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#2357552 12/02/14 08:45 PM
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TrevorM Offline OP
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I've just started Jaak Sikk's Beginner course after reading this post. I thought I wouldn't learn much, but the finger technique tips in Lesson 2 have been gold. I tried playing a piece I was finding tricky immediately afterwards, applying his technique and I flew through it! I'm looking forward to the rest now.

I had a closer look at the site though and noticed that the forum appears to be dead, and he hasn't updated the site for just under a year. I saw he was on here too, but his last post was around the same time. Is he still around, I wonder? I'd definitely want to research further before putting any money forward.

Is anyone here actively participating in the main course right now?


Roland F130-R
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TrevorM #2357575 12/02/14 10:14 PM
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I don't participate but had been subscribing to his youtube channel which likewise has not had new content for almost a year


Surprisingly easy, barely an inconvenience.

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


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TrevorM #2357637 12/03/14 02:39 AM
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I think he is very busy at the moment with his classes and piano shows.


- Artur Gajewski

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Beethoven - Fur Elise
Chopin - Waltz in A minor
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TrevorM Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Artur Gajewski
I think he is very busy at the moment with his classes and piano shows.


That's good to hear. I'll drop him an email.


Roland F130-R
TrevorM #2357755 12/03/14 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Trevor May
I've just started Jaak Sikk's Beginner course.....
Is anyone here actively participating in the main course right now?



Yes, I am. I joined 3 days ago, right after posting what you referred to. I had the same misgivings about the forum seeming 'dead' and no posts here for such a long time. But, I emailed Jaak, and got a prompt response. In the last couple of days I have worked my way to lesson 2 and first piece. I get answers to all my questions, and a prompt 'report card' after sending in my first video. So I could care less about anything else.

I cannot begin to explain how much I've learned in just a few days. Absolutely great. I was content with my amateurish 'klimpering' before, but lamented not being able to progress and get to the 'good stuff'. Now, I have a lot to learn (first step is getting rid of some bad habits I picked up by self teaching), but I can see my way to the 'good stuff', and have the tools to get there.

Greetings from a fellow student, and very happy camper.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
TrevorM #2357848 12/03/14 05:59 PM
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Good to hear, Jytte. I, too, dropped him a line and he's very much alive and well. Responding to my questions over two emails incredibly promptly.

I had lessons long (30 years) ago as a kid. His lessons so far have been pulling out piano technique that has been stuck, buried in the back of my mind since then.

Now, I'm just about to start lesson three.


Roland F130-R
TrevorM #2357855 12/03/14 06:15 PM
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Trevor, I'm glad you're there as well.

Since that forum isn't active, maybe we should keep each other, and any other participants that feel like joining in, up to date on our experience and progress in this forum, like right here in this post, as good a place as any.

I get great feedback from Jaak, but it's also nice to be able to talk to fellow students following the same program.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
TrevorM #2361319 12/13/14 02:09 PM
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Starting on the next 8 lessons now (2nd month). Finally working on the 'Menuet in G' smile

Anybody else in this course??



[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
TrevorM #2366195 12/27/14 04:58 PM
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Hi Trevor and Jytte and everyone else interested,

Thank you for this thread. I joined this forum because I was looking for the same thing (that is, any evidence that the course is still being supported, or even any public online activity past January 2014 laugh -- perhaps I should search in Estonian). I guess I'll get in touch with Jaak via email also, as I'm very interested in his course (just started cruising through the free Month 1 lessons).

I'm beginning from scratch by the way. And despite of any stubborn intentions to lock myself in a room with the piano and nothing else and then spend ungodly amount of time trying to reinvent (or just plain figure out) how to play the piano... I found my fingers typing "classical piano beginning videos" on google which led me to Jaak Sikk's blog. I guess that's what you'd call a divine intervention. smile


Beginning on a Kawai ES7 -- dreaming of a Shigeru Kawai SK-7 :P
TrevorM #2366198 12/27/14 05:16 PM
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Hi san, welcome to this forum smile

I can warmly recommend this course to anyone really interested in learning to play the piano. I will not recommend 'cruising' through any of the lessons though, but I assume you're only joking. If you pay attention, follow the instructions, and practice dilligently, you will learn a lot, and probably faster than you think.

No, you'd be hard pressed to find any 'action' online. But I assure you Jaak is very much alive and responds to any and all of your questions and/or lesson-videos (you email back and forth).

I am now working on the 'Menuet in G', beautiful piece. Able to play 1st half HT (hands together), but it still needs a lot of work laugh Things take the time they take.

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences if you join us.

PS: Once you 'join'(even for the free lessons), Jaak will know you are now a 'student'. You then follow lessons, video yourself playing (each time you learn something new), send it to Jaak, and you get your 'critique'. After that you try it again if needed, or move along. Very efficient.


Last edited by Jytte; 12/27/14 05:22 PM.

[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Jytte #2366213 12/27/14 05:50 PM
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Hi Jytte, thank you for the kind response!

