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Author Topic: How many years to be a good pianist!  (Read 20826 times)
winterwind888
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« on: May 21, 2009, 01:43:09 PM »

By the way Im just 16 and I wanted to be a pianist someday.. I was motivated or rather inspired by one person who played at the mall, flight of the bumblebee, It really caught my attention.. And now I'm learning piano and hope to be a good and excellent pianist someday.!!

Did anyone was good then at piano just how many years of starting?? Did anyone attempt to do heroic polonaise or any piece at its level in just 2 years of playing..

By the way... I've heard that there was this pianist who really was an excellent pianist only by doing at a cardboard... Practicing his skills finger techniques and power!!!

What can you suggest please??
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go12_3
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009, 02:17:16 PM »

You know, I think this topic has been discussed in other posts. 
Indeed, to become *a good piantist*  :

1.  A piano 
2.  Desire
3.  Practice
4.  Patience
5.  Effort
6.  Get a good teacher
7.  Love it!

best wishes,

go12_3
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iroveashe
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 04:44:14 PM »

It's said you have to spend 10 years doing something to be good at it.
Did anyone attempt to do heroic polonaise or any piece at its level in just 2 years of playing..
Yup, it's called butchering a piece. Not only you won't have the technique and stamina to attempt a piece like that, you'll also probably lack maturity and understanding.

By the way... I've heard that there was this pianist who really was an excellent pianist only by doing at a cardboard... Practicing his skills finger techniques and power!!!
Someone lied to you then =P
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"By concentrating on precision, one arrives at technique, but by concentrating on technique one does not arrive at precision."
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2009, 06:12:27 PM »

You can never really be a "good" pianist.  It's a lifetime journey.  The goal is not to become a good pianist, but a good musician rather.  Being a pianist is merely a tool.  A pianist is a musician first and foremost, who expresses his or her musical ideas through the piano.

16 is quite late to start and to be quite frank with you, the likelihood that you will become a professional pianist is slim to none.  However, the chances for the rest of us are about the same.  Your disadvantage is that you've missed out on so many years of developing your technique, much like I did.  I started when I was 10, quit at 12, and then started again at 16.  Since then, I've practiced anywhere from 3-7 hours daily in order to catch up.  Thankfully, I've almost caught up to where I'm supposed to be and now I'm studying Piano Performance at a university.  In total, i've only been playing for 5 years, and I've achieved more in these 5 years than many pianists do in 10.  So if I can make that much progress in that short an amount of time, then so can you.

I will warn you though, you can't save anything for the swim back.  You're either in it for the long haul, or you're not.  That's the dedication it takes.

Best of luck.  You're definitely going to need it.
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dr. j
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 11:41:59 PM »

Being a musician is definitely a lifetime journey and one that is well worth it.  There will be great times and challenging times, but if music is in your soul it will become your life.  Enjoy!
Dr. J
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perfect_pitch
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2009, 12:13:24 AM »

Indeed, to become *a good piantist*  :

1.  A piano 
2.  Desire
3.  Practice
4.  Patience
5.  Effort
6.  Get a good teacher
7.  Love it!

HOWEVER... After that... I think it takes about 15 - 20 years to become a good pianist... and by 'good' I mean worthy of performing in Concert Halls... and playing some of the hardest repertoire on the planet.
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nanabush
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2009, 12:40:47 AM »

True.  It's very rare to see someone who'se only been playing for 3-4 years (like the 'child prodidigies' who are like 7) play a CONVINCING chopin etude or other work of the like.  Pianists like this exist, but when you look at seasoned concert pianists, they do so much more than just play the notes.
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ramseytheii
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2009, 12:06:38 AM »

I read somewhere that to master a physical enterprise like playing the piano takes 10,000 hours (this was echoed by Charles Rosen).

Walter Ramsey


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c4rem
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2009, 09:42:42 PM »

its not even abt the time winterwind. just practice. music is time-less. Smiley

don't believe those who said u have a flawed technique if u start late because honestly, only pple who do not understand what music is would utter such nonsense (pardon my rudeness).

practice!
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timothy42b
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2009, 01:54:25 AM »

this really depends a lot on what your goals and definitions are.

