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Topic Options
#1767844 - 10/10/11 09:57 AM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Gary D. I appreciate your principles. I am a bit more flexible and accommodating. I have some students with some mental and behaviour problems. I do not dismiss them as long as I believe the lessons are beneficial for them. How about students with ADD or Down Syndrome? Is your line on the sand applicable to everyone? Or you only take the "easy" ones?

Let's be honest. There are some students who will never practice properly no matter what you tell them. I consider them as students with mild learning disabilities. I will try my best with them, sometimes I will be their Personal Trainer. It is OK with me as long as there is a hope. I'll give them a chance.

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#1767867 - 10/10/11 10:29 AM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: balalaika
Most of my students resist starting at the point where I want them to start and stopping at the point I want them to stop.

Dear colleagues, do you experience the same problem with your students and, if so, how are you dealing with it?

For me, this is often a bigger problem with new transfer students than students who began with me. Principally because we never study a piece as a whole (for the most part) until we work through a number of preliminaries. As a result, my long time students are used to deconstructing music into its elements and working on parts.

I have found, however, that especially with High School transfer students, a little logic and appeal to their common sense goes a long way.

For the most part, these students are not seeing the musical line or phrase, so starting back somewhere and getting a running start seems logical. But when you have them read something out loud from a book, perhaps a dependent clause, they have no problem. Ask them why they didn't start reading from the left hand edge of the page and they look at you like you're an idiot, until you point out that this is precisely what they are doing with their music. We don't start at a bar line (necessarily), but begin with a phrase or sub-phrase, or point which makes sense. We don't go back to the beginning of the chapter and read everything up to the trouble spot, we simply work on the correct pronunciation, phrasing, or whatever.

A second real problem which is probably a corollary to this, is that students are simply playing at an incorrect tempo for where they are at technically. I find that I have to play/count the beat at a drastically slower tempo, so they can have success. Then, we gradually speed up.

Does this help any?
_________________________
"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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#1768380 - 10/11/11 12:11 AM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Gary D. You posted that you are supporting currawong suggestion that this problem can be attributed to poor note reading. Though it is debatable whether resistance to start from the certain point could be a sign of inadequate reading skills but I would challenge you to explain why the poor note reader would be reluctant STOPPING at the point where the teacher asked him to stop. Where is the link?

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#1768404 - 10/11/11 12:49 AM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: balalaika
Gary D. I appreciate your principles. I am a bit more flexible and accommodating. I have some students with some mental and behaviour problems. I do not dismiss them as long as I believe the lessons are beneficial for them. How about students with ADD or Down Syndrome? Is your line on the sand applicable to everyone? Or you only take the "easy" ones?

Let's be honest. There are some students who will never practice properly no matter what you tell them. I consider them as students with mild learning disabilities. I will try my best with them, sometimes I will be their Personal Trainer. It is OK with me as long as there is a hope. I'll give them a chance.

I have three autistic students. That's only the tip of the iceberg. I'll let you decide if I take "only the easy ones". smile

My line in the sand applies to the individuals who are capable of working with me without supervision. Even the little ones understand it when I say, "Where are you starting?"

When they point to measure one, I point to the last line or last measure and tell them to start there. I'm not mean about it.

When I have very little children, or older students who have serious problems, I have a parent in the room, and we work together. The parents are very good about drilling or practicing in sections and help me stress the importance of this when it is necessary.

You are assuming you are more flexible and more accomodating than I am. I think that's a big stretch. smile
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1768417 - 10/11/11 01:23 AM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5422
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: balalaika
I would challenge you to explain why the poor note reader would be reluctant STOPPING at the point where the teacher asked him to stop.

This could very well be due to poor reading abilities, because as soon as you stop the student, he/she would not be able to re-start except from the very beginning. Thus, the student would be unwilling to stop in the middle for any reason.

Either that, or you have some hopelessly defiant students. Just dump them and find better students.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1768533 - 10/11/11 08:27 AM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
AZNpiano, I am amazed with your logic. shocked I am sorry but in my experience poor readers stop right away when I ask them to stop. The reason is simple - it is hard for them to continue reading.

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#1768634 - 10/11/11 11:21 AM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5422
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: balalaika
AZNpiano, I am amazed with your logic. shocked I am sorry but in my experience poor readers stop right away when I ask them to stop. The reason is simple - it is hard for them to continue reading.


_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1768660 - 10/11/11 12:08 PM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
AZNpiano, I had a nasty heartburn in the morning. Could it be also explained by poor note reading??

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#1768728 - 10/11/11 02:06 PM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Quote:
In general, I won't bend on these things:

1) Coming frequently to lessons with no music is not OK.
2) Showing up, week after week, with no practice done at home is not OK. I will not accept the job of Personal Piano Trainer.

Quote:
If any student objects to this, I will not teach that student.
No exceptions.

Quote:
You are assuming you are more flexible and more accomodating than I am. I think that's a big stretch.

