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Topic Options
#1217946 - 06/16/09 07:28 AM End piano lessons!
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Hi guys,

I have played all my life which is aprox. 30 years. Although well versed in the rudiments and theories of music, I have not had a teacher except for the past year and a half. We have mastered quite a few classical pieces by various composers including Chopin, Bach, Mozart, and Handel.

One of my reasons for taking lessons was to improve my reading skills and to eliminate the fear of learning difficult pieces. At this point, my teacher is moreso a coach and is really not teaching me anything new, except pointing out minor flaws which I can pretty much spot after spending enough time with the piece.

I have spent a lot of money and want to take it on my own from here. Mastering a piece for me now depends merely on putting in the necessary practice time. What do you think?
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

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#1217964 - 06/16/09 08:17 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: ClassicalMan]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Hi ClassicalMan,
So far you've told us two goals you've had: improve reading and eliminate fear of learning difficult pieces. Sounds like you've reached your goals.

It is nice to be in lessons and have a coach. But it's a question of whether it is worth your money. It's not about practice time because you'll be practicing anyway. Without new goals to reach, it sounds like you're finished with lessons.

You may want to discuss this with your teacher and see what goals your teacher would suggest. Or perhaps see what options are available for occasionally checking in with your teacher...having a lesson at your teacher's convenience when you feel it would be helpful.

I can sympathize. It's not easy to decide when you're going to consider yourself to be finished with lessons.

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#1217965 - 06/16/09 08:17 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: ClassicalMan]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I think you most likely have a poor technique and your teacher is not picking up on the fact.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1217973 - 06/16/09 08:31 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I think you most likely have a poor technique and your teacher is not picking up on the fact.

I'm curious how you reached that conclusion. Could you elaborate?

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1218000 - 06/16/09 09:31 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
lalakeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/06
Posts: 286
Loc: Chicago 'burbs
Sounds to me like you need a break from lessons for awhile. Why not explain this to your teacher/coach--he or she will probably understand and relate (I know I would!). Framing this situation as a "break" instead of "quitting" keeps the door open to working with this teacher again sometime in the future, or at least being able to make pleasant conversation if you happen to run into them at a music store or concert someday!

Just my 2¢ worth...
_________________________
Private piano & voice teacher for over 20 years; currently also working as a pipe organist for 3 area churches; sing in a Chicago-area acappella chamber choir

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#1218013 - 06/16/09 09:45 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
SV, not to be argumentative, but the odds are 1000 to 1 that a student with only 1.5 years of formal training, but self-teaching for 30 years, has technique problems of major magnitude. Even teachers, returning to lessons after years of teaching, discover that they've picked up bad habits which need correction. Which is why teachers are encouraged to continue lessons periodically.
_________________________
"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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#1218029 - 06/16/09 10:38 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Thanks John, must be the way I tell 'em.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1218058 - 06/16/09 11:37 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
I never realized that such a foregone conclusion can be made without hesitation based on circumstance rather than evidence. Personally, I wouldn't be at all pleased to be judged as having "poor technique" by someone who hasn't heard or seen me play; there are certainly less harsh ways of conveying such an assumption even if it's true.

John, I appreciate your explanation even though I think that your thousand-to-one odds are hypothetical and hyperbolic. kbk, IMO your smugness doesn't help the OP at all.

I wonder why the OP's teacher is "not picking up on" technique problems of a major magnitude, never mind apparently not working to rectify them either. Do you reckon it's apathy? Ignorance? Incompetence? If it's truly a case of blind leading the blind, I wonder how prevalent a situation that is music education.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1218094 - 06/16/09 12:55 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Hi ClassicalMan,
So far you've told us two goals you've had: improve reading and eliminate fear of learning difficult pieces. Sounds like you've reached your goals.

It is nice to be in lessons and have a coach. But it's a question of whether it is worth your money. It's not about practice time because you'll be practicing anyway. Without new goals to reach, it sounds like you're finished with lessons.

You may want to discuss this with your teacher and see what goals your teacher would suggest. Or perhaps see what options are available for occasionally checking in with your teacher...having a lesson at your teacher's convenience when you feel it would be helpful.

I can sympathize. It's not easy to decide when you're going to consider yourself to be finished with lessons.


Thank you Ann, sounds like a wise perspective. I'm thinking of maybe dropping in when I need him to play a piece. He charges $75 an hour. However, the boss empathized and they charge me $50/hr once per week. He can play most advanced pieces at first sight without having seen or playing them before! The guy plays Chopin's fantasia (sp) from memory (He's only 24 yrs old). So Ithink it's worth keeping him as somewhat of a consultant. Maybe I'll offer him $25 (for half hour) once a month if needed. I use to pick up a piece and "cry" just from looking at. Now I realize if I sit down, analyze the piece and practice bit by bit daily, hands seperate, pay attention to timing, etc., what appears as a mountain within weeks isn't much of a challenge.
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

Top
#1218096 - 06/16/09 12:56 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
I wanted to play the Chopin Concert Rondo op. 14 more
than anything else. I asked around, and the response
I got was contemptuous: an inept amateur like myself
doesn't even think about playing impossibly difficult
stuff like that. So eventually I simply started to
play it, note by note, one bar a day, initially,
and after many yrs. of brutal repetitive toil I
can play it at about 3/4 speed, and getting it perfected
now looks tantalizingly with the realm of possibility.

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#1218097 - 06/16/09 12:57 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I think you most likely have a poor technique and your teacher is not picking up on the fact.

I'm curious how you reached that conclusion. Could you elaborate?

