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Self taught pianists (Read 1659 times)

Offline wkmt

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Self taught pianists
« on: February 12, 2020, 06:48:24 PM »
Hello people!!!

Again we bring another material to the meat machine  ;D ;D ;D

This is an article we have created after doing some research on celebrated and current self-taught classical pianists.

We have only found two relevant cases we would like to share with you.

If you are interested in digging deeper. Below the link!
https://www.i-am-a-spammer.com/post/can-piano-be-self-taught


I know you are tough and we love it!!!



Offline timtim

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #1 on: February 13, 2020, 08:52:15 PM »
It's another post of you, which I could call clickbait.

Both of the pianist that you mentioned had piano lessons since they teenage years. It's almost impossible to get to such level, and be self-thaught only.

There were miraculous people like Neuhaus, Godowsky and Richter, of whom it is always told that they had no lessons whatsoever, but actually they were growing in professional musical environment, or their close family were top class pianists or professors.

Neuhaus told about Richter that he could teach him nothing, but Richter was always praising him for a lot of knowledge and lessons that he go from him.

Not easy topic though.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #2 on: February 14, 2020, 03:50:56 PM »
Are you sure they had lessons from teenage years? Please, let me know with whom so I update my material. I got the information from online interviews and what sony music has published online. I quoted my sources.

The idea of sharing the articles here is to perfect them and to learn from this fabulous community.

So believe me, I truly appreciate your advice.

I knew Richter was self-taught. Actually I told my colleague about the years in which he worked for the silent movies there in Odessa and how that developed into all the rest.

I´m looking forward to your input about the French pianist :)


Online ranjit

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #3 on: February 15, 2020, 11:31:25 AM »
This might be a bit of a tangent, but I wanted to point out that there is this thing about self-teaching which people miss. Consider the two following people:

Person A. Has poor finger and body positioning, learns pieces by rote, barely knows the names of chords, does not know how to read sheet music, and is obsessed with playing the right notes at the right time.

Person B. Video records himself/herself and listens back, compares both the sound and the hand/body positioning with professional recordings from the internet. Has read tons of material on the internet (for example, bernhard's posts here, and concert pianists sharing tips on Youtube), about hand positioning and technique, knows about and is constantly aware of how to utilize body weight. Practices effectively and tries not to let tension creep in. Intently listens to pieces of music and tries to understand, internalize and audiate what is being heard in order to develop musicality. Knows music theory nearly as well as a college graduate (as music theory is a formal system, like say mathematics, which can be transmitted and learned effectively using text): knows all about Schenkerian analysis, counterpoint, classical forms of pieces, etc.

When people say that it's impossible to self-teach, they are looking at all the people of type A who failed trying to do so. But the issue is that people of type B usually end up getting a teacher, whereas they could have conceivably self-taught. There needs to be more discussion about whether or not people of type B can self-teach, and if so, how.

Also, people conflate a number of things all the time. The correct answer to "Can I learn the Mephisto Waltz on my own?" isn't that people seldom become concert pianists on their own. The only possible correct answers are
A. Yes, I think one could do so if they worked assiduously in so-and-so manner, or
B. No, I think it's fundamentally impossible to acquire the number and range of techniques required etc. without a teacher no matter how hard or carefully you work.

Any thoughts?

Offline keypeg

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #4 on: February 16, 2020, 12:41:20 AM »

Person A. Has poor finger and body positioning, learns pieces by rote, barely knows the names of chords, does not know how to read sheet music, and is obsessed with playing the right notes at the right time.

Person B. Video records himself/herself and listens back, compares both the sound and the hand/body positioning with professional recordings from the internet. Has read tons of material on the internet (for example, bernhard's posts here, and concert......

Any thoughts?
Some reality checks here.  I was given an "organ" (portable) and then a piano in the 1960's - no teacher, no instructions.  The Internet did not exist.  In fact, when I was in college my parents proudly displayed their first computer, called a "koko" which had less memory than a modern pocket calculator.  I got no allowance as a kid, and so could not buy myself music and would have had nothing to play it on, let alone listen.  One of my first piano pieces was the full version of Fuer Elise. Did I develop poor body habits and other things?  You bet.  Did I learn by "rote" - meaning imitating someone.  There was nobody to imitate.

