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#1108977 - 02/11/09 05:35 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11803
Loc: Canada
What role does practice play in the equation?

On a similar thought, I've been thinking about the notion that when we are taught something, we lose part of it during the week. For that reason teachers recommend more frequent lessons. Is this necessarily true, or might the opposite also happen?

However, there are times when we "get" the concept but we can't execute it well during the lesson. During the week we work toward doing this thing, and over the days we get closer and closer to it. By Day 5 you might be closer to what you were taught, than on the day it was given, because your body and mind know what to do. In that case you would get *better* over the days, not worse?

Since that has been my experience, I think I need time between lessons to absorb and internalize what was in the lesson. The way we concentrate when working on our own is not the same as when we are with a teacher. They have a different nature. If lessons are too frequent, there is no chance to concentrate deeply on what you are doing and make it part of you.

Does anyone else have that experience?

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#1108978 - 02/11/09 05:45 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
rustyfingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 788
Loc: Massachusetts
Figured I'd stick an oar in here.

I'll probably languish in abject mediocrity (stealing a phrase from Piano*Son) for the rest of my life.

I'm quite convinced that I would make more (or some ;\) ) progress with weekly lessons, regular practice and an excellent teacher.

But I'm not in a position to pay for lessons. It breaks my heart that we had to cancel my kids' lessons, and I'm hoping that it won't last forever.

But one prioritizes. If, for example, I'd rather keep my home and feed my kids than pay for piano lessons, then I can live with being a "weak" player! :p

Thank goodness for Piano World!
_________________________
If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.

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#1108979 - 02/11/09 06:51 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
At odds with some posters in this topic, I will stick by what I'm saying about more lessons, longer lessons.

I can always tell when a student is getting a passion for piano lessons, the lessons start to go over the 30 minute time, and we find 5 - 10 additional minutes creeping it because the student wants to do just a little more, or there is something I need to say at the moment.

If not said right now, that moment may never come again. My 12:45 lesson (an 8 year old with a new classical book "Masterworks - Jane McGrath-Alfred Pub. with CD Level 1-2" today). She was so excited that we added 3 new songs to her lesson mix of Dennis Alexander Just for You book and she did hands alone under construction and fingering choices very accurately and we talked about practice points that would help her make progress to put hands together. We exceeded our lesson time by 15 minutes, as we had done the previous week. She is a candidate for an hour lesson.

My 2:30 also had some new materials last week and they are at a higher level than she has played before 3# and 1/16 notes tied, and coordination challenges. We developed patterns and color coded them on the page, and defined what the component parts were and how they work together. When the first page is complete, the other 3 pages of the piece have lots of repetitions and some variations that will go a lot easier.

One of the good things about both pieces is that she is accessing the different registers of the keyboard much more compently than before.

We spent a lot of time on octaves (LH) with the 2nd finger activing as a swival for small hands that can't quite reach. She is 10 and the light bulbs constantly go on in her head. We exceeded her lesson by 10 minutes.

I have always been known to go over when the opportunity to use time and effort well is there in the mix.

I don't really keep a time clock accurately - and when the student is ready I take advantage of it.

I will understand that some people can not make the same commitment for various reasons, but for those who can and do, the difference in the outcome and the happiness of one who can spend time developing at the piano is so evident and so much a part of exceeding our goals. To get into that frame of mind is a gift and a rare bird.

Minimalism or maximization?

I truly feel empathetic to those having financial challenges that have interrupted their music study. My widowed mother found a teachers who would teach me for $1 per lesson, later going to $3 when I was in public school. They were godsends. This is back when (1952-1960) when she paid for her refrigerator by putting quarters in the slot on the side of it until the payment had been accumulated for the month. Nothing was easy in our household. Underpriviledged was a word I learned early in life.

So being so grateful for my opportunites in music, I just feel that when you find it, and it's important to you, you are going to immerse yourself in making music in whatever way is possible for you.

I'm not the person that so many of you think I am but I will just have to live with that as it's part of the challenge of posting on the internet.

I've been told many times for many years, that I have a great sense of humor, love people, open minded and a possibility thinker, and that I have lots of patience, I'm sincere, and I'm real. I'd like to believe that!

Does that sound like an insular person? I didn't think so.

We should all laugh more and say gratitude for the good things.

I wish everyone well!

Betty

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#1108980 - 02/11/09 07:15 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Betty, considering the financial challenges your mother faced, and the effort she put into getting you lessons...how would she have felt if a piano teacher had told her she was 'just not sufficiently committed' and 'apparently your family did not really care about piano lessons' if she was not willing to pay $5 or $10 per lessons multiple times a week? I'm guessing she would have been very upset if not heartsick.

