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#1193750 - 05/05/09 12:52 PM Re: The economy and students [Re: Betty Patnude]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

1) I could not plod along as a teacher - I am not serving my purpose if I allow myself to plod along. Betty Patnude


To plod: to work slowly and steadily

It was not intended to be derogatory. I simply meant never giving up.
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It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1193888 - 05/05/09 03:39 PM Re: The economy and students [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
I don't think this thread is now about the economy, is it?

There are some very important problems going on. I have to think that whenever we talk about what I think of as "the elephant in the room", people get uncomfortable and switch the subject.
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Piano Teacher

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#1193905 - 05/05/09 04:04 PM Re: The economy and students [Re: Gary D.]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
I don't mind talking about the economy.

It very much depends on where you are. In some countries or areas it will be worse than in others. The only thing I have noticed so far is less enquiries. This doesn't really matter for me personally because I have no spaces anyway. Perhaps it will get worse in the future, who knows?

One report I read suggested that the economic downturn could even cause an increase in the number of people taking up music lessons. Those fortunate enough to keep their jobs will be facing a great deal of stress and pressure. Playing the piano could help them to relax. Also it's still relatively cheap to learn piano. A years worth of lessons might seem like a big outlay but it will keep you occupied for several hours a week if you take it seriously. Those are hours you will not be going out and spending money!
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Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1193920 - 05/05/09 04:26 PM Re: The economy and students [Re: Chris H.]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Also it's still relatively cheap to learn piano. A years worth of lessons might seem like a big outlay but it will keep you occupied for several hours a week if you take it seriously.


You are so right about that! Being a mom of 3 boys, I can tell you that piano is cheaper than sports! After I pay to sign them up, I have to pay to buy all the stuff, and usually have to pay to watch them play too! Even track, just "running in circles" as my son says, costs over $400. a season and that's just to sign up!
I usually tell people that complain about the cost of sports, or lessons, "it's cheaper than drugs!"

Chris brings up a good point, how much does piano actually cost if we were to break it down per hour?
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1193924 - 05/05/09 04:29 PM Re: The economy and students [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Lessons with a good teacher only seem like a "good deal" to people who know something about the damage bad teachers can do.
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Piano Teacher

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#1193928 - 05/05/09 04:34 PM Re: The economy and students [Re: Chris H.]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
E & I,

I understand now that you meant "plod" to be:
To work slowly and steadily and never giving up;
and that it was not intended to be derogatory.

I looked up "plod" to verify my use of it:
Trudge Slog Tread Wearily Traipse Lumber Tramp Clump
To proceed slowly or tediously,
To move or walk heavily, slowly, or laboriously; trudge,
To work or act perseveringly, laboriously and monotonously; drudge,
The act of moving or walking heavily and slowly,
The sound made by a heavy step.
(Sentences about "mud" were used to describe it)

That is pretty much what plod means to me and why I used it as I felt the weight of lessons at that pace, but that's my personal comfort level and preferance of how I conduct teaching, and each of us has different needs, perspectivies, opinions, viewpoints, experience.

If you and your students have achieved a happy result that is to be joyful about because you are all in that triangle of student, teacher and parent - each and every triangle has "vibes" of it's own. If you had not been meeting their needs they would not have been with you for 6 years, and part of our objectives are to keep students interested in continuing in music study.

It is a good thing that we are able to learn from each other and share concepts, realities, and issues.

Betty Patnude

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#1194248 - 05/06/09 03:24 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Betty Patnude]
molto_agitato Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/09
Posts: 162
Loc: Washington State
In general, how do teachers feel about students who practice diligently, yet show no musical aptitude and make less than average progress compared with a typical student? In other words, students who practice consistently and assiduously, as well as correctly, in accordance with the instructions of their teachers, yet continue to make slow progress. Likely, all students are judged by their efforts as well as their musical aptitude, but in what proportion?


