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#1507737 - 09/02/10 12:01 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: Morodiene]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
....having a student who won the Van Cliburn Amateur Competition.....

I think that's probably false. I know all the winners (there are only a few), and I don't think any of them are associated with her. I could be wrong, but I'd guess that at most they mean a person who made the finals and got one of the lesser prizes (which BTW would still be darn good).

edit: I see that our guy clarified it himself. But I'm still doubting that it really means exactly what is being said, as opposed to something more like the above.
As for your initial misunderstanding: I had understood it exactly as you did but thought it was somewhat false.


Edited by Mark_C (09/02/10 12:19 PM)
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#1507738 - 09/02/10 12:02 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: Mark_C]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
....having a student who won the Van Cliburn Amateur Competition.....

I think that's probably false. I know all the winners, and I don't think any of them are associated with her. I could be wrong, but I'd guess that at most one of the people made the finals and got one of the lesser prizes (which BTW would still be darn good).


Ya, I think Dave clarified that for me. wink
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#1507744 - 09/02/10 12:13 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: Morodiene]
Mark_C Online   content
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(see my edit.....I think it might not be exactly right even as clarified, but what the hey.....) smile
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#1507753 - 09/02/10 12:19 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: Mark_C]
D4v3 Offline
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On a side Note Mark I did like your Amateur Van Cliburn submission of Scriabin's Black Mass
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#1507764 - 09/02/10 12:29 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
Mark_C Online   content
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#1508580 - 09/03/10 04:48 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
RonaldSteinway Offline
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Registered: 03/11/08
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My teacher is a concert pianist from Russia too (he is Russian Jew), he competed at Tschaikovsky, Van Cliburn, Sidney etc. He always says that I need weekly lesson.

I never want to take weekly lesson, unless I have missed a lesson. I want to be fair with him. I found a very good excuse. I just told him "I cannot afford weekly lesson.". If I give other excuses, I know he will keep bothering me.

At first, I thought he just wants my money. But after taking lesson for 3 years with him, never once did he wasted my money in any lesson that he gave. Even when I came unprepared. He can make the lesson so useful. I am so grateful that he was even willing to take me as a student.

I know somebody who came from Russia, but hates Russian teachers. I cannot say a lot because I only had 3 of them. They are ranges from pretty good to excellent. The first one was a young guy who just escaped from Russia in 1991, he is a pretty good pianist, but has no desire to teach. I took lesson from him for about 8 months. Then I stopped taking lesson for 12 years. After that I took several lessons with a lady graduated from Lenningrad Conservatory, she is not an excellent pianist, but very good teacher for beginner. I had to quit because I had to move to different city. She is the first person who could teach me how to relax my hands, arms etc. Finally, three years ago, I found my current piano teacher.



Edited by RonaldSteinway (09/03/10 04:49 PM)

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#1508667 - 09/03/10 07:48 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway

At first, I thought he just wants my money. But after taking lesson for 3 years with him, never once did he wasted my money in any lesson that he gave. Even when I came unprepared. He can make the lesson so useful. I am so grateful that he was even willing to take me as a student.



I really like this. Not to hijack this thread, but how many times have we been asked to reschedule/cancel a lesson by the student because they didn't practice, only to be told that coming to a lesson when you haven't practiced is probably the best way to get back on the saddle again! Good teachers can always make lemonade out of lemons smile
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#1508803 - 09/04/10 01:24 AM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
Candywoman Offline
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The issue isn't whether it was a harsh critique. It wasn't, btw. However, it wasn't just your experience you're relating, but rather your and her experience, a piano lesson. Maybe she doesn't mind at all. But my point is, you should check with her first. Some people would want to study with her more after reading your story, and others less. She has a right to her privacy as a teacher.

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#1508847 - 09/04/10 06:57 AM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
keystring Online   content
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What I am understanding is that the piano lesson is a private affair between a teacher and a student. As soon as the identity of the teacher is known, then this private interaction is out in the open, putting a known person under scrutiny. Do I understand your point correctly, Candywoman?

Thinking about this: There are times we need feedback in order to get perspective on a situation. That is why students sometimes describe aspects of lessons. It is also why teachers describe interaction with a given student. We students would not want to be identified, though, and the same the other way around.

