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Topic: I envy you people who started taking lessons early  (Read 2114 times)

Offline dikai_yang

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i really envy those of you who started learning piano in a young age...
i've always loved piano and i did started playing since i was little...
but the first time i took a lesson was when i was in grade 7... (13 years old??)
had 3 teachers over the years until i finished grade 12 (18 years old??)
then i was on my own again
left my town (vancouver) for university of toronto
major in electrical engineernig...
always dream of playing something professionally
it's a dream that will never happen...
---
my learning process is... if i watch someone play, i know that piece is possible (i need to "see" it happen to believe)
then i'll start, once i get the idea i jump to the next piece that inspire me...
(i don't polish it because i'm not able to, i don't have the "correct" foundations, that's why you'd see me use some weird fingering in many places that normal people wouldn't)
the comforting thing is, whatever i play, the "idea" is always there...

Offline Waldszenen

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #1 on: July 05, 2005, 11:43:28 AM
Taking piano lessons early will make little difference in the long run if you're dedicated and are willing to practise long hours and to work hard. Alas, as long as you enjoy it, that's entirely the point.
Fortune favours the musical.

Offline rc

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #2 on: July 06, 2005, 12:09:12 AM
It sounds to me like you're putting all kinds of barriers against yourself.

Why would you not be able to polish a piece? You don't need to have been playing from a young age to be able to play a piece to the highest standards. It will become polished with as much effort as you put into it, it's not something reserved for the child prodigies.

You're probably not spending enough time working on it before jumping into the next piece. I know the feeling - at any given time there's about 20 pieces I want to begin and I'm always struck by one more that comes on at just the right time and I'm suddenly hit with that burning desire to play it (therefore learn it first, heh). Instead of getting right into whatever particular piece strikes my fancy I use that inspiration as fuel to keep working on what's on my plate at the time, so I can begin the next great piece and eventually work my way to that new piece (and learning a whole load more pieces I love to get there).

What also helps is to have a reason to work a piece up to that level, as far as I can tell the best/only reason is to share the piece in performance. If you have a chance to share the music you learn with others you'll be more motivated to work harder - ya wanna do the music justice afterall...

Likewise, it starts to seem pointless if you're learning all kinds of pieces and forgetting them before anyone else gets a chance to hear it, that's a pretty helpless feeling.

Performance opprotunities are crucial to motivation (for me) and you don't need to be a professional to find an audience. I know which friends have pianos in their homes, I keep my piano in my parents living room where all the family gatherings take place, a lot of retirement homes have pianos, certain restaurants in town have very nice pianos and may let you play if it's not too busy (can't hurt to ask), and through my teacher there are student recitals which are great.

It's good to keep dreaming, just keep your dreaming a little more realistic to your current situation and you'll see the possibilities... Perhaps somewhere down the road it will be realistic to begin asking money to play.

Offline infamousbr

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #3 on: July 06, 2005, 01:00:43 AM
learning early does help (and it definitely has in my case), but at the same time, its all about how much interest u have in playing..

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #4 on: May 24, 2006, 04:53:19 PM
Mitsuko Uchida was recently in Cleveland and gave an open rehearsal with the orchestra and then a brief talk afterwards.  She said she didn't feel comfortable with her sound at the piano until she was 27, and that was "late, but it is never too late."
On the other hand I saw a round-table discussion video with Charles Rosen, Yefim Bronfman, Emanuel Ax, Leon Fleischer, and Eugene Istomin, oh and Gary Graffmann, and they pretty much agreed that if you don't start at 3 you are screwed.  Then one of them, I think Fleischer, made some pseudo-babble about "synapses" "having something to do with it."  Frankly just because these people started at age 3 doesn't really mean anything.  Fleischer and Graffmann learned the wrong way to play the piano, and were sidelined by injuries.  They are now teaching these atrocities to their students, who are starry-eyed with wonder at these so-called celebrities, who are really pianstic criminals who sit on their laurels and feed off their reputations.  They would have done better to start at a later age. They cannot speak for those who did not start at 3, and were still successful.  So do not let anyone bully you into thinking only those who start early have a chance to play good piano.  And do not let anyone who can't play piano well, and safely, tell you how to play piano.  Just some advice!

Walter Ramsey

Offline sinspawnammes

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #5 on: May 24, 2006, 11:31:00 PM
Very well put, Walter.

Offline da jake

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #6 on: May 25, 2006, 12:07:26 AM
I started taking lessons less than 2 years ago- right before my 17th birthday. Luckily, I have a superb teacher, and I have been progressing really well.

It's easier to learn at a yougn age, and starting early obviously gives a head start time-wise. But I am certain that anyone at any age can be a decent pianist if they have the following three things in combination:

Proper instruction + Dedication + Talent
"The best discourse upon music is silence" - Schumann

Offline instromp

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #7 on: May 25, 2006, 12:16:05 AM
I used to feel the same way about it. Since i didnt recieve lessons at an early age that i could never learn to play good.

But now im 15 and i have been taking this piano class at my school and i have learned alot. I have a great teacher, that can play very well and instructs me on what to do and not do to. I think this was luck that i was able to get this at school because we cannot afford lessons because of bills and such.