Steven


Thank you sotto, this is not the first time you came to my rescue. Like the real world, there are some really negative folk around!
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

Top
#1218098 - 06/16/09 12:59 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: lalakeys]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: lalakeys
Sounds to me like you need a break from lessons for awhile. Why not explain this to your teacher/coach--he or she will probably understand and relate (I know I would!). Framing this situation as a "break" instead of "quitting" keeps the door open to working with this teacher again sometime in the future, or at least being able to make pleasant conversation if you happen to run into them at a music store or concert someday!

Just my 2¢ worth...


This too sounds like a viable option!
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

Top
#1218104 - 06/16/09 01:12 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: ClassicalMan]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11764
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
We cannot learn everything we need to know from one person. It sounds as though it might be a good time to take a little break with this teacher, but keep your eyes out for another one. Just because this teacher may not have things that they can point out to you, doesn't mean that there aren't things to be learned. One discovery I've made in my musical pursuits is that the more you know, the more you realize you don't know, which means there's always something new right around the corner!

Finding a teacher that can take you to that next level (assuming you want to go there) is key.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1218110 - 06/16/09 01:31 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: ClassicalMan]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: ClassicalMan
Like the real world, there are some really negative folk around!
Pay me $75 an hour and I'm sure I could be just as positive!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1218130 - 06/16/09 02:05 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: ClassicalMan
Like the real world, there are some really negative folk around!
Pay me $75 an hour and I'm sure I could be just as positive!

That's an exceedingly sad statement of ethical principles on multiple levels.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1218131 - 06/16/09 02:09 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
ClassicalMan ... of course you should take it on your own. A good teacher's job should be to get you to learn on your own. Unless of course, they want to drain you of your money.
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1218133 - 06/16/09 02:13 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: ClassicalMan
Like the real world, there are some really negative folk around!
Pay me $75 an hour and I'm sure I could be just as positive!

That's an exceedingly sad statement of ethical principles on multiple levels.

Steven


What do you expect for nothing?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1218137 - 06/16/09 02:28 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: ClassicalMan
Like the real world, there are some really negative folk around!
Pay me $75 an hour and I'm sure I could be just as positive!

That's an exceedingly sad statement of ethical principles on multiple levels.

Steven
What do you expect for nothing?

The OP didn't come here for an assessment of his technique, but you went out of your way to offer a negative one. Apparently, then, negativity is the default and can be provided gratis, while being positive is for profit.

That's sad—and if by "positive" you meant passive flattery of the sort you and John seem to believe the OP's present teacher is supplying rather than constructive or corrective steps, it's sadder still.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1218149 - 06/16/09 03:01 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
How about I cry all the way to the bank?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1218156 - 06/16/09 03:15 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
How about I cry all the way to the bank?

Are you off your meds today?
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

Top
#1218165 - 06/16/09 03:37 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: eweiss]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Just trying to get my daily laugh.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1218166 - 06/16/09 03:37 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: eweiss]
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
Steven, further replys are pointless, since it's obvious that kbk deals with his daily problems by "arguing" with other members on this board. When he runs out of "arguments", he stops replying or writes something childish like in his upper posts. It has happen a million times before.

While we can't deny that kbk knows a great deal about piano, and that he offered good advices to many members, including myself, it's also the truth that he needs help, because he can't deal with problems.

No offense.


Edited by GreenRain (06/16/09 04:45 PM)

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#1218167 - 06/16/09 03:38 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
Laughter is a good therapy, but you need a doctor.

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#1218168 - 06/16/09 03:39 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: GreenRain]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: GreenRain

No offense.
None taken! Maybe you're right - it's a cry for help! (strange place to do it in)
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#1218182 - 06/16/09 04:14 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4785
Loc: South Florida
I'm sure I will be ignored, but my take: this is a typical forum discussion with an incredible amount of assuming and very little information.

With what I've read here I know nothing about ClassicalMan's weaknesses or strengths, and I have no way to judge the effectiveness of his teacher.

I see a lot of generalizing and projection—and posturing.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1218210 - 06/16/09 04:54 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: Gary D.]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I'm sure I will be ignored, but my take: this is a typical forum discussion with an incredible amount of assuming and very little information.

With what I've read here I know nothing about ClassicalMan's weaknesses or strengths, and I have no way to judge the effectiveness of his teacher.

I see a lot of generalizing and projection—and posturing.


Your post is not to be ignored at all, Gary. Classical man, in response to your original post: I think I can relate a bit to what you are asking us: "what do you think" of dropping lessons and going it alone. I believe this to be a gut feeling thing that we each answer accurately for ourselves. I have not taken regularly scheduled lessons for many years and actually teach beginners to play. I can learn new material on my own. When road blocks come up, I take an occasional lesson for support from a master teacher. It's a personal thing.


Edited by Barb860 (06/16/09 04:56 PM)
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1218227 - 06/16/09 05:20 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
I never realized that such a foregone conclusion can be made without hesitation based on circumstance rather than evidence. Personally, I wouldn't be at all pleased to be judged as having "poor technique" by someone who hasn't heard or seen me play; there are certainly less harsh ways of conveying such an assumption even if it's true.

John, I appreciate your explanation even though I think that your thousand-to-one odds are hypothetical and hyperbolic. kbk, IMO your smugness doesn't help the OP at all.

I wonder why the OP's teacher is "not picking up on" technique problems of a major magnitude, never mind apparently not working to rectify them either. Do you reckon it's apathy? Ignorance? Incompetence? If it's truly a case of blind leading the blind, I wonder how prevalent a situation that is music education.

Steven


I stand corrected. I was going to say a million to one, but thought that might be interpreted as hyperbole, so said a thousand to one.

