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My first piano lesson


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#16 LearnerFlute

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 08:30

Thanks AdultPianist. You are so lucky finding a cheap flute in a charity shop! It sounds perfect for occasional practice.

At the moment I feel quite motivated to practice the piano more than the flute. I am determined to get the exercises right before my next lesson.

The problems I am having are:

- Remembering to read both lines of music
- Trying not to play Middle C with my right hand if it's written on the bass clef.
- playing two notes at the same time. One finger goes down earlier than the other which is annoying
- just moving my wrist and not the whole arm
- Playing each note with the same strength as some of my fingers are stronger than others.
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#17 fsharpminor

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 09:07

 

 

 

I can still remember my first lesson on 5th January 1953.  And the teacher drawing round my hand and marking the fingers   +, 1, 2, 3, 4   
In those days we were taught 'English Fingering'.  By Grade 2 it was quite confusing to change to the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 system we use now.
Is anyone else of sufficient years to have learnt with the old system. I can think of a few on here who might have been.


Aw F#, I was born four days later!

I'm not quite of that vintage, but I do possess several music books and pieces of sheet music that are considerably older than I am, and feature this type of fingering. Very confusing it was too, until I figured out what it meant.
Sadly these volumes are getting a bit tatty round the edges and foxed (I know the feeling!) My own lessons started at 3/6d.

 

Mine were 2/6d

 

And the cost of 'Smallwoods Pianoforte Tutor' at the first lesson.


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#18 agricola

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 10:02

My mother learnt with English fingering and I used her books alongside my own which had Continental fingering.  However this did not seem to help when I took up the violin later and had to rethink the fingering yet again !  My first book was Step by Step by Renie Stoym.  Don't know how much it cost but it started off "middle C is on this line ..."  and I never had any problem remembering the names of notes.


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#19 Latin pianist

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 10:46

In those days, most people did seem to learn the notes more easily. I was taught with Schaum which was quite middle C based, but I don't remember a problem.
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#20 linda.ff

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 10:56

Thanks AdultPianist. You are so lucky finding a cheap flute in a charity shop! It sounds perfect for occasional practice.

At the moment I feel quite motivated to practice the piano more than the flute. I am determined to get the exercises right before my next lesson.

The problems I am having are:

- Remembering to read both lines of music
- Trying not to play Middle C with my right hand if it's written on the bass clef.
- playing two notes at the same time. One finger goes down earlier than the other which is annoying
- just moving my wrist and not the whole arm
- Playing each note with the same strength as some of my fingers are stronger than others.

But - well done, you've now identified your problems (many people are stuck because they know there are problems, they just can't quite place what these problems are). So you're already halfway to solving them! So now look for solutions. For instance playing two notes at the same time - how would you train your hands to do that? possibly by practising tapping on a table with both hands, or a finger from each hand, at the same time, without the notes getting in the way. I'm sure you can find solutions to all of these things.

 

I have kids who say "I keep playing a G there" when it should be an F, as if it was something that keeps happening to them. I have a two word answer to that: "well, don't".  A teacher can't teach your hands, only you can do that. Most of the time, the teacher is actually finding the challenges that you now need to set yourself - you've already done that. Surely an excellent attitude: good luck!


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#21 EllieD

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 12:13

One thing I discovered in getting both fingers to play the notes at exactly the same time, is first, to make sure that both fingers are actually sitting on their respective notes before pressing either note! Sounds simple, but it is easy for one finger to get carried away and press down before the second finger has even landed, if that makes sense?

 

 

 

Meanwhile ... I've just booked my first lesson!!! Terrified she's going to tell me everything I'm doing is completely wrong and I have to start again from scratch!!! It's in two weeks time, so I'll try to get a couple of pieces up to a reasonable standard before then... EEK!!!!


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#22 lois

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 16:22

 

 

Meanwhile ... I've just booked my first lesson!!! Terrified she's going to tell me everything I'm doing is completely wrong and I have to start again from scratch!!! It's in two weeks time, so I'll try to get a couple of pieces up to a reasonable standard before then... EEK!!!!

 

I only get lessons when I go to piano summer school. My first summer school I found out I'd even been sitting incorrectly. After 50 years I figured I'd got the "sitting down" bit off to a tee but no................ biggrin.png

 

Good luck. I wish I could find a teacher who's on the same wavelength as me but don't seem to have much luck sad.png


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#23 sbhoa

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 17:27

- Trying not to play Middle C with my right hand if it's written on the bass clef.
 