It takes one to three years to master all the technique necessary to be a virtuoso pianist. 

It takes about ten thousand hours, or about eight years, to master any instrument - mastering an instrument is NOT the same as learning all the necessary technique.

If you start too late it takes longer or may be impossible.  Memory gets in the way, and learning the repertoire.

But if you just want to be good enough to play stuff like flight of the bumblebee, also called rimsky korsakov's greatest hit, at your age two years of practice should do it.  16 is nowhere near too old. 
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Tim
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2009, 03:43:00 AM »

I'm still counting the years...

I think a good goal it to try to play good music today!  You don't have to play virtuosic repertoire to play good music. 
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keyofc
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2009, 04:17:27 AM »

A good pianist does not need to play the hardest piece of music on the planet!  How silly -
It's fine if they can and admirable - but you can be a good pianist on different levels of difficulty.
I am impressed with music that touches me inside - and makes me cry -
I believe only a "good" pianist can do that because they have learned how to communicate through the piano.
Just as a good orator does not have to use the most difficult words in the dictionary to touch their audience.  If they can inspire with their words and their speech and honestly express themselves - I think that it the best.
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c4rem
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2009, 10:36:51 AM »

where in hell did u derieve those assumptions from timothy?

"It takes one to three years to master all the technique necessary to be a virtuoso pianist. 

It takes about ten thousand hours, or about eight years, to master any instrument - mastering an instrument is NOT the same as learning all the necessary technique."

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timothy42b
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2009, 12:43:11 PM »

where in hell did u derieve those assumptions from timothy?

"It takes one to three years to master all the technique necessary to be a virtuoso pianist. 

It takes about ten thousand hours, or about eight years, to master any instrument - mastering an instrument is NOT the same as learning all the necessary technique."



Give us your numbers then.  What do you think? 
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Tim
go12_3
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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2009, 02:02:06 PM »

I think it is hard to say the exact number of years to become a *good pianist*  because everyone has their own level of abilities and skills that is needed to play piano well enough to strike each note with musicality and artistry.  It depends upon how much work and effort it takes to be proficient , which I feel that I can say about my playing piano.  I am not *great*  nor *good*  ...
*Good* is too generalized of a word to use.  I am not *good* in sight-reading  and in playing in chords, or playing  stacked up notes , but I am improving.

There are many areas in which to become more proficent in playing piano in which requires technique and mechanisms.  Also, we may want to say I am *good*, and will get *better*  by setting realistic goals.  I have played piano since as a child, but was mostly self-taught until college.  It takes time, patience, work, effort and a desire, along with feeling the music and rhythm from inside us,  to play piano and become proficient at it.

best wishes,

go12-3
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chopinmozart7
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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2009, 03:18:01 PM »

i started to play the piano about a year ago. I am only using my own compositions as my repetoire.
i recently tried the heroic polonaise op 53 and it went very well. i just had to adjust the tempo on the drills in the right hand beacause i had some difficulty in that. but after a couple of hours of practice it went fine. they have arranged a consert for me to be played in a church so i am going to play the polonaise along with my other compositions. Tongue
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c4rem
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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2009, 03:29:23 AM »

a lifetime.

music is not seperated into technique n expression.

if ur just talking abt purely technique...sometimes 15 mins is more than enough

but there is something more. qns like 'what is the structure of the music here like?' 'what is the flow of the line here like?' 'how should i voice this particular passage so that it fits into the overall picture?' 'what is the harmonic progression of the piece?' 'what is the objectivity and subjectivity substances of the piece i m learning?' ...on and all...isn it a lifetime already? Smiley
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c4rem
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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2009, 03:35:32 AM »

i can understand how winterwind feels because when i was younger i attempted to achieve the same feat too...i wanted to do many many difficult pieces within a few yrs...which i somehow managed to do so...

but really my friends, music is more than that. if ur happy to just learn a few pieces and leave it as that, well i suggest not learning music at all.

before u go back to ur pianos, ask urself...why r u practicing? what do u hope to achieve by practicing?what understanding is there between U and the MUSIC?.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2009, 12:23:57 PM »

a lifetime.

music is not seperated into technique n expression.

if ur just talking abt purely technique...sometimes 15 mins is more than enough


Certainly.  You make a good point.  I'd go a little further in one respect.  Musical expression does not continue to grow better and better throughout our lifetime, instead it changes throughout our lifetime, as our experiences change our personality, and therefore what we have to communicate changes. 

