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Joined: Jun 2008
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I am curious what makes adults quit playing or giving up practicing the piano when they started out with so much enthusiasm and passion to learn?

Was it due to job/family responsibilities, no teacher or cost of lessons, not having a good digital or acoustic piano, frustration, technique issues, reading problems, overwhelmed on what direction to take, lack of interest, etc.

And what did it take to get you back into playing again>

katt

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I had nine yrs. of classical lessons as
a child (I was essentially compelled to
take lessons, as so many children are--
I had no talent for the piano)
and then quit when I was in high
school and didn't play a note for 20 yrs.
The reason for quitting was
frustration over lack of progress.
At the end of nine yrs., all I could manage
was the easier preludes and nocturnes, nothing
more than about 3 or 4 pages. Anything
longer than that, say, one of the easier
Clementi sonatas, I could not handle. That's
dismal progress for nine yrs. Moreover,
I could not sight-read anything, not even
a beginner's piece. I was essentially
learning almost Suzuki-style, even after nine
yrs.: I could not sight-read, so the teacher
would play a section, and I would correlate
the sound with the printed notes on the
score--not really reading them even, just
a kind of rough correlation of sound and printed
characters, thus, the inability to handle
anything longer than about 3 or 4 pages.

When I restarted as an adult, I nevertheless
had high hopes of making a much better
showing the second time around, because
I was older and stronger and wiser. Specifically,
I wanted to play the big, concert pianist-level
pieces that I could not progress to as
a teenager. But with only below-average
talent at my disposal, this was going to
be difficult, and after restarting I
quit again many times for long periods:
5 yrs., 3 yrs., 1 yr., etc. Each time
I quit it was out of frustration at lack
of progress.

Also, I was pushing myself to essentially
do the impossible, that is, play concert
pianist-level pieces with below-average
talent. And this began to take a toll
health-wise. I began to suffer
frightening physical problems
from pushing myself so hard, for example,
temporary hand paralysis, among other
things. This would cause me to stop playing
for long periods.

I eventually settled on a particular
routine in order to learn difficult
pieces. Instead of trying to bulldoze
my way through them quickly, I realized that I
had to take them slowly, one measure a day
and use time and repetition in place
of talent--trying to work up difficult
pieces fast when you have no talent is
going to lead to burn out and physical
problems. And this has gotten results.
For example, after years of rote repetition,
I have the Chopin op. 14 up to about 3/4
speed. This is a big-time piece that
I should not be able to play, but by
chipping away at it note by note over a
long time I've been able to play it.

I should mention that each time I restarted
there was a human factor involved. When
I suddenly restarted after not playing
a note for 20 yrs., it was because I
met someone with an interest in classical
music. And during one of the many periods
that I quit again after restarting, I
gave my piano to my neighbor, thinking I
would never play again. Curiously, just
by giving the piano away, I was suddenly
inspired to play again.

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Few years ago, computer games were much more interesting than piano laugh

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The decision to major in mechanical engineering rather than music, at the age of 18. At that point, I was thinking "all or nothing" and decided that since I couldn't be a concert pianist, I just wasn't going to bother anymore. So I quit.

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Gyro, you probably had miserable excuses for teachers when you were growing up. I did. I had that many years of lessons and was essentially teaching myself. You probably don't have below average talent either. Stick-to-it- tiveness is a talent in itself. Discipline is another one. You probably have far more going for you than you let on to yourself. I'd love to see you post your Chopin piece someday.


Slow down and do it right.
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Short answer: I spent a lot of relatively impoverished years in situations where I didn't have access to a piano. I'm one of the older people here. This was in the days before portable affordable keyboards. If they'd been around 30 years ago my pianistic life might've taken another turn.


Slow down and do it right.
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Based on my experience with people I've been in contact with during my 30 years teaching experience, I feel that the "all or nothing" mind set Larisa speaks of is responsible for many, many people not pursuing their passion, in one form or another. The idea of "having to live up to" some image gets in the way for some, and it definitely should not be this way. It's a comparison trap of sorts. If people would just allow themselves to become absorbed with their passion as a hobby, keeping their demands low and their energy levels high, they could enjoy themselves unconditionally - the result of this mind set is that they experience progress beyond their expectations! That's how it should be in my opinion:)

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I had a years worth of lessons as an adult re-learner, then my husband lost his job. The lessons became a luxuary item. We are still in limbo and don't know if we'll be able to keep our home. While I continue to have bursts of trying to go it alone, I also have periods of crushig depression. I live on faith that the world will turn as it should and someday I can return to my lessons.


"Do you listen when you play, or do you just put your hands on the keyboard and hope for the best?" Author: Unknown

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