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#1509018 - 09/04/10 03:27 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
Morodiene Offline
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Seeing as how it was not a negative post, and the person giving the description was the student, I don't see any problem or any need to get "permission". I want my students to talk about me, that's how I get word of mouth advertising. If it were negative, then it could be seen as slanderous if the anonymity of the teacher was not maintained. Several people have contacted the OP because they are interested in studying with her from this post, so really there's no issue.


Edited by Morodiene (09/04/10 03:28 PM)
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#1509133 - 09/04/10 08:00 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
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A few comments:

1. I did think the first post was quite negative so not really appropriate. Virtually the same thing could be accomplished without posting a video to identify the teacher. Even if posting performances on Youtube gives others the right to link these performances at PW, doesn't mean one should do this.

2. I do not understand how some teachers can apparently take the same approach with all students. I think teachers should always gear their teaching towards the age, knowledge, talent, and goals of the student. Would she talk that way to a 10 year old beginner? Does she just teach everyone the way her teachers at some Russian conservatory taught her? What's the point in talking so negatively to a student of almost any kind but especially to one who is not intending a professional career?

3. I've seen a lot of Russian teachers give master classes in some tiny studios at Mannes. Sometimes there are only a few people observing the classes, so I don't think the teacher really changes anything in their teaching style. Observers are also constantly walking in and out of the master classes. All but one teacher has been far more positive even though they are usually dealing with aspiring professionals. Even the ones who tend to stop students frequently do it in a less demeaning way than what was described in the OP.

4. I think you should ask her why her performance of the last movement of Chopin's Sonata is amazingly slow. Same for her Bach Siloti Prelude in D. I'm a complete amateur, but I think my Minute Waltz is about on her level.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/04/10 08:15 PM)

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#1509135 - 09/04/10 08:05 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: Morodiene]
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Anyways, I do think that not every great teacher is a great performer, and this is one of those cases. Apparently she's done well as a teacher, having a student who won the Van Cliburn Amateur Competition, etc., so I think that speaks louder than her own performances.
Even if she did teach a student who won the VC Amateur Competition(which apparently is not the case), I think this only would say something about her ability to teach one particular student of a particular level.

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#1509149 - 09/04/10 08:34 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
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D4V3

this thread has made a bit uncomfortable. While entertaining, i thought about how I'd feel if someone posted a video of my playing and solicited comments.. i think i'd be furious. it just doesn't seem right. Wonder if she reads this forum? this is a forum for teachers after all.. perhaps it would be more appropriate in the adult beginners or pianist corner areas.

I am glad you like her. I'd love the opportunity to study under a pianist of her stature and i do wish you luck. kind of jealous cause I haven't had lessons for about 2 years now.
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#1509155 - 09/04/10 08:50 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
Frozenicicles Offline
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Traditionally, student-teacher confidentiality only goes one way (same as patient-physician confidentiality). That's why websites like ratemyteacher and ratemyprofessor can exist. You are walking on thin ice by identifying yourself so clearly and your teacher may get upset if she comes upon this thread. I see nothing wrong with what you'd written, youtube video included, but she may feel differently.

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#1509387 - 09/05/10 11:41 AM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: pianoloverus]
keystring Online   content
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Quote:
I do not understand how some teachers can apparently take the same approach with all students. I think teachers should always gear their teaching towards the age, knowledge, talent, and goals of the student. Would she talk that way to a 10 year old beginner? Does she just teach everyone the way her teachers at some Russian conservatory taught her? What's the point in talking so negatively to a student of almost any kind but especially to one who is not intending a professional career?

The post is about the teaching of ONE student, so the reference to the teacher taking the same approach to all students is puzzling. Nothing has been written about how other students are taught.

Was this teacher talking negatively? She seemed to point out specific things: for example that "piano" should still project. As a student I would want to know something like that.

What you really seem to be saying is that a student who is not going for a professional career should not be taught toward the same standards, and not given the same skills. What if such a student wants those things? This amounts to shutting somebody out of what he or she can learn, because of who they are. If your message is that we students do not want to be taught to those standards, then it is a disservice to those of us who do. For me it means getting solid basics rather than playing fancy pieces flamboyantly, because of where I am, but that is essentially the same thing.

