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#1255511 - 08/24/09 10:28 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: ProdigalPianist]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
People who believe that the fingering the student chose on her own was "correct" are certainly entitled to their opinion, but I think it's irrelevant to the discussion. If I were the OP, I would feel disrespected by what sounds like, in essence, "Your student was right, you were wrong, get over it." That's really not the point.

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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#1255518 - 08/24/09 10:44 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: sotto voce]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
It is quite relevant to the discussion.
Quote:
If I were the OP, I would feel disrespected by what sounds like, in essence, "Your student was right, you were wrong, get over it."

If I were the OP, I would not see that is in terms of who was right and who was wrong, and this is not the thing that respect is made of. When something comes up while I'm teaching, I want to see every angle of what might be behind it. To not point out such thoughts would be an act of disrespect because it would be saying in effect that a teacher does not want to look at all angles, and wants blind, unthinking obedience.

It is relevant, because an insistence on something silly like playing all the notes with the same finger or illogical fingering would say something different about the student than an insistence on playing the notes using fingering that most people would use - it means the child is thinking logically and has some understanding of the piano. There may be some aspects of pedagogy she may not understand (if Suzuki invented this fingering for some future purposes) but at least we know she is thinking in a sensible manner. That, for a teacher, is something to work with, and therefore something to know.


Edited by keystring (08/24/09 10:51 PM)
Edit Reason: added stuff

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#1255522 - 08/24/09 10:50 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: keystring]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
It is quite relevant to the discussion.

That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. I think you've got it quite wrong.

The OP has a student who thinks she knows more than the teacher, so the issue is how to deal with an intransigent student. It can be assumed, for the sake of that argument, that the teacher is absolutely correct and the student is completely wrong.

It's bad enough that the teacher has been second-guessed by her stubborn student. Now she has to be second-guessed here as well? She didn't ask for anyone's opinions about her fingering, did she? If you want to say the teacher is wrong, then have at it—but it renders this whole discussion meaningless.

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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#1255528 - 08/24/09 11:02 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: sotto voce]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
Sorry Steven, I hit "post" before I had finished the thought and you'll find it altered above. I didn't expect you to post this quickly.
Quote:
The OP has a student who thinks she knows more than the teacher,

This is an interpretation and not a fact. We know a few things this child has done, but we cannot know why she has done them, or what she is thinking.
Quote:
so the issue is how to deal with an intransigent student

This may not be the problem, or a problem.
Quote:
It can be assumed, for the sake of that argument, that the teacher is absolutely correct and the student is completely wrong.

Some things are absolutes. The note between the two black keys is called D and has a given pitch. That is an absolute fact. It would be inacceptable for a student to argue that it is called F and has a different pitch, and this would also mess up the student.

Here we have a student who is using fingers 1,3,5 to play C,E,G while the book has different fingers written down. The book's fingering is not standard, the child's is standard and logical, so this is not an "absolute" and it is not a question of right or wrong. It might be a question of intransigence. It might also be a question of a student thinking for herself, relating directly with the piano. If that is so, then this forms an avenue for an astute teacher who has a relatively new student. I would want to use this to turn it aorund.

One unknown is the mother, and in what manner she is working with her daughter. We already know that the daughter will accept her mother's advice when her mother has expertise (swimming). Could this be a transition point where teacher and student work more closely and the student begins to have independence from her parent, while taking on responsibility for her studies. Something like this might turn the situation around depending on what is going on. Which is something we don't know.

Because the choice is logical, it may be a relevant clue.

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#1255533 - 08/24/09 11:11 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: keystring]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Ohio, US
I've worked with many kids with ODD and usually the symptoms are much more severe than this student has. If she has lasted this long with lessons and is not snotty or obnoxious it is probably some other issue. Many of the ODD students I've worked with are sometimes downright violent and tend to destroy property as a way of purposely annoying. There can be other issues or disorders with abbreviatons going on or she may simply be spoiled and want her way just to have her way. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference because parents may give in to a child with problems simply because they don't know what to do or they are so worn down from dealing with it day to day that they just give up.
_________________________
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Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1255537 - 08/24/09 11:16 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
keystring,

Thanks for clarifying. I realize now that I misspoke. My apologies!

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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#1255551 - 08/24/09 11:45 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: sotto voce]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
Steven, I should apologize for writing half a thought and posting hastily. It's been kind of wild over here and I thought I had more time than I did when I started to write.

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#1255612 - 08/25/09 03:14 AM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: Furtwangler]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1664
Loc: Toronto
L O L smile
_________________________

Pianist, Composer
Disclaimer: Shigeru Kawai Artist

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#1255644 - 08/25/09 07:18 AM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: sotto voce]
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: keystring
It is quite relevant to the discussion.

That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. I think you've got it quite wrong.

The OP has a student who thinks she knows more than the teacher, so the issue is how to deal with an intransigent student. It can be assumed, for the sake of that argument, that the teacher is absolutely correct and the student is completely wrong.

