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#1292223 - 10/23/09 03:43 AM Need some help with a new 15 yr old student
SueKZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/09
Posts: 97
Loc: Colorado
HI all,
I just acquired a really nice 15 yr. old girl. She had taken lessons previously for a few years, but I am having a hard time finding a book that is good for her. I got the All in One Alfred Adult but its way too heavy on the theory. This is a kid who told me (and so did her dad) that all lof that theory was a turn- off. I realize she needs to learn some theory, but thst Alfred (and also the Bastien Adult) is way too heavy for this kid. She told me she likes to play "pretty " music. I know that she will not be one of these kids who takes lessons for yrs. on end. I think her goal is to just be able to play and enjoy the piano. Any ideas on a good way to teach this kid? I was looking at good old John Thompson Level 1 because it teaches theory without pages and pages of workbook stuff. Kind of theory as you go along with the songs. Any ideas? I told this nice young lady to bring me all of her music from the previous lessons she had taken and maybe I can ascertain at least something of what she knows from that.
_________________________
Sue
Private Piano Teacher since 2009

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#1292237 - 10/23/09 05:25 AM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: SueKZ]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Throw away ALL the books and find a good teacher who knows how to play by ear and show that method.

Ask her to bring CD's or an ipod of her favourite music and what she considers to be "pretty" music.

Here is how you learn a song completely by ear:

1) Play a song and sing or hum the melody at the same time. Play it several times, breaking up the song into "bits" or 4 bars at a time.

2)Get the student to sing the melody by itself, not the word, only the notes. This will tell you how well they have the tune in their mind. How well you sing is not the point, how accurate you are with each note is. You'd be amazed some kids are all over the place, that's because they haven't been taught to LISTEN and hear the music.

2) Figure out what key and scale it is. Always be thinking in that "key". If it modulates, switch to the next "key".

3) Add the harmony with chords in the left hand. Start with triads first, the 1, 4, 5. Experiment to see which chords sound best. You'll get a feel for when to play the tonic chord, and when to use the minor and dominant.

4) Play the left hand chords only while playing the song from the CD at the same time. This enforces the rhythm of the song.

5) Add both right and left hands together, 4 bars at a time.

Start with simple tunes like Happy Birthday, Row row row your boat ...

When she gets better, find her a good jazz teacher!



Really the only theory you need to know is: The major and minor scale. Chords: major 7, minor 7, dominant 7 (2-5-1) in jazz. Major and minor triad for rock. That's it.

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#1292238 - 10/23/09 05:26 AM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: SueKZ]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
If she has been playing for a few years previously then you might not need to rely on method books. Surely she has got to the point of playing elementary pieces? I know it doesn't always work like that but I think you need to find her level in terms of repetoire first of all to really know where to go next.

If she can already play a little I would be looking for pieces that she might enjoy and that would inspire her to practise. Then I would slip in some of that nasty theory without drawing too much attention to it by keeping it relevant to the pieces themselves. You know the kind of thing, let's look at the key we are in and maybe learn to play the scale and primary chords etc. Question her about the marking within the music and hopefully she will have some questions for you to answer. I love it when a theory hater comes with a piece and wants me to explain something marked in the score!

I'm sure you will get some good ideas here in the forum.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1292249 - 10/23/09 06:19 AM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Chris H.]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
SueKZ, here's what I would try first if I were starting another teenager. I would explain to her that the theory she is learning is just practical ideas...it's about how to read music more easily. I would let her know that she has to "pay her dues" in order to learn to play piano, but that it will be worth it. I would let her know that the short cuts that teenagers want to try in my experience have always slowed their progress. If she want to accelerate and play quickly, the best way to do that is through daily practice...the more she practices the faster she'll progress. And I would supplement with pieces that interest her. If she refuses all that advice, then she's off to the slow track with the teacher bending over backwards to make it fun.

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#1292251 - 10/23/09 06:23 AM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Overexposed]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
Oh, I see your student has had years of lessons. My advice was really for a new beginner. But to evaluate her reading, pull out some level 1 pieces and see if she can read it...then move down or up a level to continue evaluating. And yes, it sounds reasonable to have her bring in her music, so you can see what she's accomplished so far.