But there's a basic level of technique that is a prerequisite, and that's really what the OP was asking about.  And that level of competence should be attainable by anyone serious in about three years.  IMO. 
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Tim
c4rem
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« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2009, 02:54:41 PM »

i dunno...ultimately music to me is not really so much abt expression...although i know the value of expression exists....but really, there comes to a point where u get tired of the overused word...'expression'. Smiley

'expression' is a simple word..which is also the most difficult to REALLY achieve...which is why chopin once said... 'simplicity is the most difficult'
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go12_3
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« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2009, 03:55:17 PM »

Lets put it this way:
 
it will take enough years to be *good*,
then enough years to be *better*
then enough years to be *proficient*,
then enough years to be *great* ,
then enough years to be *excellent*,
then enough years to be *wonderful*
then enough years to be *outstanding*
then enough years to be a *virtuoso*   

best wishes,

go12_3
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timothy42b
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« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2009, 05:34:34 PM »

Lets put it this way:
 
it will take enough years to be *good*,
then enough years to be *better*
then enough years to be *proficient*,
then enough years to be *great* ,
then enough years to be *excellent*,
then enough years to be *wonderful*
then enough years to be *outstanding*
then enough years to be a *virtuoso*   

best wishes,

go12_3

That's really not very helpful though.  It can't be refuted - because it's too vague.  So nobody can say you're wrong, but you can't really defend it either. 

How many years to be an artist?  Difficult to answer. 

How many years to be a competent craftsman?  Ah, now we're on more solid ground.  We can come up with some definitions if necessary, or we may all agree on what that means.  And we certainly can estimate how long the average person will take to get there, though obviously there will be those few extremely fast or extremely slow people at the ends of the distribution. 

And if I had to pull a number out of the air, I'd say three years to become a competent craftsman is not unreasonable.  What do you think? 
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Tim
go12_3
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« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2009, 05:49:46 PM »

tim:

All I am pointing out is adjectives here.  There is no clear cut *number of years* in which becomes a *good pianist.*  Of course, it all depends upon the skills and abilities of a person, in which I have already posted about in this thread.  It determines how reasonable the goals are being set and how to approach each piece to learn and study.  It's not easy to become a *good* pianist.  It seems that some what to learn quickly, but only quickly ends up in years to master playing the piano.

I was only being witty here on my previous post, and don't take it seriously....
It's up the the individual on how to interpret  my post.

By the way, it depends upon which craftsman you are inferring to.

Should I agree upon the 3 years? No, I don't.  Because it depends upon the age and abilities of the person.  A young student may take 5 years  or more in order to be *good* at playing piano.  I have students that are *fair* at playing.  The *good* will come later as they develop their technique, theory, rhythm, key signatures,  notation comprehension, and music interpretation.....

best wishes,

go12_3
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c4rem
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« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2009, 06:20:48 PM »

its not even the question abt being GOOD OR BAD here....

music is just something waiting to be understood (if u can) in ways both objectively and subjectively...

or rather should i say...to play well u need them both. thats all.
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go12_3
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« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2009, 06:24:36 PM »

its not even the question abt being GOOD OR BAD here....

 

Is there such a thing as a *bad* pianist? 
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« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2009, 07:21:17 PM »

Is there such a thing as a *bad* pianist? 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUFQtGY_5a0&feature=related Smiley
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timothy42b
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« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2009, 07:33:48 PM »

Is there such a thing as a *bad* pianist? 

Err........well, you might want to stop by my church this Sunday.  I hope you won't think so!  But sad to say, there is some probability you may reach a harsh judgement. 

(our regular player is off, I'm filling in) 
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Tim
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« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2009, 07:53:54 PM »

Err........well, you might want to stop by my church this Sunday.  I hope you won't think so!  But sad to say, there is some probability you may reach a harsh judgement.  