I don't think anyone is really arguing with you that more time with a good teacher (who, naturally, deserves to be paid well for the expertise) is better. FOr me, anyway, that's a no-brainer.

It is also a no-brainer that I 'should' practice more. That I would get so much more out of lessons and the piano if I did (well, duh) ;\) .

You are justifying the wrong message. The message that is upsetting many adult beginners (and, as I said before, it is certainly not just coming from you) that, because we don't have (at least) weekly one hour lessons and practice an hour or more a day we are just not committed enough and must not really care that much about piano.

That message is, frankly, insulting, hurtful and, at this point, seems to be the result of willfully misunderstanding or ignoring what many adult students say about their situation!
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1108981 - 02/11/09 07:31 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5639
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I aspire to the level of abject mediocrity that rustyfingers has! I'm not quite there yet, tho \:\(

What's a challenge for me right now, and will keep me growing:

2 friends and I (both much better musicians than me) are getting together on Sunday afternoons to play swing tunes - and, *if* I happen to have sheet music it's not in keys they want to play in (neither of them plays horn, Eb is not *home* for their instrument \:D ) - so there you are. Instant trial by fire for transposing in real time. And I work on it thru the week, too. And learning to sing and play at the same time. Harmony.

Wednesday night jams - old time, Irish, Scottish, swing, blues, songs - again, stretch for by-ear, bass lines, from memory, lots of new tunes.

gigs - St Patrick's is coming up. contra dances, duos with a harpist, weddings, bar mitzvahs, graduations, birthday parties, anniversary parties, charity fund raisers, ceilidhs - I can't even remember all the stuff we play at. Sort of the ultimate motivation for getting something up to speed and polished.

ABF recitals. Ai-yi-yi! I only have 3 days to get Audacity reinstalled and get my selection recorded and entered!

I learn from all of it. And every musician, no matter what instrument. And from listening. And from reading PW.

I definitely have time to learn - but not from traditional lessons, no matter how many times a week/month. For the stuff I play - I don't even think there *are* lessons - we all learn from the music community - each other.

I had 2 years of formal lessons as a teenager. Believe me, that was enough \:D At the end of them, with Poet and Peasant Overture being my "hardest" piece, I still had no idea what it was to play music. 30+ years later it took about twice thru the oom-pah part of a dance tune and there was music everywhere. And I suspect, since I know people who've done it, that one could learn to do the oom-pah part of dance music on a piano without formal lessons, and could build on it.

To each our own \:\)

Cathy
_________________________

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#1108982 - 02/11/09 08:57 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Our hearts go out to ProdigalPianist ... never ... ever ... on any Forum thread have I heard such life-clinging passion for the piano than ...

"The reason that I keep struggling to accomplish anything at the piano is that, often,
PLAYING THE PIANO IS THE ONLY SOURCE OF SATISFACTION AND ENJOYMENT I GET IN LIFE."

Any crass piano teacher who presumes to add one patronizing comment on how PP could better plan her day, deserves to be excommunicated from all fields of piano tuition.

However, Prodigal Pianist might like to avail herself of the vast and imaginative resources which can be discovered in the very membership of the Forum ... QUOTE THE PIECE OF MUSIC you’ve got your heart set on ... and out will pour top notch advice from the friendliest of members .

This ploy is often the only piano tuition available for cash-strapped members ... and the guidance has the advantage of being DAILY.

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#1108983 - 02/11/09 09:14 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
unfortunately, some piano teachers, such as Betty, might not understand adult students and don't really know how different we are from kids in learning piano.

i'm sure she's out of good intention saying all that her ideas about lessons and she cares about her students, kids or adults. but being a piano teacher itself doesn't guarantee the deeper understanding of adult students' learning process and experience. you can't blame her when she just doesn't see it...

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#1108984 - 02/11/09 10:52 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
rustyfingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 788
Loc: Massachusetts
Let me just say, that when my ship comes in, I know exactly who I will ask to be my piano teacher. There's no doubt in my mind that that would be the right course for me.

But I see no reason to criticize those who get pleasure working on their own. We certainly have a number of examples of the self-taught here who are making lovely music. Could they have progressed faster, or have better technique with a good teacher? Probably. But if they are meeting their goals, they are doing what they want.

There is room for the amateur piano player who has other priorities--maybe a child with an illness, important volunteer work, a demanding job with incessant travel, difficult financial circumstances, or all of the above.

I realize this thread has turned a little bit into a pigpile on Betty, because she came on very strong.

But I can certainly respect her viewpoint (although I may be taken aback by her manner ;\) ) given her experience.
_________________________
If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.

