Piano After 21 Lessons


People often ask if I intend to stop taking piano lessons this fall because on top of other projects, I hope to enter graduate school, while working—No, I don’t want to quit. Will I practice less? Perhaps, but quit? No.

Despite currently working full time, studying Korean, volunteering, &c. I’ve have approximately 21 lessons and kept up with piano for over five months. Regrettably, I’ve gone several days in a row without practicing, but never an entire week. I’d love to raise my length of study to six months, my lesson count to 22, 23, 24 and then … but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.

I’m not willing to dwell on whether I sound good, bad, or whatever else for someone who’s had almost half a year of classes. As far as the piano goes, half a year is nothing. The instrument requires a diabolically insane amount of time. While learning quickly is nice and while others are often impressed by those who learn quickly, it doesn’t matter. It’s not a race and the piano can’t be learnt quickly, anyway. I’m ecstatic to be learning and just don’t want to quit.

If anyone knows of interesting books on music theory or pianists or violinists ♥, let me know. Also, pieces—I’m curious about what you like.

The obligatory this-is-how-I-sound clip is below. It’s Sarah Mclachlan’s “I Will Remember You.”

For the curious, the books I’m currently using in my lessons:
A Dozen a Day Book 1, Accelerated Piano Adventures for the Older Beginner Lesson Book 2, Accelerated Piano Adventures for the Older Beginner Popular Repertoire Book 2, Piano Literature Book 1 Developing Artist Original Keyboard Classics, Teaching Little Fingers to Play More Classics, and China: Suite for Piano.

Normally, I do 1-2 from each book, except I’m doing a dozen from A Dozen a Day (they’re very short).

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  • Reply Aisling June 7, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Wow you’re so good! I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano, but my brain seems to have issues with allowing my hands to do different things. Like I can’t, for example, hit my left hand on the table in one rhythm and my right in another.

    • Reply chantelle June 11, 2013 at 1:21 am

      Thanks. I bet you could play. :) If I were to think about it as hitting a table with two different rhythms, I don’t think I could do it either.

  • Reply Kelly June 8, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Half a year? Wow! You sound great! I have always wanted to play myself but didn’t quite have the patience. We have an organ at my house (not a church one haha, it’s more like a piano I suppose), and I can play basic things like Silent night on it lol.

    I’m glad you’re sticking with it! :)

  • Reply Erika June 8, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Well, I don’t play an instrument and I don’t know anything about the timeline, but that sounded pretty good to me! Way to tackle something new and succeed! Best of luck in your piano adventures! :)

  • Reply Stephanie June 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I believed that I learned music theory from a series of books called “Fundamentals of Piano Theory”. Just make sure that you actually listen carefully to all the chords, practice the cadences, and practices the scales! (One of the things I wish I did more of as a kid…) They might feel kind of pointless now, but not practicing them catches up to you later on. Perhaps as an older learner, you will see the value sooner than I did.

    And that sounds quite good for half a year! My only comment is that you should make the first and third beat of the melody in each measure a bit stronger. It will make the melody more prominent and make the piece seem less “flat”. (Another something that little kids at your level don’t really get.)

    Overall, you are awesome for being brave enough to record yourself. I was always afraid to do that as a teenager and didn’t learn as much as I should have because of it.

    • Reply chantelle June 11, 2013 at 1:50 am

      I do the A Dozen a Day Series for technique exercises now, but my teacher said that I would eventually move on to Hanon’s exercises (my terminology may be off, but they’re things by Hanon). In general, these don’t strike me as pointless. I like them and they’re already pretty helpful. A lot of my songs have the same type of simple cords (I, V7, etc.) Knowing what they are and practicing moving around the keyboard makes everything easier.

      I found a copy of the series you mentioned online. I’d have to figure out a way to get audio though. =/ I’m really interested in learning why the piano is structured the way it is and about patterns/mathematical connections to music.

