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#1708242 - 07/06/11 03:15 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
just need to report that I teach privately over the home of my students, or at my own studio. It's up to them, although I charge more to go out to their place! I've had absolutely no trouble getting in the houses, or working with young males or females, or older ones. Absolutely no issue whatsoever!

And, yes, I'm a male!
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#1708259 - 07/06/11 04:07 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
I know many men who teach privately in their own homes. It's not just music -- there are plenty of men teaching math, or French, or whatever, to high-school kids of both genders.

Maybe it's a cultural thing -- where I live I don't think it would occur to anybody to think that this was inappropriate in any way.

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#1708261 - 07/06/11 04:41 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
fleetfingers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Arizona, USA
It's a sad reality that men have to be careful about these kinds of things and that some people have become so hyper-sensitive. You should be able to touch the fingers and hands of students as you teach, and it is not inappropriate to do so! Unfortunately, some people might think that it is. Just be careful and aware.

My first teacher (when I was six) was male and I adored him (I'm female).

As a parent, I seek out male teachers because I have boys and they prefer "boy" teachers.

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#1708276 - 07/06/11 06:13 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Slowdown Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Ah, that's a coincidence fleetfingers; I was just going to add that, while I have a fairly even spread of male and female students, I think that quite a few parents of boys have actually chosen me as a teacher because I am male.

I do some teaching from my home. And I'm obviously completely flexible about parents sitting in on lessons etc.

I hate the idea that people would assume that I am more likely to abuse children because of my gender - but I have to admit that I am extremely careful never to touch a student when I'm demonstrating hand position or a phrasing gesture or whatever.

But I think the notion that you can't be a private piano teacher because you are male is silly and sexist - and inaccurate!
-Paul
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#1708291 - 07/06/11 07:40 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Gary D.]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
However, the idea that it is OK for women to teach in a studio, but not men, almost seems to me like a kind of reverse discrimination!


Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Why "reverse"? Is there an assumption that discrimination is always in the favour of men?

"Is there an assumption?" Or did *I* make an assumption, in your eyes?

If someone, for any reason, is discouraged against doing ANYTHING, for reasons of gender, then there is prejudice. And the idea that certain "work" is mainly for "men" or for "women" is hardly novel.

In the past, it was assumed that "school teachers" would be women, doctors would be men, nurses would be women, etc.

This thread started out with a male beging told by a female not to do the same work, in the same environment, that *she* did.

Call it what you like: it does not assume equality in the profession I have been in for decades.

Or do you have another point?


I think I made my point very clearly! Yes, it is discrimination. Why is it REVERSE discrimination?

As for the sex of teachers, it depends how far in the past you look!

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#1708292 - 07/06/11 07:46 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Here in the UK, we have just been informed by our Health & Safety Executive (a government body that advises on exactly what it sounds like it would) that we should all stop being stupidly cautious and accept that zero-risk is unattainable. It's probably really all about cost-cutting, but it's sensible advice too!

With any luck this will be followed by a reminder that contact with a pupil is not automatically against the law, there is no reason not to photograph or film school events ....

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#1708302 - 07/06/11 08:19 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Exalted Wombat]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
...there is no reason not to photograph or film school events ....


Sigh -- we can but hope. I was pleased to hear that the Information Commissioner's Office has issued a circular to schools asking them to desist immediately from blaming information protection law for these stupid policies. Still, I guess they'll find other stupid pseudo-justifications if they want.

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#1708330 - 07/06/11 10:06 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Vasilievich Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 90
The problem with trying to explain something as subtle as hand posture or other bodily positions is that it's, well, very difficult - both to describe and to understand. I truly think it helps student if they can actually feel what correct form is, as opposed to trying to figure out what you meant, move their wrists up a little, and hope you applaud. Another key is to teach by example and play demonstrating what good technique looks like (not there is just one "good" technique, however). Again though, not every student will be able or willing to pay close attention to the subtleties of your playing.

The problem comes when one student misinterprets your efforts to improve their playing. The only personal experience I've had with this was actually sexual harassment against me from a student. When I taught a few students for volunteer work hours back in high school, one student misinterpreted my hand touching as a sexual advance, and tried to initiate a sexual encounter. I threw the kid out. But then again, this was an individual that I had a bad feeling about, and went against my better judgement taking them on as a student in the first place. Which is probably another valid point - in many cases you can tell which individuals will be "problem" students or parents right from the get-go. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to avoid them like the plague, but for those cases extra precaution is in order.

