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How did you learn to play?


metromike

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Lessons? On your own? Did you have a mentor?

 

Me....I took classical piano lessons from ages 9-16, I then had a mentor at church for a couple years (organ and piano).

 

 

Gear: Roland RD700, Yamaha MotifES6, Roland Fantom FA76, Roland JP-8000, Roland AX-7, Roland Juno-106.
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Ms. Thormann (year or two as young child), two other teachers whose names escape me, Dick Webster (Jr High), some lessons in college [tried to get in a lab band - never got asked back and I had an English Lit class at 1 o'clock]; autodidact after college, with a nod later to Charles Cooke's book "playing the piano for pleasure;" Homespun tapes, and John Mehegan and Dan Hurley literature. Pretty shaky foundation if you ask me. :idk
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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Way back, somewhere around 3rd grade .... my parents bought a piano from an uncle who opened a music store on the other side of town. I was thrust into lessons which after about a week, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with. I proceded to make everybody in the house miserable with 5:00 am practices ... and was allowed to quit after 6 weeks. My sister continued with the lessons.....

 

Fast forward to high school. I had no car - and relied on friends for rides. I was always ready to go early - and they were always late - which put me in the living room with the idle piano ... waiting and waiting. I entertained myself by picking out whatever tune my sister was currently practicing. Pretty soon I was playing the ones I learned as well as she was.

 

Joined the service, found myself in Germany with roommates who were musicians. Their band didn't have keys ... so I bought a Rhodes ... and have been playing and performing ever since.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Piano, drums, guitar and horns (trumpet and sax) were very different paths for me, but being able to read piano music helped in every case.

 

Piano - lessons when I was young until my mother made me quit because she did not think I practiced enough. Started back in piano lessons in the 9th grade and continued until I went to college. When I joined a band it was tough moving from reading sheet music on a piano to learning pop and rock songs by ear using a Hammond and a stack of synths.

 

Drums - Sat down on the bed surrounded by a row of plastic containers and a stack of records. Put pennies in one container to make it a snare. Learned how to play by mimicking the beats on the records. Joined high school band as a freshman and was the best drummer from day one. Piano really helped me when I had to read percussion transcription.

 

Horns - Senior year the high school band needed horn players after losing most good musicians to graduation. Again, being able to play piano and read piano music made it easy for me to pick up trumpet and sax.

 

Guitar - It was a college thing. The only thing I got out of my freshman year of college. Learned acoustic from some guys in the dorm. With their help and again, my ability to read piano music, I was able to go through guitar and piano books, pick out the notes and learn the songs.

This post edited for speling.

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I wanted so badly to play piano when I was a kid, but my parents were dubious. Instead they bought me a beginner accordion when I was in 4th grade, and started me on lessons with a wonderful man named Andy Kutchyak. Andy was an old-school club date guy who played polkas and standards. I stayed with him from fourth grade all the way through high school. As soon as I got the fundamentals of music down, he threw the original fake book in front of me ("Book Number One: 1000 Standard Tunes" - you know, the one with THREE songs on each page, illegibly typed), and had me memorize the chord chart in the back. We worked on club date songs for years.

 

I eventually moved to piano, and Andy taught me to "play to make money." He was all about playing gigs, and didn't teach me a lick of classical content. It was all about fake books, hand scribbled charts and improvisation. As a result, I'm horrible at reading bass clef, and fake my way through most songs. That's probably why I prefer to play jazz :blush:.

 

Andy taught me a lot about music and about life for years, all for $3 per 30 minute lesson (at least it started that way). He got me into the Musician's local (of which he was the secretary), and helped me make connections. One of my first true life mentors.

 

After Andy, I studied with Morris Nanton for a few months. Morris was a Julliard graduate an accomplished jazz pianist in New Jersey. A lot of rigor went into those few months, practicing for hours every day. I had to stop because our conflicting schedules made it difficult.

 

. . . at 50, I'm still learning, albeit on my own.

 

Mike

 

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Originally self taught in my middle school & high school years. My mother worked nights as the school custodian. I would spend about 2-3 hours a night trying to make music come out of the schools upright. I was getting pretty good at fake books and had memorized a book of piano chords and left hand bass. I had a couple of books and had taught myself the guitar. In band I was a drummer and played guitar for the school jazz ensemble. In the early to mid 80's I played a Rhodes but quit after I received orders to Korea. I have been a weekend warrior gigging about 50-100 gigs a year since returning only on guitar. I even played guitar in a pit orchestra in Germany and toured Kuwait with MWR on guitar. I picked piano back up in 2000 and with the help of a 14 DVD course "Learn & Master the Piano" I was soon better than I had ever been and started gigging playing both guitar and piano.