You can also learn to play music without knowing the names of chords.  When I played those Clementi sonatinas, to my ear they went Do So Mi So (bis) Do La Fa la (bis) Ti So Re So / Do So Mi So ..... in other words I, IV6, V7, I .... or if in C major: C, F/C, G7/B, C.   You can absorb the elements of music theory the way a child absorbs grammar before starting school, without ever knowing the name of anything.

Quote
When people say that it's impossible to self-teach, they are looking at all the people of type A who failed trying to do so. ...
Is this a type of person - or a type of opportunity.  When I was a child, did I "fail to try.....", or was I stuck with the hand I was dealt?

For those old timers who yearn back to the "good old days" and deplore how "folks these days are stuck on the Internet" I say fooey.  There just wasn't any opportunity for some of us back then.  The Internet has opened the doors wide open.  In the way you list all those options for your "type B", it's a thing younger people take for granted.

(Them's my thoughts.)

Offline keypeg

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #5 on: February 16, 2020, 12:46:01 AM »
This is an article we have created after doing some research on celebrated and current self-taught classical pianists.
My main problem with this is that there is no point, in a teaching forum.  I don't know why the emphasis is on "celebrated" pianists, or why what they did should stand out.  The actual conclusions don't say very much.  This is the teacher forum.  At the present time there is an increasing number of self-taught people, or people who start off self-teaching and then go to a teacher.  The teaching community has to deal with this new crop, and whatever advantages and disadvantages they bring into the studio.  Those would be actual teaching things.

If you want to know about self-teaching, why not get some information from the community right here.  We are a mix.  As you can see from my last post, I (involuntarily) was one of them.  With a teacher we are turning around the bad results from that, as well as exploiting the good things that came from it.  There's a lot of sorting wheat from chaff, which includes trying to figure out which is wheat and which is chaff.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #6 on: February 16, 2020, 10:53:25 AM »
I was very sceptic about self-taught pianist before I learnt about Lucas Debargue.

He is an absolutely stunning pianist. He managed to develop a clean and efficient technique out of exposing himself to other performers.



He truly made me re-think the entire teaching process...


Offline keypeg

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #7 on: February 16, 2020, 12:42:21 PM »
I was very sceptic about self-taught pianist before I learnt about....

[link to video on own site's article]

He truly made me re-think the entire teaching process...
You have brought in the video from your article.  In what way, specifically, have you rethought the teaching process?  How will you teach differently due to this?  Do you have experience teaching previously self-taught pianists, and if so, what kind?

Also - no response (so far) to responses to your original post.

Offline timtim

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #8 on: February 16, 2020, 09:48:34 PM »
Guys, please..

Debargue was born in Paris, France, on October 23, 1990. Growing up in Compiègne, he took his first piano lessons there at the age of 11, with Christine Muenier.[1]

He stopped his piano studies at 15,[2] becoming more interested in literature.[3]

At 17 he relocated to Paris to study for a degree in Arts and Literature at Paris Diderot University.[4]

In 2010 he quit literature studies and returned to the keyboard. When meeting with teacher Rena Chereshevskaya, he decided to become a professional musician and prepare for competitions.[2] He graduated under her direction in 2016, at the École Normale de Musique de Paris "Alfred Cortot".[5]

Online ranjit

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #9 on: February 16, 2020, 10:03:37 PM »
Guys, please..

