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Old 06-24-2008, 11:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Learning Piano

So summer is here and I need to find something to do in my spare time so I decided to learn how to play the piano since I've always wanted to play it. It's pretty tough. I borrowed a friend's beginner music sheet book and have been practicing by myself for a few weeks now. I can read the basic notes on the sheets and play some beginner songs like "We wish you a Merry Christmas" and "Happy Birthday" and the beginner version of "Fur Elise." A big problem is the finger dexterity. I don't think I'm progressing as fast as I'd like. As much as I'd like to take lessons, I can't afford any. I asked my friend but all she said is to practice practice practice. I did but it gets frustrating when I keep on making mistakes.

So, any tips for a beginner? Or websites that has tips but don't charge you money, and where can I find some online music sheets? If it helps with the answers, I'm using a 10+ year old keyboard that mys sister bought way back then but lost interest and left it collecting dust in the storage. It plays fine but it's an old piece of junk so the sound quality isn't very good. I want to buy a new one but I want to be proficient enough to make the purchase worth it.
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Practice is right, but when you don't know what to practice, you aren't going to progress very quickly.

Buy a book of finger dexterity exercises to help with finger dexterity, I remember practising Czerny exercises for hours, but they really do help. Buy a book of scales and arpeggios with fingerings and learn to play them all with the correct fingerings. Buy a metronome and practise slowly and evenly. All three things will cost you less than an hour-long lesson.

I still recommend lessons with a good teacher though., Perhaps take lessons once a month, explaining your financial situation? At least you will have some guidance and are less likely to develop bad habits which may injure you. You may be able to find a music student somewhere nearby who doesn't charge as much as you might expect.
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Old 06-25-2008, 03:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Check with the local university - there are often PhD/Grad music students who are willing to teach lessons, and the range can vary- maybe even work out a barter/trade for services if you have something you can offer them instead of just a straight monetary payment.

I second the Scales/Arpeggios - I've been playng for almost 20 years, and scale books and warmups are what I always try to start with for 10-20 mins, to help keep my fingers limber. Very Very important to pay attention to the fingering, as that is there for a reason, and helps you manuever through tricky playing phases.
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Old 06-25-2008, 01:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ok, I'll go out and buy those books soon. Thanks.

Is there any exercise regiment that you folks went through when you learned that helped or you just do what the books or piano teacher tell you to?
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Old 06-25-2008, 01:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A piano teacher is a must. Self teaching misses the subtle nuances necessary to develop proper technique.
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Old 06-25-2008, 02:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willravel
A piano teacher is a must. Self teaching misses the subtle nuances necessary to develop proper technique.
I really don't think there's anything that's a must in learning how to play an instrument, apart from access to the instrument itself. A piano teacher would probably be helpful, but I doubt it's necessary.

I found that my progress on piano accelerated exponentially once I got myself a scale book and started working out of it. Make sure you get a book with the fingerings in it; it'll help you to learn how the fingering generally works, which will in turn mean that when you're playing other stuff you won't have to spend as much time learning what fingers should go where. Also make sure that you do the scales two-handed. It'll be hard at first and you'll have to go slow, but in the long run it'll help you a lot.

Scales are boring, but they're great exercise. Do them.
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Old 06-25-2008, 02:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Martian
I really don't think there's anything that's a must in learning how to play an instrument, apart from access to the instrument itself. A piano teacher would probably be helpful, but I doubt it's necessary.
You can't teach yourself proper hand positions, for one. You can attempt to emulate what you see, but without proper instruction you can actually do damage to your hands.
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Old 06-25-2008, 06:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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alot depends on what you want to do.

personally, i don't bother with scales---but i'm not interested in the same kind of outcomes as it sounds like you are.

for dexterity stuff--like strengthening the outer fingers of your hands and starting to flatten the distinctions between the strikes in your stronger and weaker fingers and working on crossing over and all that sort of stuff--- hanon is better.

piano is a pretty demanding instrument physically, so alot of what i do is about strengthening my hands. so i work on speed alot. speed and organization and independence of my hands.

starting out, though, i'd play around with the instrument, get a feel for what it can do, the sounds you can get out of it. try to work out stuff you like by ear--it's a kind of training of your hearing and a process of connecting what you hear to the keyboard. don't listen to anyone who tells you there's only one way to approach the instrument---it's a world of sound and there are lots of ways into it and most pianists that i know have little idea of just how much sound you can generate with a piano. you're only as limited as your thinking makes you.

play around, get to like the instrument more and more. get a teacher if you like--but get one that is sympathetic, that you like, that encourages you to experiment. if you want to play straight stuff, then go that way. you'll want to learn to read conventional notation and will probably need some help getting through the early stages of that. most technical matters can be worked out yourself, but you may find it easier to have a teacher.
but that's only one set of possibilities.
there are lots of them.

listen to everything.
listen to lots of stuff, lots of styles, lots of instruments.
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Old 06-25-2008, 06:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I never took piano lessons ... but then again I'm not exactly a "classical" player**. I do use a fairly proper fingering technique that I've modified over the years as I developed my style.

