Andrew Furmanczyk Piano Academy :: Learn How To Play Piano
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Andrew Furmanczyk Piano Academy :: Learn How To Play Piano
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My Introduction

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My Introduction Empty My Introduction

Post by juliekaye on Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:04 pm

I'm new here so I thought I'd use this as an intro to me. Wink Sorry, it's pretty long. I tend to ramble.

The summer of 1982 I believe (going by the dates listed on my first piano book), my mom took me for my first piano lesson. I was 7 years old. My mom had befriended another mom at my swimming lessons and they became best friends so her daughter Monica and I became best friends by extension. Smile She was 5 years old and was taking piano lessons. We had a piano, though I have no recollection of ever wanting to play it, so my mom decided to sign me up with this teacher as well.

I don't really remember much, I keep meaning to ask my mom if she does. But what I do remember, Mrs. Graham sat me down at the piano and looked at my hands. I had extremely small hands (and still do!). I don't know how many keys I could span but it wasn't very many apparently. I kind of recall her shaking her head and telling my mom she couldn't take me on and that my hands needed to grow a bit. Apparently she had a rule that her students had to be able to reach certain notes first before she'd take them as students. She said we could try again the next summer. My mom was so disappointed (I couldn't have cared less *g*) and said "But Monica is 2 years younger and you are teaching her!" Her reply was a calm "Monica has larger hands than Julie." Which isn't to say she had these huge monstrous hands, I was just really small! lol

But since we were already there, Mrs G said she'd at least do the first lesson. I think I learned the note names and what keys were what. And this is the part I don't recall very well. I want to say she she gave me the starting note for Mary Had a Little Lamb and then had me play it by ear. I remember something about adding chords, too, but surely that wasn't in our first lesson?! Hmmm...all I know is whatever I did with that song apparently shocked her for a kid who had never played the piano before.

She turned to my mom and said "Never mind. I'll take her on. We'll work around the finger sizes."

From then on, I went to weekly lessons with her. She continued to make exceptions for me that she wouldn't make for anyone else. She only did half hour lessons but a few years into lessons, she suddenly wanted me for an hour. I want to say for awhile she might have given my mom the half hour prices but I'm not sure. Her last lesson was at 4:30 but for me, she'd let me come from 5-6 because my mom was a single mom and couldn't get off work any earlier to get me there.

I never realized the significance of those things until I was pretty much an adult. Piano came so easy to me back then. I rarely practiced but would spend a quick 15-20 minutes going over that week's scales and such while waiting for my mom to get home to take me to the lesson. And Mrs G would constantly say "I can tell you worked hard this week! Great job!" It was my little secret. I enjoyed playing but never put much effort into it.

Then, something happened when I was around 12 or 13. It was like I caught up to my "natural" abilities I guess you'd say. I started getting in trouble every week for not practicing. My playing was rough. I was stumbling over notes. My pieces were getting harder and I was having to actually work at them, which really angered me. My teacher was also extremely religious and I am not. Our hour piano lessons had begun to be mostly lessons on Christianity. When my mom found out a month or so after this started, she was none too pleased as she wasn't paying her for that. She must have said something to her because it was never brought up again.

But it was around this time that I started to hate the piano. I was a teenager and I hated to do anything I was told to. I wanted to talk on the phone, go to the mall, watch tv, and just generally be a lazy slob. Being forced to practice every day for an hour made me furious. I began to beg to quit.

But because this was my one real talent, my mom said absolutely not. About a year's worth of weekly fights began. I was basically throwing the world's biggest temper tantrums and acting like a fool. I finally got my way when I made my high school drill team. The practice times for that were outrageous and took up all my energy. My entire being was focused on that team for the next 3 years. I am NOT a natural dancer but I love it. So I really worked at that and because of the time schedules with school and dance practice, I just couldn't keep up with piano. Plus, drill team was expensive. My mom had no choice but to give in. I was 14.

But she left me with that hateful phrase "You will regret this."

I basically told her she was crazy and shut up and I hate the piano and never want to play again.

