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#1777290 - 10/26/11 02:14 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4738
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

However, for a student who is disobedient in the lesson, having a consequence that is imposed and told ahead of time, then the child can choose to either follow the rule or choose the consequence.

I agree. I try to phrase it with a really big picture, and for most of my students it works.

I tell them, for instance, that when they learn to read language, WHAT they are able to read is dependent upon their reading level. I explain that "more difficult books" are NOT more difficult to read for those who have reached that level, and the huge bonus is that those more "difficult" books are a zillion times more interesting.

I explain to my students, even the young ones, that everything we are doing is for the purpose of mastering what Currawong once very cleverly, I think, called "the quick learn".

For me that means maximum benefit for the amount of work I do, and the same thing for students. I explain that the REASON it is fun for me to play music that seems quite difficult to other people is that for me it is not difficult, and I explain that I have earned that ease through intelligent and focused work.

That sets up the minor points: every lesson we WILL check the letter names, while playing, of some piece, usually short, LH and RH separate until I am satisified that the notes on the page/keys on the piano are linked and absorbed.

No one gets to pass on that. Not someone seven, and not someone 70.

We WILL count one short piece or one page, every week, until I know that a strong rhythm sense has been absorbed and mastered.

No piece will be started from the beginning until I say so. If I tell someone to play this or that section, or this or that measure, that's what is going to happen.

There are other things like that.

I've been ripped a bit by some people for saying these things, and it makes me sound like a hard ***, but I am not.

The consequence for not doing, at home, what I ask for, involves doing it in the lesson until it gets done, and if there is steady resistance to doing this, I truly tell my students and their parents that I am not the right teacher for them.

But I balance this with a very liberal attitude towards the music my students pick. IF they do the things I ask for, mastering what they need to play music, I'm game for just about anything, and I don't care if we suddenly jump from Bach to Mario music. My reward to students who do what I ask, follow my principles, is to prove to them that by following my "rules" they gain indepedence.

After all, isn't that what we all really want? To play the music WE want to play?

So that's my take on consequences. I always teach parents how to drill their children at home when I work with children under seven, so if these "early lessons" work, by the time the kids are a bit older, they are so used to practicing in a way that works that I almost never get resistance:)
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#1777323 - 10/26/11 05:18 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Gary D.]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2409
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

However, for a student who is disobedient in the lesson, having a consequence that is imposed and told ahead of time, then the child can choose to either follow the rule or choose the consequence.

I agree. I try to phrase it with a really big picture, and for most of my students it works.

I tell them, for instance, that when they learn to read language, WHAT they are able to read is dependent upon their reading level. I explain that "more difficult books" are NOT more difficult to read for those who have reached that level, and the huge bonus is that those more "difficult" books are a zillion times more interesting.

I explain to my students, even the young ones, that everything we are doing is for the purpose of mastering what Currawong once very cleverly, I think, called "the quick learn".

For me that means maximum benefit for the amount of work I do, and the same thing for students. I explain that the REASON it is fun for me to play music that seems quite difficult to other people is that for me it is not difficult, and I explain that I have earned that ease through intelligent and focused work.

That sets up the minor points: every lesson we WILL check the letter names, while playing, of some piece, usually short, LH and RH separate until I am satisified that the notes on the page/keys on the piano are linked and absorbed.

No one gets to pass on that. Not someone seven, and not someone 70.

We WILL count one short piece or one page, every week, until I know that a strong rhythm sense has been absorbed and mastered.

No piece will be started from the beginning until I say so. If I tell someone to play this or that section, or this or that measure, that's what is going to happen.

There are other things like that.

I've been ripped a bit by some people for saying these things, and it makes me sound like a hard ***, but I am not.

The consequence for not doing, at home, what I ask for, involves doing it in the lesson until it gets done, and if there is steady resistance to doing this, I truly tell my students and their parents that I am not the right teacher for them.

But I balance this with a very liberal attitude towards the music my students pick. IF they do the things I ask for, mastering what they need to play music, I'm game for just about anything, and I don't care if we suddenly jump from Bach to Mario music. My reward to students who do what I ask, follow my principles, is to prove to them that by following my "rules" they gain indepedence.

After all, isn't that what we all really want? To play the music WE want to play?

So that's my take on consequences. I always teach parents how to drill their children at home when I work with children under seven, so if these "early lessons" work, by the time the kids are a bit older, they are so used to practicing in a way that works that I almost never get resistance:)



thumb I couldn't agree more! You and many of the teachers in this forum remind me of the awesome teachers I had when I was a kid. Your advice rocks! I say this as an adult who returned to the keyboard last year after a 35-year hiatus. I'm having a wonderful experience today because of the teachers who took this approach to teaching me.

