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!