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Well, it aint physics

  1. May 22, 2006 #1


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    I am interested in pursuing piano. Am I going to need a teacher/tutor, or can teach myself, seeing the local high school music teacher for help if I need so, if I don't know anyone? Plausible?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2006 #2
    I am, too! I have no musical experience whatsoever. Haha.

    Should I contact a teacher? Is that reasonable, or will I be laughed at (I'm 18--I hear that one should start early)? I'm serious about this.
  4. May 22, 2006 #3
    just do it if u want to ...go for it , age is not important if u like it

  5. May 22, 2006 #4
    In my experience as a completely self-taught double bassist, a music teacher isn't necessary if you are self-motivated and have a goal. I play for enjoyment because I don't really want to study music at a university level, I've found it very important to listen to music that includes your instrument so that you can have an idea of what you're trying to attain in terms of tone or style or whatever. Once you've developed your technical abilities, you can concentrate more on music itself and start to develop your own interpretations and ideas. So to answer your question, in order to successfully teach yourself an instrument, I would recommend becoming very familiar with how the instrument sounds when played by others, to get an idea of technique: having no teacher, you have to criticise yourself and compare yourself to others.
  6. May 22, 2006 #5
    I'd categorically ignore the suggestions of any "self-taught" musicians. It is very difficult, especially for a beginner, to hear what he/she sounds like; thus a large part of the learning process is counter-intuitive and suprising. Go with the teacher, it's the only way to make real progress (you'll know it when you hear it).

    Oh yeah, age is meaningless, don't worry!
    Last edited: May 22, 2006
  7. May 22, 2006 #6
    I never meant to say that it's better to be self-taught than to have a teacher. I'm just trying to emphasize that it is an option, and that having a teacher is not a prerequisite to becoming a good musician, and nor does it ensure that you will.
  8. May 23, 2006 #7


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    I wouldn't say a teacher is needed.

    Many of the best musicians were completely self taught. I was taught to play piano, but taught myself guitar. I got to the whopping height of Grade 2 on piano, and got so bored with the teaching style I lost interest. With my guitar, I've been paid to play gigs, and have sold CDs despite never having had a lesson in my life.

    Whether you want a teacher or not is a personal preference; go with what you feel like otherwise there's a good chance you'll lose interest.
  9. May 23, 2006 #8


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    I am self-taught on guitar, and until health problems intervened, I played my way through college (lots of frat parties), played out routinely in the intervening decades, hosted blues jams, and got paid pretty well for doing so. I can play in alternate tunings, and never use a capo, having learned how to navigate the fret-board with barre chords, multiple-string voicings, etc. I am not alone. One of my closest friends cannot read music written for guitar either, and looks quizzically at people who ask him "did you play that in the Lydian mode" and similar questions. He is extremely talented and more versatile than I and playing music is his occupation. Perhaps one or both of us could have benefited from some formal education in music, but I doubt that either or us would have turned out the same. How many years of guitar lessons did Clapton take? How about Muddy Waters, BB King, or Robert Johnson? These are guys with very distinctive sounds. I'm pretty sure they all learned by doing, woodshedding with others and figuring things out on their own. BTW, age IS meaningless - you can learn and perform to the limits of your abilities at any age. My cousin Jeff took up piano when he was about 30, and he's pretty darned good.
  10. May 24, 2006 #9
    If one already knows how the layout of written music, and knows the context of scale passages and whatnot, then adapting that to any particular instrument isn't too hard presuming that experience with a previous instrument is there.

    However, if staff lines look rather alien, then there is some music theory catching up to do before picking up the instrument. That way, one wouldn't be struggling with the rhythms of a song, and only concentrating on how the instrument performs (of course, challenging rhythms will get the fingers moving to that instrument). Getting that to come natural will take some effort.
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