Your second point, yes. It's truly a case of blind leading the blind, and I'm guessing it's fairly prevalent. However, to be fair to the teacher, it could be that constructive, but critical comments are not well received, so are not offered.
_________________________
"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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#1218271 - 06/16/09 06:03 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: eweiss]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: eweiss
ClassicalMan ... of course you should take it on your own. A good teacher's job should be to get you to learn on your own. Unless of course, they want to drain you of your money.



Except for sotto voce's reply, this is the best reply I have received on the this thread. That's my goal: to learn on my own! He's gotten me to that point. I can always look up symbols and signs, terms, etc. I have forgotten in a reference book or even right here on the net. Short of that I can listen to recordings of the piece on youtube or purchase .99 mp3 recordings. I think I'll say my teacher, I need a little break right now and I'll be in touch. If he says, well I'm only available for regular lessons then, its bye bye!
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

Top
#1218272 - 06/16/09 06:04 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: GreenRain]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: GreenRain
Steven, further replys are pointless, since it's obvious that kbk deals with his daily problems by "arguing" with other members on this board. When he runs out of "arguments", he stops replying or writes something childish like in his upper posts. It has happen a million times before.

While we can't deny that kbk knows a great deal about piano, and that he offered good advices to many members, including myself, it's also the truth that he needs help, because he can't deal with problems.

No offense.


So true!
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

Top
#1218277 - 06/16/09 06:14 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: John v.d.Brook]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
SV, not to be argumentative, but the odds are 1000 to 1 that a student with only 1.5 years of formal training, but self-teaching for 30 years, has technique problems of major magnitude.

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
I stand corrected. I was going to say a million to one, but thought that might be interpreted as hyperbole, so said a thousand to one.

Your second point, yes. It's truly a case of blind leading the blind, and I'm guessing it's fairly prevalent. However, to be fair to the teacher, it could be that constructive, but critical comments are not well received, so are not offered.

Clearly there's a business model here that transcends what would otherwise appear to be mere arrogance: teachers have an obvious financial incentive to promote and perpetuate the idea that self-teaching is bad.

Given that lazy or incompetent teachers are admittedly "fairly prevalent," I wonder what the odds are that students who've had years of instruction from such teachers will also have "technique problems of major magnitude."

Even if studying with a teacher were always unequivocally beneficial, pulling patently absurd statistics out of thin air (like, for instance, there's a million-to-one chance of a self-learner learning correctly) creates suspicion, not credibility. kbk's rude remark about "crying all the way to the bank" confirms that teachers' and students' interests here aren't necessarily congruent.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1218286 - 06/16/09 06:53 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4785
Loc: South Florida
Steven,

Perspective is crucial, and we don't have any.

We don't know how well ClassicalMan plays. We don't know how well his teacher plays or teaches.

All sorts of assumptions are being made, and it simply assures we will have yet another long, pointless forum discussion. smile
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1218287 - 06/16/09 06:53 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
No, Steven, just plain observation over decades, which includes watching both students and teachers playing.

That's probably why airline pilots have flight checks (rather critical, I'd say), why other professions have proficiency testing, etc., and why teachers undertake continuing education.

Even concert artists develop habits which they may not be aware of. It's rather humbling, because I've done it myself. And not too long ago, I watched a concert pianist take a master class and be gently corrected on a number of important, although small, technique matters.

If those of us who are trained can succumb to bad habits, why would you suppose that those who are not trained could magically not develop them?
_________________________
"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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#1218292 - 06/16/09 07:03 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5921
Loc: Down Under
My take on the OP is that he's already decided what he wants to do, and that's to stop lessons, save the money, and self-teach. I don't suppose he was expecting all of the teachers here to say "what a great idea!" - in fact, I kind of wonder why he asked our opinion at all. Be that as it may, it's up to him, and depends what his goals are. We don't know really what his teacher is like, we don't know how well he plays - I've read some of his questions on the Pianists' Corner and wondered why he didn't ask his teacher, but maybe he did, and was just getting extra opinions. I personally would recommend a good teacher, but the bottom line is what do you want to achieve?
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1218314 - 06/16/09 07:40 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: John v.d.Brook]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
No, Steven, just plain observation over decades, which includes watching both students and teachers playing.

That's probably why airline pilots have flight checks (rather critical, I'd say), why other professions have proficiency testing, etc., and why teachers undertake continuing education.

Even concert artists develop habits which they may not be aware of. It's rather humbling, because I've done it myself. And not too long ago, I watched a concert pianist take a master class and be gently corrected on a number of important, although small, technique matters.

If those of us who are trained can succumb to bad habits, why would you suppose that those who are not trained could magically not develop them?

Even though there are aspects of technique that everyone can agree are bad, in many other cases it's not so clear cut. There's no single pedagogical approach to piano, after all, or to the techniques that cumulatively comprise the skill set needed to play well.

Likewise, any given musician's technique can be expected to be idiosyncratic to some degree in the same way that every speaker of a language speaks his or her own idiolect. How many teachers would have presumed to correct Horowitz's flat fingers because, well, it's just "wrong"? How many today would tell Lisitsa to stop all that lost motion in her wrists because it's unnecessary, or would tell Lang Lang just to sit still and stop making faces?

One of the strongest recollections I have of piano lessons in my youth was that each successive teacher sought to undo various things that had become ingrained from the previous one, with the adamant and authoritative certainty that his or her way was the best way instead. One teacher believes in finger action, the next one believes in arm weight, one wants pliable wrists, the next one wants them rigid. There's not even agreement on bench height or placement, and it's easy to suspect there are no objective criteria for any aspect of playing.