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#1108985 - 02/12/09 01:29 AM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
Ragtime Clown Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 684
Loc: Ireland
This thread certainly opened some interesting discussion. To add to my original posting can I say that after Christmas I made the decision that I would continue with my lessons until the end of term (June) and after that I will use the wealth of knowledge I have gained to work on my own, building up a nice repetoire of pieces/tunes I can play for my entertainment.

I don't smoke, I drink very little, I work hard every day and seldom go out. My wife says that my lessons are my only 'treat' in life.

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#1108986 - 02/12/09 08:54 AM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Prodigal Pianist said: "Betty, considering the financial challenges your mother faced, and the effort she put into getting you lessons...how would she have felt if a piano teacher had told her she was 'just not sufficiently committed' and 'apparently your family did not really care about piano lessons' if she was not willing to pay $5 or $10 per lessons multiple times a week? I'm guessing she would have been very upset if not heartsick."

Actually, I'm posting here to thank one of my piano teachers, my mom and my older sister for everything they did in support of my music study - they made it possible.

One of the things my mother did was to provide housekeeping services to the best and longest teacher I had, a bachelor, who after I knew him earned a doctorate at Crane School of Music in Potsdam where he had earned his BA and MA. This man was a popular host of social gatherings and dinners in his musical circle, and my Mom "did" for him in housecleaning, food preparation, serving and kitchen clean up. This went on for several years.

And, as I got to be a teen and capable at sightreading and accompanying, he used my abilities in his vocal projects to work with his singers in rehearsal and theater performance projects, and church choir.

This teacher really made himself available to me and was the catalyst to finding myself in music.

So in tribute to him, my mother, and my older sister - it was them who found a way to cooperate together to reach a goal. I knew that and in appreciation, took as many lessons as he would give, practiced long hours, and make sure I was deserving of their efforts.

That's why I feel one has to give their all to music study and not creep along at a slow pace. They invested themselves in me and I'm paying back. I really believe it's my duty to get piano students to their personal best in as little time and expense as is possible. Because I commit to them, I expect them to commit to me and do the things that are necessary on their part to make their dream come true.

But that's just me, a philosophy because of my circumstances as a child and teenager.

My Mom also bought an old piano for $25 from a neighbor, and get this, my piano teacher sanded it and painted it beige so that it looked better in our livingroom. Pretty unusual!

Betty

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#1108987 - 02/12/09 09:37 AM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17809
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
That's why I feel one has to give their all to music study and not creep along at a slow pace. They invested themselves in me and I'm paying back. I really believe it's my duty to get piano students to their personal best in as little time and expense as is possible. Because I commit to them, I expect them to commit to me and do the things that are necessary on their part to make their dream come true.
[/b]
 Quote:
Originally posted by ProdigalPianist:
You are justifying the wrong message. The message that is upsetting many adult beginners (and, as I said before, it is certainly not just coming from you) that, because we don't have (at least) weekly one hour lessons and practice an hour or more a day we are just not committed enough and must not really care that much about piano.

That message is, frankly, insulting, hurtful and, at this point, seems to be the result of willfully misunderstanding or ignoring what many adult students say about their situation![/b]
+1.

Betty, nobody here doubts your commitment to your students. If you feel targeted or put upon in some way, it is because many of us reject your repeated insistence that YOUR way is the ONLY way and that anybody who does not measure up to your ideal of what piano study should be is somehow less motivated or less committed. Please, can you not accept that some people are fully motivated and committed to piano yet still do not choose to follow the path you have outlined? And if you cannot accept that, can you at least agree to disagree?
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1108988 - 02/12/09 09:48 AM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1171
Loc: Cornwall, England
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
That's why I feel one has to give their all to music study and not creep along at a slow pace. They invested themselves in me and I'm paying back. I really believe it's my duty to get piano students to their personal best in as little time and expense as is possible. Because I commit to them, I expect them to commit to me and do the things that are necessary on their part to make their dream come true.
Betty [/b]
Betty, if only you lived in Hamburg - or I lived in your neck of the woods! I've no doubt that you're the kind of teacher I've been - unsuccessfully - searching for for the past two years... and my precious time is running short! \:\)

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#1108989 - 02/12/09 11:35 AM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
It's unbelievable to me, because I try to express it clearly and relay music's importance to our lives, what is taken as my "defense" is really my "passion". I can't apologize enough for stating things strongly and therefore having them interpreted as "my way or the highway".

I'm just enthusiastic for what I'm talking about.

Somehow I know that won't compute as my earnestness, it will be my righteousness that gets the credit.

I love you people! :3hearts:

Enjoy your valentines day this weekend.

We have a grandson getting married that day! Isn't love great, and so is marriage! Oops! I bet that statement is debatable to some, too.

