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#1575660 - 12/12/10 11:46 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
Argerich5405 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/28/09
Posts: 172
To clarify, my friend was playing at a piano store. It turns out the teacher who criticized his teacher worked at the store as a piano tuner/technician (turns out he was also a piano teacher). He saw my friend playing and offered the un-solicitated advice. He then asked who my friend studied with...and apparently, he'd heard of my friend's teacher before (though never met him). He pointed out those "mistakes" and called the teaching methods of my friend's teacher "old school" and pointed out that with his own students, he likes to teach out of everything to help the student. I don't know if that's an insult or not...being old school doesn't necessarily mean that the approach is bad.

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#1575663 - 12/12/10 11:49 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: Argerich5405]
rocket88 Offline
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Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Old School anything is usually, (but not always), good. Classical music is old school. Boogie-Woogie piano is Old School. Old School tattoos are beautiful. Politeness and good manners are old school...
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#1575669 - 12/12/10 11:56 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Piano*Dad]
TimR Offline
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
landorrano,

Yeah, the Nobel stuff sounds a bit over the top, doesn't it. In truth, I have talked with at least four of 'em, and they fit the pattern I describe. They radiated professionalism.


Yeah but.

And it's kind of a big but, actually.

Do you have any idea how carefully Nobel laureates, or indeed any scientific professionals, examine each other's work looking for flaws?

And how viciously they expose said flaws?

They have to. That is how scientific integrity is maintained.

The same is not true of music instruction. Teachers are on the whole very reluctant to criticize others in the field.

This field does NOT self regulate, and there is no licensing body that performs that task. I'm an engineer. My license required graduation from an ABET certified university, plus a difficult exam, plus proof of responsible experience. It can be revoked for misconduct or misjudgement.

The lack of regulation would be okay if the consumer were capable of evaluating the service, but for the most part they are not. They have no way of knowing if their piano teacher is a genius or a quack.

Quite a dilemma, really.
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#1575674 - 12/13/10 12:16 AM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Hmm, John Thompson piano method is old school.
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#1575690 - 12/13/10 01:03 AM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Holding an orange in your palm is old school.
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#1575796 - 12/13/10 08:01 AM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Argerich5405
To clarify, my friend was playing at a piano store. It turns out the teacher who criticized his teacher worked at the store as a piano tuner/technician (turns out he was also a piano teacher). He saw my friend playing and offered the unsolicited advice. He then asked who my friend studied with...and apparently, he'd heard of my friend's teacher before (though never met him). He pointed out those "mistakes" and called the teaching methods of my friend's teacher "old school" and pointed out that with his own students, he likes to teach out of everything to help the student. I don't know if that's an insult or not...being old school doesn't necessarily mean that the approach is bad.

Thank you for clarifying.

This really is unprofessional behavior in the extreme. Not only is your friend in the learning process, criticizing a student who is learning could be devastating to the student in many ways. For certain, it undermines the student's rapport with the current teacher and plants seeds of doubts, which, of course, was the goal. As many have pointed out already, we have no way of knowing that the store teacher is one iota better, teaches a better method, has better results with students, etc.

If your friend feels uncomfortable continuing with the current teacher, I suggest s/he look for a third teacher, and totally avoid the store teacher entirely.
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"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
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#1575798 - 12/13/10 08:06 AM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
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(I posted same time as John.)
Originally Posted By: Argerich5405
He pointed out those "mistakes" and called the teaching methods of my friend's teacher "old school" and pointed out that with his own students, he likes to teach out of everything to help the student.


Are you able to give examples of the kinds of "mistakes" that this teacher identified?

There are two elements here: the idea of mistakes, and the idea of school.

A mistake/weakness/missing thing a student hasn't learned yet etc. can be things like: can't read well, lost about key signatures (fumbles), stronger in sight reading or playing by ear, technical weaknesses. Sometimes a teacher neglects something that everyone agrees has to be taught from the beginning, and another teacher will be disturbed to see it missing. For example, poor posture can lead to all kinds of other difficulties. But teachers also have different ideas about what should be taught first or emphasized: some like training the ear first, and others like to push reading first. When there are strong beliefs, one teacher will call the other teacher's approach "wrong". That is not the same as the poor posture example.