Edited by molto_agitato (05/06/09 05:41 AM)
Edit Reason: fixing bad grammar

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#1194255 - 05/06/09 03:50 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: molto_agitato]
molto_agitato Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/09
Posts: 162
Loc: Washington State
The economy is especially poor where I live. The unemployment rate is pushing 18%, and that figure fails to include those who have stopping looking for work after having searched for so long to no avail and have expended their unemployment insurance. Of those who have jobs, many are part time or poorly paid or both. Even before the economic downturn, when the economy was (supposedly) strong, the town in which I live never really shared in the prosperous times our country was purportedly experiencing. Although we never experienced a housing boom and subsequent bust, we have serious problems nonetheless that stem from other causes. My town was essentially supported by a single industry, and when that industry failed, everything deteriorated (not that conditions were great to begin with). Thus we currently have a perpetuating cycle of misery. For example, our high school graduation rate is less than 50%. Meth addition is endemic, the worst in the entire state of Washington. And of course, we have related problems such as a proliferation of identity theft, rampant STDs, also the worst in Washington (no doubt fueled by the meth epidemic), as well as other problems.

My point: the United States is a huge nation, and economic conditions vary widely from location to location. I suspect that piano teachers in my area are much more lax than teachers from other areas in choosing students with which to work. I am a student like the one I described in my above post, and I gather that I would probably have a difficult time finding a teacher who would be willing to work with me if I lived in an area that was more economically prosperous. Ironically, our terrible economy was likely instrumental in my finding a piano teacher who was willing to work with me.

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#1194257 - 05/06/09 04:25 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: molto_agitato]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5279
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: molto_agitato
In general, how do teachers feel about students who practice diligently, yet show no musical aptitude and make less than average progress compared with a typical student? In other words, a student who practices consistently and assiduously, as well as correctly, in accordance with the instructions of their teacher, yet continues to make slow progress. Likely, all students are judged by their efforts as well as their musical aptitude, but in what proportion?


This is indeed rare. I have exactly one student who fits this description. She works very hard, does a great job with her theory homework, but her pieces are coming along at an extremely slow pace. She is a transfer student who has had four other teachers before me, but I don't think that is the problem--she's just not the brightest cookie in the world when it comes to piano (her school grades are off the chart, though). However, because I appreciate her effort very much, I am proud of all that she has achieved. She has two more competitions coming up, so I'll see how she handles stressful situations. If she shows signs of struggle, I might take her off the competition track and just let her enjoy making music.

In my studio, I have several students with musical talent, but they don't practice nearly enough because:

1) they have too many things going on at the same time,
2) they signed up for extracurricular activities that take up too much time (Boy Scouts and team soccer take up A TON of time; competitive swimming eats up Saturdays and poses conflicts with piano competitions),
3) they attend one of the highest ranked high schools in the country and thus have a ton of homework every day, or
4) they are just lazy.

Thus, with these students, it is a constant compromise. I would like to teach them more advanced pieces, but I can't. I would like them to have lessons longer than an hour, but their parents are not willing. I would like them to drop all other activities so they can focus on piano, but they are not willing. Talk about untapped potential...it shall remain untapped. tiki
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#1194276 - 05/06/09 05:36 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: AZNpiano]
molto_agitato Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/09
Posts: 162
Loc: Washington State
Thank-you for the reassurance AZNpiano smile. It is my impression that my teacher feels similarly, unless perhaps he is extremely adapt at feigning satisfaction. As far as the piano goes, I believe I understand concepts on an intellectual level. I'm simply massively uncoordinated, and I always have been at any endeavor that requires coordination.

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#1194291 - 05/06/09 07:02 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: molto_agitato]
Jazzed23 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 48
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Interesting comments from all...a little history on my perspective. I learned classical piano all the way through to the highest level, had a horrible teacher who didn't inspire me musically at all. Somehow managed to do pretty well, won some competitions here and there.

Quit lessons after high school, played in some church worship bands, then i discovered JAZZ. Opened up huge doors, the music resonates with me. Luckily I've got the technique for playing, but I had to change the way I approached it. Was motivated to learn and basically soaked up all I could.

Now I am pursuing a jazz career and hopefully good things will pan out.

Listen, for all teachers out there ( and I used to teach as well), let your students play what they LOVE, whatever that may be. Jazz, rock, pop, country, classical...teach them to play the music in their hearts.

It is your job to guide, open their ears, but never force your expectations on them. When they are self motivated, they will be eager to learn. Find the music that speaks to them...then show them how to express it.

