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#1242417 - 08/03/09 06:08 AM Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists
NocturneLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Dantooine
Hi,

This is my first post in this forum. I am a student who's taken lessons as a kid all the way to high school, and I see this forum is all for piano teachers. I'm just getting back into piano and have a question.

My question is: Wouldn't most or every piano teacher be at the level of concert pianists if they really know their stuff? I mean piano teachers should have a strong grounding in music theory, technique, and strong sight reading skills, so why not?

The world considers a pianist a professional if his/her's main stream of income is from piano lessons or concerts so I guess most people put piano teachers and concert performers on the same level.

But one more question, if a decent piano teacher was given lets say, $50,000 to perform the Rach 3 concerto or any other tough piece 2 yrs from now, would most piano teachers be able to pull this off?

Thanks.


Edited by Thomas Lau (08/03/09 06:10 AM)
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#1242423 - 08/03/09 06:24 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
They should be able to. Being a concert performer though can be a lot of drudgery - teaching is more fun.
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#1242429 - 08/03/09 06:49 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
Hi,

This is my first post in this forum. I am a student who's taken lessons as a kid all the way to high school, and I see this forum is all for piano teachers. I'm just getting back into piano and have a question.

My question is: Wouldn't most or every piano teacher be at the level of concert pianists if they really know their stuff? I mean piano teachers should have a strong grounding in music theory, technique, and strong sight reading skills, so why not?

The world considers a pianist a professional if his/her's main stream of income is from piano lessons or concerts so I guess most people put piano teachers and concert performers on the same level.

But one more question, if a decent piano teacher was given lets say, $50,000 to perform the Rach 3 concerto or any other tough piece 2 yrs from now, would most piano teachers be able to pull this off?

Thanks.


There are many levels of "piano teacher," just as there are many levels of "concert performer."

Ask your $50K question about "any decent" concert performer. Some would, some wouldn't, and some wouldn't want to. Same as teachers, most likely.

Also, taking the $50K question seriously, a teacher - or performer - might think "how much time would I have to practice just that one piece for that performance?". Let's say 3 hours a day for two years - just to throw out a number. That's 3 hours every day that they would otherwise use teaching. Subtract the income potential of those 3 daily hours teaching from the original $50K, and what are you left with?

Is 3 hours a lot? ok, let's say 2 hours. A teacher who's tuition is - say - $50/hour, and who teaches 5 days a week, and 48 weeks a year wink . If they have a full studio (as many "decent" teachers do), they would have to drop two students per day to open up that time. That's $100/per day in lost income, $500/week, $2000/month, $24,000/year. After two years, that's $48K, and your kind offer is really $2000 in added income. BUT WAIT!!, that's all before taxes. Sorry, get out your checkbook again.


Edited by Phlebas (08/03/09 10:28 AM)

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#1242433 - 08/03/09 07:06 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Phlebas]
lotuscrystal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/08
Posts: 304
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I'm a concert pianist, and a piano teacher...and $50K would be a fantastic amount to receive for the performance of one piece. Thank you!...and 2 yrs to prepare for it?!...You're too generous smile

In Australia, no classical instrumental performer makes that to perform one piece, or even a concert from what I believe...Unless of course, you're a travelling international over sensationalised and marketed, money making gimmick like Andre Rieu...where you remember to bring the fireworks, theatrical men in ape suits, and you get the audience dancing in that way that no one can really ascertain as to whether they're doing the Macarena or the Chicken Dance, to the music of Strauss. In that case you're money's made...50K and over...Isn't my thing, but long live the gimmick to those who do so.. lol

I think you'll find a mixed bag of opinions as to your initial piano teacher/performer query here...Many great teachers come from a diverse world of backgrounds and experiences, and there are some amazing teachers here on the forum smile


Edited by lotuscrystal (08/03/09 07:31 AM)

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#1242447 - 08/03/09 08:13 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Phlebas]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Phlebas
[...] Also, taking the $50K question seriously, a teacher - or performer - might think "how much time would I have to practice just that one piece for that performance?". Let's say 3 hours a day for two years - just to throw out a number. That's 3 hours every day that they would otherwise use teaching. Subtract the income potential of those 3 daily hours teaching from the original $50K, and what are you left with?

This assumes that all available hours in a teacher's day are (or would be) used for teaching and thus have "income potential." Most people's schedules allot time for activities besides their jobs; for musicians, that likely includes playing and practicing.

If a piano teacher devotes personal time to piano anyway, I think that working up a hypothetical concert piece could be done then or during time otherwise spent on leisure activities. It doesn't have to take away from teaching time.

Steven
_________________________

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Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
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#1242451 - 08/03/09 08:28 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: lotuscrystal]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Phlebas has the right economic process in mind. You must consider lost opportunity as real cost. But it's a restricted example. It applies to the sort of person whose training isn't quite up to snuff and who would have to labor long and hard to to get it there. But even for this sort of person you have to add in risk. What if after a year they realize the piece is beyond them and their abilities ultimately are limited. Whoops.