Like Jake said it takes proper instruction and dedication to be successful in piano.
the metranome is my enemy

Offline gruffalo

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #8 on: May 25, 2006, 07:58:49 PM
would you mind if i chatted to you sometime in PM? im deciding between music and electronic engineering. i have been playing since i was 4 and lessons. i am a pianist, opera singer, and composer. i would just like to know how i would feel if i chose engineering, ie. how largescale the regret would be.

Offline groggy

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #9 on: May 25, 2006, 08:04:11 PM
I read an article about the brain that said, at the age of 11 the brain fully connects itself. For the next 10 years those connections are trimmed based on what you are doing. The result is that what you were doing as teenager is with you forever.

In our local paper there was a human interest article about a 80+ year old woman in a late stages of Alzheimer's. She did not know her husband or any piece of music by memory. But, put her in front of a piano with sheet music and she plays it perfectly. If she makes a mistake she stops and refuses to play the piece again in that session.  She started playing piano at 3 and was performing as a teenager. It is like the musical part of her brain is in a different place from the Alzheimer's.

Personnaly, I started playing a 7, playing quite bit and sightreading as a teenager. It now seems to be something that is just part of me.

My son started at 4, and my daugther will as well. I hope it isn't too late  ;)

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #10 on: May 26, 2006, 12:30:43 PM
I read an article about the brain that said, at the age of 11 the brain fully connects itself. For the next 10 years those connections are trimmed based on what you are doing. The result is that what you were doing as teenager is with you forever.

In our local paper there was a human interest article about a 80+ year old woman in a late stages of Alzheimer's. She did not know her husband or any piece of music by memory. But, put her in front of a piano with sheet music and she plays it perfectly. If she makes a mistake she stops and refuses to play the piece again in that session.  She started playing piano at 3 and was performing as a teenager. It is like the musical part of her brain is in a different place from the Alzheimer's.

Personnaly, I started playing a 7, playing quite bit and sightreading as a teenager. It now seems to be something that is just part of me.

My son started at 4, and my daugther will as well. I hope it isn't too late  ;)

Those are interesting stories, but ultimately the heart of your post is,
Quote
Personnaly, I started playing a 7, playing quite bit and sightreading as a teenager. It now seems to be something that is just part of me.

That is you, and that speaks for you, but it doesn't speak for all of those who did start piano late, and still were able to make it "part" of them, and still were able to find success.  Which is the point that I want to make, that if research only tells people that to be able to do something, they have to do it in the toddler years or whatever, research is missing something essential, because there are plently of people who have not been playing piano out of the crib, and can play much better than those who have.

Walter Ramsey

Offline soliloquy

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #11 on: May 26, 2006, 12:44:12 PM
I have a friend in England who is 19.  He didn't even touch a piano until 3 years ago, and he's now playing Chopin Ballades, Liszt Etudes and various other nasty pieces.  Is it because he's a prodigy?  Nope.  It's because he practices 8 hours a day.  The amount of determination and drive you have is what will make or break you as a pianist.  I think your biggest problem is a psychological one.  You seem convinced that you won't be able to become a competant pianist just because you haven't been whipped by musician parents since you were 4.  Look at Volodos, one of the most successful pianists of our time.  He only really started playing at 17.  Now, I'm not saying perseverance alone will turn you into the next Arcadi Volodos; very very few of us will ever have that level of talent.  There will always be an inate factor, but if you REALLY want to become a good pianist then the only thing standing in the way of you is yourself.

Offline Mozartian

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #12 on: May 26, 2006, 03:03:13 PM
It has nothing to do with when you start. Starting early only means that your technical ability possibily will be more mature at a younger age than if you started later, and that's all.

I believe Volodos only started seriously playing when he was 17, for example. I think Kapell started when he was 7, and was something of a delinquent (though clearly highly talented) music student until he started studying under Samaroff.

As for not having a teacher- a good teacher is a wonderful thing, and will help you improve so very quickly; but personally I'd rather be wrestling it out by myself, stuggling at times but always realizing how very much I love the music and how much it means to me, than studying under a bad or mediocre teacher who kills your desire and drive, and makes music simply another task to be performed.

Cziffra was largly self taught and had the most natural technique I've ever seen.

Don't waste your time complaining about what you haven't had. For every person like you (or me) who has a great love for music but not a huge background in "proper" instruction, there's a kid out there who has been forced into lessons since he was 3, and would give anything to have had the freedom we have.

Sometimes I wonder if we are killing genius by trying to force music upon the kids before they're ready for it.


[lau] 10:01 pm: like in 10/4 i think those little slurs everywhere are pointless for the music, but I understand if it was for improving technique

Offline walking_encyclopedia

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Re: I envy you people who started taking lessons early
Reply #13 on: May 26, 2006, 03:52:53 PM
Taking piano lessons early will make little difference in the long run if you're dedicated and are willing to practise long hours and to work hard. Alas, as long as you enjoy it, that's entirely the point.

that's exactly right.

i've been taking piano for probably ten years (i started when i was about seven), but for the first, say, five years i hardly practiced at all, and i viewed it as something to get over with, which is understandable given my age then. so i haven't really been diligently 'practicing' for any more than five years.

basically just look for a good teacher who will push you hard, so that you will become ultra-motivated to practice and improve.

There will always be an inate factor, but if you REALLY want to become a good pianist then the only thing standing in the way of you is yourself.


yep.
 

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