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The answer to this question is that the heartache is caused by me. The difficulty is my own attitude to not just learning the piano, but to life in general:
1. I hate myself
2. I often wonder why the hell I'm here
3. Live gives me absolutely nothing positive, which is why I'm beginning to wish I were dead more and more often
4. Everybody wishes me to fail, whether it's the local mental health services, the Department for Work and Pensions, the person to whom I am married or Fanny Fosdyke
5. I am defeated.
6. I do not enjoy doing anything any more. All these negative thoughts all shape my view of myself, the world and ultimately learning the piano.
Okay, so I am an open nihilist - however I am also a balanced liberal and I have been trying to put forward reasons why I am learning the piano, and why I've stuck at it for so long:
1. I AM musical and I refute any allegations to the contrary. Learning the piano is something I wanted to do long before nihilism ensconsed my soul, but had not been given the opportunity to do so by my mother. Who knows what might had happened if she'd had said yes. I would have been a musician with all 8 grades and a B.Mus instead of a failure on benefits sat here writing this tosh.
2. A few months ago, I found somebody who does NOT want me to fail. His name is Allah/God.
3.The more I discover serious music, the more I like it. My love of rock music, Black music and collecting vinyl in a previous life had blossomed into a classical and jazz enthusiast and a collector of classical CD's
4. I would consider myself to be intelligent and a thinker. I am fluent in Welsh, I couldn't speak a word of it before 1991 but I persevered in learning it WITHOUT negative thoughts and fear of failure. Imagine trying to learn a second language if you tell yourself you're going to fail all the time! I am not stupid. I read books and The Guardian. I listen to Radio 3. I vote in elections. And yet I sometimes think I think about things too much and allow stuff to fester in my head. Sight reading for instance - or Fanny Fosdyke. Therefore, the harder I try with SR the more I fail. Attitude.
5. I have the time to devote to a hobby such as collecting classical CDs, faraging round charity/antique shops or learning the piano. However only one of those hobbies make me anxious. I do not feel one iota of anxiety when I'm partaking in a darn good farage through a pile of Naxos in Solihull Oxfam Books and Music. I never ever think 'I'll never have all the Deutsche Grammophon Klassikon series' or the Decca 100 Best Tunes series or replace that Bach Guitar music CD that 'management' scratched for me (even though I am still cross about it months after it happened). Only learning the piano makes me anxious. Why is this?? Again, it's attitude on my part.
So after the questions come the solutions. If I don't give up, how do I correct a mindset that has been rooted for too many months and years? How do I enjoy the things I to know how to put myself in a position where once again I can feel positive and that I can cope withdo? How do I take control of my life again, to take up my bed and walk, to manage the frustration and to deal with years old negative points of view? I've cried for help for years on this particular subject and nobody has heard me, yet alone me. Only God/Allah has said to me 'I know the answers, Dave'. I need out turning to nihilistic humour which reinforces things.
Honestly I am in such a frustrated mess I could go on for page after page after page. I have not heard from Mabel and tomorrow, Easter Sunday, I am barred from going to church to ask The Risen Lord what to do as my wife will think I'm down the Premier Inn with a 'tom' or engaging in some sort of holistic enjoyment whilst she's sat in front of her silly television feeling lonely and sorry for herself...for which she will blame me. So, should I give up learning the piano when all of those criteria are taken into account??
Comment is free.....
1. Vote yes,
Not doing any piano practise or going to lessons will kill off a major source of my anxiety but only in the short to mid term. This will leave a hole where the piano learning once was and with a musical interest, coupled with nine years of trying to learn the piano, the hole will be replaced by guilt. That I have failed at doing something I have always wanted to do - which will fester over time and turn into lifelong regret at not having learned the piano at a younger age. Which will not solve the problem, of course.
2. Vote no.
I will carry on with learning, becoming more and more anxious and frustrated at the fact that I cannot sight read, which would lead me to believe that my brain is decaying, or that I have musical dyslexia, or that Fanny Fosdyke was right. This would lead to me becoming more and more masochistic, less enjoying and of course, more frustrated. The result, a reinforced bad attitude and a feeling that I will never ever succeed at learning the piano which in turn will push me further and possibly take over my whole life and make me a nervous wreck.
It really is a lose-lose situation as far as I can see - giving up would not make things better either.
I might be able to READ MUSIC, i.e about what note lengths are, how they're written, signs, Italian terminology etc. but when it comes to making a tune out of them after nine sodding years then that's a different kettle of fish.