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#1292292 - 10/23/09 09:10 AM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: SueKZ]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7394
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: SueKZ
HI all,
I just acquired a really nice 15 yr. old girl. She had taken lessons previously for a few years, but I am having a hard time finding a book that is good for her. I got the All in One Alfred Adult but its way too heavy on the theory. This is a kid who told me (and so did her dad) that all lof that theory was a turn- off. I realize she needs to learn some theory, but thst Alfred (and also the Bastien Adult) is way too heavy for this kid. She told me she likes to play "pretty " music. I know that she will not be one of these kids who takes lessons for yrs. on end. I think her goal is to just be able to play and enjoy the piano. Any ideas on a good way to teach this kid? I was looking at good old John Thompson Level 1 because it teaches theory without pages and pages of workbook stuff. Kind of theory as you go along with the songs. Any ideas? I told this nice young lady to bring me all of her music from the previous lessons she had taken and maybe I can ascertain at least something of what she knows from that.


Sue, I'm a bit confused by your post. The girl has had lessons for a "few years" yet you're talking elementary level method books. What level is she at? What can she read? What can she play? What is the quality of her playing?

I took on a similar student last Spring and chose to use some elementary level repertoire books plus a book of etudes so we could develop reading skills, cement playing skills, etc., at her level. She has made tremendous progress, to her credit.

There is not a lot of theory worth dwelling on at this level, so I'd recommend just covering the basics with her on the fly. Key signature, structure, etc., without making a big deal out of it.

John
_________________________
"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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#1292333 - 10/23/09 10:50 AM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: John v.d.Brook]
UrbanSpice Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/04
Posts: 25
If she's interested in playing pretty music try:
1. Etude - Paul Scheftel
2. River Flows in You - Yiruma (Every single teenager is in love with this song. Just go to youtube.)
3. Through the kaleidoscope - Steven Cravis
4. All of Me - Jon Schmidt

The first one is pretty easy but the others are very challenging. If she really wants to learn them then she will work hard and be motivated to do so. I have students of all ages and levels learning the above pieces. If you break down the song the right way then any student can learn them.

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#1292340 - 10/23/09 11:02 AM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: John v.d.Brook]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
I have a couple of teenage girls who love to play 'pretty' music. Here are my suggestions (although it's difficult to gauge what level your student is):

Just For Fun (Books 1 and 2) - Melody Bober (late elementary to early intermediate level)

Romantic Rhapsodies - M Bober (intermediate level)

Lyrical Solos (levels 1-5) - Robert Vandall

Romantic Portraits (book 1) - Kevin Costley (intermediate level)

Theme from the 'Notebook' - you'll find easy versions in movie collections by Alfred, Hal Leonard

'Bella's Lullaby' from Twilight - Hal Leonard's Movie Favorites (arr. Fred Kern)

'Dawn' from Pride & Prejudice - same book

I would ditch Thompson and put her in Faber's Piano Adventure series (if she still needs a series). The music in the PA series is wonderful and student respond well to the pieces. They do have an adult series too.

Christmas is coming up. The PA Adult 'Christmas at the Piano' books are WONDERFUL (book 2 is my favorite). Big-sounding arrangements that aren't too challenging. Also, check out the 'In Recital w/Christmas Favorites' (levels 1-5) series by FJH. Various composers create beautiful lyrical arrangements of popular standards and carols.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1292377 - 10/23/09 12:16 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Has she brought ALL of her music with her to lessons?

If you can take a look at where she's been or what she's had access to and use that to guide you, you'll have a better picture of who she is musically.

She also needs to show you what she knows how to do on the piano, so do you have a good picture of who she is musically yet?

Ask her to demonstrate "pretty music" she has played before to you.

Someone protesting "theory" as a problem to her is probably the students really needing theory, just not from a "theory book". The piano teacher can include some of that verbally while drawing a keyboard or music staff graphic. Using "vocabulary words" and defining themr would be part of it slipping theory in to the lessons without it feeling like theory. I would imagine that this same young lady is adverse to technique?