This brings us to the meat of the issue. For most 'concert pianists' -- and that is a somewhat ambiguous term -- they have already made a huge investment of time in developing the kind of technique and repertoire that allows them to have a shot at earning an income from performance (in addition to or in place of teaching). For them, that cost is sunk. They don't need two years to bring a piece into their repertoire. That's what all that bloody training from age three onward was all about. And most of that training occurred in childhood, when they were giving up hours of play time for hours of playing time.

This sort of person already knows they can do it, and the opportunity cost of their time is thus much lower because the number of hours to accomplish the task is low (unless of course they are already a major star whose time cost is in the stratosphere). For most 'run of the mill' pianists the payoff to a gig is low. There are lots of people competing for those gigs and there is a dwindling audience for them.

In this sense, asking whether any random teacher is a concert-pianist-in-waiting is somewhat odd. If it takes you two years to hone a major piece (Rach 3 is our current example) then you didn't pay the investment cost to earn your stripes as a young person. You are not a concert pianist. And it would be an odd case to see someone pay the real cost in lost income to go back at a later age to acquire the necessary tool kit to perform at that level on a consistent basis.
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#1242454 - 08/03/09 08:34 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Piano*Dad]
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: Piano*Dad
This brings us to the meat of the issue. For most 'concert pianists' -- and that is a somewhat ambiguous term -- they have already made a huge investment of time in developing the kind of technique and repertoire that allows them to have a shot at earning an income from performance (in addition to or in place of teaching). For them, that cost is sunk. They don't need two years to bring a piece into their repertoire. That's what all that bloody training from age three onward was all about. And most of that training occurred in childhood, when they were giving up hours of play time for hours of playing time.
I wouldn't be so sure. It can take many performances before something 'settles' into your repertoire.
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#1242457 - 08/03/09 08:41 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: keyboardklutz]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
I can't say I understand your point. I'm trying to distinguish between someone whose performance skills are already finely honed and someone who would need years to bring them to a spit-and-polish level. Indeed, even a concert pianist may need a few performances of a piece to bring out what they truly want to say through that music, but that hardly makes them no different than a neighborhood piano teacher who has never ascended a concert stage.
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#1242464 - 08/03/09 08:57 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Piano*Dad]
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
Teachers should be at a high enough level where they can advise and guide their students through what they're teaching. For a lot of us on the piano teachers' forum, that means at the minimum a bachelor's degree in music, preferably in piano. The key is, however, expertise in what they're teaching. If a teacher only teaches beginners, her level doesn't necessarily need to be as high as someone who is an all-rounder. We hope that a teacher of beginners would have excellent skills and be able to play "concert-level" pieces well, but that isn't always the case.

Being a concert pianist isn't the be all, end all of a lifetime spent studying piano. If you asked me if I could do Rach 3 for 50k in 2 years, I'd say yes. Give me six months, even. Would I want to do it? No. Performing is not something I enjoy, it's not something I want to use my skills for, despite the fact that I have a lot of performing experience. I approach it thusly: if I need to perform, I will. If a performance of mine has a certain goal or outcome, I'll do it. I'm sure a lot of other teachers here share my feelings. Every now and then a performance opportunity will end up being very fun. For example, I'm looking forward to when I get to play the Konzertstuck for my fellow students and professors. Most of the time, though, I don't want to play for others. My time is better spent doing other things.
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#1242475 - 08/03/09 09:20 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: sotto voce]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: Phlebas
[...] Also, taking the $50K question seriously, a teacher - or performer - might think "how much time would I have to practice just that one piece for that performance?". Let's say 3 hours a day for two years - just to throw out a number. That's 3 hours every day that they would otherwise use teaching. Subtract the income potential of those 3 daily hours teaching from the original $50K, and what are you left with?

This assumes that all available hours in a teacher's day are (or would be) used for teaching and thus have "income potential." Most people's schedules allot time for activities besides their jobs; for musicians, that likely includes playing and practicing.

If a piano teacher devotes personal time to piano anyway, I think that working up a hypothetical concert piece could be done then or during time otherwise spent on leisure activities. It doesn't have to take away from teaching time.

Steven


There were a lot of assumptions in what I posted - said teacher charging $50.00 per hour, needing 2 hours per day x 2 years to bring the piece up to performance level, etc. It's just another way of looking at it.

As PD said, there are other variable, risks, and assumptions you can make as well.

From a real life example: a couple years ago my daughter's piano teacher was engaged to play Beethoven 4 with an orchestra. She did not know the piece at all, but had a year to learn it.

I'm not sure how much she practiced it every day, but she did decline a couple students as a result of the extra practice she needed - this is on top of her regular practice, and other performances she had scheduled.

She has a masters from Juilliard, and was one of three students accepted to study with an absolute top flight pianist, whose name you would all recognize (the point being, she certainly can be described as an accomplished pianist, as well as a teacher).