Perhaps "cruising" wasn't the best word as it has other connotations, but what I really meant was going with ease and enjoying the whole thing about learning and playing. smile

I'm well aware that the most important things in any endeavor are usually right in the basics. So I'll make sure to build it slow and solid.

Anyway it's good to be here and to meet new friends! smile


Beginning on a Kawai ES7 -- dreaming of a Shigeru Kawai SK-7 :P
TrevorM #2366217 12/27/14 06:00 PM
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Good luck on your journey smile

And keep us posted of your progress.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
TrevorM #2378912 01/27/15 09:39 PM
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Hi all,

I have been following Jaak's free online course since about two weeks. I am doing lesson 7 now.

I have been playing piano for approx 15 years, though much of my progress has really been in the last six years since having a professional piano teacher. I seems to me that because I have played quite a while on my own and then with someone who was essentially showing me to play the pieces I liked (which were way above my level), I feel I am lacking in elementary ground work. Though I went through Jaak's videos quite rapidly, it surprised me that there were many details that I did not really understand, such as the finger support -- which I am still struggling with today, and that the wrist should always be in movement.

Perhaps I joined Jaak's online course out of curiosity since his Youtube material is so excellent. Jaak really knows his stuff, and I like his approach. It is very logical, at least to me. I wish I had had that 15 years ago.

Once I will have done the full free course I am thinking of joining the 11-month follow-up course as I am sure I will pick up new information and information that I have not fully assimilated or have forgotten.

Now that I see these course videos, along with his Youtube channel, I am amazed at the colossal amount of work Jaak has put into his teaching. I think of the time he has to put in to organize and prepare his tutorials, make the video, edit the videos and all the post production tasks, and then follow up with his students. This is a huge enough task, but on top of all this, English is not Jaak's first language. That must take a lot of courage. I take my hat off to someone who works so hard and is so dedicated.

So all this to say that I may be adding to this Forum thread in the next while after I have signed up for the 11-month course.

I will also keep an eye on this thread for any updates. Glad I found you guys!

Dennis


Dennis

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Originally Posted by Dennis in Canada
....
I have been playing piano for approx 15 years, though much of my progress has really been in the last six years since having a professional piano teacher. ...


Are you saying that your 7 weeks of free lessons have been more beneficial than 6 years with a professional teacher ??!! If yes, then this a very high complement.

TrevorM #2379019 01/28/15 05:57 AM
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Dennis, nice to hear from a fellow student. I happen to know that you are not the only experienced player that have found 'lapses' in their education and is finding Jaak's course very helpful.

I'm currently on lesson 22-24, whilst still polishing the previous piece. I am of course a beginner, but amazed at what I have learned so far. My bit of previous self-taught experience has been a struggle to correct. Like you, getting the movement in the wrists was a problem. I used to sit (slouch rather) stiff by the piano. To my astonishment, as soon as I got the wrists loose and moving, the rest of the body followed. I'm no where near there yet of course, but improving all the time.

One thing that truly amazed me, although I should probably expect this from a professional, is how Jaak sees/hears even the smallest details in my videos. He is always spot on in his evaluations. I get comments like 'I sense a tension build in xxx bar', and I'm like 'how on earth did he know that???'.

I plan to 'report' my progress in this thread, and hope you and others will too. It is nice to be able to discuss this with fellow students.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
EM Deeka #2379053 01/28/15 09:07 AM
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Hi EM.

Unfortunately I did not express myself clearly. I have a fantastic piano teacher presently who has taught me a lot in the past 6 years -- I am at the half-way mark of the Royal Conservatory of Music study program. What I meant is that in the early stages of my learning 15 years ago, there was not enough emphasis on technique, which I sometimes feel is a bit of a handicap which I struggle with today. For instance, I am not satisfied with my touch and my sound. This is something my teacher and I work at alot. I feel this is something I should have learned 15 years ago. I found Jaak's demonstration of finger support very interesting and enlightening. This is like years ago while I was studying, I never fully understood the statistical founding blocks of auditing and that caused me grief in all my courses.

This being said, Jaak has a great philosophical approach. This aspect I like a lot, and the way my head works, I need that. As much as I appreciate his courses and his style, a real life teacher is indispensable, not to mention the wonderful teacher/student relationship and personal bond that develops. A piano teacher is a very personal thing -- there has to be a good match -- and I have a terrific match. I consider Jaak's videos an excellent supplement, and in this regard he is a very good match.

I posted the audio of my Christmas recital on YouTube. This can give you an idea of where I am at. Considering this was in front of an audience, I feel this is representative of my playing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XX7c5fPO2Ow&spfreload=10

Enjoy.




Dennis

Yamaha G2 5'8" grand piano, Walnut finish.
Jytte #2379069 01/28/15 09:43 AM
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Dear Jytte,

(I like the way Jaak always says "Dear______")

Delighted to get your point of view and to hear there are other experienced pianists following Jaak's course. From someone who is not an absolute beginner, it would be very arrogant on my part to assume that I know it all. There is always something one can learn -- even professional pianists indicate they are continually learning. Sometimes hearing something we know but explained differently just makes it clearer in our mind.

