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Originally Posted by kalli
Thanks again, all! I finally got my piano set up today, so let the fun begin!

That is awesome. Back in action!!!

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Originally Posted by marklings
The major impediment IMO is memory, not what it used o be; takes much longer to memorize anything now, short term memory clearly deteriorates with the age.

I read a post by some member that seemed very knowledgeable on the matter. He stated:

- It takes twice as much in terms of time to make the same progress at a later age. To get from level 4 to 5 takes a decent youngster 1 year, an over 60 will need 2 years

- In any case as an adult at some point you will hit a wall, you will never really get to the most difficult pieces, you would be stone walled at level 7 or 8 out of 10.

As much as this is frustrating I found it to be true for me. Kind of sad but does not take away the joy of playing and progressing.

M.
If you believe these things then they will be true for you, if you don't then the sky is the limit.


Yamaha U1A, Roland LX706

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Originally Posted by marklings
The major impediment IMO is memory, not what it used o be; takes much longer to memorize anything now, short term memory clearly deteriorates with the age.



M.
Then why memorise ? Playing from the written music still needs some memory so you will still be exercising your little grey cells.

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Originally Posted by marklings
I want to join this thread and share my experience. I took lessons for a couple of years as a teenager, then played on my own for a few more years until the usual life obligations took precedence. I would say I was a lower intermediate of sorts, level around 3rd year of conservatory. But very keen on music as it has always been part of my life.

Then a 35 years interval. Retired and decided to get back to playing, with a proper teacher and all, now on the 5th year back.

I have reached and surpassed my younger level, I would say I am now a sound intermediate, playing Bach French suites, some of the easiest Chopin Waltz et cetera.

The major impediment IMO is memory, not what it used o be; takes much longer to memorize anything now, short term memory clearly deteriorates with the age.

I read a post by some member that seemed very knowledgeable on the matter. He stated:

- It takes twice as much in terms of time to make the same progress at a later age. To get from level 4 to 5 takes a decent youngster 1 year, an over 60 will need 2 years

- In any case as an adult at some point you will hit a wall, you will never really get to the most difficult pieces, you would be stone walled at level 7 or 8 out of 10.

As much as this is frustrating I found it to be true for me. Kind of sad but does not take away the joy of playing and progressing.

M.


Accepting information from a poster that ‘appears knowledgeable’ is very short-sighted and self-limiting. Have you read any real evidence

that adults are stone walled at Grade 7-8? I don’t think so and it does not appear to be true around here. Don’t make limitations true for you by believing some stray comment.
I have found that when I thought I had reached a brick wall, I kept going and the brick wall disappeared.


"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

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Originally Posted by marklings
The major impediment IMO is memory, not what it used o be; takes much longer to memorize anything now, short term memory clearly deteriorates with the age.

I read a post by some member that seemed very knowledgeable on the matter. He stated:

- In any case as an adult at some point you will hit a wall, you will never really get to the most difficult pieces, you would be stone walled at level 7 or 8 out of 10.
Hmmm, my good friend who started from zilch (and didn't know one end of the keyboard from another) at 60 is now playing at level 10. Granted, he's now about 10 years into lessons, but he didn't know he was supposed to hit a stone wall at level 7 (or whatever) because of his age, and neither did his teacher. In blissful ignorance of these matters, he kept getting better and better.....

But he has one definite advantage over you: he never tried to memorize any piece of music, because he never performed (and why memorize if you aren't performing in public - in fact, why memorize at all if you're an amateur, and only playing for your own pleasure?) so he never worried about whether his memory was going downhill (- I can attest that it isn't: his mind is still as sharp as a button).

As for me, at my very advanced age (too advanced to divulge cry), my memory is getting better and better: I can memorize long pieces more easily than I did ten years ago (- BTW, I perform from memory only because I have no page-turner). But that might also be because I started on my memorizing spree ten years ago, when I started performing for audiences....... smirk


"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."
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Originally Posted by bennevis
As for me, at my very advanced age (too advanced to divulge cry), my memory is getting better and better: I can memorize long pieces more easily than I did ten years ago (- BTW, I perform from memory only because I have no page-turner). But that might also be because I started on my memorizing spree ten years ago, when I started performing for audiences....... smirk
At 80 I think I might be a bit older than you, but am in a similar situation of only starting to memorise seriously about 5 years ago. And yes it is getting easier. That's what practice does.