"School": Loosely speaking, I mean an attitude and/or approach toward how things should be taught. Take the skill of being at home in different key signatures, being able to play runs and chords smoothly. One "school" has a student do scales, chords, studies that reinforce things (Hanon, Czerny), and play a rigidly set traditional repertoire that systematically brings in those skills. Another "school" thinks that you can find scales in actual pieces, it's more natural to use pieces, and that you should play a large variety of pieces while working on the technique and theory as it comes up. These two ways of thinking are opposite, but the goal is the same.

The fellow in the store might hear something that he considers a weakness - something he would reinforce first but the present teacher brings in later on. Or he might hear something that actually is a concern. He *also* disagrees with the "school" (he said he likes using a variety of pieces). You have to separate these two things. If your friend likes the traditional way and wouldn't like a looser choice of varied pieces, then why should he change?

If this person also identified real things, such as stumbling, being weak in key signatures, tense wrists, the I'd be inclined to ask the present teacher about it: "Is this a problem? Should we be working on this?" The teacher may have thoughts about this already. It is hard to work with your teacher when you start having doubts, and it's also hard to practice when doubt has been sown in your mind about what you're doing.


Edited by keystring (12/13/10 08:08 AM)
Edit Reason: having noticed simultaneous posting

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#1575807 - 12/13/10 08:35 AM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: TimR
Yeah but.

And it's kind of a big but, actually.

Do you have any idea how carefully Nobel laureates, or indeed any scientific professionals, examine each other's work looking for flaws?


Yes, I do, actually. I participate in the refereeing process myself.

Indeed, my analogy is hardly perfect. It was meant to be descriptive of interpersonal relations that follow a general politeness and respect, rather than as an exact comparison to piano teachers. Something that Rocket88 tagged very well ....

Originally Posted By: Rocket88
Politeness and good manners are old school...


My point is that people who are at the pinnacle of their field often behave in very polite, professional, and even deferential ways. I'm sure they have healthy egos, but they know how to keep them in check. This is a good model for the rest of us to follow.
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#1575915 - 12/13/10 12:28 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: Argerich5405
To clarify, my friend was playing at a piano store. It turns out the teacher who criticized his teacher worked at the store as a piano tuner/technician (turns out he was also a piano teacher). He saw my friend playing and offered the un-solicitated advice. He then asked who my friend studied with...and apparently, he'd heard of my friend's teacher before (though never met him). He pointed out those "mistakes" and called the teaching methods of my friend's teacher "old school" and pointed out that with his own students, he likes to teach out of everything to help the student. I don't know if that's an insult or not...being old school doesn't necessarily mean that the approach is bad.


I mentioned this a while ago, but the same thing happened to a student of mine. He was in a store (shopping for a new piano) and the salesman tried to tell him I was teaching him all wrong and try out this lesson workshop or something.

In short, my student walked out (not to mention didn't buy a piano from him either) smile

The truth is, it would be fine in this situation to casually chat about the students lessons, maybe have a fun exchange with a few selfless tips thrown in. But that's not what this teacher was doing - he was in effect trying to compete. Where's the productiveness in that? It's not really what's best for the student, is it.

The answer is to always do what's best for the student and its up to the teacher to decide whatever that is in every given circumstance.
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#1575936 - 12/13/10 01:35 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: danshure]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: danshure
Where's the productiveness in that? It's not really what's best for the student, is it.

The answer is to always do what's best for the student and its up to the teacher to decide whatever that is in every given circumstance.


What if the student's teacher is in fact teaching them things that will cause them issues?
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#1575944 - 12/13/10 01:50 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Very likely.
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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1575950 - 12/13/10 02:02 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Morodiene]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
What if the student's teacher is in fact teaching them things that will cause them issues?

You cannot know that, only speculate. Best to MYOB. In the case in question, given the facts as stated, the tech/teacher was student hustling. My experience with adults is that we often have to overlook a number of technical issues, because the student just wants to "play" this or that, or they walk. As they advance, we can then work on these problem areas. In other words, with many adult students, we have to put the cart before the horse, at least for a while.
_________________________
"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
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#1575957 - 12/13/10 02:12 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
What if the student's teacher is in fact teaching them things that will cause them issues?