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#1194321 - 05/06/09 08:24 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Jeff Clef]
teacher-in-training Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/09
Posts: 24
My area (Southeast Texas), hasn't been affected that bad. But, yesterday I had a student who told me that she is taking an extended break, because of finances. They are going to reevaluate when the new semester starts in August.
_________________________
Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. Psalm 33:3

Part-time piano teacher
Church Pianist


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#1194324 - 05/06/09 08:29 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: molto_agitato]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: molto_agitato
In general, how do teachers feel about students who practice diligently, yet show no musical aptitude and make less than average progress compared with a typical student?


Ah yes. I have had a few of those students too. They can play the music but it's practically robotic. The theory is there, they know all the dynamics and other things, but they can't play from the heart because they just don't feel it.

I think tho, and this is JMHO, that many people wouldn't notice the difference. Unless one has the musical background, or really had a knack for recognizing music, those people are going to think that robotic student is playing well and to a point, he is. This student can play what's written perfectly, but there is a difference.

What do others think about that? do you think an untrained ear can tell the difference between playing what's written and playing from the heart?
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1194325 - 05/06/09 08:32 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: molto_agitato]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: molto_agitato
Ironically, our terrible economy was likely instrumental in my finding a piano teacher who was willing to work with me.


Always a silver lining. Rest assured there are always teachers that will work with all types of students, even if they're not what some might call ideal (and I'm not saying that about you here :))
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1194327 - 05/06/09 08:36 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: molto_agitato]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: molto_agitato
In general, how do teachers feel about students who practice diligently, yet show no musical aptitude and make less than average progress compared with a typical student?


Ah yes. I have had a few of those students too. They can play the music but it's practically robotic. The theory is there, they know all the dynamics and other things, but they can't play from the heart because they just don't feel it. Again tho, to me it's more important that the student is loving the music/piano. If he is than I am certainly never going to tell him he doesn't have what it takes. One doesn't need to do something well in order to enjoy it!! (not saying you're not good at it, just in general). I kill more than I grow in my garden, but I keep trying smile

I think tho, and this is JMHO, that many people wouldn't notice the difference. Unless one has the musical background, or really had a knack for recognizing music, those people are going to think that robotic student is playing well, and to a point, he is.

What do others think about that? do you think an untrained ear can tell the difference between playing what's written and playing from the heart?
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1194328 - 05/06/09 08:37 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Jazzed23]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Jazzed23
Listen, for all teachers out there ( and I used to teach as well), let your students play what they LOVE, whatever that may be. Jazz, rock, pop, country, classical...teach them to play the music in their hearts.

It is your job to guide, open their ears, but never force your expectations on them. When they are self motivated, they will be eager to learn. Find the music that speaks to them...then show them how to express it.


I sure wish I could have talked my English teacher, Math teacher, Science teacher, French teacher and Gym teacher into this philosophy! I wouldn't know very much, but sure would be happy!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1194330 - 05/06/09 08:41 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Jazzed23]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Jazzed23
let your students play what they LOVE, whatever that may be. Jazz, rock, pop, country, classical...teach them to play the music in their hearts.

It is your job to guide, open their ears, but never force your expectations on them. When they are self motivated, they will be eager to learn. Find the music that speaks to them...then show them how to express it.


Perfect! It is a difficult question for me to answer when I hear "what kind of music to you teach" because I ask the kids what they like and go from there (I do add other genres in of course for exposure) I have had other teachers tell me that I should be doing classical music at my recitals etc... Nope. Again, I let them pick the music. I hope I can help the student find what they love to do too! That is highly rewarding to me, more so even than someone mastering a piece. If they are loving it, than I'm happy smile

thanks for bringing that up!
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1194401 - 05/06/09 11:03 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5284
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: Jazzed23
Listen, for all teachers out there ( and I used to teach as well), let your students play what they LOVE, whatever that may be. Jazz, rock, pop, country, classical...teach them to play the music in their hearts. . .


I sure wish I could have talked my English teacher, Math teacher, Science teacher, French teacher and Gym teacher into this philosophy! I wouldn't know very much, but sure would be happy!


Interestingly enough it *does* apply to English, math, science, and probably (tho I don't teach them) French and gym (I do teach dance).

