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Topic: Advice for an adult beginner  (Read 650 times)

Offline cheap_piano_a

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Advice for an adult beginner
on: May 24, 2023, 02:31:50 PM
Hi everyone!
I have been thinking to start learning the piano. I will soon turn 40. How much time will it take to play at a professional level (advanced pianist) if I practice 2-3 hours daily? Is it even possible at this age? I know it is not possible to make a career starting at this age (being realistic).
Also, how much piano do I need to know in order to make my own melody or tunes and create my own piano pieces?
Thanks!

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #1 on: May 24, 2023, 02:44:49 PM
It is possible but it depends on many personal factors not just the dedicated practice and correct instruction. Being realistic only a small % of pianists get to advanced levels, the rest remain at mid to low grade levels.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline anacrusis

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #2 on: May 24, 2023, 03:23:38 PM
Hi everyone!
I have been thinking to start learning the piano. I will soon turn 40. How much time will it take to play at a professional level (advanced pianist) if I practice 2-3 hours daily? Is it even possible at this age? I know it is not possible to make a career starting at this age (being realistic).
Also, how much piano do I need to know in order to make my own melody or tunes and create my own piano pieces?
Thanks!

If we assume the "10 000 hours to master something" heuristic is true, it should take you around 9 years if you practice 3 hours a day every day.

Offline martinn

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #3 on: May 24, 2023, 03:54:35 PM
It is far easier making and composing music computer assisted than being a good pianist. I learn piano because I wanít to but would never aspire on being professional. Keep a good hobby, but donít destroy it by making it your work.

Offline ego0720

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #4 on: May 24, 2023, 05:25:20 PM
Hi everyone!
I have been thinking to start learning the piano. I will soon turn 40. How much time will it take to play at a professional level (advanced pianist) if I practice 2-3 hours daily? Is it even possible at this age? I know it is not possible to make a career starting at this age (being realistic).
Also, how much piano do I need to know in order to make my own melody or tunes and create my own piano pieces?
Thanks!

I wouldnít put my focus on being advance but enjoying the process. Itís extremely complex. Playing the piano is separate skill from composition. You would have to invest separately into composition. They may complement each other for long term strategy and you can alternate if u want. But note that those skills are each their own matter. And itís fine to go back and forth bc the hobby will be love-hate.

You seem very motivated. I encourage you to start with 1 hour. Find a good methodology book. And have problem solving skills. It is expected if you choose to be autodidact that you will make mistakes. In this scenario you want to start slow just in case you are blissfully unaware of practicing bad habits.  And have patience. Keep a constant flow of information and adapt as you go. You will find what was true becomes false as you improve. Most definitely have awareness physically and mentally (hint: if it physically hurts something is wrong. If you donít mentally feel it, possible burnout - need a break).

Your average professional player, 15 years at 3-6 hours a day and they -might- make it. For the rest of us we are just enjoying our mediocre lives and music is a part of it. It might take you between 2-5 years to be decent, maybe 1-3 years if you keep at it vigorously. I discourage blitzing.. stoke the flame to a medium to last a while. Practicing too much too fast.. if you donít do it right multiple things can go wrong.

You are most welcome to join the party. Remember.. itís all about having fun. And slow is faster.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #5 on: May 24, 2023, 07:48:22 PM
Hi everyone!
I have been thinking to start learning the piano. I will soon turn 40. How much time will it take to play at a professional level (advanced pianist) if I practice 2-3 hours daily? Is it even possible at this age? I know it is not possible to make a career starting at this age (being realistic).
That is a great goal to have. It should be possible at that age, but it depends on the individual. As you're already aware, I'm sure, it's rare to be able to reach that level starting at 40, but for the right person in the right environment it should be possible. It depends a lot on the individual: Traits which help include already being a musician, being involved with sports/athletics/video games, doing intellectually demanding work, having a good memory, and being good with languages. So in the extreme case, a neuroscientist who's played the violin all their lives and speaks five languages will likely have an easier time with piano than your average Joe.

The one point I heavily disagree with which a previous commenter made, is to take it slow. No, you have to ride the wave of ambition and try to come out on top! When I started, I was playing 6 hours a day. Now, that was inefficient practice, and I was playing for the sheer fun and challenge of it (and I later on reduced the time to 3 hours and am building it back up...). But I think it did something which an hour a day could never achieve. I started in my 20s and have similar aspirations as yourself. You can see my YouTube channel in my signature if you're curious.

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Also, how much piano do I need to know in order to make my own melody or tunes and create my own piano pieces?
You wouldn't need to know a lot. I feel like you could honestly do that even without piano training. At least, I think you could do it once you get your scales and chords to a fair standard, which shouldn't take more than 6 months to a year imo.

Offline geopianoincanada

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #6 on: May 25, 2023, 02:20:55 PM
In the fall I'll be entering my 5th year as a mature (mid 50s) student. Starting older in life makes mastering the details and nuances far more challenging but with age hopefully comes a better structured approach to learning a new skill and improved self discipline as opposed to youthfulness.

Presently I'm slowly approaching an RCM grade 4 level on repertoire and grade 5 in technical skill, this according to my teacher. I still make plenty of dumb mistakes as if my hands and fingers have a mind of their own. My eyesight is utterly atrocious, if it weren't for my high powered glasses I'd be legally blind.

Learning piano isn't a day trip or a weekend to the cottage. It's much more like a long trip to mount Everest with lots of struggles and stumbles. The rewards are terrific if you have the persistence to keep the practice and lessons up.

I strongly recommend having a teacher once a week to guide you and practice every day even if it's just 30 minutes a day. Remember to take breaks during your practice because piano is quite mentally tasking. Get prescription eyeglasses if you need them. Ambient and spot ighting for your sheet music is very important to get right.