The only positive thing I can do is try to devise a coping strategy to deal with the guilt and eventual regret post 'yes' decision. But how do I do that?? I'm going to have to sneakily see the vicar behind Adolfina's back.dave brum wrote:
It really is a lose-lose situation as far as I can see - giving up would not make things better either.
If by learning you mean taking lessons, the outcone could be different, but you would keep on learning as long as you kept on pkaying.
One question to ask yourself us, "do I get any enjoyment out of the music I play, once I am getting it sort of at least nearly right so I can hear what should be there even if my fingers have walked on the cracks?"
A mystery person also voted yes. I'd be intrigued as to who that person might be - even though his/her opinion is very valid of course (says Dave the Liberal)
It's a much more personal involvement, of course, as your whole person, physical and emotional, is your instrument. There are some teachers who reckon your singing ought to be "just so" but I've met a few whose mission was to help people find "their own voice". Could be worth thinking about.
I am informed singing is a great way to build self confidence, but do you think 'she who must be obeyed' will allow me to toodle into town to practise sessions of Brum's Choir With No Name??
Another suggestion, which might or might not go down well, would be to find a teacher who could also teach her. Now, many people wouldn't, they would require you to have shown evidence of a singing voice already, but some work along totally different principles.
Sleep on it. If it sounds at all appealing (with or without the his'n'hers element) you could always talk it over with Mabel and suggest a sabbatical from the piano (which you would still use to help your singing)
You must be Joe King?? SWMBO doing singing lessons!! She's tone deaf, she cannot sing. She is to singing what Les Dawson is to piano playing or Stanley Unwin to oratory.
Mabel actually thinks I'm doing well. But could it be my paranoia leading me to thinking she's trying to butter me up? SWMBO thinks I'm coming on too but then again, she would say that, wouldn't she?? If I dared take a one month sabbatical from the piano, I'd be back on book 1 after that. Attitude, you see.
Linnychops, you're right when you say I'm my own worst enemy. I heartily agree with you. But I do not WANT to be so.
About being tone-deaf, there are many (me included) who maintain that there isn't any such thing. Unless you're actually mutt'n'jeff in the first place. If you can accurately reproduce a vowel siund, you can actually very finely detect differences in pitch. Now I'm going to leave it up to your research to find out why that is!
There are singing teachers who like the challenge of working with so-called tone deaf pupils but the pupil has to want to in the first place.
Sleep on the idea of a male voice choir nevertheless. Or barbershop. YOU have social needs and shouldn't be denied them.
A good teacher won't do that as it does nobody any good, least of all the pupil. We've all seen the 'singers' on the X Factor whose 'teacher says I'm very good'. And who has benefitted from that? Nobody.dave brum wrote: Mabel actually thinks I'm doing well. But could it be my paranoia leading me to thinking she's trying to butter me up?
Have I ever recommend a method called Record Yourself Twice? It's quite good for identifying and eliminating repeated errors.
If I already did, then skip the rest of this.
Choose the passage you need to work on (probably not more than two lines or less than two bars)
Record yourself playing.
Play back following the score and mark where you stumble, hesitate, or otherwise stray from the path of righteousness. If you have to make a lot of marks, you're working on too long a section.
Record yourself again.
Follow again from the score carefully watching the pencil marks you made last time.
If you didn't mess up this time you've either fixed it or it was a one-off.
If you have any new ones, ignore them (for now)
What you need to focus on is the things you did twice. Your hands have at least started to mis-learn these movements. Remember it's only a "wrong note" if you meant to play it, so you've learnt the instruction wrong. But more likely it's a wrong movement, and from there you need to narrow right down to just one movement between two notes, get that right and then gradually expand outwards. But make sure of course that you work on that movement with the fingers you're going to use, or you'll just have to unpick it all.
This is partly what practice needs to consist of. There are bits you can get right every time (most of it in fact) and that's because you've trained your hands to do them. You just need to train your hands to do the other bits, but identifying them is a harder job than many students realise.
It's quality of practice that does it, not quantity.
I noticed these things last night when I was counting for every piece:
1. It was slightly easier to follow the music because I knew where I was.
2. Instead of stopping intermittently throughout whenever I made a mistake, ) the pulse I was keeping allowed me to resume as I was still keeping time when I stopped. If that makes any sense.
3. On the page I noticed things such as how notes and rests are grouped together to make beats etc, which will stay in my mind (they have already done as groggy as I feel at 0615) to help me with my theory work.
I really don't know why I've not tried this before - this is nothing to do with my teacher or her teaching style. But if I had started with her back in 06 from the very outset, then I think I would have been less likely to develop bad habits at the piano. I did try to teach myself before I contacted Mabel.