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Thanks to our parents? (Read 6332 times)

Offline GG

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Thanks to our parents?
« on: January 16, 2004, 01:48:55 AM »
hi all,
someone had mentioned that  their parents, while being supportive didn't really understand what the Beethoven sonata was all about...
I find myself more and more remembering how angry I was when they forced my to practice as a teenager. Today, naturally I thank them so much!!
I think musicians' biographies contain a lot of similar stories...
Does anyone else feel they 'owe it' to their parents?

Offline Clare

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #1 on: January 16, 2004, 02:09:45 AM »
No! My parents, while paying for my lessons, also ruined any chances of me getting any better by screaming, "Get off the piano! We want to watch TV!" all the time.
I had to move out.

Offline dchaikin

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #2 on: January 16, 2004, 02:53:52 AM »
GG, I share your sentiments.  I count myself extremely fortunate that I had a professional musician father and a musical mother.  I too was forced to practice (my middle school years are particularly etched in my memory) and am thankful for it today.


Offline eddie92099

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #3 on: January 16, 2004, 02:53:47 PM »
I have always practiced when and what I want to. I think it is important to discover music for yourself. I also think that you will find the great pianists discovered music in this way too,
Ed

Offline Noah

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #4 on: January 16, 2004, 07:47:50 PM »
I also feel extremely lucky that my parents never forced me to practice but always encouraged me. I also always practiced when and what I wanted. I'm convinced these are the reasons why I love music so much today.
'Some musicians don't believe in God, but all believe in Bach'
M. Kagel

Offline dchaikin

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #5 on: January 16, 2004, 09:36:04 PM »
I probably would have abandoned the piano in 7th grade if it was left up to me.  It's a rare teenager who can see the end result of all the hours of practice.


Offline erak

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #6 on: January 16, 2004, 11:54:17 PM »
My parents, esp. my father sorta forced me, but just slightly, to play the piano. I always wanted to quit because I HATED it. No I'm thankful that he never let me quit :D. Compared to the 10 minutes I used to play every week a year ago, +-3hrs a day is now my minimum. I fell in love with playing the piano after 6 years of forced playing. I guess wisdom does indeed come with time.

Offline steveolongfingers

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #7 on: January 19, 2004, 04:55:03 AM »
As i remember so long ago....."Steve your going to learn to play Nocturn in E flat by Chopin major before you can quit" says my dad.....Im still not aloud to quit cause i havent learn 2 bars i just end of with a perfect cadance  instead....that way i cant quit!
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture – it’s a stupid thing to want to do- Frank Zappa

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #8 on: January 19, 2004, 05:28:34 PM »
Quote
I have always practiced when and what I want to. I think it is important to discover music for yourself without being forced into it. I also think that you will find the great pianists discovered music in this way too,
Ed


yeah like beethoven.

My parents hate my music. They call me old because of it. My teacher played beautifully Chopin's Waltz in E-b Maj. My parents hated the piece, saying it was too long and repetitive. Now, that I might start learning the piece in the summer, they tell me I should go learn something different. Something like Great Balls of Fire, or Liberace, or just anything besides the piece. I practice because I love it. In a way I do thank my parents because of their hatred towards the music, I am obsessed with it.

boliver

Offline GraceStansbury

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #9 on: January 20, 2004, 08:03:30 AM »
Well, i owe everything to my Great-Grandfather, he bought my piano, payed for the lessons and left an education fund just for piano/school. He also encouraged me to pursue my piano career before he died... so i felt obligated to do it since i told him i would.... so! there ya go. Ta da!!!!
Next to silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible is music.

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #10 on: January 20, 2004, 02:51:13 PM »
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My parents hate my music


That's pretty tragic. I don't know how anyone can possibly hate music. It's like saying you hate food, whereas in reality you may hate bananas but love chocolate,
Ed

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #11 on: January 20, 2004, 06:01:49 PM »
it is not that they hate music, just my music. They hate all types of classical music. They say it is long and boring.

boliver

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #12 on: January 20, 2004, 06:07:18 PM »
Quote
it is not that they hate music, just my music. They hate all types of classical music. They say it is long and boring.