Sometimes it matters and sometimes (mostly) it doesn't as long as you get the right musical result. It may matter in an exercise designed to work certain fingers/movements but as long as you use sensible, consistent fingering ti doesn't matter.

I actually love it when my students do that as it shows that they understand that the note is the same as the middle C attached to the treble clef.

 

Not so long ago my teacher was playing through a piece I was learing when I noticed she was cheating by playing a section written for crossed hands without crossing hands. She found it easier and commented that 'Martin would do it that way'...she was taught by Martin Roscoe.


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#24 Dharma

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 06:24

If a piece written for crossed hands is easier to play without crossed hands...would it not be proper to play it without crossed hands?

 

I don't know piano at all, but I'd assumed crossing hands was something done to make life easier, not harder?


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#25 fsharpminor

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 08:06

If a piece written for crossed hands is easier to play without crossed hands...would it not be proper to play it without crossed hands?

 

I don't know piano at all, but I'd assumed crossing hands was something done to make life easier, not harder?

There are some instances where not crossing is perfectly possible, and certainly valid if it doesnt otherwise spoil the flow of the music, but I think these instances are few and far between. I have been known to 'cheat' in one of the Mozart Sonatas.


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#26 EllieD

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 08:18

Depends though - I learned Burgmuller's "Hirondelle" which is basically a study in crossing hands, and while some of it could no doubt be played easier by not doing so, the whole point of the piece is to learn how to do it so ... I'd always learn to do something as written first, then if it isn't working, see about making changes.


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#27 sbhoa

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 10:51

Depends though - I learned Burgmuller's "Hirondelle" which is basically a study in crossing hands, and while some of it could no doubt be played easier by not doing so, the whole point of the piece is to learn how to do it so ... I'd always learn to do something as written first, then if it isn't working, see about making changes.

Yes, it does depend.


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#28 linda.ff

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 11:02

One thing I discovered in getting both fingers to play the notes at exactly the same time, is first, to make sure that both fingers are actually sitting on their respective notes before pressing either note! Sounds simple, but it is easy for one finger to get carried away and press down before the second finger has even landed, if that makes sense?

 

It's better to play without the finger already sitting on the note unless you are trying to play very softly. Or in fact staccato.

 

I don't know how it is affected now that most of us type on an almost flat keyboard, but it used to be a problem with people who typed on old-fashioned tiered typewriters, because you could never ever put down two keys at exactly the same time, so this often got transferreed to the piano. I've heard it described as "donkey-trotting"


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#29 EllieD

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 18:01

 

One thing I discovered in getting both fingers to play the notes at exactly the same time, is first, to make sure that both fingers are actually sitting on their respective notes before pressing either note! Sounds simple, but it is easy for one finger to get carried away and press down before the second finger has even landed, if that makes sense?

 

It's better to play without the finger already sitting on the note unless you are trying to play very softly. Or in fact staccato.

 

 

 

Of course I defer to your greater knowledge! smile.png  I was just really thinking for the purpose of this exercise, just to make sure both fingers went down together - yes, I don't think you'd play a piece like that but I have found doing that has helped me sort out a few scrappy chords which then improved when I played the piece, although obviously then I was more continuous ... but perhaps it wouldn't work for everyone. Playing it all very slowly and listening carefully helped too, so I could identify which finger was slower and which quicker which helped me work out where the adjustments needed to be made.


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#30 JD5

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 15:53

 

 

 

 

I can still remember my first lesson on 5th January 1953.  And the teacher drawing round my hand and marking the fingers   +, 1, 2, 3, 4   
In those days we were taught 'English Fingering'.  By Grade 2 it was quite confusing to change to the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 system we use now.
Is anyone else of sufficient years to have learnt with the old system. I can think of a few on here who might have been.


Aw F#, I was born four days later!

I'm not quite of that vintage, but I do possess several music books and pieces of sheet music that are considerably older than I am, and feature this type of fingering. Very confusing it was too, until I figured out what it meant.
Sadly these volumes are getting a bit tatty round the edges and foxed (I know the feeling!) My own lessons started at 3/6d.

 

Mine were 2/6d

 

And the cost of 'Smallwoods Pianoforte Tutor' at the first lesson.

 

 

My first piano lessons were either 2/6d or 5s for 30 minutes - I can't remember exactly.  Sounds very cheap, but I was only earning just over £6 for a full time week....ages one somewhat...


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