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#1248586 - 08/13/09 03:44 PM Teacher played poorly
Kanadka Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 34
Loc: Canada
Hi,

I've been lurking for a while on this forum and it's truly great.

I'm looking for a teacher and I'm meeting with a few to find a good match. Yesterday I met with one and as a part of an interview I've asked him to play something for me. Now, I didn't expect "Fantasie Imprompty", but I wanted to be inspired. I wanted to listen to something nice, to be motivated, that one day I can play like this. But this gentelman was surprised by this request, told me that he doesn't really remember anything. Started to play something, then forgot how it goes. Went to get the notes, found something and then made so many mistakes that I couldn't even get the melody line.

Am I too picky? Is it normal? I absolutely don't expect my teacher to be a concert pianist. I'll be just fine if he would've played "The entertainer" from the back of my book. Is it a realistic expectation that a teacher will be able to play any piece from level 1 book without preparation? After 15 years of teaching experience?

I've searched on this forum and I saw that not too many people ask a prospective teacher to play. Yes, I also felt a bit uncomfortable with it, but I don't understand why not. Is it such an unreasonable request?

Other than this he is a very pleasant man, made me feel very comfortable and I probably would study with him if not for this.

Please let me know what you think. Your help is greatly appreciated. I don't know anybody who plays piano so other than my internet search I really don't know how to find a teacher.

thank you

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#1248588 - 08/13/09 03:48 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Kanadka]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Picky? No way! He should have been able to play something. I'd move on and find someone who can inspire AND teach you piano. thumb
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1248591 - 08/13/09 03:53 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: eweiss]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Hey, well done! Keep working through 'em. And welcome to PW!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1248604 - 08/13/09 04:24 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: keyboardklutz]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I always expect to play for my prospective students. They should know that I practice what I preach.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1248610 - 08/13/09 04:33 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Kanadka]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

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



Originally Posted By: Kanadka
Is it a realistic expectation that a teacher will be able to play any piece from level 1 book without preparation? After 15 years of teaching experience?
Yes that is absolutely reasonable. Did you ask him to play something from book 1? I can't believe a teacher wouldn't be able to do that. Part of our job is to accompany sometimes (duets, rhythm issues etc...) without getting any practice time before hand. It is possible that since he wasn't expecting that request he was caught off guard. Personally I go through stages where I practice like a maniac and other stages where I barely have time to touch the piano at all.

Originally Posted By: Kanadka
I've searched on this forum and I saw that not too many people ask a prospective teacher to play. Yes, I also felt a bit uncomfortable with it, but I don't understand why not. Is it such an unreasonable request?
I have never had a student to ask me to play prior to lessons. I choose to play for my students at different times, for various reasons. I think it's absolutely reasonable to ask that, but I don't find it common. I don't know why. I think that people do a lot of assuming in these situations. I have never asked any of my kids' coaches or private teachers to show me anything either. They come with recommendations, and for me that's a better indicator than their abilities.

Originally Posted By: Kanadka
Am I too picky? Is it normal?

Picky? No. You have to go with what feels right to you.

I'm not sure about what you're asking about normal? For him to not be able to play or for you asking him to. He should be able to play. You should be able to ask him to.
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1248614 - 08/13/09 04:38 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Minniemay]
Monica K. Online   blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Welcome to the forum, Kanadka. I agree with Ed; while it would be unreasonable to expect a prospective teacher to play a specific piece on demand, he/she really ought to be able to play SOMETHING. Keep looking.

p.s. as to whether it's an "unreasonable" request, I think it depends in how the request is made. Saying something like "Before I agree to take lessons from you, I insist that you demonstrate that you can play the piano competently" would (obviously) be unreasonable. But phrasing the request like "Would you feel comfortable playing something for me?" does not seem unreasonable at all. The prospective teacher could always say "no," and then you could decide for yourself how important it is to you to hear your teacher play.

This topic has come up before, and the reaction from the teachers here is usually mixed. Some resent being asked to "prove themselves", as it were; others don't mind and/or make it a habit to play for their students. I suspect a lot depends on the tone of the conversation.
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Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1248616 - 08/13/09 04:40 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
verania5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/08
Posts: 386
Loc: Michigan
My instructor is an amazing player, but he can't play any of the pieces I'm working on smoothly - because he doesn't play them regularly. That is acceptable. Even if they can't play a certain piece to concert quality they should at least be able to give you an idea of how it sounds and guide you through difficult parts by introducing exercises and technique. To not be able to play *anything* that is a head-scratcher!
_________________________
Steinway M & Yamaha P120

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#1248626 - 08/13/09 04:57 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: verania5]
EDWARDIAN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 89
Loc: New York, USA
Welcome to the Forum! smile

I don't think you're being picky or unreasonable. Maybe the gentleman was taken off guard, but one would think he'd have something he could play for you, or at least be able to play from the Level One Book! I see a red flag on the horizon.