The problem with people like that is they have only heard what I label "Classic FM classical music", a.k.a. the slow movement of the Pathetique, the first movement of the Moonlight, some inoffensive Debussy and then a Mozart slow movement. Most of this is boring. What they need to do is listen to some Bartok, or some Rachmaninov Etudes :),
Ed

Offline Noah

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #13 on: January 20, 2004, 06:44:50 PM »
Quote


The problem with people like that is they have only heard what I label "Classic FM classical music", a.k.a. the slow movement of the Pathetique, the first movement of the Moonlight, some inoffensive Debussy and then a Mozart slow movement. Most of this is boring.


I hope that by boring you mean 'boring when taken out of their context'.
Give them some Sorabji, that will show them !
Seriously though, I don't think there's anything you can do to get these people (Classic FM listeners) to appreciate 'classical' music. I tried to get a few of my friends to listen to some pieces but they just can't focus on it and get bored after a few minutes. Yes, even with Argerich's Liszt sonata !  ::)
Boliver, leave home is the only solution I see to your problem.
'Some musicians don't believe in God, but all believe in Bach'
M. Kagel

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #14 on: January 20, 2004, 10:03:25 PM »
Quote

Yes, even with Argerich's Liszt sonata !  ::)


Where do these people reside?
Ed

Offline Noah

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #15 on: January 20, 2004, 10:37:30 PM »
Quote


Where do these people reside?
Ed


In their tombs now, I took care of the business.
'Some musicians don't believe in God, but all believe in Bach'
M. Kagel

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #16 on: January 21, 2004, 04:20:26 AM »
Quote

Boliver, leave home is the only solution I see to your problem.


I feel that this is the only way also. It is really sad.

boliver

Offline Clare

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #17 on: January 21, 2004, 07:24:57 AM »
I left home because my parents wouldn't let me practice, but then I moved into a house with a person who works early in the morning and another person who works late at night, so somebody is always asleep, and I still can't practice!!!!!!!
So, even if you move out, beware.

Offline erak

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #18 on: January 22, 2004, 12:07:54 AM »
Quote
I left home because my parents wouldn't let me practice, but then I moved into a house with a person who works early in the morning and another person who works late at night, so somebody is always asleep, and I still can't practice!!!!!!!
So, even if you move out, beware.



Ouch, that situation just asks you to go mad.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #19 on: January 22, 2004, 01:40:37 AM »
Quote
I left home because my parents wouldn't let me practice, but then I moved into a house with a person who works early in the morning and another person who works late at night, so somebody is always asleep, and I still can't practice!!!!!!!
So, even if you move out, beware.


Suggestions:

1. Move out again, this time by yourself. (or choose deaf house mates).
2. Get a digital piano and practise with headphones.
3. Get a Yamaha Silent Series (not a digital piano - it is a real piano) and practise with headphones.
4. Make most of your practice mental practice.
5. Use a dumb keyboard. (Arrau used them all the time).
6. Develop a bad attitude and do not give a d**n towards how others feel about your practising.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline Clare

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #20 on: January 22, 2004, 02:43:34 AM »
Yo, Bernhard. Coincidentally, I did your number No. 5 suggestion at the crack of dawn this morning, and no-one got out of bed to complain.
I think from now on, I will be evil.
And I'm moving out again in June, thank Christ.
Hey - do you think it is a good or bad thing to practice at all with a plain old boring cheapo keyboard, perhaps with the sound turned off? I figure that if my housemates vow to destroy me for practicing piano too much, I could always practice a bit on a switched-off keyboard. Do you think it would be almost as good as a dummy keyboard, or would it have a negative effect on my playing?

