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The Sweet and Not So Sweet Sound of Music

Our modern ears are now used to equal temperament, and, despite the impurities in its intervals, now prefer its sound over any other temperament. Researchers at the University of Minnesota wanted to delve more into this and studied 250 students at the University. Their main thesis question was: what makes certain combinations of notes pleasant or unpleasant? Read more >>

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Author Topic: HOw long does it take for an adult piano learner to reach Grade 8?  (Read 16496 times)
eliza1976
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« on: October 24, 2007, 01:36:04 AM »

2 years possible?
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amelialw
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2007, 04:59:23 AM »

what's your grade now? I can't say how long, it depends on the individual.
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2007, 10:18:49 AM »

2 years? Why are you in such a hurry?
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leahcim
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2007, 01:47:00 AM »

2 years possible?

As someone says it depends.

Let's say we're talking 25+ and never touched a piano before. Not returners or the "I started late, I was 15" dudes.

For said adult, it'll be 15 years at least, that's assuming they find a suitable teacher, and keep at it [years with no progress at all], and have the time available [we've seen the 'I've just bought a Steinway, but I only have 10 minutes to practise' post here] within the first decade. If not, they could easily waste most or all of that 15 years getting nowhere and then spend another decade - assuming they recover from the various false starts that they will hit as sure as..err, a sure thing.

By far the vast majority, maybe even as high as 99%, won't get past grade 1, 2 or 3 [they'll have kidded themselves, possibly with a "teacher's" help during the process by trying to play a bunch of much harder stuff though] and most will give in out of injury / frustration and /or failure and an inability to find any answers - because kids don't have the problem and there aren't any adults that did it to tell you how they did it. At best you can search for teachers that'll tell you what you'd like to hear. E.g Bernhard's posts, he'll tell you about 80 year olds and just about everything else we want to hear and believe.

80% won't even find a teacher capable of taking /any/ student to grade 8, let alone an adult. [cf the 'How long does it take a kid...?' question]

Most will realise, because the nature of a piano [as opposed to something like a violin] if you buy a nice one and "improvise" it isn't difficult to make a not-completely-unpleasant-noise with it. They'll go from 'learning the piano' to just doing that, making a nice noise. Plenty of pedal, plenty of arpeggios, a few 'bang' chords, a quiet bit. Sway your head, knock out a bit of a tune or scales on the high notes and 'oooh, you can play quite well....it sounds a bit classical who is it by?' 'I'm just making it up as I go along' 'No way, you're a genius!! Some of those concert pianists need music!'

Give them 3 blind mice or anything with some structure to it, and it'll sound awful. But they'll be happy "improvising" and failing miserably to play something completely absurd like Godowsky's left hand Chopin studies or whatever piece they'll attempt because it appeals to their intellect.

That's a cert for any of the not past early grades lot that are still playing. The improv thing is also a danger for those that reach intermediate grades too, because as their playing gets better their improv will sound better too. It'll be a huge difference between the ever increasingly frustrating effort of getting pieces of the next grade up to scratch or learning real pieces to play [especially if their teacher got them to that grade but has no chance with the higher ones] and enjoying playing / doodling around. There are other dangers along the way, some might catch jazz or pop or boogie woogie.

That leaves a tiny percentage that might get there - to the beginning of playing pieces on the piano. Give them another 10 years and they might play a few pieces after grade 8 - at this stage though they'd probably need compromising photographs of some top teacher to get the gig - although they probably won't make too bad a job themselves [enough to make friends / family happy - they might not be happy]

An easier option might be to invent time travel and start when you're 6. At least you'll find a few peers to look at your designs.
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invictious
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2007, 12:23:30 PM »

Depends. If you want to pass the grade 8 exam, then 3 years will do, but you will just get a pass.
to actually reach grade 8 level, it will take more than that.
Depends on how much you can practice, and your previous musical experiences.
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chopinfan_22
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2007, 02:59:25 PM »

I'm 19, and I started when I was 15, and throughout those four years, took lessons off and on from various teachers, and did not make much progress. I'm in college now at a state university, and I'll be taking lessons from a professor of music next semester. Right now, in my repertoire from the past four years, I have:

Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (first movement)
Chopin Preludes 6, 7, and 15
Mozart's Sonata K.545 first movement


How long will it take me, majoring in biochemistry, having an hour to practice each day?

I'll be at this university for at least four years, then I'll either move on to grad school or medical school.
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zheer
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2007, 06:19:37 PM »

2 years possible?