You cannot know that, only speculate. Best to MYOB. In the case in question, given the facts as stated, the tech/teacher was student hustling. My experience with adults is that we often have to overlook a number of technical issues, because the student just wants to "play" this or that, or they walk. As they advance, we can then work on these problem areas. In other words, with many adult students, we have to put the cart before the horse, at least for a while.


What about simply pointing out the errors the student is making? That's not necessarily a criticism of the teacher, but simply stating ("hey, did you know you slouch when you play?"). That leaves the teacher out of it, and it's up to the student to reflect on it.
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#1575998 - 12/13/10 03:22 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
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John, I know that you communicate regularly with your students, discussing both progress and goals. Therefore I assume that you get a rather accurate picture of your students and if you had an adult in your studio who did not fit the portrait you just described, you would know it. However, not everyone does that. To make it worse, those of us who have never had lessons tend to be overly deferential, not question things, and we also don't know what to expect. If a teacher assumes we have those kinds of goals and "puts the cart before the horse", leaving off things that he would normally teach, we will not know this. We will assume that our lessons are standard fare.

If everyone makes that assumption, addressing us according to that mindset, then it is like trying to orient in a house of mirrors. You guys know that we can't really progress without the tools, and the only reason that you delay the tools is because of the common unwillingness to embrace that kind of learning - if we quit we learn even less so this is the best option. I do understand. But imagine the student who is struggling while having a teacher, and doesn't know why, and wonders why it constantly feels like something is missing. If under the right circumstance ONE teacher opens his mouth, then at least that student can ask his teacher about it. Chances are that the teacher will be all too please to change gears and put the horse where it belongs.

The examples here are probably fishing trips on those teachers' parts. But other situations come up. Somehow we students and teachers have to find a way to communicate. We're at a disadvantage because when we start out we don't have the vocabulary. I think that any kind of regular review such as yours, John, is a good start.

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#1575999 - 12/13/10 03:25 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Morodiene]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
What about simply pointing out the errors the student is making? That's not necessarily a criticism of the teacher, but simply stating ("hey, did you know you slouch when you play?"). That leaves the teacher out of it, and it's up to the student to reflect on it.

Perhaps, but at best, you might get a nasty rejoinder, or worse, a physical reminder of why most people don't appreciate unsolicited advice.

I'd probably respond something to the effect of: "Remind me again, when is your going out of business sale?"

BTW, how was the blizzard. Looks like you got a good dose of the white stuff.
_________________________
"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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#1576006 - 12/13/10 03:50 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
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Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
What about simply pointing out the errors the student is making? That's not necessarily a criticism of the teacher, but simply stating ("hey, did you know you slouch when you play?"). That leaves the teacher out of it, and it's up to the student to reflect on it.


I'd probably respond something to the effect of: "Remind me again, when is your going out of business sale?"


I'd respond with "thank you". And I have a feeling that if someone managed to point out something you were doing that inhibited your playing, you would do the same. I cannot imagine you, as a musician, responding in the way you just said. It seems out of character.

Frankly, I don't have the time to waste on skipped technique and avoided correction. If I'm going to take lessons, and invest my time practicing, then there should be something to it. Honesty will get my business.

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#1576007 - 12/13/10 03:53 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
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Keystring, [in response to your first post]one of the big problems illustrated in this thread is that there are a number of people who feel it is their God given right to butt into the affairs of others. "Well, it's for the student," they say. Really? I'd wager that 99% of the time, it's for self-aggrandizement.

Move the problem out of the piano world for a minute into every day life. You're in the grocery store, shopping. How would you feel if a nutritionist came up to you and started commenting on your food selection, castigating your mom for teaching you such terrible nutritional skills? Then you walk out the door, and a dress shop owner assails you with advice on improving your clothing. You manage to get to your car when you're met by an "expert" who tells you your car is no good and obviously your dad was an idiot because he didn't teach you better. You finally make it back to the office, and some do-gooder nurse happening by suggests you really need to shed a few pounds, and as you walk by the coffee pot, someone tells you a certain herbal tea is far better for you. Exasperated, on your way home, you stop by Lowes to pick up some light bulbs and as you pick up the bulbs you want, some self-appointed expert tells you should only buy CFLs. Says he's an engineer and knows what's best.