By the way, I am not *reaching a harsh judgement* based upon what c4rem stated and I was merely replying to his post to make him think. ok?  And what does stopping by your church has to do with this topic, may I ask?
 
I am well aware that pianists are progressing  on a  *level* they are comfortable in or whatever pieces they are working and I am not labeling anybody here as *good* nor *bad* pianist!   Lips Sealed

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learner of liszt
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« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2009, 03:45:23 AM »

I started when I was 9, and from then until I was 11, my teacher refused to move me passed those "Alfred's Basic Piano" books. Then, I started to learn Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Liszt. After that, my teacher heard me play it, and recommended a new teacher (a college professor), and from there, my technique really took off. In the course of 2 and a half years, I have gone from the Basic Piano books to studying (not really learning, but looking at a few passages from) Alkan's Etudes Op. 35 and 39, Rachmaninoff's 3rd Concerto, and Liszt's Transcendental Etudes. And yet, my chances of growing up to be a concert pianist of any public importance are one in one billion. Starting at as late of an age as you are, you are at an incredible disadvantage. The most effective musical development occurs from study as a very young (say 4-7 y.o.) child. However, if you study and work like there's no tomorrow, I see no reason why you couldn't have a chance.
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c4rem
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« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2009, 10:53:31 AM »

"The most effective musical development occurs from study as a very young (say 4-7 y.o.) child. However, if you study and work like there's no tomorrow, I see no reason why you couldn't have a chance."

i only agree with the latter part..

there r no most effective musical developement ages. its all subjective to the person.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2009, 11:27:02 AM »

And yet, my chances of growing up to be a concert pianist of any public importance are one in one billion. Starting at as late of an age as you are, you are at an incredible disadvantage. The most effective musical development occurs from study as a very young (say 4-7 y.o.) child. However, if you study and work like there's no tomorrow, I see no reason why you couldn't have a chance.

Okay, there is a good bit of truth to the one in a billion chance of becoming not just a concert pianist but one of public importance.  That is unlikely starting at age 16.  But it's one slightly less unlikely starting at age 4!  And that is probably the goal for very few of us anyway.

The chances of acquiring impressive dexterity and dazzling technical skill starting at age 16, on the other hand, are somewhere around 100%.  Mere effort won't get you into the top ranks of concert pianists - you need some native talent, some very good instruction, some luck, etc.  But mere effort will make most people into a highly skilled pianist especially starting as young as 16. 

There are a lot of people who take the politically correct stance that age doesn't matter.  Well, it does.  The older you are, the more difficult learning becomes.  But it's a slow decline, and it never becomes impossible, barring Alzheimer's or something similar. 
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« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2009, 12:27:49 PM »

its not even abt achieveing any technical feats...the technique will come naturally when u understand what the music is trying to tell u....in fact its not even abt practice...there is only so much u can practice.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2009, 04:30:54 PM »

where in hell did u derieve those assumptions from timothy?

"It takes one to three years to master all the technique necessary to be a virtuoso pianist. 

It takes about ten thousand hours, or about eight years, to master any instrument - mastering an instrument is NOT the same as learning all the necessary technique."



The 10,000 hours number comes from a number of sources.  I refer you to Daniel Levitin's This is your Brain on Music, or Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, or the more scholarly  Ericsson, K A., & CHarness, N. (1994). Expert performance: Its structure and acquisition.

Studies of experts in many fields converge on the 10000 hours of study number.  It seems to be a necessary condition.  Some researchers go further and state it is not only necessary but sufficient.  That case seems unproven to me, but they have some data to support it. 

The one to three years technique acquisition comes from extensive discussions on the past on this forum, principally with Bernhard. 
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Tim
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« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2009, 12:08:39 PM »

The 10,000 hours number comes from a number of sources.  I refer you to Daniel Levitin's This is your Brain on Music, or Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, or the more scholarly  Ericsson, K A., & CHarness, N. (1994). Expert performance: Its structure and acquisition.

Studies of experts in many fields converge on the 10000 hours of study number.  It seems to be a necessary condition.  Some researchers go further and state it is not only necessary but sufficient.  That case seems unproven to me, but they have some data to support it. 