Gary D.
  • If my student comes to the lesson with no music I would not make a big deal out if it. I would just pickup my own copy from the shelf and go on with the lesson. I would also remind him or her to bring the book next time.
  • I also will be patient with the student who stopped practising for some reason. I remember myself as a teenager. I was not practising for months. But later I got serious about piano, started practising a lot and won 1st place at an International piano competition in USA. I guess if I was your student I would not have a chance.
  • When I was preparing for my first performance with an orchestra at the age of 12 my piano teacher was giving me some extra lessons and coaching me for that event as if he was my Personal Piano Trainer. I am very grateful to him for doing that. Thanks to the coaching I felt very confident at the performance. I guess if I was your student I would not receive any help from you.

Sorry but I do not see how is your approach flexible or accommodating.

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#1768778 - 10/11/11 03:50 PM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: balalaika

Gary D.
If my student comes to the lesson with no music I would not make a big deal out if it. I would just pickup my own copy from the shelf and go on with the lesson. I would also remind him or her to bring the book next time.

Obviously you did not read what I wrote: I said FREQUENTLY. I did not say "now and then". I would estimate that one or two of my students end up in lessons without music each week, and often the reasons are understandable. They do not do this FREQUENTLY.
Originally Posted By: balalaika

I also will be patient with the student who stopped practising for some reason. I remember myself as a teenager. I was not practising for months. But later I got serious about piano, started practising a lot and won 1st place at an International piano competition in USA. I guess if I was your student I would not have a chance.

NO practice? Did you go months, week after week, doing NO practice at all between lessons? That is what I was talking about.
Originally Posted By: balalaika

When I was preparing for my first performance with an orchestra at the age of 12 my piano teacher was giving me some extra lessons and coaching me for that event as if he was my Personal Piano Trainer. I am very grateful to him for doing that. Thanks to the coaching I felt very confident at the performance. I guess if I was your student I would not receive any help from you.

Wrong. I did the same thing for at least two students. I spent hours working with them. But that was help in additional to regular help, and they were working. I assume your piano teacher did not give you this extra help when you did *no* work on your own.
Originally Posted By: balalaika

Sorry but I do not see how is your approach flexible or accommodating.

Well, since you barely know me, you are free to draw any conclusions you wish. As I said, I teach three autistic students. I also have two students with dyslexia, two who have attention deficit problems and one who is hyperactive and is on meds for it. My schedule is full, and often the children I teach recommend me to their friends. I do not have astoundingly talented, hard-working students. Just fairly average students, but most of them are nice people.

I still make them start from where I want them to start from. I'm the teacher. That line in the sand remains. I do not recall losing a student because of drawing that line.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1768923 - 10/11/11 09:12 PM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Thanks to everyone for the very useful input! Lots of ideas to reflect upon. Great thread!

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#1769001 - 10/12/11 01:12 AM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
For me, this is often a bigger problem with new transfer students than students who began with me. Principally because we never study a piece as a whole (for the most part) until we work through a number of preliminaries. As a result, my long time students are used to deconstructing music into its elements and working on parts.

I have found, however, that especially with High School transfer students, a little logic and appeal to their common sense goes a long way.

For the most part, these students are not seeing the musical line or phrase, so starting back somewhere and getting a running start seems logical. But when you have them read something out loud from a book, perhaps a dependent clause, they have no problem. Ask them why they didn't start reading from the left hand edge of the page and they look at you like you're an idiot, until you point out that this is precisely what they are doing with their music. We don't start at a bar line (necessarily), but begin with a phrase or sub-phrase, or point which makes sense. We don't go back to the beginning of the chapter and read everything up to the trouble spot, we simply work on the correct pronunciation, phrasing, or whatever.

A second real problem which is probably a corollary to this, is that students are simply playing at an incorrect tempo for where they are at technically. I find that I have to play/count the beat at a drastically slower tempo, so they can have success. Then, we gradually speed up.

Does this help any?


thumb
John, your logic and advice here is superb. Note that the OP completely managed NOT to acknowledge your careful answer, but at least you can count yourself lucky that your ability as a teacher has not also been questioned.

AZN and I were not so lucky. laugh


Edited by Gary D. (10/12/11 01:13 AM)
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1769223 - 10/12/11 12:10 PM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
John, thank you for your insightful response.

I believe that some colleagues maybe misread my question. It was about students resisting starting or stopping at certain point. I didn't mean they refuse or object starting or stopping. So some remedies were in my view a bit inappropriate.

AZNpiano:
Quote:
Either that, or you have some hopelessly defiant students. Just dump them and find better students.


Gary D:
Quote:
I will not teach that student. No exceptions.


I believe this kind of medicine is a bit to strong for pretty mild symptoms.

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#1769230 - 10/12/11 12:31 PM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Well, the issue you raise is a real problem which we teachers must frequently confront. There are probably dozens of other strategies which could be useful. The ones I presented work for me - at least with today's students.
_________________________
"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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#1769248 - 10/12/11 12:54 PM Re: The problem with starting and stopping at the certain spots [Re: balalaika]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
There also were lots of practical ideas in EJR's, Jaak's, Rockett88's, mikey keys and other people posts. The wealth of experience! Very productive interaction.

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