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#1760231 - 09/27/11 07:33 AM Re: Question for teachers from a student [Re: Danielsan]
NMKeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 60
Loc: NM
Am I the only one thinking that the teacher is "testing" the student to see how academically ready the student is for some improvisation? I understand the student to be placing ear training skills in one class and piano in another class. At some point in time they need to be taken out of their "boxes" to be merged and used together not separate as the student is still classifying them.

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#1760235 - 09/27/11 07:50 AM Re: Question for teachers from a student [Re: NMKeys]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12205
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: NMKeys
Am I the only one thinking that the teacher is "testing" the student to see how academically ready the student is for some improvisation? I understand the student to be placing ear training skills in one class and piano in another class. At some point in time they need to be taken out of their "boxes" to be merged and used together not separate as the student is still classifying them.


Testing yes, but not necessarily for improvisation. I think that pianists (some) underestimate the value of ear training in their playing. The "inner ear," the place of the brain where one can "sing" a note entirely in their head, must be well developed in order to play a note that has purpose. If you are singing along as you play that does no good, as the note has already been played and you cannot affect it after the fact. But if you anticipate each note, singing it in your head before you play it, then you can be sure it will come out exactly as you intend (which implies you must have an intention for how it should sound, and not simply be playing by rote).

I don't think it's an exercise to see if the student has perfect pitch because of the progression played just before that. However, I do think it is a test of relative pitch - at least that's what I'm assuming it is. The only way to know for sure is for the OP to *ask* the teacher. If you care so much about your education, which is appears you do, then why wouldn't you ask questions about why you are being taught something if you don't understand it?


Edited by Morodiene (09/27/11 07:51 AM)
_________________________
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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#1760831 - 09/28/11 01:06 AM Re: Question for teachers from a student [Re: Danielsan]
Danielsan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 49
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
A. Actually, I think I've been pretty clear about everything that went on in the lesson. Unless you want to describe the teacher's outfit, the colour of the walls in the room, and whatnot, I don't think I've left any important information out.

B. It's not a test. If it had been a test, he would have told me it was a test. It's clearly an exercise.

C. It's not about relative pitch. I said what it is. He wanted me to not think about it, nor did he want me to match the pitch. None of that. Just blind guessing.

D. While I might have issues with change in a lot of aspects. I think this is a type of change most people who have trouble. When you're accustomed to learning something one way and then, not by choice, you have a new person doing something completely, you would naturally have issues with it. Now, I'm going to do some things with his ideas, but I'm also going to talk to him about incorporating more of my old ways since they seemed to be working quite well for me. I don't think this post was particularly helpful in any way. I was hoping maybe someone might have heard of the ideas, but I guess not. I really hope this isn't how you respond to your students if they were to question you.

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#1760848 - 09/28/11 01:44 AM Re: Question for teachers from a student [Re: Danielsan]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Danielsan:

You can hardly know enough about your teacher after only one lesson to know his teaching style, just like he doesn't know enough about you after one lesson to understand your learning style. Give it time. These things need it to develop and grow.

When I switched teachers, going from my BA to my MM program, it took a good semester or so before my teacher and I really understood each other well. That was not wasted time -- I learned a lot, but he taught in a very different style and it took time to adjust, and I grew tremendously through that experience.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1760851 - 09/28/11 01:51 AM Re: Question for teachers from a student [Re: Danielsan]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
I think you and your teacher misunderstood each other about point C. I suspect he was trying to get you to stop being so analytical about what you were doing at that exact time. (NOT trying to stop you from ever being analytical, just to stop you for five minutes.) The fact that he wanted you to "guess" is something you have told to us out of context. No piano teacher thinks that piano instruction is entirely based on interval guessing games. Additionally, the fact that you thought at the time that it was a guessing game does not mean that it really was one. (Unless of course your teacher said the exact literal words "This is a guessing game".)

You apparently didn't ask your teacher any of these questions, you asked some random people on the internet instead. You now know which is the better strategy. Go ask the person you should have asked in the first place. Have a conversation. See what happens.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1760996 - 09/28/11 09:13 AM Re: Question for teachers from a student [Re: Danielsan]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Danielsan
A. Actually, I think I've been pretty clear about everything that went on in the lesson. Unless you want to describe the teacher's outfit, the colour of the walls in the room, and whatnot, I don't think I've left any important information out.

B. It's not a test. If it had been a test, he would have told me it was a test. It's clearly an exercise.

C. It's not about relative pitch. I said what it is. He wanted me to not think about it, nor did he want me to match the pitch. None of that. Just blind guessing.

D. While I might have issues with change in a lot of aspects. I think this is a type of change most people who have trouble. When you're accustomed to learning something one way and then, not by choice, you have a new person doing something completely, you would naturally have issues with it. Now, I'm going to do some things with his ideas, but I'm also going to talk to him about incorporating more of my old ways since they seemed to be working quite well for me. I don't think this post was particularly helpful in any way. I was hoping maybe someone might have heard of the ideas, but I guess not. I really hope this isn't how you respond to your students if they were to question you.


A.) It's not clear AT ALL. You gave us barely nothing to go by and only after a few people urged you to give more details. We are not mind readers and we have already said you're being absolutely silly to go on the forums and discuss this issue after such a short time.

B.) Pure equivocation. We teachers are ALWAYS 'testing' our students even if what we are doing is not labeled a test. He was definitely testing you.

