2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
93 members (36251, brdwyguy, Amadeus M., Adagiette, Brinestone, Boboulus, 15 invisible), 1,196 guests, and 477 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 2 of 5 1 2 3 4 5
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 639
500 Post Club Member
Online Content
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 639
Originally Posted by Scott Cole, RPT
Although I am now a piano technician, I performed and taught as a violinist (with doctorate) for 30 years.

To start: having a degree has NOTHING to do with success as a musician. True, most classical musicians have degrees, but it’s not a given. Success—for any type of musician—is much more complex interplay of mental, emotional, and physical talents, plus a variety of situational factors. Here are just a few:

1. Early start, usually by 6 years of age
2. Excellent teaching
3. Extreme parental support, including financial.
4. Early exposure to high-quality performers and music. I was taken to Cleveland orchestra concerts as a child—that was my standard from an early age.
5. Early performance opportunity for the student
6. Unusual lack of self-consciousness (lack of stage fright that continues into adulthood, a very rare trait)
7. Extreme self-motivation (never has to be told to practice)
8. Extreme control over fingers, including ability to control trill
9. Near-photographic memory
10. Very high intelligence, near genius. Sorry but it’s true.
11. Natural ability to understand and mimic musical style.
12. Ability to be trained. I’ve seen students with all but this trait—would not listen to teachers as a teen.
13. Ability to keep focus on music through puberty, teen years.
14. Ability to maintain high level of practice hours while avoiding physical injury.

There are other traits, but you get the idea. You cannot boil down major musical success to just a couple of things. A musician must possess a wide range of traits, and lack of just one will kill a career. And no, having perfect pitch is not on my list.

Stevie Wonder has an amazing photographic memory...

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,503
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,503
Originally Posted by Scott Cole, RPT
There are other traits, but you get the idea. You cannot boil down major musical success to just a couple of things. A musician must possess a wide range of traits, and lack of just one will kill a career. And no, having perfect pitch is not on my list.

And if you believe Gladwell, being born early in the year.

I would contend though that musical success does not imply classical.


gotta go practice
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 4,408
N
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
N
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 4,408
Originally Posted by fatar760
Stevie Wonder has an amazing photographic memory...
Near - photographic ...

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 545
R
500 Post Club Member
Online Content
500 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 545
Originally Posted by Scott Cole
6. Unusual lack of self-consciousness (lack of stage fright that continues into adulthood, a very rare trait)
Don't many of the most famous concert pianists such as Argerich have a great deal of stage fright?

Last edited by ranjit; 07/11/21 08:27 PM.
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 8,785
Silver Subscriber
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 8,785
Originally Posted by ranjit
Originally Posted by Scott Cole
6. Unusual lack of self-consciousness (lack of stage fright that continues into adulthood, a very rare trait)
Don't many of the most famous concert pianists such as Argerich have a great deal of stage fright?


Argerich and Horowitz both had nearly crippling stage fright: Argerich was known to self-mutilate so she could skip performing. Horowitz had to be pushed onstage.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 226
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 226
Originally Posted by bennevis
...That means dedicated purposeful practicing, working on your weaknesses (not on your strengths), and spending time on eradicating them. Not analyzing every short piece you learn to the nth degree, believing somehow that learning that an arpeggio in a Chopin piece makes up the chord Cm7#5 means that you'll somehow be able to play it......
Hahaha, you took the words, right out of my mouth! Good point! You sure did hit the nail on the head, mate!
Adult learners, have a tendency to over analyze, which in a sense, is another form of 'procrastination'!


Hard at work while waiting for my dream DP....
Joined: Dec 2020
Posts: 7
C
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
C
Joined: Dec 2020
Posts: 7
I agree. I would also add that if you perform in cover bands or rock/funk/country/etc. bands the ability to learn tons of songs by ear and remember them is also important. Just my $0.02

Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 18
W
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
W
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 18
Originally Posted by bennevis
If you're not talking about (classical) virtuosi, then adult learners (who started learning as adults) can become good pianists eventually - if they devote time to the craft. "Great"? - well, that depends on your definition.

