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#1262370 - 09/04/09 01:27 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Diane...]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I don't know of any teachers who refuse to let their students play anything other than Classical. Do they really exist? And if they do then what is to stop a child from playing whatever they like outside of their lessons? My teacher could not have stopped me from playing video game music by ear not that he would have wanted to. I got a lot of benefit from doing that.

I think the problem is that many students use this idea of 'not liking the piece' as an easy excuse not to practise. If a student tells me that they hate a particular piece then that's fine, we will pick something else. If they tell me they want to play popular music then I ask, "What's stopping you?". Most of these kids are more internet savvy than I am so if I can find sheet music to download then you can bet they can as well.

Also I can say hand on heart that when a student does not practise it rarely has anything to do with the style of music they are playing. Making a switch to pop music might pacify them in the short term but before long you will be right back where you started.
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#1262403 - 09/04/09 02:18 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Chris H.]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
Chris, I think it has to do a lot with MONEY

Most of the classical composers aren't benefitting from their pieces because they are dead! But popular composers in this century, well, are alive, and everyone wants a piece of the pie! Copy right laws!

And yes, 2 of my classical teachers were exclusively classical. Spending too much time getting down the exam pieces, as well as 6 others, that had to be learned! One teacher even refused to let me to play a piece I HAD learned on my own at the recital because she hadn't helped me with it! And she wanted just my exam pieces And . . . most kids need help with the popular pieces because, as you said, dots and rest and syncopation . . . all over the place! They aren't always easy, and, some teachers just want to get the pieces done for exams because, as I said, the teachers (and parents) don't have to put out a ton of money to buy extra popular music (teacher's maybe can't afford to put out extra money for it either)!

Downloading music from the internet is not right, as you know! Copy right issues! So again, I think it comes down to, "Do you really want to make the parents pay for the sheet music when, what they have been doing for years is simply playing dead people's music . . . for cheap!

Still think it all has to do with MONEY!

EDIT: added "for cheap"!


Edited by Diane... (09/04/09 02:20 PM)
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Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1262425 - 09/04/09 02:42 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Diane...]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I don't know. When I search for sheet music online the Classical books seem to cost the same as the popular books.

Sheet music can be expensive regardless of style and genre and it's often the case that you need to buy a whole book just to get at one particular piece. A lot of current pop music would not even be available for piano and we all know that kids don't want to play something which was popular last year! Even more reason for them to have a go by ear.
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#1262486 - 09/04/09 04:06 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Chris H.]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
You probably have all the classical pieces in your collection already, as I do! Probably have many of them in different EDITIONS too! Not sure how your system works, but here, we have all the classical pieces for that grade in one book, so it's cheap and easy to use! And the book costs approximately $12.

My point is, I would really like to see the RCM have 3 books, (not just 2)! EACH GRADE would have, then, 3 books; 1 book with CLASSICAL repertoire, 1 book for ETUDES and 1 book with POPULAR selections (Disney pieces in it would be nice)! Each book would cost roughly $12 each! Give or take depending on the Grade level!
And the popular pieces, the student learns, wouldn't be worth less in marks than the Classical piece!

At the present, the RCM just included, in exams, Christopher Norton's books. And for each Grade up to Grade 8! But . . . out of the 20 pieces in each book, RCM has stated that they only allow 3 out of the 20 pieces in that book, BUT . . . in the Classical repertoire, they allow you to use ALL pieces! And believe me, some of those pieces are just painful because they may be from Canadian composers, and . . . well what can I say, I wouldn't let my worst enemy listen to some of THOSE pieces! (ON SECOND THOUGHT! smile )

Anyways, times change, music changes, and why not have a Disney piece now and again that has to be up and ready for an EXAM!

Just in conclusion, the gowns worn way back when Mozart was around may have been in style, but, hey, pleeeeaaaazzzze, give me my blue jeans once in a while! grin
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Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1262491 - 09/04/09 04:20 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Diane...]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

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

Diane,

My compliments to you!

