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What level of music training do you have

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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Im relatively new to classical music, I've been more or less obsessed with it for the past 2 1/2 years, having not really every listened for the first 40 years of my life.

Im trying to understand what takes people to this path and how i can help get more of my friends interested, one things I've observed anecdotally is that a few posters seem to have some level of training.

So how much do you have?
 

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Started piano at age 5, classical guitar at 7, trumpet at 10. Trumpet is still my primary instrument in college, despite having struggled with focal dystonia for over 2 years. I took piano until I was about 15 and guitar about the same.
I stuck with trumpet the rest of the time. Piano stuff is still there, but classical guitar has fallen by the wayside though I still practice just enough to maintain decent skills.
Still waiting to experience a truly professional gig, but I have no delusions about that until I either beat dystonia somehow or reach my goal of becoming a trained conductor.
 

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Bit of a weird mixture.

I've studied classical piano on and off for about 8 or 9 years. As part of that I had to do quite a bit of theory. I also play quite a bit of folk and attend folk schools on keyboard accompaniment. I'm also taking up the concertina (English system) as a folk instrument (far more portable than a piano). Playing folk, it's fascinating to see the differences between highly skilled players. Some of whom lack any technical or theoretical background and while they can play by ear have trouble with dots and also with playing harmonies. Others have the technical training but are less in the folk idiom because of their classical background.
 

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I voted for 'I have two years or less classical training/experience'.

It was a mistake (senior moment :eek:) as I was aiming to vote for the one below, 'I have 2 - 5 years classical training/experience'.

The thing is, I was dickering. Altogether, I probably have about nine years of classical training/experience, but it wasn't very concentrated or technical.

As a child, I learned the violin in school - took no exams, and learned no theory - didn't even play any more complex major scales, or any minor scales at all :eek: - and a lot of my playing was for school assembly, or the folk tunes scattered throughout the Eta Cohen tutor books.

You couldn't avoid hearing classical music on the radio or TV in the 1950s and 1960s, but ours wasn't a classical music family, so I didn't really know much beyond a few names, or what I picked up playing second violin in the York Schools Strings Orchestra (junior section).

Since I retired, I've taken up the violin again, and for the first three and a half years, I played classical music as well as the folk fiddle that I specialise in. I took a grade 3 violin exam (with distinction) but gave up exams after my teacher lost his temper with me and forfeited my trust as an adult learner.

For eighteen months now, I've played only folk fiddle, with a different teacher - although I plan to do a little baroque in the autumn again, because my passion is The Golden Age of Scottish Fiddle Music, and in the eighteenth century, there wasn't a huge rift between (baroque) art music and (patterned) Scottish traditional music, and the same musicians played both.

At the same time that I started violin lessons again, I became interested in classical music and tried to learn a bit more about it. I can read music, and I have a good ear, but I am rotten at rhythm if it's anything out of the common, and absolutely useless at anything technical or theoretical.

As an ex-English teacher I find most of my classical musical pleasure, outside listening, in reading about the personal lives of composers and following the dramatic interplay on TalkClassical. :)
 

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As an ex-English teacher I find most of my classical musical pleasure, outside listening, in reading about the personal lives of composers and following the dramatic interplay on TalkClassical. :)
I did not know you were an English teacher. How do you like Strunk and White's The Elements of Style? It is my favorite book on English. My Silviculture professor (forestry program) was an ex-English teacher and included that book in our required book list. He also docked me 10 points for misspelling the same word five times in a paper, 2 points off for each time.:D

Back on topic:

I must confess to half heartedly attempting several instruments in my younger days, including coronet (wanted trumpet but rental store was out of them), inspired by Herb Alpert, harmonica inspired by Alvin and the Chipmunks, and guitar inspired by wanting to do sing-a-longs at Church. Didn't get very far with any of these instruments. Main problem is I did not have the drive to really attack it with the level of determination needed.
 

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Well, I already listed some things during a strop on another thread. However, I had the great fortune to be around my organist grandfather when very young and I sat in the organ box (or chamber or whatever it is) while he played. I think he was much worse at reading music than he let on and learned most of the pieces by heart at home. At some point (9 or 10) I started on the cornet at the Salvation Army and they gave me a very good grounding.

After being fostered from about age 12 I started on the piano because their kids were learning and they didn't want me to be left out. I was not a very quick learner on the piano, probably because of already doing cornet and being in the school's band and that was enough. Later on I decided that I wanted to play not classical, but jazz on the trumpet/flugel and I dreamed of being Chet Baker (obviously because I didn't know he was a heroin addict!). I eventually went up to grade 6 (maybe 5) on the piano and then stopped. I played in the school's various bands - brass and the small orchestra or concert band. Also sitting in with colliery bands on Sunday parades and the like. At this time I also started studying basic harmony and counterpoint.

