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#1868483 - 03/25/12 10:43 PM should I fire my teacher... Important!!
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
lately I've been wondering if I should fire my teacher...

Every week (after my lessons) I come home thinking that she is not necessary and I could well go on my own.

I'll try to 'breakdown' my lessons:

- First thing she tells me to play the current (last week assigned) piece

- I play it (no dynamics, a few tempo mistakes, note mistakes due to cold hands).

- After I'm done she congratulates me: Yay! Great job! That's My student!! (I feel like a child LOL because I'm not satisfied with my own playing and I know I could improve A LOT!!)

- Then she points my mistakes (that I already know) and we go like half of the lesson practising over and over until I get it right. Which I could easily do by myself at home. (She assigns a new piece every week, so I can't polish any of them lol)

- It's very important to say that she doesn't help me AT ALL with dynamics!!

- The only help she provides me with tempo is to turn on the metronome... She never helps me to count..

- As the end of lesson (one hour) approaches she gets a new piece for me. She puts it in front of me. And that is it... She doesn't play it for me, doesn't comment on the time signature...

- She tells me to play slowly HS... My tempo is totally off and I know but she doesn't say nothing...

- After I play a few bars the time is done and the whole cycle restarts...
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1868491 - 03/25/12 11:19 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1365
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
If one thinks of piano teaching as a relationship, it's safe to say this relationship is not made in heaven....

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#1868497 - 03/25/12 11:34 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Beth_Frances Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/12
Posts: 196
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
"Fire" sounds a bit harsh lol, but it does sound like you should give appropriate notice that you wish to cease lessons and start looking around for someone who is a better fit for you.

It sounds like it is not just her teaching that doesn't suit you, but also that it is a bit of a personality clash (she makes you feel patronised by the sound of it).

You could try talking to her about what you are wanting out of lessons - that you would like more criticism and to work on reading rhythms and dynamics and go more in depth with your pieces, but it sounds like you don't trust her or respect her as a teacher, and in that case I would look for someone you do trust who you have a good rapport with.

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#1868542 - 03/26/12 02:09 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: fe2008
- As the end of lesson (one hour) approaches she gets a new piece for me. She puts it in front of me. And that is it... She doesn't play it for me, doesn't comment on the time signature...

I don't think this is a problem at all. I do that to my students, too.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1868545 - 03/26/12 02:44 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Sounds like she is teaching you to *read* (which is why she doesn't play the pieces for you). You could shift the balance by asking to be assigned some more challenging pieces, and ask to work on them for several weeks/ months and bring them to performance standard, i.e. dynamics, etc.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1868559 - 03/26/12 04:38 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: fe2008
- I play it (no dynamics, a few tempo mistakes, note mistakes due to cold hands).

- After I'm done she congratulates me: Yay! Great job! That's My student!! (I feel like a child LOL because I'm not satisfied with my own playing and I know I could improve A LOT!!)


Automatic praise is what a lot of people WANT! If you look through this forum you'll find many posts where people are over-sensitive to the slightest criticism.

Have you brought up the subject with your teacher? Made it clear you can "take it"?

The teacher obviously believes in getting through lots of material. This is a legitimate approach. She feels you should be able to complete these pieces in one week. Are you putting in sufficient practice to achieve this? Is your attitude "this is the goal I must achieve" or "this is all the time I can spend on practice"?

Why are your hands cold at the beginning of the lesson? Do something about it.

Cold hands don't cause wrong notes.

Why do you play without dynamics, and with poor timing? Practice more! When a piece is properly prepared, it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to make mistakes!

See what I'm doing? You blamed everything on the teacher. I'm blaming everything on you. Is the truth somewhere in the middle? HAVE YOU DISCUSSED YOUR WORRIES WITH THE TEACHER?

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#1868627 - 03/26/12 08:25 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Have you ever been to one of the recitals of this teacher's students? Do they play well? If not, you know what to do. If some play very well, then there is the possibility that the teacher made a misjudgment and uses the wrong approach for you. You can discuss this with the teacher if you genuinely feel that you'd want to continue with her if she could change her ways of teaching. But it sounds like you might be ready to leave anyways. I've had a somewhat similar situation with my first teacher and I went to a different teacher pretty soon and was very happy that I did. It might be particularly tricky for adult students to find the right fit with a teacher because they come in with all kinds of background.