Get the Czerny and Hanon (http://www.danmansmusic.com/free_hanon.htm) exercise books. They will help build dexterity and muscle memory. However, if all you want to do is be able to play popular (as opposed to classical) music then you probably won't need them.

Not to belabor the point with regard to an instructor, you might want to get a couple of "consultations" rather than full on lessons; most grad students will do that.

Will is partly right when it comes to damaging your hands with improper technique. However, life-long classical pianists almost certainly damage their hands regardless of proper technique--I have a couple of older pianist friends who have problems. One of them has had to have her hands operated on (she's in her late 60's); and she has a PhD in Music and a Masters in Piano (she was a Beethoven fanatic, which is probably what ruined her hands). Our hands were NOT designed to play piano and any kind of repetitive motion that is unnatural MAY result in damage. So unless you're planning on doing this for a living for the next 60 years you probably don't need to worry about it.

**I did take classical violin lessons.
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Old 06-25-2008, 08:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh, I should probably state in the OP my goal. I simply want to be good enough to read a music sheet and then play it. I don't care if it's a classical or a modern pop piece. As long as I develop enough proficiency...

I listened to the advice and bought myself a Hanon book this afternoon. The other two I think can wait until I'm more comfortable with playing. I'm also trying to learn how to sight read.

As for scales and stuff, is this what you're talking about? http://8notes.com/resources/notefind...ano_chords.asp
Is it necessary to learn all that?
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Old 06-25-2008, 08:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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So you're looking for Ginuwine and not Gershwin? R&B, not Rachmaninov?

You probably won't need lessons, then. Still you may become set in your ways which would be difficult to break should you ever want to pursue playing more difficult pieces. It's just something to bear in mind.
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:10 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I was advised to avoid Hanon, actually. I only had one sit-down 'lesson' with a professional pianist, but his advice was to focus on scales and fingering and go from there. Oscar Peterson I ain't, so I can't offer anything specific. I've only been playing for about 8 months myself, after all.

Also, I am approaching piano as a studied musician. I have heaps of experience in the musical realm, and needed only to figure how to apply what I know to a keyboard instead of a fretboard. Thus, my approach might be different. If you're starting from scratch (which I now believe you are) then it's going to take a different perspective than the one required by me as a musician who understands theory and needs only to work on the practical aspect of it.

You will need to know various chords. Much of the pop material is arranged with a melody in the right hand and a chord progression for the left. You'll need to know what a CMaj7 looks like so that you can play it. Learning scales will help you to learn chords.

Studying theory would probably help. If you understand how to construct chords then you don't have to memorize which notes go where. Knowing the scales and how the chords come out of them will allow you to build what you need as you go.

roachboy's advice is highly relevant to any music, and is just as applicable to piano as it is anywhere else I imagine. At least some of your time should be spent simply exploring the instrument. Find out what new and exciting (and possibly disgusting) sounds you can make. Change things up a bit. Creativity is the heart and soul of music. Learning things by rote will make you really good at a very specific subset of techniques, but does nothing to develop range, flexibility or individual style.

Speaking as a guitarist, I know that the bulk of guitar in the bulk of styles is individualistic. You do what works for you. I see no reason why the same principle shouldn't apply to a piano.
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:30 PM   #13 (permalink)
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You made the right choice with piano, btw. It's not the most portable instrument but it's probably the most versatile. Piano newbs have it easy and piano experts are among the most skilled musicians out there. Download some Evgeny Kissin playing Chopin for basically the best.
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Old 06-26-2008, 04:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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once upon a time, i had a music theory tutor. he was a composer, an interesting cat. i was young and was finding out about alot of music that was entirely new to me and so was in that phase, which in my world is a discrete and powerful phase, of having-discovered cecil taylor and so of doing many many bad cecil taylor impersonations. but i didn't know enough theory to be able to move around with it---i concentrated mostly on being able, to the extent that i could, get myself technically to a place of being able to do what was, to my ears at the time, a convincing pseudo-cecil on occasion. and there was something kinda fun about threatening the well-being of upright pianos by playing them that hard. but i didn't have the theory background to go much past that.