I wish I could have thanked those teachers I had as a kid. However, I was a kid, at the time and couldn't have known. So I'll thank all of you teachers in advance right now for the kids (and adults) you're teaching now.

OT: I'm not thankful to the person who brought their virus to work and "shared" it with me and gave me too much time on my hands to write notes in the middle of the night while I'm recovering from flu! smirk

Okay, now I can go back to sleep.



Edited by griffin2417 (10/26/11 05:26 AM)
Edit Reason: Clarity
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#1777343 - 10/26/11 06:46 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: ToriAnais]
eviltwin13 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/22/11
Posts: 12
Loc: New York, NY
I'm new to piano teaching but have been teaching full time for about 10 years. In my experience, when kids say something is "easy" (or "boring") they often mean that it is too difficult. Sometimes they feel that it "should" be easy or that you expect it to be easy for them, so they try to make it look like they are flying through. I see this behavior a lot with kids who don't know their basic math facts or can't read well, and would rather make it look like they're rushing and careless than that they're "stupid" or "don't get it". One of the hardest things can be to ask for help on something that you "should" be able to do.

Depending on your relationship with the child, I'd suggest having a conversation away from the piano. "I've noticed that when we sit down to play, you play very fast and you keep going back to the beginning. Have you noticed that? Why do you think you're doing that?" You might get "I don't know" or "because it's easy" as an answer at first. But persist. You might find out that he knows he should be practicing and hasn't been doing it, or is embarrassed at the fact that he's struggling on an "easy" piece. He may also not understand why you're giving him the directions that you are - how they're going to help him become a better player.

To me this sounds like a kid who needs to be good at something and wants to stand out in his family, but isn't independent enough at home to sit and practice on his own. This situation is setting him up for frustration, if he is always walking in the door knowing he'll be tested on what he's practiced and knowing he hasn't done it.

Like I said, I'm not an expert piano teacher, just a special ed teacher who sees this behavior fairly often. I think a talk with the mom and child together might be in order, to establish what exactly they want to accomplish out of these lessons and the conditions necessary to meet the goal. If the goal is just for him to hang out, have fun, and learn about music, that's one thing - if the goal is for him to get good at the piano and feel proficient, that's another.

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#1777357 - 10/26/11 08:04 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: Gary D.]
trublues Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/10
Posts: 73
Loc: New Hampshire
Originally Posted By: Gary D.

The consequence for not doing, at home, what I ask for, involves doing it in the lesson until it gets done, and if there is steady resistance to doing this, I truly tell my students and their parents that I am not the right teacher for them.

But I balance this with a very liberal attitude towards the music my students pick. IF they do the things I ask for, mastering what they need to play music, I'm game for just about anything, and I don't care if we suddenly jump from Bach to Mario music. My reward to students who do what I ask, follow my principles, is to prove to them that by following my "rules" they gain indepedence.

After all, isn't that what we all really want? To play the music WE want to play?


Gary D. It sounds like you are very settled (in a good way) with your philosophy and goals. When a student is challenging it can be easy to forget our original goals.
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#1777367 - 10/26/11 08:17 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: eviltwin13]
trublues Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/10
Posts: 73
Loc: New Hampshire
Originally Posted By: eviltwin13
I'm new to piano teaching but have been teaching full time for about 10 years. In my experience, when kids say something is "easy" (or "boring") they often mean that it is too difficult. Sometimes they feel that it "should" be easy or that you expect it to be easy for them, so they try to make it look like they are flying through. I see this behavior a lot with kids who don't know their basic math facts or can't read well, and would rather make it look like they're rushing and careless than that they're "stupid" or "don't get it". One of the hardest things can be to ask for help on something that you "should" be able to do.

. . . This situation is setting him up for frustration, if he is always walking in the door knowing he'll be tested on what he's practiced and knowing he hasn't done it.


Good things to think about here - I've seen this in students, too. They're not comfortable making any mistakes and will sabotage a whole lesson - that's how they deal with it. When I see this I take a major step back and work on simple things. For weeks. Simple. I think it takes longer to establish a good working relationship with students who have these kinds of issues.
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Member MTNA, NHMTA

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#1777379 - 10/26/11 08:35 AM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: eviltwin13]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: eviltwin13
I'm new to piano teaching but have been teaching full time for about 10 years. In my experience, when kids say something is "easy" (or "boring") they often mean that it is too difficult. Sometimes they feel that it "should" be easy or that you expect it to be easy for them, so they try to make it look like they are flying through. I see this behavior a lot with kids who don't know their basic math facts or can't read well, and would rather make it look like they're rushing and careless than that they're "stupid" or "don't get it". One of the hardest things can be to ask for help on something that you "should" be able to do.

