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July 02, 2005

Personal Music History

I started Piano Lessons last Thursday. A woman that mainly teaches young children but has a few young adults.

We were trying to decide what book I should be in with my previous knowledge. I thought I'd still be in book one since it's been so long.

She pulled out book one and made me play through each song. I got through all of them. And while sight reading (I've never been the best at sight reading).

We decided that next week I would start in book 2, that there was no reason for me to use book 1.

Well, I hate to break it to the lady, but I'm going to have to quit piano lessons after 1 lesson. I feel bad. She's a sweet old lady and this is her source of income. And I'm sure it's great to have someone that's not a beginner for her to work with.

Here's my reasoning. I think I'm at the point where I don't need her at this point in time. I need to start taking lessons when I get stuck and can't teach myself.

I've been pretty good at teaching myself music. I started off playing the clarinet in 6th grade and stayed 1st chair up until college. I got bored with clarinet often so tried other things. In 7th grade, my director had an old bassoon, barely in working order. I begged him to let me try it. I took it home, bought a book, and taught myself the fingerings. I fixed some of the things wrong with it (the felt pads, cleaning, some of the screws) and was able to play bassoon for the next few years and was even asked to play in a local community band. (Bands always need bassoon players...they are hard to find).

Then, my sophomore year in high school, I was a member of the concert band, marching band and jazz band. We had absolutely know baritone players. We had 1 tuba, 1 trombone, and the rest were trumpets and woodwinds. So, I took the baritone home, tried a few finger positions, played a note on my keyboard to match it...and wrote down the fingering and note when I figured it out. No book, no instructor...just me, the baritone and the keyboard.

It took me 3 weeks to learn the baritone enough to play the music for our Homecoming Game. That summer, I went to Europe with the Spirit of America National Honor Band...playing the baritone, with less than a year experience under my belt in the instrument.

I've fiddled around with other instruments. Oboe, Soprano Sax, Trombone, Alto Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, and some percussion (my favorite being the Timpani).

I took Piano lessons for 8 months about 10 years ago. I can still play my major scales and my chord progressions...after all this time. I took a piano class for a semester my first year in college. I didn't like it. I actually got a C....go figure!

So, I've come to the conclusion that I can save the $25 a lesson and continue to teach myself.

Now I have to figure out how to break it to the instructor. Why does she have to be a sweet old lady?

Posted by Sissy at July 2, 2005 12:29 PM | TrackBack

While I don't share your ability to self-teach music, I can relate to only needing help when getting stuck. I just wish college would let me avoid classes I don't need to be taught.
On self-teaching, I have a suggestion: Pick up a book on how to break an old lady's heart and not feel bad about it.

Posted by: Tuck at July 2, 2005 02:13 PM

I started the Clarinet in 5th grade and played it until High School. Self taught myself the flute on my sisters flute. I also played the Bass Clarinet for 2 years.

Had to take the piano in college for one of my education classes and can still play some of the scales.

Posted by: Machelle at July 2, 2005 06:33 PM

Just tell the lady that you just needed to get back in the swing of things....

I am sure she has heard it all before.....remember she is elderly. They have seen and heard it all.

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at July 2, 2005 11:32 PM

I started back at flute and thought I'd be at book one. I'm on book 3, when I was at book 5. I go once a month now and we go over stuff and then he and I play duets for the last half of the lesson. I have to say, it is a lot of fun. I don't need it every week as I can teach myself as you do, but it's just fun playing with someone else.

Posted by: Bou at July 4, 2005 01:23 AM

I don't know if this applies to you, but if I'm paying someone for lessons, I'm much more likely to practice. So, even if you can do without a teacher, you might make more rapid progress with one.

Posted by: owlish at July 8, 2005 11:41 PM