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Topic Options
#1038865 - 12/17/08 11:06 AM no technique content in lessons
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1255
Loc:
I just hit 3 months of classes. My teacher's ok, he teaches me solfege, some theory, and 45 mins of playing (90 mins lessons , once a week).

I seem to be doing ok, except for the fact that i notice too much the jump from my anorexic digital piano to the action of his acoustic. This is really bugging me , but that's another story.

What is worrying me about my teacher is that he maskes me play pieces, and focus a lot on dynamics ... which is cool ...BUT

I have not played a single scale in a lesson yet. No scales and no tech exercises. He actually hasn't taught me to pass the fingers over the thumb (i do it in a few pieces, but we haven't spent one minute practicing it).
He says technique will come, i'm not shooting for an ultraclean technique, but i guess you need to focus on it in lessons ... we never do this and i do not think it is right..
Thoughts? Is this an appropriate teaching method?

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#1038866 - 12/17/08 11:27 AM Re: no technique content in lessons
melwig Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: California
I have several exercise books that I practice on my own. If I run into difficulty then I will ask my teacher during lesson time. Personally, I don't want to use up lesson time routinely playing technical exercises if I feel fairly confident that I am doing things correctly.
_________________________
Keep it fun, and stay motivated!

If you can achieve something without a struggle, it's not going to be satisfying.


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#1038867 - 12/17/08 11:53 AM Re: no technique content in lessons
Ragtime Clown Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 684
Loc: Ireland
My lesson begins with the exercises that I have practiced. They are usually finger exercises for speed and dexterity, sight-reading and dynamics. If I get them right, he 'rewards' me with two more. Then I play my three pieces. While I play he is continually writing notes in my notebook and by the end of lesson he has set out what I need to work on for next week.

Only when I have mastered each exercise or piece do we move on.

He will then demonstrate how they should be played, I watch from a high 'bar stool'. This is great because there is so much to learn by just watching your teacher.

If I want to play a particular piece he will go over it and see if there is any merit in doing it, then he takes me through it in stages. I learn quickly and we have a wonderful relationship.

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#1038868 - 12/17/08 12:17 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Izaldu,
Check out these two books-they have some really good exercises. Maybe you can work on them on your own. Or, if you teacher is willing he can work on them with you.

http://www.amazon.com/Virtuoso-Pianist-6...29534181&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Leschetizky-Method...29534079&sr=1-2
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

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#1038869 - 12/17/08 01:17 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
the lesson shouldn't be a practice session, and if you're doing exercise at lesson, you're wasting valuable time which could be better spent on something else.

if you feel the need for exercises, then do it on your own at your practice time. but play it on lesson for your teacher if you have trouble or want to see if you did everything right.

lessons are about getting some advices, guidance, but not a practice time. i would hate wasting my time doing that sort of things on my lessons. even sometimes at lessons, my teacher did show me some practice tips and exercises, he would only let me try a little and then tell me to practice it later myself. now that i'm taking a break from lessons, i have realized how much my teacher had taught me on being able to learn and practice on my own and listen to what i play myself. so much i have learned shows up when i don't have my teacher now.

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#1038870 - 12/17/08 01:28 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
You've got a PM, Izaldu.

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#1038871 - 12/17/08 07:01 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
First, I disagree strongly with your
attitude towards your digital piano. In
my view, all keyboard instruments are
of the same musical species and are
played essentially the same way: you
read the score accurately and then hit
all the right notes in the right time
at speed. You do that the same way
on any keyboard instrument: organ, harpsichord,
clavichord, fortepiano, electric piano, grand,
synth, digital piano, 61-key unweighted
portable keyboard, upright, etc. Consider
the hypothetical scenario where J. S.
Bach, who never played a modern piano,
is brought to the present and sat
down on a concert grand. Do you suppose
he wouldn't be able to play a lick on it
because its action is different from
the harpsichords he played on? If you
had nothing but a harpsichord at home,
you still should be able to play well
on your teacher's acoustic piano. Thus,
a digital piano, which is very close
to an acoustic, should be more than
adequate as an instrument.

Actually, this question is not something
to brush aside, in my view, because if you're
having trouble switching to your teacher's
acoustic, that's an indication that you're
not playing properly, in my opinion:
you're not reading the score accurately
and then hitting all the right notes in the
right time at speed. And this is not
something so obvious as to be a trivial
consideration, because if you can't read
the score accurately and then hit all
the right notes in the right time at
speed, then you can't play what you're
trying to play. And if you can't play,
then you're essentially wasting your time.