  Only you know, could you play a Mozart or Beethoven sonata, prelude&fugue by Bach and something by Debussy in the next 2 years starting from scratch as an adult, i would say NO.Why do i think that,well because if i as an adult where to start the violin with the intention of gaining grade 8, i would be kidding myself, possibly 8 years.Plus you have the theory test, also lets not forget that we each learn at a different rate.However a young person could gain grade 8 within 4 years with a lot of dedecation.
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shingo
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2007, 09:35:17 PM »

I am not one for quashing peoples goals but I really can't see that happening at all. Assuming you or whoever you are inquiring on behalf of has no musical background, then it becomes even more unlikely. Without taking age into consideration 2 years to achieve grade 8 would be miraculous in my eyes, taking 4 exams a year whilst also trying to wire in the co-ordination and independance of the hands as well as all the other technicalities of playing I personally would find near impossible, and so must other people otherwise everyone would do it.
If you are serious about your goal would it not be better setting a more realistic time scale say at least 6-8 years maybe even more? I can see that many bad habbits could occur due to rushing through to the harder pieces to reach the next grade before propperly acquiring the correct technique. This may also lead to dramatic demotivation as you feel you are constanty slipping behind the planned scheme.
I am not just being discouraging because of the work I have put in, and being protective of my progress. It would be great if you did achieve grade 8 in 2 years, good luck, but I can't see it happeneing unfortunately.
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liturgicalpianist
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2007, 04:54:46 PM »

Hi There;

I read your question with interest, because I too started late!  It's hard not to be impatient, but I would say that is one of the most important things to learn if you are to make any progress.  It is a good habit to get into: practicing patiently, troubleshooting patiently.  Piano is an instrument that I felt was like learning to read:  for adults who have read since childhood, the letters string themselves into intelligible words and words into sentences effortlessly.   For adults who learn late:  It is sometimes, for a while, a monumental effort.   

I started at age 40 - 5 years ago.  I took with a teacher from an excellent area music institution, who gave me a good foundation, but would not focus on the liturgical/accompanying music that I want ultimately to be able to play.  I strongly recommend having a good classical teacher first, but I then had to leave to find a teacher who would work with me on the music that is my goal.   I practice 1/2 hour to an hour a day, 6 days a week and have since I started.  Only now, have I begun to feel more comfortable with the instrument.   If I make a mistake I can keep going, I sight read better, and am able to play a few pieces I've been working on for a long time, fairly fluidly and with better expression.   

I wish you the best of luck - there is SO LITTLE out there to support adult students.  So what if we never achieve our dreams?  There is value in trying and working at it, and sometimes you may not achieve one dream, but you may achieve another along the way.  Or you achieve your dream because you dared!   That said, with this animal, daring won't do it alone, LOL.   At least we have this forum!
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gyzzzmo
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2007, 01:45:49 PM »

No, as an adult its not possible to get grade 8 in 2 years, unless you have a bunch of retards as examinators  Lips Sealed
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2007, 10:34:05 PM »

I started totally from scratch about 7 years ago at the advanced age of 43. I spent 1 year on my own.  1 year with a conservatory/music store teacher and I've just started my 6th year with a very good classical teacher.  Since last spring I've been studying mostly grade 6 and 7 pieces but if I were to take exams (have no interest) I would try for grade 4 or maybe 5.   I feel confident that I will eventually get to grade 8 but I'm not  in a hurry - I'm having a blast learning.  I expect that another 4 years with this teacher and I could be there or at least very close.
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keiichii_kun
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2007, 06:23:21 PM »

Well I think a level 8 in 2 years is probably impossible even for "geniuses."
I have a question of my own though. Is it possible to reach grade 5 in 2 years? I've been teaching myself piano for a year before I started taking lessons (half a year ago.) My theory is college level since I'm taking courses at college cause I also play the guitar. But since I don't have work or anything I practice piano for about 5 hrs a day minimum 7 days a week. I spend 2 hrs on scales, chords, arp, techniques, etc... an hour on sight reading classical stuff and 2 hrs on whatever song I want to play (usually not classical, I'm not really into that kind of stuff...) Will it be possible to reach a grade 5 in the next half year?
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nightmusicforest
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2007, 04:10:03 AM »

well, i think that it mainly depents on you, but i got to grade 8 after 2 years of studying, and i got a 83, which is and average-good mark, since i barely practiced. I also know a few people who got~80 after around 1 - 1.5 years of study.
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nightmusicforest
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2007, 07:03:14 PM »

to reach grade 5, max 2 years, depending on how much you practice. if you average around 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, then around 1 - 1.5 years.
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wotgoplunk
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2007, 07:38:09 PM »

well, i think that it mainly depents on you, but i got to grade 8 after 2 years of studying, and i got a 83, which is and average-good mark, since i barely practiced. I also know a few people who got~80 after around 1 - 1.5 years of study.