Yeah I suppose "great" was not the right choice of words given the audience of this forum. Good is more appropriate but not very specific either. I keep thinking of some church organists that also play the piano, so I suppose it makes sense to elaborate a bit on that:

Where I live the "standard" Sunday service usually has the following music elements:

  • Prelude: Very often something by Bach. Ranges from unknown 4-voice chorals to the equivalent of some of the preludes/fugas from "Das Wohltemperierte Clavier" in terms of difficulty.
  • 4-6 psalms/hymns usually played in 4 voices.
  • Somewhat uncommon, but important to this discussion: A handful of contemporary worship/rhytmic songs played on the piano during Communion. Usually from lead sheets with no accompaniment, i.e. the organist has to improvise accompaniment (and is usually capable of doing so prima vista).
  • Postlude: Equivalent to prelude.


So learning pieces of this difficulty as well as being able to improvise using lead sheets on a weekly basis is what I think of when using the word "good".

If I were to make it a bit more practical, I suppose I could ask: How many people you have taught to this level that didn't start as children or went on to study music/play the piano in a non-hobbyist setting (young adult/adult learners is pretty fitting actually)?


And before anyone misunderstands my comment about studying: The point is not that studying music/getting a degree automatically makes you good, but that it requires you to spend a significant amount of time on it that is well beyond that of most hobbyists.

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,503
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,503
Originally Posted by Woodgnome
If I were to make it a bit more practical, I suppose I could ask: How many people you have taught to this level that didn't start as children or went on to study music/play the piano in a non-hobbyist setting (young adult/adult learners is pretty fitting actually)?

My church is roughly equivalent to the type of music you mentioned.

We had a young person go to college as a clarinet performance major. I would think he had little exposure to piano before college. He did go on to grad school again on clarinet, and there developed an interest in organ. He started substituting for our regular organist, and over time developed into an organist competent at those skills you mentioned.

So this is a case of a late starter who developed what you are calling "good" skills.


gotta go practice
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,890
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,890
Originally Posted by Woodgnome
  • Prelude: Very often something by Bach. Ranges from unknown 4-voice chorals to the equivalent of some of the preludes/fugas from "Das Wohltemperierte Clavier" in terms of difficulty.
  • 4-6 psalms/hymns usually played in 4 voices.
  • Somewhat uncommon, but important to this discussion: A handful of contemporary worship/rhytmic songs played on the piano during Communion. Usually from lead sheets with no accompaniment, i.e. the organist has to improvise accompaniment (and is usually capable of doing so prima vista).
  • Postlude: Equivalent to prelude.


So learning pieces of this difficulty as well as being able to improvise using lead sheets on a weekly basis is what I think of when using the word "good".
All that is undoubtedly important to church organists, but hardly relevant to most pianists.

Quote
If I were to make it a bit more practical, I suppose I could ask: How many people you have taught to this level that didn't start as children or went on to study music/play the piano in a non-hobbyist setting (young adult/adult learners is pretty fitting actually)?
I have to say, what you listed is relatively easily attainable by students who started as adults, if they dedicate a few years to the theoretical as well as practical aspects of organ playing.

What isn't so easily attainable is the attainment of a level of piano technique that encompasses vast tracts of the classical rep. By that, I mean many of the Beethoven sonatas and Chopin pieces that don't require virtuoso technique.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,503
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,503
[/quote]
I have to say, what you listed is relatively easily attainable by students who started as adults, if they dedicate a few years to the theoretical as well as practical aspects of organ playing.
.[/quote]

I suspect you are overly optimistic. I would think it is attainable too, but do teachers actually see it happen? I suspect it is rare.

There's another factor, too. Besides the skill development, there is a mental shift into working on a specific skill for a practical purpose, rather than for the sake of the art. You used the term "not relevant." I would disagree, in that practical application can always be relevant.

I recall playing for a church service, struggling with my limited skills to perform (because that's what I do) and
noticing that in the pews were no less than six pianists more skilled than I who were either not willing or not able to perform in public.


gotta go practice
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,890
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,890
Originally Posted by TimR
Quote
I have to say, what you listed is relatively easily attainable by students who started as adults, if they dedicate a few years to the theoretical as well as practical aspects of organ playing.
.

I suspect you are overly optimistic. I would think it is attainable too, but do teachers actually see it happen? I suspect it is rare.
I suppose it depends on where you are (and your environment).

In my high school, for example, we had two organ scholars, both in their mid-teens.
Both of them could easily do everything the OP listed - because it was their "job" and they played for Sunday Service in our chapel, as well as all the hymns at morning assemblies.

However, our school had many more piano students (including myself), who did not have to do any of that, so they never learnt to play or improvise from (or without) lead sheets, though as they all studied harmony, they could easily pick it up - if they wished to - if they were above Grade 5.