Everyone who becomes proficient evolves, to some extent and in an organic way, an individual technique. If one reads well, plays with facility to one's own satisfaction, makes consistent progress toward meeting one's goals and never experiences pain or injury, who exactly gets to decide that there are "bad habits" that need correcting? Would it not be true that at any given master class, the same pianist might be judged to have different technical problems depending on who is giving the class and doing the evaluating?

Like it or not, plenty of self-learners do just fine. I would never try to persuade anyone that they should or should not have a teacher, because I don't believe in doctrinaire, one-size-fits-all answers. Some (if not most) people need teachers, and the lucky ones find good teachers. Others don't need teachers, or don't need a teacher any longer. Surely a bad teacher—and they are "fairly prevalent," after all—can be worse than no teacher.

This discussion has gone far beyond the scope of the OP's concern here. Maybe it should have been obvious that he wasn't going to get a unanimous pat on the back for choosing to learn on his own, but he shouldn't be treated with dogmatic dismissiveness either. Any teacher who seriously thinks that self-learners have a million-to-one chance of getting it right needs to get out more, and it's not necessary to travel far: just go next door to the Adult Beginners Forum.

Does anybody agree with Ed Weiss that a "good teacher's job should be to get you to learn on your own," or is that complete and unimaginable heresy?

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1218324 - 06/16/09 07:48 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
eweiss Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
I agree with it! laugh Now, here's another question. How long must one study until the golden seal of approval is bestowed upon the student?

5 years? 10 or more? There will ALWAYS be room for improvement. And that's a fact. Plus, it really is up to the student. We're not talking about an 8 year old here. This is a mature adult who probably just wants to play for pleasure.

Bottom line ... unless he wants to be a performing classical pianist, he can discover technique on his own.
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#1218336 - 06/16/09 08:33 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: eweiss]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Gary's point is right on. In specific, we know nothing at all about this individual and his playing.

My point, that when in Rome, and you meet an Italian, chances are good he's Roman Catholic, is a generalization which one could place a confident wager. I've met hundreds, if not more, self-taught, or who had limited teacher training, piano players who barely play above an early intermediate level, and have atrocious technique. Is it fair to generalize? Well, if you ask a general question, you'll probably get a general answer.

As several point out, each and every time this topic rears its head, why ask teachers what they think if you don't want to know their answer?

My suspicion is that we're talking orders of magnitude differences in meanings of words such as "technique, just fine, etc."
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#1218359 - 06/16/09 09:04 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: John v.d.Brook]
sotto voce Offline
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Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Belated recognition that we know nothing about the OP did not, unfortunately, preempt dismissive generalizations that continue to be defended, even if the statistical sample has now shrunk from millions to thousands to hundreds.

And if "we're talking orders of magnitude differences in meanings of words such as 'technique, just fine, etc.,'" that applies as much to teachers and teaching skill as to pianists and playing ability.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1218369 - 06/16/09 09:29 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: ClassicalMan]
keystring Online   content
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ClassicMan, if your decision had been that cut and dry, you would not have come to the teacher forum to discuss it. It's also doubtful that you simply wanted a pat of approval or reassurance. Is there a half formed question behind your question, something you are wondering about? I have no idea if what I have just written has any rhyme or reason.

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#1218384 - 06/16/09 09:46 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: ClassicalMan]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13779
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: ClassicalMan
What do you think?


I think you should spend the next 6 weeks learning something on your own; say, a new Chopin waltz or Haydn sonata.

If you're able to manage it on your own and achieve a satisfactory result, then go it on your own.

If you find yourself having trouble and needing help, then stay with the teacher.
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#1218398 - 06/16/09 10:28 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: Kreisler]
ClassicalMan Offline
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Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Ok, since there have been suppositions and guesses concerning my ability, here's a list of what I was unable to do two years ago. Prior to that time, although well versed in theory my playing/reading was limited to church hymns and basic one note melodies. In other words, application of the rudiments of music was quite challenging, a hurdle which I now have overcome. I have played the following pieces, Fur Elise-complete version, Prelude in E minor Op. 28. No. 4 Fredrick Chopin, Waltz in C-sharp minor Op. 64, No. 2 Fredrick Chopin, Fugue 2 in C minor Johann Sebastian Bach Fuga 2, Ave Maria solo piano, and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus (read this and committed to memory), all of which are posted at http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=musickologist&aq=f

I have also learned Mozart's Alla Turca, not posted. My many years of playing has been accompanying vocalists, choirs, and soloists in pop and improvised styles which did not require much reading.
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

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#1218401 - 06/16/09 10:31 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: Kreisler]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Originally Posted By: ClassicalMan
What do you think?


I think you should spend the next 6 weeks learning something on your own; say, a new Chopin waltz or Haydn sonata.

If you're able to manage it on your own and achieve a satisfactory result, then go it on your own.

If you find yourself having trouble and needing help, then stay with the teacher.


Kreisler, this sounds like a good plan 2. It usually takes me aprox. 6-7 weeks to master a difficult piece. The haleleujah piece, although I heard it many times took 5-6 months with the teacher, and about a month to 6 weeks to memorize!
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

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#1218402 - 06/16/09 10:33 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
Gary D. Offline
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4785
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: sotto voce

One of the strongest recollections I have of piano lessons in my youth was that each successive teacher sought to undo various things that had become ingrained from the previous one, with the adamant and authoritative certainty that his or her way was the best way instead.