When I'm teaching math to returning-to-college students I make it a point to apply math to topics which they find compelling, and certainly to make a point about where they "must" use it in everyday life if they want to avoid scams laugh Do you like cooking? Fine, let's apply math in cooking. You like racing cars? Let's apply it there. You wanna know about black holes? Let's talk black holes. You just read some statistic on the net about swine flu and it worries you? Let's see if we can make sense of it. You want to major in psychology, or hazmat studies? Let's get you the foundation you need. For some of them the introductory levels of math are all they'll ever *need* and they might not ever explore math beyond that. A few will get into the sheer beauty of numbers and systems and go beyond even finite dimensional vector systems smile

I was not interested in physics at all in high school, and got C's because I didn't study. But my freshman year in college we started learning about astronomy and relativity and it sparked a life-long interest - enough so that when I was in my early 40's I went back and took a college-level physics class. Got an A in it.

I've seen people who have the proverbial two left feet love folk dancing enough that after a few years they're teaching it.

So if your English, math, science, French, and gym teachers had actually taught something you found interest in which would have motivated you to learn some of the basics that you otherwise didn't find interesting - you might actually know *more* about them than you do now, and be happy to boot smile

John has said in the past that he is happy to refer students to teachers that teach a different repertoire than he does. He also offers a "recreational piano" option for students who want that (tho he's had no takers). From what he writes here at PW I suspect he puts some effort into finding pieces for his students that speak to them. So I think there are few teachers who are at such an extreme that they don't pay any attention at all to what a student wants to learn, and few who teach students *only* what a student thinks they want to learn in details, and for very many students/teachers there's a self-selection in matching what they are interested in with what a teacher teaches. Perhaps that is more so with adult students than with children. But *most* of us aren't teacher-ogres or such immature students as to think we don't need to learn some things that bore us in order to be able to do the things we want to do.

EDIT: and often we find those things that we thought would bore us, don't smile As adults we know that, and as children we learn.

Cathy


Edited by jotur (05/06/09 11:22 AM)
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#1194420 - 05/06/09 11:36 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: jotur]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Cathy, FWIW, and I did go to school in a different era, my teachers taught to a curriculum, covering subject matter dictated by the school board. It didn't matter whether I liked the subject matter or not, my task was to master the material. We had successes (those who are/were your top professionals, for the most part) and failures. I totally detested gym class, but in those days, it was mandatory for four years of high school. There is/was no sport they could offer, other than sailing or fishing, perhaps, which could have interested me.

Actually, I am quite flexible, within certain bounds, as you accurately notate. For my older students, I generally play through several pieces, and let them select the one(s) which sound interesting to them. It often leads to surprised. I have a teen girl who chose The Stranger, by Schumann, over some more delicate and lacy pieces, and really got into it. I suppose it was the drama.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1194435 - 05/06/09 11:59 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5284
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
John - when I was growing up piano teaching was like your high school smile Which is part of the reason I didn't play for 35 years. Fortunately I now play what I love.

Too bad gym wasn't related to sailing, fishing, and piano tho. Great sports. Gym *is* related, of course, if for nothing else but stamina, but it probably took you 35 years to figure that out, just as it took me 35 years to be able to apply what I got out of piano lessons to what I wanted to play. And be able to do *more* than what I was taught for 2 years of piano when I was a teen. But there's too much to learn to be able to learn all of it in life, and for me the continuing to learn is the best part of life. I don't have time to worry about not having learned some things earlier smile , and I suspect you still love learning, too.

Cathy
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#1194503 - 05/06/09 01:57 PM Re: The economy and students [Re: jotur]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Cathy, what I tell all my students is: "I'll teach you how to play, you can go home and play anything you want . . . after you finish your lesson."

I teach them the foundation, they decide what they want to play for recreation.

About gym, no, I still have no love of sports/physical activity. I do walks for health reasons, and hate every minute of it.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1194509 - 05/06/09 02:05 PM Re: The economy and students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10775
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Most of the year we work on 'classical' repertoire. I find that is where they will learn how to play and sing the best. However, I go for less classical in style for the Spring Recital. We do Jazz, Blues, contemporary music, pop music, etc. We also do some classical thrown in there, but it's always fun stuff that the kids really like, and it's all collaborative. To be honest, most of my students end up preferring 'classical' music, both the singers and pianists. It is the most musically rewarding, IMO.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
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www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1194575 - 05/06/09 04:04 PM Re: The economy and students [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
I would ratther teach students what they want to play than what I *think* I want them to play.

The catch is that they have to have the skills or knowledge to play what they think they want to play.

In the real world this means some level of compromise. smile

Overall I think the rebels in this world are never going to fit well in any school system. As a life-long rebel myself, I am naturally in sync with students who question everything and everyone, so long as they are reasonably polite about it.