C.) How do YOU know it's not about relative pitch? As David mentioned, the teacher could have his own reasons. Even IF the teacher used the words 'This is a guessing game, just guess the note and don't think about it' does NOT MEAN it's actually a guessing game. The teacher could just be trying to get you to not think about it as much, but there is still a method to his madness. The fact he had you play I IV V I or whatever progression , tells me he was assessing relative pitch on you.

D.) How would you know the best learning method FOR YOU if you haven't given other methods a try? What you MEAN to say is you are uncomfortable trying new things and you think that what you are comfortable with is the best method. This fact is quite obvious to others reading this thread, but not to you.

And NO, I would not naturally have issues with a new teacher trying different things. That would be ludicrous to imagine each teacher doing the same thing. Just ludicrous. I would value and cherish each teachers methodology as long as they have a clear system of advancing me in my studies.
_________________________
An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1761103 - 09/28/11 01:17 PM Re: Question for teachers from a student [Re: Danielsan]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12205
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Danielsan
A. Actually, I think I've been pretty clear about everything that went on in the lesson. Unless you want to describe the teacher's outfit, the colour of the walls in the room, and whatnot, I don't think I've left any important information out.

B. It's not a test. If it had been a test, he would have told me it was a test. It's clearly an exercise.

C. It's not about relative pitch. I said what it is. He wanted me to not think about it, nor did he want me to match the pitch. None of that. Just blind guessing.

D. While I might have issues with change in a lot of aspects. I think this is a type of change most people who have trouble. When you're accustomed to learning something one way and then, not by choice, you have a new person doing something completely, you would naturally have issues with it. Now, I'm going to do some things with his ideas, but I'm also going to talk to him about incorporating more of my old ways since they seemed to be working quite well for me. I don't think this post was particularly helpful in any way. I was hoping maybe someone might have heard of the ideas, but I guess not. I really hope this isn't how you respond to your students if they were to question you.


I would be surprised to go to a new teacher and expect them to teach me the same way I was taught previously. Whenever I have a new student, I let them know right away that I'm not their previous teacher and so I do things in my own way. We may both have the same goals in mind, but have our own way of getting there that we feel is best for a student.

Yes, there are teachers who are quacks, too, and so you need to be wise in choosing a teacher. It sounds like he can play well (I don't recall having read your assessment of his students, have you listened to them?), so that should lend some credibility to his teaching. Speak with his other students, and definitely talk to him. This is very important, more important than something people who aren't there can comment 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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#1761166 - 09/28/11 03:14 PM Re: Question for teachers from a student [Re: Danielsan]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11844
Loc: Canada
Danielsan, your present teacher has probably experienced what you are feeling in the course of his own journey, and may be ahead of the game. There is a point in music if we go far enough that we discover that there is more than one way of seeing things, and that what we "know" has fuzzy edges. It took a lot of work to get us where we are and we rely on it for our playing so the idea makes us uneasy. There is a real fear of losing what you have and ending up in no man's land. Your teacher has probably gone through this in his own journey and might be able to advise you about your unease. He may even have anticipated it and be waiting for your questions. The type of answer Minniemay gave is what I might expect.

I'd think your teacher is trying to add to what you already do, rather than replacing it.
Quote:
I was hoping maybe someone might have heard of the ideas, but I guess not.

I've run into something of a similar nature. You do an exercise and after a while you have an ability or sense you didn't have before. If you tried to go after the results directly then you'd mess it because the exercise creates the results. I'm guessing that this is supposed to develop some kind of connection between your ear and the instrument that is spontaneous. We are used to our minds directing everything we do, and sometimes that can get in the way. There HAS also been mention of the one exercise by someone on this site, whose teacher explained the reason for it.

Regardless - Your teacher has a reason for asking you to do this. It makes sense to try it for long enough. If it is definitely harming your playing in some way then I'd step away and talk to your teacher about it. But he doesn't seem to be asking you to do it while you are practicing your piece, so can there be any harm to it?
Quote:
Now, I'm going to do some things with his ideas, but I'm also going to talk to him about incorporating more of my old ways since they seemed to be working quite well for me.

Has he, in fact, asked you to abandon your old ways? Or just to try something new? This may be one misunderstanding you may have about your new teacher's expectations. Again - communication.

The bottom line is still to communicate with your teacher. You can't really communicate with him until you give his ideas a chance. Otherwise, what do you communicate about? Part of that communication could be about the unease you feel about going beyond what is familiar and what works, and this part is part of your growth which this teacher may be aware of.

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#1761214 - 09/28/11 05:01 PM Re: Question for teachers from a student [Re: Danielsan]
mikey keys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 62
Loc: New York
I think the most important thing is to do is talk to the teacher. I know it has been said, but it can never be said enough. Communication between student and teacher is essential. I spend a good part of my lessons talking about goals and how we will meet them. I love when a student talks to me.

That being said, try going into the lesson with a different way of thinking. You can learn something from everyone. Even if he is the worst teacher, you can still learn. You can learn from students. I learn the most from my worst students. You can learn from people who are not musical. My 3 year old daughter teaches me everyday how to be a better player and teacher. I also had a teacher who was the worst teacher, but he had knowledge that I wanted, so I stayed as long as I could to get as much as I could and weathered his yelling and frustration at me not being a worthy student, which is what he thought of me.

It is the informed learning that will get you the farthest. When you understand what he is trying to teach you, then you can decide if it will help you or not. If he is a bad teacher and you understand what is good and what is bad, you can make informed decisions about how you will learn. Right now you don't know. He might not want you to know either. But talk to him to get informed.

basically, try to have an open mind and to understand what he is trying to teach you.
_________________________
www.scogeojam.com - "A Tribute to Chick Corea
www.MomentumSchoolofMusic.com

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