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#1463464 - 06/26/10 01:56 PM "Failure to thrive" advanced students
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 837
I have several advanced students who do not practice much at all. I try to find things to say about their pieces, but it takes them a long time to get a handle on the notes, so I end up separating the voices, or shaping a given phrase, and doing the same things we've always done. They are committed to achieving their grade nine certificates, but don't seem to care if it takes five years to do so. I can't really give them easier music because, they can play at this level, having spent many years playing the piano and having placed well in grade eight. They just choose to play only about two hours per week. They've studied with me for many years. I would like to send them on, and am amazed they haven't quit yet. They have become dear friends. I often end up doing technique with them, or sight reading, or ear training. But I find I'm getting bored with these substitutes for real music making. What would you do in this situation?

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#1463480 - 06/26/10 02:19 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Candywoman]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
You didn't mention having talked to *them* about their long-term goals?

What is it that they want to be working on?
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#1463484 - 06/26/10 02:24 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Candywoman]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Sadly, an all too common occurrence with the more advanced students. There seems to be a point where they kick back and say to themselves "okay, I know piano now" and quit working. Sometimes I will have them work on a much too difficult piece a few measures at a time. That completely depends on them though. Otherwise, I pretty much do as you've described. I ask them what their goals are now too.

2 hours a week is all most of them can do with all the other things they have going on at that age. That still boils down to about 20 minutes a day. There are a lot of teachers that do not agree with me on this, but I feel very strongly that it is more important to keep them playing and interested so they can enjoy it, than to push them too hard and end up driving them to quit and not play at all. I am not talking about MY income, but rather their love of music.
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It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1463531 - 06/26/10 04:16 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Candywoman]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
They have become dear friends.


Maybe they are afraid of losing your friendship and the camaraderie of the lessons by advancing to the point of graduating?

Just a thought.
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Music teacher and piano player.

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#1463596 - 06/26/10 07:35 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: rocket88]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
It's been my experience that a certain percentage of students fall into this category, especially if they've stuck it out with piano for this long. Generally, they're bright students, and have put in roughly two hours or so each week, for many years. Now, they've advanced to the point where two hours of weekly practice is maintenance, not advancement. For some, this is a horrible realization, for others, who haven't really found piano to be their artistic means of expression, it becomes a "who cares" attitude. You might discover, if you dig, that many of them are experiencing similar problems with their academics. They've been able to skate, getting good grades without really having to grind.

So what's the answer? Well, if we knew that, we could solve all the world's problems.

With some students, a heart to heart might help them refocus. With other students, just a maintenance diet, even learning new pieces, different styles, but not harder, keeps them going for a couple of years longer, and at some point, they may well awaken and be thankful you nursed them along. I would be honest with their parents, however, as parents have a reasonable expectation of advancement, but if they are aware of what's happening (and you'd be surprised at how many know exactly what's happening with their children, and are quite grateful that you're willing to continue working with them).

I would not be afraid to assign them a couple of easier, but perhaps flashy, works. As long as they're practicing some, and maintaining or refining skills, they are far better off than just quitting.
_________________________
"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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#1463680 - 06/27/10 01:14 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 837
I regularly ask them if we're doing what they want, and we are. I gave one of them a pop song which was learned well. But mostly, he is happy plugging along with classical pieces, as is the other student. One friend says, "Not all people want piano to occupy as big a role in their lives as it does for you. Keep teaching them." I will probably do this.

But part of me wonders if they need a change, and if I should set the ball rolling. They are both very musically gifted. I have hinted in the past that there ARE other teachers. I would always be their friend, I suspect strongly. But naturally, I'd see less of them if they were to move on. They are both young adults. John says, "they may well awaken and be thankful you nursed them along." Perfect choice of words! They need to awaken, rise up, and be alive! But I think students tend to lean on their teachers and need to stand on their own two musical feet.

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#1463709 - 06/27/10 03:28 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Candywoman]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5459
Loc: Orange County, CA
Enjoy the ride while it lasts!

Pick shorter pieces. Assign pieces that "sound" hard, but might not require so much practice.

If you are keen on sending them to another teacher, why not hire one of these teachers to conduct a master class for your studio? It might be a good learning experience for all.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1463767 - 06/27/10 08:51 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: AZNpiano]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Interesting ... as a student at that stage, I really really feel like I am at a plateau right now, sightreading to me was in fact BETTER a week ago and I am working away at 2-3 hours a day. Strangley enough, I have no problems reading a new piece with strange 2 against 5 rhythm. Any teachers out there encountered plateau moments before?
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#1463770 - 06/27/10 08:56 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Rebekah.L
Any teachers out there encountered plateau moments before?


