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#1496799 - 08/15/10 10:21 PM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: Wizard of Oz]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
Thinking from a different direction:

Can we teach anybody to type?

The mechanics of piano don't have to be much more difficult than that.

Can anyone who types write a best selling novel?

Now we come to goals. Most people who learn to type only need to meet job requirements, answer email, etc. A few want to become authors (like one of my kids.)

Most people who take piano lessons probably do it for other reasons than to become a performer.

It should certainly be possible to teach them all the basic mechanics, like we do with typists. If not, then yes something is wrong.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1496806 - 08/15/10 10:32 PM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: Wizard of Oz]
SteveO42 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 89
Great post Wizard and I agree with you...My only addition is that these people, like Oscar whom I had the pleasure to meet during a master class, had super talent all along.
A high school coach, music teacher etc rejecting people is no indication of raw talent.
Sometimes it's an indication of an inept coach etc.

Speaking of Oscar, RIP, he shook my hand and his fingers went half way up my arm!!!
I will never forget it!
Wonder no more how he played 10ths like they were going out of style.
Oscar is one of the greatest, some say greatest, pianists to ever live.
I give Art Tatum that title, but Oscar is neck and neck with Art and if versatility is considered, Oscar wins.

BTW the overture to the Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite pieces and I have incorporated some of it into all kinds of tunes.
It's very sinister sounding in the beginning.

Of course Over The Rainbow is one of the best tunes ever written.
There is no place like Nome....ooops, you don't live in Alaska? hahahah!


Edited by SteveO42 (08/15/10 10:35 PM)

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#1496810 - 08/15/10 10:40 PM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: TimR]
SteveO42 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 89
Originally Posted By: TimR
Thinking from a different direction:

Can we teach anybody to type?

The mechanics of piano don't have to be much more difficult than that.

Can anyone who types write a best selling novel?

Now we come to goals. Most people who learn to type only need to meet job requirements, answer email, etc. A few want to become authors (like one of my kids.)

Most people who take piano lessons probably do it for other reasons than to become a performer.

It should certainly be possible to teach them all the basic mechanics, like we do with typists. If not, then yes something is wrong.


Speaking as one who had to take typing in Jr High School in 1972, all I can say is...........

FFF....space.....JJJ...SPace....repeat a zillion times. I can still hear Ms. Tanner barking the commands.

Any idiot can be taught to type, including me.
To play piano at the professional level requires emotion, feeling and inner thinking for lack of a better term.
That is what separates some from others.

I agree with you regarding piano teaching however.
Most people are not looking to become professionals, and that is fine.
I probably should have qualified my subject line with "professional" in it.

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#1496819 - 08/15/10 11:10 PM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: SteveO42]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Oscar is indeed one of the best, and coming from my home country to boot!! Greatest ever, that is such a subjective phrase. He had great command of the instrument, I found he used too many runs and fill-in's for my liking.

Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, all greats as well.

I find in music, "talent" encompasses such a wide spectrum. People often mistake technical virtuosity for musicality hence the label for "prodigies" and such.

Some pianists have astounding technical facility, but their music is superficial, or they haven't lived enough to bring true depth to their playing.


If you list some of the musicians who have become famous, their talent is often only a small part of their appeal.

Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Sarah Maclaughlin, great entertainers but their actual piano skills would be considered average or even mediocre. Same with Yanni or John Tesh.

Taylor Swift sings so out of key it's laughable, yet she's popular as heck. What about the Spice Girls, manufactured to the hilt.

This is the realm of the music industry now, where American Idol can make a star out of anyone.

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#1496830 - 08/15/10 11:46 PM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: Wizard of Oz]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
Another one of these threads? Underneath the seeming arrogance, is insecurity. It's just not necessary. You can play beautiful music, and so can the naturally unmusical people who study and work hard with a teacher.

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#1496842 - 08/16/10 12:26 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: Wizard of Oz]
SteveO42 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 89
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Oscar is indeed one of the best, and coming from my home country to boot!! Greatest ever, that is such a subjective phrase. He had great command of the instrument, I found he used too many runs and fill-in's for my liking.

Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, all greats as well.

I find in music, "talent" encompasses such a wide spectrum. People often mistake technical virtuosity for musicality hence the label for "prodigies" and such.