At the time, she charged $90.00 per lesson. It is absolutely certain - because she told me - that she had declined taking on at least two students. She also hired a couple performance venues to perform the piece prior to the actual concert. I'm sure she didn't get $50K for the performance, but it was a great opportunity none the less.

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#1242482 - 08/03/09 09:28 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Phlebas]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
...and she had a masters degree from Juilliard. Indeed something like that could be a wonderful opportunity, and one worth paying for just for the sheer joy of it.

Most piano teachers don't have a masters degree from a major conservatory.
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#1242488 - 08/03/09 09:55 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Piano*Dad]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Most piano teachers don't have a masters degree from a major conservatory.
And could they get one?
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#1242490 - 08/03/09 10:01 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
Hi,

This is my first post in this forum. I am a student who's taken lessons as a kid all the way to high school, and I see this forum is all for piano teachers. I'm just getting back into piano and have a question.

My question is: Wouldn't most or every piano teacher be at the level of concert pianists if they really know their stuff? I mean piano teachers should have a strong grounding in music theory, technique, and strong sight reading skills, so why not?

The world considers a pianist a professional if his/her's main stream of income is from piano lessons or concerts so I guess most people put piano teachers and concert performers on the same level.

But one more question, if a decent piano teacher was given lets say, $50,000 to perform the Rach 3 concerto or any other tough piece 2 yrs from now, would most piano teachers be able to pull this off?

Thanks.


Thomas, interesting questions. I'm glad you asked. Have you asked your other school teachers these questions vis a vis their profession? If they were paid $50,000, could your chemistry teacher come up with an award winning new chemical process, say, or your math teacher a break through in some long standing math puzzle? Or your foreign language teacher a best selling novel in the language they teach? How about your school's band or orchestra or choir director?

If you haven't, I'm curious why you are asking us these questions. Do you believe that your neighborhood piano teacher should be held to a higher standard than your neighborhood classroom teacher? Why?

As a side issue, are you aware that your school teachers are receiving double what most of us receive, especially after benefits, such as retirement, medical, vacation time, etc., are factored in?
_________________________
"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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#1242521 - 08/03/09 10:55 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: John v.d.Brook]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
If you haven't, I'm curious why you are asking us these questions. Do you believe that your neighborhood piano teacher should be held to a higher standard than your neighborhood classroom teacher? Why?


I think this hits the nail right on the head. There are piano teachers out there who are concert pianists, and then there are "piano teachers" who are 17 year olds "who play well and have been doing it forever". Same holds true in almost any other profession you can think of. I would strongly disagree with Thomas' contention that many folks put piano teachers and concert performers at the same level any more so than those that would assume that Bill Bilichick could start at tight end in the NFL.

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#1242547 - 08/03/09 11:35 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: bitWrangler]
NocturneLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Dantooine
Haha Phlebas, I like how you consider the financial tradeoffs and factored in time spent practicing as well as money lost by dropping students. But have you factored maybe the fame or attention your skills could garner and the fact that you could probably charge your students a little more if you were famous. But I guess those are just hypotheticals... but $50,000, I don't want to be rude but isn't this two years worth of fees for your average piano teacher?

For John Brook, I've read your former posts in the thread "Serious Piano Teacher" and respect your piano teaching philosophy and further you sound like and look like my example of a professional/potential-to-become-performer, although you might be a tad bit old for stamina purposes, not memory or technique... no disrespect. However, I must admit that I was wrong on the fact that I wasn't considering the 17-yr old cheapo faux piano teacher, but the respectable levels that all of you teachers in the forum probably are.

Well, the prototype music teacher I really had in mind for the $50,000 challenge was one who has:

A)about 6-7 years teaching piano
B)graduated with a music degree. (anywhere is fine)
C)has experience performing in concerts/recitals

But what I am getting is that the men/women with these qualifications or even a tad bit under have the ability to do the Rach 3 concerto in two years. So for most of the teachers here, it seems it is not a matter of if, but a matter of is it worth it and do I have the time.
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"...music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." -Ludwig van Beethoven

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#1242555 - 08/03/09 11:48 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Minaku]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: Minaku
If a teacher only teaches beginners, her level doesn't necessarily need to be as high as someone who is an all-rounder.


This is a very good point. It's important to consider that teaching itself is a completely different skill than performance. There are likely many amazing performers who have no clue how to teach someone how to do what they do and don't have the patience for it. There are many people who can teach well but have never reached that "highest" level performance wise. For beginners someone who is better at teaching than performing at a concert level may be more desireable.
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#1242563 - 08/03/09 12:00 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
$50,000, I don't want to be rude but isn't this two years worth of fees for your average piano teacher?


That doesn't seem realistic, but I will let the actual teachers respond.

If you took a teacher who has a studio of about 20 students, and who teaches 48 weeks per year, that would meen they are charging about $25.00 an hour for lessons.