But Steven, I have to assume that you never had the good luck to study with what I would consider to be a top-notch teacher. I've heard some of your stories, and if you remember, I could swap some with you. But I did have one very fine teacher who was a perfect fit for me, and I never thought I would be so lucky as to find another.

And I openly disagreed with him on numerous ocassions on all sorts of things. A good teacher not only allows that and expects it, he (or she) welcomes being challenged by someone who is truly thinking. This pushes the teacher, challenges him to examine his own ideas.

In my experience there are far more petty tyrants than really good teachers. I expect to be challenged myself for saying so, but it remains my belief. In fact, there is something worse I feel: well-meaning, kind people who truly seek to help but who are so limited by their assumptions that they unintentionally pass on ideas that are not just questionable but just plain wrong.
Quote:

One teacher believes in finger action, the next one believes in arm weight, one wants pliable wrists, the next one wants them rigid. There's not even agreement on bench height or placement, and it's easy to suspect there are no objective criteria for any aspect of playing.

All valid points, but also points that illustrate inflexibility and assumptions. To use just one example, I start people out with forearms more or less level, meaning that people do not sit "high" or "low". But I teach this as more or less a center position, someplace reasonable to start, then immediately mention that fine players vary considerably. As for wrists, it is my belief that more damange is done by telling people how to move their wrists than leaving them alone and allowing them to find what is natural for them. Just a couple hours or so of watching many of the finest players in the world tells anyone who is thinking that there is incredibly variation in the way different people look as they play. The "one size fits all" approach to technique (and most everything else) is something I have opposed as long as I've taught.
Quote:

Everyone who becomes proficient evolves, to some extent and in an organic way, an individual technique. If one reads well, plays with facility to one's own satisfaction, makes consistent progress toward meeting one's goals and never experiences pain or injury, who exactly gets to decide that there are "bad habits" that need correcting?

In fact, I would wager that Horowitz, when playing at his best, would have been "corrected" by many teachers if he walked in to take a lesson, just playing something, IF they did not know who he was. Can't you just see it?

"Vladimir, you seem to have enormous talent. You do many things well. But you sit too quietly. You won't be able to connect with your audience with such a dead-pan expression. And you are just going to have to sit higher, or you will do physical damage to yourself. Most important, you could play SO much better if only you did not play with such straight fingers. I'll be glad to help you with these problems, and if you work really hard to correct your faulty technique, perhaps someday you might even have a career."
Quote:

Would it not be true that at any given master class, the same pianist might be judged to have different technical problems depending on who is giving the class and doing the evaluating?

My answer: yes.
Quote:

Like it or not, plenty of self-learners do just fine.

The only point I have against this is that in the world of "classical pianists", I believe it is nearly impossible to succeed without some kind of thorough grounding. Having said that, we also know that Chopin's way of playing developed more through his own instincts than from any teacher, and Richter is one who is menationed over and over again as "largely self-taught". However, there I suspect "self-taught" is a relative term. I lack specific information there.
Quote:

This discussion has gone far beyond the scope of the OP's concern here. Maybe it should have been obvious that he wasn't going to get a unanimous pat on the back for choosing to learn on his own, but he shouldn't be treated with dogmatic dismissiveness either.

REPEATING: We don't know how he plays, how he reads, what level he is on, or even what kind of music most interests him. We also don't know anything about the teacher he has had for the last year and a half. The wise thing would have been to wish him good luck with his decision. Almost everything else, including what you and I are discussing here, is most likely off topic and are leading nowhere. wink


Edited by Gary D. (06/16/09 10:39 PM)
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#1218421 - 06/16/09 11:21 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: Gary D.]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: sotto voce

One of the strongest recollections I have of piano lessons in my youth was that each successive teacher sought to undo various things that had become ingrained from the previous one, with the adamant and authoritative certainty that his or her way was the best way instead.

But Steven, I have to assume that you never had the good luck to study with what I would consider to be a top-notch teacher. I've heard some of your stories, and if you remember, I could swap some with you. But I did have one very fine teacher who was a perfect fit for me, and I never thought I would be so lucky as to find another.

And I openly disagreed with him on numerous ocassions on all sorts of things. A good teacher not only allows that and expects it, he (or she) welcomes being challenged by someone who is truly thinking. This pushes the teacher, challenges him to examine his own ideas.

In my experience there are far more petty tyrants than really good teachers. I expect to be challenged myself for saying so, but it remains my belief. In fact, there is something worse I feel: well-meaning, kind people who truly seek to help but who are so limited by their assumptions that they unintentionally pass on ideas that are not just questionable but just plain wrong.
Quote:

One teacher believes in finger action, the next one believes in arm weight, one wants pliable wrists, the next one wants them rigid. There's not even agreement on bench height or placement, and it's easy to suspect there are no objective criteria for any aspect of playing.

All valid points, but also points that illustrate inflexibility and assumptions. To use just one example, I start people out with forearms more or less level, meaning that people do not sit "high" or "low". But I teach this as more or less a center position, someplace reasonable to start, then immediately mention that fine players vary considerably. As for wrists, it is my belief that more damange is done by telling people how to move their wrists than leaving them alone and allowing them to find what is natural for them. Just a couple hours or so of watching many of the finest players in the world tells anyone who is thinking that there is incredibly variation in the way different people look as they play. The "one size fits all" approach to technique (and most everything else) is something I have opposed as long as I've taught.
Quote:

Everyone who becomes proficient evolves, to some extent and in an organic way, an individual technique. If one reads well, plays with facility to one's own satisfaction, makes consistent progress toward meeting one's goals and never experiences pain or injury, who exactly gets to decide that there are "bad habits" that need correcting?

