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Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
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#1436513 - 05/14/10 01:52 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: keystring]
Smallpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 270
Loc: California
Quote:
[/quote]It became quite obvious within minutes that he was neither intellectually nor emotionally ready for intense, specific work[quote]


Agree with John. Most of my students are not ready for intense correction. Making a lesson fun for my younger student while correcting their technical mistakes is my main goals now. Not the other way around.

You have a good teacher, and I think you are able to manage the heavy instruction from your teacher, that is a good fit!
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#1436522 - 05/14/10 02:07 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: landorrano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11798
Loc: Canada
I have not built brick walls, but a higher level in my instrumen of instruction I had that kind of lesson which I could apply in my practising. It is highly effective. It is because of experience, not inexperience, that it makes sense to me.

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#1436604 - 05/14/10 03:58 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: keystring]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
(not aimed specifically at keystring)

Rather than scrutinishing the correct techniques for building a literal brick wall, shouldn't we stick to that which is was intended to be analagous to?
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#1436611 - 05/14/10 04:04 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13811
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
You can't build the wall for the student. You have to show them how to build it themselves.
Yeh, but wander off after the first brick?


We always wander off. We see students once, maybe twice a week. Most of the work is done without us, so it's important we set them on the right path.

Next week, we can check the plum line.
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#1437365 - 05/15/10 05:09 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: landorrano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11798
Loc: Canada
Back to brick walls. The OP is at the intermediate level and will have been playing for a number of years. Supposing that you know the keyboard, notes, key signatures, and you've playing scales for years (to keep it to scales). But the way you shape and use your hands is wrong and hampers you, or you never learned to listen to youself in order to get control of the notes. It is not enough to be able to hear in your mind what you want to produce - you can be prevented physically from producing it through these things. Ideally a student would not come into such a position! There may be a particular "simple" motion that you are doing in a clumsy way, or something you never listened for. A teacher may spend half an hour on that one thing until you are able to do it. To undo a habit and replace with a new habit that you have never experienced is tricky business.

What happens next is that you go home, and you play that scale that you have played for years, but you put that new thing into every single note. It is one thing that you have worked on, which you then try to apply everywhere. If you start getting this, then your playing will no longer be hampered the same way. However, a student cannot even start until they know what to do. It is not that easy to pick up a new physical action and it can indeed take half an hour or more. The focus is no longer on the piece, but the action (or whatever) that you will be putting into the piece(s). It is not about the brick, but how to place a brick.

As John wrote, this is tedious for a student so some teachers sneak the corrections in more gradually. I have been in that position and it is not fun. It is even less fun to be perpetually clumsy because something is missing or wrong. If you have better technique, things are no longer a struggle. But as a student you don't know what that feels like until you get there. Provided that you have a good teacher as a guide it is worth it if you can push through.

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#1437780 - 05/16/10 12:48 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: Kreisler]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
If you were going to teach someone how to build a brick wall, you'd spend an hour getting the first brick right and then let them finish it.

You probably wouldn't spend 2 minutes doing a mediocre job on the first brick and then repeat that 30 times.

Your teacher isn't teaching you the piece, he's teaching you how to practice. It's your job to figure out how to apply that attitude, knowledge and skill to the next 100 measures.

Well, I have to say, this analogy and people's reactions (ahem, unusual interpretations and confusions) to it inspired the latest post on my blog. (Kreisler, hope you don't mind, I took your analogy and ran with it - I'll pay royalties, I promise!) smile
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#1437793 - 05/16/10 01:26 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: danshure]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Although I don't take any offense at the "unusual interpretations and confusions" thing, I just wanted to remark that your article is ... like ... well ... how can I say it ... you know ... kinda ... sorta ... ahem ... well, let me just blurt it out ...


BORING.


I like the image of the wall falling down, though.