Quote
There's another factor, too. Besides the skill development, there is a mental shift into working on a specific skill for a practical purpose, rather than for the sake of the art. You used the term "not relevant." I would disagree, in that practical application can always be relevant.
Why would it be relevant, if we never have to use a particular 'skill'?

For instance, if I never played pop or jazz, I'd never ever have to play or improvise from lead sheets. (I just "picked" it up from accompanying friends in pop, from song books, but was never taught it.)

Quote
I recall playing for a church service, struggling with my limited skills to perform (because that's what I do) and noticing that in the pews were no less than six pianists more skilled than I who were either not willing or not able to perform in public.
Every amateur performer knows of pianists much better than them who wouldn't ever perform in public.

But why would anyone denigrate them because they don't have the confidence to do so (or suffer from stage fright)? I was once one such a pianist, and if anyone had told me when I was a teenage student (even after I'd obtained my performance diploma) that I would one day perform in public in a monthly recital with no fear, I'd have told them to go take a running jump.
Yet that's exactly what I've been doing for almost a decade......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,503
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,503
Originally Posted by bennevis
Quote
There's another factor, too. Besides the skill development, there is a mental shift into working on a specific skill for a practical purpose, rather than for the sake of the art. You used the term "not relevant." I would disagree, in that practical application can always be relevant.
Why would it be relevant, if we never have to use a particular 'skill'?

For instance, if I never played pop or jazz, I'd never ever have to play or improvise from lead sheets. (I just "picked" it up from accompanying friends in pop, from song books, but was never taught it.)

I probably didn't explain well. It's highly relevant because it involves the mental attitude towards playing the piano at all.

I wouldn't play myself unless I had a purpose, something I was going to use the skill for. Most students never intend to use the skill, their entire approach is different. Neither of us can probably understand the other.

Quote
Every amateur performer knows of pianists much better than them who wouldn't ever perform in public.

But why would anyone denigrate them because they don't have the confidence to do so (or suffer from stage fright)?

No, they don't lack confidence - well some of them may, but it's not relevant. They don't play because mentally their skill is not a tool they reach for when needed. It is an activity they do that does not have or need a purpose. I don't denigrate them, though I do find it somewhat annoying.


gotta go practice
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,890
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,890
Originally Posted by TimR
It's highly relevant because it involves the mental attitude towards playing the piano at all.

I wouldn't play myself unless I had a purpose, something I was going to use the skill for. Most students never intend to use the skill, their entire approach is different. Neither of us can probably understand the other.
Actually, I don't understand what you're getting at. Maybe we live in different planets.

Are you saying that learning to play the piano simply for one's own pleasure (as opposed to performing for others' delectation/annoyance) is not a valid reason to learn? Or how about - as an education - to make for a well-rounded person (which is the way learning piano was, and still is, regarded in my home country - where it most certainly is not a showbiz thing)?


Quote
They don't play because mentally their skill is not a tool they reach for when needed. It is an activity they do that does not have or need a purpose. I don't denigrate them, though I do find it somewhat annoying.
You find it annoying that there are pianists who choose not to perform in public, for whatever reason?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,503
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,503
Originally Posted by bennevis
Are you saying that learning to play the piano simply for one's own pleasure (as opposed to performing for others' delectation/annoyance) is not a valid reason to learn?

No. That's almost a wilful misinterpretation of what I said, and actually of something I've said occasionally over the 17 years I've been on this forum, at least by my join date.

I said that learning to play piano for it's own sake - simply for one's pleasure as you put it, or in some cases I suppose out of enjoying the frustrations - IS and REQUIRES a different mental approach from learning the piano for other reasons.

I note in passing that this is much rarer on other instruments.

Maybe a similar paradigm difference might be found in calculus. High school students take and pass the class, 99% with no intention of using it later, and probably 99% with the mental attitude that it is a useless academic skill with no practical real world application, because in real life things don't happen mathematically. Contrast that with an engineer like me, who after years of coursework heavily dependent on math, comes to see a one-to-one correspondence between math and purpose or use.


gotta go practice
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,890
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,890
Originally Posted by TimR
I said that learning to play piano for it's own sake - simply for one's pleasure as you put it, or in some cases I suppose out of enjoying the frustrations - IS and REQUIRES a different mental approach from learning the piano for other reasons.

I note in passing that this is much rarer on other instruments.
We really are living on different planets. "Enjoying the frustrations"? For the sake of learning to play a difficult instrument like the piano - for what?