I would say from the clues given, that the "years" she has spent in lessons so far have not been to her advantage.

The fact that you are still thinking of method books for her instead of having graduated to piano pieces makes me think that you are very uncertain as to how to evaluate her progress to date and to know where to start with her.

My comment is not an insult it is an ownership of where both teacher and student are in finding an enjoyable path to the future together.

If you can say more about what you have noticed in this student, perhaps we can find more appropriate suggestions for you and for her.

I think you may need more observation of her skills.

There is beautiful music written at all levels and I think many of us would like to contribute some ideas - I feel limited in responding because the words "lessons for a few previous years" does not ad up to the situation you are describing.

Do you feel that she needs to be rescued? Or, is she a good musician to date?

Betty Patnude

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#1292383 - 10/23/09 12:24 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Betty Patnude]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2648
Dumdumdiddle, thanks for listing all these books. Right now I have mostly beginners but I've made a list of your recommendations, as I think it will come in useful.

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#1292406 - 10/23/09 12:55 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Overexposed]
SueKZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/09
Posts: 97
Loc: Colorado
I wrote my post a little late at night, so it wasn't as coherent as I hoped for. hehe. All are great suggestions and thank you! She has had 2 lessons with me so far. I started her with the Alfred Adult All in One, but I can see that its going to be too boring for her. There is a ton of theory in that and it goes too fast for a 15 yr., in my opinion. Basically she is being reviewed because she is not remembering what she learned in the past. She is definitely at the elementary level (around Level 1) but I do not think it will be for long as she starts to remember how to read the notes and some theory. She learned it, but its like she repressed it all. That must have been "some" teacher she had. I did ask her to play something that she liked and she only knew one song by memory. It had a pretty "New Age" feel to it. She mentioned "Mulan" (Disney movie music, which i am unfamiliar with). She is bringing all of her music in a box on Wed. Then I plan to look thru it at my leisure before her next lesson. Some of this unknown stuff is because she is very shy and probably a little embarressed that she forgot so much. ( I am guessing). It was suggested to me by her father that as she gets further into high school (she is in 9th grade) that she is going to get busier and busier (of course) and piano may not be the top priority. I would like to get her to a place where she can sight read most intermediate music that she wants to play. So I don't think a lot of scales and theory is going to be in the picture. It goes totally against my grain, but since this is what she wants...I will do it. Otherwise I know that kid will drop piano. Some is better than nothing, in my opinion. I have the same type of issue with that 87 yr. old lady that I posted about several months ago. I really do not feel she is progressing (not a big practicer), but basically I am her coach. Her husband has dementia and half the time i get to her house and he has the TV BLASTING and its always a big issue to get him to turn it off so we can have a lesson. OY. But no other teacher will keep her due to her husband and the dementia, so i am trying to be a kind soul and go with the flow with her. Let's face it, its an unusual circumstance.
Thanks all for the advice!!! (Always something. hehe)
_________________________
Sue
Private Piano Teacher since 2009

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#1292425 - 10/23/09 01:15 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: SueKZ]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17789
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
SueKZ, David Nevue has a lot of beautiful new age sheet music in a wide range of difficulty on his website, www.davidnevue.com

Click on 'sheet music' and it will take you to a page where you can look at sample pages and listen to the pieces. There's an option to see the pieces in rank order of difficulty.

I'd also (not surprisingly) recommend Ludovico Einaudi's music. He has some pieces that are not too difficult, although it's harder than Nevue's easier pieces.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1292484 - 10/23/09 02:18 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Monica K.]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Sounds like most of the teachers here are of the traditional pedagogy. Like I said earlier, this student doesn't need more sheet music, she needs to learn to play by ear.

This requires a different mindset.

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#1292533 - 10/23/09 03:55 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Sounds like most of the teachers here are of the traditional pedagogy. Like I said earlier, this student doesn't need more sheet music, she needs to learn to play by ear.

This requires a different mindset.