Debargue was born in Paris, France, on October 23, 1990. Growing up in Compiègne, he took his first piano lessons there at the age of 11, with Christine Muenier.[1]

He stopped his piano studies at 15,[2] becoming more interested in literature.[3]

At 17 he relocated to Paris to study for a degree in Arts and Literature at Paris Diderot University.[4]

In 2010 he quit literature studies and returned to the keyboard. When meeting with teacher Rena Chereshevskaya, he decided to become a professional musician and prepare for competitions.[2] He graduated under her direction in 2016, at the École Normale de Musique de Paris "Alfred Cortot".[5]

It still is impressive though, given how little formal musical education he's had, comparatively speaking. You also need to know if most of the things which make his technique great and his music special were discovered by him on his own, read from books or observed from other pianists, or taught by a teacher. It'll be nigh impossible for someone at that level to be completely self-taught because someone usually offers to help, and people are usually self-taught out of necessity. (But that still doesn't say it's impossible.) I think it's ok to call someone self-taught if their music education was negligible compared to their actual playing level.

ETA. I missed the point initially about him studying at a university from 2010-2016. So clearly he's not self-taught. But still, the effects of self-teaching for substantial periods of time or quitting for a while and coming back should be talked about more. I think there is some kind of autonomy it provides, which eventually translates to artistic merit, but that's just me.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #10 on: February 16, 2020, 11:33:43 PM »
Paul Lewis is also not self taught

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #11 on: February 17, 2020, 11:49:50 AM »
By no rational standards can either Lewis or Debargue be considered truly self-taught (Guildhall, Ecole Normale? High level institutions.) Like in many cases, you can self-teach up to a point and then professional advice and teaching will complete the process.

If anyone has the self-awareness and discipline to reach concert level completely unaided, I'd suggest that they have so much talent that the sky is the limit if they receive professional advice.

As it happens, I have some direct personal experience of the plusses and minuses of self-teaching. I certainly don't claim to be fully self-taught: I taught myself to read music and basic theory when I was about seven and subsequently ended up with a proper teacher, at which point I progressed to playing eg the Waldstein by the time I was 16. I didn't play piano for a long time after leaving school, and then came back to it and self-taught myself, trying to advance my technique, so I worked at a lot of Liszt. By the time I decided that perhaps I should get professional advice, I'd "achieved" the following:

Significant technical advance
Good sight reader
Extremely sloppy learning (see "good sight reader"?)
Significant weaknesses in rhythm which I was unaware (eg regularly playing dotted rhythms as triplets)

So good and bad, and in retrospect I'd completely lost an objective perspective on the relationship between the score and what I was playing.

Of course that doesn't per se mean self-teaching is bad or impossible, it is just one anecdotal example, but I'm *really* skeptical that "self-taught" musicians are ever truly 100% so. The guy I took lessons with invested a lot of effort into fixing problems, and sure, I can give paid recitals without having been anywhere near a conservatoire, but I don't consider myself more than partly self-taught.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #12 on: February 18, 2020, 11:26:26 AM »
Guys, please..

Debargue was born in Paris, France, on October 23, 1990. Growing up in Compiègne, he took his first piano lessons there at the age of 11, with Christine Muenier.[1]

He stopped his piano studies at 15,[2] becoming more interested in literature.[3]

At 17 he relocated to Paris to study for a degree in Arts and Literature at Paris Diderot University.[4]

In 2010 he quit literature studies and returned to the keyboard. When meeting with teacher Rena Chereshevskaya, he decided to become a professional musician and prepare for competitions.[2] He graduated under her direction in 2016, at the École Normale de Musique de Paris "Alfred Cortot".[5]

Thank you TIMTIM

I have now amended our article. You pasted there some number, which I guess refer to your sources. It would be great to know which are they so we can also refer to them.

We are very pleased and grateful for your collaboration as it helped us improve our material making it more useful for our student community.


Offline keypeg

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #13 on: February 19, 2020, 04:24:07 AM »
We are very pleased and grateful for your collaboration as it helped us improve our material making it more useful for our student community.
You have totally ignored input from actual, genuine people who in fact have experience in this.  You have not considered a single concern raised.
If you have amended your article, then what you have now is an article on self-teaching, featuring two people who did not self teach.  ????  In fact, how can you help your student community in an area where you have no experience or knowledge?  I suggest you stay in areas where you have expertise. There you can be helpful.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #14 on: February 19, 2020, 08:21:46 AM »
On another forum, the OP was provided a more extensive training history for Paul Lewis.  Ignored. Go back and look at the article on the website:  he did not remove his original ‘self-taught’  information,  but just inserted a paragraph that there was disagreement posted here with the posting inserted.  He has not responded to any comments on the other forum, either.

