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Why and when did you start learning piano? (Read 593 times)

Offline kittenyarn

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Why and when did you start learning piano?
« on: May 14, 2021, 08:29:47 PM »
Hii everyone!! I just wanted to ask when everyone here started playing the piano? And why did you start and then continue, like what is it that makes you want to do it?  :)

I have played consistently for maybe a year, but I have dabbled a bit on and off for longer than that. I just thought the piano sounds so pretty and I wanted to be able to play some awesome songs that I like for myself  8) And suddenly, woosh, one year has passed and I have played more than I thought I would!

Offline volcanoadam

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Re: Why and when did you start learning piano?
«Reply #1 on: May 15, 2021, 09:24:00 AM »
When I was a little kid I made some noises on a simple recorder. Later on I tried to learn guitar. I learned some cords, some simple songs, solos and riffs. After some time I got discouraged, as I made no progress and blamed everything for not having talent, due to external influences.
Just over 3 years ego at the age of 41, I moved to a new place and I have a bit more space. First thought to restart guitar, but then I thought that it would be better to start a new instrument, properly with a teacher.
I always loved piano sound. Also greater versatility than most other instruments helped my decision. That was probably the best decision I made in my entire life. I make continues progress and I'm only hungry for more.
VA

Offline dogperson

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Re: Why and when did you start learning piano?
«Reply #2 on: May 15, 2021, 09:39:32 AM »
I started as a young child:  my parents had a piano in the living room that was never played and no one knew how to play, so I was allowed to explore, unsupervised,  and untutored, its sounds at a very young age. And it had mysterious sheet music in the bench! Rows of notes and just like reading a book  in a language I did not understand but desperately wanted to know what it meant.  So I begged to take lessons and the mysteries were learned one at a time. I loved every part of my lessons and practice.

Why keep playing? To be able to hear the music I play with my own two hands. Really just that simple.

Online lelle

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Re: Why and when did you start learning piano?
«Reply #3 on: May 15, 2021, 10:42:26 PM »
I started when I was 9 years old. I had shown some musical interest previous to that, since I liked listening to tapes with singing (Disney songs), trying to sing some myself, and playing the recorder (poorly) for a while when I was 8. My father got me a digital piano and I was hooked. My parents signed me up for lessons soon after that and I just kept going. I was often impatient with the rate of learning at the lessons so I got my parents to get me a lot of too-difficult sheet music that I played in secret. As I have gotten older, my fire has sometimes dulled a bit but it has always come back later. I always think about the piano and about how I can grow my skills. It seems like the piano just can't leave me alone :P

Offline j_tour

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Re: Why and when did you start learning piano?
«Reply #4 on: May 15, 2021, 11:00:02 PM »
Tough question, but a good one.

Initially, it was just "that's pretty cool!  I should do that!" observing over the shoulder at age five or so.

It wasn't until, maybe nine or ten years old that I heard Alf Brendel on those Philips recordings of Beethoven that it was like:  "this is the real deal!" and so on and really began to study seriously.

Truthfully, I was not an excellent student in those early teen/tween years, but the foundational elements eventually caught up with me.

I don't know how Denise managed to deal with me in those years, but she was just starting out herself as an adjunct professor and with her private studio, as essentially a hired gun accompanist and teacher, so she probably couldn't have been much over thirty herself.  I think about the time of her marriage she became an associate professor instead of just an adjunct, and I think she's probably emeritus (i.e., no teaching duties) if anything now:  pretty old, I'd guess, and I think her husband makes or made bank. 

/* IIRC he was some kind of lawyer, and when she married, she took his last name, which probably caused some confusion for her, professionally.  When I started with her, she was in a studio in "the big city" lol with what was probably a rented grand, and she was just dragging me through the usual "here are the scales, here's the fingerings, so do it!"  But even then, heavy proponent of leading with the shoulders.  She had fairly small hands, and a lot of what I was playing was, like, Eubie Blake stuff which needed at least an octave:  even at that younger age, I was already kind of "fixed" on a certain type of music and geometry at the keyboard. 

So, I think in some respect she was figuring out how to adapt or apply her own training to (i) a style of music she knew nothing about (ii) deal with an intransigent geek who only put in the bare effort (iii) the kind of student who would show up and demand that he plays only the most diabolical Brahms and Beethoven which requires heavy octaves and beyond.

So, she was able to deal with that, at least technically.  Even though that was not in her "comfort zone," whatever that means.  And, yes, we found some middle ground, even if only by accident, with early Scriabin, mid-career strident Brahms, and mature Bach, which happened to have been in her wheelhouse, musically speaking.  She talked a bit about blahblah Mozart concerts she was playing, but she never insisted.  Oh, I think we did the early A major Mozart sonata, but that was at my own insistence.  The one with the variations at the beginning and the Rondo/Turk.  Bad idea (not that it's bad music, really, and I could probably still read it pretty well off the page, but I found it not very rewarding)!  No, but that was more her ability in terms of reach and physical geometry.