I have no way of judging the quality of this person's playing either for interpretation or technique. This is only about an attitude of taking students seriously, regardless of who they are.

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#1509654 - 09/05/10 07:46 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: keystring]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Quote:
I do not understand how some teachers can apparently take the same approach with all students. I think teachers should always gear their teaching towards the age, knowledge, talent, and goals of the student. Would she talk that way to a 10 year old beginner? Does she just teach everyone the way her teachers at some Russian conservatory taught her? What's the point in talking so negatively to a student of almost any kind but especially to one who is not intending a professional career?

The post is about the teaching of ONE student, so the reference to the teacher taking the same approach to all students is puzzling. Nothing has been written about how other students are taught.

Was this teacher talking negatively? She seemed to point out specific things: for example that "piano" should still project. As a student I would want to know something like that.

What you really seem to be saying is that a student who is not going for a professional career should not be taught toward the same standards, and not given the same skills. What if such a student wants those things? This amounts to shutting somebody out of what he or she can learn, because of who they are. If your message is that we students do not want to be taught to those standards, then it is a disservice to those of us who do. For me it means getting solid basics rather than playing fancy pieces flamboyantly, because of where I am, but that is essentially the same thing.

I have no way of judging the quality of this person's playing either for interpretation or technique. This is only about an attitude of taking students seriously, regardless of who they are.


Did you listen to the videos posted? That's the way one can judge the quality of their playing.

I objected to the tone of what the teacher said.

I also don't think students of all levels of talent and knowledge should be taught the same way or told the same things. A person at a certain level can only understand things based on where they are at that time. It's not a question of short changing someone; it's a question of choosing an appropriate standard for where the student is in terms of their development. As a student's level increases, the standards and ideas expressed by the teacher would be higher. I don't think first graders should be taught the same way or same things as eighth graders, do you?

To constantly interrupt someone playing a relatively easy Beethoven Sonata and especially someone who has no intentions of being a professional is very bad teaching IMO. My strong suspicion is that a teacher who does this with one student would do it with many others and perhaps all their students.

There's a saying about teachers something like "A poor teacher doesn't know what to tell a student, an average teacher thionk they should tell the student everything they know about a topic, a good teacher tells the student what's appropriate."

In summary, I think it's a question of tone and appropriateness.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/05/10 07:48 PM)

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#1509920 - 09/06/10 08:26 AM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
keystring Online   content
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Pianoloverus, the one thing that seems to come across is a kind of picture of a student who is at earlier stages and/or does not want to go all too far far. When I looked, this is a person who has played piano for 15 years and hopes to reach the level of concert pianist if at all possible.

The tone, I agree, is not bedside manner, and many of us would not like it. The OP, however, was not bothered. If the student is comfortable, is it wrong? Perhaps there is an intent and attitude that sends out the right vibes nonetheless.

In terms of what kinds of expectations are appropriate for this student, only the teacher can know. I think that we also have to distinguish between what we would like for ourselves, or how we would teach, and what another student may like, and how someone else teaches. Teaching is not an exact science.

I don't know enough about piano to assess the playing or what it might imply about teaching, if it does. I'd be uncomfortable doing so in any case.


Edited by keystring (09/06/10 10:25 AM)
Edit Reason: fixed 1st sentence, added last paragraph.

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#1510018 - 09/06/10 11:24 AM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: keystring]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Pianoloverus, the one thing that seems to come across is a kind of picture of a student who is at earlier stages and/or does not want to go all too far far. When I looked, this is a person who has played piano for 15 years and hopes to reach the level of concert pianist if at all possible.

The tone, I agree, is not bedside manner, and many of us would not like it. The OP, however, was not bothered. If the student is comfortable, is it wrong? Perhaps there is an intent and attitude that sends out the right vibes nonetheless.

In terms of what kinds of expectations are appropriate for this student, only the teacher can know. I think that we also have to distinguish between what we would like for ourselves, or how we would teach, and what another student may like, and how someone else teaches. Teaching is not an exact science.


