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Anton Rubinstein was asked what was the hardest when he learned piano.
– Paying for lessons – was his answer.

No doubt, that one should better learn piano with a personal teacher. No questions about that, no argue. But it is not so easy to do than to say, as the endeavor costs quite a money, taking in additional consideration cost for an adequate instrument, many years of study and huge amount of practice time, which probably would be deducted from your activity to earn those money. Therefore, it is not surprising that many adults start piano by self-teaching, however unproductive and sometimes dangerous it might be.

I went the road of self-teaching for over than 40 years after few years of formal music education in my childhood. It seems that I bumped into all possible walls and fell in all pits on the way, therefore I perhaps became an expert in self-study )) I was really in the dark and alone in those ancient pre-computer and pre-internet times. Actually, I was not even fully aware that I needed a teacher as nobody scared me about possible negative effects. I was sometimes even satisfied that my hands ached after scale runs, which meant to me that I really worked hard for better. It was a luck that I escaped more serious injures than ganglia on both hands and later I managed to repair most of my bad habits, partly because I took a pause for 7 years that time.

Now I feel that I am safe and come to some logical journey destination to my satisfaction. Having got the web, I have read really a lot and tried to implemented all that in my piano learning. I translated many articles and videos for my Russian blog, which are only some minor selections of what I have read. These days I may play whatever I like. I just get music sheets and learn a piece, or transcribe it from audio or improvise. I perform in public (hotel lobby) on regular basis and even are paid for that. Was it not my dream after all?

I feel that now I may share my knowledge with other people with close relation to self-teaching. I may give a fishing rod to those who need it, instead of fish, which is offered by diploma teachers. Again, I will emphasize that I consider studying with an experienced teacher as a robust and secure way to learn piano, and that the fat and delicious fish offered by them might be much better than the skinny roach you would fish out with your rod. Anyway, you will not starve if you keep doing things by yourself.

As you noticed, English is not my native language. I live in Russia and not I Moscow, which makes it possible for me to offer you, adult beginner, piano lessons at lowest possible rate, at least twice as low as in most developed countries. Feel free to contact me for a couple of free lessons via Skype or any questions.

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Content

About me

Format and content of my posts

Bad habits is the reason why beginner learner is advised supervision of a teacher

Selecting a piano teacher

How long will it take?

How to find and recognize a good teacher

Links to Bernhard’s forum posts about teachers

Bernhard’s forum posts about self-teaching

Bernhard’s posts about practice

Bernhard’s posts about technique

Bernhard’s suggestions on pieces to play

The rest of Bernhard’s posts

The rest of Bernhard’s posts

1 invention 4 – comparison with chess game and Escher
tags: reading

2 General staff
tags: analysis

3 on piece analysis
tags: analysis

4 on piece analysis
tags: analysis, Chopin

5 on piece analysis) op.28 no.4
tags: analysis, Chopin

6 op.28 no.4 – cont.
tags: rhythm, beginner

7 rhythm and counting
tags: rhythm

8 student who don’t keep the beat
tags: Bach, fingering

9 Bach: (Sinfonia1 – English SuiteII) fingering
tags: Scarlattti

10 list of recommended editions
tags: Chopin

Continue reading

Bernhard’s suggestions on pieces to play

1 best editions for each composer
tags: gradings

2 Pieces with gradations
tags: Heller

3 Heller studies
tags: easy pieces

4 Short but Good?
tags: Mozart, gradings

5 Here are the Mozart sonatas in progressive order of difficulty
tags: exercises

6 Technical Exercises
tags: practice, technique

7 One must make a difference between impossibly difficult repertory and challenging repertory.
tags: Grieg

8 grieg’s lyric pieces

9 Re: Prokofieff, Ravel & Scriabin?!

10 melancholic piano pieces

Continue reading

Bernhard’s posts about technique

1 discusses how to acquire technique and what technique actually is
tags: practice, link list

2 How to make practising effective, etc.: summary of links
tags: selecting pieces, practice

3 One must make a difference between impossibly difficult repertory and challenging repertory.
tags: practice

4 Re: Slow or fast practicing
tags: fingers

5 Duality of movements
tags: practice

6 Why one has to stop practice at the peak of his accuracy

7 technique is a way of doing things

8 List of techniques
tags: exercises, Hanon, finger evenness

9 Why Hanon is a waste of time – or not – summary of arguments and many relevant links
tags: exercises

10 The basic technique for what?
tags: exercises, 4th finger, fingers, Hanon

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Bernhard’s posts about practice