1. Grades are pretty meaningless.
2. A good mark on an exam does not mean you are an excellent pianist.
3. It's fine to fast-track, but you will miss a lot of beautiful repertoire, and often won't perfect the pieces you play.
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pianochick93
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« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2007, 11:49:59 AM »

Is it possible to reach grade 5 in 2 years?
Yes, I did it, but then again I skipped prelim., grade 1, and grade 3. I'm playing grade 5+ pieces, but want to do my grade 4 exam before I do my grade 5.
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nightmusicforest
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« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2007, 02:51:05 PM »

. Is it possible to reach grade 5 in 2 years? I've been teaching myself piano for a year before I started taking lessons (half a year ago.) My theory is college level since I'm taking courses at college cause I also play the guitar. But since I don't have work or anything I practice piano for about 5 hrs a day minimum 7 days a week. I spend 2 hrs on scales, chords, arp, techniques, etc... an hour on sight reading classical stuff and 2 hrs on whatever song I want to play (usually not classical, I'm not really into that kind of stuff...) Will it be possible to reach a grade 5 in the next half year?

Yeah, and if you practice that much, you should be able to complete it in around 1 year.
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ryanyee
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« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2007, 09:28:48 AM »

depends on your learning speed.
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gilad
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« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2007, 02:29:07 PM »

I got my greade 8 after one day. I only practised for 3 minutes. Grin

I'm an adult learner and Im not quite so goal oriented. My goal is to be able to play very well by the time I'm 60. If I was more talented Id probably bring that goal closer, but no can do( :

Why the urgency? It's a nice goal. But of course you might wanna way up the pros and cons. I'd imagine you'd be highly stressed and frustrated for much of those 2 years.
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jnyl
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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2007, 12:20:03 AM »

Long practice hours will be required.
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dan101
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« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2007, 02:02:58 PM »

I think we need more background information, as stated by some of the other replies. If you currently have unlimited time to practice, then you'll obviously achieve your goal much quicker. That's a big"if". As well, if you already have a good teacher and/or support network, then you probably have been told how long it will take for you tackle an exam.

Grade eight is a tough examination. I would take a few months longer than you think you need just to be on the safe side. Best of luck.
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williadatech
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« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2013, 09:39:34 AM »

well it's been 6 years ...eliza1976 do you still play piano and have you reached grade 8 as yet?
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eric0773
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« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2013, 03:05:29 PM »

She has not connected to PianoStreet since then (you can know that by clicking on her username), so unfortunately she is unlikely to answer.

Not sure about that whole grading system obsession. YouTube is full of videos called "Grade 7 XXX" "Grade 8 XXX" that sound terrible - nothing, absolutely nothing like any professional recording. I do not know whether they passed their exam at the end, but their videos do not sound good.

Let me illustrate my example. I am currently polishing a short piece for a recital at the end of the year. The piece is BWV 933 - a Grade 3 piece, according to several sources on the Internet. The same sources that call it "Grade 3" play it like this:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iks9IWfnRhE" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iks9IWfnRhE</a>

I have nothing against this particular YouTube channel - most other amateur recordings of that piece sound the same. But here how the same piece can sound:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5ORUEU1knI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5ORUEU1knI</a>

My objective is to play it as interestingly as the second pianist does. Otherwise, it is an insult to the composer and a complete waste of time for the audience. With this goal in mind, this piece becomes the most difficult of my recital (which also includes a Chopin Nocturne, a Song Without Words from Mendelssohn and two Alkan Préludes, all of which have much higher grades, and are supposed to be more difficult - which they are not).

I feel that giving low grades to some pieces just provides an opportunity to impatient students to massacre them, and yet call them "easy" afterwards ("Ok, done with this one, piece of cake, let's start a more challenging one").

The same applies for higher grades. Unless the goal is to become a teacher or a concert pianist, I do not see the point of these exams, nor the relevance of their grading system.
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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2013, 11:50:30 PM »

a Grade 3 piece, according to several sources on the Internet. The same sources that call it "Grade 3" play it like this:

Played like that, it is grade 3.