I'm not sure where you got that from the OP. She said the girl wants to play "pretty" songs, and not have a lot of theory - nothing about playing by ear.

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#1292537 - 10/23/09 03:58 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Mati Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/05
Posts: 1276
Loc: Lodz, Poland
Wizard of Os, maybe you are right. But please, correct me if I'm wrong - playing freely by ear does need SOLID theory of tonality, harmony, chords and scales, doesn't it? It's certainly a thing to talk with her about, but if she hates doing theory it might be a major obstacle in learning to play by ear and improvise.

I'm an adult beginner and have never used any method book. I don't have a particularly good ear, and in fact I playing by ear was never my purpose - I love classical. The thing is, I started doing some theory this year from my own interest and growing ambitions to play well, and not mediocre. Till now I've been working with my teacher mostly on pieces I have chosen and really, really loved to practice. She never forced theory alone on me, nor she did scales (but she encouraged me to learn them of my own will - which I begun only recently), knowing I wasn't aiming for professional performing, but for fun alone. We both agreed a lot of theory can be done within pieces.

I'm a bit chaotic, I know... my point is, even if it is against your grain, SueKZ, you may be surprised when she one day will decide to get more solid knowledge, do scales and theory of her own will. Until then I believe she can enjoy piano and you can enjoy working with her, even not doing typical classical-school stuff from the very beginning.

It sounds totally stupid, especially in Piano Teachers Forum, but I will say it anyway. When I played and recorded Rachmaninoff's C# minor Prelude (Op. 3 No. 2) and Chopin's Nocturne 20 in C# minor op. posth (both in my YouTube channel from the link in my signature), I had completely no idea how the major and minor scales are constructed. If you would ask me to play, let's say, D major, I would be hopeless. Maybe it was stupid, but it was fun - now I am learning all that, and have fun with learning theory too.


M.
ready for bashing from teachers who disapprove - and I completely understand smile
_________________________
Mateusz Papiernik
My youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Maticomp
"One man can make a difference" - Wilton Knight
Kawai CN21 (digital), Henryk Yamayuri Kawai NX-40 (grand)

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#1292573 - 10/23/09 05:07 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Mati]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Mati, how did you learn to play if you didn't know the scales? Did you just read the notes from the sheet music? Not bad for learning on your own!

As for the OP, what I'm saying is approach learning songs from the other end. Don't use sheet music and rely on the ear instead. I've done this with some of my students who want to just learn pop songs.

Most classically trained players haven't been taught how to play by ear, and so don't really know how to go about teaching it.

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#1292608 - 10/23/09 06:29 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Wizard of Oz says:

1) "Throw away ALL the books and find a good teacher who knows how to play by ear and show that method."

2) "Most classically trained players haven't been taught how to play by ear, and so don't really know how to go about teaching it."

Bull feathers!

Betty Patnude

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#1292615 - 10/23/09 06:40 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Betty Patnude]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Mati says: "....I played and recorded Rachmaninoff's C# minor Prelude (Op. 3 No. 2) and Chopin's Nocturne 20 in C# minor op. posth (both in my YouTube channel from the link in my signature)"

Mati,

How can you consider your self a beginner if you are able to play high levels of difficult music composed by our piano masters? Especially having no "method" book through the beginning steps of note reading, counting, fingering with simple melodies emphasized before harmony.

I am sorry I don't know you and haven't read your previous postings, and I don't know how long you have played piano or studied with a teacher, I don't wish to offend you. Perhaps this has something to do with the picture of the violinist? What am I supposed to think here. No study of scales, no knowing key relationships, and yet you can perform these pieces. How did that happen? And, the "beginner" part, how does that compute?

What is it that you are advocating for adult piano students and for piano teachers? I'm not sure I understand your points as you intend them. Can you help me?