Offline GG

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #21 on: January 22, 2004, 02:58:24 AM »
There sure are some sad stories here.
I disagree with Edie, (right at the top of the thread) about discovering music for oneself. Many many a great pianist actually were forced to practice. I adored music as a child, sightreading anything and everything for hours; however, the structured practice sessions which were enforced on me, (having being a very independant teenager) were annoying at the time. These sessions also meant that it took me a long time to fix the self discipline part of it comletely.

Offline GG

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #22 on: January 22, 2004, 03:08:36 AM »
Let's also try look at it from the parents' point of view. And for that, let's leave music for a minute, being too close to us all, and take swimming as an example. Imagine a young child who is really a superb swimmer for his age. He might want to swim nine times a week for 3 hours and then again, he might not feel like it. When he grows up there are two possible scenarios: if they didn't force him to go he might turn around and say 'why didn't you force me, I was too young to know and now my talent is lost, it was your duty as a prent'. On the other hand, if they did, he could turn out to say 'why did you force me - I always said I hated it - looking at a black line at the bottom of a pool for 25 hours a week- you ruined my childhood and I don't care about the medals'.
So? what do the parents do?
There is a saying in French which says that the children always judge their parents, sometimes they forgive them.

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #23 on: January 22, 2004, 04:39:52 PM »
Beethoven was forced to by his father. Mozart's father made him perform 4 hours a day. I am sure there are others.

boliver

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #24 on: January 22, 2004, 11:34:58 PM »
Quote
Yo, Bernhard. Coincidentally, I did your number No. 5 suggestion at the crack of dawn this morning, and no-one got out of bed to complain.
I think from now on, I will be evil.
And I'm moving out again in June, thank Christ.
Hey - do you think it is a good or bad thing to practice at all with a plain old boring cheapo keyboard, perhaps with the sound turned off? I figure that if my housemates vow to destroy me for practicing piano too much, I could always practice a bit on a switched-off keyboard. Do you think it would be almost as good as a dummy keyboard, or would it have a negative effect on my playing?


to me I would think that it is harder to see or hear if you made a mistake

boliver

Offline bernhard

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #25 on: January 23, 2004, 12:20:18 AM »
Quote
Hey - do you think it is a good or bad thing to practice at all with a plain old boring cheapo keyboard, perhaps with the sound turned off? I figure that if my housemates vow to destroy me for practicing piano too much, I could always practice a bit on a switched-off keyboard. Do you think it would be almost as good as a dummy keyboard, or would it have a negative effect on my playing?



I think it is an excellent idea.


Quote
to me I would think that it is harder to see or hear if you made a mistake

boliver



Exactly, Boliver! That is the whole point of it.

By practising silently, you free yourself first of all from the sound, and this leads to:

1.      Without sound you can concentrate on your movements. For instance you will be able to “see” if your fingers are hitting the keys off-centre (while if the sound was just right you would not bother too much with these details).

2.      Without sound you will have to develop a visual memory of the keyboard, since you cannot rely on the sound to tell you where you are in the music.

3.      Without sound you will have to develop a memory of the score, since your sight reading cannot depend on the sound for accuracy, and you may have to look at the keyboard. Or if you decide to keep your eyes glued to the score, you will have to develop an exquisite touch sensitivity to replace the sound as a guide

Second you will be free from the emotions associated with the sound. I don’t know about the rest of you, but as I play I tend to get very involved with the sounds I am producing. Although I am not saying this is bad, I am saying that it is very helpful to explore a piece of music without getting all worked up about it. (Claudio Arrau, to name just one famous pianist was a great advocate of the dummy keyboard).

To me, this is the same as going blindfolded for a month. Your other senses will really develop as a consequence. Now, this is not an argument for the advantages of going permanently blind. But, yes, do practice silently as an ancillary practice trick to add to your repertory.