It's bad enough that the teacher has been second-guessed by her stubborn student. Now she has to be second-guessed here as well? She didn't ask for anyone's opinions about her fingering, did she? If you want to say the teacher is wrong, then have at it—but it renders this whole discussion meaningless.

Steven


Steven, I will never understand why you always think that someone thinks that he knows or can play better than someone just because he/she doesn't do it like a teacher said or doesn't completely follow the scores. I don't always agree with my teacher, but in no way i think i know more than her.

I know that the OP wasn't asking about fingering, but i had to comment it. I used to have the teacher that was forcing me to use her fingering and i quit because of this. So it is very relevant.

Just my opinion, i respect your.

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#1255679 - 08/25/09 08:28 AM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: GreenRain]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
GreenRain,

Obviously, there are teachers of varying degrees of skill. If you have confidence in your teacher, you should expect that he or she knows more about the principles of sound fingering than you do. If you don't have confidence in your teacher, it's a sign that you should change. If you think you know more about fingering than teachers generally, you don't need a teacher.

Unless there's a presumption that the teacher knows best, why have a teacher (or at least that teacher)?

In any event, please don't assume you know what I "always" think.

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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#1255693 - 08/25/09 09:05 AM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: sotto voce]
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
Sotto, the word "always" was really incorrect. I should use "sometimes".

I do trust my teacher and i often ask her to help me with fingering. But no mather how good one teacher is, I will never agree with every single thing she or he says. I do "agree", or let's rather say beleive in almost everything she says, but not everything. It doesn't have much to do with not trusting her, but with my taste. Maybe the pedaling in piece "x" should be used in "y" way, but i think an "a" way sounds nicer. It means that i like it played diferently, not that i think that i'm "better" than my teacher and composer. Of course, out of respect, i will play it as my teacher wants.

In many cases, actually in almost every case, there are different fingerings possible. As long as the fingering is logic and enables you to normaly play without ankward hand position and if it doesnt have an impact on further measures, i would insist on my own fingering. I don't have, cause my teacher corrects my fingering only when it's neccessary. I'm not an expert, but i do beleive that 13135 is good for c,e,c,e,g. Fingering like 12123 (in that case) should of course be corrected, cause it's ankward and because of it you can't control playing well.

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#1255724 - 08/25/09 09:58 AM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: GreenRain]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
It's not possible to say what the optimal fingering is for any sequence of notes without knowing what comes before it and what follows it.

I think perhaps that's so obvious that it's taken for granted by most, but it's still worth pointing out. It just cannot be said that 1-3-1-3-5 is correct or fine or best without taking into account the context; the same is true for 2-4-2-4-5, and, for that matter, for 1-2-1-2-3, which might be the most efficient in some circumstances.

Steven
_________________________

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

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

Top
#1255804 - 08/25/09 12:30 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: sotto voce]
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
I agree Sotto, and i said that: ...As long as the fingering is logical and enables you to normaly play without ankward hand position and if it doesnt have an impact on further measures...

So it's true, you can't always know which fingers to use if you don't know the following measures, but it seems that no matter what follows, my fingering is likely to be correct. But again, to be 100 percent sure, i would need to see the sheets.

I won't go even further into off topic, we already drifted far because of me. smile

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#1255829 - 08/25/09 01:15 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: sotto voce]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
As teachers maybe we could give the benefit of the doubt to our students as we realize they may yet be untrained in acquiring pianist skills which includes fingering impulse selection.

Many would be undisciplined in this until they had experienced exercises in fingering such as scales, chord progressions, arpeggios and copious music literature.

Student might rely on their intuitive fingering choices which fit their hands and brains at the present moment. This might work well for them or it might not.

They might not be able to establish a consistent fingering of the same music time after time in playing it. Consistent fingering keeps one steady, assists memorization and avoids mishaps on the keyboard. Inconsistent fingering would unnerve a lot of pianists as it signifies lack of control in using the brain, hand, body as connected together in piano playing.

I think time, effort, education help us learn to work to our optimum in whatever musical task we are strengthening. Learning musicians seem to take the harder road to accomplish that which does not come easy to them. Those who want to rest on their "natural talents", whatever that might consist of, are usually, in my opinion, taking the easier road.

In the long run, it is a matter of discipline and control, the workings of mind-body co-ordination in putting things into the conscious deliberately for reusing in the future on demand (sub-conscious).

Higher functioning is a bigger ball of wax. Instant functioning is a comfortable place, but at some point we exceed our ability to pull it off.

In order to make changes, I think we need to be aware that there are changes that can be made, and that we can make those changes. Otherwise, we are "as happy as clams at high tide". That means to me, that if we don't know that we are missing something, the idea that we might be missing something doesn't exist to us all all. We would be resistant to entertain the question and resistant to change.