The OP is an adult who is studying one of the easier Beethoven Sonatas. So I can't imagine they're intending to reach concert pianist level. But even if this were the case, I think the teacher should tell them what is appropriate for their level as it is now.

It's good that the OP doesn't seem bothered by the teacher's style. I do think saying too much on the teacher's part can be harmful and confusing.

I think it's true that only the teacher can potentially be the best judge of what's best for a particular student, but unfortunately that doesn't always mean the teacher is the best or even a good judge of what's best.

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#1510084 - 09/06/10 12:52 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
keystring Online   content
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It sounds like the student's level is being extrapolated by how complicated the piece is.

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#1510086 - 09/06/10 12:55 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: keystring]
rocket88 Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
It sounds like the student's level is being extrapolated by how complicated the piece is.


Help!...I don't understand that sentence. frown
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#1510100 - 09/06/10 01:08 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
keystring Online   content
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Quote:

Keystring: It sounds like the student's level is being extrapolated by how complicated the piece is.

Rocket: Help!...I don't understand that sentence.


Pianoloverus stated that the piece is an easier Beethoven sonata. It may be that PL sees that the fact that the sonata is "easy" means that the student is at a lower level or still has less skills. The choice of piece = level and ability of student. That is what my sentence meant.

When my son came home from university he was preparing a study he had done years before at a grade level he had passed long before. Although it was a top university that students auditioned for, all students had this assignment. They had to play with utmost accuracy to build their technique to a higher level, and they were given lower level material so that they could concentrate on technique to a professional level.

This taught me that the level of a piece may not reflect the level of a student's skill. I don't know if it's the same for piano.


Edited by keystring (09/06/10 01:10 PM)

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#1510114 - 09/06/10 01:33 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: keystring]
rocket88 Offline
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Thanks!
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#1510193 - 09/06/10 04:08 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: keystring]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Quote:

Keystring: It sounds like the student's level is being extrapolated by how complicated the piece is.

Rocket: Help!...I don't understand that sentence.


Pianoloverus stated that the piece is an easier Beethoven sonata. It may be that PL sees that the fact that the sonata is "easy" means that the student is at a lower level or still has less skills. The choice of piece = level and ability of student. That is what my sentence meant.

When my son came home from university he was preparing a study he had done years before at a grade level he had passed long before. Although it was a top university that students auditioned for, all students had this assignment. They had to play with utmost accuracy to build their technique to a higher level, and they were given lower level material so that they could concentrate on technique to a professional level.

This taught me that the level of a piece may not reflect the level of a student's skill. I don't know if it's the same for piano.


I agree that one cannot make an assumption as to what the OP IS looking to do. He's only played piano for 4 years, and since he sought out a teacher of the "Russian school" perhaps he is very serious about his study. He obviously wants to improve and wants a teacher that won't complement him on something if he didn't really do it well.

Let's not assume that by studying Beethoven's 14/1 that a person is not a serious musician - either amateur or on the professional track.
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#1510215 - 09/06/10 04:41 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: Morodiene]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I agree that one cannot make an assumption as to what the OP IS looking to do. He's only played piano for 4 years, and since he sought out a teacher of the "Russian school" perhaps he is very serious about his study. He obviously wants to improve and wants a teacher that won't complement him on something if he didn't really do it well.

Let's not assume that by studying Beethoven's 14/1 that a person is not a serious musician - either amateur or on the professional track.

According to his/her profile the student is a broker. I think this means an adult with a full time job.

I think there's a huge middle ground between being "complemented if he didn't do well" and being spoken to the way the OP described.

Based on of the difficulty of Op. 14 compared to other Beethoven Sonatas, I think it's quite reasonable to assume the OP isn't an extremely advanced pupil. If this is not the case, I'm sure he'll say so. This in no way implies he's not a very serious student or he doesn't want to improve. It just should imply, I think, that the teacher shouldn't be interrupting him with "Stop" every few measures. I've seen 100's of master classes at Mannes. Even though these involve conservatory level students and some of the teachers like to interrupt frequently, none of them have said "Stop". They've found more appropriate ways to stop the student.

Just like not many classroom teachers tell a student in their class to "Shut up" even when they behave poorly.

