Login or Register to hide advertisements

The Youth Factor

The art and science of piano performance and technique
Post a reply

When did you start playing the piano?

Under 3
0
No votes
Between 3 & 7
4
22%
Between 7 & 10
4
22%
Between 10 & 14
6
33%
Between 14 & 18
4
22%
Between 18 & 25
0
No votes
After 25
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 18

The Youth Factor

Postby PJF » 10 Jul 2006, 05:40

Age matters. How much it matters depends on your lifetime goals. Do you want to simply have fun and make music for yourself or family? Perhaps you have greater aspirations. In the latter, age matters very much. The window of greatest opportunity begins to open at about the age of two, is fully open between the ages of seven and fifteen and is nearly closed by age twenty-five. Is there a best age to begin?

Here's my personal experience.

I come from a musical family. One distant relative was a Austrian composer and organist in the early eighteenth century, (no one well known). My grandmother was church organist and her mother and father were both violinists and pianists. My great grandmother was also an organist and a pianist. My father, grandmother and great-grandmother had perfect pitch. I inherited this trait. Sadly, all my grandparents died before I was two.

Once when I was three, I watched Tom play Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2 while Jerry dodged the hammers. I didn't know what it was, but I loved it.

Growing up in 1980's America, I felt culturally like a duck out of water. I couldn't identify with the popular music. I was a very sick child, barely able to breathe from asthma. I found solace in my father's stereo, always playing the great classical works. We had a piano, but my parents didn't play, so it was more a piece of furniture than an instument. I never touched it.

I learned to read music when I was 7 (I played the trumpet and the recorder for a couple years, just kid's stuff). Only at 13 did I show an interest in playing the piano. One day, I cracked open the lid of the old Wurlitzer, which hadn't been tuned in twenty-five years. The sound was awful, I could get a tri-tone by playing one key! After much begging, my parents bought a new piano, the clattering Wurlitzer was replaced with a very nice upright. I was in heaven.

On the piano, I was somewhat of a prodigy or at least precocious. Before I started lessons, I had learned the first movement of Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise and was attempting Chopin's "Raindrop Prelude". Having learned to read music only in the most basic way, I could barely make sense of the scores. My will was strong. After one year of lessons I played Maple Leaf Rag, Mozart's easy C major sonata and a complete Beethoven Sonata well.

Now, 13 years later, (in good health, thank God!) I've learned 26 Beethoven Sonatas, most of Mozart's Sonatas and about a half of what Chopin wrote, lots of Bach too, only recently adding piano concertos to my repertoire. At the age of 27, I'm improving very rapidly, both technically and especially artistically. I refuse to call myself a virtuoso, it just seems so egotistical, not to mention beside the point.

Had I started at a younger age, I would most definitely be a professional concert artist by now. God only knows where I'd be. It begs the question, "should parents force a talented child to take lessons at five, when musical aptitude is obvious but the will to practice is none?" NEVER!!! Forcing could instill a lifelong disdain of the instrument. That would be a far greater handicap than the one of starting later. If any parents out there have a talented young child, concentrate on letting him be expressive without making a contest of it. The artist who starts late should have no regrets. Do not equate artistry with virtuosity. Artistry is the goal, or (unfortunately) in many cases, it should be. In my opinion, virtuosity is simply a side effect of artistry combined with hard work and should not be a goal in isolation.


A pianist's full potential can only sometimes be realized starting at a late age. I don't mean to say "don't start to play the piano if you're not a little kid". Never say, "never." Anything is possible. Just be realistic, don't assign limits to your potential and most of all have fun!

The piano can give joy to anyone who enjoys it. Is that not the point? How easily we forget.
Per Sapientiam Felicitas!

Pete
PJF
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 548
Joined: 08 Jul 2006, 02:18
Top

Postby lol_nl » 10 Jul 2006, 09:01

I started piano at 8. At that time I didn't show very much interest, but my parents wanted me to learn the piano and I did. It was not until I was about 12 that I decided that I really wanted to do something with piano in my future career. It's not too late yet, but I think the first 4 years I've wasted my time and I haven't learnt very much. I felt like being reborn when I wanted to study piano and get a career with it, like I was completely new to the world and also that I had to start all over again, with the easiest pieces, etc. I have bad technical fundamental skills, which I've never learnt actually, but since I have a new teacher, she is trying to let me do a lot of exercises to polish up my technique a bit.
lol_nl
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 356
Joined: 02 Feb 2006, 12:15
Location: Ede, Netherlands
Top

Postby PJF » 10 Jul 2006, 09:24

I think you're on the right track! Keep trying to get better and better. You will improve if you practice properly, all you need is patience and time.