so i had a tutor. first thing he did was to show me 3 pieces: anton webern's op. 30 for piano, messaien's quartet for the end of time, and an eliot carter piece i can't remember which, from the late 40s with a giant fugue in it. he also gave me the scores, which was important for me, even though my sight reading wasn't up to being able to play any of what i was hearing.

of them, the webern really stuck with me--i found it beautiful and quite unlike anything i had heard before. and having the score to look at--even though i couldn't play it--enabled me to make sense of 12-tone music. but what mattered even more was listening to it without thinking about how the rows are manipulated, but instead listening to the piece as a vocabulary for phrasing--figure ground stuff---event silence and the relations between them.

i've listened to it countless times since, learned to play it eventually, forgot again, it keeps showing up (i think) in bent-up ways in stuff i do---i think i ultimately did what derek bailey said he did--mistook webern for an improvisor
and assimilated his work from that angle

but the point really is that webern showed me an entirely different way of thinking about the relation of actions to silence than anything i had heard in straight european music up to that point, and of a way of thinking space that was different from what i knew about jazz (whatever that means) at the time.

i tell this tiresome little story just to indicate that there are many many ways to think about very basic things like pitch selection and placement, that no approach is more legitimate than any other--we live in a world of recordings, the old monopolies that underpinned the hegemony of 19th century euro-music are finished, even though the institutions continue to operate--which is good, in the main (i think)---so nothing is more legitimate than anything else---rachmaninov is to my mind tedious beyond imagining--but other folk like it, think it's legit, think it's purty--so fine: there's tons of contemporary music you can hear on the basis of a nineteenth century euro-formation--but there's also a ton of it that you won't hear--you understand that something is happening, but you won't hear it.

like tuning systems, compositional strategies are internally coherent and that's it. it's better to know alot of them. the more the merrier. there are possibilities everywhere.

difficulty is not a marker of much of anything.
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Old 06-26-2008, 12:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Ok, so I'm doing a quick Wiki search on Hanon's technique exercise and it seems to have its flaws, according to the article. They say it does more damage than good. Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias seems to be a better altnative.

I checked out the samples in Wiki, I have to admit Bach's *sounds* a lot more pleasing, whereas Hanon is dull and boring. But for the effectiveness of the technique exercises, I'm not so sure which one I should go anymore. Can any one give some input about this?

Yeah, I know absolutely nothing about music so it's a bit overwhelming right now....

Edit: by the way, is there any tip to improve sight reading? Even with the well known nemonics Every Good Boy Does Fine and FACE I still have problem sight reading. Or should I just continue what I'm doing and it'll progress? Patience is key, no?
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyC
Ok, so I'm doing a quick Wiki search on Hanon's technique exercise and it seems to have its flaws, according to the article. They say it does more damage than good. Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias seems to be a better altnative.

I checked out the samples in Wiki, I have to admit Bach's *sounds* a lot more pleasing, whereas Hanon is dull and boring. But for the effectiveness of the technique exercises, I'm not so sure which one I should go anymore. Can any one give some input about this?
My opinion is that it's all useful as long as you don't spend many hours doing exactlyk the same thing. If you play the same scale for three hours, you are repeating identical movements, and that can be damaging. If you play different scales, there are different fingerings etc which mean you are changing up the motions your muscles go through.

I strongly believe in making your practice musical. As soon as you get the basics of the scale (the notes and fingerings), change up the rhythms, practise emphasising different notes, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyC
Edit: by the way, is there any tip to improve sight reading? Even with the well known nemonics Every Good Boy Does Fine and FACE I still have problem sight reading. Or should I just continue what I'm doing and it'll progress? Patience is key, no?
In my opinion the use of mnemonics is a barrier to effective sight-reading. You basically need to get to the point where you can play the note immediately upon seeing the note (rather than seeing it, working out what note it is, then working out where it is on the piano, then which finger, then playing it). My recommendation is to start with very simple, unfamiliar pieces, then do exercises to speed up your recognition, such as seeing how quickly you can pick out all the notes. I get my students to practise rhythm-recognition separately.

Note that sight-reading is a long-term exercise. Do it a bit every day.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:21 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyC
Edit: by the way, is there any tip to improve sight reading? Even with the well known nemonics Every Good Boy Does Fine and FACE I still have problem sight reading. Or should I just continue what I'm doing and it'll progress? Patience is key, no?
I'm having this problem with bass clef. When I started bass guitar I just played by ear or used tabulature. Thus when I moved to piano I found myself completely clueless on how to read bass clef.