I was really happy to hear you say..."This year, every one of my 28 students, exception of one, came back to my studio this year! I think that speaks volumes!"

My heart almost breaks when I think about the students who haven't been faring well in piano lessons and who have closed the door too soon, too early to have found the miracle of success for themselves. Sometimes students' personal circumstances are difficult to work out, sometimes they give up at the first obstacle, sometimes they leave because something else got in the way, some are quitters because it's the easy way out. It's truly hard to achieve a rescue that keeps the student in lessons if the problem is significant.

To have everyone of your students back this year is a credit to them and to you. I hope it's a wonderful year for all of you!

Betty

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#1262512 - 09/04/09 05:04 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Diane...]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Diane...

My point is, I would really like to see the RCM have 3 books, (not just 2)! EACH GRADE would have, then, 3 books; 1 book with CLASSICAL repertoire, 1 book for ETUDES and 1 book with POPULAR selections (Disney pieces in it would be nice)! Each book would cost roughly $12 each! Give or take depending on the Grade level!
And the popular pieces, the student learns, wouldn't be worth less in marks than the Classical piece!

This is why I am a part of no organizations. If I had to align what I do to rules written by other people, I'd no longer be a teacher. By the way, much to my shock, almost every student I had from last year is also back, and about 2/3rds of my students studied with me throughout the summer.

I have one 4th grade boy who is dying to play the theme from the first Narnia movie. It was just too hard for him at the end of last fall, but I'm almost sure he will do it easily this fall.

Another student, just starting 2nd grade, is all excited about playing the theme from the Popeye cartoons. (I'm Popeye the Sailor Man)

And this actually has nice RH scale patterns in it.

Like you I spend a good bit of my time looking for ANY KIND of interesting music, and I add it to my list of "things to do". Some music is not well arranged, but I can often change that. So long as I sell the original sheet music, I doubt I am taking money out of anyone's pockets by providing an alternate version that makes the music more effective and "piano friendly".
Quote:

At the present, the RCM just included, in exams, Christopher Norton's books. And for each Grade up to Grade 8! But . . . out of the 20 pieces in each book, RCM has stated that they only allow 3 out of the 20 pieces in that book, BUT . . . in the Classical repertoire, they allow you to use ALL pieces! And believe me, some of those pieces are just painful because they may be from Canadian composers, and . . . well what can I say, I wouldn't let my worst enemy listen to some of THOSE pieces! (ON SECOND THOUGHT! smile )

That brings up an interesting point. When examining "traditional collections", the mindset seems to be that something, anything, written by a famous composer trumps something written by someone less well known—or mostly unknown.

But I keep pointing out to my students that famous composers were seldom very good at writing materials for beginners, so their "easy" music either tends to be rather boring OR is not really easy. Even in Bach's Anna Magdalena notebook, the two pieces that my students usually like best are not by Bach, but by Petzold—the two minuets (or menuets).
Quote:

Anyways, times change, music changes, and why not have a Disney piece now and again that has to be up and ready for an EXAM!

Well, for me—down with exams, up with extra pieces from Disney or anyone else that get students of all ages to practice.

My students' tastes change as they improve. My advanced players are open to anything that sounds good to them, anything that sounds pretty, or exciting, or interesting, and although they will sometimes pick things that are very popular, now, they will also pick things that are not contemporary at all.

The trick is to allow them to grow. This is why I prefer to allow students to start off in any reasonable direction they want to pursue, then watch as their interest in music develops. They all end up diversifying, and that's what I want, as a teacher.

I'm trying to develop a positive addiction, one that will continue operating through a lifetime, and curiosity is a huge part of what drives that. Those who have strong ideas about what they want to play, now and in the future, are much more likely to continue playing, in my opinion.
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#1262529 - 09/04/09 05:38 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Gary D.]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Things are very different over here. Most kids will only practise if they are studying for an exam.
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#1262533 - 09/04/09 05:51 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Gary D.]
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 794
Loc: Toronto
An amazing diversity of opinions here.