Personally, I have found that the better a pianist I have become, the harder these easier pieces have become too - rather like they are keeping up with me.
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« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2013, 12:10:29 PM »

I think people should be encouraged to play well at their current level, since it is a much more realistic, achievable and shorter term goal, especially for a mature age person. Even beginners can sound well.
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« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2013, 10:22:28 PM »

I am late 30s. I started 5 years ago, completely from scratch. I am now preparing to do my grade 7. I've done grades 3 and 5, and got distinctions in both.

However, I have an excellent teacher, I practice at least 2 hours most days, and at weekends upto 6 hours. I make pretty big sacrifices in other areas of my life in order to do this.

My experience was that I made very fast initial progress, but around grade 6 level I hit a big plateau, which I'm now getting past - but it was very hard. It involved doing 45 mins to an hour most days of technical exercises and scales, and forcing myself to do a lot of sight reading.

I definitely don't think grade 8 in 2 years is possible. There are too many things to learn, and too many things that can't just be crammed in, both technical details and more importantly one's understand of, and sensitivity to muscial expression. That is something that develops over time, and though you can work at it, it won't just happen.
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ajspiano
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« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2013, 11:41:10 PM »

This is an interesting question for me as a teacher, not because I have any interest in pushing students to improve too quickly but to a certain degree the quality of my teaching is reflected in how soon a student reaches a certain level of competency..   though I don't typically consider "grades" an appropriate measure.

Not that the OP is likely still looking for an answer, but the answer is "it depends".. but also, for the bulk of people, the answer is no - 2 years is not a reasonable expectation.

But in my experience this is not because its impossible for the majority, its because of failures to practice the right things the right way. Its something I would love to test, but probably won't get to for a very long time yet.. I strongly feel that if I had a student who was willing to be 100% supervised..  as in attend say 2 hours of lessons daily for 2 years, that such a goal is attainable for the majority of students.

Presently, on a once a week lessons program I don't think its unreasonable for a fair percentage of my adult beginners (that are dedicated and work hard) to reach a level where they can manage grade 4-5 repertoire within a year (on average). And really what I mean by that is they get to a point where I'd feel comfortable giving them inventions..  the second year is a slower experience though, as by this point repertoire options significantly expand, and there is mountains to work on without pushing to more challenging material.

Even within this group of students there are real problems holding them up though.. and the most significant is that they either don't remember exactly what I want them to do practice wise (even with written instructions) or they just ignore it and do their own thing anyway..

Too often, within this kind of student group.. as in adult, beginner, highly motivated, atleast 1-2 hours daily practice. They will report on going struggle with something during the week that will take me no more than say 2-5 minutes to solve at the lesson. Which is what leads me to believe that if I was able to 100% supervise practice atleast for the first however many months, until that they really understand how to approach new material and problem solve, that significantly better results would be attainable.

.........

Communicating practice methods seems to be the most significant problem for me in the adult beginner group. Once they go home they are too eager to spend too long struggling with one thing that is too large for them, rather than approach a number of small sections bit by bit within a session..  nor do they have the patience to work on more music over a longer time period, they would rather work on one thing exclusively in the hope to learn it faster.
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outin
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« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2013, 03:30:28 AM »



Not that the OP is likely still looking for an answer, but the answer is "it depends".. but also, for the bulk of people, the answer is no - 2 years is not a reasonable expectation.

But in my experience this is not because its impossible for the majority, its because of failures to practice the right things the right way. Its something I would love to test, but probably won't get to for a very long time yet.. I strongly feel that if I had a student who was willing to be 100% supervised..  as in attend say 2 hours of lessons daily for 2 years, that such a goal is attainable for the majority of students.


I think you are ignoring the fact that the mind and body does not only need guidance but also time to develope to the level one needs to be able to play on high level. I have no doubt that you could teach your adults one or two grade 8 pieces in two years, but to actually be on that level would IMO require them to be able to learn pieces on that level by themselves and be able to play more that just those pieces you have worked on. In that sense I very much doubt you could do it except for some special individuals. One needs to learn a lot of repertoire to be exposed to all the things and that takes time. Quality practice of course is the key, but one does still need time to get to fluency and security in playing. And many adults also do have physical issues like tension from their work life or lack of exercise, so those need time to solve also.

2 years is a short time really if you have any other things in life. In my experience one can get to playing level 6-7 pieces in that time, but the level of one's playing is still far from great. And the leap from grade 6 to 8 seems big to me.