Treble Clef:
Lines are (bottom to top) Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
Spaces are FACE

Bass clef:
Lines are (also bottom to top) Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always
Spaces are All Cows Eat Grass.

It'll come with practice. There are no shortcuts I'm aware of. Try to remember where middle C is on either clef, along with the C above or below. That helped me, since it at least allows me to know at a glance what octave I'm in.

This thread needs more aberkok.
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:52 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian
It'll come with practice. There are no shortcuts I'm aware of. Try to remember where middle C is on either clef, along with the C above or below. That helped me, since it at least allows me to know at a glance what octave I'm in.
This is what I do with my students. Be able to recognise all the "C"s on the clefs you are reading from at a glance. Do this exercise a couple times a day for a few days, finding "C"s all over any score. A few days later, add another note, say a "G"... so now you are looking for all "C"s and "G"s. Intergrate this into your other practice and you'll find yourself recognising "C"s and "G"s quite quickly. Then add another note.

In the meantime, also learn to recognise intervals. Notes on adjacent lines or spaces are two notes apart, for example, and so on. Learn to recognise adjacent notes. Two lines apart is a fifth, etc.
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Old 06-27-2008, 01:27 PM   #19 (permalink)
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A piano teacher is a must. Self teaching misses the subtle nuances necessary to develop proper technique.
Echoed. Sorry Martian (because I'm assuming your self taught by your reaction?) but a teacher is a must if you want to learn it properly, not just emulate it well. Plus you'll excel much, much faster. It is far less frustrating having someone guide you then stumbling through the dark.
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:13 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Echoed. Sorry Martian (because I'm assuming your self taught by your reaction?)...
Also because I said I was. It was really quite unambiguous:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian
I only had one sit-down 'lesson' with a professional pianist...
See?

Quote:
Originally Posted by punkmusicfan21
...but a teacher is a must if you want to learn it properly, not just emulate it well. Plus you'll excel much, much faster. It is far less frustrating having someone guide you then stumbling through the dark.
I don't claim to be an expert on piano. Far from it, actually. What I object to is this whole 'gentlemen's club' idea that if you don't pay your dues and spend an hour a day practicing Hanon and have some short guy smack you with a riding crop when you miss a note, you're doing it wrong.

We're talking about a technical skill here. If you emulate it well enough, then you are doing it properly. If your point is that a knowledge of musical theory is important, you'll get no argument from me. Where does that transform into an instructor being necessary?

Music is and should be accessible to everyone. A teacher can be very helpful, but if you can't afford one that doesn't mean anything you learn on your own is invalid. I frankly find such a notion ludicrous. I think the idea that one has to have a teacher stems from an exclusionist view of musicianship, which is something I just do not agree with.
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:22 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian
I don't claim to be an expert on piano. Far from it, actually. What I object to is this whole 'gentlemen's club' idea that if you don't pay your dues and spend an hour a day practicing Hanon and have some short guy smack you with a riding crop when you miss a note, you're doing it wrong.
Hasn't it been said in this thread that one can find a very cheap piano teacher at any university?

Also, this strikes me as a bit of an ad hominem. The reasoning behind finding a teacher has been made quite clear by several members, including myself, and it has absolutely nothing to do with exclusivity or elitism.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian
We're talking about a technical skill here. If you emulate it well enough, then you are doing it properly.
I find this to be incorrect after a certain skill level. If I were to play for you Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, even someone who had been playing for years likely would not be able to master it without at least some training.

I could probably, in a pinch, deliver a child. That doesn't make me a doctor.
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:29 PM   #22 (permalink)
 
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o please. technique is not mysterious.
it just takes work--patience and persistence mixed (for motivation with the first two, which usually follow from this) with pleasure or fun.

your approach to technique is like anything else---it really depends on what you want to do as an outcome.
there is no correct way into it necessarily--that one is interested in playing 19th century bourgeois parlor music or it's concert extensions is nice--have at it----and there are rules to that game, so to play it you'll probably have to know them--but it's only one game.

and whether you play that game or not is a simple function of whether you happen to like the music involved--it's certainly no better than any other type of music, and probably no worse either. so claims shaped by immersion in that form are nothing more than that.


there are many many games.
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:34 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
o please. technique is not mysterious.
it just takes work--patience and persistence mixed (for motivation with the first two, which usually follow from this) with pleasure or fun.