Happy Practicing!


P.S. At the beginning of my studies, my technique was absolutely dismal. Now I'm close to the virtuoso level. It took 13 1/2 years, the whole time I kept telling myself, "I CAN DO IT". I never compared myself to other students, but to the great masters. I set my standard at the highest level. If you wish to have a career in performance, your diligence must never waiver. ALWAYS do your best and don't be too proud to admit your flaws.
Per Sapientiam Felicitas!

Pete
PJF
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 548
Joined: 08 Jul 2006, 02:18
Top

Postby Chocturne » 10 Nov 2006, 01:59

I've ALWAYS wanted to play the piano ever since I was four but never had the opportunity to. Also I had a lack of confidence, but it was only this year when my I went over to a friend of a friends house and they were grade 7 and they played one of my favourite pieces that I knew I had to learn.
Earlier that year my friend had casually taken up piano and so I got him to show me how to play fur elise on his keyboard I learnt most of it within an hour and a half. But I didnt' have a keyboard so (I have a part time job) I saved up for one and bought it and started working on it. After a month I got my friend to show me Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and learnt it in a day......cos I worked on it for a whole day. It was killing my hands but they got stronger.
It was then that I realised that I could pay for my own lessons so that's what I did, at the age of 16. The only thing was that I didn't have pedals so I FINALLY recently got a sustain pedal so that I can practice Gymnopedies properly. My teacher started me on the Turkish March which was challenging and now I'm doing a Chopin Valse Petit Chien. I had a substitute teacher recently for my lesson and she said that I was very natural and I told her my aims about the Nocturnes I wanted to play and she said I had really good hands for it. That was such a relief!! :D
I have had musical experience my grandfather was the Producer/conductor for the ABC orchestra and played in the Sydney symphony. My mum had a natural ear for music and self taught herself the guitar and I have also inherited a musical ear (lucky). When I was 12/13yrs I started to play the classical guitar and got my mum to teach me. By two months I could play 3 but I practiced non stop, that's what I'm like!! Do I still have a chance to forfill my aims of playing nocturnes?
Because I really REEEEALLY want to play them perfectly
So close and yet so far.........
Nocturnes rule ALL!
Chocturne
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 19
Joined: 09 Nov 2006, 05:12
Location: Australia
Top

Re: The Youth Factor

Postby MindenBlues » 10 Nov 2006, 03:34

PJF wrote:Now, 13 years later, (in good health, thank God!) I've learned 26 Beethoven Sonatas, most of Mozart's Sonatas and about a half of what Chopin wrote, lots of Bach too, only recently adding piano concertos to my repertoire. At the age of 27, I'm improving very rapidly, both technically and especially artistically. I refuse to call myself a virtuoso, it just seems so egotistical, not to mention beside the point.


I agree that it is much better to let others say something about the own piano playing abilities. That is easily possible through sharing the music so that other can listen and give comments. Why don't you do so? Since you said that you played all Beethoven sonatas, all Chopin Etudes or whatever else, it cannot be that you did no recordings, or what?

Regarding the topic, some teachers say that it is almost don't care at which age one starts to play piano. What is much more important is desire, will and awareness. See, Swjatoslav Richter started piano playing as teenager, before he played violin. No need to start with 3 years.

Personally I got piano lessons from age 5 to 19. Since 25 years now no piano lessons anymore.
MindenBlues
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 77
Joined: 25 Oct 2005, 08:51
Location: Germany
Top

Postby PJF » 10 Nov 2006, 16:22

I'll begin posting recordings this December.
Per Sapientiam Felicitas!

Pete
PJF
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 548
Joined: 08 Jul 2006, 02:18
Top

Postby PianistSk8er » 10 Nov 2006, 17:15

I started when I was six. I hated the instrument until I discovered Chopin a few years ago. :P

PS
User avatar
PianistSk8er
Violin Concerto Enthusiast
Violin Concerto Enthusiast
 
Posts: 1786
Joined: 25 Aug 2004, 11:52
Location: Canada
Top

Postby elvenpianist » 10 Nov 2006, 18:57

I started when I was.. 8? 9?