Depending on your relationship with the child, I'd suggest having a conversation away from the piano. "I've noticed that when we sit down to play, you play very fast and you keep going back to the beginning. Have you noticed that? Why do you think you're doing that?" You might get "I don't know" or "because it's easy" as an answer at first. But persist. You might find out that he knows he should be practicing and hasn't been doing it, or is embarrassed at the fact that he's struggling on an "easy" piece. He may also not understand why you're giving him the directions that you are - how they're going to help him become a better player.


Interesting. The piano can be a great distraction. It also makes it easy to break eye contact - when they don't want to give an answer.

I'm having my own issues with one particular student who is either dyslexic, or doesn't see the need to play the note that's on the page. So I'm finding the responses here interesting.
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#1777404 - 10/26/11 09:39 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: Dustin Sanders]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: apple*
i like your suggestions.. i always ask my students what their favorite songs are on the radio or whatever they call it these days,.

Do you have any the YOU suggest particularly? do you have sheet music from you tube or something? i like creating my own exercises in that it gives the student a break from sightreading that can be very helpful in orienting themselves to the keyboard.

it would be awesome to find a published book of video game sheet music masquerading as exercises.. for me at least.


err find the super mario brothers theme song, it beats most exercises in terms of difficulty .... jumping sixths and thirds the entire time , teaches syncopation and IT'S FAST AS heck!!!


thanks for the link..
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#1777862 - 10/26/11 10:27 PM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: apple*]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: apple*
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: apple*
i like your suggestions.. i always ask my students what their favorite songs are on the radio or whatever they call it these days,.

Do you have any the YOU suggest particularly? do you have sheet music from you tube or something? i like creating my own exercises in that it gives the student a break from sightreading that can be very helpful in orienting themselves to the keyboard.

it would be awesome to find a published book of video game sheet music masquerading as exercises.. for me at least.


err find the super mario brothers theme song, it beats most exercises in terms of difficulty .... jumping sixths and thirds the entire time , teaches syncopation and IT'S FAST AS heck!!!


thanks for the link..


Thanks for typing in 'super mario brothers theme song sheet music' into google and clicking on the first link laugh

Anyway...

super mario brothers theme song link for apple
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#1778483 - 10/28/11 12:02 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: ToriAnais]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
This has turned into a really interesting thread.

To the argument about whether humor or discipline is the right approach, I think one or the other comes most naturally to most people, and you need to consciously work on the one that doesn’t come naturally as both are needed at least some of the time.

Dustin sounds like the sort of piano teacher I am – being jokey and playful comes most naturally to me. A couple of months ago I had a kid make the same mistake about 5 times in a row, at which point I threw a fake OTT tantrum with fist banging etc. The kid thought it was hilarious and said she wished she had a recording of it. Best of all, unlike saying “3rd finger on F#” (or whatever it was she was doing wrong), which would have gone in one ear and out the other, my tantrum was memorable and she got it right after that.
But sometimes you need to pull out the serious stuff and I’m not so good at that. I appreciate the advice I read on this forum on how to act like I mean business when needed.

I think part of my problem with this kid is that he is my 8th lesson for the day, by which point I am getting tired and without lots of energy the playful stuff doesn’t come as easily or smoothly. As to whether or not he should have a 45 minute lesson, he is the one who begged his mum to let him have an extra 15 minutes like his older sister.

The other thing is that he will physically obstruct me from trying to take control of the lesson – such as pushing my hands out of the way. This makes a lot of the good suggestions from the first post impossible as he doesn’t like me playing along or covering up music etc. I’m hesitant to reprimand him too strongly for this as the family seems like the type that would stop lessons if the kid stopped enjoying them, and he really doesn’t like being “bossed around” as he puts it. He sees me asking him to follow instructions as being “bossy.”

I like the idea of the polar bear analogy. I will try that next time we’re having a bad lesson. This week he was an angel, I think because I made it quite clear to his mother that I was very annoyed with his behavior last lesson.