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#1437797 - 05/16/10 01:34 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: danshure]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

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

Well, I have to say, this analogy and people's reactions (ahem, unusual interpretations and confusions) to it inspired the latest post on my blog.
Another poster with no idea of the complexity involved in building a brick wall. You folks do realize it's a highly skilled trade?
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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1437808 - 05/16/10 01:52 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: danshure]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11798
Loc: Canada
Dan, as a student there are particular reasons why the "one brick" idea appealed to me, due to certain experiences. I thought however that a previous entry in your blog captures it, at least for me. There is the "one beat too early" along with a video. I assume that the student could then go home and practice using what you had managed to capture together. That to me is the "learning how to lay a brick, and applying it to all bricks". My interest as a student is what we do 6/7 of the week, i.e. practising.

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#1453688 - 06/09/10 09:45 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: keystring]
debussyfan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 36
Update: Every lesson is still really focused on technique... A month has passed now, so is that still normal? I don't understand how my technique can be so bad... Also, often the intructions/rationale behind the corrections aren't given in a clear way. I' m the highest level student she has, maybe she's not used to teaching intermediate level. I'm beginning to dread lessons, whereas before I always enjoyed them. I don't know if I'm being too negative though.

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#1453786 - 06/10/10 01:42 AM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: debussyfan]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
There comes a point when you realize the student is not going to get it (because they don't have the right attitude at home) and you give up.
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1453800 - 06/10/10 02:18 AM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: keyboardklutz]
debussyfan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 36
Er... sorry, are you directing that to me? I'm perfectly willing to adapt my technique, it just seems a bit excessive to constantly focus on it in an unclear way.

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#1453821 - 06/10/10 03:56 AM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: debussyfan]
Peanuts Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Singapore
Originally Posted By: debussyfan
Update: Every lesson is still really focused on technique... A month has passed now, so is that still normal? I don't understand how my technique can be so bad... Also, often the intructions/rationale behind the corrections aren't given in a clear way.


It's normal.
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Currently working on Comping and Improvisation

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#1453849 - 06/10/10 05:31 AM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: Peanuts]
debussyfan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 36
^ Thanks... How long should I expect all the focus on technique to go on for? A few more months?

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#1453857 - 06/10/10 05:50 AM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: debussyfan]
Peanuts Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Singapore
It depends on how fast you are able to digest everything.

I switched to a good piano instructor at Grade 7. It took me months to change through intense correction because I accumulated the wrong habits for more than 7 years. Plus my ears were not developed enough to pick up the difference.
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#1453886 - 06/10/10 08:41 AM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: debussyfan]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3171
Originally Posted By: debussyfan
^ Thanks... How long should I expect all the focus on technique to go on for? A few more months?


Until it is fixed. How long is that? That is like asking "How long is a piece of string?" Each one is different.

Here is another analogy...(yikes!)

Lets say you are an auto mechanic, and work for a dealer who takes in trade a beautiful late model car that has a few minor things wrong, and one major thing. Lets say the major thing is that the transmission slips badly.

Your job is to get the car completely fixed up for resale.

You are going to spend much more time on the transmission than on the other small repairs.

However, to the untrained eye, a person walking by might say, "Gee, that car looks nice, paint is nice, the interior is nice, why are they still working on it?"

_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1453924 - 06/10/10 10:41 AM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: debussyfan]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5247
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: debussyfan
I'm perfectly willing to adapt my technique, it just seems a bit excessive to constantly focus on it in an unclear way.


My question would be "why is it unclear".
You say you are the highest level student your teacher has... I would like to think that if she is trying to help you with something she feels is fundamental to your progress that wouldn't matter - she's taking you back to basics.

If she can't explain clearly THAT'S a problem indeed!
I think you need to speak with her and get clarification.
From what the others have said, (bricks and all smile ) it seems to me that she is probably providing you with very useful corrections - you would be happier if you usnderstood better what you are aiming for and why. That isn't unreasonable.
Children (up to a point) will do things simply because you ask or tell them too. Adults want the whys and wherefores.

I suggest making time during your next lesson to talk about this. Be sure to say that you are willing - but you feel your aren't getting the point and ask for help in understanding what is being asked of you.
Good luck
_________________________
XVIII-XXXV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1454010 - 06/10/10 01:57 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: debussyfan]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: debussyfan
Er... sorry, are you directing that to me? I'm perfectly willing to adapt my technique, it just seems a bit excessive to constantly focus on it in an unclear way.
I think what I'm saying is be worried when she stops!
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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#1454022 - 06/10/10 02:17 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: debussyfan]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5548
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: debussyfan
^ Thanks... How long should I expect all the focus on technique to go on for? A few more months?