The one to three years technique acquisition comes from extensive discussions on the past on this forum, principally with Bernhard. 

the 10,000 hrs quotation is an oversimplification at best.  I've read Mr Levitin's book, and found it fascinating, but there are a lot of confounding variables.  to start with, why 10,000?  such a nice round number is unlikely to be rooted in hard science.  I'd be much more willing to believe something like 9832 hrs.  as for confounders...if someone truly is "untalented," they are very unlikely to stick to anything for the full 10,000 hrs.  and furthermore, it makes no reference to the quality of practice, or how you are spending those 10,000 hrs, or over what time frame those 10,000 hrs occured.  was it 416 days straight?  distributed over a lifetime? and further furthermore, it doesn't specify the ages in question.  clearly there is a difference between a child devoting 10,000 hrs to something as opposed to an adult.  for a 4 year old, that would be over 1/4 of their total lifetime!

back to the topic, it really depends on what your definition of "good" is.  good like cliburn winning?  19 yrs.  good like impresses the average idiot on a streetcorner?  a few hrs. 
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mike saville
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« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2009, 12:56:42 PM »

Yes, define good. What style? What starting point? Too many variables different answer for every individual.
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« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2009, 02:24:15 PM »

There are a lot of people who take the politically correct stance that age doesn't matter.  Well, it does.  The older you are, the more difficult learning becomes.  But it's a slow decline, and it never becomes impossible, barring Alzheimer's or something similar. 

It is not a politically correct stance. If anything, the politically correct stance is that, as you get older, you have more trouble learning, because it's what everyone buys into and shoots themselves in the foot. It has been discovered that, contrary to former believe, the brain continues to grow new nerve cells until death. The process of learning doesn't change as we age. It is always the same. However, it is the way human learning works that makes things hairy. As pianists, many beginners and amateurs practice by rote repetition. This is one way the brain learns, but not the chief. The brain learns best by association. This is because a thought is essentially a neural pathway that fires on demand. We can create new pathways by rote repetition and leave things as is, or we can create new pathways that cause other pathways to fire and are triggered again by those firing pathways. Putting material into context allows the brain to connect that material to what it already knows and implant it more firmly in the memory.

There are two reasons learning slows as we age: 1) We choose not to, and 2) The associations of the context of our lives get in the way. So, we need to choose to learn, not just piano but whenever we can, and we need to learn to use these associations to our advantage. We say everyone is unique because of their pasts but sometimes we are unwilling to use that to our advantage.

In piano, we do need a lot of rote learning. However, we have tools such as theory to give us some associations. There's also the associations we make between the written music and the notes to be played, the sound of the music and the physical act of playing, and little technical things we've learned by rote like chords, scales, and arpeggios that can be inserted into the context of a new piece. The bottom line is, if you haven't got Alzheimer's, or Arthritis, or Muscular Dystrophy, you haven't really got an excuse. It's not politically correct, it's scientifically correct. I promise. I spent a year studying general psychology. I can even dig up references if you need them.

As for how many years to become a good pianist, I can't help you. I saw immediate changes in switching teacher (i.e. going to college), so the the teacher is one extremely important variable. If you aren't a prodigy, you can't learn what your teacher doesn't know (As much as I love these boards, it's very hard to apply what you read. I find the stuff I read only makes true sense after my teacher explains the same thing her way and shows me physically how to do it.)(Also, this isn't just because I have trouble with reading. I learned to juggle from a book, pretty well.). There's also, as many say, practice. Yes, bernhard recommends fifteen to twenty minutes per day PER PIECE. The method there was that instead of wasting the three hours we practice doing the same thing far past the necessary number of repetitions to learn (per day) and not accomplishing anything in reality, to make good use of it. There were also many breaks recommended to refresh the brain to put entire concentration into learning for the whole time. There's also talent, I guess, though I'm not a firm believer in that. You might want to spend more time listening to piano music, too, so you can feel others' interpretations.

Last thing: As others have said good is too vague. In addition to not truly giving us an idea of level, the piano is quite a versatile instrument and good has many definitions. One pianist may be good at Rachmaninov but not at Mozart, or good at Liszt but not at Chopin. Each composer has their own style and, really, their own technique. Each piece is a new adventure.