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#1242603 - 08/03/09 01:00 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Phlebas]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
That's probably on the high side for the "average" piano teacher.
_________________________
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#1242610 - 08/03/09 01:08 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: John v.d.Brook]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Probably not, although most have likely done their share of performing. Teaching is its own separate and unique skill, which very, very few people seem to realize, sadly. I doubt most teachers in piano have an education degree either, but that might be the more important thing, so they could mingle musical knowledge and pedagogy, and handle diverse types of students better. To be able to pound out Haydn is one thing, to deal with a hyper six year old with musical ability and not screw it up is an entirely separate universe of skill.


Edited by J Cortese (08/03/09 01:08 PM)
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#1242635 - 08/03/09 01:37 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: J Cortese]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
My guess is that the vast majority of piano teachers have no qualifications and very little skill in performing or teaching. The reason for this is that you don't need them in order to set yourself up. Imagine someone looking for part time work who plays a bit, perhaps to an intermediate standard. They could get a job in the local supermarket on minimum wage or they could advertise for a few piano students who will come to their house and pay $40 per hour. Tough choice huh????

Back to the original question. Even good, qualified piano teachers might not have the ability or desire to be a concert pianist. Performing at that level requires many, many hours of practice. I wouldn't have the time or the inclination and to be honest I prefer teaching, not to mention the regular income it provides.

$50000 to perform Rach 3? Unless you are a big name it's unlikely you would get paid anything at all.
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#1242639 - 08/03/09 01:41 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Phlebas]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I find it odd that a dollar amount was attached to this. If a piano teacher could play Rach 3 for $50,000, then they could play it for $0.05. Money can't buy technique; either you can handle Rach 3 or you can't.

That being said, I seriously doubt most piano teachers could handle Rach 3, and an awful lot of them would have trouble with a Chopin Sonata. I know a teacher who has had several students win national competitions, and he himself would not be able to play a major concerto with orchestra. (Although his students can, and have.)

On another note, there are a lot of teachers who get passed over *because* of their performing abilities. Some parents worry that a performing artist-level teacher might be demanding, strict, or pushy. I think I fall into this category - most of my students study with me because they appreciate that I perform regularly and know how to keep my own skills up, but I've also lost students to people who find my rates and expectations too high. (This often happens before I have a chance to tell them what my rates and expectations are - they just assume...)
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#1242694 - 08/03/09 03:16 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Kreisler]
frida11 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/08
Posts: 227
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Leaving aside an economic view, if my town is typical, very few piano teachers are capable of performing at all.

We have 2 teachers who do almost all the performance work, for local symphony, accompanying students on other instruments for competitions, etc. They often complain that none of the other teachers will help out with this.

One of the teachers who does the performing doesn't even have a bachelor degree, much less higher training, and I suspect many piano teachers in our town have not done anything like a piano performance degree, or any higher degree in music.

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#1242756 - 08/03/09 04:47 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1074
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
Hi,

This is my first post in this forum. I am a student who's taken lessons as a kid all the way to high school, and I see this forum is all for piano teachers. I'm just getting back into piano and have a question.

My question is: Wouldn't most or every piano teacher be at the level of concert pianists if they really know their stuff? I mean piano teachers should have a strong grounding in music theory, technique, and strong sight reading skills, so why not?

The world considers a pianist a professional if his/her's main stream of income is from piano lessons or concerts so I guess most people put piano teachers and concert performers on the same level.

But one more question, if a decent piano teacher was given lets say, $50,000 to perform the Rach 3 concerto or any other tough piece 2 yrs from now, would most piano teachers be able to pull this off?

Thanks.


I have gone through a few piano teachers. One was a concert pianist, and I learned from him in 2 months to play 2 pieces I had struggled with for months to over a year. He gave me no scales, used no method books...he gave me some arpeggio exercises to facilitate a trick part of a Chopin waltz, and a set of finger strenthening exercises. Otherwise, it was working on fingerings, correct note errors, and just getting the pieces right.

At one of our piano classes. there was a student who taught piano and who had difficulty playing a early intermediate piece. She just really couldn't play well.

The other teachers could all play well enough to work at churches, accompany, do chamber work...but not concerts. I didn't care for them.

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#1242783 - 08/03/09 05:16 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Kreisler]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I find it odd that a dollar amount was attached to this. If a piano teacher could play Rach 3 for $50,000, then they could play it for $0.05. Money can't buy technique; either you can handle Rach 3 or you can't.



I think the idea was providing incentive.

Your post was interesting - especially about parents/students assuming you're strict, and too expensive.

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#1242809 - 08/03/09 06:07 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Nikalette]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Nikalette
I have gone through a few piano teachers. One was a concert pianist, and I learned from him in 2 months to play 2 pieces I had struggled with for months to over a year. He gave me no scales, used no method books...he gave me some arpeggio exercises to facilitate a trick part of a Chopin waltz, and a set of finger strenthening exercises. Otherwise, it was working on fingerings, correct note errors, and just getting the pieces right.