 

I still practice about 1-2 hours nightly on piano. So I keep getting better though not as fast as I would like. I have all of the style series Mark Harrison books and ton of other courses including the homespun DVD's. One day I will learn to play decent organ I do a few songs with it but am really lame!

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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I remember this conversation with my mother from when I was 7 years old:

 

Mom: "Would you like to take piano lessons?"

Me: "No. Not really."

Mom: "Well, you start Monday!

 

I was forced to take lessons and practice 30 minutes a day. Hated it. Until I joined my first band... Now that I have kids I always struggle with the decision whether or not to force lessons on them when there's no interest. Will they turn out like me? Or will they loathe music as a result? OT. Sorry...

Roland Fantom 06; Yamaha P-125; QSC K10; Cubase 13 Pro; Windows 10

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2 years of classical with Mrs. Novak 7 - 8 grade, she had a grand piano in her basement. I rode my bike a mile to her house on Saturday mornings.

 

Then 5 years with Ed Zapulla through high school and into college. Ed was a soloist and taught jazz, standards and improvisation. He also had me work on one classical piece each week.

 

Among other things, he taught me what he called the "60 Chord System". He was a great teacher. "It's a standard Joey, you HAVE to know it". :)

 

Regards,

Joe

 

 

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As a wee lad I took classical lessons. From age 14-19, jazz lessons intermittently. Then some college courses. But what made the most difference was this: when I was 15, there was a kid a year older than me who lived down the block who had serious blues/jazz piano skills. And he was completely self-taught. I'd hang out with him 2-3 afternoons each week listening to him, talking, gradually starting to play duos with him on the same piano. He taught me some licks and theory, but more importantly, he inspired me by his initiative and desire. From him I got an idea of what could be accomplished on your own.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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Started 'classically oriented' lessons at 9. My first teacher was a Turkish woman that was a former concert pianist....she certainly showed me what was possible through her demonstrations....blew my 9 year-old mind. My family moved, and then I had a classic "old lady piano-teacher" for a couple years, wig and all. I was then lucky enough to join the studio of a piano performance oriented instructor that had a PhD in said subject. That really opened my eyes and led to me playing keys in the performance jazz band in high school, which ultimately led to my majoring in piano performance my first year in college.

 

An interesting comment someone else made was piano serving as a great foundation to learning other instruments, which I have constantly been pursuing. From oboe (parish the thought!), to tenor sax, to guitar...great foundation to have.

Steinway L, Yamaha Motif XS-8, NE3 73, Casio PX-5S, iPad, EV ZLX 12-P ZZ(x2), bunch of PA stuff.
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5 years of lessons starting at age 4. Quit due to an overbearing mother who was inflexible about the WHEN of practice.

 

Age 15, started picking it back up on my own, self-directed, focusing on theory (of which I got none other than sight-reading during all those years of lessons) rather than technique.

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Great thread.

 

I had unusual training. My mother is a completely self-taught country and gospel musician, and most of her side of the family is also musical. My mom led church music from the piano every Sunday, so I watched that all my life. When I was three she got me a ukele and taught me chords. By five or six she was showing me piano stuff as well, and we got a piano in the house when I was seven. I also picked up guitar somewhere along the way. My mom doesn't read, so this was all ear training. When I was 10 or so I had some classical piano lessons, and I did that off and on for several years. But I was never very into it. I played trumpet in school from 4th grade on, and I owe most of my formal "reading" training to school music programs. Like someone else said, pretty shaky foundation.

 

Looking back, the best thing about my training was this: I was already playing musical instruments before our culture got around to teaching me that it was "hard". By the time I learned that it was supposed to be hard, I was already doing it.

 

When we had family get-togethers for holidays and such, we played music. When I was about 8, my aunt noticed that I was paying attention, and basically not acting like a small child. So she looked around the room, saw a bass no one was playing, handed it to me, and said "this next song is in G". The fact that I had never played a bass guitar before did not seem relevant to her in any way. ;) It was a country song, and it was in G. What questions could you possibly have?

 

If I played the wrong changes, either my mom or one of her siblings would snap their fingers and glare at me in exactly the same way they would if I had reached for the cookie jar before dinner. It never occurred to them that I couldn't figure it out from context. And so I did.

 

I wish our culture today didn't teach kids that music was hard. It would be a better world if more people sang and/or played.

 

--Dave

 

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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It never occurred to them that I couldn't figure it out from context. And so I did.

 

--Dave

 

That has the makings of a pretty good general mantra.

Great story Dave.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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It never occurred to them that I couldn't figure it out from context. And so I did.

 

--Dave

 

That has the makings of a pretty good general mantra.

Great story Dave.