You get the picture. Most people really don't want advice; best to wait until asked, and even then, offering it is fraught with dangers (Dear, does this dress make my butt look too big?).


Edited by John v.d.Brook (12/13/10 03:55 PM)
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1576008 - 12/13/10 03:57 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Frankly, I don't have the time to waste on skipped technique and avoided correction. If I'm going to take lessons, and invest my time practicing, then there should be something to it. Honesty will get my business.

But how do you know that the criticizer is correct and your teacher isn't?
_________________________
"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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#1576011 - 12/13/10 03:58 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: TimR]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
landorrano,

Yeah, the Nobel stuff sounds a bit over the top, doesn't it. In truth, I have talked with at least four of 'em, and they fit the pattern I describe. They radiated professionalism.


Yeah but.

And it's kind of a big but, actually.

Do you have any idea how carefully Nobel laureates, or indeed any scientific professionals, examine each other's work looking for flaws?

And how viciously they expose said flaws?

They have to. That is how scientific integrity is maintained.

The same is not true of music instruction. Teachers are on the whole very reluctant to criticize others in the field.

This field does NOT self regulate, and there is no licensing body that performs that task. I'm an engineer. My license required graduation from an ABET certified university, plus a difficult exam, plus proof of responsible experience. It can be revoked for misconduct or misjudgement.

The lack of regulation would be okay if the consumer were capable of evaluating the service, but for the most part they are not. They have no way of knowing if their piano teacher is a genius or a quack.

Quite a dilemma, really.
Piano teaching, as a unified whole, has not been tried in a truly scientifically-valid (clear, comprehensive, and falsifiable hypotheses, controlled experiments, the whole lot) anywhere, ever. (Attempts have certainly been made, for only a few parts of the process, and only from the most conveniently accessible points of view.) I believe it's right to ask whether it could ever be truly scientific, and even if it could, whether that would be a good thing.

There are a (probably small) number of lucrative and successful enterprises based upon selling the reassurance of a "system" to teachers and students. Their actual "systems", and the teaching methods that go with them, are often seriously flawed for the purpose of succeeding at playing the piano well, but that is not what they are for. The systems work rather well for their real purpose, which is to provide a closed, sanitized little world of false certainty, sufficiently large that people will pay good money to spend a good portion of their lives inside of it, and sufficiently small that people get the feeling they could know everything in it - if only they went to a few more weekend workshops. smile

These "systems" provide another source of free-and-worth-every-penny "advisors" for students. For the teachers, well, free it ain't. frown
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#1576062 - 12/13/10 05:35 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
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John, we're in danger of talking past each other.

I also have the impression that this person was hustling, by undermining the student's confidence in his playing as well as in his own teacher, and offering to teach in the same conversation. In that light I understand your real life examples of the nutritionist who insults your mother while giving unsolicited advice. Even if it is not hustling, it is self-aggrandization by making others small. There are indeed chronic advice givers like that, and they are not usually the most knowledgeable.

I tend to take people literally and probably did that with your post, which I suspect goes into particular contexts.

In Morodiene's example I saw someone with her level expertise coming across someone who is struggling and hurting themselves through poor posture. It's a judgment call. Personally I would thank the person, and if I had a teacher I would also ask my teacher about it.

It's attitude, judgment, and timing. In terms of real life scenarios: I have had sessions with a trainer and joined a gym for the first time in my life to regain my health. Recently I saw a woman use a machine in a way that I was told could cause injury. I did not MMOB. This member later had a training session and now knows how to use equipment safely. Similarly I've had advice from regulars when they saw me struggle with knobs and levers. I think these kinds of things are not the same as what you're talking about. There are occasions where silence is the lesser choice.

I am curious - How common is this kind of hustling?

