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

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    Senior Member PresenTense's Avatar
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    Angry Is it too late for me to study classical music on Piano?

    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?

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    Senior Member Kontrapunctus's Avatar
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    Well, that piece would require many, many years of intense practice to master. You might have to settle for some of his Preludes! Then again, you might have a natural aptitude and could make rapid progress. Yes, of course it would be better to start as a child. It also depends on your goals. If you just want to play some nice pieces for your own pleasure, like I do, then "it's never too late." By the way, I played guitar, both rock/metal and classical, for 48 years before starting piano lessons. After only 6 months, I could play Bach's Invention No.1, the first movement from Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," and Chopin's 4th Prelude. I'm about to start the Toccata from Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Playing classical guitar for about 35 of those years kept my fingers nimble and independent in both hands, so I had the advantage there. I don't think, however, that the "Rach 3" as it's known is in my future, but surely a few preludes at some point. So, dive in and find out how it goes for you!
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    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    It is probably too late to become a concert pianist but it is not too late to become a proficient player and there are so many ways in which a good pianist might be used in all sorts of musics.

    Also, knowing how to play the piano will help you understand music in a much deeper way.

    I think it would be a good idea if you think you would enjoy it and be prepared to work at it.

    I returned to the fiddle on retirement 4 years ago - obviously it is only for pleasure. But what pleasure!

    Go for it!
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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    Senior Member Pugg'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?
    Putting it mildly, no you can, after 22 years study I can safely say that
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    Senior Member PresenTense's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Putting it mildly, no you can, after 22 years study I can safely say that
    Tell me more about that!

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    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PresenTense View Post
    Tell me more about that!
    My piano teacher has recordings from dozens of works, without the the piano part, so if you start the recording you can play the part. Well I get some Mozart from time to time but as he advices me 10 years ago, keep your "normal" study steady.
    He's right, you need to make a lot off effort to become a "professional" pianist.
    Last edited by Pugg; Jul-12-2016 at 06:22.
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    Senior Member PresenTense's Avatar
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    But It's not impossible
    “Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.”

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    Member Ginger's Avatar
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    Nothing is impossible. I wish you good luck and the very best! But please be a little bit careful: being too ambitious can take the fun out of it... and you should be aware of your aim: do you want to play the piano for yourself or do you really want to be a concert pianist one day?

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    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PresenTense View Post
    But It's not impossible
    As Ginger says, nothing is impossible, however over ambition is ruining more then one hopes.
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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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?
    Is it too late? Depends on how good you want to be. Why not just stick with the electric guitar?

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    Senior Member PresenTense's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morimur View Post
    Is it too late? Depends on how good you want to be. Why not just stick with the electric guitar?
    I don't know why but guitar sounds don't make me happy anymore...not as before at least. I used to have this dream of being in a band and stuff like that, but since I got into classical music (almost two years ago) all the "guitar" vibe seemed to dissapear. Piano really captured my attention.

    I have written songs influenced by Radiohead and other bands like Syd Arthur. But now I want to be really good at piano and make my own compositions. People tell me things like: oh, It's too late to study classical music. Doesn't playing guitar make it a little bit easier? Does it help? I don't know! I'm a 20 years old confused guy.
    “Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.”

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    Member Ginger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PresenTense View Post
    I don't know why but guitar sounds don't make me happy anymore...not as before at least. I used to have this dream of being in a band and stuff like that, but since I got into classical music (almost two years ago) all the "guitar" vibe seemed to dissapear. Piano really captured my attention.

    I have written songs influenced by Radiohead and other bands like Syd Arthur. But now I want to be really good at piano and make my own compositions. People tell me things like: oh, It's too late to study classical music. Doesn't playing guitar make it a little bit easier? Does it help? I don't know! I'm a 20 years old confused guy.
    Well then get started, take piano lessons and try it! If I was in your place I wouldn't start studying the piano at university at once. I actually think it's even impossible. But why don't you start with musicology? You can do more with this later on, if the 'piano-thing' doesn't work. And you will probably need it anyway.

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    first of all, the real gift of music has absolutely nothing to do with how well you play. The real gift is that music enriches your life

    I went through something similar when I was 40. Only for me it was violin. If you already play and already know music, then learning your second instrument is really just learning to operate whatever instrument it is you want to try and play.

    But you can't be overly ambitious. Remember how long it took to feel like your first instrument was a part of your body? The fact is that you have to take some years being like a kid again because no matter how long you've been at it on another instrument, you only just started playing piano. It takes years to go from a beginner to playing concert level pieces on any instrument, and you're getting a late start.

    I'm not trying to bring you down, its just that I agree with Pugg that over ambition can ruin the enjoyment of learning a second instrument.

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    Junior Member Amadeus Tentacles's Avatar
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    It depends on how much passion you have for it and how much time you are willing to study!. I use to wake up every morning and write down scales, read sheet music, learn theory, and then go to work for 8 hours then go to a piano store and practice for about 5 hours. Needless to say I was drained physically and mentally but it actually payed out in the end. With no piano lessons at all I learned Bachs invention in about 2 months and can play it fairly well I also did a recital with acouple of Bachs works. I was only 21 at the time! and im 22 now haha So no its never to late as long as you for yourself put all your minds effort and dedication to it you can do anything.

    Here is a fun fact. Tchaikovsky started playin piano when he was 5. He didnt study music seriously until he was 21!! so what does that show you? You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Now some might be more musically inclined than others but nothings impossible.

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    Senior Member JeffD's Avatar
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    I think studying a musical instrument has to be its own reward. I mean studying, the instrument has to be a rewarding experience, directly, separate from what progress you make or how much closer you have made the achievement of your goals.

    I pick up my mandolin, and I get a thrill right away when I consider the number of people through out history that have had their hands in the same position on mandolin shaped objects, all the paintings, all the tradition. And then every kind of music I pursue has its own beauty, its own traditions, its own frustrations.

    I often pick up the mandolin and have no particular kind of music I want to play. So I play etudes and scales, and get caught up on exercises. I just enjoy it that much. That so much sound can come out of shards of wood and pieces of wire, and that I can, with time, through force of will and tenacity bend that sound into pleasing music, to some degree anyway.

    And if I pick up the mandolin to play something it is a different kind of wonderful. To be a participant in Bach's ideas, to have him in your left hand, through over 200 years of time. Its an amazing feeling. When I sort out some fingering I can almost hear him laughing and enjoying my "discovery".

    Sure I have all the goals and aspirations of any healthy person. But what carries me forward day to day is the fun and available transcendence of the moment itself, when I am actually behind the mandolin working working practicing learning, fighting, and chasing beauty.

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