There is another way to do silent practice, this time on a real piano. Check this out: (an interview with David Bar-Illan)

"I know you do a great deal of silent practising. This intrigues me. How did you arrive at this method?"

I can say without exaggerating that that my way of practice has changed my pianistic life. I worked as we all do, by playing the music out loud, until one day before a concert in Buenos Aires, I was rudely interrupted by a very unpleasant woman in the apartment below. Although it was daytime, she threatened to call the police. So necessity being the mother of invention, I tried to practise as quietly as possible. I noticed that if I depressed the keys very, very slowly there would be no sound at all. I quickly realised that this could give me some interesting results. First of all, since some of the motions were so slow, I found this to be a marvellous way of checking on how securely I had memorised the pieces. And after that day I continued to practise in this way because it became clear that the kind of pressure used in such careful depression of the keys strengthens the fingers to such an extent that when you play at the proper tempo it seems easy. You’ve seen baseball players practising their swing with two  bats in order to  feel the relative lightness of one bat. This kind of practice gives you a margin of strength and security on stage, where we may be performing somewhat below our optimum level. And of course on tour this has become one of the blessings of my existence. I can practise on any bloody keyboard that is available. So many pianists say they can’t practise because the piano is not good enough and to me that’s nonsense.

Do you use this kind of practice when you aren’t on tour as well?

Oh, yes, in fact I even developed it to incorporate another aspect of work. As you well know, the piano is a percussive mechanism, and, unlike a wind or string instrument, it is very difficult to achieve on it a legato effect, which is of course, the connection and overlapping between the notes. I had one of my two concert grands muted in order to eliminate as much of the decay rate of the struck tone as possible. So on my piano there is almost no after-sound, which means that I am getting the minimum amount of legato. If I play on a very good, ringing piano, with long lasting tone, I find that it becomes seductive to let the piano do the work. But then you are in one of those many concert stages where the acoustic is so dry and the decay rate is so fast that it never seems to get past the apron of the stage. So, to get a legato in a hall like this I struggle to achieve the maximum legato on the muted piano. To feel secure with the legato means that I can sing without any trouble on any instrument that you give me. Singing on the piano is one of the most important achievements of piano playing.

What about the pedal in this kind of practice?

The pedal should be for colouristic effects, not for aiding in legato. It should only be used in achieving legato as a last resort – for impractical skips, or if the hand is too small to make certain connections. But even then, one should stay on the first note as long as possible before going to the next one.

How do you manage to repress the natural desire to hear the music?

Do understand that during my soundless practising I do hear the music in my mind. One can all too easily play music without actually listening to it. Through this kind of work I ensure that my music making is not merely automatic. Naturally when I feel ready, I leave my “machine” and go to the good piano, where I find out if everything I want is being achieved. If I’m not pleased with the results, I go right back to the machine. I know this sounds austere – there’s no doubt that my way of work requires a great deal of persistence and attention. But for my playing I need this kind of application.

(David Dubal – The World of the Concert Pianist – Victor Gollancz – p. 60 - 61)



The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline allchopin

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #26 on: January 23, 2004, 12:35:12 AM »
Quote

So many pianists say they can’t practise because the piano is not good enough and to me that’s nonsense.

I think this is nonsense, and so does Frederic Chopin.  He berated playing on less-than-perfect keyboards.
A modern house without a flush toilet... uncanny.

Offline trunks

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #27 on: April 17, 2004, 12:23:20 AM »
Yeah my parents made me learn the piano against my will when I was 6 (or 7?). They'd often say "Get on the piano!" to which I resisted most vehemently.

Not until dad got an all-in-one stereo set fitted with a vinyl LP turntable (CDs weren't even dreamt of in the early-mid 1970s, and I was around age 11) before I was exposed to some records with nice music printed on them, mostly orchestral, some piano solo and others. It was then when I developed my true love for music and piano.