In 2017, he posted a list here of ‘how to find a good piano teacher’ and received a lot of negative feedback on the criteria; he posted the same exact criteria here recently, now public on his website, wanting feedback again. Really?  He ignored it the first time.

Can these  postings be for  any purpose  other than attracting new students with free advertising?   

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #15 on: February 19, 2020, 10:32:41 AM »
As it happens, Paul Lewis also studied with Brendel, so absolutely not self-taught. The only top-notch pianist I can think of with any claim to being self-taught would be Godowsky.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #16 on: February 19, 2020, 11:03:18 AM »
As it happens, Paul Lewis also studied with Brendel, so absolutely not self-taught. The only top-notch pianist I can think of with any claim to being self-taught would be Godowsky.


This is the same info as provided to the OP on the other forum about one week ago.  There is, additionally, other earlier instruction for Paul Lewis.  There has been no response.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #17 on: February 22, 2020, 06:04:16 PM »


This is the same info as provided to the OP on the other forum about one week ago.  There is, additionally, other earlier instruction for Paul Lewis.  There has been no response.

I think here we are totally ignoring the fact that some scattered lessons or masterclasses with one maestro do not account for being the maestro´s pupil, ergo having formal sessions.

I do believe these pianists we quoted did have some lessons here and there, but the point we stand to say they are self-taught is the fact that they did not have a structured musical education as such.

I believe our arguments are still strong and hold together under these premises.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #18 on: February 22, 2020, 06:06:44 PM »
On another forum, the OP was provided a more extensive training history for Paul Lewis.  Ignored. Go back and look at the article on the website:  he did not remove his original ‘self-taught’  information,  but just inserted a paragraph that there was disagreement posted here with the posting inserted.  He has not responded to any comments on the other forum, either.

In 2017, he posted a list here of ‘how to find a good piano teacher’ and received a lot of negative feedback on the criteria; he posted the same exact criteria here recently, now public on his website, wanting feedback again. Really?  He ignored it the first time.

Can these  postings be for  any purpose  other than attracting new students with free advertising?

Also, I believe it is not nice to be considered as a spammer just because I take some tie to answer my posts.

This is a link to one of my concerts


I´m real, but as such I´m very busy and sometimes I wish I could have more time to be more responsive but I truly struggle.


Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #19 on: February 22, 2020, 06:42:18 PM »
I think here we are totally ignoring the fact that some scattered lessons or masterclasses with one maestro do not account for being the maestro´s pupil, ergo having formal sessions.

I do believe these pianists we quoted did have some lessons here and there, but the point we stand to say they are self-taught is the fact that they did not have a structured musical education as such.


I'm afraid I don't agree with this at all. By these definitions I can call myself self-taught, and I assuredly wouldn't and haven't when the topic has come up in any "official" scenario such as an interview or CV, because it's not an accurate representation of the facts, and my "scattered" lessons were of considerable benefit to me.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #20 on: February 23, 2020, 02:57:27 AM »
I believe our arguments are still strong and hold together under these premises.
As respectfully as I can make it, your "arguments" are absolutely pointless and useless for teaching.  Meanwhile, if you want to learn about self-teaching, why not listen to, and learn from, people who went that route.  You're in a discussion forum, but you are not trying to learn from, or engage in dialogue, with any of the members here.  You cite some magazine article, and "tell us" about a thing that at present you know little about. And with no implications at all regarding teaching. 

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #21 on: February 23, 2020, 04:15:36 AM »
We are all ultimately self taught. A teacher works with a student usually one hour or less every week which should be very small compared to the time they practice on their own. Teachers help direct students attention as to where they should invest their efforts during practice but it is entirely up to the student to actually put that to use.

