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CALLING ALL EXPERIENCED PIANO PLAYERS - Advice needed

(33 Posts)
DayDreamer511 Tue 24-Oct-17 10:36:07

When I was younger I played the piano. I did very well in some festivals I competed in but never sat an exam (through choice). I rarely practiced and as a result my sight reading was always awful. My piano teacher could teach me to play music rather than me having to do much in terms of sight reading. I played piano for my higher music (Mozart, Bach etc) and the pieces I played were probably to the highest standard in my year group. My sister was always more hard working than me but our teacher told me that I have something that you can’t teach which is that I know how to play the piano. She said I know how to play a piece of music with feeling. Although I never practiced (through laziness when I was younger), playing the piano is something I’ve always had a love for. Having lived away from home for 10 years and not having a piano, I’m now incredibly rusty and since I can’t sight read well, I feel like such a novice. I’ve bought a piano and am enquiring about getting lessons as I really regret not practicing when I was younger.

Anyway, it would be an absolute dream come true for me if I could do lessons for a few years, sit exams and at some point in the future, maybe even become a piano teacher. I’m just wondering, does this idea sound too far fetched? Is it unlikely I’ll ever get to that level? I’m 28 and a stay at home Mum with young children and I’ve been trying to find my “thing”, my hobby or passion and it turns out the piano is that thing. I just don’t want to set my sights too high and fail.

I really appreciate any help/ advice.

Thank you.

Crispbutty Tue 24-Oct-17 10:38:04

My dad started learning at 40 and became a very good player. Never too late to learn.

My piano teacher was about 95 so you have a few years in you to get learning! grin

DayDreamer511 Tue 24-Oct-17 10:40:09

That’s great to hear smile My grandpa was a brilliant pianist so I feel like it’s in my blood.

EdgarAllanPO Tue 24-Oct-17 10:42:07

I taught piano for a few years, had some adult students who like you had some previous experience and took it up again later. These where my favourite students because they really wanted to learn and did well. You can learn at any age and I'm sure you will pick it up again quite quickly.
Find a teacher through word of mouth.

SugarMiceInTheRain Tue 24-Oct-17 10:44:16

Doesn't sound far fetched at all. I played piano as a teen, under duress, gave up at about Grade 3 level, then restarted as an adult. Have done Grade 7 now (self taught, already had Grade 8 Singing and violin as well as Grade 5 theory, which I would recommend you do if you want to play seriously and teach) and now actually teach beginners piano and violin lessons (friends started asking me to teach their kids and it snowballed!) Music teaching is ideal for me as I fit it around my children (aged 3-11) and mainly teach when DH is home to look after them. Works well for me. When youngest starts school I intend to try to get more day time teaching hours doing peripatetic teaching in schools.

SugarMiceInTheRain Tue 24-Oct-17 10:46:30

Btw, I have several adult pupils, one of whom is making fantastic progress and has got to Grade 4 level in just over a year because he is really motivated. Pupils who really want to learn and put in the practice make it so worthwhile

DayDreamer511 Tue 24-Oct-17 10:48:36

Brilliant. I’m feeling really positive now! Thank you smile my husband is in the army and we have 2 DC aged 4 & 1. He’s away an awful lot and we have no family locally so a job where I can work while the kids are at school in years to come is really the only feesable option. I love the piano and feel like teaching could really fit round our life. I know I’m a long way off but I’m willing to work very hard.

DayDreamer511 Tue 24-Oct-17 10:50:27

What grade do you need to reach to teach in schools? That would be my absolute ideal scenario in the future.

gillybeanz Tue 24-Oct-17 10:55:10

It's never too late to learn, it will take you some time though as I'm sure you realise.

When you speak of sight reading do you mean playing from music you haven't seen before, like attempting a new piece or do you mean reading music?

The sight reading comes with practice, just playing lots of different music at the level you are at, to consolidate and the level above where you are at.

It is said that with normal practice you gain a grade per year, but if you have played already it could just be filling in the gaps at the lower levels and taking grade 5 within the year.

Theory is important especially if you want to teach, here again you can soon take a grade 5 theory, there are lots of apps and websites to help with this.
Do opt for ABRSM as some people won't look at any other board for practical or theory.