 

Indeed, it sounded like an excerpt form "The Music Lesson" by Victor Wooten. :thu:

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I remember this conversation with my mother from when I was 7 years old:

 

Mom: "Would you like to take piano lessons?"

Me: "No. Not really."

Mom: "Well, you start Monday!

 

I was forced to take lessons and practice 30 minutes a day. Hated it. Until I joined my first band...

 

Same with me, except I was forced to take organ lessons. Not a Hammond either, but a Baldwin spinet. Looked something like this:

 

http://www.wejammin.net/eag/img/pianos/DSC02820.JPG

 

 

I'm grateful now my parents insisted I take several years of lessons--sure has paid off. :thu:

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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I wish our culture today didn't teach kids that music was hard.
Truly. Werner talks about this in Effortless Mastery as well. When you think about it, it's crazy. Most of us drive these two ton hunks of metal that could easily kill ourselves or others without a thought, yet are afraid of playing a "wrong note." :freak:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Just like my 3 older siblings, I started taking lessons from the time I could read. I never practiced like I should - usually once before my lesson so my assignment was passable (which I regret to this day). My piano teacher passed away when I was in middle school and I didn't take lessons for a couple years. Then I started up again with a different teacher, but still didn't practice like I should. I continued through high school. What's crazy, is that in college, when I wasn't taking lessons, is probably when I made the most improvement. Mainly because I started learning some songs that I really liked by ear and practicing those. That's also when I started playing in bands (real bands, that played out, for money....not a bunch of guys in the basement).

 

I started Sax lessons in 6th grade and continued through high school. I probably peaked right about the time that I quit the lessons, and it's been downhill ever since!

 

I'm self-taught on Guitar and Bass. In each case, I made the most improvement when I was playing them out. I played bass in my last band, and over a period of 4-5 yrs, got to the point where I felt comfortable actually calling myself a bass player. I play Rhythm guitar in this band, mainly out of necessity. I still don't call myself a guitar player, but I'm good enough that it sounds way better than doing some cheesey guitar sound or substitute part on the keys.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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My older brother and sister were both taking piano lessons, so it was a given that I'd take lessons as well. Took classical lessons from age 6-18, from about 10-18 with a pretty serious classical teacher. Started taking it less seriously by the time I was in high school, but by then I was in the school stage band and playing in rock bands. Started gigging professionally the summer after high school.

 

Tried to do something serious with my life in college, but dropped out of a Computer Science program to eventually get a degree in Jazz Studies. Studied with Steve Christofferson in Portland, who, in a year of lessons, taught me more about music than any other teacher I've had. Then I spent most of 20 years gigging on bass...

 

Got back into keys a few years ago, now I'm considering taking Jazz organ lessons.

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My parents caught me singing harmony to records when I was three--on songs that had no harmony. My dad had been a choir boy at St. Thomas in NYC and my mom had played clarinet. They figured I had an inclination.

 

I started lessons on violin with a college student, Wendell Kohnke. Soon after my dad bought a Lowrey organ and I found that easier to play. I had classical organ lessons with Fred Starke from ages 6-12, then more organ with Joel Krott until graduating high school. During high school I took four years of classical piano, and my band teacher, Bob Philbin, threw as many instruments at me as I could handle, including drums, flute, and marching trombone. My junior and senior years I took private lessons on the Moog System IIIP with Jerry Frohmader. During my two years at Indiana University I took organ, piano, harpsichord, and more synthesizer. Much later when I finished my degree I took three more years of organ with Karrin Ford at Belmont University.

 

My bandstand education, my real professional mentors were Larry Campbell, a jazz bass player, and Keith Benson, a funk drummer who worked for Philly International and played on all the Teddy Pendergrass, O-Jays, and McFadden and Whitehead records.

 

I also took two years of voice lessons from the famous Marty Lawrence in NYC. He was voice coach to the Metropolitan Opera as well as such luminaries as Sinatra, Bobby Darin, etc.

 

And I always learn something from everyone I encounter. The education never stops if you're paying attention.

 

K.

 

 

 

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Started taking lessons with a rabid Dutch woman named Van Zyll De Jong when I was 7. 7 years later I passed grade 7 Royal Conservatory practical, but failed the theory.

Never was much of a theory guy.

Later on in my late teens I took about 8 months of jazz lessons.

Now my daughter is carrying the torch, we play a duet together at her recital this Sunday.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

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I went to music school from age 9 to 15. Took piano lessons, solfeggio, choir etc. My parents always forced me to practice piano, and I always hated it, but never accepted to quit when offered.

The critical point for me was when I was around 12-13 and went on a school trip, it was some kind of choir contest. The choir leader sat with me and played some boogie-woogie, 4 handed. He did the bass lines and showed me a few simple tricks. My God, I think I practiced those 2-3 licks to death. That was the moment I fell in love with boogie,blues and pop music and decided not to continue music schooling in classical direction.

