Pursuing music? - Share the story of your musical pursuit

All topics musical, not specifically piano-related

Postby Stretto » Thu Jun 30, 2005 10:16 am

What is the story behind your musical pursuit? Have you had a lot of encouragement along the way? I've heard a lot of people say that they were left out of the picture as far as wanting to learn an instrument, sing, etc. or people who would have always liked to learn, or those who quit an instrument, etc. and wish they would have stuck with it.

My story:
I took piano lessons for 6-7 years (from ages 12-18) and considered going into music as a career. I had never been around kids as a teenager so I couldn't picture myself as a teacher. I considered getting a degree in music but 'everyone' advised me that there is no money in music. At age 17 or 18, I took a vocational test and researched other career possibilities. I pursued another degree thinking I could minor in music. I was too busy in college to pursue a music minor or even practice the piano. Then I sold my piano when I moved, so there was a several year time-frame that I didn't touch a piano. Then when I moved to where there was a college close by I jumped right into getting a music degree. Even the professors were skeptical that I would be able to reach the level of performance necessary to graduate. I finally told my advisor that "I would haunt the dept. until I was 65 if that's what it took." It was my passion for music that has kept me in a life-long pursuit of learning whatever I can. Looking back, I could picture myself now having taught music in a school or college. I had no comprehension of what teaching would have been like at age 18 and therefore never considered the field of teaching.
Now I am enjoying private teaching and try to study or learn new things whenever I can. I believe music should be a life-long pursuit in some way, shape, or form. There's always something new to learn or pursue.

Without having to give out personal information, what is the story behing your musical pursuit? Anyone in any type of musical pursuit in any genre or style whether it be via formal training or teaching yourself has a story.
Perhaps you could get some encouragement from others here even if it's just someone to say, "go for it!"
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Postby montana » Thu Jun 30, 2005 10:40 pm

I have a degree in classical guitar. I put my self through school playing rock in bands. After graduation in 1972 I taught and played classical and pop for a living. I never really had a love for classical guitar so I finally gave up teaching and played on the road for years. After a while I wanted to get off the road so I taught myself piano and started playing piano bars in CT. I also went back to school to become a computer programmer. I am now semi retired and back playing piano for a living in MT. Recently at a classical music festival I attended I got inspired to start reading and really studing piano. I just finished book one of the Thompson method and started book two. I'm really enjoying it.
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Postby Stretto » Thu Jun 30, 2005 11:20 pm

Thanks for your reply. Hopefully some more members will add their stories. I admire and envy those who have both a knowledge of classical and rock, etc. It's great to be able to play and teach a variety of styles. When I first started taking lessons as a teenager I really disliked 'classical' (Baroque - Modern) music. It all sounded the same although I learned some of it. It wasn't until I went to college and learned the behind the scenes aspects (i.e. chord progressions in the music, history of the composer and the history of the ideas of the time, etc., etc.) that I really began to love 'classical' music and find it fascinating now to analyze the scores (when I have time).

I learned out of Thompson also. My teacher didn't assign Thompson but I had some of my dad's old books and asked the teacher if I could learn out of them. I really liked the original Thompson series (red books). Good luck in your piano learning! :cool:

Would anyone else like to add their stories?
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Sun Jul 03, 2005 8:12 pm

What is the story behind your musical pursuit?



I have always enjoyed listening to all types of music, but especially live music. I always envied people who could play musical instruments, and especially a piano. As a result, I had it in the back of my mind that someday when I had the time to devote, I would learn to play the piano.

Life has its way of setting priorities for you, so it wasn’t until I was 53 that I had the free time that would be needed to learn to play a musical instrument. That was seven years ago. I have been taking piano lessons continuously since then and have no intentions of quitting. I practice approximately two hours a day and I enjoy every minute.

I do wish though that I had started earlier in life, as others have stated on this forum. But I am doing it now, so I guess that is all that matters.

:D
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:52 pm

A-flat--cheers, bravo and hooray for you!! The question I've been asked more than any other by prospective adult students is, "Am I too old?" NEVER! Start if you're ninety!
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby Stretto » Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:53 pm

Quote by AFlat - July 03
I do wish though that I had started earlier in life, as others have stated on this forum. But I am doing it now so I guess that is all that matters.