Then there are the easily teachables who listen and do and then, maybe, they might make some alterations to what and how they do something musically, but their changes would come from intelligence and their experiences, making the changes welcome, evaluated, and contributing to a better mind set and outcome.

The "can-do" approach to me is what musicianship is all about.

The "oppositional" information that has come up in this topic is very interesting to me. It explains a lot about some teaching situations we find.

I think most teacher and student teams can face this situation with an open mind and some mutual respect. It is only when one of us has a "cemented" mind of unwillingness do we lose the ability to explore the possibilities and potential of what we encounter on our music paths - whether alone in self teaching - or as a team in lessons.

Piano lessons basically means adding structure to produce a "lessoning" of the art and techniques of being a functioning and practiced musician at the piano.

If you think of it like that, what is there to argue about?

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#1255841 - 08/25/09 01:30 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: Betty Patnude]
LVP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/09
Posts: 289
Loc: Vermont
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Originally Posted By: lvp
WAIT ONE MINUTE! I thought the dropout rate was because acoustic pianos were too loud! Now I can't have a teacher for technique either? Methinks someone had a bad teacher once upon a time. And a Betsy Ross to boot!

Mrs A: Brilliant. I havn't seen you post much here lvp. Please come back. I look forward to reading more.


Betty: Ditto!

Humor is a good thing to resort to when all else is lost - but perhaps humor really belongs as our first response.

I could learn from you! Laughter feels good!


Glad to contribute something to the general merriment of your day! Laughter is always my first defense against, well, everything!
_________________________
LVP
Charles Walter 1500
Korg SP-170s

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#1255933 - 08/25/09 03:53 PM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: LVP]
trillingadventurer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 304
Loc: San Diego
"Piano lessons basically means adding structure to produce a "lessoning" of the art and techniques of being a functioning and practiced musician at the piano."

I like that Betty. Very eloquently put.

Margaret
_________________________
M. Katchur

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#1256244 - 08/26/09 02:20 AM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: GreenRain]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: GreenRain

I do trust my teacher and i often ask her to help me with fingering. But no mather how good one teacher is, I will never agree with every single thing she or he says. I do "agree", or let's rather say beleive in almost everything she says, but not everything. It doesn't have much to do with not trusting her, but with my taste. Maybe the pedaling in piece "x" should be used in "y" way, but i think an "a" way sounds nicer. It means that i like it played diferently, not that i think that i'm "better" than my teacher and composer. Of course, out of respect, i will play it as my teacher wants.

Then I should point out that teachers are even more different than you might think. You see, if I show a student several possible ways of doing something, I am disappointed if the student chooses my way just because it is my way. I want the student to try ALL possibilities, then come to an independent decision. The more advanced the student, the more important this is. But I even give such choices to rather young students who have not played long.

Fingering is not a science. It is an art. I remember talking to Steven (Sotto Voce) about fingerings in two Chopin editions. As I remember, he very much likes Joseffy's fingerings. I don't. From that I could conclude that he has chosen something inferior, while I have made wiser choices. Or vice versa.

In fact, I suspect we have different hands. We all choose fingerings that feel comfortable to us, and while many are so standard that they work for almost everyone, others are very peculiar to hand size, shape of fingers, many other factors.

TO ALL:

I have to say, with some anger, that I am really disgusted to the max with the way people come here and make judgments about students, or teachers, or both, with almost NO facts. Maybe the student is stubborn and unreasonable. Maybe the teacher is a dictator. Maybe the teacher is very nice, the student is a potentially good student, and a "fit" has not yet been established.

I personally would let most fingerings chosen in a manner that seem second-best to me "go". I have more fingering than most editors in my own music, but when my young students (or beginners) are paying too much attention to fingering and are not reading intervals well enough, I actually suggest that they "let the fingering go right out the window" and just get the notes.

For my students this is temporary. In almost every case a problem using fingerings I suggest is a reading problem, not a problem following directions. Or a coordination problem. Or both. As my students become better readers, they usually automatically choose to follow my fingering suggestions more and more. That said, some experimentation is necessary at every stage of development, because how else will students eventually learn to finger their own music?

It certainly would be nice to see people focus more on problems, how to solve them, while making fewer assumptions about the character of the people who are reporting problems, or struggling with them.


Edited by Gary D. (08/26/09 02:22 AM)
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#1256247 - 08/26/09 02:26 AM Re: Stubborn young student.. [Re: sotto voce]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
It's not possible to say what the optimal fingering is for any sequence of notes without knowing what comes before it and what follows it.

I think perhaps that's so obvious that it's taken for granted by most, but it's still worth pointing out. It just cannot be said that 1-3-1-3-5 is correct or fine or best without taking into account the context; the same is true for 2-4-2-4-5, and, for that matter, for 1-2-1-2-3, which might be the most efficient in some circumstances.

So simple. Is shouldn't have to be said, should it?

But I'm afraid you will have to repeat that EVERY TIME you make a point about ANY fingering.

And again, that's why fingering is an art, not a science. smile
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