I have badgered the mum no end about getting her children to practice, and told her if it isn't scheduled into the week it won't happen etc. It falls on deaf ears and I'm hesitant to keep banging on about it. After a certain point it feels awkward to keep bringing it up.
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Piano teacher since August 2008.

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#1778495 - 10/28/11 12:28 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: ToriAnais]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
ah yes, I have two students who 'push my hands out of they way' - like literally throw their hands up and push my hands off the keyboard.

I 'try' to take it as my little bit of playing has enticed them to start playing or that my method of playing annoys them so much that they can't wait to get me to stop smile

If it's just one little thing like that , I don't mind. When it becomes a plethora of things that would seem disobedient or disrespectful, than I would take action.

Have you considered moving him to an earlier time on a different day so you aren't so worn out?

Kids will be kids and they love fun and colorful stories of animals - and LOL at your temper tantrum, I do that as well and my students simply love it!

I also played a game yesterday with a little 6 year old student of mine. I had this fake bloody knife that I used to put a penny on - she would flip the penny using the knife onto a sheet of music and wherever the penny landed, she would have to tell me the note - then we had these animal erasers as pawns she could move around the keyboard to the note she landed on - she absolutely loved this game and played it for a good 30 minutes and made me promise we would play it again next week. So she learns how to figure out notes , has fun flipping pennies with a bloody knife and I just couldn't resist her huge smiles and giggles as the penny flew off in every direction.

So, I love having fun during lessons, try to imagine myself as a child and what I would enjoy doing to learn piano things - And then throw creative structure into the lessons so they do obviously learn a lot but disguise it with crazy antics and silly games.

If the kid doesn't like following instructions, you should try being more involved with showing him at the piano what you want him to do rather than speaking the commands verbally. If he pushes your hands out the way, I would take that as 'Ok, I'm ready to try, now give me space!'
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#1778652 - 10/28/11 09:02 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: ToriAnais]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11403
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: ToriAnais
This has turned into a really interesting thread.

To the argument about whether humor or discipline is the right approach, I think one or the other comes most naturally to most people, and you need to consciously work on the one that doesn’t come naturally as both are needed at least some of the time.

Dustin sounds like the sort of piano teacher I am – being jokey and playful comes most naturally to me. A couple of months ago I had a kid make the same mistake about 5 times in a row, at which point I threw a fake OTT tantrum with fist banging etc. The kid thought it was hilarious and said she wished she had a recording of it. Best of all, unlike saying “3rd finger on F#” (or whatever it was she was doing wrong), which would have gone in one ear and out the other, my tantrum was memorable and she got it right after that.
But sometimes you need to pull out the serious stuff and I’m not so good at that. I appreciate the advice I read on this forum on how to act like I mean business when needed.

I think part of my problem with this kid is that he is my 8th lesson for the day, by which point I am getting tired and without lots of energy the playful stuff doesn’t come as easily or smoothly. As to whether or not he should have a 45 minute lesson, he is the one who begged his mum to let him have an extra 15 minutes like his older sister.

The other thing is that he will physically obstruct me from trying to take control of the lesson – such as pushing my hands out of the way. This makes a lot of the good suggestions from the first post impossible as he doesn’t like me playing along or covering up music etc. I’m hesitant to reprimand him too strongly for this as the family seems like the type that would stop lessons if the kid stopped enjoying them, and he really doesn’t like being “bossed around” as he puts it. He sees me asking him to follow instructions as being “bossy.”

I like the idea of the polar bear analogy. I will try that next time we’re having a bad lesson. This week he was an angel, I think because I made it quite clear to his mother that I was very annoyed with his behavior last lesson.

I have badgered the mum no end about getting her children to practice, and told her if it isn't scheduled into the week it won't happen etc. It falls on deaf ears and I'm hesitant to keep banging on about it. After a certain point it feels awkward to keep bringing it up.


See, the advice given was of course understanding that you've tried the humor stuff and this boy has not responded well to it. He is crying for discipline, and of course no child says they want it, but their actions call for it. It's not being mean, you're actually helping the poor boy feel secure and safe, that there is a routine and that you will stand by your word. I find that children distrust adults when they have parents who threaten to do something if they don't do as their told, but don't follow through or the consequences don't match the issue in question. I wonder is this boy adopted or have some background of emotional/physical trauma? That might not be something very forthcoming from the parents, but his behavior reminds me of a talented young boy who was very emotionally damaged and really had a hard time trusting adults.
_________________________
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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#1778654 - 10/28/11 09:06 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11403
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
ah yes, I have two students who 'push my hands out of they way' - like literally throw their hands up and push my hands off the keyboard.

