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Any pianists out there please?

(22 Posts)
gettingonabit Mon 02-Jan-12 16:29:17

Just wondering if there are any pianists out there? I've taken up piano again after 35 years and I'd like to compare notes (no pun intended!) with anyone who has learned, teaches or with aspirations to do so. Thanks.

Oh - and of course I mean keyboard too!

artygran Mon 02-Jan-12 19:19:42

gettingonabit Glad to hear someone else is starting again after a long break! I have been taking piano lessons now for around three years. I'm in my sixties. I started learning when I was young and gave it up at 16; then never had the chance again until I was in my forties. I had a good teacher but he gave up teaching so I gave up learning. Then, when I retired, the people I worked with gave me a generous sum of money, so I decided to use it to take lessons again. I don't take exams, am allowed to go at my own pace and am bobbling along at grade three, happy to be able to make any kind of progress! My husband says I have the Eric Morecambe syndrome - I play all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order! I really struggle with theory, though, and don't practice as much as I should. How about you? What sort of pieces are you playing and what sort of music do you like?

Mishap Mon 02-Jan-12 19:50:02

Try looking at the series of books called "It's easy to play..." - there is a book for different types of music - Beatles, classics, ragtime etc. A good way to get started again.
But of course no substitute for a helpful friendly teacher.

gettingonabit Tue 03-Jan-12 17:31:04

arty - glad I'm not the only one struggling to get back into music! I've got a teacher, and I do jazz mainly (incidentally, playing the right notes in the wrong order is a form of jazz, or so I keep telling myself...)

I'm just doing random things really - no exams - too old for that - but i would like one day to teach, so I need to prove myself as a player first. As it's jazz, there's lots of improvisation, so the world is your lobster.

Otherwise, I've done a bit of Chopin, and I'm doing a really fast Beethoven piece, which is a sonata finale. Presumably you're doing Grade 3 ABRSM? What tunes?

artygran Tue 03-Jan-12 19:34:50

We are currently doing stuff from Classics to Moderns 3, which has some nice pieces in it. My teacher tends to lean towards classical pieces (he teaches at our university and is the conductor of the local oratorio, who are gobsmackingly excellent); I would like to try something a bit more modern, but I don't know how the suggestion would be received. He's a lovely man and I wouldn't like to offend his sensibilities! I like all kinds of music. In my wildest dreams, I can play the piano like Oscar Peterson (I wish!)...
Mishap, I have "It's easy to play Jerome Kern" and like to dip into it now and then - makes a nice change from all the classical stuff!

gettingonabit Wed 04-Jan-12 19:50:44

Thanks both. arty - why don't you try some jazz? It's far more satisfying than most of the stuff I learned as a kid, in my humble opinion. Your teacher sounds terribly scary to me, and there IS life beyond classical music. You may be the next Oscar Peterson yet! (apparently an excellent classical musician too, so I'm told...)

I am so lucky to have found a teacher interested in jazz!

What are you practising at the moment, if you don't mind me asking?

artygran Wed 04-Jan-12 21:07:03

A piece called The Reaper's Song by Schumann... lots of black! It's going quite well - for a change. And Bach's Little Prelude - I like a bit of Bach. Off my own back, I'm chugging through Scott Joplin's The Entertainer. I used to think my teacher was scary, but now we know each other better he's a bit of a sweetie really. He's just rather cerebral and donnish. I happened to say one day that I thought Mozart's symphonies were rather boring - I thought I was going to have to call an ambulance as he looked so shocked. (I did redeem myself by saying that I liked his operas and choral music!) When I want the best of both worlds, I dig out my Jacques Loussier CD, 'Jazz Sebastian Bach'. Now there's a pianist!