Honestly, she didn't have much to teach me about the big Brahms pieces with very large chords:  she'd just pencil in things like "technique!" when fingers 3-4-5 in the LH came up, like in the Bm rhapsody.

Much more helpful with smaller-hands oriented fugues from Bach. 

I'd give her a passing grade as a teacher, but as I become a bit older, and despite seeing what were likely epoch-changing events in her life, I'm not sure she could have done any better.

Anyway, it was a long time ago.

I do remember that studio she leased:  it was kind of a drab, but very large room with sort of elementary-school colors, and just the piano in the middle of the room.  It was in an older building where you ride up on an elevator and hear all kinds of "practice noises" from people doing lessons on all kinds of instruments.

It was a big step for her when she moved on to her professorial duties, and started working out of her house with her own piano, which I already talked about.

And now that I remember, I think I stuck with her at least until age sixteen or maybe seventeen:  I recall being with her even after my first girlfriend and was driving a car and all that. 

It's difficult to remember the exact years and dates, but it's roughly accurate.  I still remember that studio she had, though, and when she moved closer to the college campus and so forth.  Geez, she couldn't have been more than thirty or thirty-five at most, maybe forty. 

She also introduced me (well, I wasn't footing the bill, so, really, my parents) to the most excellent piano tech in town, who also happened to be a very good pianist herself.

*/

I do remember when she bought her Hamburg Steinway when she bought her own house.....and, regrettably for a young teenage boy, got married. 

Yes, I'm not ashamed to admit there was a slight "attraction" there.  Purely on my part:  I was just a geeky not-even-teenager who was geeked on music.  Then again, I was like eleven or so years old and so.....it didn't take much to get me going.

I'd say it was a wholesome period.  I think when I finally left her at the ripe age of like fifteen or whatever, she was nice enough to suggest that I could play her college/MFA material pretty good.  I don't think that was accurate, but she seemed happy enough.  Yes, I left legit piano into the rock and roll and blues and started playing more guitar.

Hey, I was a young kid!  I eventually came back into the fold!

She was very proud of the Hamburg, though, and it was a nice, chunky piano, and I was glad to have spent a number of years abusing her keyboard with my ridiculous fantasies.  Lots of Beethoven, little bit of Chopin, lots of Brahms, and even some silly things from William Bolcom and Rzewski.

Yeah, she let me play the stride and blues stuff on her piano, since she knew I'd already been playing and so forth.  She insisted on correct fingerings for scales, arpeggios, but she knew I'd been playing before, but I was a pretty square good-mannered kid, at that age, so she helped me roll my own, so to speak.

Very traditional technique, as well as strong emphasis on sight-reading, blocking, arm position.  Very traditional musician. she was.  No slop allowed, although we did get into repertoire that was a bit beyond my capacities, where she couldn't really program me to her liking.

Oh, and at about age twelve or so there was a pianist who taught counterpoint, RNA, ear-training at my school.  I think he was a competent pianist, but we just did theory.  Decent teacher, I guess:  I'd already been transposing lead sheets from earlier work on the Eb saxophone, but he demanded quite a bit of rigor at pencilling in exercises.  Good basic habits I still use to this day.

It is funny that in so few years, so much happened in terms of my own development and so on.  Nowadays, five years seems like nothing, no time at all, but experientially it was a long time, in terms of experience gained.

My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Why and when did you start learning piano?
«Reply #5 on: May 16, 2021, 01:23:05 AM »
I started learning on my own when I was 17, after I graduated high school and entered college. I had grown tired of the rigor of high school, and felt like I didn't really do the best that I could, and I had this grand theory in my head which could presumably be used to learn anything. The main test subject for that theory was the piano.

I really loved music in general and it would get stuck in my head quite easily. Actually winding back to the final year of high school, I was wondering about things such as whether it's possible to develop photographic memory of some kind, and similar questions of that nature. I felt that most of the ideas people had about how to learn a new subject were basically bs, and I wanted to figure out how it's actually supposed to be done, so to speak. So, I went into this really deep rabbit hole, immersing myself and trying to read and watch everything I could about playing the piano, up to eight hours a day. I had also managed to borrow an unweighted keyboard, and used to play on it for 4-8 hours a day. It was an obsession.

Overall, during the first year, I had read thousands upon thousands upon thousands of posts on Pianostreet and wherever else online I could find information, had watched all of Josh Wright's videos, etc. I finished an introductory music theory course, and I was able to arrange popular songs reasonably well, I think. Although I still hadn't developed any real dexterity with my left hand, or any significant arpeggio technique etc., I could still play enough to impress a layman audience on occasion.

