Progress - How are you doing?

Share your piano experiences with other adult students

Postby 65-1074818729 » Wed May 12, 2004 6:19 pm

This thread is aimed at all of the adult piano students out there in “cyber space”, and there are a lot of us.

I would like to hear how you are progressing with your piano playing. Are you doing well or not so well? If you are having problems, what are they? If there are areas that you are doing very well in, what are they? Are you making progress with your reading?

For myself, I started piano lessons six years ago, with no previous experience. I am following the Royal Conservatory of Music system and have been taking lessons continuously since I first started. I would say I am a bit weak with my sight reading, although it is slowly improving. I also have some difficulty with very fast pieces, particularly with the left hand. I have not yet mastered playing fast and remaining completely relaxed at the same time. I don’t have any real strong points, however my teacher says I have a good sense of rhythm and am progressing quite satisfactorily.

The main issue for me is that I am thoroughly enjoying the experience. I practice anywhere from one to two hours per day and I always look forward to it. I have no goals in mind other than to progress as far as I can and for as long as I can.

How are you doing?

:O




Edited By AFlat on 1084485329
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Postby 110-1089657553 » Wed Jul 14, 2004 8:50 am

I must say I'm thoroughly enjoying the experience as well. I have played piano all my life, though not as much over the last 10 years. I started taking lessons again in December '03, after getting married and "settling down" a bit. The lessons were very frustrating at first; I was quite advanced when in college, and it seemed I had lost some of my strength and "feel" for the piano. That started to come back pretty, quickly, though. My piano teacher is teaching me a balance of intermediate/advanced pieces and Suzuki "kiddie pieces" to improve my technique, which I desperately need. So it seems slow at times, but overall, I'm very happy with my progress.
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Postby Piano Wannabe » Mon Aug 16, 2004 2:58 pm

[/quote]I would like to hear how you are progressing with your piano playing. Are you doing well or not so well? If you are having problems, what are they? If there are areas that you are doing very well in, what are they? Are you making progress with your reading?
[quote]
I feel that I'm making reasonable progress but must continually tell myself to be patient, and I have never been a patient person. Age does make a difference when acquiring new skills, according to all the reading I have done on the subject. At 67, I don't know how far I can go so I'll just go as far as I can.
I have trouble maintaining the continuity of a piece. My teacher tells me that those measure lines do not mean take a break! I'm trying to develop the ability to read ahead a little to prepare for changes in dynamics and new hand positions etc. so I don't have to pause and think about it.
I should really be playing.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Mon Aug 16, 2004 4:18 pm

Piano Wannabe,

I like your attitude.
At 67, I don't know how far I can go so I'll just go as far as I can.



I am 60, so I am in the same boat. Who knows, life could be already half over for us.

I too have a weakness with my reading. After 6 years, I am just now starting to read ahead a little bit (very slowly).

I was wondering, how long have you been studying piano, and did you take any lessons earlier in life?

AFlat
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Postby Piano Wannabe » Tue Aug 17, 2004 7:01 am

A Flat,
I like your attitute too...
I am 60, so I am in the same boat. Who knows, life could be already half over for us.

My wife bought me a set of three lessons for my 65th birthday. That teacher (Scott) started me with the Schaum series at the Primer level. That was in 2001. I took the lessons and that was that until December 2002, when I bought a Radio Shack portable keyboard and started playing the Schaum Fingerpower primer I had gotten from Scott, and got the bug. In Jan-Feb-Mar03 I worked through the primer theory, rhythm and fingerpower books and ordered the level one set, then the level two set. Then I took lessons from four different teachers before finding my current teacher, Glenn, who is just terriffic. Go ahead and laugh :D. I know what you must think... What's wrong with this guy, right? ??? Right!
Well anyway, now I know a bit about teachers too, but that would be another article.
Anyway, when I slow down I can think ahead a little bit. But then the piece doesn't sound right, you know? My teacher says it will come in time and I trust him.
I should really be playing.
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Postby Piano Wannabe » Wed Aug 18, 2004 5:22 am

A Flat,
What is the Royal Conservatory of Music program?
I should really be playing.
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Postby Piano Wannabe » Wed Aug 18, 2004 5:44 am

I have problems finding that low C to A without looking.
When I watch a real player, particularly when they are playing pop music, they seem to effortlessly find that low octave note and their left hand alternates between it and the bass octave and they don't miss.
It amazes me. When I try it without looking at the keys I miss the note about half the time.
I wonder if there is some exercise I should be practicing.
Does anyone else have this problem?
I should really be playing.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Wed Aug 18, 2004 6:50 pm

Piano Wannabe,

The best way I can explain the Royal Conservatory of Music is with the attached hyperlink. Royal Conservatory of Music

It is a program which follows a graded system (mainly classical) from a very easy level for beginners to I believe grade 10 which is very advanced. Each grade has it's own repertoire book with about 30 or so different pieces of music, together with a "studies album" book which works on the more technical requirements for that level. There is also a student work book for each grade, which works on learning some theory as well as how to play the pieces of music listed in the repertoire book for that particular grade. There is also a CD which is available for each grade where you can listen to how each piece is suppose to sound.

I know in years past, this was the most popular system, by far, for learning piano. It might be less popular now, as students want to learn the more popular pieces.

I am hoping that perhaps "mins music" or one of the other teachers who use this site will jump in here and help me out.

I like the system myself because each grade is a little bit harder than the previous one, and this forces me to get better or stay in the same grade. (Just like school). Also, I find that each grade has many pieces of music to choose from, and this gives the teacher an opportunity to pick out the ones that work on my particular weaknesses.