Good luck to you thanks

I'm not a pianist but have been involved in music for about 45 years grin

gillybeanz Tue 24-Oct-17 10:57:02

The instrumental teachers that taught (peri's) were grade 8 minimum, most have degrees or diplomas in music, there are lots of teaching courses offered by ABRSM but they can become expensive, but good cpd evidence on your cv

DayDreamer511 Tue 24-Oct-17 11:00:22

Thank you gilly, is without going to university, will it be near impossible for me to teach in schools? Sorry if I’m misunderstanding your post.

ferrier Tue 24-Oct-17 11:01:22

Agree with pp. Definitely start working your way through ABRSM theory and take Grade 5. What pieces were you playing when you stopped? You will need to be minimum grade 8 to teach beginners/elementary and more if you want to teach to grade 8.
I don't know how easy it is to get a job t3aching in schools these days without a specialist teachers or performer diploma, gained as an internal or external student from one of the music colleges.

gillybeanz Tue 24-Oct-17 11:04:05

No, not at all, I meant that level.
You can take a practical Diploma with ABRSM after grade 8 and it's very much acceptable to LA's, there are some teachers who don't take the Diploma but ime they don't tend to get the best teaching jobs or the hours that the more qualified have.
I think the cpd with ABRSM is most impressive

DayDreamer511 Tue 24-Oct-17 11:04:16

Fantasia in D Minor was the hardest piece I ever played (and my favourite piece too for that matter), if that helps you gauge the standard I was at. Does anyone know what grade that would equate to?

drspouse Tue 24-Oct-17 11:05:06

You can do an OU degree in Music if you need that for schools teaching.

DayDreamer511 Tue 24-Oct-17 11:08:43

I played it very well (wish I could still play it so well), if that makes any odds.

gillybeanz Tue 24-Oct-17 11:09:34

Take a look here and maybe join and post, they are a lovely bunch all with shared interests.
gb.abrsm.org/en/home Go to forum, but there's everything you'll need on here.

Larsitter Tue 24-Oct-17 11:16:56

I think you can get back into playing again and take exame.

I did to and including grade 8 (and failed a playing diploma ABRSM although I passed the theory and aurals part - such a pity but never mind). I still play most days for fun and it was very useful to play to accompany my children at home on their instruments at music practice time which you could do with your two when they are older.

You probably should set yourself a target of grade 1 within 3 months as you are an adult and will put in a lot of practice. Or may be grade 3 - I am not sure your current standard.

I would not necessarily set your hopes on teaching in schools as most of the teachers my children have had there have had a music degree and/or diploma and some a PGCE too actually but I am not saying that is essential by any means and it will depend in what part of the country you are in. However you could easily teach beginners if you are in a part of the country with people with funds to pay for lessons with demand for that once you get higher up the grades if there is not too much competition in the area.

DayDreamer511 Tue 24-Oct-17 12:44:42

Thanks for your advice. Maybe I need to consider an open uni degree or something, along side my lessons.

Larsitter Tue 24-Oct-17 12:54:38

Yes, it is a good time to get more qualifications when children are young and you may have to move because of your husband's career. I would start with it as a lovely hobby and go on from there and see where it leads. If you also want a extra source of income you could consider starting now with a bit of private coaching for 5 or 6 year olds may be? I don't know what qualifications you have eg GCSEs or A levels but even without some parents just want someone good with children who can help out, supervise homework after school, listening to their reading, help them learn spellings and tables etc

gillybeanz Tue 24-Oct-17 12:56:10

I think the most important thing is to be able to play your instrument well. It may sound silly but I think some people don't see past the grades ito accomplishment.
You could eventually do a course in accompanying children on other instruments for exams.
I know our LA only has two accompanists, yet the music dept is really good.
If you were to do anything alongside your lessons I'd recommend teaching courses like the ABRSM ones. The fact your'e are a mum and used to children at various stages will be a huge bonus to you. Many young people starting out as peri's leaving uni don't have this skill yet.

buggerthebotox Tue 24-Oct-17 13:08:56

Go for it! I was 55 when I finally got my G8s. For me it's just a really lovely hobby with a bit of teaching attached (word of mouth). I take it very seriously though, and have a "mentor" - an experienced teacher whom I can run things past. Most teachers I know do this.

I almost have a teaching diploma (currently on hold) but I already hold a PGCE (I don't teach in schools tjough).

I really think you should go for it, even if it's just for pleasure.

DayDreamer511 Tue 24-Oct-17 13:24:42

Honestly, I really expected that you were all going to tell me that I was setting my sights far too high and that it would be unachievable for me. It’s something I probably would have done sooner but I’ve been convincing myself I’ve missed the boat. So refreshing to hear that I could still make this work smile

CoteDAzur Tue 24-Oct-17 13:32:48

It’s possible! I started playing the piano again in my 40s, 30 years after I quit playing as a child.

That was 3 years ago. I made enormous progress and enrolled at the local conservatory. Music is now a big part of my life.

Join us at the Instrument Players thread smile

DayDreamer511 Tue 24-Oct-17 14:15:35

My biggest problem just now is finding a teacher. I need someone who can come to me in the evening when the kids are in bed. Proving difficult to find sad

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