I realize that this has grown far beyond my original question about my son but please let me bring him up again. He's had the last month mostly off from lessons and is starting up again tomorrow. Given this, I've been thinking about how best to make the practice sessions enjoyable for him. He's been working on a piece called Jazz Blast and the other day when we'd finished the piece before I accidentally called it "Cheese Blast". This became a massive joke. For my kid, humour seems to really take the edge off of everything. He's an irreverent guy and really likes to make fun of things.

Anyway, I expect we'll stick with the RCM program - I take the point that these overly proscriptive programs can be...well... overly proscriptive. But I don't think he particularly minds playing whatever is put in front of him as long as the pressure is kept to a minimum and the best way to do this seems to be more joking around.

Maybe there's no one perfect way to do this - maybe the point is to tailor the practice session (or whatever we're going to call it) to the specific kid.
_________________________
Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780

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#1262550 - 09/04/09 06:23 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: jnod]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5528
Loc: Orange County, CA
This thread is very diverse indeed.

I think the type of teacher attracts the type of student. Almost all of my students are on the testing/competition track, and they practice almost exclusively their "test" pieces. Very few of them will ever ask me for anything else--or will have time for anything else, since theory takes up so much of their lesson time as they advanced to the more difficult levels (try explaining secondary dominants and half-diminished seventh chords to future non-music majors). Don't even get me started on the sight-reading and technique requirements...

Disney? My students don't have time for Disney. I'm just hoping that, if they really like Disney, they can find their own time after college to play whatever they want. But, by then, they'll be busy working or starting their own families.

Meanwhile, if I can keep their interest in piano and provide them with the musical skills necessary to play the piano well, I think I'm doing my job.
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#1262560 - 09/04/09 07:01 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: AZNpiano]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I find the exams my students participate in to be quite flexible. They may have to play 3 pieces, but only one of them has to be from a specific list, and that list is HUGE and diverse! They can play pretty much anything they want until level 3 or 4, then start going into required time periods, but even at that, they can play jazzy things or movie themes as longs as they are at level.

I love being part of an organization. There is so much give and take and a variety of things my students can participate in besides exams.
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#1264251 - 09/07/09 08:23 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Minniemay]
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 794
Loc: Toronto
I was reading through all this material this afternoon and, after a pretty decent practise, thought I would post one last time. Today my son offered *me* a deal. The activation barrier seems to be at its greatest when he encounters something for the first time. Once he gets a little better, ie towards the end of the week, he's much more comfortable.

So the deal he offered was that when he's first learning a piece he would play it three times only, then, to make up he would work harder at scales. As the week goes by, he'll work harder on the piece and less on the scales. So, today he worked through the first two lines of 'Silly Argument' (his first assignment in RCM level 1) and played contrary motion scales the for the first time. As I say, he weirdly enjoys scales: after a half hour he could play C, G, D and A major through two octaves in CM which seems pretty good.

We'll see how it goes but this seems like a reasonable deal....
_________________________
Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780

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#1264252 - 09/07/09 08:26 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Betty Patnude]
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 794
Loc: Toronto
PS. I think the inspiration for this came from a suggestion someone made on this thread that each practicw session have a specific purpose. My kid seems to have liked this idea a lot. I forget whose suggestion this was but it seems to be a good one!
_________________________
Justin
-------
Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
Schubert Moment Musicaux opus 94 D780

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#1264546 - 09/08/09 11:53 AM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Betty Patnude]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

It's about effectiveness and efficiency, actually.

Rather than to assign a certain amount of time at practice, I like to assign a certain amount of repetitions within the piece to prepare it (practice areas) and then when the "under construction" approach is completed, the piece gets practice in sections repeatedly for further polish. Then the piece get played entirely for first for interpretation, for memorization and then for performance.

Having a purpose for each practice is something that helps the student work through the music with new understanding and pride in the development and finished product so that something that is a lot of time and effort going into it, looks amazingly simple when played well.