Therefore, the number one thing you
need to concern yourself with, at all
times, is this seemingly obvious aspect of
playing: you need be able to read the
score accurately and then hit all the
right notes in the right time at speed,
because if you can't do that, then you
can't play what you're trying to play.
And if you can't play what you're trying
to play, what's the point of it all?
This is something you can never get
away from, even after you've played
from decades, because if you can read
and hit all the notes, then you can't
play.

So forget about technique and dynamics
(only the most unimaginative players
follow every crescendo and descrescendo,
etc., exactly as printed, anyway) and
concentrate on reading and hitting the
notes. This might seem obvious and
trivial, but if you can't do that, then
you can't play.

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#1038872 - 12/18/08 05:45 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1255
Loc:
Thanks all for the answers. Unfortunately, i'm totally swamped at the moment by family issues, and will not be around for a few days. I'll be back next week and retake this post, as your advice is truly appreciated.

Boira, muchas gracias por tu pm - Discúlpame, te contesto la semana que viene, un saludo!

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#1038873 - 12/19/08 05:14 AM Re: no technique content in lessons
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
 Quote:
Originally posted by izaldu:

Boira, muchas gracias por tu pm - Discúlpame, te contesto la semana que viene, un saludo! [/b]
This is an English-speaking forum, and all the other forum members may want to know what you wrote \:\)
This is the translation to Izaldu's words:

Boira, thank you very much for your PM. Excuse me, I'm answering you next week, see you.

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#1038874 - 12/19/08 03:46 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
caracantabile Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 65
Loc: USA
My teacher assigns scales and arpeggios as a "run through once" during class for homework but with expanded repetition in practice - e.g., this week it's chromatic scale in several keys with strict attention to fingering, first slow then quickly, HS then HT.

I'm surprised your teacher hasn't done any of this. Only because, isn't getting comfortable with chord progressions, arpeggios, etc, the right fingering all important groundwork for playing advanced pieces? I see them all the time in the more advanced pieces, e.g. the beautiful arpeggiations of Ravel's Jeux D'eau.

Maybe he thinks you will be bored? Have you asked him why he isn't assigning them to you?

I constantly reassure my teacher that I want to learn everything I need to know no matter how basic or repetitive. It's exactly like math, without the boring building blocks how can you construct complex equations? She has mentioned that many of her pupils are impatient to play pieces and don't like to practice scales, etc.
_________________________
- C.C. -
"It is dreadful when something weighs on your mind, not to have a soul to unburden yourself to. You know what I mean. I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Chopin

Currently memorizing for class: Debussy Prelude #8

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#1038875 - 12/19/08 03:53 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
mkorman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 180
Loc: Connecticut, USA
I'm impressed that he is teaching you solfege. So many people learn how to play the piano, but never learn to listen to what they're playing. If you're feeling challenged, I would stick it out.

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#1038876 - 12/19/08 04:42 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11843
Loc: Canada
Izaldu, is it possible that your technique is being formed without you being aware of it? Sometimes the best teachers don't make their methodology obvious? Others can actually produce stiff, self-conscious players. Have you improved over the last three months? You have mentioned 45 minutes of theory and solfege which as mkorman points out is unusual. It seems as though this teacher has a method and a plan. It may not be the one you commonly see posted but a method nonetheless.

KS

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#1038877 - 12/19/08 06:31 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
And my first teacher really only wanted to teach me scales, needless to say that did not last long.

I agree a lot with what is posted above by others. But keep in mind you have only been playing 3 months. I think your teacher is probably trying to keep you motivated and also helping you develop some sense of musicality.

The only questions you should ask yourself and it is the only questions I would be concerned with at this time as you can always change instructors in the years ahead – Do you feel you are learning and do you feel you are making progress musically? If so, stay put, at least I would.
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#1038878 - 12/23/08 04:10 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1255
Loc:
Well i'm back, all of you are making good points. Sorry i can't really use the multiple quote feature.

I do agree that using up lesson time in exercises such as Hanon (thanks for the links, Kymber, i do have the Hanon but will definitely check out the Leschetizky)is not really appropiate.
But say for a C scale with the LH, 54321321 ... you need to do the finger jump ... i do it naturally, but it just amazes me my teacher has not once shown me how to do it. There must be some more correct or less correct ways of doing it ... it's a technical element so frequently needed that it just does not feel right not to have covered it at all ...