I find that people are more likely to enjoy pieces they play very well, even if they don't start out thinking that they will enjoy them.

And they can come to hate things they dream of playing if it takes forever to get them up to 1/3 tempo, and they realize that it is just not working.
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Piano Teacher

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#1194855 - 05/07/09 02:26 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Gary D.]
Jazzed23 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 48
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
John, teaching music and school subjects are completely different things. Everyone has a love for certain kinds of music, and ALL people like music, it just could be classical, jazz, rock, pop.

The teacher's job is to give the student the skills to "speak" music, just like if you were learning a new language. Ultimately they become competent enough to express themselves.

I myself, to this day have never played any classical music after finishing lessons, I can not stand the genre. If you tried to force me to play country or heavy metal, I would puke, but jazz, then I am in heaven.

With my own students, I ask them, what is your FAVOURITE song? Then I teach them the scales, chords, fingering and technique to be able to play it. Funny, they all seem to be quite motivated and can connect how those steps will lead them to that goal.

Ebony... I totally understand your saying how some people play robotic... I will be starting a new thread, called "Musicality and Virtuosity" I will offer my thoughts on it, and some suggestions on how to be more "musical".

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#1194862 - 05/07/09 03:06 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Jazzed23]
Jazzed23 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 48
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Betty, you sound like my old classical piano teacher!! You need to loosen up your attitude and remember, music and piano are for ENJOYMENT.

It is like when a newborn child is first learning to speak. Do you criticize them when they mispronounce "dadda or momma?".. No! You encourage them, every new word, no matter how bad it first sounds.

If I asked you to learn 10 sports you never tried before, you might have great success at 1 or 2, be decent or average at 5-6, and maybe horrible at 1-2. Same with students, not everyone is going to be a great player. And you have to realize that's ok.

You are equating your teaching abilities and expectations to that of how well the student plays piano. The question you need to ask is, am I AWAKENING and lighting the PASSION for music in each student, regardless of their current level.

Not, oh I played 10 notes wrong for "Fur Elise" so now I have to practice that arpeggio 100 times.

Ask your students, do they enjoy learning the piano, do they play music they like, do they have a desire to want to improve, what would they say?

If the answer is no, then you need to change your ways so their answer is yes!

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#1194960 - 05/07/09 10:01 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Jazzed23]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Welcome to the forum, jazzed23. smile

I agree 100% with you that one of the best ways to make sure students are enthusiastic about piano lessons, and to stick with them, is to incorporate the styles of music they like into the curriculum. Some students (more often adults, I'm guessing) are strong-willed like me and would, in fact, not enter into a teacher-student relationship unless the teacher was willing to let the student have varying degrees of input into the pieces learned. There are teachers who would not accept that degree of control on the part of the students, and that's perfectly okay as long as they're upfront about it during the interview process... it just means that they wouldn't be the right fit for a stubborn student like me. wink

What I think is unfortunate is when children/adolescents (or adults) start to get bored with lessons and then drop out because they're not playing anything they relate to. Had their teacher been more flexible at that point, they might have kept the student in lessons and perhaps even succeeded in convincing them later on of the value of their preferred curriculum.
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#1194968 - 05/07/09 10:22 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Jazzed23]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota

Jazzed23, I couldn't agree more! Well said. ENJOYMENT. Most of us will NEVER train a professional, but if we can keep them AT the piano, we have done our job.

Originally Posted By: Jazzed23
Betty, you sound like my old classical piano teacher!! You need to loosen up your attitude and remember, music and piano are for ENJOYMENT.
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1194973 - 05/07/09 10:29 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Jazzed23]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Jazzed23
John, teaching music and school subjects are completely different things.


In my English classes, we called that form of argumentation "Asserted Conclusions." If it's true, then your conclusions may or may not be true; if it's false, your conclusions may or may not be true as well, but it lends the argument a certain authoritativeness, which is not actually supported.

We teach music in our schools, at least in parts of this country, so music is, in fact, a school subject.

If you come to me for piano lessons, I will teach you how to play; your learning pace will be rapid and thorough. What you elect to do with your new-gained knowledge is entirely up to you.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1195006 - 05/07/09 11:36 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Jazzed23]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: Jazzed23
Betty, you sound like my old classical piano teacher!! You need to loosen up your attitude and remember, music and piano are for ENJOYMENT.