Learn warmup exercises for your hands and arms and develop a warm up routine before you jump into pieces. I found 80% of warming up is in the mind, getting one's attention and focus purely on piano.
Take breaks to re-warm your hands wrists and arms during your practice.

If you're arthritic like me, you'll need these elastic woolen tension gloves with the fingertips removed. Amazon has them.

The piano chair or stool must be silent at all times. The one which came included with my piano proved to be cheap. I went out and spent too much money and bought a much sturdier stool which always remains silent no matter what. Money well spent.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #7 on: May 25, 2023, 11:50:51 PM
Hi everyone!
I have been thinking to start learning the piano. I will soon turn 40. How much time will it take to play at a professional level (advanced pianist) if I practice 2-3 hours daily? Is it even possible at this age? I know it is not possible to make a career starting at this age (being realistic).
Also, how much piano do I need to know in order to make my own melody or tunes and create my own piano pieces?
Thanks!

I started at 40 without prior piano experience, although I had played classical guitar seriously for many years. For the first 15 years I was too busy with work to practice more than an hour and a half a day, and I moved around a lot for work and so had no steady teacher. In the last 10 years I've had two good teachers and time to practice 3-4 hours a day. I'm far from a professional, but in a couple of weeks I'll give a small, local recital with the C minor and G major Preludes and Fugues from WTC I, Beethoven's sonata Opus 2 #1, Schumann's Romance Opus 28#2, Brahms 3 Intermezzi Opus 117, and Chopin's Revolutionary Etude. I've played the program for practice a couple of times for friends and in a nursing home, and it's gone well.

There are lots of pieces I'll probably never have the technique to play, but on the other hand, there's an awful lot of great music that's within reach. So while there are certainly limits to what you can do when you start in mid-life compared to starting at 4 or 5, there's no reason to think that you cannot work up to being able to play some very interesting music. A good teacher helps a lot, as does not being in a hurry to get to advanced pieces too fast. Be patient and have fun.

Offline mallay4932

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #8 on: May 27, 2023, 06:08:18 PM
I think it's not your age that matters. What matters is whether you are ready to pursue piano at this age. If you are a person with the ability to learn quickly or have a natural talent for the piano, it will only take you a year or even a few months to learn. However, it may take a little longer depending on the person.

Offline acousticallylost

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #9 on: June 04, 2023, 08:30:24 AM
There are exceptionally good pianists in their 20s. Meanwhile, we have virtuosos still performing in their 70s and 80s. There's plenty of time if you have the dedication.

I was self-taught since early childhood and only started lessons in my 40s. I was just playing things that were fun, but at an intermediate level. I wanted to play advanced pieces, but it was like running into a brick wall.

Get a teacher. They can help you learn how to practice efficiently and to help you correct issues with technique that you probably won't even be aware of on your own. They can point you to original works within your skill level, so you're not just playing adaptations all the time. They teach you how to interpret different composers and how to understand theory. They also keep you accountable and force you to learn your scales. I skipped them when I was growing up, because nobody explained what they were for.

I can understand having a goal of being a virtuoso. I think we all want that for ourselves. For me personally though, when I achieve a goal, I lose interest. I would focus more on mastering your current skills and compositions than on an end goal. You'll still get to whatever skill level you're capable of, but hopefully without the burnout from trying to get there too fast.

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #10 on: June 04, 2023, 12:00:08 PM
I can understand having a goal of being a virtuoso. I think we all want that for ourselves. For me personally though, when I achieve a goal, I lose interest. I would focus more on mastering your current skills and compositions than on an end goal. You'll still get to whatever skill level you're capable of, but hopefully without the burnout from trying to get there too fast.

Well said. I had a curiously similar experience when I hit some of my piano goals. Turns out it was much more exciting to be on the journey and trying to reach the goal than it was to actually have attained it. I have shifted energies to just exploring the piano and trying to refine what I do than trying to reach goal posts. There is always something new you can master in any case.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #11 on: June 05, 2023, 02:38:54 PM
If you are a person with the ability to learn quickly or have a natural talent for the piano, it will only take you a year or even a few months to learn.
In other words, although it took our teachers years to master the skills - the most famous pianists took years - we ourselves can achieve this in a few months?  Does that mean adults have super powers which the master musicians did not have?

Offline ego0720

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #12 on: June 06, 2023, 05:25:09 AM
In other words, although it took our teachers years to master the skills - the most famous pianists took years - we ourselves can achieve this in a few months?  Does that mean adults have super powers which the master musicians did not have?

I think they meant being ok at basic reading and writing music. Laymen are intimidated by the high barrier to entry so most are proud to acquire even basic music literacy. This can be done in a year what most take several to do if they are motivated.

While we are talking about great talents.. there is a critical period to instill musical knack in people when they are very young. The advantage is permanent and gives them the uncanny ability to process more information, hold it longer, and do it faster. They donít need to continue nurturing music development to sustain this supposed innateness as it is how their brain was programmed. They can start music 20-30 years later and still do well. Itís preferred to catch them early.

For many others, not having that aptitude doesnít mean music canít be learned. But they will have to work harder at it to get the same results. Music is so complex that the frustrations usually weed most out. It takes a lot of grit to keep at it.

With the statistics showing a decline in music education itís important to encourage ppl. Imo everyone should incorporate the study of music if anything to better oneís life.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Advice for an adult beginner
Reply #13 on: June 06, 2023, 07:36:29 PM
I think they meant being ok at basic reading and writing music.....

It must have been that.  Either that or the writer did not put much thought into it.  I must admit to having been a bit sarcastic.  The OP asked about learning to play at a high professional level, and that answer suggested you only need a few months to a year.  I sort of scraped my eyebrows off the ceiling. :D
 

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