EDIT:
I'd like to keep an open mind, but I think there are two huge challenges in your hypothetical experiment:

As the brain research tells us, we do not learn when we practice. For the brain to actually learn, one needs to "sleep on it". No matter how high quality the practice is, how much can the brain process in a limited time? Unless your subject is isolated from everything else, the brain also has everything else that happens during the day to process, not just the piano lessons. Most of us also have to constantly learn new things at our jobs (and on our free time too if we are active), those things also have to be processed. So even if we have time to devote to practice, our mind may not have time to learn at the rate required.

Also what would be the point to get to grade 8 unless one sounds as good (assuming we are playing an acoustic piano) as someone who has developed and matured to that grade with a more natural rate? I very much doubt your 2 year student would manage to reach the touch, control and ability to listen to sound as good as we would expect on that level.
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« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2013, 04:12:57 AM »

The question/discussion is a bit of an isolated unrealistic thing for all the reasons you point out. As I said, very unlikely to actually happen because the right student for such an undertaking would be a rare find..

I would never push a student to that end unless they wanted it..

I also said I didn't like grades as a measure for the exact reason you stated, there's a real difference between being able to successfully tackle a single piece at that level and actually having a mastery of grade 8 material in general.

......

I just find the question of how we get there faster to be valuable to teaching, not in a "push the student" way, just in a "how do I make the teaching more effective so that the student learns faster comfortably" way..
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« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2013, 04:32:53 AM »



I just find the question of how we get there faster to be valuable to teaching, not in a "push the student" way, just in a how do I make the teaching more effective so that the student learns faster comfortably way..

This I believe should be a requirement for anyone who calls him/herself a teacher. Sadly this is not always the case...

Anyway, maybe one day I'll take time off from work and move to Australia for a year or so...You'll be free to experiment Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2013, 04:42:31 AM »

You'll be free to experiment Smiley

You missed the Inventions step in the above, methinks.  Tongue
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« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2013, 04:49:52 AM »

You missed the Inventions step in the above, methinks.  Tongue

 Grin

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« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2013, 12:06:28 PM »

You missed the Inventions step in the above, methinks.  Tongue

I guess if I was to subject myself to being a lab rat for a mad scientist...or a piano teacher, I would just have to endure...
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« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2013, 02:59:09 PM »

It took me a little over 2 years after starting from scratch at the age of 17. However setting yourself such  a goal is pointless and will inevitably lead to failure if you are just focusing on getting 'Grade 8'. It's also worth bearing in mind that in this time I managed to become a music student at university, so my life was/is completely saturated by music. In fact, I only took the Grade 8 because everyone else studying music is at least Grade 8, and even if I study analysis not performance it is a milestone that is required. I have a degree-level understanding of theory which is a heavily underestimated skill when it comes to playing. Most people seem to object to rushing the Grade 8 because you have compromised musicality for the sake of technical playing, but it is not always the case, for many people the music consumes their minds and they are dying to simply have the required technical skill to express it.

The most important thing is knowing how to practice. You have to love to practice rather than just  love the end goal. The first year was the hardest for me, by far. I was practicing a lot but I was forcing myself to practice and not focusing on the right things. I gradually began to improve my practice habits - for example, when I made a mistake I would simply restart over and over until I got it right, instead of stopping, analyzing the mistake, and figuring out the best way to solve the problem. It sounds so simple, and yet I would be willing to be 99% of beginners do not practice in this way.
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ranniks
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« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2013, 07:01:59 PM »

2 years possible?

If by grade 8 you mean pieces like Bach's inventions/La Campanella/Chopin Valse Brillante's then I'm not so sure. My teacher thinks I'm a quick learner and combined with my practise ethic I advance faster than usual.

I'm playing around 8/9 months right now, but I don't think I'll be able to play Bach inventions in 15 months.....I have a hard time counting and my ear doesn't listen very well to beats. It only works out if I put work into it.

That's not to say it's not possible. I mean, for example: if I put my entire focus on the piano, so lets say 5 hours a day, I think it would be fair to say I could play a reasonable amount of grade 7/8 songs by the end of the two years. But there is a misconception in that:

- You need to have the discipline and concentration to play 5 hours a day and learn from it, which I lack
- You need to be able to keep yourself motivated, I don't lack this
- You have to have some 'talent' and talent is 'interest' in my eyes. So if you ''really'' want to learn, then that's talent in my opinion

Right now I'm not really struggling with any pieces......Going with a level 4 moonlight sonata  and sight reading it is going well......There is this Mozart piece I might look into:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcE1pbUERk0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcE1pbUERk0</a>

But in the meantime I'm learning Naruto/cartoon/movie theme pieces, really enjoying them. There is this one piece called 'Sadness and Sorrow', I can already pretty much play it with a sheet, but there is this part in it which drives me crazy, you have to roll a 4 key chord while playing with your left hand.