I 'try' to take it as my little bit of playing has enticed them to start playing or that my method of playing annoys them so much that they can't wait to get me to stop smile

If it's just one little thing like that , I don't mind. When it becomes a plethora of things that would seem disobedient or disrespectful, than I would take action.

Have you considered moving him to an earlier time on a different day so you aren't so worn out?

Kids will be kids and they love fun and colorful stories of animals - and LOL at your temper tantrum, I do that as well and my students simply love it!

I also played a game yesterday with a little 6 year old student of mine. I had this fake bloody knife that I used to put a penny on - she would flip the penny using the knife onto a sheet of music and wherever the penny landed, she would have to tell me the note - then we had these animal erasers as pawns she could move around the keyboard to the note she landed on - she absolutely loved this game and played it for a good 30 minutes and made me promise we would play it again next week. So she learns how to figure out notes , has fun flipping pennies with a bloody knife and I just couldn't resist her huge smiles and giggles as the penny flew off in every direction.

So, I love having fun during lessons, try to imagine myself as a child and what I would enjoy doing to learn piano things - And then throw creative structure into the lessons so they do obviously learn a lot but disguise it with crazy antics and silly games.

If the kid doesn't like following instructions, you should try being more involved with showing him at the piano what you want him to do rather than speaking the commands verbally. If he pushes your hands out the way, I would take that as 'Ok, I'm ready to try, now give me space!'



I have never ever had a student shove my hands out of the way! If we are sharing a piano and I demonstrate and they want to try, I certainly get my hands out of the way quickly so they can try, but never has a student stopped me from playing. Also, I demonstrate on a different octave so that I'm not in their way to begin with. But shoving hands out of the way is not eagerness, it is rudeness. I would never do that to a student, so why would it be alright for them to do that to anyone?
_________________________
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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#1778675 - 10/28/11 10:04 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: Morodiene]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
ah yes, I have two students who 'push my hands out of they way' - like literally throw their hands up and push my hands off the keyboard.

I 'try' to take it as my little bit of playing has enticed them to start playing or that my method of playing annoys them so much that they can't wait to get me to stop smile

If it's just one little thing like that , I don't mind. When it becomes a plethora of things that would seem disobedient or disrespectful, than I would take action.

Have you considered moving him to an earlier time on a different day so you aren't so worn out?

Kids will be kids and they love fun and colorful stories of animals - and LOL at your temper tantrum, I do that as well and my students simply love it!

I also played a game yesterday with a little 6 year old student of mine. I had this fake bloody knife that I used to put a penny on - she would flip the penny using the knife onto a sheet of music and wherever the penny landed, she would have to tell me the note - then we had these animal erasers as pawns she could move around the keyboard to the note she landed on - she absolutely loved this game and played it for a good 30 minutes and made me promise we would play it again next week. So she learns how to figure out notes , has fun flipping pennies with a bloody knife and I just couldn't resist her huge smiles and giggles as the penny flew off in every direction.

So, I love having fun during lessons, try to imagine myself as a child and what I would enjoy doing to learn piano things - And then throw creative structure into the lessons so they do obviously learn a lot but disguise it with crazy antics and silly games.

If the kid doesn't like following instructions, you should try being more involved with showing him at the piano what you want him to do rather than speaking the commands verbally. If he pushes your hands out the way, I would take that as 'Ok, I'm ready to try, now give me space!'



I have never ever had a student shove my hands out of the way! If we are sharing a piano and I demonstrate and they want to try, I certainly get my hands out of the way quickly so they can try, but never has a student stopped me from playing. Also, I demonstrate on a different octave so that I'm not in their way to begin with. But shoving hands out of the way is not eagerness, it is rudeness. I would never do that to a student, so why would it be alright for them to do that to anyone?


Never ever? Really? The only reason I do it in the same octave is so they can see it straight on - playing in different octaves doesn't give them the same visual angle to see what I'm doing - One of the students is home schooled and is 6 years old and he's more playful about it ... the other is extremely difficult to teach and is more aggressive about it when he moves my hands away, but I can't reprimand him with his hawk of a mother sitting there all the time - if she doesn't say anything about it, she prob just thinks it's normal. Plus this boy has so many other issues, this is the last of my concerns. But I adore working with his sister who is very sweet and enjoys practicing. So I don't want to offend the mother...
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#1778714 - 10/28/11 11:10 AM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: Dustin Sanders]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11403
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Dustin Sanders
ah yes, I have two students who 'push my hands out of they way' - like literally throw their hands up and push my hands off the keyboard.