Was this the part about "purpose" for each practice? I fully believe that students do their best when the analysis of the piece and the practicing plan is supervised by the teacher when the new piece of music appears for the first time. It horrifies me that students develop pieces on their own and get a weeks worth or more of practice without having adequately been prepared for working through the process they will use. Our students just don't have the necessary experience to use their wits when there are concepts that are new to them, but no one has explained what the new concepts are, nor shown how to do them yet.

Piano is an instrument - the human mind is an instrument - the body is an instrument - all need to understand their task in each piece of music, and all/each must be "driven" through the work requirement with intention, purpose and scrutiny.

That is IF you think of it as a game primarily using intelligence. And, IF you think of the accomplishments and control gained as where the REAL FUN lies.

It all comes down to SELF DISCIPLINE and being a mental and physical ATHLETE at the piano.

Maybe this will turn your son on so much that he never has an "off" switch! I hope so!

Betty Patnude

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#1264575 - 09/08/09 12:30 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Betty Patnude]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5574
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
It horrifies me that students develop pieces on their own and get a weeks worth or more of practice without having adequately been prepared for working through the process they will use. Our students just don't have the necessary experience to use their wits when there are concepts that are new to them, but no one has explained what the new concepts are, nor shown how to do them yet.


It might be interesting to read the Hugh Sung thread here in the teachers forum for some different perspectives, not to mention different tones of voice, on how to approach making music.

Cathy
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#1264784 - 09/08/09 06:14 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Betty Patnude]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5948
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
It horrifies me that students develop pieces on their own...
Many things horrify me - but this isn't one of them.
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#1264829 - 09/08/09 07:35 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: currawong]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Let me be a little more specific about what horrifies me, please:
That students never receive any help prior to taking a new piece of music home with them is what horrifies me. They are in our studios to take lessons and receive instruction. To me instruction means teaching the piece, giving practice instructions, and listening to the results at the next lesson when we go through the next set of instructions. I collaborate with all my students and we talk about the pieces in front of us. I am not the least bit comfortable with giving an assignment of any piece without looking at it together. I think I learned this through my first years of teaching: that mistakes that have been repeatedly made at home at practice do not come out easily - you have to work hard to remove them. Mistakes discourage the student. Especially when he has put his all into practicing them. I think mistakes are the beginning of excuse making time.

I am prepared to relinquish my viewpoint when I am satisfied that the student does have good work habits and does read the music well and does play musically and is constructively independent in having natural talents and acquired skills.

I have had more than enough transfer students sit at my piano who play a song through - not very well - and immediately turn the page to go to another song - they are satisfied with a poor showing - they don't want input from me - and they certainly didn't know how or want to practice this piece. Piano lessons and structured learning is something they don't know about. This is how they learned to approach new music and sit through a lesson. It horrifies me that some teachers take the money and do so little to contribute to the student's successful music study.

Getting poor results is the opposite of what "teaching", "learning" and "instruction" mean.

Maybe the word horrify means different things to us.

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#1264837 - 09/08/09 07:54 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Betty Patnude]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5574
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
I think mistakes are the beginning of excuse making time.


I learn from my mistakes.

Cathy
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#1264868 - 09/08/09 08:49 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: jotur]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Cathy, you get all the sticky stars you want to put on your page for learning from your mistakes. That's a very valid use of sticky stars. thumb

I'm going to reinforce my unpopular position here just for the hell of it.

We all learn have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. I teach not to pay too much attention to the fact that you have made a mistake - it's equivalent in my world to a container of bubbles that kids blow through a wand. You see them, they pop, they're gone.

However, if the student knows they made a mistake, I teach them to find it. We listen, feel, and watch for it to happen again. We find out where it is, what it looks like on the music, review what we did to verify it is a mistake that needs fixing, how to fix it, repetition with good intentions immediately at lesson, follow through at home.