Your post really encourages me to pursue Jaak's course. I would enjoy and benefit from Jaak's feedback. Jaak strikes me as being a very perceptive and intelligent person, and a really nice guy.

I will post my progress. I agree with you that it is interesting and beneficial to share with fellow students here. As I indicated in my previous post to EM, I presetly have an excellent piano teacher whom I see every week for an hour. Jaak's videos are a great supplement for me. I have always found it interesting and educational when some of my teacher's students get together for a recital or a masterclass. It is reassuring to know that we all face the same difficulties and challenges.

Good to hear from you.

Take care.


Dennis

Yamaha G2 5'8" grand piano, Walnut finish.
TrevorM #2379103 01/28/15 10:30 AM
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Dennis,

I admit it took me a moment go get used to the thought of being taught by someone half my age laugh But I got over that quick.

Even his videos are extremely detailed and explicit, one really has to listen with rapt attention, it's very dense. That of course, is the advantage of a video, one can watch it as many times as needed.

He has the knack of seeing where the problem lies. Once in a while when my frustration peaks from struggling with something, he always gives exactly the pointer that brings me over the hump. Also, his approach to the pieces has not been entirely what I expected. He links theory and pieces in a way that makes both make sense, and gives you a new appreciation of the music.

I consider Jaak 'my teacher' but that does not mean I exclusively listen to him. I take my input anywhere I find it. And yes, it can often be very helpful to see things from different angles, to bring the point home, so to speak.

I don't think anyone here mistook you for a beginner, nor thought you were dismissing what you learn from your teacher. I had a listen to your recital, very nice indeed. I'm a sucker for Christmas music, so that was a treat smile

If you're heading into lesson 8, I'd be interested to hear your impressions on the forth piece 'impressions'. This was one I didn't work on that hard, because I really didn't like it (no accounting for taste). I find it very hard, to the point of impossible, to work on a piece of music I do not like.

I wouldn't know if you would benefit from the rest of the course obviously, but it has worked wonderfully for me, especially in the 'loosen up' department. Another thing I found is, having to make videos for Jaak, that these are excellent tools in themselves. As I (as most, I hear) suffered from 'red dot syndrom', I've taking to starting the camera each time I sit by the piano. That way I am always able to watch and listen to what I played. Quite the eye-opener at times laugh

Last edited by Jytte; 01/28/15 10:32 AM.

[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
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Dennis, I especially like this image:
Originally Posted by Dennis in Canada
This is like years ago while I was studying, I never fully understood the statistical founding blocks of auditing and that caused me grief in all my courses.

I've been "obsessing" for a few years about the idea of "foundations" or basic underlying things. We go after the immediate thing we are after, and don't think to look at something underneath it in the earliest stages - yet if something is amiss there, it affects everything else.

Some of us were self-taught and/or (re)started an instrument as adults or we had lessons with teachers who focused on the end results (nice sounding pieces, exam or recital results). At some point we see something is missing that is blocking us. Or just simply, something is blocking us. At this point we encounter a (new) teacher.

So now at this point, with a teacher, we may get things we never knew of before. Maybe you (anyone) tried to put in a feeling of passion, or tried to sound like a performer makes it sound. You learn from your teacher about phrasing, or stressing particular notes, or bringing out the melody. So that's new. Peel back the layer - your phrasing demands a crescendo and speeding up: you know what you're supposed to do, but your body won't do it. Peel back another layer: teacher says "You can't do it because of tension. Relax." Maybe he demonstrates it. Maybe touches tight shoulders to show you what you're tensing up. And as you practise at home you try to work with all that.

In this second scenario your playing will improve: more expressive because you know what to aim for: more control to some degree since you didn't know you were tensing up. But it may not get to the root of things, and even excellent teachers may not work in that area. A little kid who starts piano will move in a natural way and if he is well guided - not over-directed - the habits will fall into place. His future playing is based on it. But we are IN our future playing, based on what we did. It's quite a big stretch if you are already playing more advanced things, to go back to "what do I do physically when I play a single note?" And that is the level at which Jaak starts. It probably isn't for everyone.

So it's sort of peeling back the layers and sometimes the bottom layer is the part that gives you what is missing. At other times, things like "play this part louder / more legato" or "relax while playing" is what works. All of the above is subjective of course.

Last edited by keystring; 01/28/15 05:10 PM. Reason: last paragraph
TrevorM #2379484 01/29/15 06:51 AM
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I also subscribed for the first 8 lessons, after I watched his youtube stuff. Didn't see a piano, but what he tells impressed me. Maybe you can tell a beginner everything :-), but i did recognize thing my teacher told me in the past.

Last edited by johan d; 01/29/15 07:52 AM.
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