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Returning to piano playing - advice please!


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#16 corenfa

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 02:23


There's a part of me that hopes piano playing is like riding a bike, and I'll miraculously turn out to have somehow not forgotten how to play, but I somehow doubt it. If only I hadn't let my skills lapse over the last 30-odd years!


I have taught quite a few adult 'returners' as well as those starting from scratch and I would say that however rusty you are some of the old brain wiring will have persisted although it might take a while to re-surface!

As an adult returner, I can attest to this. But don't do what I did which was to get out pieces that I knew I used to be able to play, try and fail to play them, and get annoyed.
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#17 storyangel

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 11:27

I'm a rusty adult pianist too, trying to get back into it! I have a Clavinova and I love it. I bought mine second hand and it's in great condition. Something else to consider depending on where you are located.
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#18 helen_flute

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 18:53

 

 

There's a part of me that hopes piano playing is like riding a bike, and I'll miraculously turn out to have somehow not forgotten how to play, but I somehow doubt it. If only I hadn't let my skills lapse over the last 30-odd years!


I have taught quite a few adult 'returners' as well as those starting from scratch and I would say that however rusty you are some of the old brain wiring will have persisted although it might take a while to re-surface!

As an adult returner, I can attest to this. But don't do what I did which was to get out pieces that I knew I used to be able to play, try and fail to play them, and get annoyed.

 

Fortunately, aside from the book of easy Christmas music, I don't think I still have any of my old music, so I'll be spared that torture, although I do remember having that problem when I started playing the flute again seriously after a long break. I think the last thing I was learning to play (in 1989!!) was Fur Elise, but I don't remember getting very far with it, and I'm certain I'll not be able to play it.

 

Things have moved relatively swiftly, and my other half has been reading reviews on entry level digital pianos. We've decided on a Roland FP10, and it's due for delivery on Saturday as an early Christmas present. I'm very excited and looking forward to seeing just how rusty my skills actually are.


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#19 Gordon Shumway

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 10:32

I've got a Yamaha P125, which is at the lower end of your budget. For pottering it is more than adequate, although the action seems a little heavy for some trills. I've never looked at Roland. I'd say don't get anything with fewer than 88 keys. From memory the P45 has 72?


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#20 helen_flute

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 18:40

Well, my digital piano arrived today and I'm definitely less rusty that I expected to be, considering I only ever reached Grade 4 and I've not played for 30 years. So far I've managed to play some Christmas music, and had a go at some of the early stuff in the Adult Piano Adventures Classics Book 1. The thing I'm finding hardest is remembering how to read the bass cleff.

 

Thanks very much to those who recommended books. As well as the Adult Piano Adventures, I also got the Carol Barratt book which also looks excellent, so I've got plenty to be getting on with.


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#21 Gordon Shumway

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 18:47

 The thing I'm finding hardest is remembering how to read the bass cleff.

Ditto.Curious, that.


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#22 agricola

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:53

 

 The thing I'm finding hardest is remembering how to read the bass cleff.

Ditto.Curious, that.

 

 

A lot of piano players find the bass clef harder to read -- but logically it can't be.  I think one reason is that most beginners practise the RH part more enthusiastically as it usually has the melody.  Also there is often confusion about how the whole grand staff set up works.  Beginners who start in middle C position tend to assume that the notes are named outward from middle C because that's the way the fingering works. 

 

I suggest always practising the LH part first, naming notes as much as possble and try to make it sound like a dance rather than just playing correct pitches. 


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#23 Gordon Shumway

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 10:57

Prosaically, it's bound to be because any other music I have engaged in (oboe, violin, guitar, uke) has used the treble clef.


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#24 helen_flute

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 11:14

Prosaically, it's bound to be because any other music I have engaged in (oboe, violin, guitar, uke) has used the treble clef.

It's the same for me. Anything I've played in the last 30 years has used the treble clef, and even when I was playing the piano too, proportionally more of the music I was reading was treble clef. I'll get my eye and ear back in for the bass clef though, I'm sure, it'll just take a bit of work.


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#25 Gran'piano

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 11:22

For me I'd say that I sang from the treble clef and learned the names of the notes on it long before I started to play an instrument.

In addition, for most things we count or say letters 'forwards'. So from middle C one continues upwards on the stave D, E, F and the fingering goes from left to right 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. With the bass clef if one starts around middle C one has to say the alphabet backwards C, B, A, G, F, E and count from right to left with the left hand. 


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#26 thara96

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 23:22

How are lessons? What are you learning at the moment?


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#27 ejw21

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 12:47

Well, my digital piano arrived today and I'm definitely less rusty that I expected to be, considering I only ever reached Grade 4 and I've not played for 30 years. So far I've managed to play some Christmas music, and had a go at some of the early stuff in the Adult Piano Adventures Classics Book 1. The thing I'm finding hardest is remembering how to read the bass cleff.

 

Thanks very much to those who recommended books. As well as the Adult Piano Adventures, I also got the Carol Barratt book which also looks excellent, so I've got plenty to be getting on with.

Hi helen_flute, excellent news! Happy playing.


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#28 helen_flute

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 17:40

I've now had my piano for nearly two weeks, and I'm enjoying it very much.

 

I'm liking Adult Piano Adventures more than the Carol Barratt book, and I also got a giant book called Essential Keyboard Repertoire Volume 1, which I saw recommended in a YouTube video, which has easy pieces by various composers, including Telemann, Kabalevsky and Beethoven, which I'm finding good.I also got a book of scales, because from all my flute playing, I kind of felt like I needed to play scales/arpeggios alongside pieces. I do wonder about warm-up exercises. I normally structure my flute practice as: warm up (me and instrument)/technical exercises/scales & arpeggios/pieces, so I feel a few things are missing from my piano practice, but I'm not sure what to do at my stage.

 

I'm not taking lessons, and don't plan to, just working on various bits and bobs from the books I have. I've been trying to play a little each day while I've been on leave from work over Christmas, but this will change once I go back tomorrow, and flute will take priority, so I'll mostly have time to practice at weekends. It's great fun, and I'm surprised by how much I've come on in relatively little time.


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#29 Misterioso

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 13:31

I do wonder about warm-up exercises. I normally structure my flute practice as: warm up (me and instrument)/technical exercises/scales & arpeggios/pieces, so I feel a few things are missing from my piano practice, but I'm not sure what to do at my stage.

 

Had you considered Dozen A Day as warm-up exercises?


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#30 helen_flute

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 19:26

I don't know what that is, but I will google, thanks!


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