Most of my students take this part of lesson seriously enough that they go home and fix the "problem". It is very empowering to kids to be able to follow through with something like this. It seems to be important to them that they would do their best. They are not devastated with mistakes, nor do them dramatize them, nor do they ignore them. I'd say they are developing healthy habits.

I'd say the ongoing objective is to play carefully enough that mistakes don't creep into play in the first place. Sometimes mistakes are just a "digit confusion" - sometimes they are a misreading or accidental thought or move - sometimes they are a "gross mistake" where there is no control or thought guiding the piano player - "completely off" and "irritated" by it. Not the least bit helpful or productive. A "stop the music" moment.

However, not everyone is aware they have made mistakes. Some don't want to know. Some get angry if you tell them. Some even practice unknown mistakes until they become just about unbreakable habits.

Some people are happy playing piano mistakes and all.

When children make mistakes and enter into the excuse making routine, teachers are not doing them justice if we allow it to continue. Reality is a good counter to excuse making. Lord knows we've already heard all the excuses known to mankind.

There's not a thing can be done about adult excuse makers who are resistant to taking suggestions leading to a different approach.

So be it. It seems we all have to get their on our bellies or one way or another. The whole point seems to be happy while doing it. Hang in there.

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#1264884 - 09/08/09 09:19 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Betty Patnude]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
I have to say that in the end, it's all inane. You're teaching children to play the creations of other people. And here comes the inane part ... you're teaching them how to play it right.

Where's the creativity? Where's the joy? Oh yeah ... it comes from working hard and getting it "right."

Is it any wonder kids hate piano lessons? For the most part, they are forced by stupid but well meaning parents because they believe piano lessons will make them smarter - another belief that's not true.

I have nothing against children who want to learn how to play classical music. Although they are few and far between. My problem lies with parents who push it because they think it's somehow required to improve a child's life.

Substitute the accordion for piano and you'll see what I mean.
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#1264894 - 09/08/09 09:42 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: eweiss]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10386
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: eweiss
Substitute the accordion for piano and you'll see what I mean.


Hey, them's fightin' words to Monica. Watch out! grin
.
.
.

Betty,

Methinks you horrify easily! smile

I suspect your views are more attuned to the needs of elementary and intermediate level students who lack a solid technical foundation. Many teachers don't even want to hear a student stumble through the first sight reading of a piece. They may talk to them beforehand about difficulties they will encounter or about the structure of the piece and the composer's intent, but they don't want to start working seriously on the piece until the student has the basics in their hands.
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#1264909 - 09/08/09 10:10 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Gary D.]
Cathy Shefski Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/27/09
Posts: 16
Loc: NE Pennsylvania
Gary D -

I guess I should clarify my point about how my teacher chose all my music for me.

I don't think I would have known myself at age 12 the pedagogical soundness of starting with Bach 2-part Inventions, then progressing to 3-Part Inventions, leading up to Preludes and Fugues; or Beethoven Sonatas starting with Op 90, then Op 2 no 1, etc, saving Op 81a and the Wallstein until later and the late Beethoven until much later. With Chopin - starting with Waltzes and Nocturnes and the A major Polonaise, saving the four Ballades until later in high school. Concertos - my teacher knew Saint Saens and Gershwin Concerto in F suited my temperment as a teen. I probably wasn't ready to learn Rach 3 at that time even though I loved it and listened to it all time.

In other words, yes, I think a teacher can "guide" a student through choosing the repertoire that fits their skill level. The only time I felt like my interest was "killed" was when a teacher I had at age 9 had me learn the Moonlight Sonata, a piece much too difficult for me.

It's great that you were able to choose what you wanted to play from an early age. As a teacher, I still cringe when a beginner student comes in to a lesson and tells me they want to learn a piece that I know is beyond their skill level. Sometimes that's what it takes to make them practice...other times it's just too frustrating for the student. It's my job as a teacher to know when difficult is impossible, and introduce the student to a similar piece, something that is within their grasp.