Are we to assume that, a few months ago, you as a complete beginner started on a Chopin waltz and mastered it? What an amazing teacher!

Or, had you taken lessons a number of years, either as a child, then continued as an adult after an hiatus, or for several years as an adult beginner?

I guess I really don't understand your point. Are you expecting your neighborhood piano teacher to be a concert level performer who just happened to give up a stage career, turning their back on fame and fortune, so they could teaching beginning piano to elementary school children?

Being able to play competently at church, in ensembles, accompany, etc., is quite an accomplishment in itself, and shows substantial mastery of the instrument.
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#1242846 - 08/03/09 07:11 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Nikalette]
Barb860 Offline
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Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1644
Loc: northern California
from Nikalette:
The other teachers could all play well enough to work at churches, accompany, do chamber work...but not concerts. I didn't care for them. [/quote]

This quote could get a few of us teachers worked up in this forum.
Many fine pianists and piano teachers play at churches, etc.
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#1242884 - 08/03/09 08:17 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Barb860]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5836
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Barb860
Originally Posted By: Nikalette

The other teachers could all play well enough to work at churches, accompany, do chamber work...but not concerts. I didn't care for them.
This quote could get a few of us teachers worked up in this forum.
Many fine pianists and piano teachers play at churches, etc.
They also "accompany and do chamber work" at concerts. The two aren't mutually exclusive.
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#1242889 - 08/03/09 08:22 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Barb860]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
It's always difficult to gauge church jobs. Some are pretty easy - play the same old hymns, keyboard style, week after week, with an occasional bit of "special music." If all you do is play out of the Methodist keyboard binder (those of you who do will know which one I'm talking about!), then it's really not a huge challenge.

But I've also had church jobs that were pretty challenging, including things like:

1) Accompanying a children's choir, which often included accompanying by sight from lead sheets, transposing at a moment's notice, or creating arrangements to fit the group's voices.

2) Accompanying a paid adult choir that frequently did choral masterworks by Bach, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Handel; even Messaien and Britten. I once had to accompany much of Haydn's "Creation" on 5 days notice. Also, there are a few anthems out there that can be pretty thorny, and I've never had more than 2 or 3 weeks notice in most situations.) Accompanying a choir like this can also involve open score reading; I had to read the parts of a Bach cantata once. Ouch!

3) Fill in as substitute organist; something that could bring a lot of concert pianists to tears.

4) Do P&W work, which often involved hand-written lyrics on a blank piece of paper with a few chords written above the notes. (The exact form of the song, along with several chord changes and requests for intro/fills, being decided at the Saturday evening rehearsal.)

Believe it or not, there are a lot of places where it's easier to find a pianist who can play the 4th Chopin Ballade than a pianist who can handle all of those different situations.
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#1242904 - 08/03/09 08:42 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Kreisler]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
So right, Kreisler!

This past year I had to read, open score, double choir pieces of both Bach and Martin. Eek! Not for the faint-hearted, I assure you.
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#1242993 - 08/03/09 11:35 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Kreisler]
NocturneLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Dantooine
Originally Posted By: Kreisler


That being said, I seriously doubt most piano teachers could handle Rach 3, and an awful lot of them would have trouble with a Chopin Sonata. I know a teacher who has had several students win national competitions, and he himself would not be able to play a major concerto with orchestra. (Although his students can, and have.)



The reason I even asked this question and posed the hypothetical situation was because in America, let's face it, we've always separated the teachers/coaches/mentors from the performers/athletes. Some people believe that you're either one or the other and that you can't be both. Similarly, academia and the private sector are usually separate unless they are involved in finding jobs for the students. When the some people quit the private sector after making the big bucks they usually come to academia to take a break and just teach. With this university metaphor, in my mind private sector is the performance/players aspect while the academic side is the teacher/coach aspect.

But I've wondered if the piano teacher with the right qualifications that I've presented in my previous post (6-7 yrs teaching, 4-yr music degree, concert performance experience) could actually tackle the ultimate touchstone of a professional level pianist: the Rach 3. Could the piano teacher with these qualifications truly make a crossover into playing this piece? Now, I belief only half of the teachers with these qualifications could do this. Now lets take the $50k and keep everything constant meaning your student wages are paid for as well. So with potentially unlimited time besides family relationships, how many teachers who meet these qualifications would be able to perform the Rach 3?

My guess is that with much more time it would probably be 3/4 of the teachers.