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1 discusses how to acquire technique and what technique actually is
tags: teacher, practice drive

2 Words of Wisdom for an Eighteen year old?
tags: technique, link list

3 How to make practising effective, etc.: summary of links
tags: Heller, practice plan

4 Heller Op, 46 no1.
tags: Heller, practice plan

5 Heller Op, 46 no1. – cont.
tags: Heller, practice plan

6 Heller Op, 46 no1. – cont. 2
tags: selecting pieces, technique

7 One must make a difference between impossibly difficult repertory and challenging repertory.
tags: speed, slow practice, injury, movements

8 Re: Slow or fast practicing
tags: technique

9 Re: Slow or fast practicing
tags: technique

10 Why one has to stop practice at the peak of his accuracy
tags: movements

Continue reading

Bernhard’s forum posts about self-teaching

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1 How long does it all take? – self-taught students – the cake analogy – criticism of ABRSM for expecting people to reach grade 8 in 10 years – learning is not gradual comparison with reading – different ways of learning – how to learn to drive a car – the dispersive method of teaching – 15 list to “disperse” learning
tags: teacher

2 There are many disadvantages to being self-taught
tags: beginner, teaching a kid, teacher

3 Areas of study for a complete music syllabus – books for each area
tags: teacher

4 self-taught teachers
tags: adults, teacher

5 Consider frying an egg

6 Were some virtuoses self-taught?

7 the myth of self-taught pianists: Godowsky, Richter and Chopin
tags: Chopin, teacher

8 Chopin was also taught
tags: teacher, adults

9 when are you ready to be without a teacher – roles of the teacher

10 no one is self-taught
tags: practice, exercises, teacher

11 Piano technique is not that difficult to acquire
tags: practice, exercises, teacher

Links to Bernhard’s forum posts about teachers

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1 Words of Wisdom for an Eighteen year old?
tags: time to learn

2 The 60-Day Course in Perfect Fake Piano Playing

3 praise is very important. However even more important is how you praise

4 it is the “untalented” students that most benefit from a daily lesson scheme

5 selecting a teacher

6 Ever taught a piece you couldn’t play yourself?

7 I had a student who was a serious muck abouter
tags: time to learn

8 before you play a piece of music you must learn the basic movements
tags: beginner, teaching a kid, adults

9 differences in learning/teaching children and adults

10 Demonstrations. Why don’t piano teachers do it?

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How to find and recognize a good teacher

A good point that I wished to copy here:

Perhaps the best way is not to regard “teachers” as a general category, but as a (very) specific resource. The moment you do that, what you will be looking for in a teacher is his/her skill in helping your progress in a limited area, not a general panacea.

So, the best advice I can give to students in this moment in time is: Start from a specific problem. Then a good teacher will be one that helps you towards the solution of that problem. Then move on to the next problem. There are very few people in this world (maybe no one) that can solve all the problems of a student, and therefore it is unfair to criticise teachers on this basis alone.

Interestingly enough, because students rarely (if at all) follow the advice above – and most of the times are totally unaware of what problem they are trying to solve, being simply aware of a vague dissatisfaction with how things are presently – they end up being totally unable to judge the help they may be receiving. And sometimes help may come form the most unlikely of sources.

And so one gets all sorts of delusions about how to check if someone is a good teacher or not, when the real question is not if someone is a good teacher, but rather who can help me to solve my problem.

I have learned more about piano technique from persons primarily involved with the martial arts, than from any master class from internationally renowned concert pianists.

The point is, if you know your problem, anyone – even the taxi driver taking you to the airport – can be a good teacher if s/he offers you a way out of your predicament.

A really good teacher, of course, will be able to tell you not only how to solve your problem, but also what the problem is in the first place – although some bad teachers: the ones with strong theories about everything will try to explain your predicament in terms of their own logical system, even when it is not applicable.

Then human beings are fussy creatures. Having someone tell us what our problem is and supply a beautiful , elegant and feasible solution is never enough. There are egos to be protected! So a truly superlative teacher will do all that and in such a way as to protect our sense of self-esteem as well.

(original)