 

I joined my first band as a keyboard player when I was 14, and the rest is history. It's incredible how one person, on just one occasion, with just a simple lick or two can change your life forever. OK, the credit goes to my parents too who forced me to practice classical music even when I just wanted to play football and break windows with other kids :D

 

Later I played saxophone for 5-6 years (age 14-20), but I never quite liked it as piano. Probably because all I had was an old, rickety, 27th hand, filthy saxophone someone donated to me. Damn I hated that instrument.

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I wish our culture today didn't teach kids that music was hard.
Truly. Werner talks about this in Effortless Mastery as well. When you think about it, it's crazy. Most of us drive these two ton hunks of metal that could easily kill ourselves or others without a thought, yet are afraid of playing a "wrong note." :freak:

 

Yeah, huh? I'm far more afraid of that myself than I was when I was 9 years old.

 

You are not the first person to mention "Effortless Mastery". I think I need to find and read that...

 

--Dave

 

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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lots of cool stories! I too wish I had practiced a lot more when I was a kid - except the standard half hour before lesson time :whistle:
Gear: Roland RD700, Yamaha MotifES6, Roland Fantom FA76, Roland JP-8000, Roland AX-7, Roland Juno-106.
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When I joined a band it was tough moving from reading sheet music on a piano to learning pop and rock songs by ear

 

this is where I am at...sucks

Gear: Roland RD700, Yamaha MotifES6, Roland Fantom FA76, Roland JP-8000, Roland AX-7, Roland Juno-106.
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I had classical piano lessons in grade school through 12th grade. I had trouble keeping up with it after college, and then played in rock bands after that. My sightreading skills and general chops are significantly poorer than they were when I was in 12th grade, when I was actually quite good.

 

On the other hand, I now can play guitar, know how to improvise and come up with textures and parts and support a rock song, and am good at recording engineering (tracking, mixing, etc.), so I suppose that's an okay trade-off!

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I started on your basic piano lessons at age nine. I was bored in school and a teacher suggested it to my mom. Several years of lessons with Mrs. Wells. My mom swears that after a few months the teacher suggested I wasn't getting it and maybe should try something else. Switched to a more advanced local teacher in junior high, but by this time I was quickly cramming for a half hour before the lesson as not to embarrass myself. I was playing a lot, but mostly pop music (Elton John, Chicago, etc.) and convinced my mom to let me drop the lessons.

 

I had no real jazz background, but understood the feel well enough to make the jazz band in high school for two years. I'm pretty much self taught for learning chords, improvising and voicings. The rhythm section evolved into my first band. That lasted until my second year of college when I was dropped for not being sufficiently devoted. The guitarist and drummer had menial jobs and saw music as their best shot at a good life. I was premed and had a girlfriend and a college social life was less enthused about playing a lot.

 

Joined a blues band when my buddy the keyboard player became the guitar player after the guitar player moved. That group played about six to ten times a year, but had something of a following. Two of those guys had started playing together in junior high and still have a band forty-some years later.

 

Sixteen years after my last band, I bought a digital piano and started going to some blues jams and have been fairly busy with various projects since.

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The short answer for me is that I'm still learning to play!

 

As a child I had a year of piano with a nun who was quick with the ruler. Then moved to NY and took full advantage of what was once a great public school music program. I played cello, trumpet, clarinet and sax between grades 4 and 9. I was settled on reeds until I got to high school in the late 70s and took up guitar. it was the time of fusion and listening to it led me to jazz. I was playing in funk and fusion bands and was largely learned from a circle of players that all hung out together, were passionate about music and shared tunes, theory, books, etc. and played together in various bands.

 

I moved to Vancouver in the early 80s and went to college as a jazz guitar major. While there I had to take an elective instrument course and, since I'd always wanted to play piano, signed up for Class Jazz Piano. It was a room full of Wurlies and I instantly fell in love. I studied for a number of years with the class's teacher who got me my first piano gigs subbing for her. I've been studying and playing piano and keyboards ever since. So much so that I rarely pick up the guitar anymore. As you can tell by my handle I also went through a heavy period of transcribing Monk.

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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I started on drums at 9, the band teacher would come around to every school in the district on a bus converted for teaching music. Then a year later I started piano lessons to about the age of 17. I took lessons from a lady named kathy two doors down that had a Baldwin concert grand. When I was 17 she left that concert grand with me for a year while her and her husband moved to Jersey for his job. That year I really got into playing from classical,pop to rock and started liking jazz fusion. Followed up in college with recitals and playing with stage, jazz and local club bands. Went on from there...
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