If you would rather do something else, then have a nice talk with your teacher about it. Personally, I see nothing wrong with focusing on technique for a long period of time.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1454046 - 06/10/10 03:06 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: keyboardklutz]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
There comes a point when you realize the student is not going to get it (because they don't have the right attitude at home) and you give up.



So it's jaw-droppingly rude response without provocation time is it? Well, if that's the case, perhaps it's time for someone to suggest that such giving up generally occurs when it finally becomes clear that the student just doesn't have the god-given talent to progress via hopeless instruction?

Please ignore that stunningly idiotic and disrespectful response. I'd express your concerns to your teacher. Ask if it's possible to strike a balance between the tehnical work and other things.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1454068 - 06/10/10 03:42 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2277
Loc: Pennsylvania
I'll echo what another moderator said in another forum. There are a lot of people on these forums. Not everyone is going to agree, many won't even like each other. That's fine. We can disagree as long as we don't resort to meanness and name calling.

Please disregard the tone of the above post. The author won't be around for a couple of weeks.

Ken
_________________________
Ken

Piano Organ Depot
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#1454314 - 06/10/10 10:30 PM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: casinitaly]
debussyfan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 36
Originally Posted By: casinitaly

You say you are the highest level student your teacher has... I would like to think that if she is trying to help you with something she feels is fundamental to your progress that wouldn't matter - she's taking you back to basics.


Thanks, the reason I mentioned being the highest level student is that I'd have felt more confident if she had higher level students and probably wouldn't have asked here. The only reason I asked here is because I have no frame of reference. In the lessons she sometimes says 'I didn't learn this until I was 18 [and a con student]' or 'some concert pianists don't do this, but they should', so I was confused about whether the corrections were necessary or a bit ambitious, since I'm only in grade 6.
Anyway, I know now that it's normal, thanks everyone for the advice.

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#1454412 - 06/11/10 02:12 AM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
tdow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/13/10
Posts: 203
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Just to offer somewhat of a contrarian viewpoint here: I feel teachers must also assess the intellectual and emotional readiness of the student to focus on just one problem to the exclusion of all others. I have a student, a rather wonderful student at this point, who came to me two years ago with MAJOR, MAJOR problems. One of them was real problems with hand positions, similar to the OPs. It became quite obvious within minutes that he was neither intellectually nor emotionally ready for intense, specific work, so my game plan changed to one of "nudging" him closer and closer to what is necessary, while allowing the reward of working on more repertoire. Had I taken the OPs teacher's approach, I would have lost him at the end of the trial lesson period.

I'm in complete agreement. So much of teaching is being in tune all of the students needs.
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#1454912 - 06/12/10 12:15 AM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: tdow]
Amosquito Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 39
Loc: Australia
My highest-level student is also my student with the worst technique. The reason for this is because she came from somewhere else and has learned some really bad habits. It takes longer to break a habit that has had years to concrete itself and then reteach and concrete the new, correct habit than it takes to teach it correctly in the first place. I've had her for a year and still won't let her do her exam that she wanted to do within six months because she's still not ready. She still has problems with her left hand that I have spent many entire lessons correcting. It's better - much better, in fact, but the root of the problem is still there. I'm so concerned that she's going to injure herself that I've been encouraging her to seek complementary help through Alexander Technique or other options. But that's by the by...

So my point is that it doesn't matter if you're her highest-level student. It's quite likely that you aren't the most advanced. The grade you're at is only an indicator of what grade you're doing right now, not how well you play. I think that your teacher has high standards, wants you to meet them, sees your potential and is continually trying to support you in order to reach those standards, which is excellent pedagogy.
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#1454934 - 06/12/10 01:28 AM Re: Too much focus on technique? [Re: Amosquito]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
This is a problem college profs face all the time. So many turn up with bad habits which will take years to eradicate - do you go back to basics? Take away their competency? With only three years to get them through, they don't, they can't.
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