But that's nevermind that, the point is that in America at least we've always separated the performers/athletes from the teachers/mentors.
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#1242999 - 08/03/09 11:42 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
"But that's nevermind that, the point is that in America at least we've always separated the performers/athletes from the teachers/mentors"

Hardly true. In academia, performance is almost always mandated in order to keep your teaching position. It's not so much "publish or perish" in music; it's "perform or perish," at least in the university setting.
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#1243004 - 08/03/09 11:51 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Minniemay]
Andromaque Offline
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Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3885
Loc: New York
in America also, sadly, we put a money prize on everything.
While I think I understand the gist of your question, I am still not clear why you had to post a money 'prize" for the hypothetical performance, since the point you want to make is that qualified teachers may not be able to perform at a very high level. Do you think that a money pot acts as a carrot?
A qualified piano teacher is a professional 'entity" per se, as is a concert artist. The two can and often overlap- or not. What is so strange about that? what does your 50K add to the equation?

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#1243008 - 08/03/09 11:56 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
What's odd is that I've met very few people who fit your description. Most people with concert performance experience (outside of their degree recitals) have more than a 4-yr music degree. And most people who've developed the skill to play Rach 3 have not sustained a full teaching load for 6-7 years.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1243009 - 08/03/09 11:57 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Thomas Lau
The reason I even asked this question and posed the hypothetical situation was because in America, let's face it, we've always separated the teachers/coaches/mentors from the performers/athletes....

But I've wondered if the piano teacher with the right qualifications ... could actually tackle ... Rach 3.... Now, I belief only half of the teachers with these qualifications could do this....

My guess is that with much more time it would probably be 3/4 of the teachers.

But that's nevermind that, the point is that in America at least we've always separated the performers/athletes from the teachers/mentors.

This discussion seems pointless to me; you appear to have reached your conclusion before asking your question with the hypothetical situation.

Obviously, the response to "How many teachers could play Rach 3?" is neither 1/2 nor 3/4 nor any other precise number; it's impossible to determine, so why guess or speculate? The only possible answer is some could, some couldn't. I think that unless one is asking a deliberately loaded question with an agenda in mind, that answer should suffice.

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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#1243061 - 08/04/09 02:03 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Phlebas]
Candywoman Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 824
It's probably good money was brought into the question. I would need $50,000 so that I could focus on practicing the piece without worrying about making a living. The question contains a false implication, that teachers should measure up to the false standard of being able to play Rach's Third.

But other factors would go into the mix. For myself, I have a heck of a time memorizing at a decent rate. I can only handle practicing two hours a day. For some teachers, arthritis might have set in, or some other cognitive impairment. It doesn't mean they wouldn't be fine teachers fully capable of leading a student to perform Rach's Third excellently.

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#1243063 - 08/04/09 02:14 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: sotto voce]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
What a loaded question

"My question is: Wouldn't most or every piano teacher be at the level of concert pianists if they really know their stuff? I mean piano teachers should have a strong grounding in music theory, technique, and strong sight reading skills, so why not?"

And then all the piano teaching chappies chime in with financial reward comparisons ... between the teacher and the concert pianist ... but all the time giving the impression that it was merely a personal choice at a fork in the road (where best to boost the bank balance) ... when the truth of the matter is that the teachers who populate the Teachers Forum (if they ever dreamed of concert performance fame) just couldn’t make the distance ... and fell into the old age category of ... "those who can’t ... TEACH".

But far from suggesting that piano teachers are wash-outs ... far from it ... teachers are the salt of the piano world ... the backroom boys and girls whose musical insight gives them the skill to maintain a bouncy enthusiasm in boosting the best interests of a wide range of hopefuls.

Concert pianists are a very rare breed who, for whatever genetic advantage (sight-reading/ memory skills ... , ambition, supportive environment ... etc) ... need the constant stage adrenalin-boost to face a new audience ... few, it should be said (it all came too naturally) make good piano teachers ... those however that are ... take home the big bucks.

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#1243071 - 08/04/09 02:37 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: btb]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: btb

And then all the piano teaching chappies chime in with financial reward comparisons ... between the teacher and the concert pianist ... but all the time giving the impression that it was merely a personal choice at a fork in the road (where best to boost the bank balance) ... when the truth of the matter is that the teachers who populate the Teachers Forum (if they ever dreamed of concert performance fame) just couldn’t make the distance ... and fell into the old age category of ... "those who can’t ... TEACH".

There is another fork in the road. Some players—and I was one of them—are considered to "have what it takes" but just don't like the the emphasis on performing. In other words, there are people in every profession who are successful but who suddenly, for reasons of their own, walk away from it.

I discovered quite by accident that I prefer teaching to playing.

To stress this point, I don't think anyone thought that Chopin did not have what it took to have a career, but he actually preferred teaching, from what I've read.

I think a more important point is that it is nearly impossible to put equal emphasis on teaching and performing. A few manage that delicate balance, but it is really hard.
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#1243076 - 08/04/09 02:51 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1074
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: Nikalette
I have gone through a few piano teachers. One was a concert pianist, and I learned from him in 2 months to play 2 pieces I had struggled with for months to over a year. He gave me no scales, used no method books...he gave me some arpeggio exercises to facilitate a trick part of a Chopin waltz, and a set of finger strenthening exercises. Otherwise, it was working on fingerings, correct note errors, and just getting the pieces right.