Anyways; just practise hard and you'll get there.

Going to practise now, only have an hour left.

Ciao.
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ajspiano
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« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2013, 09:48:32 PM »

ranniks, you appear to be confusing inventions, which collectively are usually ranked about grade 4 to 6, with bachs tougher Preludes and Fugues, which are more along the lines of grade 8.
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ranniks
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« Reply #36 on: June 02, 2013, 10:38:28 PM »

ranniks, you appear to be confusing inventions, which collectively are usually ranked about grade 4 to 6, with bachs tought Preludes and Fugues, which are more along the lines of grade 8.

Oh, I was not aware of that. Thanks.

I tried the first invention (without my teacher supervising) and failed horribly. It seemed way beyond my reach. That was some time ago though.

I really thought I read somewhere that it was grade 8 or something.

Hmmmm. Picked up on some Bach today, minuet and the prelude in c major. Bach is always good to play for me.
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ajspiano
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« Reply #37 on: June 02, 2013, 11:59:09 PM »

I tried the first invention (without my teacher supervising) and failed horribly. It seemed way beyond my reach. That was some time ago though.

Don't be discouraged. It is difficult.. 

Every so often I acquire a new student who opens with "I'm at grade 7-8 standard" and after questioning them about the repertoire they've studied I end up crippling their ego (and teaching them how meaningless grades are as an overall measure) with invention 1.

Maybe read bernhard's write up on it next time you have a go.
http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2714.msg23310.html#msg23310

there are several posts, read right through the thread.
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ranniks
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« Reply #38 on: June 03, 2013, 12:07:37 AM »

Don't be discouraged. It is difficult..  

Every so often I acquire a new student who opens with "I'm at grade 7-8 standard" and after questioning them about the repertoire they've studied I end up crippling their ego (and teaching them how meaningless grades are as an overall measure) with invention 1.

That made me smile, thanks! Smiley

Maybe read bernhard's write up on it next time you have a go.
http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2714.msg23310.html#msg23310

there are several posts, read right through the thread.

I will, thanks!

It would be my pleasure to one day being able to impress yourself, J_menz and David. I think I already have a piece in mind, but that will take several years to learn (Beethoven's Rubinstein March.)



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j_menz
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« Reply #39 on: June 03, 2013, 12:27:10 AM »

It would be my pleasure to one day being able to impress yourself, J_menz and David. I think I already have a piece in mind, but that will take several years to learn (Beethoven's Rubinstein March.)

You mean this piece?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CcgekUhSk4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CcgekUhSk4</a>

You'll have to play it better than Rachmaninoff to impress me. Fortunately for you, that should be eminently possible. God knows what he thought he was doing here!
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« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2013, 01:25:20 AM »

It would be my pleasure to one day being able to impress yourself..

I would consider aiming a little higher..  then again, I personally have a great deal of difficulty impressing myself.. Undecided

......

Also -

Speaking from a teacher's perspective, while there are times where I would withhold praise, and be more critical of a performance - ...from the students perspective, I wouldn't necessarily confuse that with the teacher being unimpressed overall..

..I have a student who just "finished" (for now) working on the musette in D major from the anna magdelena book. Its the first whole piece of music he's studied. His performance is hardly perfect, and there are many things that we have addressed and will continue to address in subsequent works. He has put in a LARGE amount of work to get it to where it is though, and I'm impressed by that.
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ranniks
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« Reply #41 on: June 03, 2013, 03:33:44 PM »

You mean this piece?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CcgekUhSk4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CcgekUhSk4</a>

You'll have to play it better than Rachmaninoff to impress me. Fortunately for you, that should be eminently possible. God knows what he thought he was doing here!

More along the lines of this:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWDY-6u9LWs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWDY-6u9LWs</a>

The man is a bloody genius I tell you.

I would consider aiming a little higher..  then again, I personally have a great deal of difficulty impressing myself.. Undecided

......

Also -

Speaking from a teacher's perspective, while there are times where I would withhold praise, and be more critical of a performance - ...from the students perspective, I wouldn't necessarily confuse that with the teacher being unimpressed overall..

..I have a student who just "finished" (for now) working on the musette in D major from the anna magdelena book. Its the first whole piece of music he's studied. His performance is hardly perfect, and there are many things that we have addressed and will continue to address in subsequent works. He has put in a LARGE amount of work to get it to where it is though, and I'm impressed by that.