I would like something more balanced. Like it's been said, having all exercises and scales lessons would kill anyone's will to learn piano. but from my past experience on guitar, i think certain technical aspects must not be disregarded.
I have actually talked about this with him today and he made me play a few Hanon runs that i've been practicing by myself. He corrected a few minor things and said that he has not detected any bad mistakes in my playing and that he will correct me along the way. My thimb under seems to be done ok so he never felt the need to correct it ...
He again repeated that he has never studied scales outside of a piece, and used an example from the Beethoven Sonatina in G major ,on which we've been working for 3 weeks now; where there is a repeated G major scale starting from A ... he said that practicing the G scale starting with G wouldn't have helped me on this one, which is totally right. As far as he's concerned, i can practice Hanon and scales as much as i want, as long as i spend less time in those than in the assigned pieces. He also wants me to start a new piece every week, one outside of the ones he choses.

Gyro , i agree with some of your "controversial" views, but totally disagree on others. Sorry, but i do think practicing 90% of my practice time on a digi does nothing for me. When i play an acoustic, my hands feel weak and i have no volume control.

As for the points mkorman, KS and Stevester made, i did tell him i wanted to learn solfege - he agreed 100%. We do exercises where he plays small sequences of notes and i have to write them, and we also do the singing exercises.

KS, you may be totally right, i do notice now that my hands feel more in control and fingers move more economically ... it's just that he doesn't really make it obvious.

Steve, yes feel i'm progressing musically, maybe i'm just being impatient.

This Beethoven Sonatina, i 've worked on for 3 weeks, of which one week i have barely played piano. I have it pretty much under my fingers, and can play the first Moderato with no significant mistakes ,and the Romanze seems not more difficult. Well, when i finished playing it today he said "You got the notes; now you can start to work on the actual music on the score; indication, dynamics and pedal" I was a bit "unhappy" when he said it, but after the lesson i thought he's actually right ...

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#1038879 - 12/24/08 04:02 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
izaldu,

The plot thickens.

As you explain you already play the guitar and this guy is starting you off on a Beethoven Sonatina. Not to mention a lot of Hanon which is good on your own but I never got much out of it. I think I would seriously start looking for someone else. I would try to find a teacher who is going to use a good lesson book series. I like The Celebration Series Perspectives from Frederick Harris in Canada which I am going to post below. A good first book might be Bastien for the Older Beginner and then Celebration after 6 months or a year. I think you need more structure than this guy wants to give you. This all kind of sounds like a rudderless ship and with your guitar background I would think you want to make progress real fast.

Keep us posted. Of note, my lessons are 45 minutes, most in the US are 30 minutes. I take a lesson every other and that is often enough.

http://www.frederickharrismusic.com/FHMCsite/
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#1038880 - 12/24/08 09:26 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1255
Loc:
I´m not sure i understand what you're saying, Stevester. You seem to agree on his methods, why would i need to change?. I really don't know whether another teacher would make me progress faster, but i don´t think he's doing bad, just that i have some doubts ...
I was doing 1 hr lessons, and i insisted on making them 90 minustes as i feel i need to do more sight reading and solfege exercises. I have given up guitar (played fingerpicking with nails, which makes piano impossible) and want to learn piano from scratch with solgefe right from the start. i want to learn music, not just piano and this guy is very clear on theory, and knows the stuff inside out. He's the youngest pianist in the faculty at the Royal Conservatory, he's 27 and got the position last spring. He can read a score and explain the harmony instantly.
What do you exactly think i'm not getting and i should?

Thanks for the link , i will check those out, they do look good.

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#1038881 - 12/24/08 09:49 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
If you think you are making progress and you are happy with your teacher then by all means stick with him. I am sorry if I added any confusion.

Maybe I am wrong but I think it would be best to start with easier pieces and work your way up to more difficult material. At one time early on I insisted I work on Burgmuller and while I was able to play the pieces reasonably well they also took me an awful long time to learn. By now working through progressively harder pieces I see quicker and more significant progress. Maybe you can ask him about this type of a program. This is just my experience.
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#1038882 - 12/24/08 10:28 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1255
Loc:
No confusion at all, i was the one who started the post because i do have some doubts. All advice is really appreciated, as i don´t really have any piano acquaintances here ... This last lesson i had was quite helpful, and i attended after i opened the topic. Maybe i´m just too anxious to get better too fast.

Burgmüller is actually the base of the stuff he teaches me. So far we´ve done Candeur, Arabesque, Courante Limpide and i just started the Ballade. Those three i can play steadily (sort of), and the rest of the stuff we´ve done is Schumann´s Sicilienne (i can play all sections but not the whole piece steadily), two Mozart one page Minuettos and this Beethoven Sonatina (just learned the first part):

http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=t36bnDrgQ20

His reasoning is that i should play stuff that i have at "100%", stuff that i´m still learning, and stuff that i start on my own. And that working on all of them is necessary, not focusing in a single piece.

