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#1253314 - 08/21/09 11:25 AM Re: I had an odd studio interview today.. [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Bev,

I empathize a lot with you in this situation.

One issue is whether you want the Mom at the lesson or not. It's really hard on some kids for there to be a "listener in the room".

Some of the age group you mention often are defensive about making mistakes because no one has said to them: "You will make mistakes, it's a normal part of what happens when we begin piano lessons." I also add, "I want you to make any mistakes that you have here at your lesson so that I can help you "fix" things."

Advising that we can prevent mistakes by reading through music slowly with a plan and an eye for details - learning to analyze the content of the music one step at a time. More security and confidence would blossom because your emphasize that there is thinking and planning required to learn a piece. One doesn't just play something mindlessly. One observes, plans, remembers, builds - putting time and effort into the piece. Practice is not playing it once and being finished. Playing it once and being finished does not work at lesson either.

Nothing annoys me more that atransfer student who plays a piece once and starts to turn the page to the next piece before we have talked about what he heard and saw. It makes me think they have had mindless teaching since there is no accountability for their presentation. That has been a big problem to overcome in my studio. The adjustment from one teacher to another is very often a huge adjustment. I have been the recipient of the beady eyes-pursed lips syndrome - I think most teachers recognize it. Not good.

I also talk about perfection: perfection is artificial in that perfection is incredibly hard to attain, but a high standard of excellence is better. Most of the attributes of someone trying to "bluff" or "minimize" their errors and "get by" with poor playing is going to get trapped in their "scheme" of make believe.

Reality hurts sometimes, but reality means that you care enough to help the student through the obstacles that are hindering real progress. Now finding the way to communicate with this student is the puzzle. Each student is different in how the problems surface and how they "wade" through them, but the basis for it is, I think, their insecurity about what they are doing and that "someone" might find out about their limitations.

I think it would be great progress to have her "sleuth" the music to announce where her mistakes or unfinished areas are in the music and to tell you how she is going to go about fixing them. I once gave out little magnifying glasses ($ store) so that kids would see the music better magnified. They played "detective" as they practiced to make sure they didn't miss anything on the music page. It really worked well for the 6 - 9 age group. When kids were having problems in counting dotted notes, inconsistancy, I gave out boxes of "Dots" candy and we practiced counting: "HALF NOTE DOT" to 3 steady beats with hands clapping. (Regimen).

The ideas of teaching her how to practice - lots of different ways - instead of the way she is working - which is NOT working well for her. Practiceopedia - Philip Johnstone (incredible website) have a lot of ideas - and there are books available written for the student. Independent students would like visiting this site, I think.

Whew! This is going to be long to read - I'm sorry - but the words are just coming out almost too fast to type this morning. Wouldn't it be great to get together and visit and talk about such things. We are all catalysts to each other in so many ways. I know I need the in-person opportunities with other teachers just to chat and share ideas. The great thing about posting in Piano World is that we have copies of our thinking and posting!

Betty

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#1253359 - 08/21/09 12:20 PM Re: I had an odd studio interview today.. [Re: Betty Patnude]
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
Thanks, Betty!

I agree.. there is a wealth of information here. Thank you for your ideas.. will need them again, because I'm about to post another question. LOLO

BevP

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#1253362 - 08/21/09 12:22 PM Re: I had an odd studio interview today.. [Re: Piano Again]
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
Piano Again,
I remember asking her what type of music she liked, and she may have just shrugged her shoulders. I have several students around her same age, and they are so self-conscious overall at this point, I don't think the observation would work well, at all.

Again, I'll just have to try to "charm" her in the hopes that she will settle in with a new teaching style. wink

BevP

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#1253369 - 08/21/09 12:34 PM Re: I had an odd studio interview today.. [Re: BSP]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I think all you can do is be there, be reliable and trustworthy, and just let time pass. There's no way to hurry any sort of relationship over a barrier. The only way to get someone to trust you is to be trustworthy so they see for themselves, and that takes time. The passage of time is all you have, and she simply may decide she doesn't want to do it in the end.

There's no more a magic phrase to use to get a student to relax than there is, for want of a less tacky way of putting it, a magic phrase for "guys" to use to turn "chicks" into putty in their hands. :-) The only difference is that we all know the latter is malarkey.
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#1254162 - 08/22/09 05:32 PM Re: I had an odd studio interview today.. [Re: J Cortese]
Sal_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 355
Loc: Lacey, WA
For reading, you could try putting the books away, and just have her play after you, or make something up, but I doubt she's comfortable with that. Then write it down. This is not easy for a lot of students, but it's great for teaching where notes are and all those "extra" things. (One step at a time, of course.) Have it include as many "extra" things as you think she might/should know and really exaggerate them when you play. Then she gets to play from the music... needless to say, the longer it is and less time you spend repeating, the less chance she'll have it memorized. I also like to have students play what they just wrote and maybe/maybe not they'll catch their mistakes--either way it's a learning situation.

This might also be really fun for her if it's something she hasn't done.

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