If you really like him, perhaps ask him to return with something he'd like to play. If that's too awkward, I'd try the local music store & school district for references of teachers.

Good luck!

Joan smile
_________________________
Joan Edward

Private piano teacher, 20+ years
EDWARDIAN45@hotmail.com

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#1248635 - 08/13/09 05:09 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: EDWARDIAN]
Kanadka Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 34
Loc: Canada
Thanks for all your replies. It's very helpful.

Of course I didn't demand he'd prove himself. I honestly just wanted to enjoy a nice piece of music. I wanted to be inspired. I didn't ask for any specific piece. I think it was more in the lines of "could you please play something for me, maybe your favourite piece, or anything you like". He did mentioned that he plays himself in the recitals he organizes for his students and often plays duets.

verania5: I'm an absolute beginer. Don't you think the teacher should be able to sight read and play smoothly any piece form level 1 book?

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#1248653 - 08/13/09 05:47 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Kanadka]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Even if I am taken "by surprise" by a request to play something, I can easily pull out something that I can do well with the music in front of me. I am not a concert pianist. The fact that he was challenged to even do this means he most likely did not reach a very high level of playing himself. Especially since it is rare for a beginner student to even be able to recognize that there are mistakes is quite telling!
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
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#1248669 - 08/13/09 06:24 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Morodiene]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Some of the best players can't teach to save their life. So this is not necessarily a bad
thing, in my opinion. If this teacher inspires you, that's all that really matters.
Would you rather have a great player who makes you feel awful and eventually
causes you to quit playing? There are a lot of teachers like that. I had three just
like that. I would give this teacher a tryout. He might be just the thing for you.

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#1248673 - 08/13/09 06:41 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Gyro]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
Even if he didn't have a standard classical piece ready at performance level, at least he could have improvised something with some nice chord progressions.... I too would look elsewhere.
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Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
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#1248685 - 08/13/09 07:06 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: dumdumdiddle]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
In the process of an interview, I generally demonstrate the progression the student will be making over several years. I only started doing this recently, basically because of comments on this forum. Previously, I just started in teaching the student a sample lesson. I find that this sort performance makes the student/parent a lot more comfortable, even though it's totally superfluous. In years past, I resented the request, primarily because I had very limited time and really couldn't keep "show pieces" up to snuff.

If you think about it for a minute, musicians are among the very few who are constantly asked to demonstrate non-teaching skills to validate their teaching abilities. What you should really be asking is for references and go listen to students of this teacher to find out how they are doing. You are, after all hiring a teacher, and that is the skill you really want to confirm.

_________________________
"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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#1248693 - 08/13/09 07:20 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Of course; if the piano teacher has good teaching skills, one would think that they can back it up by playing well. Otherwise, it would be kind of like saying "do as I say, not as I do".

John smile
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1248694 - 08/13/09 07:24 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Johnny-Boy]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
It's almost like asking a guitar teacher to play something and the only thing he/she could play is "Smoke on the Water." And played it badly.

Adios muchachos! 2hearts
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1248697 - 08/13/09 07:29 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Johnny-Boy]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Let's not make excuses for a piano teacher who cannot play anything on the piano when requested to play something. I cannot think of any redeeming value in making excuses for this person. I think you have received a loud and clear message from the person themselves that they are unprepared to teach you in a way that would help you meet your goals. Playing the piano should be second nature to any piano teacher.

A piano teacher might feel they don't have the time to do an interview before accepting a student, but the best thing we can learn about each other - teacher - student - parents - is that we have a sense of confidence in the teacher and that he or she can do what we would expect of him or her as a musician.

I'll take the hard line if no one else will. We know that occasionally we will be put on the spot to "play something for someone" and we had best be prepared and impressive.

You can do much better in searching for a piano teacher!

Please consider using www.learningmusician or www.getlessonsnow. You enter your zip code and your instrument - piano - and names and profiles of information will surface for anyone registered with these music teaching directories. Then you make contact with them if you are interested in interviewing with them.

You can also enter your zipcode in google with the words piano teacher. This has worked for many people who are googling me at Betty Patnude or my zip, 98374, or piano teacher with their local zip codes.

Good luck!