So I'm glad they made me learn the instrument, because now I love it more passionately than I used to resist it vehemently.
Peter (Hong Kong)
part-time piano tutor
amateur classical concert pianist

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #28 on: April 17, 2004, 01:46:57 AM »
Parents who force their kids to learn something do so under the guise that "it's for their good".  Examining it reveals that this is not so.  It has nothing to do with their child but them.  Only when the child chooses this path does the statement become true.  "It's for my good."
--
You're going to hate practicing so much.  They force you to do something that you don't understand or want to do because it is not readily apparent that it is something you want to do.
--
They hate your music because they don't understand this music and only have an idea of what it should be.  But you don't play for them.  You play for yourself and others who enjoiy it.
--
Whenever you practice, they close the door so they can hear their TV.  Always.  After parents come home from work and then you play, they close the door.  They'd rather not hear Beethoven's Appasionata sonata (that you've been working on for 6 months) played to perfection.  Instead, they watch a TV show and the guest, Maksim, is playing Flight of the Bumble Bee.
--
They tell you to stop plaing while they watch the TV.  But that's the only you have to practice that doesn't wake them up in the middle of the night.
--
They just don't care in a meaningful manner.  Yeah, they pay for your lessons and when you start practicing scales, arpeggios, and other rudimentary exercises, they say "Can you play something nicer?"
--

Of course this stuff drives you nuts, cause resentment, makes you feel insignificant...  Like you don't matter to them.  They don't take an interest in your playing and it is something that is very important to your identity.  Their behavior towards you and the piano makes you feel like they are not rejecting the piano, but you, since a piano does nothing on its own.

You could stop playing.  You could just go and join them in front of the TV.  You can even leave the door open as you walk into the room...

But you don't.  That's not who you are.  You identify with the loneliest instrument.  In the house, you are alone even with a dozen in the family.  The piano, your companion.  You understand it and it understands you.  You are not alone when in front of it or even away from it.  It won't ever leave you.  It won't ever forbid you to stop pressing its keys or depressing its pedals.  It is more of a caretaker of you than your parents are.

And it is depressing me...

Offline bernhard

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #29 on: April 18, 2004, 05:05:52 AM »
Quote
Parents who force their kids to learn something do so under the guise that "it's for their good".  Examining it reveals that this is not so.  It has nothing to do with their child but them.  Only when the child chooses this path does the statement become true.  "It's for my good."

[...]

And it is depressing me...


How very true!


The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Shagdac

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #30 on: April 18, 2004, 02:46:10 PM »
Yes, my parents were great about it! As far back as I can remember, my Mother would sit and play the piano for hours, while my brother and I would sing and march around with a pan and spoon like a drum. As soon as we were old enough, we both began lessons. My brother wanted to quit in a year or less. They let him, I never wanted to quit. Sometimes they would ask me how much I had practiced, or something like that, but they never "forced me". It was something I loved from the beginning. My brother went on to play drums...and I studied Oboe, (Guitar and Organ for under 2 years). I credit my love for music today to my parents, who helped instill an appreciation when I was younger. And exposed me to various kinds.

Clare...I really feel for you. It's a terrible feeling not to be able to practice, for fear of "bothering someone". I've often wondered how playing the piano could bother anyone. But I have had that problem with MY husband and son now....they don't mind 5 or 10 minutes...but 3, 4 or 5 hours...expecially if football is on, oh boy watch out  >:(. I recently purchased a Yamaha Clavinova just for this type of situation. I keep it in the bedroom and I can practice as long as I want no matter whos there...often by turning the volume low, headphones are not even needed. And then play on my regular piano when I'm the only one there. It has made all the difference in the world, getting in so much more practice time! I think your idea of getting a keyboard is great. Good luck!

Shag :)

Offline donjuan

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #31 on: April 18, 2004, 10:04:29 PM »
Hi Shag,

I also purchased a digital piano for my room - a roland - with progressive hammer touch.  I also have a Yamaha C2 Grand in my living room.  