Of course! This is absolutely part of the deal. Plateaus hit with learning all through life. No worries Rebekah! You're working really hard at 2-3 hours a day, maybe you need to step back for a few days, and come back to it in a day or two. Sometimes we just need to come at something with "fresh eyes". This is not at all uncommon, you will most likely see more of them smile
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1463773 - 06/27/10 09:01 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Thank you for your kind words, for a moment I really thought that there was something wrong with me, that I possibly cant ascend, my lesson is on Tuesday, I will do some practice tomorrow but I will take your word and I will have a break from playing smile
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http://colouredsilence.wordpress.com/


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#1463802 - 06/27/10 10:33 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Rebekah.L
Thank you for your kind words,



I will take your word and I will have a break from playing smile


You're welcome, but don't make it too long a break wink
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1463854 - 06/27/10 12:45 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
Young adults have jobs to work, or university to attend, or diapers to change (to the tune of no sleep at night), or husbands to catch, or hangovers to sleep off--- or all of those things. So there's that.

The first thing that came to my mind, was motivation. Most of us need some compelling reason to make a big effort, or to make sacrifices, or to progress beyond the common. Some goal. Finding the goal they may have lost sight of, could be one key to helping your students. Then there's recognizing resistance for what it is--- it comes in many guises.

I read about 'a finished artist' in books on the history of piano technic and pedagogy. Just where that end-point lies is quite a distance from what I can see personally. My own teacher, who seems to me to have the qualities of a finished artist, apparently doesn't think so because he's still a student himself. I gather that this is somewhere on the experience curve that comes after conservatory and before senescence.

Anyway, I don't know if contemplating this would be of any help to your advanced students who are flagging in their efforts... but it's possible, having gotten so far, that considering clearly what is still missing might help re-energize them.

Just a thought.
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Clef


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#1463861 - 06/27/10 01:04 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10356
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
You know, one of the possible issues with students of this sort is that they are nearing the end of the long adolescent tunnel and approaching a big change. Many 'advanced' students finally realize that they are not going to be musicians in any deep sense of the word. Yes, they probably knew this all along, but something about late high school concentrates the mind differently. Reaching that clarity can be liberating. They may realize that they don't have to quit studying now simply because they aren't going on to music school or to a career in performance. They may realize that it's OK for them not to practice several hours per day in order to accomplish what they want. OK, perhaps 2 hours per week is a bit thin, but if they're not on the competition circuit or preparing for college auditions their more modest goals can be accomplished with shorter practice times.
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#1463905 - 06/27/10 03:13 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: AZNpiano]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Enjoy the ride while it lasts!

Pick shorter pieces. Assign pieces that "sound" hard, but might not require so much practice.

If you are keen on sending them to another teacher, why not hire one of these teachers to conduct a master class for your studio? It might be a good learning experience for all.


Choosing shorter, showy pieces that sound hard is helping me with a similar student situation. C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto she agreed to work up and enjoyed it. Perhaps we could come up with a list of short, flashy pieces to pass along to each other.
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#1463967 - 06/27/10 06:00 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Barb860]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5459
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Barb860
C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto


f I did that piece with two such students. They both quit by high school (9th and 10th grade). I really dislike that piece, so if I'm teaching it, I am desperate.
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1464060 - 06/27/10 09:13 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: AZNpiano]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Students are canny and can sense how you feel about a piece. Not so long ago, I was talking with a student and parent about more contemporary repertoire. Mom wasn't all that excited but wasn't against it. It wasn't until I dove into the first of the three Fantastic Dances by Shostakovitch, that daughter came alive. Without saying so, she detected that I really love his piano works.

One of my colleagues up the road a bit, Dr. William H. Chapman Nyaho, has published a very interesting set of five books titled: Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora. It's published by Oxford Press, if I recall correctly. There's a huge amount of really interesting piano music in this collection and it could well be a student saver/motivator for the right student.

I bring this up not only to give Nyaho a plug for some excellent work, but because you really have to explore 20th/21st century music a lot.

And that reminds me, Seymour Bernstein's Birds is another collection which is perfect for a recalcitrant student. Middle schoolers going through the "phase" may be ripe for The Vulture. It's dark and foreboding. Just what many of them love.