      As a teenager, I played the violin. There was no way I’d regularly record myself and let others listen. I don’t know what makes the piano different. I suppose that it’s because I want to keep playing and listening to myself makes me want to do so even more as I think about how much better it would sound if I practiced more/had more lessons/developed more control. With the violin, I never made that connection.

      Thanks for the suggestion. You addressed one of my concerns that I didn’t know how to voice (much less address). :)

  • Reply Liv June 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    I played piano from age 5 – 14, but you probably sound better than me. I had to quit because starting from high school I no longer had any free time at home. These past few summers and winter breaks I’ve had time, but I’ve had to catch up on so many other things I couldn’t give time to the piano. I am not understanding how you can keep up with the piano with everything else you have to do, because musical instruments were the first thing I had to give up completely. I’ve owned a guitar for about 4 years now and I still haven’t found time to put a finger on it.

    But I think it would be terrible to give up, so I hope you can keep it up. My personal favorite is Ludwig Van, but I also like piano covers of annoying k-pop. Off the top of my head I can’t any books for you though. =(

    • Reply chantelle June 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Thank you. I hope I can keep it up too, but it does take so much time or, at least, it should, so it’s a struggle. Now, because I want to play, I make time. My piano is a digital one, which is great/the only way it’s possible for me to practice, because I live in an apartment and usually practice after midnight.

      I like k-pop covers too. :) I suppose I should listen to more Beethoven.

  • Reply Shiki June 19, 2013 at 1:36 am

    I was a pianist but I called it quit after not feeling the excitement of it anymore. I’m not sure how did it change because at first, I was enthusiastic about learning it. Probably because soon, it became an obsession for my parents that I master everything so I can be a total professional and stuff. Piano soon became a burden for me, not a hobby anymore so I gave it up. I had only intended to play it for fun, for the feeling of it or something but it became horrifying, sigh. I wonder if they had perceived piano differently to me instead of rushing me 24/7 to be fast learner / a pro in no time, I wonder if I’d still be playing

    I like your determination though. It’s true that piano can’t be learn quickly and it’s not a race so you should enjoy every bits of it. My teacher used to say that piano is the easiest instrument out of others, especially violin. I just knew flute’s a real killer though, at least for me so I still vote for piano better.

    Hm, the importance of piano is mastering the major/minor scales. As for books, I’d recommend something like Beyer or Burgmuller, For finger-practice, I remember using Hanon once. I don’t really remember the specific book name but Bach, Beethoven and Mozart (all those sonatas especially) have nice choices. Chopin’s ones are good for fingers’ practice or so I’ve heard… not that I used it before. Instead, I used Robert Schumann’s.

    I’m not sure if those books are similar with what you’re using now, though haha classical pieces are really nice for piano :) other times I’d play soundtracks from anime/movies or video games for fun. Good luck with your study!

    • Reply chantelle June 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Thank you. :)

      I played violin for years and while there are some things about it that make the piano seem easy, others make the piano seem incredibly difficult. So I’m not sure, but everything requires years of study and training at a conservatory to become a professional … they’re all terribly hard.

      I’m sorry your experience with the piano turned sour–I try not to race, but I’m naturally impatient and sometimes I get frustrated.

  • Reply Manda June 24, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I took piano lessons for five years. At one point I got the hang of it and was decent, but moving around plus lack of interest got the better of me and I stopped going to lessons. It didn’t help that my piano lessons were because my mom wanted me to learn, and not because I was particularly interested in the instrument. I’m glad you’re enjoying your lessons, though! It is a beautiful instrument.

  • Reply Gus Munoz August 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I’ve been using the Fabers’ Adult Piano Adventures as the text book for a college non-majors beginner piano class. I also use it for certain individual lessons.The students seem to like it and, for the most part, get it. One complaint – we all miss the Sonatina in C that was in the older editions.

  • Reply Angie October 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I want to no what chord comes next or how I can put a few chord together an make them go with any song I been at it for 7 years now an it want grasp

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