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Is playing piano one of those things you never forget? (Read 2773 times)

Offline meursault

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Is playing piano one of those things you never forget?
« on: March 03, 2016, 02:05:08 AM »
Hi everyone, i've been reading this forum for a couple of years and it has helped me a lot. But now i have this  "case" and i'm not sure what to do.

The thing is,  im going to start teaching to a woman of 63 , who told me that she has played the piano for nine years (she started at the age of 5) , and then quit because she didnt like it and because she was obligated by her mother to study. She told me that she has played hanon, czerny, bach ,made solfeges, etc...And then, for almost 50 years  she didnt play anything seriously.
 
So my questions are:
-Are those 9 years of experience going to appear eventually as she starts to study again?
-where should i start with her? which pieces do you recommend to work on the first classes?
 
thanks

Offline pianocat3

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Re: Is playing piano one of those things you never forget?
«Reply #1 on: March 03, 2016, 02:11:33 PM »
Not as extreme a case, but I took lessons about 3 years off and on as a kid, maybe less, a bit as an adult but too many family problems so I gave it up right away. I played Christmas carols out of easy books off and on. Then for 10 years did not play at all. At 50, it all came back in a month or less. I have moved along a lot in the past year. My teacher thinks I should be able to polish Chopin raindrop prelude for performance. When I started lessons, I demonstrated wild horseman and first loss. So that's how far I moved in a year. Still have family problems lol. I bet she does fine with practice.
Currently working on:

Beethoven Pastoral Sonata (Andante)
Debussy Prelude from Suite Bergamasque
Accompaniment music for cello and piano
Summer project is improvisation

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Is playing piano one of those things you never forget?
«Reply #2 on: March 03, 2016, 10:55:32 PM »
You will both be pleasantly (mostly) surprised by how rapidly it does come back.  The mostly is because some of the bad habits will come back too...

If I were in your position, I would find out where she is with actual pieces, if at all possible, and go rather easy on the technique studies (Czerny, Hanon... scales, arpeggios, that sort of thing) as they may conjure up memories of what she didn't like -- and they aren't, in my humble opinion, all that necessary anyway.  There is plenty of lovely music available to work on which, quite incidentally, includes the technical stuff!

I would also watch very carefully for gaps or holes in the technique, and figure out clever ways of going after them!
Ian

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: Is playing piano one of those things you never forget?
«Reply #3 on: March 04, 2016, 01:18:51 AM »
thank you, all who shared their experience, from a senior who is attempting to regain some faculty and learn technique skipped or glossed over during childhood lessons long ago.  just obtained a copy of Cramer etudes with the hope they'll induce me to persist more convincingly than Bach or Chopin preludes, while of course continuing those as well.

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Is playing piano one of those things you never forget?
«Reply #4 on: March 04, 2016, 03:25:20 AM »
that's kinda tough to call...  sounds like there are some issues as to why she "quit" and even though it was decades ago... some of them will resurface.  although she says she hasn't played anything "seriously" in 50 years... it sounds like she has played something.  Her hands may be in good shape relatively speaking.    She probably is far better than she thinks she is.. her repertoire is likely full of hymns and pop tunes.   She can also probably play very well by ear...but has no idea how or why.  She will have hang-ups about classical pieces... obsess about playing them perfectly--ask excessive questions about them and stuff like that ... I would bet money on it...lol

ok so maybe not so tough a call... lol.   I have seen a few of these.

as far as something you never forget... 

well I used to forget how to play things... but now it seems I can remember how to play everything..  even things I had forgotten before...   so I don't really know how to answer that.

Offline outin

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Re: Is playing piano one of those things you never forget?
«Reply #5 on: March 04, 2016, 04:19:39 AM »
It must be highly individual and depending on circumstances how much information and skill will be retained and is easily recoverable after some decades. In my case practically none. Which was probably a good thing.

Online timothy42b

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Re: Is playing piano one of those things you never forget?
«Reply #6 on: March 04, 2016, 04:33:41 PM »
When I was 50 I moved to Germany.

I'd previously had one year of German language in high school. 

Pretty much ALL of it came back.  I guess I must have paid attention. 

Pretty much NONE of what I learned at age 50 stuck.  I survived in Germany on the basis of my high school experience.
Tim

Offline abacaba

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Re: Is playing piano one of those things you never forget?
«Reply #7 on: March 04, 2016, 09:48:52 PM »
How about starting with her favourite popular songs that she picked up lately? After doing a few of those you would know her weakness and strength.

Offline meursault

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Re: Is playing piano one of those things you never forget?
«Reply #8 on: March 05, 2016, 04:38:21 PM »
thank you all four your helpful answers.

How about starting with her favourite popular songs that she picked up lately? After doing a few of those you would know her weakness and strength.

thats what i was thinking to do! and i will also try to show her that classical world its not that terrible, but as you say, after working with some tunes she really likes.

I forgot to say that she sold her piano after she quit it, so if she has played after she quitted wasnt really that seriously because it had to be at some friends / relatives house.

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Is playing piano one of those things you never forget?
«Reply #9 on: March 05, 2016, 04:52:00 PM »
I am guessing she has or had a keyboard then.  She doesn't equate the two if she is in her 60's.  playing the keyboard isn't "playing serious"ly--  A keyboard was part of a typewriter when we were young. Although the digital piano/ keyboard has risen significantly in status in the last 40 years that idea that it's cheating or not really playing is set in stone among some of the old timers.

it's so easy to spot someone who went through the standard prefab piano lesson route...  the more they argue with you when you tell them that they are talented--the more potential they have to be really great.   A sure sign is when they sit down and play something--usually quite well--then they turn to you and tell you everything that's was wrong with it.  lol.


conversely the ones that walk in the studio thinking they already know how to play are usually hopeless.   They accuse you of not teaching them well enough when they can't master a certain technique-- or they say--"you told me to do it this way."   LOL.    if they are young it's--"my mom said this was right."

I sense reservations due to her age---forget them... she will love you and get you something every holiday--she will become one of your favorite students... even if she can't play her way out of a wet paper bag...  She will also shout your name from the rooftops--you will get more students because of her...  this is a good thing!

I started a lady from scratch at 73! it takes incredible patience but their enthusiasm is usually just awesome.

this is the problem I have with people who have never taught a lesson or carried a student load writing books claiming they know how to teach you.   Their books never talk about this stuff.  If they do it's second hand at best.  Most of those self-proclaimed expert people would fall into the second scenario above. They make claims about how you were instructed incorrectly and their way is better...  ::) ::) always the same story...