I 'try' to take it as my little bit of playing has enticed them to start playing or that my method of playing annoys them so much that they can't wait to get me to stop smile

If it's just one little thing like that , I don't mind. When it becomes a plethora of things that would seem disobedient or disrespectful, than I would take action.

Have you considered moving him to an earlier time on a different day so you aren't so worn out?

Kids will be kids and they love fun and colorful stories of animals - and LOL at your temper tantrum, I do that as well and my students simply love it!

I also played a game yesterday with a little 6 year old student of mine. I had this fake bloody knife that I used to put a penny on - she would flip the penny using the knife onto a sheet of music and wherever the penny landed, she would have to tell me the note - then we had these animal erasers as pawns she could move around the keyboard to the note she landed on - she absolutely loved this game and played it for a good 30 minutes and made me promise we would play it again next week. So she learns how to figure out notes , has fun flipping pennies with a bloody knife and I just couldn't resist her huge smiles and giggles as the penny flew off in every direction.

So, I love having fun during lessons, try to imagine myself as a child and what I would enjoy doing to learn piano things - And then throw creative structure into the lessons so they do obviously learn a lot but disguise it with crazy antics and silly games.

If the kid doesn't like following instructions, you should try being more involved with showing him at the piano what you want him to do rather than speaking the commands verbally. If he pushes your hands out the way, I would take that as 'Ok, I'm ready to try, now give me space!'



I have never ever had a student shove my hands out of the way! If we are sharing a piano and I demonstrate and they want to try, I certainly get my hands out of the way quickly so they can try, but never has a student stopped me from playing. Also, I demonstrate on a different octave so that I'm not in their way to begin with. But shoving hands out of the way is not eagerness, it is rudeness. I would never do that to a student, so why would it be alright for them to do that to anyone?


Never ever? Really? The only reason I do it in the same octave is so they can see it straight on - playing in different octaves doesn't give them the same visual angle to see what I'm doing - One of the students is home schooled and is 6 years old and he's more playful about it ... the other is extremely difficult to teach and is more aggressive about it when he moves my hands away, but I can't reprimand him with his hawk of a mother sitting there all the time - if she doesn't say anything about it, she prob just thinks it's normal. Plus this boy has so many other issues, this is the last of my concerns. But I adore working with his sister who is very sweet and enjoys practicing. So I don't want to offend the mother...


that's a tough one, but really it's never happened to me before. Maybe because form the first lesson I set a tone that I have certain things that are acceptable behavior and certain things are not, so at the first sign is disrespect I will address it directly. If that doesn't do the trick, I get het parents involved. That usually stops it right away.
_________________________
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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#1778740 - 10/28/11 12:05 PM Re: I have a suggest!!! [Re: ToriAnais]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
to tell you the truth, i am happy my two rather difficult brothers/students quit piano.. they wouldn't practice and their sister is doing SOOO much better. I waltzed with her today.. teaching her 3/3 time. She liked that. it was a first. Sometimes we go outside and walk briskly in rhythm - gets them focused and revved up.

on a good note, (ha ha) my favorite student who quit in September for an out of town job, is back. YAY. for a while at least. Her little sis has made great strides forward.. pretty amazing child she is, just like her sister. We were working on a surprise for the Christmas visit. which fortunately came a bit earlier.

back to you thread and it's topic.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1778936 - 10/28/11 04:18 PM Re: difficult 7 year old student [Re: dan.mc]
izollie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 4
Originally Posted By: dan.mc
My last-resort strategy for difficult younger students is timing pieces (not terrribly musical I know but it works in the short term!). The student's "goal" is to beat his/her best time for that piece - obviously you need to insist that it is played (sometimes remotely) in time and with reasonably good technique. It is amazing to see how students that despise repeating pieces will happily play the same piece over and over again if they perceive that they have a concrete goal to work towards...


I actually have an extremely difficult student that I tried this on! I felt like I was really scraping the bottom of my musical barrel with this one, but it worked. I still, to this day, don't know what prompted me to think to try it. For some unknown reason, this student LOVED being timed. He worked and worked (as opposed to flopping about) to get the piece better and better - for the timer. He played it beautifully at the recital. Go figure. What is there to say, except everyone is SO different!! Now, when he's having difficulty with a piece, he actually asks me to time him on it. (Having said that, obviously you can't let them become a runaway train or speed through mistakes - if they do that, the time doesn't count.) wink

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