In fact, I would wager that Horowitz, when playing at his best, would have been "corrected" by many teachers if he walked in to take a lesson, just playing something, IF they did not know who he was. Can't you just see it?

"Vladimir, you seem to have enormous talent. You do many things well. But you sit too quietly. You won't be able to connect with your audience with such a dead-pan expression. And you are just going to have to sit higher, or you will do physical damage to yourself. Most important, you could play SO much better if only you did not play with such straight fingers. I'll be glad to help you with these problems, and if you work really hard to correct your faulty technique, perhaps someday you might even have a career."
Quote:

Would it not be true that at any given master class, the same pianist might be judged to have different technical problems depending on who is giving the class and doing the evaluating?

My answer: yes.
Quote:

Like it or not, plenty of self-learners do just fine.

The only point I have against this is that in the world of "classical pianists", I believe it is nearly impossible to succeed without some kind of thorough grounding. Having said that, we also know that Chopin's way of playing developed more through his own instincts than from any teacher, and Richter is one who is menationed over and over again as "largely self-taught". However, there I suspect "self-taught" is a relative term. I lack specific information there.
Quote:

This discussion has gone far beyond the scope of the OP's concern here. Maybe it should have been obvious that he wasn't going to get a unanimous pat on the back for choosing to learn on his own, but he shouldn't be treated with dogmatic dismissiveness either.

REPEATING: We don't know how he plays, how he reads, what level he is on, or even what kind of music most interests him. We also don't know anything about the teacher he has had for the last year and a half. The wise thing would have been to wish him good luck with his decision. Almost everything else, including what you and I are discussing here, is most likely off topic and are leading nowhere. wink


GaryD, I repost:


Ok, since there have been suppositions and guesses concerning my ability, here's a list of what I was unable to do two years ago. Prior to that time, although well versed in theory my playing/reading was limited to church hymns and basic one note melodies. In other words, application of the rudiments of music was quite challenging, a hurdle which I now have overcome. I have played the following pieces, Fur Elise-complete version, Prelude in E minor Op. 28. No. 4 Fredrick Chopin, Waltz in C-sharp minor Op. 64, No. 2 Fredrick Chopin, Fugue 2 in C minor Johann Sebastian Bach Fuga 2, Ave Maria solo piano, and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus (read this and committed to memory), all of which are posted at http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=musickologist&aq=f

I have also learned Mozart's Alla Turca, not posted. My many years of playing has been accompanying vocalists, choirs, and soloists in pop and improvised styles which did not require much reading.
_________________________
Vast untapped resources lie within.
Pieces currently learning: Nocturne Op.9 No.2, Maple Leaf Rag!
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

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#1218434 - 06/17/09 12:02 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: Morodiene]
Judy M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/13/09
Posts: 5
Loc: CT, USA
>>We cannot learn everything we need to know from one person. It sounds as though it might be a good time to take a little break with this teacher, but keep your eyes out for another one.<<

On my flute email list, this is quite often recommended. You take away different ideas from different teachers, and then you get to sort out what works best for you. Auditing a masterclass is also a great way to pick up new knowledge and ideas to try. Learning is an ever-evolving process, and sometime you need to shake things up a bit.

I'm taking several one hour flute lessons this summer. I found my instructor by emailing the flute studio at a nearby conservatory (Hartt in Hartford). If you are looking for a few calibration or test-the-waters lessons, this would probably be your best bet--you'll have a better chance of getting someone who is currently studying the pedagogy of teaching piano and who has experience teaching more advanced students who are adults.

--Judy

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#1218442 - 06/17/09 12:33 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: sotto voce

Given that lazy or incompetent teachers are admittedly "fairly prevalent," I wonder what the odds are that students who've had years of instruction from such teachers will also have "technique problems of major magnitude."
Steven


Steven, the odds are great.

As a teacher who was taught by a technique-focused teacher, (thank God!) I can say that every student I have had who was a transfer student has had atrocious technique.

I am not talking about differences of opinion of what is good technique...I am talking about people who have major tension problems in their hands, play stiffly, have "flying fingers" that are out of control, etc; People whose "technique" is the single and most significant limiting factor in their playing.

To prove that, I ask them "what is the single factor that propelled you to seek out a teacher". The answer is always the same: Their playing is hobbled, and they know it, but do not know why it is hobbled, nor do they know how to correct it.

Simply put, they did not come to learn repertoire, or music history, or how to read music, they came to learn how to play well.

Therefore, if lazy or incompetent teachers are prevalent, (and I think they very much are), my observation is that those teachers, for whatever reason, simply do not teach technique at all. Most likely they do not know how.

Think about it...aren't "Lazy" and "Incompetent" definitions of a teacher who is not teaching what is necessary to play well? I think they most certainly are.

For example, I have NEVER had a transfer student who was taught technique, ever heard the word "technique" spoken, nor ever heard of Hanon, Pischna, etc.


Edited by rocket88 (06/17/09 12:45 AM)
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#1218458 - 06/17/09 01:47 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: rocket88]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...

Great technique. Look Ma, no fingers! For someone who tends to have the sound turned off, it's kinda weird.
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#1218459 - 06/17/09 01:58 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: rocket88]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5459
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: rocket88
For example, I have NEVER had a transfer student who was taught technique, ever heard the word "technique" spoken, nor ever heard of Hanon, Pischna, etc.


Wow, that's unfortunate frown

I've had transfer students whose technique was quite solid, but they are not playing the way I want them to play, so I had to spend some time to help them "un-learn" some of their habits--which might not be bad habits according to their previous teacher. Different teachers teach different techniques.
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#1218516 - 06/17/09 07:00 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz

Great technique. Look Ma, no fingers! For someone who tends to have the sound turned off, it's kinda weird.