~Catherine~
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#1264918 - 09/08/09 10:23 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

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

I wouldn't waste my breath advocating for good instruction and expecting great things from my piano students if I didn't have a following of enthusiastic parents and students over my years of teaching. I have created my circumstances based on my music teaching philosophies, my values, my experience, my ethics and my dream. I say strongly that my experience and circumstances of what I do work for me and for mine. We have plenty of creativity and imagination - I've been outside the box all my life. I just have learned to teach efficiently and effectively due to hard work and learning from my experiences as well as from other people.

Oh, yuck! Sorry I misapplied some of the bold, underline and italics...it got confusing as they don't actually show what you're doing - but subsets of b/u/i appear and I got lost without knowing how to remove them. (Horrifying experience! crazy)
[b][b]
[b][i]PianoDad said[/[/i]b]: "Many teachers don't even want to hear a student stumble through the first sight reading of a piece. They may talk to them beforehand about difficulties they will encounter or about the structure of the piece and the composer's intent, but they don't want to start working seriously on the piece until the student has the basics in their hands."
[/b]

You speak of exactly the situation that I say is horrifying to me, believe it or not. It is the rank beginners who need the kind of instruction I am talking about being needed by the students who have not had piano lessons before. It is next to impossible for kids to make progress on their own without guidance and structure.

I am getting tired of defending myself from others who do not hold the same viewpoints that I do. I don't mind if that's what you hold to be true for yourselves, but I don't think it's fair to take pot shots at teachers who are structured and work hard with their students to get results. [/b]
I wish parents were better grounded in their ability to choose piano teachers. If they were, I think that below average teachers would soon be out of business. So many sites allow students to enroll off the street and they get a weekly place in the studio on the bench. But, if the teacher isn't teaching but is just incubating the student, parents soon tire of getting little for their investment and they give up on lessons and their child all together when this child could have had a very strong teacher who would care about getting results. Creativity or not.

When you wait for the child to have a break through from his own self teaching you are stalling their progress. It may happen, it may not, if it doesn't happen the "casual" teacher is not going to care and certainly is not going to feel responsible for the outcome.

This smacks to me of marketing: enter the students, receive the fees, sit there, do very little, and wait for the child to develop to a place where you are interested in teaching him? You don't ever have to teach him under those circumstance -which are pretty good at earning power - but perhaps lousy in outcome. I bet money is saved on giving recitals and piano parties too if no student is ever prepared to do diddly-squat. And, you can always say you don't see the value in recitals, too. Just avoid all that 100%.

Apples should be compared to apples, oranges to oranges, don't you think?

Betty Patnude


Edited by Betty Patnude (09/08/09 10:26 PM)

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#1264919 - 09/08/09 10:23 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: eweiss]
Cathy Shefski Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/27/09
Posts: 16
Loc: NE Pennsylvania
Edward -

I'm a subscriber to your newsletter and I do happen to agree with you. There are many students who thrive on improvisation and I'm starting to incorporate it more and more in my teaching.

Then there are still some (like me) who swoon over a perfectly shaped phrase in a Chopin Nocturne or Rachmaninoff Etude. :}

~Catherine~
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#1264923 - 09/08/09 10:31 PM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Cathy Shefski]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5574
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Apples should be compared to apples, oranges to oranges, don't you think?


Why, yes, I do. But you don't say which you are talking about - you just make broad general statements, that don't apply to everyone, as if they *do* apply to everyone - apples, oranges, grapes, and kiwis.

Oh well.

Cathy
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#1264978 - 09/09/09 12:53 AM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Betty Patnude]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
But, if the teacher isn't teaching but is just incubating the student, parents soon tire of getting little for their investment and they give up on lessons and their child all together when this child could have had a very strong teacher who would care about getting results. Creativity or not.

But it's not really about the parents is it? And if it is, it's pretty sad. And the results you talk about are little more than touch typing the right notes at the right time - getting it right. What other art does this?

I'd rather a child play tone clusters all day and express something original than learn how to play "Fur Elise" or some other composers work. I don't teach children, but if I did, I'd throw the classical curriculum out the window and teach them how to play what they feel - a skill infinitely more valuable than recreating a dead composers music.