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#1248724 - 08/13/09 08:07 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Betty Patnude]
Monica K. Online   blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
I think part of the tension that arises when such requests are made is that there may be a discrepancy between what the student is hoping or expecting to hear (a nice piece played competently, more as an inspiration rather than a "test" of the instructor's skill), versus the instructor feeling put on the spot ("OMG, I've got to play the Waldstein at concert level." eek )

But, yes, I agree with you, Kanadka, that ANY teacher worth the name should be able to sight-read a Level 1 piece.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1248738 - 08/13/09 08:38 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Monica K.]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
Let's not make excuses for a piano teacher who cannot play anything on the piano when requested to play something.


Well, that's something I can agree with.

and yet I can sympathize a bit with John when he says:

Quote:
If you think about it for a minute, musicians are among the very few who are constantly asked to demonstrate non-teaching skills to validate their teaching abilities.


Part of the issue is whether playing ability and teaching are positively correlated, however imperfectly. If there is some correlation, then asking a teacher to play does provide some information to the student.

Frankly, I think there is something useful in hearing a musician-teacher play, and the question the OP asked was pretty benign. The teacher got to choose, and yet could not produce a single piece with which to demonstrate their own skills. I'm NOT a teacher and if asked to play I could most certainly bang out a few pieces creditably, even with my meagre levels of practice. I'm sure I could convince (fool grin) some beginners into thinking I was quite competent.

I'm sure there are perfectly fine teachers out there who could introduce a beginner to the wonders of the keyboard, yet who cannot play the techniques that they teach. But as a student, absent clear evidence that this teacher obtained great results I would choose to put my hard-earned money on a different horse.

And as we move up the levels from beginner to advanced student, this issue would take on more and more salience.
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#1248764 - 08/13/09 09:08 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Piano*Dad]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
[quote]

I'm sure there are perfectly fine teachers out there who could introduce a beginner to the wonders of the keyboard, yet who cannot play the techniques that they teach. But as a student, absent clear evidence that this teacher obtained great results I would choose to put my hard-earned money on a different horse.


It's possible his talent may lie more in the teaching of music and conveying ideas than performing music itself, but unless you've seen or heard of his students making wonderful progress then I wouldn't count on it. I agree he should have been able to play something.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1248770 - 08/13/09 09:13 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Piano*Dad]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad

I'm sure there are perfectly fine teachers out there who could introduce a beginner to the wonders of the keyboard, yet who cannot play the techniques that they teach.


I disagree. If a teacher cannot play something, how can they possibly have understood it? If they have never experienced something, they are not in a position to make the fine adjustments that might be required.

As a teacher. repeating something that you have been told about but never done, is about as much use as giving someone a book- and telling them to read what it says. If they haven't even tried different methods, how do they know which works best? If they cannot do the approach they teach, why should anyone trust what they heard off someone else and decided to repeat? Good teachers provide feedback on whether something what the student is doing is working- they don't merely recite stuff about something they have never achieved and move on. Only those who have experienced it, are going to be in a position to supply the adjustments and knowledge that is required. How can you 'fix' problems in others, when you couldn't figure out how to get it working in yourself? To regurgitate something you heard, without the ability to do it yourself, is not teaching in any sense.

Teaching is all about monitoring progress and helping to make any necessary adjustements through proper understanding- not reciting a couple of blanket statements that you heard elsewhere.

PS. There's a story about Neuhaus worrying about teaching Gilels in the 6th rhapsody. He said he was worried because he couldn't have played it so well, but he still had plenty to say about the music. However, if we're talking about someone who never even learned to play the piano to a basic standard in the first-place, how would they even have anything to say about the music? There's a certain basic level of understanding that has to be reached.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/13/09 09:20 PM)
_________________________
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#1248776 - 08/13/09 09:22 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Piano*Dad]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
In further support of my statement: "Let's not make excuses for a piano teacher who cannot play anything on the piano when requested to play something", may I say that the first teacher is possible the most important teacher a student will have. If there are errors of omission or ineptitude on the teacher's part, it is certainly going to impact the student and potentially in a negative way.

To not be able to play anything for a potential student and to flounder around and be evasive is just the wrong advertising for all teachers. We are as successful as our weakest link, I believe and much haphazardness frequents are profession because people lacking development of musicianship skills are teaching without having enough development and accuracy to do a creditable job of it.

Every hiring for employment has discerning steps to determine that the applicant has met the expecations of the employer, is capable of the task, and is being offered a wage or salary in compensation. When hiring a piano teacher most people ask "Where are you located"? "How much do you charge?" And, that is the end of the qualifying questions.

I think finding a good teacher candidate should require much more inquiry of their teaching and professional experience, reputation, comparing services to others available in your community, and some attempt to guarantee that you are investing your money, your child, yourself, your time and efforts with this teacher to provide a good, reliable music education for the student.