Are we to assume that, a few months ago, you as a complete beginner started on a Chopin waltz and mastered it? What an amazing teacher!

Or, had you taken lessons a number of years, either as a child, then continued as an adult after an hiatus, or for several years as an adult beginner?

I guess I really don't understand your point. Are you expecting your neighborhood piano teacher to be a concert level performer who just happened to give up a stage career, turning their back on fame and fortune, so they could teaching beginning piano to elementary school children?

Being able to play competently at church, in ensembles, accompany, etc., is quite an accomplishment in itself, and shows substantial mastery of the instrument.


Gosh, you made some weird assumptions, that had nothing to do with what I posted. I never took piano lessons as a child. I took lessons many years ago for about 6 months with one teacher. Then I just played around with blues/pop piano.

About 2 years ago, I decided to learn classical piano. I signed up at the junior college, and I taught myself a Chopin Waltz and a Prelude from a book. I played it in my second semester with many errors. I played it my 3rds semester, badly also. I took a few lessons from a couple of teachers.

Hence, as I said before, I had struggled with the pieces for a long time, over a year for the Waltz, and about 3 months for the prelude. I took lessons with the concert pianist, and he was able to help me play the pieces well...he is not only a gifted pianist, but a gifted teacher...a rarity.

With his help, I was able to get both pieces completed in a couple of months.

That's what a good teacher can do for you. I also respected him so much, I practiced more than I had before, and I practiced "better."

And the other teachers I had may have been able to perform with some competence. No one would go to hear them in concert and they didn't know how to teach well.

Why the sarcasm? I hope I didn't hit a nerve.

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#1243084 - 08/04/09 03:37 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Nikalette]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Nikalette, I think the objection was that your post suggested the concert pianist was able to teach those pieces well because he was a concet pianinst. The other teachers (who you didn't care for) were not concert pianists and so were not good teachers. I bet that's not quite what you meant but it seemed to come out like that.

If the concert pianist taught you well then he was a good teacher. If the other teachers were not good it may or may not have had anything to do with their performing ability.

btb's 'fork in the road' is interesting and I suppose a very common assumption. Actually those people who love to perform will do so, regardless of their skills and talent. They may well give recitals and call themselves concert pianists although I doubt they get paid much for it. Teaching is a very different skill and is equally valid as a profession. It's not a case of 'those who can't do... teach'. Most of us here include some kind of performing and playing in our work but have no desire to take to the stage as a concert artist. As others have pointed out the professional concert artist has little time to devote to teaching although they often need to do a bit to support their performing income. A few people can manage both quite successfully but it's rare.
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#1243140 - 08/04/09 08:59 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Chris H.]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
There are many that do both. All the teachers that I know also do some kind of performing. Not "concert pianist" performances, but performances non-the-less.

What happens to the retired athletes? Many go on to coach. Playing and coaching are not exclusive either.
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It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1243165 - 08/04/09 09:43 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
btb does make a good point, though as others have noted the road can fork in other ways as well.

There are many teachers who once had performance aspirations, I'm sure, but who came up against their limits. Those limits may have been physical or psychological or a bit of both. In some sense, most of us share a lot with Salieri of Amadeus fame. Fortunately, most of us handle the realization that we will not achieve the pinnacle of our professions a bit better than Peter Schaffer's caricature of Salieri. We discover instead the pleasures and rewards of other aspects of our professions. And many of us discover that we can do those things (like teach) quite well, better in fact than many of those who do make the grade in the more visible side of the profession (like the concert stage in this example). This is the error of the snotty expression"those who can't, teach". People often find their way into what they do best by circuitous paths full of serendipity.

Having said this, there are people who can do both extraordinarily well, and who love to do a bit of both. These extraordinary individuals are the Mozarts of any field and we can only look at them with a bit of humbled awe and respect.

There are also plenty of excellent teachers who can legitimately claim the title of 'concert pianist' even though they are not household names with a DG contract. As Kriesler noted, these tend to be people with more than a four year music degree, i.e. they're not often your neighborhood teacher who deals extensively with elementary students. This is the sort of teacher I sought for my son. I wanted him to work with a professional performer who also happened to have a reputation as a fabulous pedagogue. After two years of studying with her I'm convinced of the rightness of this choice for him, though I perfectly well recognize that there is not just one path to successful musical education.

To get back to the issue, the 'market' is indeed segmented. People ultimately sort themselves or get sorted. Their awareness of their own limits, preferences, and talents push them in certain directions, and once firmly ensconced in their career they cannot easily switch paths. Thus, as Steven notes, the OP's question is unanswerable except in very general terms. Of course, there must be some 'ordinary' teachers who with a bit of work could give a decent rendition of Rach 3. But trying to put a percentage on this is a useless exercise (unless you're just trying to stir up trouble!).

I actually think that there are very few non-performing teachers with the criteria the OP specified who could prepare a full recital of professional level works and play the program to a discerning audience at a major performance venue. More could prepare a decent repertoire for a local audience. As many have noted, a lot of teachers actually do this.