AFlat:
With 2 hrs. a day of practice, good training, and 8 years worth of learning and playing the piano (fantastic!), I'm sure you're playing more advanced repertoire than many who started early. Taking into account all the times I never seriously practiced (like as a teenager, waiting until the day or 2 before lessons to cram in my practice as well as other times in my life I've done little practice), I can't calculate a certain number of years of solid piano learning.

10 years from now, you'll have played almost 20 years! A lot of people who learn an instrument when they're young never carry it into adulthood. I hear a lot of stories of people who wish they would have stuck with it. As a teacher, I haven't had any adult students but would like to teach piano to some who quit and always wish they would have stuck with it or those who never had a chance to learn. My ad for teaching piano reads "ages 5-105". I regret not practicing at all for about a 6 year time frame and think how far I'd be if I'd have kept up practice during that time and other times I haven't practiced as much as I should. But the wonderful thing I love about pursuing music is that one can pick back up on it or learn anything new one wants at any time.

Can anyone else help out with this thread by adding something about their musical pursuit? It doesn't have to be a whole story but could be bits and pieces that might help or inspire someone else. It doesn't have to be piano only but can be any instrument, voice, composing, whatever your
area(s) of interest. Does anyone want to tell about something someone said to encourage you in your musical pursuit or something that discouraged you? Or is there some area of music you have always wanted to learn that you haven't had a chance to learn? Is there an area of music like an instrument you started to learn and quit?
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Postby presto » Fri Aug 26, 2005 8:36 pm

Dr. Bill Leland wrote:The question I've been asked more than any other by prospective adult students is, "Am I too old?" NEVER! Start if you're ninety!

Amen, Dr. Leland! There are so many adults out there with wistful faces, saying they always wanted to learn piano, but you can tell that they think as a matter of course that it's too late. No way! If I remember correctly, there was a woman who began learning the violin when she was 80 or 90 years old. Why not?

I'm glad you started this topic, Stretto. I would love to hear people's stories of how they got to where they are in their musical careers and/or what made them decide to pursue music. I'm still on the early half of the road myself, so I can't really say now, but I hope to have a fabulous story to tell one day!
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No problem!
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sat Aug 27, 2005 10:41 am

I don't know how many of you remember Grandma Moses. She took up painting at the age of 76, was discovered by a collector who happened to see several of her paintings gathering dust in a New England store window, and proceded to enjoy a 25-year career of international fame. She died at the age of 101.

That may be an extreme case, but virtually all of us can do similar things if we just abandon the cliches about learning curves in older people, and get busy at what we've always wanted to do. Medical science keeps reporting new 'discoveries' (HA!) about how much older people are capable of learning, physically and mentally, that they hadn't suspected.

Moriz Rosenthal, one of the great pianists of the early 20th century, completely changed his fingering patterns in his 70s; Igor Stravinsky kept exploring new compositional styles well into his 80s; Verdi wrote "Otello", often called his greatest opera, when he was 74.

For myself, for what it's worth, I'm several years into retirement and now feel as though I'm just learning to play the piano. It's exhilarating to have the freedom to concentrate on the elaborate mental activities that go into it, without the distractions of a job. And I'm totally convinced that we respond physically as well, in many positive ways, by having a forward-looking attitude and finding the excitement of new things.

Dr. B.
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Postby Spectris Lori » Fri Oct 21, 2005 7:41 am

Hi everyone!

I became interested in piano at an early age. Through private instruction in the classics and music classes in high school, I was led to majoring in Music at a college in Miami, Fla. Life changes brought me to Boston, MA to attend Berklee College of Music. Though my stay there was brief, it gave me a good musical foundation especially in Jazz I left Berklee to pursue other interests, one of which was to study the classics via the tutelage of a New England Conservatory graduate. Unfortunatley, due to more life changes, I moved out of state and did not continue my music education. For several years I did not even play regularly. It was not until my husband encouraged me to get back into music by joining him in his musical endeavors.
We are now in a prog rock band, I am the keyboardist, he is lead singer and bassist. We gig most every month, and I find it one of the most rewarding things in my life, to play live music with other musicians. It has been a learning experience all the way but it has definitely been worth it.
:)
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Postby Spectris Lori » Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:09 am

p.s. did I mention that I did not START my semi-professional rock music career until I was in my 40's? hmmmm .... no it is NEVER too late! :D
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Fri Oct 21, 2005 9:53 am

Welcome to the board, Spectris Lori.

Hope to see your name here often.


AFlat :D
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Postby Spectris Lori » Fri Oct 21, 2005 12:02 pm

Thank you AFLat :)
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Postby Chilly » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:00 am

hi,

I did piano and violin lessons when i was 6 or 7. My brother who was in grade 2 at the time and i used to practice for 30 mins everyday, and when i practiced violin, i used to end up playing his songs by ear, because i didn't want to practice my songs.

I did my grade 1 in violin, and didn't get much further with piano. But i continued to play piano whenever I saw one - usually songs that i knew and would quickly work them out. I did afew more lessons when I was 13, but due to relocation again didn't carry on for long. I've always enjoyed playing piano and wanted to continue with it, just lacked the oportunities.

When I got married, I was given my grandmothers piano and so was able to start playing again, though lessons were not an option due to expense. When i came to England and could still play violin, i got over excited and jumped at the oportunity of taking lessons again. For the past year, i've been playing violin with our churches music group, and working on my piano, though i've put the violin on hold untill i've got some qualifications on the piano which is my first love.

I'm also self taught on guitar, as i love the practicality of the instrument, and my niece bought me a harmonica for my last birthday, so have had afew sessions on that too. My problem is that i love music soo much that i want to play everything and i never get really good on any one instrument. Which is why i've put all the others aside for a while and am working on the piano.

Doing my grade 5 in Dec and hopefully a teaching course early next year.. :D
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Postby Stretto » Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:51 am

That's great to have played several instruments! I wish I would have learned more than one instrument. I guess I did to some extent. My dad had an old guitar, and old trombone we goofed around on as kids. And I took a year of clarinet when instruments were offered in elementary school. I also took a few lessons of guitar a couple times. Outside of the short-term guitar lessons, once I started the piano, I never took up any other instruments. And I always wish I had. It's not too late, though! I might still eventually.

I recently was talking to someone about music and lessons and they had a friend who played a bunch of different instruments growing up and kept switching. He eventually ended up being a sound engineer.
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Postby Mins Music » Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:04 pm

I think my story is lurking on this forum somehwere else, but it's been a while since I've been here.

It was my Uncle who encouraged me. He played the piano and when he came to visit he'd bring this huge recorder (found out it is the alto). Somehow a recorder was now in my possession ( can't remember who bought it for me or how I got it - I was 8). I joined the school band by bluffing my way through the audition ( played by ear) and freaked out when they wanted to give me a solo - but I couldn't read music. My uncle encouraged my Mum to buy an organ - you know the ole split keyboard with pedals. Had three years of lessons.
We moved. I refused to go to another teacher, couldn't be bothered. Finally got one (poor Mum really wanted me to learn). But this kind old lady INSISTED I read music - the other one just played and I copied her! So after a while I quit.

15th birthday Mum bought me a piano. HUGE!!!!! Had lessons for I think, 2 or three years. TRIED to teach me theory and sightreading. He moved away. Met dragon lady. QUIT.

Was bombarded with "you'll regret it" by EVERYone, even people I barely knew!

Went to Uni, did Drama and interesting enough music ( I still played just didn't go to lessons.) Taught in highschool. Got sick. Decided to teach piano and am STILL loving it.

Moral of the story: I tell my students' parents to relax when they want to quit. It doesn't mean forever and it doesn't mean they hate music or the piano. And the lovely thing is, I grew up to be a piano teacher and can now teach my own mother who never had lessons as a child.

During the years of 'lessons: don't need 'em' I taught myself the flute, clarinet, guitar, and violin - the latter I'm still rather hideous at - I just don't practice enough! All during school I sang and was in musicals and sang solos at concerts. As well as piano, I teach singing, keyboard (you know, melody line with autoaccompaniments and arrangements) and guitar. I'm happy teaching and attending a ridiculously LOT of classical concerts and have never had the desire to be a professional performer.
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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