Betty Patnude

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#1292704 - 10/23/09 09:58 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: UrbanSpice]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
Originally Posted By: UrbanSpice
If she's interested in playing pretty music try:
1. Etude - Paul Scheftel
2. River Flows in You - Yiruma (Every single teenager is in love with this song. Just go to youtube.)
3. Through the kaleidoscope - Steven Cravis
4. All of Me - Jon Schmidt



Ahhh, my students LOVE River Flows in You and Through the Kaleidoscope! All of Me is pretty advanced, but surely a crowd pleaser!
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#1292809 - 10/24/09 06:29 AM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Betty Patnude]
Mati Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/05
Posts: 1276
Loc: Lodz, Poland
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

How can you consider your self a beginner if you are able to play high levels of difficult music composed by our piano masters?


I simply can't consider myself anything else, playing for less than 5 years total, and only for year and a half under guidance of my teacher. Playing things that one can consider difficult was just my youth ambition to do something flashy - which I now know was not a good approach, as I have huge gaps in technique I need to fill in and repair.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

Especially having no "method" book through the beginning steps of note reading, counting, fingering with simple melodies emphasized before harmony.


Exactly - and perhaps that was my only point in the whole thing. While not being wise, it was possible to play more than Twinkle twinkle little star without them. And being able awoke real and passionate urge to learn theory behind all this.

For me it was starting from behind (which is silly, I know) - but it resulted in my true love both for playing the piano, and learning the music properly from the ground. I believe I could have been daunted and I could have lost interest if I would have been "forced" to go with proper method. Reason? I perhaps wouldn't be able to play anything meaningful to me at that time quickly enough to encourage me for further work. NOW I am completely aware it is absolutely needed to gain certain systematic knowledge, but BACK THEN I was just a 17-year old boy who jumped onto the boat of playing piano.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

I am sorry I don't know you and haven't read your previous postings, and I don't know how long you have played piano or studied with a teacher, I don't wish to offend you.


Don't worry Betty - I jumped here out of the blue and stirring the topic is completely my fault. As I've written before, I have played for 4-5 years total (I can't count months, sorry... lost track), the last one and a half year with a teacher.

What is important to say is that my teacher from the beginning saw in me an adult beginner who wants to play and enjoy music, and not to master the instrument. In due course we both decided I want to learn things properly, and not only do play what I want thing. That's when I started my theory, scales, harmony and deeper understanding of what's going on. Just because I wanted to, and that's my point - as long as you love what you do, it simply works.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

Perhaps this has something to do with the picture of the violinist?


Oh no, nothing. I just fiddle a little, but never really learned to play.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

What am I supposed to think here. No study of scales, no knowing key relationships, and yet you can perform these pieces. How did that happen?


It was immenesly difficult to memorize the pieces without knowing what's going on in the music - but the notes were there, corresponding to certain keys on the keyboard. I've seen a lot of single notes combined together into chords, without knowing where they are going and why. I just knew it sounds good. Only now I appreciate how important is to understand, and not only be able to read the black dots. How much easier it is to learn, and read and do a meaningful interpretation. It came to me with time though.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

What is it that you are advocating for adult piano students and for piano teachers? I'm not sure I understand your points as you intend them. Can you help me?


Nothing really - I don't mean to be advocating anything. I just wanted to say, that love for piano is the most important factor. And having a young girl who wants to play the piano but is discouraged by the amount of theory brings a question to the table, how to work with her. I wanted to suggest that sometime it may be beneficient to sustain her love for piano, doing less theory than one would do normally, just to make her want to learn it on her own in due course.

While not a good study approach, if she's not aspiring to be a professional pianist, doing some things the other way round (for the time being, and not forever!) may help keeping her love for the instrument.

I'd like to apologize, as my previous post was indeed a heavy stir in the pot. I have no bad intentions, I don't want to advocate anything, I know you really know better. It's just I wanted to share my ridiculous story how I progressed from knowing nothing to learning "tedious parts" of my own will.


Best wishes,
M.


