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Thread: Is it too late for me to study classical music on Piano?

  1. #16
    Senior Member Melvin's Avatar
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    I wouldn't expect to be able to make it to concert pianist level.
    But that should not be your expectation.
    Let me tell you from my own experience. I picked piano up for the first time at age 19. Bach's 2 part inventions are totally within grasp. They sound really impressive when played, they are very fun to play, and you get to be so much more intimate with the counterpoint as opposed to only listening to it. Also the second movement of Bachs partita #2 is very easy to learn, and some of the "6 little preludes". There are also some easier beethoven, mozart, and haydn sonatas that are within reach in your first 3 years if you practice diligently.
    Don't worry about playing a piano concerto. There are is such a vast repertoire for piano, and piano concertos are written for the main purpose of showing off the most extreme skills of the worlds best virtuosos. There also exist an infinite number of excellent pieces that are not exclusively meant for the virtuoso, and you will soon see how rewarding it is to be able to play the easier pieces. You will have so much fun and just want to play them over and over again.

    You must take lessons, and you'll never get far without learning to sight read. Don't try Hannon; it actually gave me tendinitis and I quit playing after that.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member JeffD's Avatar
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    I kind of like this from Albert Camus:

    The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

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  5. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melvin View Post
    I wouldn't expect to be able to make it to concert pianist level.
    But that should not be your expectation.
    Let me tell you from my own experience. I picked piano up for the first time at age 19. Bach's 2 part inventions are totally within grasp. They sound really impressive when played, they are very fun to play, and you get to be so much more intimate with the counterpoint as opposed to only listening to it. Also the second movement of Bachs partita #2 is very easy to learn, and some of the "6 little preludes". There are also some easier beethoven, mozart, and haydn sonatas that are within reach in your first 3 years if you practice diligently.
    Don't worry about playing a piano concerto. There are is such a vast repertoire for piano, and piano concertos are written for the main purpose of showing off the most extreme skills of the worlds best virtuosos. There also exist an infinite number of excellent pieces that are not exclusively meant for the virtuoso, and you will soon see how rewarding it is to be able to play the easier pieces. You will have so much fun and just want to play them over and over again.

    You must take lessons, and you'll never get far without learning to sight read. Don't try Hannon; it actually gave me tendinitis and I quit playing after that.
    I don't agree with that bolded bit. I've been playing the piano for nigh on 60 years and, while I do read music, I'm not a good sight-reader as such. It helps, but I don't think it's necessary.

  6. #19
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    It is probably not too late for anyone with some musical background on other instruments to start the study of the piano. But it's probably too late to play Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto, which some of the greatest pianists in the world would choose to avoid because if its monumentally difficult nature. Let's not negate the talent and study from a young age that is most likely required to play such a monumentally difficult work and cheapen the greatness of the music and the talent required to play it.

  7. #20
    Senior Member Jacred's Avatar
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    Like a bunch of members were saying, you probably will not be among the top concert pianists of our day. Nevertheless, do not box yourself in because of this. My guitar teacher started playing the piano at the age of 18 and is now quite a proficient piano player.

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  9. #21
    Member Potiphera's Avatar
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    But surely sight reading is important when one is learning a piece of music and becoming good at it following all the timing and rhythms etc..

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PresenTense View Post
    . . . They almost say that it is impossible to start learning at 21 (my age) because it is too late.
    It's never to late, imho. I once had an organ student, age 55, who had a number years playing the piano, and became a pretty successful church organist for many years.

    Yes, it's probably better to start out at a younger age, but anyone can achieve any goal if they really set their mind to it.

    Start with something easier that you can learn easily ... it is paramount that you get a teacher/tutor to properly learn to play the piano. Eventually tackle the more difficult pieces ... of course all under proper guidance from a teacher/tutor.

  11. #23
    Junior Member Boot Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PresenTense View Post
    ...............................

    They almost say that it is impossible to start learning at 21 (my age) because it is too late. ...........................
    rofl2.gif

    That's hilarious. I thought you were going to say that you were 75 or something.

    It's NEVER too late to learn something. I hope you never reach a point wherein you stop learning new things. And you're ONLY 21 for Chrissake! I'm 69 and will get a bit depressed if I am NOT pursuing something new - most often some new facet of music. I say, always go for it. What have you got to lose?

    However, I would like to offer one caveat: Unrealistic expectation can lead to unrealistic disappointment. Start simple and build toward your interest.

    And oh yeah... HAVE FUN!
    Last edited by Boot Hamilton; Jul-31-2017 at 18:41.