Edited by Piano*Dad (08/04/09 09:50 AM)
Edit Reason: dang typos! :-)
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#1243173 - 08/04/09 10:21 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: Piano*Dad]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Also, Thomas Lau refers to Rach 3 as "ultimate touchstone of a professional level pianist." I'm not sure that there would be much concensus there among teachers or pianists. It's difficult, but not the hardest piece ever written, some pianists might have little or no interest in learning it, and what some might consider "the ultimate touchstone" may not be learning and performing a specific piece of music, but instead, something along the lines of acquiring the skills Kreisler described in his post about church musicians.

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#1243222 - 08/04/09 11:48 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: Phlebas]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Phlebas
Also, Thomas Lau refers to Rach 3 as "ultimate touchstone of a professional level pianist." I'm not sure that there would be much concensus there among teachers or pianists. It's difficult, but not the hardest piece ever written, some pianists might have little or no interest in learning it, and what some might consider "the ultimate touchstone" may not be learning and performing a specific piece of music, but instead, something along the lines of acquiring the skills Kreisler described in his post about church musicians.

I completely agree, and that statement caught my eye initially as well. There was so much else to address that refuting it got lost in the shuffle, but I'm glad you did.

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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#1243768 - 08/05/09 03:34 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: sotto voce]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
The self-promotion ploy of alluding to some distant Everest ( Rach 3) wears a bit thin when we all know that the piano teachers have got so cosy in their teaching role (out of practice) and now battle to climb the foothills ... how many of our brave teachers can play prima vista any of the following hillocks?

Marche Funebre ... Chopin’s Sonata Opus 35
Traumerei ... Schumann Opus 15/7
Rachmaninoff ... Prelude Opus 3/2
Beethoven ... Moonlight Sonata Opus 27/2 (first movement)
Schubert ... Hark, Hark, the Lark
Mozart ... Fantasia in D minor KV 397
Debussy ... La fille aux cheveux de lin
Bach ... Prelude I (Book I)

This is not a bash chaps ... merely mentioning the reality that piano teachers
GAIN MOST RESPECT from pupils when they can demonstrate with playing aplomb the piece of music which is the subject of the pupil’s lesson (and therefore need to keep in trim).

PS I’m presently working on the 3-pages of the Chopin Marche Funebre ... and am endlessly gob-smacked at the massive sonorous 3 and 4-note chords ... what a legacy!!

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#1243771 - 08/05/09 03:49 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: btb]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: btb
The self-promotion ploy of alluding to some distant Everest ( Rach 3) wears a bit thin when we all know that the piano teachers have got so cosy in their teaching role (out of practice) and now battle to climb the foothills ... how many of our brave teachers can play prima vista any of the following hillocks?

Marche Funebre ... Chopin’s Sonata Opus 35
Traumerei ... Schumann Opus 15/7
Rachmaninoff ... Prelude Opus 3/2
Beethoven ... Moonlight Sonata Opus 27/2 (first movement)
Schubert ... Hark, Hark, the Lark
Mozart ... Fantasia in D minor KV 397
Debussy ... La fille aux cheveux de lin
Bach ... Prelude I (Book I)

I can and do play all of the above for students, but not from memory. As for "prima vista", I'm not sure what you mean. That means to me "sightreading", and it is highly unlikely any experienced teacher has not seen these pieces many times. smile
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#1243783 - 08/05/09 05:27 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: Phlebas]
NocturneLover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Dantooine
Originally Posted By: Phlebas
Also, Thomas Lau refers to Rach 3 as "ultimate touchstone of a professional level pianist." I'm not sure that there would be much concensus there among teachers or pianists. It's difficult, but not the hardest piece ever written, some pianists might have little or no interest in learning it, and what some might consider "the ultimate touchstone" may not be learning and performing a specific piece of music, but instead, something along the lines of acquiring the skills Kreisler described in his post about church musicians.


Maybe it is not the hardest, but it is one of the most demanded out of a professional pianist. You can be sure many concert pianists have Rach 3 on their schedules.
_________________________
"...music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." -Ludwig van Beethoven

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#1243862 - 08/05/09 09:54 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: NocturneLover]
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
Only because managers, audiences, and other orchestras expect and/or demand it. I'm sure there are plenty of pianists who are ready to put away Rach 2 and 3, Prokofiev 3, Beethoven 4, and play other works. Sturm und drang impresses the masses. I know it impressed me when I was much younger and dreaming of playing Rach 3.
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Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

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#1244149 - 08/05/09 04:41 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: Gary D.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Ditto

FYI, this would make a nice program for a high school student's senior recital.
_________________________
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04/23/14 10:49 PM
Best brand of upright piano 48" or larger?
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04/23/14 10:22 PM
Kawai MP11 vs. Kawai VPC-1 Action / Key Length
by jp2011
04/23/14 10:00 PM
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