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#1708366 - 07/06/11 10:53 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
The problem you will face is that here in the USA, the public schools drill students that adult touching, of any kind, is wrong. It's drilled in and constantly reinforced from K on up. I find that with transfer students, especially high school students, I simply have to tell them that to illustrate the point, I'm going to have to touch their hands and wrists, and I will move around to their left side, so the camcorder can capture the lesson, and ask them to review it carefully when they get home. And if they have any problem with it, let me know now, otherwise, I will proceed.

You will also want to invest in liability insurance to protect you from lawsuits, if it ever comes to that.
_________________________
"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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#1708378 - 07/06/11 11:09 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2451
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
The problem you will face is that here in the USA, the public schools drill students that adult touching, of any kind, is wrong. It's drilled in and constantly reinforced from K on up. I find that with transfer students, especially high school students, I simply have to tell them that to illustrate the point, I'm going to have to touch their hands and wrists, and I will move around to their left side, so the camcorder can capture the lesson, and ask them to review it carefully when they get home. And if they have any problem with it, let me know now, otherwise, I will proceed.

You will also want to invest in liability insurance to protect you from lawsuits, if it ever comes to that.


Excellent advice! I don't think this should at all discourage the OP from becoming a teacher. It's just being realistic and taking the proper precautions. This subject has been about male teachers. However I think John's advice is applicable to everyone.
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#1708407 - 07/06/11 11:55 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
"I agree with those who said traveling to student's home is not the best of circumstances, but it still is something to keep in mind."

My last teacher came to my home, and it worked out well. There was a modest additional charge (I could have gone to his place). The previous teacher taught in her home studio, and the 30-mile commute got to be a bit much, plus, starting the lesson 'cold' was not the best. My own piano is not only familiar, but better than many I have played in studio settings (and my teacher loved it). And, for me less exposure to germs, etc. during flu season.

"What sort of education level is normal/expected for private teachers? Is a master's degree a sufficient and valid credential?

You might think of courses in pedagogy, or a teaching credential. Knowing how to play is not exactly the same thing as knowing how to teach. Still, listening to my teachers play was very motivating, and watching them demonstrate sometimes said more than a big pile of words could.

Is there anything that parents (or the students themselves) are specifically looking for?"

This is the big question, isn't it. It's what you have to find out by talking to them, drawing them out, getting them to show you: what is that little spark of love for music that you will fan into a toasty fire, which will warm them for the rest of their lives? By your own knowledge of the field, you may be able to give them bigger goals, but if the stove is out to begin with you can fan it all you want, and in vain.

The best teachers are able to see the light in a student when they don't know about it themselves. The best teachers help us to experience our own light.
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#1708456 - 07/06/11 01:23 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Jeff Clef]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2451
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef


The best teachers are able to see the light in a student when they don't know about it themselves. The best teachers help us to experience our own light.


I'm lucky enough to have had such a teacher!
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Carl


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#1708508 - 07/06/11 02:58 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Nikolas]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
just need to report that I teach privately over the home of my students, or at my own studio. It's up to them, although I charge more to go out to their place! I've had absolutely no trouble getting in the houses, or working with young males or females, or older ones. Absolutely no issue whatsoever!

And, yes, I'm a male!

For home teaching it is a matter of distance, time, gas. Some people live in small towns, and students live close.

And some people are willing to pay a lot of money to have people come to them. There are other reasons to go to homes. I taught a fine student for several years, preparing him to major in piano performance, and his piano was better than mine. It was logical to go there, and his family treated me with complete respect.

But they only live about 10 minutes away, lessons were a MINIMUM of an hour, sometimes they fed me!

In general, here in South Florida we live in a megapolis. It takes forever to get anywhere, long distances. So with traffic and the very high cost of gas, there are extra difficulties. I don't like to drive, and I don't have the energy I once had when I was younger!. smile
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#1708551 - 07/06/11 04:13 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Jeff Clef]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef

The best teachers are able to see the light in a student when they don't know about it themselves. The best teachers help us to experience our own light.

Wise words. I would add to that another idea: often I have worked with students who did not seem to have any "talent", were not "natural players", did not seem especially motivated. But some of these students stuck with me a long time, and in the end I think they achieved far more than most simply because something in them made them keep going. And I should add that some of these people totally surprised me by turning to HAVE something special in them that I did not see at first, something special that made them far better han average players.


Edited by Gary D. (07/06/11 04:13 PM)
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#1708586 - 07/06/11 05:07 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3610
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Vasilievich


The problem comes when one student misinterprets your efforts to improve their playing. The only personal experience I've had with this was actually sexual harassment against me from a student. When I taught a few students for volunteer work hours back in high school, one student misinterpreted my hand touching as a sexual advance, and tried to initiate a sexual encounter. I threw the kid out. But then again, this was an individual that I had a bad feeling about, and went against my better judgement taking them on as a student in the first place. Which is probably another valid point - in many cases you can tell which individuals will be "problem" students or parents right from the get-go. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to avoid them like the plague, but for those cases extra precaution is in order.