your approach to technique is like anything else---it really depends on what you want to do as an outcome.
there is no correct way into it necessarily--that one is interested in playing 19th century bourgeois parlor music or it's concert extensions is nice--have at it----and there are rules to that game, so to play it you'll probably have to know them--but it's only one game.

and whether you play that game or not is a simple function of whether you happen to like the music involved--it's certainly no better than any other type of music, and probably no worse either. so claims shaped by immersion in that form are nothing more than that.


there are many many games.
You seem to be looking at getting a teacher as a limitation. I see it more as as giving yourself a tool. Being taught isn't going to prevent one from experimenting with the instrument at all, but it will give them the choice of a developed context at the very least.
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:54 PM   #24 (permalink)
 
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actually i dont see it as a limitation...depending on the teacher, it can be a great thing to do. but the key is which teacher. and knowing why you are doing it.

i was prompted by the exchange between you and martian, and in alot of ways i agree with martian in that there is no necessary route into the instrument. and if someone explores the instrument on their own, for whatever reason, it is not necessarily the case that where they'll end up is any better or worse than would be the case for someone who went about it differently.

i have about a decade of training. my teacher wanted me to be one of those mid-nineteenth century style players--but i wanted to learn to play stride.
so he taught me stride and i learned a bunch of classical pieces--and we fashioned a nice relationship after a while, even though he was a little afraid of me at times.
if i could go back, i'd have studied with someone who could have trained me in serial and post-serial forms--for where i am now, that would have been far more useful and would have saved me *a lot* of time. but it wasn't that way, and i've managed to go pretty far on the bases that i have.

and it's only now that i am thinking it'd be cool to learn some bach again.
and i'll do that.

unless you are starting out at a very early age driven along by parents who are persuaded of your prodigy status in playing the existing repertoire in a given style, and so unless your goal is to win a clyburn competition or some such and embark on a classical concert career, you have time and options.
so explore them all.

19th century european classical composers made many lovely things--but they have no monopoly on lovely things--and the culture that grew up around training performers to repeat standard pieces in a standard manner had nothing to do with the space that composers or improvisors worked in.

but like i said, the space you move through is simply a function of what you want to do.
i like listening to pollini play schoenberg, for example.
he does it so well that i can't imagine wanting to do it myself.
so i play other things.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:03 PM   #25 (permalink)
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It's not about necessity as much as it is having the tools to tackle the possibilities that you may want to explore. Kelly said "I simply want to be good enough to read a music sheet and then play it." That doesn't necessarily entail a safari into all of the myriad routes to piano enjoyment. Really, I suspect all he'd need would be less than a year of lessons from a proficient teacher. After that foundation, an understanding of basic theory and discipline, he can choose to go after Schoenberg or Green Day.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:13 PM   #26 (permalink)
 
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it's amazing to me, will, that you write about the piano like such an old fart.
i don't get it: i've been playing longer than you've been alive---you'd think it'd be the other way round, wouldn't you? go figure.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:23 PM   #27 (permalink)
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My mum's a piano teacher and started teaching me as a very young boy—not to make a Mozart of me but rather because I asked (I said "please"). Piano is a big part of my personal history. Also, I've taught piano on an off since I was 14. I'm sure it colors my opinions in this thread very much. I don't see it as elitism or exclusiveness, though. I happen to have experience with this. I'm a lot more experienced with this than I am with anything else, quite probably.

I know you're not asking Kelly to put a vase to a piano string, but consider what it means to answer a simple question with a complex and wide open answer. "I'd like to learn piano", could be responded to by saying, "there are a million and one ways to learn," but it seems more like a crusade against the status quo than advice. Not that I have anything against challenging the status quo.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:34 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willravel
My mum's a piano teacher and started teaching me as a very young boy—not to make a Mozart of me but rather because I asked (I said "please"). Piano is a big part of my personal history. Also, I've taught piano on an off since I was 14. I'm sure it colors my opinions in this thread very much. I don't see it as elitism or exclusiveness, though. I happen to have experience with this. I'm a lot more experienced with this than I am with anything else, quite probably.