It pained me to admit years later that she was somewhat right (don't you hate having to admit when your mother is right about something?? *g*). But I will NEVER regret my years on drill team. Those years taught me more about myself and gave me confidence I was severely lacking up to that point. It's been over 15 years and I still miss it.

The summer after my freshman year of college, I found myself out driving around, bored. I thought "Hmm...I wonder if I still remember how to get to Mrs. G's house?" I found it without any issue at all and saw a car parked outside in her circle drive with a woman sitting in the driver's seat. I pulled in behind her, having no idea what I was about to do. I waited and listened to the sounds of someone having a lesson. The kid came out not long after and I saw Mrs G standing in the doorway looking at me strangely. I got out of my car and walked up to her and she asked if she could help me. I could tell she was staring at me like she felt she should know me but couldn't place me.

I said "I used to take lessons from you years ago. I'm J--" and she yelled out my name before I'd even had a chance to say it and hugged me. She invited me in and we sat and just talked about life and school and all sorts of things for awhile. Then she asked if I still played piano and I said "Well, actually..." and just blurted out that I wanted to take lessons from her again. That's not what I went there for, I really was just bored and out driving around. Needless tos ay, my mom was ECSTATIC when I came home and told her. Smile

She had a program she called the Block Study and it consisted of 6 blocks. When I quit, I was just starting block 5 (which was basically learning the minor keys and a few other odds and ends). We made it our goal that I was going to finish the entire Block Study that summer (2 months by that point). Very ambitious goal really but I figured what the heck. Couldn't hurt to try.

Well, I did finish all 6 blocks by my last lesson that summer including 1 or 2 weeks worth of review of the previous blocks. I can't say I feel great about my abilities when it comes to the minors by any means as we rushed through them lickety split. But at least I can say I completed the courses. Wink

I never really played again after that summer (94) as I lost access to a piano. I started really missing it a few years ago and my dad continued to bring it up every time I saw him. I hate "keyboards" as they're so plasticy and feel all wrong. I'm a "piano snob" I guess. Wink I never even knew they made digital pianos that felt like pretty much like an acoustic piano until I started looking into buying a keyboard several months ago. And then I found one that was expensive but doable if I saved up for awhile. And when it went on sale for a pretty great price at Best Buy on Thanksiving, my mom said if I was ok with that being my only gift that year and not having anything to open on Christmas day, she'd buy it for me. So I ordered it online and we picked it up on Black Friday (sooo worth it!!) and by that night I was playing the piano again for the first time in 15 years.

It's been an absolute amazing month. I've pretty much played every day since I got it, give or take a day here or there. I knew I missed this but never knew how much. I've mostly been relearning my favorite "oldies" (Fur Elise, Falling Waters, The Entertainer and some of my super easy pop favorites like Memory from Cats) but I have managed to learn 2 new ones. Pretty easy pieces but it's great to be able to have a new song to play and being able to do so in just a couple days time. Wink

A couple of my friends when they heard me play recently said they'd have never been able to tell I hadn't been playing all this time. That made me feel sooo great!

So that's my "story" I guess. I hope to one day be able to go back to actually taking regular lessons when I have money again as I know there is a lot of info I never fully absorbed back then that I'd probably do better at now. And I'd like some one-on-one critique of my playing to help get better.

But for now, I'm going through Andrew's lessons and just enjoying the feeling of playing piano again. I really can't believe the time and effort he put into all these and to do it for free! It's really amazing. So thank you Andrew if you read this! Smile

juliekaye
Beginner pianist
Beginner pianist

Female Number of posts : 11
Age : 45
Guru Points : 0
Registration date : 2009-12-30

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My Introduction Empty Re: My Introduction

Post by Thomandy on Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:06 am

Its ... pretty long as you say! Wink .. But I read some of it Smile
Welcome, hope you will achieve great progress Smile
Thomandy
Thomandy
Moderator
Moderator

Male Number of posts : 2616
Age : 35
Location : Norway
Job/hobbies : Bachelor in Social Childcare
Length of time playing piano : 1 year
Guru Points : 46
Registration date : 2008-04-10

https://www.youtube.com/thomandy

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