Tim, a rhetorical point: It is a very bad idea to express your opinions and then apologize for your *perceived lack* of piano skills. It gives us the impression that you're preaching what you don't truly know. I've studied rhetoric in addition to psychology.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2009, 03:19:52 PM »


There are two reasons learning slows as we age: 1) We choose not to, and 2) The associations of the context of our lives get in the way.

It's not politically correct, it's scientifically correct. I promise. I spent a year studying general psychology. I can even dig up references if you need them.

As for how many years to become a good pianist, I can't help you.

I think that you ARE being politically correct, and not scientifically correct.  I've done a good bit of reading, and the people who study aging as well as the people who study education agree there are predictable declines with age.  There are measurable physical changes as well, as you'll find out when you get to my age, if you still go to the gym. 

I'm not sure that your year of general psychology addressed the right subjects.  I say that because I have a BA in Psychology from Notre Dame, and an MS in Clinical Psychology from Univ Wisconsin, and the amount of time spent on aging processes was small unless you specialized in it.  I'm no longer in that field, I'm a mechanical engineer now. 

I have some practical experience as well.  I moved to a foreign country (Germany) when I was 51 (probably a good 30 or 35 years older than you.)  I can tell you first hand how difficult it is to learn a new language in your 50s.  It is not impossible, but it is many times more difficult than when you are young. 

As far as the number of years thing, why can't you help him?  We know in every other skilled endeavor, whether sports, engineering, nursing, etc., how long it takes the average person to reach various levels of skill.  Piano is no different.  Of course people vary greatly, but we can certainly say how long it takes the average person to tackle an SATB hymn, a Bach invention, the Maple Leaf rag, etc.  Ask any teacher how long to get to a given skill level.  They should know, if they know their job. 

My personal skill is not relevant.  I play for church services when there's nobody better available, otherwise I wisely refrain. 
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Tim


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thierry13
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« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2009, 07:58:46 PM »

Yup, it's called butchering a piece.

Huh, some people can play such(and harder) pieces after 2 years well. The fact is that for a normal person, it will be butchering. But for a superior talent, 2 years for the heroic polonaise is more than enough.
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jgallag
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« Reply #38 on: June 13, 2009, 03:27:40 AM »

Tim,

I apologize.

I'm not going to quote your whole post because that would take up space. Perhaps you could answer some questions I have, though: How much of the decrease (Strictly talking the brain here. Psychology and Physiology are two different things.) in learning ability is caused by biological reasons, and how much by social reasons? How does the fact that the general population is not asked to learn a significant amount of information past high school or college affect the learning process at an increased age? Also, I did some light reading. The decrease in mental ability associated with age seems largely to concern the time taken to store information and to retrieve it. However, it was indicated that the integrity of the information once stored is not hampered. Is there more to this? Is this difference significant enough to prevent someone from learning a significant amount (like the skills to play a piece) after reaching age 50? How does the near-recent discovery that the brain does in fact replace brain cells affect this subject? I guess my bottom-line point is this: Is the decline in learning as a result of aging really worth the discouragement that older people experience when confronted with learning a new skill? You can PM me if you like, but I thought the answers that you know might be of use to the general population as well. Not to leave physical ability out, I've seen very old people play the piano spectacularly, and I've heard of older people doing such amazing things as running marathons (after years of inactivity). I'm assuming that there is hope, then, for those who would like to be "good" starting at an advanced age, physically, at least.

On the how many years subject, I gave you an answer: First, the term "good" was not defined and couldn't really be any more vague. Second, as you correctly assume, I am 30 years younger than you (when you went to Germany), at least. How in my almost twenty years of life could I have seen a number of pianists become "good" and thus give an estimate as to his figure? Unlike many, I do not feel comfortable teaching until I know much more than I need to. As I mentioned, going to college made a huge difference in my playing. However, this is in one year. I believe I am ready to work with beginners, but I will be doing so under the supervision of my professors, and I'm still afraid of making mistakes that I will have to "unteach" as I learn more. I've seen some of my colleagues teach, and, quite frankly, I don't approve of the hand positions they're ignoring, or of the fact that they have the kids sitting far too low. If they supposedly know more than me, and they make mistakes, who's to say I won't? I'm going to try my hardest not to, but I'm aware that teaching is completely different from playing. I'd like to be ambitious and say that any of those pieces you mentioned could be learned in one year, but if you have a child with small hands the hymns and the Joplin are out of the question if octaves cause stress. I can't truly be confident because I haven't seen other pianists go through the process. I've seen myself, and frankly I don't remember what it was like to be an eight-year-old pianist. The factors of dedication and time spent on practice (Dependent on work, school, and a host of other factors) and of what is done during practice also change the number.