I know you're not asking Kelly to put a vase to a piano string, but consider what it means to answer a simple question with a complex and wide open answer. "I'd like to learn piano", could be responded to by saying, "there are a million and one ways to learn," but it seems more like a crusade against the status quo than advice. Not that I have anything against challenging the status quo.
Assuming an instructor is necessary does seem exclusivist to me, though. It says that the only way to learn is by doing it your specific way and that any of the other ways to go about it are wrong. Not everyone wants a teacher. Frankly, I could afford instruction on piano and know an excellent teacher who I already see regularly anyway. I forego this despite it all because I don't feel that a teacher is necessary for my own growth. Telling someone who is disinclined to otherwise hire a tutor that "a piano teacher is a must" and that "Self teaching misses the subtle nuances necessary to develop proper technique" as if there's some obscure ritualistic sorcery involved, well that's essentially telling that person that your way is the only right way. When it comes to artistic endeavors there is no one right way. In fact, there isn't even a wrong way. It's up to each individual to find their correct path. If that path includes a guide, than so be it. If not, that's okay too. And that's really what I'm getting at.

I don't like the idea that there are people here who dismiss me as a musician because I chose not to take formal instruction.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:48 PM   #29 (permalink)
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It's not necessary, but rather very helpful. Shame on you for using an ad hominem outside of politics. No one is dismissing you as a musician at all.

A piano teacher, as I said, is a tool. I can build a house without a hammer, but it's a lot easier with the hammer.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:53 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I think even very helpful is rather strong wording. Useful to some people in some situations, certainly. I would liken a teacher to a planer, rather than a hammer. Instruction is not so fundamental a tool as most seem to think.

You keep accusing me of an ad hominem attack, as if this is something shameful or wrong. This is not a formal debate, and it only seems natural that I should express a distaste for the espoused beliefs that I disagree with.
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:02 PM   #31 (permalink)
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You're projecting a different argument, which I'm not making. That's what ad hominem means.

Regardless, if you've never had formal training how do you know that it is not "so fundamental" or as I actually put it "very helpful"?
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:24 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I know because I've progressed to a reasonably high level without it. Granted, that's on a different instrument than the one in discussion; I haven't had time to gain an real proficiency with a piano. On the other hand, I don't doubt my ability to do so, given the necessary time.

I have never meant to imply that you specifically are being elitist, and perhaps that's where the misunderstanding arises. I am simply responding to an attitude that I encounter often among the people who consider themselves 'real' musicians. It's not a prevalent attitude amongst guitarists, because a large segment of the guitarist population is self-taught. Among those who study classical or when discussing certain classical instruments (piano being a prominent example), the attitude is widespread that one cannot truly learn how to play an instrument if one lacks the means or drive to study with a tutor who himself has studied with a tutor, etc etc. Your initial posts seemed to uphold that perspective, and while you have moved away from it it's still something that I feel is prevalent enough that it needs to be addressed. There is nothing wrong with self-study and one should not feel that one is inferior or incapable of learning to a higher degree because one prefers to learn in that fashion.

I question your definition of ad hominem. As I'm sure you're aware, ad hominem is Latin and means 'to the man.' It would be more accurately characterized as an attack on the individual, rather than the arguments the individual presents. My attack on your professed belief that instruction is essential or nearly so is ad hominem by definition; I do not deny your reasoning as to why a teacher is useful, but contend that the same effect may be achieved in more than one way. In that fashion I attack your beliefs and attack you as the person through them. I do not deny this, but assert that in a discussion such as this one it is a valid point.

Your definition would seem to be more characteristic of a straw man, which is a different logical fallacy.

If I am misunderstanding your argument, and if you agree that instruction is not necessary to advance through musical proficiency, then I apologize. In that case, we would seem to agree that there are multiple paths to the same end, and I would further question why exactly the last 25 or so posts in this thread exist.

I am in a great deal of pain tonight, and am therefore not as clear as I would otherwise hope to be in either thought or expression. This may be another source of confusion.
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:35 PM   #33 (permalink)
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No one said you weren't a real musician. And I meant strawman. I've got way too many informal fallacies in my head.

I'm a real musician and so are you. So is Roachboy. When and if Kelly starts to learn piano, Kelly will be a musician, too.
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Old 06-27-2008, 05:11 PM   #34 (permalink)
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In that case, we seem to be in agreement. Depending on what sort of style is being learned, an instructor may be helpful but is by no means necessary.

I'm glad we could reach an accord.
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Old 06-27-2008, 05:16 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian
In that case, we seem to be in agreement. Depending on what sort of style is being learned, an instructor may be helpful but is by no means necessary.

I'm glad we could reach an accord.
Agreed, not necessary. I'm still of the strong opinion that a teacher is the best option for KellyC's particular situation, though.

BTW, I can't believe I wrote ad hom instead of strawman. My fingers type strawman in my sleep...
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