Edited by John v.d.Brook (06/27/10 10:51 PM)
Edit Reason: correct typo
_________________________
"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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#1464065 - 06/27/10 09:43 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Students are canny and can sense how you feel about a piece.
Ain't that the truth. My students all love Bartok. My mum's students not so much! Hilarious.....
_________________________
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Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
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#1464068 - 06/27/10 09:50 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: AZNpiano]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Barb860
C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto


f I did that piece with two such students. They both quit by high school (9th and 10th grade). I really dislike that piece, so if I'm teaching it, I am desperate.


I was desperate!

John:
Thank you for the suggestions, these look good!
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Piano Teacher

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#1464083 - 06/27/10 10:12 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Barb860]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
How about some of William Bolcom's rags? They are relatively short, yet still challenging, and harmonically very interesting.
_________________________
FREE 90-page eBook of sheet music: www.pianopronto.com/specialoffer

Piano Pronto Music Books: www.pianopronto.com

BA in Piano/MA Musicology



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#1464146 - 06/28/10 01:03 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 837
Thanks, I think the rags and African music might be just the thing.

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#1464152 - 06/28/10 01:27 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5459
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
And that reminds me, Seymour Bernstein's Birds is another collection which is perfect for a recalcitrant student.


Huh? Book 2 is a little better than Book 1, but my students really dislike Birds. Heck, even I dislike Birds.

Insects are better.


Edited by AZNpiano (06/28/10 01:28 AM)
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1464219 - 06/28/10 07:55 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: AZNpiano]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
But of course your students dislike Birds. And would it surprise you that mine love it?

But really, there's very little music for piano where students actually get to sit on the keyboard.
_________________________
"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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#1464237 - 06/28/10 08:44 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i receive the failing to thrive students from my 'real piano teacher friend'.. the kids want to quit. the parents want them to take lessons. they are sick sick of classical and for the most part want to learn 'new things'.

I have all of them learn arpeggios and inversions in every key as well as play/learn I, IV, V, chords. They come to like this exercise... although they start out kicking and screaming with the horror of actually exercising.

i have taught Katchaturian's Tocatta.. easy to show, difficult to read.

Richard Claderman (believe it or not girls adore this book of music).. it's a blue book).

Great Movie Themes (everyone love Titanic)

I choose songs in particular keys to match the arpeggios we study. The chord names are included (fake music if you will). I have them play melody with chordal accompaniment to supplement.. i teach accompanying patterns.

It's really fun for me, and them to teach this way and for the most part they really thrive.. I am trying to get them to the point where they will want to practice and learn on their own as they go thru life.
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#1464287 - 06/28/10 11:11 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Students are canny and can sense how you feel about a piece. Not so long ago, I was talking with a student and parent about more contemporary repertoire. Mom wasn't all that excited but wasn't against it. It wasn't until I dove into the first of the three Fantastic Dances by Shostakovitch, that daughter came alive. Without saying so, she detected that I really love his piano works.

One of my colleagues up the road a bit, Dr. William H. Chapman Nyaho, has published a very interesting set of five books titled: Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora. It's published by Oxford Press, if I recall correctly. There's a huge amount of really interesting piano music in this collection and it could well be a student saver/motivator for the right student.

I bring this up not only to give Nyaho a plug for some excellent work, but because you really have to explore 20th/21st century music a lot.

And that reminds me, Seymour Bernstein's Birds is another collection which is perfect for a recalcitrant student. Middle schoolers going through the "phase" may be ripe for The Vulture. It's dark and foreboding. Just what many of them love.


John or anyone else who has the scores of "Birds":
I have tried several online retailers and am told this music is out of print.
Any ideas on where it can be purchased? Performances are on youtube and one of my students is interested.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1464295 - 06/28/10 11:23 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Barb860]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
He is now exclusively published by Manduca.

http://www.manducamusic.com/BernsteinPiano1.htm

I, too, LOVE Birds. Don't care for volume 2, though.
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#1464310 - 06/28/10 11:50 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Minniemay]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
As we're discussing music which can serve as "student savers and motivators" here is another set which I have found very useful. Summer Vacation by Katherine Rollin. The harmonies are tradition, for the most part, I, IV, V, etc., with a few VI chords thrown in for modernization, but not radically modern like Birds.

