favored, not by copying others playing 'your' pieces.

For instance, Chopin constantly exhorted his pupils to listen to the bel canto operas of Bellini and Donizetti (just as he did), in order to understand how to phrase his melodies, how to 'breathe' in the long phrases, the ebb and flow, the rubato:



Listen to any great Chopin pianist (yes - I include Cortot), and you can discern how 'vocal' his/her phrasing of the melodies (especially in the nocturnes) is - like a great bel canto singer.

Even more so with Mozart, whose music, even his piano music, is essentially operatic. To understand his piano music, you have to know his operas, especially the three great Lorenzo Da Ponte ones. There is no great Mozart pianist, living or dead, who doesn't know those operas intimately. How would you sing Dove sono? Apply that to his piano melodies, e.g. in the slow movement of K330. Think: this is really an operatic aria for piano.



Musicality develops over time, and from developing an discernment borne of good education (and from good teaching), not by imitating someone whose playing you like in the pieces that you're learning. That will only lead to stunted musical growth and imitative (as well as derivative) playing.

This was very helpful to me...




Also on having fun...

Call me basics billy, I'm solely having fun now and structuring my motivation/goals in mastering fundamentals and basics. I'm going to stop being a moron, and do things by the book.
Depends upon what book you're reading. There really are no short cuts to learning the piano. No matter how you get there it's going to take time. There is difference though between trying to find ways to take short cuts versus trying to find ways to be efficient. It looks like you got a very late start like many of us if you plan get into music school. You're going to have to learn ways to be an efficient learner like Ranjit without missing all the details and musicianship Bennevis oftentimes talks about. Doing things the traditional way may take years which you don't have but you really have to know quite a bit to be a well rounded musician. How do you get there after a late start? Do you skip steps or do just find ways to be as efficient as you can? I don't know and I don't think that book has been written yet. Good luck on your journey! I'm enjoying mine.

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How can anyone just now playing Book 1 pieces in fragments with one hand know whether they want to go to music school? You can’t. You can know that you love listening to classical music, a wonderful beginning. You can’t know, yet, whether you love the commitment to lessons and the diligent practicing/studying that a degree will take. In fact, just within the scope of this discussion, the goal changed from ‘learn a few difficult sounding pieces, not necessarily played well to get YouTube views’ to attending music school.

Why worry about any possible end goal? find out over time. Just start at the beginning, do what you need to do to learn. No matter what happens, you will be a better musician.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
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