Musette is a nice piece which I need to learn sooner rather than later, but I'm piled up with pieces at the moment.
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« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2013, 09:24:12 AM »

"There are other dangers along the way, some might catch jazz or pop or boogie woogie"
funny,those classical pianists looking at those styles as beeing a menace to their self proclaimed superior artform ie classical music.Sounds to me like those guys with tattoos,long hair,beer belly,...saying that "real" music has to be played with the guitar at knee-level,legs spread apart,heads banging around,amp's at 10 and brain at zero.
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« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2013, 01:31:38 PM »

Look at it from a slightly different angle.

99% of young kids starting out never make it to grade 8.

Maybe 95% of adults never make it.  (That's a guess.  Progress is slower for adults, but a higher percentage is motivated.)  Or maybe it's 99% for them too. 

The 1% who make it do about a grade a year. 

Then the problem becomes how to ensure that you stay within the 1% group. 
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Tim
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« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2013, 02:30:06 PM »

"There are other dangers along the way, some might catch jazz or pop or boogie woogie"


The best classical pianists love to play the boogie woogie.

I like timothy42b's answer....

but to the OP's question I would answer 'how long is a piece of string'?
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ranniks
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« Reply #45 on: October 09, 2013, 09:50:23 PM »

I'm 13-15 months in.

Playing 3 grade 5 pieces (one could be grade 6) and one possible grade 6/7 piece.

That doesn't say I'll be able to play them excellenty, just that I'll be able to hit the right notes and try to put some musiciallity in them. In 10 years, if I still play with the same tempo as I do now, I might be a decent competent hobby-pianist.

Why am I bragging about this? Well.....Because it keeps me going. Imagine a world where you can't be enthusiastic about something that you love.

Btw, is it me, or is it just impossible to put emotion into the following piece: Rivers Flows In You - Yiruma. It seems like the way it's written prevents me from putting emotion into it. Like it's written with emotion. You don't even have to try to put emotion into it basically.

Maybe because I need to learn the piece entirely, but still.

Also, I really hope I can get the first ornament (the thrill) of the little prelude 3 under control. It's pretty hard because even if I do manage to do it, I lose control going into the next meassure. I want to skip this thrill all together and just play the A note.

I havn't reached the level yet where playing in different speeds left-right hand comes easy.
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j_menz
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« Reply #46 on: October 09, 2013, 10:51:17 PM »

I really hope I can get the first ornament (the thrill) of the little prelude 3 under control.

The thrill may not be an actual ornament, but it should be.   Grin
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« Reply #47 on: October 10, 2013, 10:58:05 AM »

The thrill may not be an actual ornament, but it should be.   Grin

Haha:p. I didn't know what to call the thrill-symbol, so I just said ornament since that term is thrown around a lot when dealing with such symbols.

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mikeowski
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« Reply #48 on: October 10, 2013, 01:44:52 PM »

Haha:p. I didn't know what to call the thrill-symbol, so I just said ornament since that term is thrown around a lot when dealing with such symbols.

You're mixing up this

with this
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« Reply #49 on: March 12, 2014, 09:20:33 PM »

I realize this is an old post, but seeing that it has been bumped a few times, and given that I think this continues to be a relevant topic, I thought I would chime in with my perspective on the matter. I will state this up front--yes, it is possible. But what you would have to do to get there is probably beyond reasonable for most people, because if the sacrifice necessary and the passion required to get there.

I was an adult beginner. I had never touched a piano (though I have always sung, and I dabbled briefly with a violin as a child), but at the age of twenty, I got it in my head that I should study music at university, and decided that, starting in January of 2008, that I would begin taking music classes and buy a keyboard to begin to play with. I found a (fortunately very good) video series introducing the basics of piano, and spent the first six months teaching myself and taking a basic music theory course, which let me read some music, before I enrolled full-time in the Fall of the same year, and began to take instruction from the university. My school was very small, and the music program especially so, which meant that whereas I could have slipped through the cracks in a larger institution, I received very good instruction and personal attention from my instructors as I went about learning everything I could about music and playing piano.

Since then, I've taken piano lessons off and on (mostly on), and practiced piano constantly, all the while taking classes in various music classes.