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#1576069 - 12/13/10 05:56 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
From the postings here, it must be more common than we think!

In re your gym example. I would have done the same. Warning someone not to pick up a live high voltage wire is not the same thing as presenting yourself as an expert and providing unsolicited advice, criticizing their teacher, etc.
_________________________
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#1576074 - 12/13/10 06:04 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
Canonie Offline
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Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: keystring
To make it worse, those of us who have never had lessons tend to be overly deferential, not question things, and we also don't know what to expect. If a teacher assumes we have those kinds of goals and "puts the cart before the horse", leaving off things that he would normally teach, we will not know this. We will assume that our lessons are standard fare.

If everyone makes that assumption, addressing us according to that mindset, then it is like trying to orient in a house of mirrors. You guys know that we can't really progress without the tools, and the only reason that you delay the tools is because of the common unwillingness to embrace that kind of learning - if we quit we learn even less so this is the best option. I do understand. But imagine the student who is struggling while having a teacher, and doesn't know why, and wonders why it constantly feels like something is missing.
My hunch is that good teachers find it a lot harder to restrain themselves from teaching all that is needed for a student's development. Believe me, if you didn't show any reluctance to take on all the technical, rhythmic, theory, SR work then I think most good teachers are delighted to supply this sort of work. It is the 'I really don't think I need it' or 'I just want to play moonlight sonata for myself' that would be challenging (although I've never experienced that... so just assuming here)
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#1576140 - 12/13/10 08:03 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
keystring Online   content
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Canonie, for a student to take on anything, it first has to be given. In some cases it isn't, and if the student doesn't know to ask for it, this goes in circles. I've read your posts and I know you try to give a full musical experience. What I wrote is a reflection of what happens at least some of the time. Thanks for the uplifting words, however. smile

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#1576205 - 12/13/10 09:53 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
And that would be disappointing and frustrating! I grew up with a zero technique teacher. It's too long ago to remember whether I rejected her hints, or whether they're weren't any. I know only the final result: a piano player with who was beyond (technical) help.

What I was trying to say was it's hard for me to imagine a teacher who doesn't give adults everything that is given to children. It was the "leaving off things that he would normally teach" that caught my eye. The idea of a competent teacher who holds back for adult students!? In my limited experience adults want the lot, and teachers enjoy giving it all (Hey, someone who really practises scales in the way suggested laugh )

I hope you get the detail and depth you deserve from lessons!
Sorry for drifting OT here. Carry on smile
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

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#1576207 - 12/13/10 10:04 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Do I have students that play with tension? Yes.

Does this mean we aren't working on it? No.

Everything is in process. You have no way of knowing where someone is in the process at any given moment unless you are the teacher. To assume otherwise is just arrogant.
_________________________
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#1576231 - 12/13/10 10:58 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
You have no way of knowing where someone is in the process at any given moment unless you are the teacher. To assume otherwise is just arrogant.


This just strikes me as so obvious that it's surprising that we must keep reiterating the point. The desire to intervene on behalf of the poor student must be balanced against the almost complete lack of information that the benevolent intervener has about the student/teacher relationship of the target of his or her intervention.
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#1576466 - 12/14/10 09:56 AM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10753
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Quote:
You have no way of knowing where someone is in the process at any given moment unless you are the teacher. To assume otherwise is just arrogant.


This just strikes me as so obvious that it's surprising that we must keep reiterating the point. The desire to intervene on behalf of the poor student must be balanced against the almost complete lack of information that the benevolent intervener has about the student/teacher relationship of the target of his or her intervention.


Which is why it is ultimately left up to the student to determine: is the teacher not teaching them this? If not, is there a good reason for withholding the teaching of these things? If yes, then that's fine, no harm, no foul. If no, then is the teacher giving them what they need? None of these questions would even come up if no one says anything.