Grandmama Thu 05-Jan-12 15:23:25

I learnt the piano until about age 17 then had further lessons at college but didn't do exams or much theory or scales etc. I play intermittently but am a bit inhibited by my next door neighbour hearing me - when she's out I feel more confident. However, I occasionally have to play the keyboard at church and however much I practise at home, it never seems to go right. Probably I'm too tense to let go and relax into it. Partly it's memory - sometimes I get half way through and can't remember which key I'm in! Any suggestions? I'd love to play fluently.

kittyp Thu 05-Jan-12 16:12:29

I play like a concert pianist...in my head. In reality I never got past grade 1 and can just about manage Chopsticks. I am filled with admiration for those of you who are taking lessons - you never know, I may join you one day

artygran Thu 05-Jan-12 16:47:34

grandmama, I, too, was inhibited by the neighbours hearing me, especially in the summer with the conservatory doors open! I always played with the soft pedal down. We have now moved to a detached house and I made DH stand outside to see if he could hear the piano - and he couldn't, but I still play with the soft pedal down - can't seem to break the habit.... Regarding your playing at church; if you are anything like me, I'm okay until someone decides to sing along and then it all goes down the toilet! I was playing Away in the Manger for my grandson, 5, until he joined in and then I couldn't put a finger right! "Nanny," he said "you were rubbish!" (I still love him!) Perhaps a good pair of ear plugs so that you can't hear the congregation singing would help!

pianoplayer Sun 08-Jan-12 22:09:27

I have been teaching the piano for many years to both children and adults.
If you are interested in playing jazz try the Pamela Wedgwood series of books called 'Jazzin About'. The standard is from fairly easy to Grade 3.

artygran Mon 09-Jan-12 19:20:22

I will look out for those!

apricot Mon 09-Jan-12 19:36:04

I went back to the piano 45 years after passing Grade 1 and swearing I'd never touch it again. It's a solitary vice as I can't and won't play in front of anybody.
I only like classical music and I LOVE thoery, I've taught myself up to Grade 8 and beyond.
Now I've got lazy and don't work hard enough to progress further.

PoppaRob Mon 09-Jan-12 23:22:02

Learning keyboards has always been on my bucket list. If bass players, guitarists and drummers like Paul McCartney, Keith Urban or Joe Walsh and Phil Collins can do it surely it's doable, yet every time I try I find one hand gets the idea and the other is clueless. hmm

gettingonabit Fri 13-Jan-12 19:06:57

apricot - I think you've done really well to teach yourself to such a high level. Would you mind me asking what pieces you play and if you have/ are doing any exams?

bookdreamer Thu 12-Jul-12 21:30:13

I am thinking of learning to play the piano. I played it when I was young (about 45 years ago!). I have now moved to a flat, have no piano and so would like to hear your thoughts on keyboards etc. Do any of you play them instead of a proper piano and, if so, what would you recommend?

merlotgran Thu 12-Jul-12 21:47:04

This is a great thread. My mother was a piano teacher and I now regret I mucked about and gave up at grade 4. Now she has moved into a care home I have inherited her piano. We have had to alter the dining room to the extent of replacing loads of floorboards to get it in and now it's staring at me saying, 'Go on then, don't just stand there.' I have loads of music but all from my mother's era and I don't want to go back to re-learning the pieces I rejected because I was sick of them. I'll keep an eye open for recommended music here.

Daisyanswerdo Thu 12-Jul-12 22:44:20

Is anyone struggling to learn how to play by ear? I also did grade 8 theory but it doesn't help me much now. I want to be able to play simple tunes putting in the harmony, and perhaps even improvise! I can play very basic harmony, with lots of mistakes. Why am I finding it so difficult? My sight-reading isn't good.

Hunt Thu 12-Jul-12 23:28:37

I play for Musical Hat and Pass the Parcel at our family Christmas party. My son says I am of the''Les Dawson''School of playing!

petallus Fri 13-Jul-12 07:37:40

I didn't play any musical instrument until I was about 40 and bought a piano for my daughter. Decided to have lessons myself and got as far as grade 2 exam.

Then a few years later took up the recorder and got quite good at it.

It did cross my mind recently to get a keyboard. I like to have an ongoing challenge (apart from DH) to make life interesting (at the moment I'm learning Spanish)

Hunt Fri 13-Jul-12 09:58:58

Petallus, I hope you joined the Society of Recorder Players. If not, there is sure to be a branch near you. Give it a go!

petallus Fri 13-Jul-12 12:11:36

I used to be in a society where there were regular meetings to play in a large group/orchestra. The problem was every time I got to a note where I wasn't sure of the fingering I would hesitate and then be out of beat with everyone else. My husband plays the flute and sometimes we have played duets if we can find music which suits the flute and is still within the more limited range of the recorder.