And I would say that I got to the point of playing grade eight pieces somewhere around the three or four year mark, as in, I could at least play enough that I could handle them, although they remained quite challenging. I believe I attempted to play, though it went badly, a grade eight piece to audition into piano as a primary study area  (it was either the second movement of Beethoven's 79th opus or Mendelsson's Venetian Boat Song, I followed up my failed audition with a successful one and I forget which was was which), at the end of my second year of university, which would have put that time at April 2010. It went badly, and I doubt that if I had specifically tried to prepare an audition for a grade eight piano that I could have passed, but the point is that I had improved enough that grade eight pieces were, at least, on the radar, within the very fringes of my ability, and that this is about two and a half years after I began playing.

But consider the circumstances. I was practicing probably over an hour a day on average, and I was doing so partly because I wanted to make up for lost time, and partly because I really enjoyed playing piano. I was also enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts in Music, which meant that when I wasn't playing piano, I was developing relevant skills, such as ear training, theoretical knowledge, was singing in a choir, and a lot of other activities that were at least indirectly related. I can't measure exactly how much this helped, but it was certainly a contributing factor. I think if you wanted the same kind of explosive growth I experienced, you need both my fairly high levels of practice time (for a beginner), and immersion in general aspects of music in your other hours, IE, a university education or similiar in music. It also helps that I'm generally quite bright and perceptive, which helps.

But I also think it's possible for someone to grow faster than I did. I've dealt with issues of ADHD-Inattentive Type and depression for the majority of my life, and this lead to great inconsistency in my practice time. Some days I would regularly practice for four hours a day, other times I was so depressed and overwhelmed by life that I was lucky to practice four hours for the entire week. It averaged out to a decent amount,  but if someone was NOT dealing with my issues, and had a similiar passion in the situation I was put in, they probably could have advanced faster.

Malcolm Gladwell has a fascinating book called Outliers. He mentions a study where at a classical academy, they looked at the people who were rated future stars in the classical world, ones who would be merely great players, and a group that consistent of people who were merely competent players who would likely go on to teach. They found, without exception, that the future all-stars clocked in at about 10,000 hours of practice, the great players at 8000, and the okay players at around 4000 in lifetime hours. I believe he mentioned briefly they found similiar results with pianists. The interesting thing was they couldn't find exceptions--there weren't any people in the future masters group that only had 8000 or 4000 hours, or anyone in the teachers group that had worked 8000 or 10000 hours to only get mediocre results. The point of his book is that greatness tends to manifest itself through a person having the passion and the opportunity to work extremely hard. I think when we look at what's involved, being in some kind of musical education, instead of having a day job, is the only situation in which you could experience the explosive growth necessary to get to grade eight in two years. Grade eight is probably about 4000-5000 hours of total work, which probably means eight hours a day, five days a week, for two years. That would be 40 hours times fifty two weeks times two years, which equals a little over four thousand hours. Doable, but not if you're doing something other than piano full-time.

The thing is, despite the struggles I've had with ADHD and depression slowing me down more than I would have liked, six years out, I'm playing grade nine and ten pieces, and about to take my grade nine exam in June. My ability to play repetoire is more grade ten level at this point, but my technique is lagging a bit, which I'm trying to brush up to grade nine level, which is why I'm taking that exam. It's had a lot to do with being in school the past six years (minus one year I took off) which meant that I have more or less had the ability to dedicate close to full-time hours to music. I am also starting to teach piano lessons, which means that even as I work, I remain around a piano. I do all this because I really love music and really love playing piano, and I have the passion to continue to push myself to great lengths in order to become a truly great pianist.

If the question is, can I clear very distant hurdles in piano despite starting as a beginner as an adult, then the answer is a resounding yes, but there is a catch. You do have to find a way to be able to dedicate immense amounts of time to the craft. More importantly, you have to care enough to WANT to dedicate those immense amounts of time. If it sounds like a burden, rather than an intense and interesting journey, you probably don't have the disposition to get there. No, you have to truly LOVE piano and music in general to get there. If you merely like piano, you should content yourself with having a side hobby, that you maybe dedicate 5-10 hours a week to, and you can see yourself grow into a very respectable amateur player over the course of a decade or so. And if you can't find a way to get into a musical program or another situation where you can dedicate long hours to music, then even if you have the passion, you won't have the time to make it.

Bottom line, I think grade eight in two years represents something close to the upper limit of what the most passionate person with the greatest amount of opportunity to expend effort on the pursuit could accomplish. I was close enough, in about as ideal a circumstance as possible (deep love of practice time and lots of musical education) with a few drawbacks (depresssion and ADHD), and I was barely within range of that. But possible, still, I think so.
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