The titles are intriguing, and I've found that young ladies, in particular, who are quite concerned with issues of popularity, acceptance, etc., tend to really like this set. Some of the titles are: School's Out, Bicycling, Sleepover, Sailing, Running.

In fact, many of the pieces can be used as direct substitutes for "classical" teaching pieces. The Bicycling piece can be substituted for Clementi Op 36, n.1, 3rd movement.

FWIW, that Sailing number seems to have a real hook. A number of parents have commented to me how much they like it and how happy they are that their student likes it and plays it so much. The piece itself is nothing but I, IV, V arpeggios, but you know, that's what people hear and like.
_________________________
"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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#1464316 - 06/28/10 12:07 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
GeorgeB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/10
Posts: 635
I know how they feel. Personal experience, i felt really bored nothing seemed interesting. I changed teacher and new interesting different styled pieces. Not saying this is the case

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#1464350 - 06/28/10 01:08 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Candywoman]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
I've been sitting on this thought for a while. Please feel free to disregard it if it's off base.
Quote:
...so I end up separating the voices, or shaping a given phrase, and doing the same things we've always done.


I'm struck both by the fact that you are doing this, and that you have always done so. There comes a time as we advance that we realize that there is another side to music besides playing harder pieces and making them sound good. Music becomes interesting in a new way, and I don't think that we can really advance past a certain point if we don't clue in on that. There is everything that is behind music, what we use to approach it, and then actually approaching it. I wonder if these students have connected to this.

If you are separating the voices and shaping the phrases, then they aren't. One can say that if a teacher does this, then the exam results will be better, because who knows better than you with your expertise? But to me as a student it's still riding the surface. Even if I got fantastic grades and everyone praised me to the hilt I'd feel I was missing something.

One of the teachers wrote of getting disaffected advanced transfers and teaching them chords, and I think improvising. Is their interest rekindled because it is more fun, or because they are getting into understanding and shaping music themselves?

Teachers are suggesting repertoire. What if it's not the pieces, but what can be done with music - a shift in focus?

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#1464373 - 06/28/10 01:44 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Well, one reason for suggesting alternate repertoire is to help the student discover music which reaches into them and with which they can express themselves. If you don't find Bach's inventions interesting, then try as you might, you'll probably not be able to do much with it musically.
_________________________
"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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#1464394 - 06/28/10 02:12 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
I understand, John, but there is more to music than repertoire. There is the substance of music. When you start understanding what we call "theory" but in an alive way, and you start delving into music then any music becomes alive. The act of working through music, discovering things about it, forming your own "informed" interpretation, is exciting especially if brand new. If that world has not opened up, and it does, that can be a powerful motivator.

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#1464411 - 06/28/10 02:42 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5459
Loc: Orange County, CA
Here's a piece that saved one student:

Gwyneth Walker, "Rhythms from the North Country"

http://www.gwynethwalker.com/rhythmsf.html

Enjoy!
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1464416 - 06/28/10 02:47 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7348
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Perhaps, perhaps not. When I was young, I had a very strong distaste for the jazz idiom. You could give me all the theory in the world, and it wouldn't have mattered. I would have quit lessons if my teacher had insisted on jazz.
_________________________
"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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#1464440 - 06/28/10 03:26 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: John v.d.Brook]
blueston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/09
Posts: 273
Loc: MA, USA
As a "student" I seemed to have the opposite experience. Being mostly self taught with very little formal training, I reached a certain level on my own and then plateued for several years but would always keep playing for myself at home. Then after many years of no lessons i finally found an appropriate but very demanding teacher who was able to show me the light and I made several breakthrus in only a couple years.

So non-taught student hits plateau and solves it by getting teacher.

So student taking lessons hits plateau should quit teacher?

Same logic but in reverse, but I don't know that that sounds like a good idea. How about some of these ideas instead-

A students interest and ambition needs to come from within somehow. They need to want to improve. You can't make them but you can find ways to nurture and coax them along a little. Ask yourself what would make a student want to get better.

1. Some have already suggest a showy or flashy piece they can show off to friends.

2. Finding opportunities to do more performing would be another thing, whether it be solo performances, like for church. Or joining a band. Or just getting together informally with a couple other people to jam. Playing with just one other person can be lots of fun. Or how about Open Mics nights. Or any other "Goals" to work towards.

3. Try listening to a lot of new and different music. This motivates me a lot. When I hear a really cool piece then I want to be able to play it, even if it's difficult. Try new styles if you haven't already like in the Jazz family- Blues, Boogie etc. Upbeat stuff can be a great alternative to classical and new age pieces.