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#1038883 - 12/25/08 10:57 AM Re: no technique content in lessons
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
Jeepers! - that is you on YouTube. Heck, you have the gift and you are doing great. It ain't broke so don't fix it, I would stay with his program.
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#1038884 - 12/25/08 12:50 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1255
Loc:
haha no, that´s not me ! i wish it was!

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#1038885 - 12/25/08 07:46 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
I can't see getting Burgmuller 100% right out of the gate. I was lucky to get 50-75% on the pieces after 1 year of lessons. Yes I could play the notes and my Arabesque was probably 80% but now after working through a progressive lesson book series I am sure I would do much better and have a better understanding as well. I also use a metronome now.

Did you get a chance to look at the series I suggested? Maybe there is another in your country that is well accepted.
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#1038886 - 12/26/08 09:10 AM Re: no technique content in lessons
foxyw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 298
Loc: New Hampshire
My teacher has me working through the Faber and Faber Adult piano book level 2 and also includes scales and cadences into my lessons. In addition to the Faber book, we have worked through a couple of pieces from the Burgmuller book (Arabesque, Ballade, and now Chase) and also have a major piece to work on (first one was Fuer Elise and now I'm working on Aragonaise). Arpeggios are coming next. We don't run through everything I'm working on in my 1 hour lesson every week but we do make it a point to cover the Faber book as that is where I am learning and applying the fundamentals and the pieces in there are fun to play.

I'm also working on learning the major and minor chords and playing these clockwise around the circle of fifths. If I have trouble with remembering the sharps or flats in a song, she always recommends that I play the scale and cadence in that key to get my ear tuned in to the piece I'm about to play.

Overall, I feel I'm getting a good mixture of fundamentals, theory and dynamics. It sounds like your teacher has a very different approach to teaching than mine does but if you feel you are making progress and are challenged and most importantly, have a good rapport with the teacher, then I would stay with him.
_________________________
"Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here!" J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 1997.


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#1038887 - 12/26/08 05:31 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
foxyw,

You might want to ask your teacher about the Celebration series when you are done with Faber. I used Faber on my own before working with a teacher. I had a lesson today and we decided we are going to stay with Celebration and go onto year 3. I like the series very much and I do see progress. It is very left hand intense, it was a big jump form Faber and Bastien but after a few months I started to settle into it.
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#1038888 - 12/26/08 08:11 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
foxyw Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 298
Loc: New Hampshire
Stevester,

Thank you for the recommendation. I just looked these up on sheetmusicplus.com and look very interesting. I will definitely talk to my teacher about them. I have been studying piano for 6 months (in addition, I had 2 years of piano in elementary school years ago) and I'm very interested in learning to play many different styles of music like classical, pop and jazz. I am always on the look out for interesting pieces to learn.
_________________________
"Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here!" J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 1997.


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#1038889 - 12/27/08 03:15 AM Re: no technique content in lessons
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1255
Loc:
Those look good, and are not too expensive. maybe my teacher, although young, is a bit "old school". Anyway i will talk to him about practicing stuff like foxyw said, chords etc. and not only pieces.

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#1038890 - 12/27/08 12:48 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
If there is no technique content in your time with your piano teacher, perhaps this does not really qualify as a lesson.

Music is full of concepts, definitions, theory ("Rules") and technical expertise. Technique is basically the "how to" join the instruments sound qualities with your abilities to "demand" a certain "sound" as "encoded" from the composer's instructions on the music page.

How could one avoid giving attention to detail to those things?

What else seems missing to you?

Good luck!

Betty

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#1038891 - 12/30/08 08:27 PM Re: no technique content in lessons
Ken. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 290
My teacher hasn't got me working out of any particular books. She has a file cabinet full of stuff, and she picks out one or two pieces whenever she thinks I'm ready for something new.

I wouldn't be worried too much if your teacher is not giving you scales. Chang who wrote that free piano funamentals book is one who is not a fan of technique books like Hanon. He thinks you learn technique while learning your pieces.

My teacher has started to give me scales (all the majors except for Eb, Ab & Bb). I'm in no hurry to practise more scales. I feel I get enough of a technical workout just by practising my pieces.

Believe me one day you won't be worrying about not spending enough time on scales, because once you are given them you'll be expected to play them every day!
_________________________
Monk - Ugly Beauty
Bach - Two Part Invention No.12

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