Some pianists have astounding technical facility, but their music is superficial, or they haven't lived enough to bring true depth to their playing.


If you list some of the musicians who have become famous, their talent is often only a small part of their appeal.

Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Sarah Maclaughlin, great entertainers but their actual piano skills would be considered average or even mediocre. Same with Yanni or John Tesh.

Taylor Swift sings so out of key it's laughable, yet she's popular as heck. What about the Spice Girls, manufactured to the hilt.

This is the realm of the music industry now, where American Idol can make a star out of anyone.




Another excellent post!!!!!
Yes, yes I agree!!!

Best, world's greatest etc really has to be qualified.
Excellent point!

Even with Tatum...
Sure he has the technical ability, which can in no way be denied, but after a few tunes, I "personally" get a little tired.

The pyrotechnics get annoying after a while no matter how great.
For more melodic stuff listen to Teddy Wilson, George Shearing and Oscar as well!
I can't deal with Keith Jarret recordings due to his moaning.
Saw him live once and almost walked out, it was awful. Others actually did walk out.
Even Andre Previn plays a mean jazz piano.
Jess Stacy, Bob Smeil (Lawrence Welk) Nat Cole and others play very melodic piano.

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#1496844 - 08/16/10 12:28 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: wavelength]
SteveO42 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 89

Re:Wavelength

To a point yes they can.
However it's the same as art.
If one invented a paint by number Mona Lisa we could all be Da Vinci.....Hey, they sell those in Macy's.
So why isn't my rendition priceless?




Edited by SteveO42 (08/16/10 12:58 AM)
Edit Reason: Removed stupid comments on my part

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#1496847 - 08/16/10 12:45 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: SteveO42]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
You don't have to put other people down to demonstrate your worth.

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#1496850 - 08/16/10 12:58 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: wavelength]
SteveO42 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 89
Originally Posted By: wavelength
You don't have to put other people down to demonstrate your worth.


Didn't mean it that way...sorry...apologies... I edited the message to better reflect my point.

As for "worth" it comes in 2 flavors.
First, how you feel about yourself and your craft.
This is most important IMHO.

Second. what people will pay for you.
It's up to the individual to determine what their own "worth" is.
Some will sell their soul.
Others will not.
Most are in the middle.


Edited by SteveO42 (08/16/10 01:00 AM)

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#1496865 - 08/16/10 01:39 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: rocket88]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 824
Sometimes I think the public, including Steve, can only handle so many performers. It seems the public feels they need to reduce the pool of musicians and only give the time of day to the "best".

However, I actually agree with Steve that only a small percentage of people really play well. I'm not sure yet if Steve fits in that group. If he's smart, he won't post a video here. But I do wonder why he wouldn't want to play a score as the composer intended. I also know he'd be a better performer, and perhaps famous, if he had nurtured his natural talent in a more traditional manner.

In any field, there are precious few who excel.

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#1496870 - 08/16/10 01:50 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: Candywoman]
SteveO42 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 89
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
Sometimes I think the public, including Steve, can only handle so many performers. It seems the public feels they need to reduce the pool of musicians and only give the time of day to the "best".

However, I actually agree with Steve that only a small percentage of people really play well. I'm not sure yet if Steve fits in that group. If he's smart, he won't post a video here. But I do wonder why he wouldn't want to play a score as the composer intended. I also know he'd be a better performer, and perhaps famous, if he had nurtured his natural talent in a more traditional manner.

In any field, there are precious few who excel.


Who can take a sunrise....etc.... great tune!
Sammy rocks!

Actually in my field I am quite famous however I enjoy my privacy. Using a real name on the Internet is idiocy. The Steve part is real however.
I'd love to play a score as written, but I can't. That's the point.
Can you play back, note for note more or less, something else someone just played for you?
I doubt it.
I've been told by some pretty famous people, Oscar Peterson for one, TO NEVER take formal lessons because it will ruin my style.
He suggested I study Errol Garner who I knew from "Misty" but didn't realize he couldn't read.
I'm one step, albeit a small step, above that although I wish I had 1/20th of Errol's talent.
I suspect so do you.

As for a video, I've spent so much time on the other side of the glass it's more difficult than I thought.
I will produce however and I'm sure all you learned types will get a good laugh.

How about Misty?