4. I hate to say it but sometimes a change of teacher can be refreshing and good change of pace. Every teacher has strengths and weaknesses and I always think it's a good idea to learn from as many different people as possible. I am planning on doing this myself and rotate thru a few I know and may even go back to the same one a couple times.

But #3 is what I suggest first.

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#1464445 - 06/28/10 03:29 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: AZNpiano]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Here's a piece that saved one student:

Gwyneth Walker, "Rhythms from the North Country"

http://www.gwynethwalker.com/rhythmsf.html

Enjoy!


Thanks! This is wonderful.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1464766 - 06/29/10 01:15 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Barb860]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 837
While I'm grateful for the repertoire suggestions, upon further reflection, that's not really the problem. They both like almost everything I choose. (I've asked them to choose, btw; they have occasionally.) They simply don't place a value on practicing enough or can't make the changes to their lifestyles that piano would necessitate. I have given them performance opportunities, but they don't practice enough for a solid performance. It always sounds like a good read-through.

I suspect they don't really know how long they'd have to practice a piece to really show it. I can't handle giving more than about twelve lessons on a given piece. I usually tell them to keep practicing it after that and show it later if desired. However, by then, we're usually onto the next thing. At their slow practice rate, more than twelve weeks on the same piece wouldn't really make for interesting lessons.

At times, I envision what it would be like to teach only advanced students. I wonder how university professors do it. You'd have to see about two hours per day of practicing from the student to make an interesting lesson, I would think.



Edited by Candywoman (06/29/10 01:16 AM)

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#1464844 - 06/29/10 05:32 AM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Candywoman]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
You can lead a horse to water...

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#1465025 - 06/29/10 12:38 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: theJourney]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
In fact, I require a minimum of 2 hours a day from my university students, but few of them actually do it and it shows. Very frustrating. I don't have this problem at all with my high school students.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1465106 - 06/29/10 02:47 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Minniemay]
Breathe Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/10
Posts: 31
Loc: Grand Rapids, MI
Hey, I don't mean to sound promotional or anything, but it sounds like my new idea would work out really well in your situation. I'm creating online 6 week courses for building up musical fundamentals. These should enhance student's playing as well as free up your time to work on what you want to! You can read more about it in this thread: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1465074
_________________________
www.BreathePiano.com - a refreshing alternative to traditional piano lessons.

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#1465225 - 06/29/10 07:18 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Breathe Piano]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Breathe Piano, hey I don't mean to sound mean, but yeah, I reckon you do sound promotional or something, because your new idea doesn't seem to address the concern of this thread at all. But I'm only guessing because access has been denied to the link you put up.....!!!!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1465229 - 06/29/10 07:24 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Elissa Milne]
Breathe Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/10
Posts: 31
Loc: Grand Rapids, MI
Elissa,

the person is saying that her advanced students are spending too much time working on fundamentals and not enough time music making. That is the whole point of this. You can check it out at CreatingMusicians.com. Please understand that this is completely free for you teachers as well.


Edited by Breathe Piano (06/29/10 07:24 PM)
_________________________
www.BreathePiano.com - a refreshing alternative to traditional piano lessons.

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#1465231 - 06/29/10 07:31 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Breathe Piano]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
I didn't read the OP that way - I think that the problem is that the students are 'coasting' rather than putting in appropriate time.

It seems to me that the students have no problem with the 'fundamentals' - just with prioritising practice! And this is not a motivation issue - they don't want to stop lessons or change teachers - they just don't want to spend more than 2 hours a week playing the piano.

I've had students just like this! They really have mastered the basics - great theoretical knowledge, acceptable sight reading standard, reasonably impressive aural skills - they just haven't got more than 2 hours a week to put into piano.......... And they don't wish to cease lessons!!!!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1465236 - 06/29/10 07:38 PM Re: "Failure to thrive" advanced students [Re: Elissa Milne]
Breathe Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/10
Posts: 31
Loc: Grand Rapids, MI
oh you are right, she mentioned doing these things with them and I thought she was saying she had to focus on them, but the issue is that they aren't practicing their pieces so she's using this stuff as filler.

Thanks for clearing that up! That is very frustrating, I've not ever had a student like that so I doubt I can be much help but I can imagine it is very difficult.
_________________________
www.BreathePiano.com - a refreshing alternative to traditional piano lessons.

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