Since we live in the information age it would be very hard to come across anyone who is totally self taught without any outisde information guiding them at all. We are so accustomed to having such easy access to recorded performances that we can forget how educational just listening and watching performers is, it was something people yearned for and could not get enough of back in the day.
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Offline wkmt

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #22 on: February 24, 2020, 09:59:22 AM »
As respectfully as I can make it, your "arguments" are absolutely pointless and useless for teaching.  Meanwhile, if you want to learn about self-teaching, why not listen to, and learn from, people who went that route.  You're in a discussion forum, but you are not trying to learn from, or engage in dialogue, with any of the members here.  You cite some magazine article, and "tell us" about a thing that at present you know little about. And with no implications at all regarding teaching.

Well, I will not just argue for the sake of it.

I still believe that formal education VS consultation constitutes a very valid poll from which we can define a pedagogical differentiation.

I will not tell to you, as you very blatantly said to me, that your arguments are pointless. First, because I respect you as a professional and I believe your speech carries passion. Secondly, because I don´t really support this kind of aggressive interchange.

I´m sure you can back-up your ideas with your experience. I pay attention to what you say and I reflect on it. Nevertheless, I also have my own opinion which I can back-up on my experience teaching and learning from some of the most famous piano maestros in the world.

The product of their contribution to my education is evident in my recorded performances.

-------


Coming back to the article, we will continue researching these artists to find out with a greater deal of in-depth the methodologies they followed to consolidate their performance skills. As per your kind suggestion.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #23 on: February 24, 2020, 01:33:13 PM »

I will not tell to you, as you very blatantly said to me, that your arguments are pointless. First, because I respect you as a professional and I believe your speech carries passion. Secondly, because I don´t really support this kind of aggressive interchange.

I´m sure you can back-up your ideas with your experience. I pay attention to what you say and I reflect on it. Nevertheless, I also have my own opinion which I can back-up on my experience teaching and learning from some of the most famous piano maestros in the world.-
First, I'm probably the least "aggressive" in this entire forum, and there certainly was no aggression in what I wrote.  I suggested exchange and looking for answers on this question among those who are involved in this, rather than just articles.  Your learning from famous maestros cannot give you any knowledge about self-taught students, because you were not self-taught, and the maestros would have taught you how to play piano - not about self-taught students.  You have a rich resource here of self-taught and formerly self-taught students, as well as teachers who have taught them. Why not avail yourself of that resource. :)

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #24 on: February 24, 2020, 04:05:27 PM »
Of course that doesn't per se mean self-teaching is bad or impossible, it is just one anecdotal example, but I'm *really* skeptical that "self-taught" musicians are ever truly 100% so.

Probably off topic, but every gig I've ever played with an accomplished player in the room on any instrument should qualify as a lesson, if I pay attention and am open to learning. 
Tim

Online ranjit

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Re: Self taught pianists
«Reply #25 on: February 24, 2020, 05:04:26 PM »
Probably off topic, but every gig I've ever played with an accomplished player in the room on any instrument should qualify as a lesson, if I pay attention and am open to learning.

I wouldn't agree with that. It is up for debate, but I'd say it should qualify as self-learning. I would count everything which involves learning without explicit personalized instruction as self-learning, by and large. Suppose someone taught themselves an entire computer science curriculum's worth from MIT open courseware (it's entirely plausible), then would the person not be self-taught just because he/she learned from what someone else was teaching in a classroom? But, a recorded lecture is not that different from a textbook (essentially, it is just more interactive). However, learning from a textbook is near universally considered self-teaching.

Does every masterclass, recorded online lesson and, online video of a pianist playing qualify as a lesson? What about a chance meeting with someone who plays the piano, and sharing tips? Any lesson which is not tailored to a particular student can be replaced by a video (or perhaps even an article).

I consider myself self-taught, even though I've carefully observed pianists' playing from recordings, and also scoured the internet for every possible resource I could find about playing the piano (for example, I watched almost all of Josh Wright's videos, and many masterclasses available online). A video of a person teaching is not really that different from group lessons.

(@wkmt -- Lucas Debargue and Paul Lewis don't qualify as self-taught for obvious reasons: such as learning from teachers at a conservatory for 6 years ::) )