Edited by Mati (10/24/09 06:32 AM)
_________________________
Mateusz Papiernik
My youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Maticomp
"One man can make a difference" - Wilton Knight
Kawai CN21 (digital), Henryk Yamayuri Kawai NX-40 (grand)

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#1292854 - 10/24/09 10:11 AM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Mati]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Well, Mati. I'm impressed. You must be incredibly determined to play like that, mostly self-taught. I would like to know how you did it, so I can bottle it and sell it.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1292861 - 10/24/09 10:29 AM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Lollipop]
Mati Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/05
Posts: 1276
Loc: Lodz, Poland
Thanks Lollipop, I'm flattered. I'm just a guy who things nothing is impossible - but also with a mind of engineer (which I am, considering my computer science studies at the university). I have noticed that without systematic work on my technique and theory from ground up, I will sooner or later hit a wall and I won't be able to progress any further. It took time to notice that and get serious about piano - but the time before was also very enjoyable on its own.

My father plays guiter and harmonica for his own enjoyment, he never took any lessons. He knows nothing about music theory. Perhaps that's why I started piano without thinking about the proper learning method. You certainly can go somewhere that way! Perhaps its never too late to learn it properly, as long as no severe bad habits are involved, and these can be avoided with help of a teacher.

M.
_________________________
Mateusz Papiernik
My youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Maticomp
"One man can make a difference" - Wilton Knight
Kawai CN21 (digital), Henryk Yamayuri Kawai NX-40 (grand)

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#1292904 - 10/24/09 12:23 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: SueKZ]
SueKZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/09
Posts: 97
Loc: Colorado
UrbanSpice and dundundiddle:

Thanks so much for those great ideas of music for my 15 yr. old student. I listened to all of them online and printed out sample partial copies of some of them. This is exactly what she will like, I am sure. I really appreciate all your help!
_________________________
Sue
Private Piano Teacher since 2009

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#1292913 - 10/24/09 12:41 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: SueKZ]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5574
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Great post, Mati. I think there are many people who approach learning things the way you approached piano, and you described it really well. I do most things that way myself smile And I think you are right that a, IMHO, big risk of forcing someone to do it the "right" way is that they'll not do it all. Although, as the ABF shows, many of them will come back later, do it the way their temperament and interest and learning style suits, either find a formal teacher that appreciates them or other ways of progressing, and love every moment of learning and playing smile

So don't apologize or call it silly, either learning this way or posting here. It's good to be reminded that we're not all alike, and to have such an articulate insight into another style of learning.

And I love your music smile

Cathy
_________________________

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#1292943 - 10/24/09 01:42 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Mati]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17789
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Mati

For me it was starting from behind (which is silly, I know) - but it resulted in my true love both for playing the piano, and learning the music properly from the ground. I believe I could have been daunted and I could have lost interest if I would have been "forced" to go with proper method. Reason? I perhaps wouldn't be able to play anything meaningful to me at that time quickly enough to encourage me for further work...
I just wanted to say, that love for piano is the most important factor. And having a young girl who wants to play the piano but is discouraged by the amount of theory brings a question to the table, how to work with her. I wanted to suggest that sometime it may be beneficient to sustain her love for piano, doing less theory than one would do normally, just to make her want to learn it on her own in due course.


Mati,
Thank you so much for sharing your story... it’s not a “ridiculous” post at all. Instead, I think you are a wonderful example of what I have advocated for a long time, which is that there is more than one route to piano and music. The formal ‘method series with theory, scales, etc.’ approach works for many people. But it doesn’t work for everybody. And I agree completely with you that it is important to nurture a love and enthusiasm for playing piano, because without that, students are not likely to persevere in their studies.

You don’t have anything to apologize for. Yours is a valid perspective and a useful counter-example for those who believe there is only one right way to approach piano lessons. smile
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1293040 - 10/24/09 06:03 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Monica K.]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thank you, Mati, for your excellent response.

I see passion, purpose and commitment from what you have said about your journey.

I just find it very difficult to understand how to get to an end result that is magnificent piano literature without have completely prepared the way to do so.

Is there anything else you can tell me about yourself? For instance, are you identified as a genius? What has frustrated you the most musically in the last 5 years? Has it been important to you to have music vocabulary or music theory concepts to help with your understanding?