Betty

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#1108990 - 02/12/09 12:12 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
Our hearts go out to ProdigalPianist ... never ... ever ... on any Forum thread have I heard such life-clinging passion for the piano than ...

"The reason that I keep struggling to accomplish anything at the piano is that, often,
PLAYING THE PIANO IS THE ONLY SOURCE OF SATISFACTION AND ENJOYMENT I GET IN LIFE."

Any crass piano teacher who presumes to add one patronizing comment on how PP could better plan her day, deserves to be excommunicated from all fields of piano tuition.

However, Prodigal Pianist might like to avail herself of the vast and imaginative resources which can be discovered in the very membership of the Forum ... QUOTE THE PIECE OF MUSIC you’ve got your heart set on ... and out will pour top notch advice from the friendliest of members .

This ploy is often the only piano tuition available for cash-strapped members ... and the guidance has the advantage of being DAILY. [/b]
{{{{{{{BLUUUUUUUUUUSH}}}}}}}}

I am working with a very good teacher, on repertoire that I like. I do sometimes post specific questions and get great advice from members, though.

My frustration comes from the fact that I can't practice as much as I would like to, so progress is frustratingly slow.

Plus my job really sucks right now, along with worries about the economy and our personal financial situation (actual and potential). It seems like everywhere I look in my life there is doom and gloom and stress. I just do not want my piano to be the source of yet more frustration and guilt. Hence the (rather embarrassing and revealing) post...
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1108991 - 02/12/09 01:23 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
Larisa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia
PP, I am with you on this one. I am in law school now, and starting a job at a law firm after I graduate in May. I frankly don't know how I will progress on the piano after I start my job. Music is desperately important to my life, and I will not ever give it up - but at the same time, in this economy, when the boss says "Jump" you say "how high".

My approach to lessons has been to take random master classes at music festivals, which is ideal - I get some guidance on what I am doing wrong, and then I get to improve and practice and absorb the lesson at my own pace. I did take lessons last summer when I was doing an internship with a law firm, but they were very irregular - more like once a month than once a week - and the teacher knew what my day job was and didn't expect too much. (another reason why I |heart| my teacher - he understood that inflicting guilt on me won't add hours to my day)

As for practicing, a digital piano with earphones was a life-saver for me at one point. If you can't practice during daytime hours, it lets you practice at night (or, I guess, early in the morning - but I'm a night owl).

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#1108992 - 02/13/09 02:48 AM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
Ken. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 290
I've been taking weekly lessons but in the next year or so will probably go to monthly. I think weekly lessons are good early on to prevent bad habits, but after a while it becomes less bang for the buck unless you are able to practise more. I don't think I'm progressing fast enough to justify weekly lessons.

I'm basically playing the same 3 songs for 9 months until the recital and then there's a 3 month break, then it'll probably be the same thing next year.
_________________________
Monk - Ugly Beauty
Bach - Two Part Invention No.12

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#1108993 - 02/13/09 03:07 AM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
chihuahua Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/09
Posts: 391
Loc: An Oligarchy
 Quote:
Originally posted by Larisa:
Music is desperately important to my life, and I will not ever give it up - but at the same time, in this economy, when the boss says "Jump" you say "how high". [/b]
Glad it's how "high", and not how many storeys down.

\:D
_________________________
Nepotism: We promote family values here - almost as often as we promote family members.

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#1108994 - 02/13/09 03:59 AM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
fbieler47 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 52
Loc: S.W. CT
 Quote:
Originally posted by Reeds'n'Keys:
Hehe, a live-in piano teacher. Imagine what kind of life that would be, for both the student and the teacher... [/b]
My dad was my music teacher for 45 years, no escaping practice, lessons every half=hour...lol
Learned well and never missed a lesson in years.
_________________________
Fred Bieler

If you look deeply enough into someone's eyes you will find a place that, were you to go there, would break your heart in two.

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#1108995 - 02/16/09 08:28 PM Re: Weekly Lessons - is there a REAL alternative?
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I LOVE having an almost weekly lesson (my teacher goes away about once a quarter), even though I don't get through all my pieces. In fact, I usually only end up doing 2-3 pieces, along with sight-reading, improvisation, keyboard harmony, learning piano parts for som of my clarinet students, technique, ear training, and a lot more...and my teacher spots things that I didn't notice in my own practice (like new practice techniques for a passage I am having difficulty with) or a better fingering for example, and it gives me a reason to practice!

I've gone both the self-study route (but mainly when I didn't have much choice) and the teacher route, and mI've noticed I've made more progress (epsecially on piano) in the last 5 months than most of the last 5 years. Plus being able to perform more confidently on my second instrument (in the case of piano) my nerves on that instrument have been cut siginficantly.

Meri
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

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