And to answer the OP, motivation should come from within. It's like asking "how can I motivate my kid to play the accordion?" If they like the accordion, they'll play it. If not, they won't. Another instance of a parent expecting a child to be excited about something they just aren't jazzed about.
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#1264994 - 09/09/09 01:44 AM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Piano*Dad]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5528
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Many teachers don't even want to hear a student stumble through the first sight reading of a piece. They may talk to them beforehand about difficulties they will encounter or about the structure of the piece and the composer's intent, but they don't want to start working seriously on the piece until the student has the basics in their hands.


Even for my advanced students, I'd like to walk them through the piece, section by section, getting the details right (notes, fingering, rhythm) because it's hard to un-do these mistakes if learned incorrectly. As for sections with difficulties, I will offer some technical suggestions, but I have to see what works--since each student plays differently.
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#1264995 - 09/09/09 01:47 AM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: eweiss]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5528
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: eweiss
I'd rather a child play tone clusters all day and express something original than learn how to play "Fur Elise" or some other composers work.




Tone clusters? All day?? I'd go insane in 30 seconds. I don't like "Fur Elise," but I'd rather teach that than hear tone clusters all day long.
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#1265014 - 09/09/09 02:29 AM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: Betty Patnude]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Let me be a little more specific about what horrifies me, please:
That students never receive any help prior to taking a new piece of music home with them is what horrifies me. They are in our studios to take lessons and receive instruction. To me instruction means teaching the piece, giving practice instructions, and listening to the results at the next lesson when we go through the next set of instructions. I collaborate with all my students and we talk about the pieces in front of us. I am not the least bit comfortable with giving an assignment of any piece without looking at it together. I think I learned this through my first years of teaching: that mistakes that have been repeatedly made at home at practice do not come out easily - you have to work hard to remove them. Mistakes discourage the student. Especially when he has put his all into practicing them. I think mistakes are the beginning of excuse making time.

I am prepared to relinquish my viewpoint when I am satisfied that the student does have good work habits and does read the music well and does play musically and is constructively independent in having natural talents and acquired skills.

I have had more than enough transfer students sit at my piano who play a song through - not very well - and immediately turn the page to go to another song - they are satisfied with a poor showing - they don't want input from me - and they certainly didn't know how or want to practice this piece. Piano lessons and structured learning is something they don't know about. This is how they learned to approach new music and sit through a lesson. It horrifies me that some teachers take the money and do so little to contribute to the student's successful music study.

Getting poor results is the opposite of what "teaching", "learning" and "instruction" mean.

Maybe the word horrify means different things to us.


I think this is great advice. As they say "practice makes permanent". As long as students are still learning a style, are still learning motions/movements to create the right articulation and sound for that style, are still inexperienced in choosing good fingerings, are nonchalent about ensuring that each measure has the same number of beats or that rythyms are played as written, etc. etc. then work put in up front with student and teacher together is one of the best investments to be made:

Have the student slowly play the LH while the teacher plays RH and immediately gives feedback, corrects weird fingerings, etc. and marks up the score. Then change places and repeat. Give explicit instructions on what you want them to do and how between now and the next lesson and then ask them to show you what they would do at home to show they understand.

If you were teaching someone to knit, would you let them go home and produce a yard of ugly knots and uneven rows and then spend the next two months trying to pull the knots out or would you first go over the knitting process, the pattern, take a slow accurate start and get them going on something that will actually be usable for the end product in the end?

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#1265053 - 09/09/09 05:43 AM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: theJourney]
jnod Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 794
Loc: Toronto
eweiss - thanks for your valuable post - from now on my son will learn nothing but tone clusters, played on the accordian. I may pull him out of third grade as it is clearly wasted time learning the ideas of others. Especially others who are dead.
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#1265055 - 09/09/09 05:54 AM Re: how to motivate my son to practice? [Re: jnod]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
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