For my personal definition of good, you should be able to play each individual part and any two-part combination of the hymn, as well as being able to voice each, well, voice, so your singers can learn the parts, or at least the soprano if for home performance. The Bach Inventions also demand voicing and a skill with trills that does not hamper the progression of the piece. I want to hear all the motives and I want to hear how they travel between the hands. In the Joplin I should hear the melody voiced, obviously, and after that I want the melodic portion of the bass but not the chords. The arpeggios should be even and the vast majority of the jumps in the left hand should be perfect (let's say less than five mistakes in the left hand). Everything should be performed at the tempo indicated, and all dynamics should be observed. That is good. You want better? Interpret. Good is pleasing to listen to, but interpretation and musicality make it interesting to listen to. Also recognize, as I'm sure you do, that you have asked for three completely different styles, and it is very possible to be good at one while being terrible at the other. I think you *may* be able to do that in a year if reading music is mastered within a month or two (meaning being able to find notes on the keyboard, being able to name them, knowing all the different markings, and learning to follow fingering indications).

And your skill level does matter. How can you give us figures without experiencing it first hand? Do me (or yourself) a favor: Get yourself a good teacher (if you haven't one already) and throw away all the knowledge of how aging affects learning (even if it's true and has all the data in the world to back it up). Take a stab at bettering yourself so that you don't have to "wisely refrain" from playing in church. I don't know how much time you have to practice, but even thirty minutes a day (If you're using some of bernhard's methods of practice organization) well-spent should make a significant improvement. Obviously, I wouldn't expect you to play like me (I'd be surprised if you did, because you don't sound like you have a lot of time to practice) as I practice about four hours a day, working several different pieces in the spirit of bernhard. But I would think you could attain my definition of "good" for hymns (if you haven't already) and that you could certainly come up with some dazzling preludes to share with the congregation. I tend to err on the optimism side, but it still seems realistic to me. Do this, and tell us how long it takes to better yourself.
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madsfr1234
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« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2009, 07:28:53 AM »

hi..

yes, the piano is one of the hardest instruments to master..

i've only played for 2 years now. started at 12. and i Play chopin etude op 25 no 12, bach bwv 847 c minor, mozart piano concerto no 12 and a bunch of other pieces..
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go12_3
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« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2009, 10:08:13 AM »

hi..

yes, the piano is one of the hardest instruments to master..

i've only played for 2 years now. started at 12. and i Play chopin etude op 25 no 12, bach bwv 847 c minor, mozart piano concerto no 12 and a bunch of other pieces..


Wow, how did you manage to learn these pieces so quickly?  I mean, from a teacher point of view, if you had only two years of lessons, I presume, that you must have hammered away several hours a day in order to master such pieces, especially the chopin Etude 25/12 in two years?   What was your practice routine?  And how did you acquire such skills and technique for these pieces.....I am just wondering....

best wishes,

go12_3
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Yesterday was the day that passed,
Today is the day I live and love,Tomorrow is day of hope and promises...
madsfr1234
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« Reply #41 on: June 13, 2009, 12:07:09 PM »

 
Wow, how did you manage to learn these pieces so quickly?  I mean, from a teacher point of view, if you had only two years of lessons, I presume, that you must have hammered away several hours a day in order to master such pieces, especially the chopin Etude 25/12 in two years?   What was your practice routine?  And how did you acquire such skills and technique for these pieces.....I am just wondering....

best wishes,

go12_3

i got one of the best teachers in my country..
i'm from Denmark.. i just got the passion for music so i just practice and practice.
she told me that i just got a natural and smooth tachnique for playing the piano..
i practice up to 4 hours a day..
scales, arpeggios, chords, hanon, cortot, liszt and sight reading.
i just practice every bar very slowly and with different kinds of rythms.
it's very good in runs to play every tone twice in a very staccato way..

i can't say more..
the piano is just the love for me..

best wishes mads. Cheesy
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go12_3
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« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2009, 12:20:08 PM »

mads,

I appreciate your explanation in your post!  Thank you!  I understand about being *a natural* in playing an instrument.  I have seen one of my students that had the natural ability to play piano.  But he moved and that was a sad day for me.