Ask questions! Get answers! Make decisions! Get referrals!

A teacher who cannot play for others just does not fit the job description regardless of what excuse they would give you about why they can't or don't want to. If asked, we need to be able to rise to the occasion.

Our job is to share out love of music making and to develop fine musicians. A piano teacher who can not "perform" is sadly impotent to display their ability or talent to you, leaving one to think that there is no ability and there is no talent.

I think it would be risky to go with a teacher with these problems when one could find a teacher who teaches well and plays magnificently.

No offense intended, but teaching is a profession not a hobby or just a way to earn extra money. Expertise should be part of what you get when you pay the tuition toward music education.

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#1248777 - 08/13/09 09:26 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad

I'm sure there are perfectly fine teachers out there who could introduce a beginner to the wonders of the keyboard, yet who cannot play the techniques that they teach.


Good Grief! How on earth can it be "perfectly fine" for a "teacher" to be unable to play the techniques of beginner music?

I am Flabbergasted.


Edited by rocket88 (08/13/09 09:31 PM)
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1248790 - 08/13/09 09:51 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Betty Patnude]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Playing the piano should be second nature to any piano teacher.


Exactly. I fully expect to play both at the interview lesson, and at any and all lessons beyond.

At the interview lesson, one of the question areas is "what type of music does the student like?"

If they like Classical, then fine...I will play some, but not all, of several selected pieces, from a Clementi Sonata to a Chopin Waltz to Rachmaninoff Prelude...and I carefully watch the student's reaction to each piece.

A recent post on another Piano World Forum discusses the dearth of interest in Classical music today...but when I play as described above to new students, many whom I might otherwise assume do not like classical will then say that they do like Classical, and that they want to learn it, if what I just played is Classical!

So that gives me insight about the student, and gives the student direction.

If they want something else, It is usually popular music or Jazz.

In either case, I will launch into a boogie-woogie, which about 98% of the people really like. Plus a blues shuffle, or a bluesy "Georgia on my Mind", or some Gospel....And then I explain that to play like that, and to read music, the place to start is with some simple classical level 1, and I will play a bit of that, and explain that is where they likely will be in a few weeks.

People like that. It encourages them.

Not only does all of this help gauge students, but also demonstrates that I practice what I preach. One teen boy student said he liked that I was not a "phony" for that reason. Pretty important at that age.

Playing for your students is also good business. It has helped build my studio, because I frequently hear that students want to learn to play like I do. (usually the boogies and the blues).

And when they hear that I play in a band (I give them my website adress, and have photos on the wall of the band playing), those who aspire to play in bands know they have someone who can help them prepare for that.

Its all good.


Edited by rocket88 (08/13/09 09:58 PM)
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1248802 - 08/13/09 10:16 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad

I'm sure there are perfectly fine teachers out there who could introduce a beginner to the wonders of the keyboard, yet who cannot play the techniques that they teach.


I disagree. If a teacher cannot play something, how can they possibly have understood it? If they have never experienced something, they are not in a position to make the fine adjustments that might be required.

As a teacher. repeating something that you have been told about but never done, is about as much use as giving someone a book- and telling them to read what it says. If they haven't even tried different methods, how do they know which works best? If they cannot do the approach they teach, why should anyone trust what they heard off someone else and decided to repeat? Good teachers provide feedback on whether something what the student is doing is working- they don't merely recite stuff about something they have never achieved and move on. Only those who have experienced it, are going to be in a position to supply the adjustments and knowledge that is required. How can you 'fix' problems in others, when you couldn't figure out how to get it working in yourself? To regurgitate something you heard, without the ability to do it yourself, is not teaching in any sense.

Teaching is all about monitoring progress and helping to make any necessary adjustements through proper understanding- not reciting a couple of blanket statements that you heard elsewhere.

PS. There's a story about Neuhaus worrying about teaching Gilels in the 6th rhapsody. He said he was worried because he couldn't have played it so well, but he still had plenty to say about the music. However, if we're talking about someone who never even learned to play the piano to a basic standard in the first-place, how would they even have anything to say about the music? There's a certain basic level of understanding that has to be reached.


Great points. However, playing devil's advocate here, I teach voice as well as piano. I teach male students. While men and women have the same anatomy, men use theirs differently than women do. It is harder for me to teach men when it comes to covering for example, because I do not cover like they do. However, I know what to listen for, and I know what to tell them to guide them to it. I also can play recordings of men doing it to help them be able to listen for it as well.

When you are talking about being at an advanced level of playing piano, then I think it is not as clear-cut. I can learn from colleagues who perhaps don't play as difficult repertoire as I do, but still have a lot of suggestions to offer. When you're in the beginning and intermediate levels, however, there's so much foundational stuff that needs to be covered that unless you know how to do it yourself (and if you knew, you'd do it, right?) you won't be addressing that in your students.