Will you "Play Misty for Me" Candywoman?
I'll play it for you....
I'll even toss in a little Sammy for good luck smile
Stay tuned....

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#1496879 - 08/16/10 03:12 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: SteveO42]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Hi Elissa,
You obviously must hold your audience in awe of your wisecracks ... but what the heck does this corker mean?

“Maybe little Jenny's parents see piano lessons as a way
to extend her spatial and symbolic reasoning?”

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#1496890 - 08/16/10 03:52 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: btb]
djorkaef Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/01/10
Posts: 3
God didn't gave you that talent to show off to other people, talk big about ourself and how gifted you are, and how crappy the people are that keep trying and will never be as good as you, who is even too lazy to do anything else with his talent then using it for himself, because you think you are too gifted to teach other people playing piano.


Edited by djorkaef (08/16/10 03:53 AM)

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#1496909 - 08/16/10 05:31 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: djorkaef]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
+1 djorkaef and welcome to PW! This thread's just some self aggrandizing BS. These type of threads come along with fair regularity.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1496911 - 08/16/10 05:39 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: btb]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: btb
Hi Elissa,
You obviously must hold your audience in awe of your wisecracks ... but what the heck does this corker mean?

“Maybe little Jenny's parents see piano lessons as a way
to extend her spatial and symbolic reasoning?”
I'm not quite sure what you mean in your first sentence there, but I can explain the line from my post that you quote: parents these days have been told that playing the piano improves children's spatial and symbolic reasoning, so some parents want their children to learn in order to get that outcome. Note, I am simply reporting that this is a reason these days that parents want their children to learn the piano. I appreciate that not everyone will agree with their rationale in this regard, and I was making a list of reasons parents might want "little Jenny" to take lessons even if she will never be Steve.
_________________________
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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#1496926 - 08/16/10 07:30 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: Elissa Milne]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
You're ducking the question Elissa.

You obviously must hold your audience in awe of your wisecracks ... but what the heck does this corker mean?

"Maybe little Jenny's parents see piano lessons as a way
to extend her spatial and symbolic reasoning?"

This sounds like a Jim-crack throwaway phrase for dummies.

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#1496944 - 08/16/10 08:23 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: btb]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11190
Loc: Canada
Here is how I understood it.

You will see articles explaining that music lessons will create changes in a child's thinking abilities, which in turn translate into academic achievement. Spatial and symbolic reasoning are two such abilities that are being touted, presumably good for math and reading.

Extrapolating from this, a parent enrolling a child in lessons in order to get the spin-off of academic advantage will not really care how well the child learns how to play. That parent may not give the child the support that is needed to achieve musically. In fact, that has been reported by PW teachers several times.

Therefore, if Jenny is not doing well in her performances, it may be that her parents have not been supporting her activities in music. And the reason they haven't been, is because they care about spin-offs, not the music.

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#1496964 - 08/16/10 09:10 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: keystring]
Gerard12 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 754
Loc: South Carolina
I teach a few "Jennys." With them, the work we do is more about learning process, or about being able to stick with something even when you're unsure of your ability, or even about being comfortable with yourself when you seem to be making every mistake in the book.

In other words - most of the time it's definitely not about music.

And about Tatum's and Garner's fingerings. I was always told that they relied on fingers 123 for runs so that if at anytime they wanted to interrupt a run with a melodic idea, their 4th and 5th fingers were available to start one.

Years ago, I went to a performance coach in NYC for advice on an upcoming performance of a Mozart concerto. She asked me to change the fingering in a few passages to the use of 123 only. I found out later that she originally got the idea by watching George Shearing play!


Edited by Gerard12 (08/16/10 09:45 AM)
_________________________
Piano performance and instruction (former college music professor).

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#1496976 - 08/16/10 09:34 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: btb]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: btb
You're ducking the question Elissa.

You obviously must hold your audience in awe of your wisecracks ... but what the heck does this corker mean?

"Maybe little Jenny's parents see piano lessons as a way
to extend her spatial and symbolic reasoning?"

This sounds like a Jim-crack throwaway phrase for dummies.
Um, I have no idea why this is tricky. Keystring has done a great job explaining it, but I didn't mean to 'duck' the question in the slightest.....

Parents have read research which shows that students who learn the piano score higher in spatial reasoning tests and in symbolic reasoning tests.