When I first started to learn to play violin, I never realized that I learned so quickly in one year(I had a very fine instructor)(now it's 8 years of playing)and have grown to love this instrument with a passion.  Yes, I practiced everyday for many hours to acquire the skills in playing the violin.

So when a musician puts forth the effort in hours and passion into practicing an instrument, then the more difficult pieces can be learned.  Enjoy your progress,  Smiley

best wishes,

go12_3
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madsfr1234
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« Reply #43 on: June 13, 2009, 12:25:14 PM »

thanks..
i'm glad you also love and enjoy music that much! Cheesy
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c4rem
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« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2009, 03:41:48 PM »

if ur love for the instrument is genuine and u really work hard at it without any preconceived 'retrictions'...or should i say 'misconception'?...

u will definitely play beautifully. its just a matter of practice...and TIME.
work hard peeps. Smiley
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timothy42b
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« Reply #45 on: June 13, 2009, 08:01:25 PM »

jgallag,

Well thought out answer.

I'll just say that for me, to know the effects of age are not discouraging but encouraging.  If I make slower progress at piano than my child (which happened despite her practicing less time less efficiently) it doesn't mean that I lack talent or the task is impossible.  It just means I accept my limitations and work harder.  And enjoy the progress I do make. 

I have several adult friends who had always wanted to play piano, and when their kids started they tried to keep up.  All of them fell far behind, decided it was hopeless, and quit.  How much different might it have been if somebody told them it would be slower for them, but they would probably eventually end up with the level of skill they wanted? 

There are probably specific things one would do differently with an adult to take advantage of the skills we do have, and work around the classic trio of cognitive problems (memory, slow information processing, inability to multitask).  I suspect also that rhythm may need to be approached differently, as timing skills are an unrealized decrement in adults. 

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Tim
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« Reply #46 on: June 13, 2009, 08:16:38 PM »

It takes exactly the same time for every pianist (no matter how much they practice, or how much talent they've got). It always takes 9 years, 3 month, 27 days and 11 hours.

I hope you get my point.
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dr. j
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« Reply #47 on: June 14, 2009, 12:10:13 AM »

There are some really incredible ideas and thoughts presented in this thread to answer the "How many years to become a good pianist" question.  Music is such a quantitative subject with so many variables that it is difficult if not impossible to quantize!  Really interesting reading, though.

Dr. J - The More You Play the Better Your Day
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Dr. Jeannine Jordan is a professional piano teacher and performer, who wants to open the world of music to you through creative enjoyable online lessons.
nearenough
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« Reply #48 on: July 11, 2009, 03:45:21 AM »

Previously: By the way... I've heard that there was this pianist who really was an excellent pianist only by doing at a cardboard... Practicing his skills finger techniques and power!!!

Someone lied to you then =P

N: This might be Arthur (Artur) Rubinstein, who reportedly learned a concerto by drumming his fingers while traveling to the performance venue.

In fact, there is a CD showing this finger "playing" on a table by the master.
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iroveashe
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« Reply #49 on: July 11, 2009, 04:44:41 AM »

Previously: By the way... I've heard that there was this pianist who really was an excellent pianist only by doing at a cardboard... Practicing his skills finger techniques and power!!!

Someone lied to you then =P

N: This might be Arthur (Artur) Rubinstein, who reportedly learned a concerto by drumming his fingers while traveling to the performance venue.

In fact, there is a CD showing this finger "playing" on a table by the master.
Being «an excellent pianist only by doing at a cardboard» is not the same as being Rubinstein, having decades of experience and learning specific pieces mostly by mental practice.
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Bruno Walter
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