Also, I think that good teachers of piano have themselves loved the instrument enough to achieve a degree of playing at least to early advanced (for those beginner teachers) if not farther. I would also think that they loved it enough to continue playing it for their own enjoyment, even if they stopped progressing.
_________________________
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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#1248817 - 08/13/09 10:28 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Morodiene]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
It makes me very sad to think making musical progress might come to an end. The potential is there for it to be a lifetime journey. The greater the quest, the greater the pleasure of it, I think.

I say this because after a 12 year absense from piano, I started again with my love of the piano at the age of 27. After 38 years of teaching, I can say I'm grateful that I was able to act on those feelings at that time - or, what would have become of me? I have no idea.

The quest's other name, I think, is "passion".

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#1248833 - 08/13/09 11:04 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Morodiene]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Great points. However, playing devil's advocate here, I teach voice as well as piano. I teach male students. While men and women have the same anatomy, men use theirs differently than women do.


That is a good point, Morodiene. However, I think the more accurate analogy for this discussion is if you were a voiceless mute who was "teaching" singing. That would be analogous to a piano teacher who could not/would not (same difference) play.

Or a swimming teacher who could not swim...or a typing teacher who could not type...it is patently ridiculous.

That a piano teacher who cannot play would be a topic of discussion is a sad commentary of how dumbed down our society has slouched.


Edited by rocket88 (08/13/09 11:21 PM)
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#1248846 - 08/13/09 11:26 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: rocket88]
Ferdinand Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 943
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: rocket88

That is a good point, Morodiene. However, I think the more accurate analogy for this discussion is if you were a voiceless mute who was "teaching" singing. That would be analogous to a piano teacher who could not/would not (same difference) play.

Or a swimming teacher who could not swim...or a typing teacher who could not type...it is patently ridiculous.

That a piano teacher who cannot play would be a topic of allegedly intelligent discussion is a sad commentary of how dumbed down our society has slouched.


I think it depends on the definition of "can't." Agreed, it's absurd for a person who himself has not learned to play to try to teach. But a person who has learned to play at an imtermediate level, and is out of practice and has no active repertoire, might be capable of doing some useful teaching. (Even though at the moment it is requested, he "can't" play.)

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#1248854 - 08/13/09 11:42 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Ferdinand]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
Originally Posted By: rocket88

That is a good point, Morodiene. However, I think the more accurate analogy for this discussion is if you were a voiceless mute who was "teaching" singing. That would be analogous to a piano teacher who could not/would not (same difference) play.

Or a swimming teacher who could not swim...or a typing teacher who could not type...it is patently ridiculous.

That a piano teacher who cannot play would be a topic of allegedly intelligent discussion is a sad commentary of how dumbed down our society has slouched.


I think it depends on the definition of "can't." Agreed, it's absurd for a person who himself has not learned to play to try to teach. But a person who has learned to play at an imtermediate level, and is out of practice and has no active repertoire, might be capable of doing some useful teaching. (Even though at the moment it is requested, he "can't" play.)


But why choose such a teacher when teachers who are able to play are available? (of course this is all hypothetical)...

When I was a teenager, and wanted to study pop music, my mom found such a teacher who, given what I know now, very likely had Parkinson's disease, or something similar.

He simply could not play...his hands shook so much. He had books and sheets of music, but I learned NOTHING from him because he could not show me the rhythms and melodies.

From that experience, I determined that I always want at the very least the functional minimum best, not the second or third cannnot do it or whatever "best"...life is to short for inability to do what is necessary. Playing is part of teaching, IMHO.

I cannot believe that this is actually a topic of discussion.


Edited by rocket88 (08/13/09 11:52 PM)
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#1248859 - 08/13/09 11:56 PM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: Johnny-Boy]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Johnny-Boy
Of course; if the piano teacher has good teaching skills, one would think that they can back it up by playing well. Otherwise, it would be kind of like saying "do as I say, not as I do".

John smile


I know two teachers who are now incapacitated by strokes, who were fine performers. Students still flock to them, because of what they can offer. I think their primary teaching method is do as I say, not as I do.

Of course, I do agree that teachers should be able to play, I just don't think it should be the over-riding consideration many of you do.
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"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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#1248861 - 08/14/09 12:01 AM Re: Teacher played poorly [Re: John v.d.Brook]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
John, are those students beginners or advanced? I would think that such a teacher could be very helpful for intermediate and onward students, as a mentor/teacher, but not for beginners.

I assume that the OP is a beginner.
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