During my late teens and later at university I was playing just the flugelhorn and played in several jazz ensembles, cool jazz and lightweight bebop. At that time I also started teaching myself the flute and took informal lessons from a band member. During a summer job demonstrating organs in a shop I met a fellow who gave lessons in counterpoint and harmony and I studied with him for a while, though I almost never had to pay him! Since then I've done mostly informal self-teaching of harmony and composition with the odd period of instruction from people I've met in various musical situations.

Fast forward to now and I haven't played brass for some time. I don't have the exact same problem as Gordontrek, but my embouchure seems to have just weakened. Probably through lack of practice. Most of the time I play the flute in various amateur situations: jazz-lite and classical. I also help write out arrangements for a local brass outfit and another wind band. I'm definitely no 'pro', but I have a fair bit of experience.
 

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I did not know you were an English teacher. How do you like Strunk and White's The Elements of Style? It is my favorite book on English.
Um - I haven't read it.
Actually, I'd never heard of it, before I read your post! :eek:
But I'm feeling a bit better now that I've googled it and Wiki says that it's 'a prescriptive American English writing style guide'.
After all, I'm an English-English teacher.
But I'll probably take a look at it if it's an important book across the pond.
Thank you, Florestan. :tiphat:

To keep on topic, I'll also add that I, like most British children of my vintage, learned the recorder at school. (I believe now that the ukulele has taken its place.)
However, precious little classical music was played - some would say, precious little music.
 

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Difficult to categorize, so I chose "I can play a little." I played sax in junior high and high school, which is when I learned to read music. During junior high, I also learned to play drums and have played regularly since. I haven't played the sax since HS.

As an adult, I took a couple years worth of music history and theory/composition, a basic piano course, and an electronic music (MIDI) course. I tried to take a sight singing/ear training course, but I absolutely cannot sing in front of a group of people. I dropped that and practiced the curriculum with a friend who was in the class.

I have no talent at keyboard, but I can play melodic lines with my right hand, and I can use the keyboard to mess around with chord structures and things like that. It has to be the most basic, simple piece of music for me to play two-handed.

Drums are my main instrument - not percussion, so nothing classical in that regard. Although, it's sometimes fun to put on a Bach allegro and play a back beat to it. :lol:
 

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Um - I haven't read it.
Actually, I'd never heard of it, before I read your post! :eek:
But I'm feeling a bit better now that I've googled it and Wiki says that it's 'a prescriptive American English writing style guide'.
After all, I'm an English-English teacher.
But I'll probably take a look at it if it's an important book across the pond.
Thank you, Florestan. :tiphat:

To keep on topic, I'll also add that I, like most British children of my vintage, learned the recorder at school. (I believe now that the ukulele has taken its place.)
However, precious little classical music was played - some would say, precious little music.
Not an English teacher, but I agree about Strunk & White's "Elements of Style." I think it should be comulsory reading for any student of English, at least in America.
 

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Difficult to categorize, so I chose "I can play a little." I played sax in junior high and high school, which is when I learned to read music. During junior high, I also learned to play drums and have played regularly since. I haven't played the sax since HS.

As an adult, I took a couple years worth of music history and theory/composition, a basic piano course, and an electronic music (MIDI) course. I tried to take a sight singing/ear training course, but I absolutely cannot sing in front of a group of people. I dropped that and practiced the curriculum with a friend who was in the class.

I have no talent at keyboard, but I can play melodic lines with my right hand, and I can use the keyboard to mess around with chord structures and things like that. It has to be the most basic, simple piece of music for me to play two-handed.

Drums are my main instrument - not percussion, so nothing classical in that regard. Although, it's sometimes fun to put on a Bach allegro and play a back beat to it. :lol:
This sounds like the sort of trajectory self-taught composers take. Do you dabble?
 

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This sounds like the sort of trajectory self-taught composers take. Do you dabble?
Actually, I have. Sadly, I don't think I have any talent in the compositional regard, either. I wrote several orchestral and chamber works and sequenced them on computer, but they just sound like someone trying to copy Mozart or Vivaldi and failing miserably. :lol: I did write a 12-tone piano piece that I think turned out really good, so perhaps my talents lie in that area. Who knows? But it's been several years since I have tried writing anything.
 

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Both of my parents are musicians and violinists. My father tried to give me violin lessons when I was very young, but it didn't work out. I tried it several times and quit every single time. However, I did take up piano lessons when I was eight or so and then continued taking lessons for twelve years until I was in college. I can sightread a lot of things that are on an intermediate level (Chopin mazurkas, Mendelssohn Songs without Words, Mozart sonatas, Haydn sonatas, Scriabin preludes) as long as nobody is listening to me playing.

My piano teacher was someone who had group lessons every third Saturday of the month when the students would play for each other. I was introduced to a lot of music that way including Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto, Ravel's Sonatine, and Debussy's Pour le piano. In college, I had two great professors as well. My ensemble professor was introduced me to a lot of music for piano four hands (Schubert, Bizet's Jeux de Enfants, etc.), while my other teacher introduced me to the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues.

I had some music theory when I was studying the piano, but a lot of that has been lost on me over the years. However, all of this training has helped me to read all kinds of scores which is its own pleasure.
 
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