No, I didn't "wilfully" misinterpret what you wrote earlier, as you've just confirmed it by your choice of words and phrases. You said you were annoyed at pianists who refuse or choose not to perform, and almost all your posts reflect that attitude, even if you now claim otherwise.

I know many people who learnt various instruments - piano, violin, cello, clarinet, flute - as kids and continue to play, and quite a number who are adult restarters or started as adult beginners. Apart from a few of the kids (who started learning because their parents were musicians themselves and wanted their children to learn), everyone who learnt a musical instrument had no thought of ever performing in public.

They were all learning to play because they liked classical music and/or the instrument. Later down the line, a few discovered they were good enough to have a go at making it their career......and then they started performing in public. To put that into perspective, at my old high school, there were about sixty students learning various instruments. (I know that because almost all of them were also singing in the school choir.) Of them, just five ever performed. Three went on to conservatoires, one became a well-known concert pianist.

What about everyone else who never performed (even though the school provided ample opportunities)? They enjoyed putting themselves through the "frustrations" (as you term it) simply because they loved classical music, as evidenced by the fact that they also sang in the choir (for which the only requirement to join is that they must be able to sight-sing).

Incidentally, when I learnt to strum guitar chords to accompany myself and friends in pop songs, I was also doing it purely for pleasure (mine, mainly) - not because I ever thought of performing. Certainly not because I was entertaining thoughts of becoming a pop star.
Same for everyone else I knew.

I don't live in a world of showbiz, and as is pretty evident, I'm from the classical world, which evidently, you're not. Perhaps that accounts for your perceptions of people who learn to play instruments, which is diametrically opposite to my own experience, and my perceptions of fellow classical musicians, teachers and performers (none of whom, BTW, look down their noses at amateurs who never perform)........


Quote
Maybe a similar paradigm difference might be found in calculus. High school students take and pass the class, 99% with no intention of using it later, and probably 99% with the mental attitude that it is a useless academic skill with no practical real world application, because in real life things don't happen mathematically. Contrast that with an engineer like me, who after years of coursework heavily dependent on math, comes to see a one-to-one correspondence between math and purpose or use.
Again, that speaks volumes about your lowly perception of pianists (and strings and woodwind and brass players) who don't use their skills for a "practical real world application", presumably showbiz......

Learning piano purely for the love of music, and for one's own enjoyment in music-making is the reason most adults start learning. To equate that to a "useless skill" - as in your choice of example (again) and words - is to denigrate all adult learners and amateur musicians who never perform, and never want to.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Jul 2021
Posts: 11
L
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
L
Joined: Jul 2021
Posts: 11
What a strange twist this thread has turned into.

As a piano teacher with a few adult students, I can say for certain that none of them learn piano with any thoughts of performing for others. It is always for their own pleasure and satisfaction, and because they like classical music. (I only teach classical.)

If that means their hard-earned skills have no 'practical purpose' and just for 'art' (but what is wrong with that?), and thereby "useless" in TimR's warped thinking, who prides himself on using his skills in the 'real world', so be it.

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 8,785
Silver Subscriber
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 8,785
Why does anyone who feels music needs to have a purpose other than just pure pleasure hang out here on these forums? I guess to feel annoyed by the unenlightened masses. It is a head scratcher.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 4,408
N
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
N
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 4,408
Originally Posted by dogperson
Why does anyone who feels music needs to have a purpose other than just pure pleasure hang out here on these forums? I guess to feel annoyed by the unenlightened masses. It is a head scratcher.
Socialist influence: "Music must educate!"

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 8,785
Silver Subscriber
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 8,785
Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by dogperson
Why does anyone who feels music needs to have a purpose other than just pure pleasure hang out here on these forums? I guess to feel annoyed by the unenlightened masses. It is a head scratcher.
Socialist influence: "Music must educate!"


Socialist is not the term that comes to my mind.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Page 2 of 5 1 2 3 4 5

Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Playing piano outside?
by Sam S - 09/27/21 06:21 PM
7/8 Piano in European Market?
by Mohrpiano - 09/27/21 04:23 PM
Fine uprights overdamper actions
by tre corda - 09/27/21 04:13 PM
Internal pulse/beat/rhythm
by PatG - 09/27/21 03:26 PM
Avantgrand N3X vs Kawai Novus 10S
by PianoComposer - 09/27/21 12:58 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
What's Hot!!
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Our Free Newsletter for Piano Lovers!
The summer edition of our free newsletter
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics209,324
Posts3,135,622
Members102,840
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5