It was addicting for me, honestly. When you have orchestral music or dense piano music which has a ton of moving parts, it used to feel like fireworks were going on in my mind, and I just dreamed of playing like that someday. I thought it was impossible and a lost cause, because I knew all about critical periods and motor memory being stronger when you're young, and the fact that virtually no pianists actually started at my age, especially without a teacher, but I couldn't help it.

Offline compline

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Re: Why and when did you start learning piano?
«Reply #6 on: May 16, 2021, 05:55:58 AM »
I started with violin for two or three years, then got fed up with the E string breaking , I could replace strings but too tight and they would break , I could not tune it properly for toffee. And used to get fed up with having to rosin the bow all the time.   I love violin but  I think I started out with a difficult instrument, so I dropped violin lessons,  and after a while I moved on to piano, well I should say proper 88 key digital piano which I thought was very much easier, and I found it was much more accessible and more comfortable to play.      No worries about tuning.    Ok, I am still learning, and I envy folks that can afford a 'real' expensive piano, but I had a budget to think about, though my piano is a Yamaha CLP-645 which suffices and is very good.  I won't be a grand hall pianist but it is great to be able to just go sit at the piano and play something, and learn too.
 I enjoyed ranjit's post and others who keep my enthusiasm going.   :)

Offline kittenyarn

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Re: Why and when did you start learning piano?
«Reply #7 on: May 16, 2021, 10:19:50 PM »
Thanks for replying everyone, I love reading your answers! It seems to me like I get more motivated to play and practise myself when I'm on a forum like this and get to see what other people are doing and hearing their thoughts and stories. :)

Offline ted

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Re: Why and when did you start learning piano?
«Reply #8 on: May 16, 2021, 11:55:05 PM »
This question arises on forums occasionally; I shall answer it again, but very briefly. My father was an accomplished party pianist, the sort who knew hundreds of tunes and improvised on them. My early childhood was full of the sound of piano music, I remember going to sleep listening to it. Dad taught me how to read and write music before I went to school. One of the teachers, a remarkable music lover, gave private lessons, which I took for a few years before stopping at ten to do the things little boys enjoy doing. She nurtured in me a deep love of music and a lasting loathing of performing.

I played nothing until just before high school, when my father quietly dropped the score of Rhapsody In Blue on the dinner table. It was a ruse and it worked. I had never heard stuff like that before and wasted no time learning it and demanding a teacher. Seven years of study and fourteen years of friendship with Llewelyn Jones (no relation), a composer and pianist of stupefying talent, followed.

Obviously there was a lot more to it after that, but those were the foundations more or less.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline brogers70

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Re: Why and when did you start learning piano?
«Reply #9 on: May 17, 2021, 12:20:02 AM »
When I was young, I played classical guitar and got to be fairly good at it, but I was unhappy with a couple of things. First, it was a lot of work for a sound that doesn't hold up to ensemble playing all that well, except with other guitars. More importantly, though, there's not much in the standard classical and romantic periods to play that's really great. Carulli, Carcassi, Guiliani, and Sor in the classical period, and a bunch of Romantic era Spanish things, but not that much. Of the greatest composers, it's only Bach that suits the guitar very well.

So, at 40 I switched to piano, never having studied it before. It's been great; it's taken ages, but now I have access to tons of great music - Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Debussy, and more. It was a bit of an adjustment to go from being quite good on guitar to being sort of OK on piano, but certainly worth it.

Offline jimf12

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Re: Why and when did you start learning piano?
«Reply #10 on: May 21, 2021, 08:05:09 PM »
That was almost 50 years ago, and I honestly don't remember.   I do remember begging my parents for a piano, and as we were a working class family that was quite an investment.   I definitely was not the kid forced to take lessons because my parents wanted me to.   

I do remember asking to take Organ lessons before piano and being persuaded toward the piano which seemed like a perfectly reasonable compromise.   The organ fascination I'm 100% sure came from an organist named Ernie Hayes, who was the team organist for the St. Louis Cardinals.   I was baseball mad (still am), and I loved hearing Ernie fire it up about 30 minutes before gametime with "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and "Meet Me in St. Louis".

That's probably the start of it right there.

I became interested in classical music when I was probably about 12.   I guess I was the teachers pet, because she offered to take me with her and her husband to the local symphony.   Having had zero introduction to classical music at home, this was a memorable evening and had a great impression on me.    I remember they played Brahms, and the music seemed confusing to me but nonetheless I became hooked and remain so to this day.     She and her husband moved to Iowa shortly thereafter, and of course as a 12 year old I really didn't think much about it other than I liked her and was sorry to see her go.   I wish I could figure out a way to contact her and thank her.