You've exactly described why it's important to be able to get your message across without touching. I disagree that it's essential to touch sometimes. It's just a limitation to your ability to use words if you believe this. I have never had a problem getting a message across in words in 20 years of teaching. Sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right analogy. If you touch somebody, there's no guarantee that they are actually taking notice of what you are doing. To some, it can take their focus right off what you are teaching them because it's odd for you to suddenly have physically contact with them. I strongly advise you to think of ways to avoid using touching as a teaching method.

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#1708633 - 07/06/11 06:33 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: ando]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: ando

You've exactly described why it's important to be able to get your message across without touching. I disagree that it's essential to touch sometimes. It's just a limitation to your ability to use words if you believe this. I have never had a problem getting a message across in words in 20 years of teaching. Sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right analogy. If you touch somebody, there's no guarantee that they are actually taking notice of what you are doing. To some, it can take their focus right off what you are teaching them because it's odd for you to suddenly have physically contact with them. I strongly advise you to think of ways to avoid using touching as a teaching method.

I agree that it is important to get messages across without touching.

I do not believe that ONLY words is ALWAYS the fastest way to get things across. A small big of physical guidance often saves a huge amount of time, but it always has to balanced against possible "complications".
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#1708642 - 07/06/11 06:48 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Gary D.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
+1 Helping the student position arm/hand/wrist can be a time saver, and there are times when words don't cut it. The old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words is applicable. Of course, we're talking about the 2% of the time when words are inadequate; 98% of the time, words are more than adequate. But why eliminate an important teaching tool when some common sense and precautions can eliminate any misinterpretation?
_________________________
"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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#1708644 - 07/06/11 06:52 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
But why eliminate an important teaching tool when some common sense and precautions can eliminate any misinterpretation?

Exactly! smile
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Piano Teacher

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#1708725 - 07/06/11 09:40 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
This reminds me of once when my teacher asked me. "do you mind if I touch your arm?" and even then he used a pencil to hold a finger in place...... It's necessary I suppose but a little sad somehow.
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#1708785 - 07/06/11 11:36 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Gary D.]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3610
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: ando

You've exactly described why it's important to be able to get your message across without touching. I disagree that it's essential to touch sometimes. It's just a limitation to your ability to use words if you believe this. I have never had a problem getting a message across in words in 20 years of teaching. Sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right analogy. If you touch somebody, there's no guarantee that they are actually taking notice of what you are doing. To some, it can take their focus right off what you are teaching them because it's odd for you to suddenly have physically contact with them. I strongly advise you to think of ways to avoid using touching as a teaching method.

I agree that it is important to get messages across without touching.

I do not believe that ONLY words is ALWAYS the fastest way to get things across. A small big of physical guidance often saves a huge amount of time, but it always has to balanced against possible "complications".


I never said it was always the fastest way. Only that it is possible to do it with words - and yes, words work 100% of the time for me.

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#1708793 - 07/06/11 11:56 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
Might you say: words and also being able to demonstrate, Ando? With this, your student can both see and hear you as well as getting your explanations. smile

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#1708798 - 07/07/11 12:01 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: ando]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: ando

I never said it was always the fastest way. Only that it is possible to do it with words - and yes, words work 100% of the time for me.


What levels of playing are your piano students at? I suspect this might have something to do with that as well. My teacher sometimes has to demonstrate something to me if its an advanced concept (the various different kinds of touch required is a case in point (esp for pieces like the Chopin etudes), its difficult to explain it in words without any demo whatsoever. The teacher needs to demonstrate to the student that the right touch employed produces the desired sound, etc). What repertoire do you teach your students? I believe these are all pertinent questions.

Also, my teacher has to touch me to correct my posture many times because sometimes I'm just not aware that something suboptimal is happening, so it would take a long time to explain it to me with just words.. some amount of touching is necessary IMO. If one had all the time in the world during lessons, we could all possibly make do with just words if we really wanted to. Unfortunately that's not the case and so there is the issue of what's the fastest way to get across a concept.