This was before I was brave enough to show my fingers or owned a tripod. I merely played the piece into the electric digital piano. Look at the haleleujah piece for my fingers.
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

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#1218518 - 06/17/09 07:04 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: AZNpiano]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: rocket88
For example, I have NEVER had a transfer student who was taught technique, ever heard the word "technique" spoken, nor ever heard of Hanon, Pischna, etc.


Wow, that's unfortunate frown

I've had transfer students whose technique was quite solid, but they are not playing the way I want them to play, so I had to spend some time to help them "un-learn" some of their habits--which might not be bad habits according to their previous teacher. Different teachers teach different techniques.


I wasn't after technique. My goal was learning how to handle new pieces! Actually, I haven't had the same teacher for a year and a half. I've actually been through 3 teachers. The first one couldn't take me any further. I just kinda believe I can develop my own techniqe and take it from here. One teacher told me play with my fingers curved like a ball. Another said, it doesn't matter how you hold your fingers as long as the piece sounds perfect. Like AZpiano states, "different teachers teach different techniques".
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

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#1218554 - 06/17/09 09:23 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: Judy M]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11764
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Judy M
>>We cannot learn everything we need to know from one person. It sounds as though it might be a good time to take a little break with this teacher, but keep your eyes out for another one.<<

On my flute email list, this is quite often recommended. You take away different ideas from different teachers, and then you get to sort out what works best for you. Auditing a masterclass is also a great way to pick up new knowledge and ideas to try. Learning is an ever-evolving process, and sometime you need to shake things up a bit.

I'm taking several one hour flute lessons this summer. I found my instructor by emailing the flute studio at a nearby conservatory (Hartt in Hartford). If you are looking for a few calibration or test-the-waters lessons, this would probably be your best bet--you'll have a better chance of getting someone who is currently studying the pedagogy of teaching piano and who has experience teaching more advanced students who are adults.

--Judy


Hartford CT! My old stomping grounds smile. I grew up in West Hartford, but my parents refused to let me go to Hartt or even apply there because they wanted me to go to college somewhere a bit further away from home. Definitely going to a conservatory or university is the most likely place to find a teacher at the advanced levels.
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#1218576 - 06/17/09 10:04 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: Morodiene]
Judy M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/13/09
Posts: 5
Loc: CT, USA
>>I grew up in West Hartford, but my parents refused to let me go to Hartt or even apply there because they wanted me to go to college somewhere a bit further away from home.<<


I grew up in State College, PA, and people always say "Why didn't you go to Penn State?" Um, because my PARENTS lived 5 minutes away? smile


Judy

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#1218593 - 06/17/09 10:57 AM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz

Great technique. Look Ma, no fingers! For someone who tends to have the sound turned off, it's kinda weird.


Yes, but people ussually listen to the music with speakers turned on.

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#1218625 - 06/17/09 12:02 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: ClassicalMan]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: ClassicalMan
Another said, it doesn't matter how you hold your fingers as long as the piece sounds perfect. Like AZpiano states, "different teachers teach different techniques".
Er, that's not technique that's ineptitude.
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#1218626 - 06/17/09 12:04 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: GreenRain]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: GreenRain
Yes, but people ussually listen to the music with speakers turned on.
Aha! But I watch.
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#1218631 - 06/17/09 12:08 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...

Jeez, you are shy! Do you think next time we'll get your wrists?
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1218634 - 06/17/09 12:10 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: ClassicalMan]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Classical man:
Quote:
I wasn't after technique. My goal was learning how to handle new pieces!


To me, that sounds like "I am not interested in learning how to run. My goal is learning how to run!"

For most people, their lack of workable technique is the single major obstacle to playing well. Insofar as learning new pieces, (here I assume harder pieces than what you already play), that certainly holds true.

Quote:
I just kinda believe I can develop my own techniqe and take it from here.


Unless you are a prodigy who instinctively follows the right direction for you vis-a-vis technique, developing the right technique on your own would be rare.

Quote:
One teacher told me play with my fingers curved like a ball. Another said, it doesn't matter how you hold your fingers as long as the piece sounds perfect. Like AZpiano states, "different teachers teach different techniques".


Just because a a "teacher" teaches something does not mean it is correct, nor that it is the best approach for you. The fact that you were taught very different approaches (or none at all) by those teachers illustrates that technique is a poorly taught, or ignored, topic. Which is what I said in my post about my transfer students, who universally lack technique.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1218638 - 06/17/09 12:16 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: rocket88]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3190
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: rocket88

Just because a a "teacher" teaches something does not mean it is correct, nor that it is the best approach for you. The fact that you were taught very different approaches (or none at all) by those teachers illustrates that technique is a poorly taught, or ignored, topic. Which is what I said in my post about my transfer students, who universally lack technique.


Hmmm.

Assuming you're correct, is a bad teacher any better than no teacher?

and if bad teachers are in the majority, which would seem to be the case if none of your transfers have had good teaching, is there any hope?

Case 1, no teacher, most learn bad technique.
Case 2, bad teacher, most learn bad technique.
Case 3, rare good teacher, x percentage learn good technique. X is somewhere between 0 and 100.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1218641 - 06/17/09 12:22 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: TimR]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Mine's better than your's...no, mine is only better because you think so or I think so?...go figure
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

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#1218642 - 06/17/09 12:23 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz

Jeez, you are shy! Do you think next time we'll get your wrists?


Klutz, why the tangents. Address the original issue without all of the hooplaa!