I hope this helps a bit. I will check to see if I can find other sites which explain this better.

:D

AFlat
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Postby Mins Music » Wed Aug 18, 2004 10:00 pm

You gave an excellent explanation Aflat and the link gives some great detailed information. :cool:



I wonder if there is some exercise I should be practicing.


Piano Wannabe, do you practise scales played in octaves? This is a good exercise in training your left hand to know how far apart it has to spread to reach the octave notes.

1. Start with C major (as it's the C and the A you need to work on), and slowly (with a steady, even tempo), using your left hand, descend the scale in octaves, that is, fifth and thumb on C's, then Bs etc. When first trying these exercises, watch your hands.
2. Repeat the descending scale five times.
3. Now start low and ascend the scale. Repeat 5 times.
4. Ascend and descend, repeat 5 times.
(Always check your hand for tension, and if needed, allow your hand to relax into the neutral position).

The same exercise can be done with minor scales and chromatic scales. Again, looking at your hands while you practise at the beginning stages.

Include arpeggios based on the C6 chord. (ascending) C E G A C. Just play up and down, looking at your hand to begin with, and then trying to look in front of you as you continue the exercise.

Arpeggios in four octaves are a good way to really get to know the piano layout. Tackle this one hands separate to begin with, and looking is okay too.

When playing the very lower (or very higher) notes on the piano, don't forget to move from the torso to reach them (bottom should stay in the same place, but your upper half should be free enough to move where you need to go. This may be another reason why its the lower notes that aren't always successful, if you're reaching only with your arms - or worse, hands, then it will always remain difficult).

After you've been training this way for a while, test yourself by writing the notes you want to play on a piece of paper, establishing an even steady rhythm, and then keeping your eye on the paper, play the notes. And don't be afraid to use the black keys as guide posts.

I often play a game with my students, that they have to sit with their hands behind them, I tell them a note, and then on ready set go, they have to find that note around the middle C position ... with their eyes closed. They are only allowed to play the note when they are CERTAIN it is the correct one. All they are allowed to use is feel. When they have the note in the middle of the keyboard, they then have to find ALL those notes, sometimes starting low and going high, sometimes the other way around.


(This is of course all based on the assumption I understood what you meant.... :D Apologies if I got it wrong.)
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby Piano Wannabe » Thu Aug 19, 2004 12:48 pm

AFlat & Mins,
Thanks for your info. I visited the RCM website and was very impressed. I liked AFlat's description of the material too. Problem is that I live in Florida and from what I was able to determine this is a Canadian program. If I was able to find a local teacher I would enroll today. I would like to be able to quantify my progress and to see what the next grade would require and to follow a well-thought-out curriculum.
I've done a lot of web surfing and asking around and just don't have a clue as to how to find any kind of teaching program that follows a curriculum locally.
I'm trying your exercises Mins, and will probably add them to my "Sunrise Serenade" as I call my morning exercise. Thanks for your help.
I should really be playing.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Thu Aug 19, 2004 6:21 pm

Piano Wannabe,

The hyperlinked web site is the Frederick Harris site. They supply the books used in the Royal Conservatory system. The part I linked, deals with the U.S. and lists the books used in the Royal Conservatory system. When you enter the site, the books will be referred to as the Celebration Series. You can look at a sample of each book, at each grade, to get an idea of the material covered at each grade. I believe you can actually listen to the samples as well.

This will give you some idea as to the material used in the Royal Conservatory system.


Frederick Harris Music

AFlat

:;):
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Postby tinyfluffy » Tue May 22, 2007 1:56 pm

I also want to share some of my experiences.

I have been taking lessons since November of 2005, so about a year and half now.

The first teacher I had is not a professionally certified music teacher, and she let me use the Suzuki book. I finished book 1 and 2 within 8 months with her. Howerver, by that time, i felt the Suzuki method is not good for adult student, and I didn't agree with my teacher in many ways.

Thus, i found my second teacher. She let me use the Piano Adventure for Adults book by the Fabers, and also a Beginning Piano Solo book. I really love having lessons with her, but i had to move to another state after I had her for 4 months.

I have a very strict but cool teacher right now. I am playing Czerny's Practical Method, and the Sonatina Album (just started
:) , also my teacher gave me some other pieces now and then.

My sightreading is not that great, but it's improving. As generally seen in adult learners, I have difficulties with fast pieces.

I really enjoy the process of learning, and appreciate that I have a chance to learn now. I try to spend at least one hour practicing on weekdays, two hours on weekends. Just love it!
Love piano!
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Postby Stretto » Tue May 22, 2007 11:56 pm

Sounds great! Welcome! :)
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Postby LK123 » Tue May 29, 2007 7:25 pm

Hello all,

I am an adult student as well... grew up playing the piano and then took it up two years ago again after nearly a twenty year absence! I am following the Royal Conservatory program and am playing my Grade Nine exam in THREE WEEKS!!! It has taken me the whole two years to get back to the level I was at before (or at least somewhere close as I don't feel my fingers or my brain are quite as nimble haha). I played a couple of exam pieces the other night for a group of piano students like myself, who are also starting to teach. Our advisor told my teacher the very next day that I "nailed" it. Was I ever floating on cloud nine after I heard that. It just confirmed to me that I CAN do it. I have a whole new respect for adult piano students - juggling lives, jobs, families and taking the time to practice and perform. I have even extended that respect to what I have accomplished over the last two years. Well done everyone and keep it up! The world is a better place with music in it don't you think?
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