In teacher's lingo, the beginner is someone who started piano study from scratch, but who now can has learned to play hands together in simple literature, counts well, readys music and plays in Keys of C and possible G and F, for an octave in teach direction from Middle C. This level encompasses preparatory, early elementary and elementary levels fo study. At Late Elementary and early intermediate, the student begins to work on expressiveness, good use of dynamics and interpretive skills.

By late intermediate level, the easier of the master classics are possible. With more years of study, the advanced level and performance level open the doors to all music literature - covering any and all written notes possible on the music page and playable on the keyboard.

In piano teaching, the onus is on comprehension of reading and executing with accuracy on the piano. Each step of the way requires progress to that point before moving on to more difficult music. Obviously you worked alone outside of this process. I can be grateful that you were not a quitter and that you were not completely defeated by frustration. Perhaps the question is about how you stayed positive and got to where you are?

Doing what you love is always a great path to be on.

Best wishes,

Betty

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#1293063 - 10/24/09 06:33 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Betty Patnude]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5948
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

In teacher's lingo, the beginner is someone who started piano study from scratch, but who now can has learned to play hands together in simple literature, counts well, readys music and plays in Keys of C and possible G and F, for an octave in teach direction from Middle C. This level encompasses preparatory, early elementary and elementary levels fo study. At Late Elementary and early intermediate, the student begins to work on expressiveness, good use of dynamics and interpretive skills.

By late intermediate level, the easier of the master classics are possible. With more years of study, the advanced level and performance level open the doors to all music literature - covering any and all written notes possible on the music page and playable on the keyboard.

In piano teaching, the onus is on comprehension of reading and executing with accuracy on the piano. Each step of the way requires progress to that point before moving on to more difficult music. Obviously you worked alone outside of this process. I can be grateful that you were not a quitter and that you were not completely defeated by frustration. Perhaps the question is about how you stayed positive and got to where you are?

Betty, by no means every musician follows that path you describe as the ideal. You may have a systematic program mapped out for your students (in fact, I think you should have) but there are many people who arrive at similar places without systematic instruction from a teacher over a number of years, and the process does not always entail frustration. Note that I'm not recommending anything, simply observing.

My own instruction was far from systematic, logical or step-by-step in the way you describe, but by the time I was in my twenties I was an accomplished pianist with diplomas and degrees, and maybe all the better for having ferreted a lot of my knowledge out for myself.

I suppose all I'm saying is that, as others have said, there is no single way to pianistic excellence. We teach in a way which we consider to be best for our students - but we shouldn't be too amazed if some of them manage some things on their own, or sometimes even do well in spite of our instruction! smile
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1293078 - 10/24/09 07:02 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Betty Patnude]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17789
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Each step of the way requires progress to that point before moving on to more difficult music. Obviously you worked alone outside of this process. I can be grateful that you were not a quitter and that you were not completely defeated by frustration. Perhaps the question is about how you stayed positive and got to where you are?


I'm guessing Mati was able to stay positive because he wasn't listening to somebody like you telling him what was "required" for progress in piano and that he couldn't get where he wanted to be in piano following the path he chose.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1293083 - 10/24/09 07:10 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Monica K.]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Just guessing here, but I read Betty's post as in response to Mati's claim that he was a beginner. She was just trying to say that most of us teachers do not define beginner as someone who plays what he is playing.

I don't think she intended it as a floorplan for every student. But it does help to have a general idea of what consititutes a beginner level, what is intermediate, etc.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1293096 - 10/24/09 07:37 PM Re: Need some help with a new 15 yr old student [Re: Lollipop]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5948
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Lollipop
Just guessing here, but I read Betty's post as in response to Mati's claim that he was a beginner. She was just trying to say that most of us teachers do not define beginner as someone who plays what he is playing.

I don't think she intended it as a floorplan for every student. But it does help to have a general idea of what consititutes a beginner level, what is intermediate, etc.
Perhaps you're right smile. What is intended is not always what comes across however, so I thought my point was worth making.
I personally don't tend to sort by beginner/intermediate/advanced so much, so it seemed a bit rigid to me.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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