Mostly self-taught, although I've had some remarkable teachers along the way.

We'll see where it takes me. I know that I started late, and my instruction could have been better; but I think that willpower, love, passion, some level of musical understanding as well as a level of maturity can't be underrated.

-elf
~Clara Glennette Georgiana Fiorkapatti

"Those little weirdnesses... Schumann- QUIRKY!" -David Dubal

"I am convinced that Bach is the greatest genius who ever walked among us." -Douglas Adams
elvenpianist
Anglophile elf lass
 
Posts: 567
Joined: 06 Jul 2005, 20:56
Location: Laurelindorinan
Top

Postby jre58591 » 10 Nov 2006, 19:36

i started when i was 7ish and ive had teachers almost the whole way. however, the ones ive had before my present one were hacks. if only i knew of the teacher i have now when i was starting, i wouldnt suck nearly as much as i do now.
jre58591
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 222
Joined: 12 May 2005, 01:13
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Top

Postby trinapiano » 14 Dec 2006, 19:09

My family isnt musical at all. According to my parents ive always been fascinated with the piano. I had a few months of lessons on a little three octave toy keyboard when I was about seven. From what I can remember ive always wanted some sort of career in music but was never sure how. I took it up again at about thirteen, still with a little keyboard. Although I was interested I didnt do squatt for the first few years and drove my teacher mad...to the point where I was almost kicked out of my lessons. Alot happened in the year I was fifteen and I started taking it alot more seriously. I also got a better keyboard around that time (six and a half octaves). I progressed pretty quickly I suppose to playing liszt hungarian raphsodys(12 & 15) and such at seventeen...but it was mainly down to me doing alot of cramming, and one look at my school exam grades would quite easily show that! I got my first real piano shortly after my eighteenth birthday (yay!), and also stopped taking lessons at around that time, there wasnt much more she could do with me or something... and I havnt yet managed to find another. So ive been self teaching for the last two years or so...and trying to apply to college for music. I didnt get in but was told things like "youre ambitious and have potential", "get a teacher", "do something with more practical work"...so Ive been left sitting around at home for the last while, looking for jobs...trying a bit of piano teaching too but not having much luck! So I havnt much of an idea what im going to do with myself right now.
Thats my story anyway
trinapiano
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 10
Joined: 14 Dec 2006, 18:50
Top

Postby juufa72 » 14 Dec 2006, 22:33

13. played for two and one half years. then quit until about two years ago. Should've started when I was 5 or sooner.

Starting young still helps because the brain is a sponge, this is why during infancy to about 8 years old this is the best time to learn a second language. I could speak polish fluently until my parents were advised by my speech therapist that I would struggle in english and in polish, so the best thing to do was to drop one language. Now I lost my fluencey and it is very very hard to for me to talk in polish. But yet I retained the ability to understand most of it.

Starting young is the key to success! Unless you are a rare person who can pick up an instrument when you are 35 and master it within a year. But for the rest of us, starting young proves to be the best way of learning anything (language, instrument, sport, etc.)
User avatar
juufa72
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 781
Joined: 16 Jul 2005, 22:37
Top

Postby johnmar78 » 14 Dec 2006, 23:16

PETE, thank for sharing your family infrom with us.

So, how about me, start at 6, and stopped few years at 13. and start again later. As you said you would have made to be a concert pianist by now if you have had statred earlier....So how about me????? Would I follow your track or no hope? You heard me playing at the piano society?
johnmar78
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 147
Joined: 27 Jun 2006, 00:11
Location: sydney
Top

Re: The Youth Factor

Postby jokeli » 16 Mar 2009, 23:54

I think you're on the right track! Keep trying to get better and better. You will improve if you practice properly, all you need is patience and time.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
jokeli
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 1
Joined: 16 Mar 2009, 23:44
Top

Re: The Youth Factor

Postby PJF » 19 Mar 2009, 02:31

jokeli wrote:I think you're on the right track! Keep trying to get better and better. You will improve if you practice properly, all you need is patience and time.

--------------------------------------------------------------------



Welcome to the forum and thanks for the encouragement! Check out some of my recordings in the audition room (some links might be dead; if you want to hear something, let me know.)
Per Sapientiam Felicitas!

Pete
PJF
Registered Musician
 
Posts: 548
Joined: 08 Jul 2006, 02:18
Top


Post a reply

Return to Piano Playing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest