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Wow: learning the piano without having a piano


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#1 sopsaxharpflute

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 11:11

Wow, I am really impressed by the way this guy found a way of learning the piano without having a piano. Read the article in The Guardian at: 

https://www.theguard...without-a-piano


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#2 BadStrad

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 11:43

A few years back I read about a guy who carved a keyboard into the kitchen table and used that to learn/practise. Where there's a will, there's a way.

It's nice to read articles like the one linked to which point out the graft (and sacrifices) involved in learning an instrument, rather than perpetuating the myth that all successful instrumentalists have some mythical talent that propels them forwards and upwards.
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#3 fsharpminor

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 12:14

I have refused to teach my granddaughters (8 and 5) because they don't have a piano at home, and are pushed for space. They are 10 mins drive away but we only see them about once a week (or if we are baby sitting) . They have a play around on my piano when they come , and I have taught them a few basics.


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#4 mel2

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 12:52

This article could prove to be a real pain in the neck for piano teachers who are faced with the old 'we will buy a piano if she shows some aptitude'.
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#5 elemimele

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 14:15

I'd agree with BadStrad about the myth of successful instrumentalists needing special genetics and superpowers. But I think this article is actually quite harmful. I suspect that this person is extremely unusual - very few people can do that step of remembering a note from a computer and imagining it, linking it to pressing a piece of paper on a table, and extend that to being able to play a 'piano' whose sound exists only in their head. The few I've met who can, tend to be very surprised that not everyone can - so maybe they are the few who do have special genetics and superpowers. The vast majority of people aren't that hot at envisioning what they're doing, but can still learn to play an instrument with a lot of reward and satisfaction, and to a reasonable standard.

I'd be much happier with an article about how someone went off and did a paper-round and saved up and bought a cheap electronic keyboard and taught themselves with that... it'd be more realistic, and more approachable for the average teenager in the street (but it'd be too boring to publish).

Most people who try what this person tried are going to fail, find it very frustrating, and probably never touch a keyboard in their lives, which is sad.

Generally, I think an inspirational article is one that actually prompts ordinary, average people to go out and do something and make a go of it. Inspirational doesn't, to me, mean a story of how an exceptional person achieved the near-impossible, because that sort of story only has a positive consequence for the already extraordinarily self-confident.


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#6 sopsaxharpflute

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 15:03

 

Most people who try what this person tried are going to fail, find it very frustrating, and probably never touch a keyboard in their lives, which is sad.

Generally, I think an inspirational article is one that actually prompts ordinary, average people to go out and do something and make a go of it. Inspirational doesn't, to me, mean a story of how an exceptional person achieved the near-impossible, because that sort of story only has a positive consequence for the already extraordinarily self-confident.

I am convinced that every  so-called 'ordinary, average' person can reach astonishing results under not-ordinary, average circumstances when the drive to reach a certain result is great enough. Every success comes at a price and the question always is whether one wants to pay that price.

 

I also think that the exertion itself at least will result in that same person not being 'ordinary, average' any longer.

 

If one gets frustrated during a project, it usually means that the drive is not great enough or that one doesn't want to pay the price of success (mostly being trying, failing, trying, failing better, etc, and at last succeeding).

 

Of course this doesn't mean that anybody could gain the great result meantioned in the article. But I do think that nobody is destined to remain 'ordinary, average'.


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#7 thara96

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 15:51

Wow innovative minds clearly prevail! 


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#8 EllieD

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 08:58

 

 

Of course this doesn't mean that anybody could gain the great result meantioned in the article. But I do think that nobody is destined to remain 'ordinary, average'.

 

 

Is there something wrong with being "ordinary, average", though? Let's not make the mistake of measuring a person by their ability to achieve something! (I'm sure that's not what you meant of course!! Just saying that actually a lot of pleasure can be realised from things that we're never going to get an Olympic medal for, and the stresses of trying to get above "ordinary, average" aren't something everybody wants.)


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#9 elemimele

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 11:46

Yes, and also we have to be very careful about what message is conveyed by the words "anyone can do anything, if only they care enough and work at it". Because if they care very much, work very hard, and still don't succeed, the message becomes "you're a failure, and it's your own fault: you just didn't care and didn't try", which is totally, totally crushing.

I honestly believe that (a) some things are too hard for some of us, and (b) it is OK to need a normal level of support in order to succeed.

Yes, normal is good. If you take the entire population of people who've made an effort to learn to play piano, and evaluate their achievement in some way, then half will be below average, no matter how hard they've all tried, and no matter how spectacularly well everyone plays. That's just what an average is(*).

 

(* the small print: OK, someone is going to be pedantic, so I'll get in first: the distribution of quality in pianists is going to be very skewed on most evaluations, because there are very few extremely good pianists, and a lot of beginners, much the same as income is skewed by a handful of billionaires. So actually half will be below the median value. More than half will be below average, if average is taken as the mean).


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#10 corenfa

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 16:56

I grew up in a culture where being outstanding is prized. It was exhausting. I don't live there any more. There are some aspects in which I am above average (I think I make a good curry) but in most things in life I am ordinary, average, and I revel in it.
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#11 thara96

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 17:07

I won't read the article then. 


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#12 Norway

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 10:18

One of my pupils whose parents couldn't afford to buy her a keyboard has been learning well on one of my cardboard keyboards for a couple of terms. She has done better than some pupils who have a piano at home! Now the school has got some money together to buy her a real keyboard. :yay: And she has a sibling at home who can benefit too. :) Definitely agree about the achievement thing. I'm growing a person - it's not just about the playing is it?


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#13 Aquarelle

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 13:42

I've just taken on a 6 year old who has a toy piano. Mother has said she will buy what i suggest for a Christmas present. she may only have a toy piano at the moment but this child shows interest and promise and is quick to understand and to explain to me what she wil be able to  do on her "toy" before the next lesson on the "big" piano.


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#14 Saxwarbler

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 15:16

Call me an old skeptic, but it smacks of one of those fantastic, unbelieveable stories that turn up among the ads at the bottom of internet news websites - "His Mom couldn't afford a piano so he drew one ... you won't believe what he did next!! Click to continue reading ..."

Paper keyboards are great for learning key geography in the early stages and probably good for silent practice when you're a little more advanced (or so I'm told). And I don't doubt that the theory and aural are perfectly possible for an intelligent, motivated person with access to suitable resources, in this case, a computer. But grade 3? Grade 5? Hmm ... :unsure:


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#15 sharpstudent

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 15:14

Amazing......


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