They therefore want their children to take piano lessons almost entirely for the purpose of increasing the abilities of their children in these two modes of reasoning. Being able to play is almost beside the point - kind of a nice bonus, shall we say.

Now, since I have not conducted the research, and since I have not kept up with developments in the research, I cannot speak to the latest perspective on the benefits of learning the piano on spatial and symbolic reasoning.

But my attitudes aren't at question here: the question was, why would parents pay for little Jenny to learn the piano when she will never be able to play.

This is a reason I've had parents tell me has motivated them to seek piano lessons for their children.

Am I missing something in the question you are asking me, btb? I can assure you, I had no strange agenda at play in listing this 'reason', and I can't think for the life of me why you think it's a corker.
_________________________
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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#1496977 - 08/16/10 09:35 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: djorkaef]
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2598
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
If we prune away the unnecessary self-awe, maybe what the OP is saying is that there is something about making music that cannot be taught? Perhaps a certain innate musicality that sets the awesomely great apart from the merely good (assuming equivalent training and hard work)?
_________________________
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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#1496985 - 08/16/10 09:51 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: jazzyprof]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
If we prune away the unnecessary self-awe, maybe what the OP is saying is that there is something about making music that cannot be taught? Perhaps a certain innate musicality that sets the awesomely great apart from the merely good (assuming equivalent training and hard work)?
I think that there is something about *performing* that cannot be taught, something innate that the performer has about themselves that they communicate to their audiences. But I think that these innate abilities can be improved through good teaching. I feel that my educational opportunities gave me the chance to be better than I would have been completely self-taught.
_________________________
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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#1496989 - 08/16/10 10:02 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: Elissa Milne]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
If we wanted to turn this thread into something interesting we could talk about a quote from my late teacher: "I can't teach you anything; you have to take responsibility for learning, yourself".

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#1496997 - 08/16/10 10:17 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: wavelength]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
You're right there, we're all learners.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1497037 - 08/16/10 11:19 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: wavelength]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: wavelength
If we wanted to turn this thread into something interesting we could talk about a quote from my late teacher: "I can't teach you anything; you have to take responsibility for learning, yourself".

That's an interesting quote. Actually, I can teach you how to play, but I cannot force you to learn how to play. But I suspect that's understood by most of us.
_________________________
"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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#1497043 - 08/16/10 11:36 AM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11190
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Actually, I can teach you how to play, but I cannot force you to learn how to play. But I suspect that's understood by most of us.


That was summarized in my post which was dismissed by the OP, answering whether you can teach someone to play the piano. His refutation involved his experience of being beaten by a top professional tennis player in tennis.

Quote:
- yes, if you know how
- and if the student works with you
- and if you work with the student

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#1497108 - 08/16/10 01:18 PM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: jazzyprof]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5279
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
If we prune away the unnecessary self-awe, maybe what the OP is saying is that there is something about making music that cannot be taught? Perhaps a certain innate musicality that sets the awesomely great apart from the merely good (assuming equivalent training and hard work)?

You are giving him WAY too much credit.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1497180 - 08/16/10 03:02 PM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: AZNpiano]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
KS, you're right. I was just responding to the quote. Most everything that needs to have been said has been said many times over.
_________________________
"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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#1497229 - 08/16/10 04:14 PM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10775
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Perhaps your 'untalented' students aren't learning because you assume they can't. Just sayin'.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1497232 - 08/16/10 04:16 PM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11190
Loc: Canada
Mine was a touch of irony. I posted as student and parent, you posted as teacher. I doubt the gentleman will have any of it.

To tell the truth, the one thing that bothers me is the feedback that people who are still learning are getting. What message are those in the process of learning or starting taking away from this? Parents' expectations and maybe anxieties about their children?

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#1497365 - 08/16/10 06:20 PM Re: Can you actually "teach" someone to play the piano? [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Smallpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 270
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz

Talent works both ways. You could be born a natural talent but if you don't put in the effort and work you still won't go anywhere. Conversely you may not be supremely blessed with talent but you can work hard to become good.

Talent means nothing if you don't hone it and put in time. Oscar Peterson got to where he was because he decided he wanted to become to best jazz pianist in the world.




+10
_________________________
English is my 4th languages, please excuse my grammar. Thanks

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