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Topic: After All These Years  (Read 2328 times)

Offline philc

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After All These Years
on: November 27, 2004, 05:54:04 PM
After 35 years or so, I have decided to re-learn piano and to try to recover skills lost over the years.  First, a quick CV:  as a little kid I started the requisite weekly lessons with fundamentals and classical for 5 or 6 years.  Then, my brilliant mother moved me to a teacher who brought popular music in, alternating weeks.

The best part was this teacher also organized local "shows" all over the state and got me involved.  By high school I was music director of a children's museum's travelling troup, putting on about 20 weekends of musicals yearly. So I was pretty proficient technically, and particularly good at sight-reading, accompanying, and jamming in front of an audience. Far from virtuoso, but not bad for a 60s cocktail lounge.

Then I left for college, stopped playing and that's all she wrote. 

Periodically, the urge to re-learn rises to the surface and I am finally in a position to buy myself a nice Christmas present.  Electronic yes, but it fits available space and I will be happy with the truer action.

Which brings me to my question.  I am confident in my ability to self-re-learn the basic skills, sight reading and so on.  I've found that the ability to read music has not gone away, probably because of how deep it was pounded into my head!

But I also know that I will need something to go on.  I am thinking there must be some lesson, exercise, or skill-building books out there that are designed as intensive refresher courses.  I feel it better to recover the basics before I head off into sheet music.  Not at the beginner level, but more probably at an intermediate level.  I can indeed still find middle C!

Does anyone have any suggestions of where to look for such material (preferably online), or specific publications?  Or, even better, have any sage advice to offer on this effort?

Offline sharon_f

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Re: After All These Years
Reply #1 on: November 27, 2004, 08:10:45 PM
Have you considered taking lessons again?

I was in the exact (almost) situation as you a little over 6 months ago and found a wonderful teacher. Because of work (2 jobs: one full, one part-time) , travel (she is almost 70 miles away) and cost (lessons are not as cheap as they were 35 years ago!), I go for an hour lesson every other week.  I have found, for me at least, having a good teacher is absolutely indispensible.
There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats.
Albert Schweitzer

Offline dongsang153

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Re: After All These Years
Reply #2 on: November 27, 2004, 09:40:16 PM
i totally agree with sharon.  i am a college student, who started taking lessons again this september.  i took lesson for about 7 year during grade school and high school, but i quit once i got into college.  i continued playing, but i realized that my rate of improvement soared exponentially once i started taking lessons with my teacher.  i think it would make the re-learning process less painful. 

i think you should start by going to your local music store.  just take a look at the stuff that is available.  there is probably a method that is just right for you.  it would probably be better if you go and see the music yourself.  or, you might want to just dive into some of the easier works by great composers.  that is a great way to lean, too. 

in any case...good luck!  and have fun!

Offline philc

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Re: After All These Years
Reply #3 on: November 30, 2004, 02:31:15 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful comments.   Unfortunately, formal lessons are out of the question right now mainly because of time.  Business is time consuming and I cannot guarantee the steady rate of practice required for scheduled lessons.  Nor can I guarantee time to be at a lesson.  (To say nothing about doubting there is a decent teacher in the area, and only one good music store, and the nearest university is an hour away.)

The goal will be to take at least some time most days, anything from half an hour to several, to work on exercising, recovering fingering techniques (which I know but need to retrain my hands), sight reading and just general principles like these to get "back into shape."  I will jump around rather than embark on a planned course of study, again mainly because it will be more of an extended refresher than original learning.  Once I can regain a decent level of competence a decent teacher would be considered.

It looks like I will take a ride up to the university on a weekend and try to find a music store in the area and see what they have to offer.  Right now the only name I can remember is Schirmers or something like that but I am sure they will have some suggestions.....!

Offline RJones

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Re: After All These Years
Reply #4 on: November 30, 2004, 07:52:54 PM
Take a look at "The Pop Piano Book" by Mark Harrison
ISBN: 0793598788

I have found it to be very good and covers a lot of material in its 500 pages.

Rodney

Offline philc

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Re: After All These Years
Reply #5 on: December 04, 2004, 05:51:38 PM
Harrison's book looks to be excellent, and exactly what I'm looking for.  His Comtemporary Music Theory also look to be an excellent refresher (and some new material!) course for me.  I've put them on my Christmas list!

Now, if I could find a good book of intermediate level finger exercises, mainly to retrain the muscles and tendons.....

Offline xvimbi

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Re: After All These Years
Reply #6 on: December 04, 2004, 06:11:43 PM
Harrison's book looks to be excellent, and exactly what I'm looking for.  His Comtemporary Music Theory also look to be an excellent refresher (and some new material!) course for me.  I've put them on my Christmas list!

Now, if I could find a good book of intermediate level finger exercises, mainly to retrain the muscles and tendons.....

You have to retrain your coordination, not your muscles, and definitely not your tendons, they can't be "trained" without drastic measures. How about Bach Inventions or the Notebook for Anna Magdalena. Those are exercises/studies.

Offline MrRonsMusic

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Re: After All These Years
Reply #7 on: December 05, 2004, 04:13:20 PM
 Check out "How to Play Piano Like a PRO! by visiting: https://www.mrronsmusic.com

8)

Offline philc

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Re: After All These Years
Reply #8 on: December 08, 2004, 09:08:30 PM
Yeah, I got carried away with the tendons.  I should have said muscle training and coordination (all aspects of coordination). Probably a few other important things, too!

Offline Ed Thomas

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Re: After All These Years
Reply #9 on: December 09, 2004, 03:27:48 PM
Phil:  If you are serious about getting back into shape fast, you probably should re-think the teacher thing... especially if time is that critical.  Perhaps you can shop for a teacher and lay out your constraints and options right up front with them.  A good teacher can help you to use the little bit of time you have most effectively.  Maybe as Sharon does, a lesson every other week.  I've found that I tend to make time when I have concrete near-term goals.  My piano practice time goes up dramatically when the choir director arranges stuff that is difficult for me.  Left to my own devices, I usually putter around... play a lot one day and not much the next.  The piano takes a back seat in a hurry.
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