No matter how serious or desirous of improvement a pupil is, IMO they should be taught at a level appropriate to where they are. Just like I think even a highly gifted second grader shouldn't be taught, say English, like a high school senior.



Edited by pianoloverus (09/06/10 04:56 PM)

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#1510242 - 09/06/10 05:20 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
keystring Online   content
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Quote:
No matter how serious or desirous of improvement a pupil is, IMO they should be taught at a level appropriate to where they are.

Which neither you nor I have any way of knowing. The piece he chose to play, and the profession he happens to have at the moment, are no indication of this person's level, goals, or future. One would think that his teacher who has observed the playing has a much better idea and doesn't have to guess in the same way.

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#1510269 - 09/06/10 05:48 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: keystring]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Quote:
No matter how serious or desirous of improvement a pupil is, IMO they should be taught at a level appropriate to where they are.

Which neither you nor I have any way of knowing. The piece he chose to play, and the profession he happens to have at the moment, are no indication of this person's level, goals, or future. One would think that his teacher who has observed the playing has a much better idea and doesn't have to guess in the same way.
I didn't say I knew with 100% certainty, only that my assumptions about his level, goals, and future were reasonable. And that I'm sure he'll let us know if my assumptions are wrong.

Frankly, if he were a very advanced student, I doubt he'd have posted his teacher's performances thinking they were of high quality for a performing professional.

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#1510452 - 09/06/10 10:11 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: keystring]
Mark_C Online   content
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IMO the teacher's approach (the "tone" taken together with the specifics) wouldn't be very good for someone of any level -- especially when we see from the teacher's videos that the musicianship and/or judgment are perhaps questionable. If a teacher is going to take that kind of approach, which I personally wouldn't appreciate from anyone and wouldn't recommend to anyone, at least he/she should be at a level that justifies it.

Sorry if this is harsh. But as they say, we calls 'em as we sees 'em. smile
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#1510715 - 09/07/10 10:12 AM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: Mark_C]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
IMO the teacher's approach (the "tone" taken together with the specifics) wouldn't be very good for someone of any level -- especially when we see from the teacher's videos that the musicianship and/or judgment are perhaps questionable. If a teacher is going to take that kind of approach, which I personally wouldn't appreciate from anyone and wouldn't recommend to anyone, at least he/she should be at a level that justifies it.

Sorry if this is harsh. But as they say, we calls 'em as we sees 'em. smile


And I do agree. I woudl never dream of treating a student this way, but I don't have a Russian accent so I couldn't get away with it :P. Seriously, though, the student obviously liked this approach. I know of some phenomenal teachers who can be very harsh but to the point and certain students actually need/thrive on the kick in the pants attitude. It sounds like this teacher is what the OP was looking for. Ultimately, of course, it comes down to in the end if the student got better as a result of learning from this teacher.
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#1510767 - 09/07/10 11:57 AM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: D4v3]
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
I dunno -- the lesson didn't sound that bad to me. She let him play through the whole piece at the beginning before she started working on it with him. I've had teachers that didn't even do that.

I think working on these small points actually can be very helpful, depending on what you want to accomplish. What's hard about the piano (at least one thing, anyway) is avoiding sounding mechanical and just plunking away at it, and also achieving good tone, which it seems like she was focusing on. Now, it would be interesting to know whether this teacher provided technical advice on how to achieve that. I hope the OP shares more of this with us.
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Recovering cellist, amateur pianist.


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#1510770 - 09/07/10 12:04 PM Re: My First Lesson with a New Teacher [Re: Piano Again]
Frozenicicles Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/09
Posts: 1324
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Piano Again
I dunno -- the lesson didn't sound that bad to me. She let him play through the whole piece at the beginning before she started working on it with him. I've had teachers that didn't even do that.

Me too - sometimes I would only get to play 4 bars of something for the whole lesson. The student before me sometimes ran out of the room in tears. Those were the days...

OP: I wonder whether this teacher was only going easy on you because it's the first lesson. Attitudes like this tend to escalate, from my experience. Do keep us updated! I'm sure many of us would be curious to see whether this style of teaching ends up helping you.

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