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Old 12-11-2012, 06:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default A piano question. Opinions strongly welcomed.

I am interested in hearing a opinion involving the learning curve for me on the piano.

I had piano lessons for a few years, between age 8 and 12. I believe I was in the 2nd grade learning level. I never excelled at learning the piano at the time because I was not interested.

I also learned how to play the trumpet. I was okay but could have been much better for reasons I expressed in my last paragraph.

Now singing is my forte, no doubt there. As a kid in a traditional church, I used to sing my heart out. The congregation was extremely into the music as well with everyone in the church singing to their max. It was something I loved doing all the time. I would often get compliments from our minister after certain rare upbeat hymns. When I was 13 my mother got the family into voice lessons. She wanted to rid her voice of the nasal quality while she also wanted to teach my utterly tone-deaf step-father to sing. I only got better with lessons, most of what she taught, me and my mother instinctively already knew. I had a powerful voice and I used it.

As a child I messed around with many instruments. I played my mothers psaltery, not much talent there. I also had a guitar, harmonica and penny whistle. I enjoyed playing music but the learning curve discouraged me.

My mother on the other hand is a prodigy. She is an expert at many different instruments. She can sing, play flute, play saxophone, play trombone, could easily learn trumpet. She can also play piano, harp, and the violin.

I want to take on piano again. I was taught to read music but I also wish I could play by ear. I have a feeling that piano at this point may be harder for me than it was before because of how I left in my training.

Do you believe that my musical history, of playing and of being around the music of my mother is harmful or beneficial to learning today?
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Beneficial! Most people don't know that singing at a young age is the base for music. If all elementary schools start with 10 minutes of singing, it would make a significant difference. Not because music makes you smart, but because learning music is a skill, and any skill will make learning easier.
As a child, I sang a lot, but my voice matured (even though I'm femalel, I have a low voice.) so I have 't sang for a long time: my voice changed a lot and I'd have to learn singing all over again. Not that I regret that: I found my joy in classical music.
Overall, because you sang a lot, and played piano as a child, learning an instrument will be easier than you think. I'd say you should go for it. At this age there are two possibilties. You'll either make miles or not any progress at all. Because of your musical childhood, I'm sure that it'll be the first case. And after all: if you don't shoot you'll always miss. There's nothing wrong with trying.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you nariette! Singing in elementary is a great boost for anyone. I remember we had concerts for every holiday. Forgive me for going down memory lane but I remember when I was seven our school was about to start the christmas concert. The night of the performance I lost my voice from practicing and probably ingested a whole bag of fisherman's throat lozenges. In the end I came through but it struck me that I was so passionate about it all. I remember crying because I had lost my voice.

I went through my voice change when I was 14 or 15. Most boys my age were happy to have had their voice change. I was pissed and my voice teacher was bummed. I thank God that he gave me a tenor voice style. I carried the soprano before the change in my voice and with a voice teacher, even as a tenor my range was massive. I remember surprising a group of sopranos in my high school choral group when I would belt out their parts after class for fun. My only regret is that I could not convince my mother, a lady who saw satan behind every door, to allow me to try out for American Idol.

I guess I asked the question because I was worried that by giving up on piano as a child that I had potentially set up a block for learning in the future.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't apologise, I love stories. Oh I hate fisherman's friend! I tasted one when I was little and I nearly threw up my stomach. bad memory lane.

I wasn't amused at all when my voice changed, all girls had high voices and I had a low voice, all kids want to be like how the others are, and not be different. Well, in the end maybe you should be glad that you had your voice change, because In switzerland, they used to castrate young boys in the choir so their voices wouldn't change.

I played as a child, I think I learned how to read notes before I learned how to read words. I only started really playing when I was 9 years old, and quit when I was 12 years old, i thought it was boring, I only played the blues you get in those childeren books. A year ago I started playing again, with classical this time. I make really fast prgress, I started the nocturnes from Chopin recently (difficult pieces, but I'm managing), and if it goes on like this, I will probably be able to get into the conservatory.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Given your experience with music as a kid, it'll definitely help. I cannot recall where exactly, but I read a paper that had to do with the way neural pathways develop in the young brain. A BIG part of someone's musical talent is dependent on their early musical experience. As they listen to music, or sing/play, the brain forms connections related to music. Once the brain starts forming those kinds of connections, its easier for your entire life to continue to develop those pathways.

So yes, what you did as a young kid helps.

On a personal note, I'm 15 and I've only been playing a piano for a year or so now. I highly regret not starting younger, because I'm loving every second of it now. The biggest thing was finding what type of genre I liked playing on the piano. Finally, a year later I've finally settled on rock and roll, jazz/blues, or some modern music. I did try classical, and found I didn't like it very much. Rock mostly simplistic, but Billy Joel, Elton John, Paul McCartney, and others have written some amazing pieces.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You've lived a musically rich life, it's something inside you before you trained the talent to manifest in the form of singing, harmonica, etc. Each and every instrument presents a new opportunity for a musician to create their own new personal language in order to understand it. Learning curve is synonymous for the hill that only the lazy do not triumph over.... I only say this because I can relate to your questions.
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