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  13. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potiphera View Post
    But surely sight reading is important when one is learning a piece of music and becoming good at it following all the timing and rhythms etc..
    Let's be clear what we're talking about here. Being able to read music is important, but that's not "sight reading". The term "sight reading" means "sitting down and playing straight away from a musical score which you've never seen before" and - while that's great if you happen to have it - it's not that important in my view, not for an amateur like me anyway. I've played the piano for nearly 60 years and I still have to work my way through a musical score relatively slowly when it's new to me. Not only do I not consider that a problem, I actually think it helps, because (a) it means that I take a lot of care when I'm learning a piece for the first time and (b) that kind of slow working helps with memorising the music - when I have learned the piece, it'll stay in the memory provided I keep playing it.
    Last edited by Animal the Drummer; Aug-01-2017 at 15:05.

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    Senior Member Razumovskymas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PresenTense View Post
    I play electric guitar since I was 12 years old. But I have been listening to Classical Music and Jazz a lot lately. I've been interested in learning how to play piano but I've heard that to play classical music, it is better to start as a kid. They almost say that it is impossible to start learning at 21 (my age) because it is too late. Can anybody that started late play Rachmaninoff's third piano concerto? What do you think about that?

    You can't play piano and you're thinking about Rach 3???

    You shouldn't be asking yourself any of these kind of questions but start practising some doable Clementi sonatina's and see how that goes.

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    Senior Member eugeneonagain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Animal the Drummer View Post
    I don't agree with that bolded bit. I've been playing the piano for nigh on 60 years and, while I do read music, I'm not a good sight-reader as such. It helps, but I don't think it's necessary.
    I think sight reading is relatively important and that it isn't merely playing something straight away without having seen the piece. Anyone playing in an ensemble or being hired to play in one won't get far without being able to read as they play. Familiarity with pieces played is gained through rehearsals and a read-through, so no-one is ever playing it cold. There are not that many people who play note-perfect first time from what is written on a page, especially complex pieces.

    I agree with you though that not every pianist needs to be a great sight-reader. I don't read piano staves quite as fast as a single stave for melody instruments.

  16. #27
    Senior Member eugeneonagain's Avatar
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    On the issue of starting piano late. It's possible. It's also possible without hundreds of professional lessons. Ryo Fukui taught himself from age 22 and became a phenomenal jazz pianist.

  17. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by eugeneonagain View Post
    I think sight reading is relatively important and that it isn't merely playing something straight away without having seen the piece. Anyone playing in an ensemble or being hired to play in one won't get far without being able to read as they play. Familiarity with pieces played is gained through rehearsals and a read-through, so no-one is ever playing it cold. There are not that many people who play note-perfect first time from what is written on a page, especially complex pieces.

    I agree with you though that not every pianist needs to be a great sight-reader. I don't read piano staves quite as fast as a single stave for melody instruments.
    I doubt many people do, as there's so much more to take in.

    BTW I must respectfully disagree with the part of your first sentence bolded above. The Cambridge Dictionary for example defines the verb "to sight-read" as "to play or sing written music the first time you see it" (my italics). Unless they're seeing the music for the first time, a player doing the things you describe is reading music but not "sight-reading" it, not according to the accepted definition of that term.
    Last edited by Animal the Drummer; Aug-08-2017 at 19:28.

  18. #29
    Senior Member JeffD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boot Hamilton View Post
    Unrealistic expectation can lead to unrealistic disappointment. Start simple and build toward your interest.
    I am going to argue against this. Yea its true enough. But people that follow this path refrain from falling in love, because it can be disappointing.

    Here is the more important thing - You cannot, ever, exceed your own expectations of your self. If you aim for mediocrity, you will likely hit it, or something lower. You will not exceed it. Promise.

    Do this - shoot for the moon. Go for it. Do everything in your power to be as good as you can, better than you can. Bend yourself around the task, do the hard stuff, for the day to day reward of knowing you are doing something right, and passionately, and that at least in this aspect of your life you are ignoring those who don't expect much from you. Learn how to argue vehemently with the negative voice inside you. There is the real battle. And winning that one is a lifetime achievement award.

    Go for it 100%. Shoot the moon. You may not hit the moon, but you know what?. You might just could get over the barn.
    Last edited by JeffD; Aug-10-2017 at 22:20.
    How did I become a senior member? I only recently figured out where the restrooms are.

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  20. #30
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    Well, I'd say 20 is too old to be a prodigy, but that's about the only thing it's too old for! If you are finding that playing guitar isn't making you happy, maybe you've reached a point where you don't know how to present yourself with artistic challenges within the field of study that you already know. Not only would learning to play piano be rewarding in its own right, but it would probably help revive some of your interest in guitar. Discovering why one instrument is more suitable to a particular musical "task" can lead to the discovery of all kinds of personal challenges if you allow yourself to consider how you can mesh your knowledge of the two.

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