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Age & memory are frequent topics of discussion. Many including my parents assumed you need to start young. I'm close to retirement and think about the next pieces to learn than hitting a wall. Playing as brain exercise wouldn't matter if I'm at level 3 or 7.

My mother is in the 90s and still manages her finances. With a sharp mind can't convince her to get into piano with next to no experience at a young age.

I played violin in school and memorized my pieces for the 2 concerts held each year for the parents. My eyes would wander and lose my place on the sheet. When it comes to piano, a lot of learning is muscle memory. You repeat something many times and becomes automatic. Like the location of the convenience store nearby. You know how to get there but don't think about the exact address. You'd describe the store as being next to a bakery with a bookstore across the street and a traffic light at the intersection without saying it's at 900 Mill St. sort of thing. Like playing a piece without thinking about individual notes.

In a performance wouldn't matter if you read as long as you can get through your pieces. Once I attended a funeral. A friend of the family who was in Suzuki played from memory for his grandfather. Suzuki students are taught to memorize their Book 1 pieces that many would continue to play advanced pieces from memory. The funeral was over 10 years ago. I still remember the 4 pieces that were played (J Massenet Meditation of Thaïs, slow movement from the Beethoven Pathetique sonata, Bach Prelude in C from WTC Book 1 & Abide in Me) as if the service took place yesterday.

Last week I was in a second-hand store. There was an old piano on display. Sat down and played 2 pieces I learned recently without the sheet. With customers around it's the closest thing to playing on a public piano. I do carry PDFs of my music on my phone but don't usually read.

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A lot has been written about memory. Look into research on how expert memorizers do it, what happens when it comes to the piano is very similar. I'm too tired to type it all out, but basically you form mental models eventually, and those facilitate quick memorization of relevant information. These schema allow you to quickly push something from your working memory to your long term memory.

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I haven't had a multi-decade gap in my playing, but I have had stretches of a few years when I hardly played at all mixed with periods of time when I played regularly. The last year and a half I have played more than I ever have before. I'm not sure if I'm better than I was when I was younger and took lessons, but I don't think it matters. I greatly enjoy it and I'm learning new things. When I started playing regularly again one to two hours a day and teaching myself how to improvise I could feel my brain rewiring itself. I think playing piano is a great way to keep the aging brain healthy!

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I love these dreams that just don’t leave you despite a long haul journey through life…..

…I don’t have direct experience for what you are seeking, but I believe many of us are revisiting Joys in later stages of life and would love to rekindle them. I would set down your expectations of where you were, accept that it was a great experience then, and just focus on the NOW. Just pick up the piano, take some lessons to dust away some rusts and imaginary expectations of your abilities. You may be a lot better than you think and certainly many things will come back to you. Sure you are going to build up those neurons connecting your brain and hands, but your journey might be a lot easier than for those who are coming with zero experience.

It’s just fab you are back. It sounds like a confidence thing. At certain stage in life..you just let go of what was and do it for yourself. Love to hear your update …

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I had a 'lay off' of over 40 years and started back about 2 yrs ago. I loved playing, but only took lessons for about 1.5 yrs...due to constant moving. I continue to play on my own, but stopped when life/career took over. I have a gorgeous GS-30 now, am taking lessons, and am putting the finishing touches on Beethoven's 3rd Mvt of The Tempest. Just learn, play and ENJOY! That is what I am doing. I wish I'd never stopped, but.....

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Unless you’re a child prodigy, anything you do today is probably better than what you did 30 years ago. Back then I couldn’t get through “Twinkle”. Yesterday I played “Happy B-day” for somebody which is already an accomplishment. All the years when my special day came up, nobody in the family who took music lessons ever played me the song.

We can learn from the past and at the same time move ahead into the future.

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