Edited by liszt85 (07/07/11 12:03 AM)
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#1708811 - 07/07/11 12:44 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3610
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Keystring:
Oh absolutely, demonstration is a cornerstone of teaching. I wasn't trying to say that I teach only through verbal description. There's heaps of demonstrating going on! We seemed to be in a Words vs Touching debate and I was referring to this idea that you must touch a student to correct hand or body position. It can all be done without touching. I have ways of getting students into ideal posture through a series of steps starting with how they sit down in the first place. I get them to follow and copy my movements and be aware of how things feel along the way. I actually believe this offers some extra benefits - it helps to get them more connected with their own physiology. When trying to find the ideal positioning, I'll have them alternately tensing things. relaxing things - even shaking things about! By the time they are aware of different parts of their body and what they are contributing to their posture and position, they are well on their way to being free of problems. I attach terminology to these events as we go, so after a while, I just have to mention a word or two to attain the desired correction if something needs to be changed. I have experience with Alexander Technique which is designed to find optimal posture and I employ many of its principles. A lot of the problem with piano technique comes down to people just not understanding their own bodies. Once you clue them into some of the basic fundamentals of anatomy and muscles, the issues start to disappear.

Liszt85, no, your teacher thinks he/she has to touch you and you believe it to be necessary. I accept that your situation is working happily for you, but there are alternatives. It can all be done through a series of steps using verbal guidance and demonstration. Yes, some teachers use touching but it's not the only way. It depends on whether you teach posture and position in a holistic way. In my experience touching to correct something sometimes comes from not having put all the elements of good posture in place from the start (not saying that applies to you and your teacher, of course. Just speaking generally). Sometimes teachers are tinkering around the edges and getting somebody to concentrate on not doing something or doing something specific. I try to get good posture instilled in such a way that it becomes natural and there is inherent balance and self-correcting instincts. If that is successfully installed, the problems are not ongoing. I haven't had to think about correcting my own posture in many years. My body goes to its ideal position automatically because it has retained a memory of it's ideal balance points. It takes practice but it can be done. There's no doubt, there are times when touching would be slightly faster but if you choose your words carefully and point in the right places, you can avoid touching. The main reason I avoid touching is to eliminate any element of risk in a teaching arrangement. We live in a world full of litigation and misunderstandings and I don't want there to be any of that. It's a shame that our world is like that, but I have to accept that.

As regards to the level I teach. I don't teach virtuosic repertoire on piano, however I do refer my advanced students to two top-level teachers and one thing that both have commented on to me is that all of my student referrals have virtually no posture/position problems. They are always very pleased to accept my students because they don't have to reteach all their physical habits. That is something I wear with pride. I teach very advanced guitar repertoire also (my main instrument), and the process is not as different as you might think. In fact, the approach is the same, it's just adjusting the angles for a different apparatus.

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#1708815 - 07/07/11 12:52 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Gary D.]
Theme&Variations Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/10
Posts: 135
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
When I first started teaching at the school I'm at eight years ago (I teach private lessons during the school day) I was told I wasn't allowed to touch the students at all - and I found it really difficult (especially coming from a background gymnastics coaching, where you are literally touching the students all the time). I remember how utterly awkward and panicked I felt the first time a student hugged me (out of the blue) and I felt like I shouldn't hug them back! And what to do if a student was upset during their lesson (not caused by me!)?

Over time I became much more lax about it, and most students I would now touch their hands or their shoulders at least once or twice during their lesson to correct posture. It feels like a much more natural way of teaching to me.

The other time I made a real effort not to touch students was during the swine flu epidemic - I made an effort to sit further behind the students than usual (I usually sit very slightly behind and to the right) - it really brough home how close I *usually* sit to the students these days (and how often I touch the students' hands and the piano during lessons). I think I have settled back into touching the students hands and adjusting their posture, but I do it less than I did a few years ago now.

Interesting food for thought, anyway.

For the record, I am a young-looking woman, so I am sure this affects my teaching style as well as the expectations around physicality and touching. I am sure it is much more difficult for men to navigate.

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
But why eliminate an important teaching tool when some common sense and precautions can eliminate any misinterpretation?

Exactly! smile
_________________________
Private piano teacher since 2003
Member:
ASME (Australian Society for Music Education),
ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts),
KMEIA (Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia).

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#1708818 - 07/07/11 12:55 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: ando]
Theme&Variations Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/10
Posts: 135
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for sharing this, Ando - I love to get my students to tense and relax their muscles (lift up their shoulders and then drop them down, etc) so they can feel the difference for themselves. You've just put it into a wonderfully coherent context. smile

Originally Posted By: ando
I have ways of getting students into ideal posture through a series of steps starting with how they sit down in the first place. I get them to follow and copy my movements and be aware of how things feel along the way. I actually believe this offers some extra benefits - it helps to get them more connected with their own physiology. When trying to find the ideal positioning, I'll have them alternately tensing things. relaxing things - even shaking things about!
_________________________
Private piano teacher since 2003
Member:
ASME (Australian Society for Music Education),
ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts),
KMEIA (Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia).