It is like when a newborn child is first learning to speak. Do you criticize them when they mispronounce "dadda or momma?".. No! You encourage them, every new word, no matter how bad it first sounds.

If I asked you to learn 10 sports you never tried before, you might have great success at 1 or 2, be decent or average at 5-6, and maybe horrible at 1-2. Same with students, not everyone is going to be a great player. And you have to realize that's ok.

You are equating your teaching abilities and expectations to that of how well the student plays piano. The question you need to ask is, am I AWAKENING and lighting the PASSION for music in each student, regardless of their current level.

Not, oh I played 10 notes wrong for "Fur Elise" so now I have to practice that arpeggio 100 times.

Ask your students, do they enjoy learning the piano, do they play music they like, do they have a desire to want to improve, what would they say?

If the answer is no, then you need to change your ways so their answer is yes!


I don't suffer misguided enthusiasm very well when it is directed to me by addressing me alone by name.

I doubt you have anything new to teach me about anything in piano teaching, I am among the older generation on the forum, age 65, 38 years of steady piano teaching.

I get dazzling results from my students in a short time of study, my kids have smiles on their faces when they come in or go out the door. My latest two entries, a girl 5 weeks ago, and a boy having his second lesson here yesterday are full of smiles with what we are doing at the piano, it's not that I don't know how to teach or what to teach. I "lesson" student's knowledge, there is teaching and learning going on, and accountability, and scrutiny, and they are helping me do it. Already! The half hour goes by fast but it is filled with content they need and they soak it up.

This emphasis you put on enjoyment is very misleading. Enjoyment is only one factor in our lives. Enjoyment centers with many people around their belly button as they have been the center of the universe since they were born. Me, me, me along with instant gratification.

It takes education to help you realize you are NOT the center of anything except yourself and that you have to mingle with many others on the planet if you are a contributor toward the outcome of the good for all people and the planet itself. There are many other things we have to learn about being mannerly and productive and responsible.

Our best efforts start when we work at music. We were not born knowing enough, but it seems to me that some teachers who post here are very naive about what music enhances in your life, the benefits we get from music, because of our efforts, energies and time spent in music study. Music is a huge encompassing subject, and it's a complex subject if you choose to go that road.

It is not only the notes, sounds, rhythms and coordination alone which provide enjoyment or entertainment. Music making affects our entire being, mentally, physically and emotionally, as well as does wonderful things in increasing our brain and being power. Why would we not want to follow this road? The quest of pursuing music is multi-dimensional in our lives.

I work every day, sometimes for hours, reading, studying, researching, breathing in music, learning how to teach and reach people. I do it because I enjoy it and use what I learn. If someone else has that kind of commitment, dedication and self-discipline, as a piano teacher, and has "earned" their place, I'll certainly listen to them with interest.

When the teachers who say it's all about enjoyment tell me that I need to change my ways, I really feel badly. Our students need what we have to offer.

People are happy to be in my presence, they come back again and again, 8 years is now the longest record of keeping a student involved, but many achieved 5-6-7, so how do you compute that enjoyment is not one of the attractions? However, to me, the role of education in music is a much more important benefit to attain. I've been getting some work done during the enjoyment part. It does not have to be one or the other. It can be work, enjoyment, and many, many other things that we accomplish.

If the goal is enjoyment, there is no question about it, it's there in every lesson I give. The goal is also learning to the max, and we get that in too, because it's what propels us in our enjoyment.

It's annoying to find this post first thing this morning and to realize that I'm one of a few dying out committed piano teacher who is proud to have been a piano teacher and to have been able to include so many other very important things that contribute to music in our lives that surpass just feeling good.

Piano is our vehicle to self-actualization, hasn't anyone noticed?

Betty Patnude

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#1195013 - 05/07/09 11:49 AM Re: The economy and students [Re: Betty Patnude]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Betty, I don't think anyone that says "music is for enjoyment" meant that it didn't include all those other things that you talk about.

But I take offense at:
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

I'm one of a few dying out committed piano teacher who is proud to have been a piano teacher and to have been able to include so many other very important things that contribute to music in our lives that surpass feeling good. Betty Patnude


Why do you assume that we aren't committed or proud? I am not teaching for "just feeling good" as you say, but without that, the rest is not important, is it?
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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