Dear pianists, I'd like to ask you all to share about your journey in learning the piano. How and when did you start? What was your highest and lowest point in the journey?
For me, music was completely self-taught and self-researched. In other words, I don't have any music teacher to date. Like Max, from age 7, I started self-learning music first "by eye" - meaning... See More
For me, music was completely self-taught and self-researched. In other words, I don't have any music teacher to date. Like Max, from age 7, I started self-learning music first "by eye" - meaning when my 4th brother had his first Yamaha organ (and he was the one attending lessons at Yamaha), I tried remembering when and where he exactly played which keys/notes and duplicated his playing thereafter. Later, as I self-explored and read more about music theories, I began to develop methodologies for playing-by-ear, and devised my own music theory at age 17. Sad to say, I only had my piano from age 17!
I'd say my lowest point was after getting my piano diploma, and the highest point would be when I found Pianover Meetups. Now I'll go into more detail (be prepared for grandmother story)...
I started showing interest in piano from 6 years old, by playing out the tunes I heard on TV. Parents enrolled me in piano lessons and I went on the conventional ABRSM route. Was pretty motivated until diploma level, where my playing was deemed unmusical. All along my repertoire had been limited to exam pieces, but thankfully the Music Elective Programme in JC offered more opportunities to play duets, 2-piano works, and perform in public. My JC teacher, who was really passionate about music, inspired me to further my music studies at a tertiary level.
However, I hit another low point as I started to struggle with the more technically demanding music. I lost confidence as I felt my small hands could not handle the virtuosic Romantic music that sounded so beautiful and impressive. I chose to do a dissertation and gave up practising the piano. It was ironic because as a music grad, I was losing interest in music. And at that time, I was unaware that my piano world was limited to classical music.
One day, I chanced upon the piano arrangement of Super Mario Bros (the most popular video game in the 80s) and found I really enjoyed playing it. I began searching for more of such arrangements of video game and movie music, and progressed to doing my own transcriptions. It was at that point (in my mid 20s) that something clicked and I understood musicality! Even my playing of classical works became more musical.
But while I was playing those songs I truly enjoyed, I felt something was missing. I wished I could connect with other people instead of just playing them for myself. My wish was granted when I found Pianover Meetups! Participating in the meetups expanded my world. I met people who were self-taught musicians, people who improvised, played by ear and seniors who were still persevering despite their age. I discovered new perspectives and interesting, new repertoire. A big "thank you" to Yong Meng for his vision and dedication!