Like a lot of the people here, I stumbled upon this site a number of times in the last few years for piano-related searches (who'd've thought ?).
I started paying more and more attention to this forum as I looked for an upgrade to my digital piano, and finally created an account once I'd bought it.
I'm currently in my 20s, pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics, and piano is very much part of who I am (or who I think myself to be, at least).
My parent introduced me to the piano at a pretty early age, but I didn't really pay much attention to it at the time.
I followed classes in a small music school, stopped for a few years when my family moved abroad, and started again when we got back.
I consider that it wasn't until I got out of highschool that I started really
playing the piano.
Thanks to moving out for studies, I had a lot of free time by myself in my small studio, an old second-hand digital piano, and a pair of headphones.
The 3 mixed quite well, and I started to notice real progress in my playing !
While my studies (and an unfortunate foot accident to my piano teacher) made me have to stop taking piano classes, I did not let go of piano playing.
I believe this was another turning point for me. When I stopped taking lessons, I could now choose what to learn and play !
That brought me a lot of motivation and I started learning pieces (sometimes way above my grade) that I loved listening to.
For a couple of years, despite my lagging sight-reading skills (damn you younger me for not doing music theory homework !!), I started tackling more and more technically challenging pieces, this combined with my daily hour of practice saw my technical level really improving.
This is also when I started dabbling in improvisation and composition (and unbeknownst to me, copyright infringement, as my first composition came up with the same main theme as the Ludwig Van's Pathétique IIIrd Movt.
After learning some actual
Beethoven pieces, I shifted my sights to Chopin. Not just playing, but also listening.
I listened to all the recordings of his work I could get my hands on.
I realized at that point that a huge number of melodies I had previously tried to find and imitate on the piano were from his work (eg. the theme of Op.10 No 12 had stuck with me).
For some reason, Chopin's music really resonated with me. I felt like Bach and Mozart seemed "too dry" in comparison, and that Beethoven was lacking complexity and richness that I could find in Chopin's music.
When I first heard Chopin's Ballade no 1 in G minor, I cried. To this day, it's the piece of music that I feel the deepest connection with.
I tried learning it at the time, hopeful my strategy of aiming above my grade would work again, and remember being dejected that I couldn't comprehend it. I dropped it after learning the first page and a half or so. Then, I set that piece as my "Ultimate Goal".
I started learning some of Chopin's études to get my technique up to the level I needed for the Ballade.
A few études later there was definitely improvement, but I started feeling that learning these was becoming a slight pain.
My sight-reading was also taking a toll because I was essentially learning the piece by heart way before I could play it, and then just never really looked at the score when practicing.
At this point, I realized I should do more to complement my technical pieces with less demanding ones.
My attention also turned to advanced piano arrangements of soundtracks for a bit, OWA (FF VII), Star Wars, Ghibli... and I trailed off.
A year later I decided to have another go at the Ballade, and after some months of work I was pouring my heart out playing this beautiful piece.
While I unfortunately never made a recording I was satisfied with, I lived a couple of extraordinary moments playing it to myself.
I realized how far I'd come at that moment. In a few short years, from dreaming to play some of this stuff to actually being able to pull it off!
After that, I started looking in the direction of 'control' rather than speed.
While I definitely played with emotion
(for which I feel Chopin's music is very suited), I felt like small things I should be able to play easily were annoyingly difficult.
This is likely a result of my blazing through pieces to get the technique I wanted, which resulted in my unbalanced level on some fronts (oops).
This brings us to now !
I'm adding some Bach to my repertoire to work that 'control' I'm missing.
At the same time, I'm focusing more on technically easier pieces to really work out and render the feel I want in them.
Of course, I can't separate myself from the technically challenging, so I've also got some ungodly arrangements from Animenz to blast out excitement
While I've yet to find another 'Ultimate Goal' like the Ballade, I have a loooong list of pieces I want to have a crack at.
I've also realized I've probably acquired a ton of bad habits by learning so much without a teacher, and when I do get the time/chance/appropriate global sanitary context, I'll definitely be seeking piano classes again!
My musical journey is only beginning...
Welp, that's me.
I definitely didn't think I was going to write an autobiography of my piano progress initially, but here we are.
Hope to talk piano with some of you anytime!