Again, I reiterate the point that the criticizing teacher should keep the comments to what the student is actually doing, rather than critiquing the teacher. It's the student's job to determine if their teacher is trying to teach these things, or waiting to discuss them while they focus on something more important. By simply bringing up this conversation to the teacher, then the teacher will either agree or disagree with the comments. Very often, the comments could actually be something that the teacher has been talking about but the student hasn't really believed it was true or ignores that aspect in their practicing. By having a complete stranger point it out adds validity to the teacher's insistence.
_________________________
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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#1576497 - 12/14/10 11:12 AM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Lollipop]
Phil Best Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 27
Loc: Fulham, London, UK
It is so true that promoting our own methods over another teacher's based on what a student does at the piano (or even based on what a student says about their teacher) is dangerous ground! I like the idea of sharing our approaches openly and freely but unfortunately the fragile human ego is involved here and all kinds of competitive or defensive urges come into play. I think all we can do is tiptoe our way through this moral minefield as confidently and sensitively as we can whilst remembering that our job is to help others achieve their musical goals. And of course, the old saying ever applies, "You can't please all the people all the time"!

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#1576626 - 12/14/10 03:26 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I've been thinking about this since it was posted and have a few thoughts. (I may be duplicating some other ideas here, I didn't take the time to read all 5 pages of responses.)

The biggest problem with criticizing another teacher's students is that we often ignore two things: trajectory and situation.

Here's what I mean:

Trajectory - it is impossible to know after hearing a student one or two times where they are in terms of their development. If we see a student play and they're tense, it may be because the teacher's ignoring it, but may also be that the teacher has been working through tension issues for the last six months and it's coming slowly. It's hard to criticize someone for habits. They're habits, which by definition means that they're hard to break.

Situation - it is also impossible to know what the student and parents are looking for. I have had students quit because they were unwilling or unable to put in the kind of time it takes to make progress. In some cases, these students have gone on to other teachers who see piano lessons as more of a weekly activity than musical training. When I was in high school, I took Tae Kwon Do. I enjoyed it and had a great teacher, but I wasn't able to take class the 4-5 times a week that would've been necessary for me to advance to the level of black belt. I still very much enjoyed class and my instructor, though, and I did learn a great deal from him. But an outsider looking in may very well have wondered how good my teacher was - after all, I was stuck at the level of brown belt for two years!
_________________________
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#1577230 - 12/15/10 02:33 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Kreisler]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10753
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I've been thinking about this since it was posted and have a few thoughts. (I may be duplicating some other ideas here, I didn't take the time to read all 5 pages of responses.)

The biggest problem with criticizing another teacher's students is that we often ignore two things: trajectory and situation.

Here's what I mean:

Trajectory - it is impossible to know after hearing a student one or two times where they are in terms of their development. If we see a student play and they're tense, it may be because the teacher's ignoring it, but may also be that the teacher has been working through tension issues for the last six months and it's coming slowly. It's hard to criticize someone for habits. They're habits, which by definition means that they're hard to break.

Situation - it is also impossible to know what the student and parents are looking for. I have had students quit because they were unwilling or unable to put in the kind of time it takes to make progress. In some cases, these students have gone on to other teachers who see piano lessons as more of a weekly activity than musical training. When I was in high school, I took Tae Kwon Do. I enjoyed it and had a great teacher, but I wasn't able to take class the 4-5 times a week that would've been necessary for me to advance to the level of black belt. I still very much enjoyed class and my instructor, though, and I did learn a great deal from him. But an outsider looking in may very well have wondered how good my teacher was - after all, I was stuck at the level of brown belt for two years!
And if that outsider had pointed out after observing you kick some things around smile that you needed to work on your form, you would then have the opportunity to think to yourself, "I'm sure it's because I'm not going to classes often enough. Do I want to fix this or not?". Or you might think, "Well, I never realized this was a problem. I'll ask my teacher about it at the next class." Or you might still think, "My teacher keeps saying that but I never thought it was that big of a deal. I suppose they're right and I should really work on this." If you then brought it up to the teacher, they might concur with the other person's criticism but explain their train of thought on the process, or they might explain that there are different philosophies on what is correct, and this is the way that you teach, or whatever. It initiates discussion, and reflection, which are not bad things. Might this entice a student away from a teacher? Usually students are attached to their teachers and don't switch lightly.

Anyways, that's how I feel about it. Perhaps it's something we can agree to disagree on.
_________________________
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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