Having a digital is a great way to learn notes.  My sister goes to University and is always studying her textbook...always right in the middle of the house, she couldn't go to her room to study, she's sO STUBBORN!!!! So I practice performing on the grand when she's not home, and spend a great deal of time learning notes on the digital so I am ready to play on the grand when that sister of mine leaves the house.

I can say the quality of practice is not as good, but the digital handles like an upright - an upright with really crappy capacity to repeat notes quickly.  

Offline Sketchee

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #32 on: April 18, 2004, 10:52:43 PM »
I didn't really feel the direct encouragement from my mom but looking back it was there.  She got us the piano and never told us we had to play it, but me and my sisters all did.  She didn't say it then,  but she always enjoyed my playing.  She tried the same thing by buying me a cello but that didn't work out as well!  Maybe some day.  But yeah, she paid for my music and whatever I asked was done and didn't stop me from practicing.

Even though it really wasn't asked of me, I tried to be courteous and practiced when no one was home or if they were just cooking or vacuuming and other points where it wouldn't interfere with TV, radio or anything like that.  At any time if it was a problem, it was just a matter of communicating to the other members of my household that it's important to me and that I'm going to set a time that seems most convenient for all involved.  I still was practicing when I wanted because I didn't -want- to disturb anyone or practice with the thought that someone would come over and ask me to stop. :)
Sketchee
http://www.sketchee.com [Paintings. Music.]

Offline ayahav

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #33 on: April 18, 2004, 11:41:27 PM »
My parents are really supportive. My mum is the main reason I play the piano today. She played some when she was younger (never professionally), so we had a piano at home. I couldn't have lessons till I was 6, because no teacher in Israel wanted to have such a young student. I started when I was 5 because one teacher made an allowance. My father is also great. He is paying for me to record a CD this summer. When I gave my debut recital in Israel (not long ago) he had it professionally filmed. I am soo lucky...  ;D

Offline edouard

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #34 on: April 19, 2004, 12:16:57 AM »
Hello,
people talked earlier about Arrau's using mute keyboards. I hate digital pianos for playing classical music because i don't like the touch which is very different from that of a 'real' piano (of course digital piano vary). But i have always been interested in getting a mute piano. Does anyone have the remotest idea of how to get one?? are they sold, are they made? are they expensive?
Concerning the parent issue i think there is a contradiction between (a) the fact that it is by far the best to start learning relatively young, (b) at that age, one may have other priorities like building lego blocks :).
How to resolve this? FOr me, it was playing in front of my classmates that made it worthwhile, but then i was lucky enough to have parents who were patient and themselves classically trained...
cheers,
edouard


Offline bernhard

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Re: Thanks to our parents?
«Reply #35 on: April 19, 2004, 01:06:18 AM »
Quote
Hello,
people talked earlier about Arrau's using mute keyboards. I hate digital pianos for playing classical music because i don't like the touch which is very different from that of a 'real' piano (of course digital piano vary). But i have always been interested in getting a mute piano. Does anyone have the remotest idea of how to get one?? are they sold, are they made? are they expensive?
Concerning the parent issue i think there is a contradiction between (a) the fact that it is by far the best to start learning relatively young, (b) at that age, one may have other priorities like building lego blocks :).
How to resolve this? FOr me, it was playing in front of my classmates that made it worthwhile, but then i was lucky enough to have parents who were patient and themselves classically trained...
cheers,
edouard



Silent keyboards do exist. But I do not think they are manufactured anymore. They are called "Virgil Claviers"  and you may be able to buy one second hand. You will pay quite a bit, since they are considered as "antiquities", rather than practice implements, and they maybe so out of shape as to be useless for practice purposes.


Have a look here:

http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=perf;action=display;num=1077569098

and here:

http://www.pianoforum.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=perf;action=display;num=1076626761

where this subject is discussed more thoroughly.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)