Edited by ClassicalMan (06/17/09 12:24 PM)
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

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#1218644 - 06/17/09 12:27 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: TimR]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: TimR

Case 1, no teacher, most learn bad technique.
Case 2, bad teacher, most learn bad technique.
Case 3, rare good teacher, x percentage learn good technique. X is somewhere between 0 and 100.
The idea is to keep looking. You know when you've found a good'n - you'll never want to leave.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1218658 - 06/17/09 01:06 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: keyboardklutz]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: TimR

Case 1, no teacher, most learn bad technique.
Case 2, bad teacher, most learn bad technique.
Case 3, rare good teacher, x percentage learn good technique. X is somewhere between 0 and 100.
The idea is to keep looking. You know when you've found a good'n - you'll never want to leave.

Unfortunately, the problem is that you won't know when you've got a bad'un.

Is "never want[ing] to leave" a good thing for the student? So far in this thread, only Ed Weiss has challenged that idea (though the benefit of changing teachers has been mentioned); coincidentally, in an unrelated discussion in the Pianist Corner another member said:

Originally Posted By: Palindrome
Your goal as a student is to acquire, eventually, the ability to work up a performance from the score on your own.

I'm very interested in knowing how much support there is for the view that the purpose of instruction should be ultimately to advance on one's own.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1218665 - 06/17/09 01:31 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
No man is an island.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1218672 - 06/17/09 01:38 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Sotto Voce:

Quote:
I'm very interested in knowing how much support there is for the view that the purpose of instruction should be ultimately to advance on one's own.


Steven, I completely support the view that the purpose of instruction is ultimately to advance on one's own.

I constantly tell my students that they should think like they are the teacher, and from that perspective observe how they play, notice what needs improvement, and think about how to fix it, using their previous lessons as an example.

I tell them that I am with them for a few minutes a week, and at some point will leave their lives permanently, so they should learn to do what I do when teaching them, i.e. notice tension, mistakes, phrasing, etc, and fix them. For theory, they can always increase their learning from books, classes, etc.

If they have that approach to their practicing, they can perhaps advance to the place where they can learn on their own.

There are at least 2 caveats to that:

First, I have had some students who appear rather clueless regarding music, and thus have never, to my knowledge, exhibited the ability to lead themselves anywhere musically. They simply do not know where to go or how to get there. It is all so foreign and new to them.

(I am the same way with math...I could never advance with math to the point where I could explore greater and greater mathematical concepts on my own.)

Second, The student should have a solid foundation to begin with of (gasp!) technique, reading, ear training, etc. How can they build a good structure upon a poor foundation?

So yes, that is the point...to teach them how to play the piano, with enough knowledge and experience so that at some point they are able to continue to grow on their own, or at least not fall backwards in their playing.

Having said that, there should always be room in one's thinking for input from other, more wiser and more experienced people, be they "teachers" or not. Is that not why very accomplished pianists pay big $$$ to attend master classes?

ps... the reason for not wanting a teacher should never be a bad experience with a teacher, or reading about someone else's bad experience, etc. Not wanting a teacher should mean you no longer need one on a steady basis because you now can actually play the piano!



Edited by rocket88 (06/17/09 01:53 PM)
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1218687 - 06/17/09 02:00 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5459
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
I'm very interested in knowing how much support there is for the view that the purpose of instruction should be ultimately to advance on one's own.


Steven--

That's the view of public education in general. You wouldn't want people to go to school for the rest of their lives after the age of 18. The goal of education is to make each individual student proficient enough in many skills to survive in the real world.

But I think piano is different. Even though I am teaching piano now, I know there are limits to my teaching abilities. In the most ideal world, I would continue to take piano lessons and keep expanding my piano skills. I don't think there can be an end to piano learning.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1218710 - 06/17/09 02:37 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: AZNpiano]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
In the most ideal world, I would continue to take piano lessons and keep expanding my piano skills. I don't think there can be an end to piano learning.


Exactly... I too would love to keep on studying with a teacher(s).

However, I think the intent of Sotto Voce's post was that people could progress in a good way alone after a solid foundation was laid by a competent teacher.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1218711 - 06/17/09 02:38 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: sotto voce]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: TimR

Case 1, no teacher, most learn bad technique.
Case 2, bad teacher, most learn bad technique.
Case 3, rare good teacher, x percentage learn good technique. X is somewhere between 0 and 100.
The idea is to keep looking. You know when you've found a good'n - you'll never want to leave.

Unfortunately, the problem is that you won't know when you've got a bad'un.

Is "never want[ing] to leave" a good thing for the student? So far in this thread, only Ed Weiss has challenged that idea (though the benefit of changing teachers has been mentioned); coincidentally, in an unrelated discussion in the Pianist Corner another member said:

Originally Posted By: Palindrome
Your goal as a student is to acquire, eventually, the ability to work up a performance from the score on your own.

I'm very interested in knowing how much support there is for the view that the purpose of instruction should be ultimately to advance on one's own.

Steven


I tell my students "you will always be your own best teacher". This remark always gets my students' eyebrows to raise. I tell them I am here to guide them and be their coach; to explain and demonstrate technique and introduce them to the world of piano music. Ultimately, they must be accountable for their progress.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1218764 - 06/17/09 04:11 PM Re: End piano lessons! [Re: Barb860]
ClassicalMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 165
Loc: USA
Now we're exiting the never-ending circle:)
_________________________
The thought of eternal efflorescence of music is a comforting one, and comes like a messenger of peace in the midst of universal disturbance--Roman Rolland, Musicians of Former Days

Vast untapped resources lie within.

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