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#1708820 - 07/07/11 01:00 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: ando]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1492
Originally Posted By: ando
I think you just need to be creative with your words. I don't want any child going home to his/her parents saying, "my teacher touched me here or held this". If it can't be done with words, it's not important enough to do.


IMPOSSIBLE to just use words. Certain things cannot be explained by words alone. Many times, especially with the beginners, they do not even understand piano jargon yet. If you had learned piano properly, you would have known that giving example by touching is needed sometimes. That is why one of the reasons to let the parent watch the lesson is to eradicate all these worries about touching improperly. In addition, the parents can see and witness if the progress of the kids is not as good as the expectation. More over, the parent will learn too, and will be able to help.

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#1708826 - 07/07/11 01:11 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: RonaldSteinway]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3610
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: ando
I think you just need to be creative with your words. I don't want any child going home to his/her parents saying, "my teacher touched me here or held this". If it can't be done with words, it's not important enough to do.


IMPOSSIBLE to just use words. Certain things cannot be explained by words alone. Many times, especially with the beginners, they do not even understand piano jargon yet. If you had learned piano properly, you would have known that giving example by touching is needed sometimes. That is why one of the reasons to let the parent watch the lesson is to eradicate all these worries about touching improperly. In addition, the parents can see and witness if the progress of the kids is not as good as the expectation. More over, the parent will learn too, and will be able to help.



No, just impossible for you, Ronald. Sure, it might be easier at times with touching, but it can be done. Don't saddle me with your own limitations. Some parents do sit in on lessons, but I still don't need to use touching. In fact if you can instil a message without touching, they will retain it better. They remember what you said and the reasoning behind it. If you only use touching, once they go home there's no one there to touch them back into shape. Touching might give an indication of where things should be, but it doesn't explain how they get there and how you keep them there.

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#1708842 - 07/07/11 02:06 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: ando]
fleetfingers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Arizona, USA
[/quote]

In fact if you can instil a message without touching, they will retain it better. They remember what you said and the reasoning behind it. If you only use touching, once they go home there's no one there to touch them back into shape. Touching might give an indication of where things should be, but it doesn't explain how they get there and how you keep them there. [/quote]

I would argue against your point that students will retain a message better if it is delivered only through words. That depends upon the message you're sending and the student to whom you're sending it. You mention posture, but that is not the only thing to be corrected in a pupil. Besides, people internalize concepts in different ways. For me, personally, vocal messages do not stick and I have a hard time processing information that way. I am very visual and when I see something in print, I rarely forget it. Some people are kinesthetic and respond well to physical actions and touch.

I remember when my teacher tried and tried to explain to me how to use the weight of my arm rather than banging down on the keys with my tense fingers. She talked to me about it, demonstrated on the piano, talked some more, and I was confused about what she wanted me to do. Then, she took my arm and "played the piano" on my arm, pushing hard with her fingers; then, she dropped her hand onto my arm using her arm weight and I finally understood the difference. That was 15 years ago, and I can still remember how the two different touches felt. In contrast, I can't tell you a single word she said to me about the subject.

I completely understand teachers who avoid physical contact to protect themselves, but to argue that it is not helpful to effective teaching is limiting oneself, imo.

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#1708849 - 07/07/11 02:29 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: fleetfingers]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3610
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Fleetfingers, as I described above, it's not just words. It's a series of guided exercises that gets you to your ideal posture/hand position. I agree that words aren't enough, that's why there is demonstration and the exercises. They get you in tune with what your body wants and needs. It works for both posture and position of the hands. When I said that my students go home with the words I gave them, I also include their memory of the exercises to obtain the right position. It's not difficult to remember, and I also write down some things to remind them. Once we've done it a few times in lessons, the message usually gets through. If it doesn't we do it again next week and the week after. But in that sense, it's no different to the "touching" approach. That doesn't have instant corrective results either. From what I've heard, those who use touch as their primary corrective device spend a lot longer trying to correct problems than I do. Depends on the teacher though. I'm not claiming that my way is the only way, I'm just saying to those who claim that it's not possible to teach properly without touching that that is not true. I do it every day.

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#1708856 - 07/07/11 02:43 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: ando]
fleetfingers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Arizona, USA
ando, fair enough. It sounds like you have found ways of teaching without contact that work well for you and your students, which is wonderful. I will agree that many times patience and a thorough explanation is the best approach.

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