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#1868639 - 03/26/12 09:07 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12044
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
The biggest problem I see is not the way your teacher is teaching you, but how you are approaching lessons. Have you ever discussed your concerns with your teacher? If not, then she's probably under the impression that you're perfectly happy with how she's doing things. It's possible she's not changing anything because she thinks you are pleased with your progress. Of course it is also possible that she's not capable of doing more, but only by talking with her and seeing if she actually makes the changes that you want will you know for sure.

I also agree with Exalted Wombat about some of your complaints. You are making excuses for your poor playing, and then saying that your teacher then corrects you on things that you already know are wrong. Why are you going to lessons with wrong notes and no dynamics? Cold hands happen when one is not warmed up for their lesson, but they don't cause you to make the kinds of mistakes that you are talking about. Why aren't you asking her when she points out you're not doing a crescendo in measure 15 how you can accomplish that if it's something you're struggling with executing properly? I would always go to lessons with a list of questions or concerns about the pieces I was working on if I got stuck. And of course, you can easily say, "I want to work on this another week and see if I can do better next time."

This has come up every now and again and it may seem like an unimportant point, but the concept that you can fire your teacher may bely a negative attitude toward your teacher who may very well be a highly educated and competent small business owner. Unless you give your teacher a W-2 form each year and pay payroll taxes for her, you technically aren't her "employer" and can't "fire" her.
_________________________
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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#1868644 - 03/26/12 09:15 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12044
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Sorry for the double-post, but after re-reading your post I thought of something else. Did you every think about how she's having you play parts of the piece over and over again? She's teaching you how you should be practicing at home. So if you go home and you fail to do these things, then whose at fault?

You didn't mention your playing level. Beginner students will encounter a lot of music in a short amount of time because the pieces are simpler. Rarely will a student work on a particular piece for more than one week in that stage. As you progress, however, your pieces get more complicated and will take more time to perfect.

Are you only working on one piece per week? Your post suggests that, and I think that you should always have several pieces (anywhere from 3-6) going at one point, depending on your level of playing and available practice time.
_________________________
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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#1868649 - 03/26/12 09:34 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Originally Posted By: fe2008

Every week (after my lessons) I come home thinking that she is not necessary and I could well go on my own.





fe2008, you have itemized the reasons that you feel you are getting nothing out of lessons. If you are looking for permission to quit, you have my permission.

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#1868651 - 03/26/12 09:43 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
Dear fe2008:

This is your third post on two forums on this basic topic.

You have been given many suggestions, both from other students and from teachers, but have not responded to any of them; Instead you keep posting the same basic question.

What exactly do you want?

If its advice and help, you have received a lot of it.

Some feedback from you would be helpful at this point.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1868654 - 03/26/12 09:55 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
- After I'm done she congratulates me: Yay! Great job! That's My student!! (I feel like a child LOL because I'm not satisfied with my own playing and I know I could improve A LOT!!)


Well, that's not how "I" get treated .... grin

This does sound like a very imperfect match. Have you ever sat down with her to discuss what you want? Maybe she can supply it. Maybe she cannot.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1868673 - 03/26/12 10:58 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: Piano*Dad]
TomJamesMcmahon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/12
Posts: 37
Loc: Bristol, UK
Sorry to be totally blunt and unsympathetic but YES YES YES. This kind of teaching pisses me off no end. A teacher should be teaching you about touch, technique, interpretation, possibly a little harmony. Practice techniques. This teacher is clearly an ignoramus. Read a book like Neuhaus' Art of Piano Playing and teach yourself a little and you'll see how much your missing out on. I also reccomend Josh Wright's piano lessons on Youtube. You'll get much more out of this than your current teacher. I made the mistake of staying with a bad teacher out of a sense of loyalty and it set me back. You have to put your progress first.

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#1868687 - 03/26/12 11:25 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: AZNpiano]
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: fe2008
- As the end of lesson (one hour) approaches she gets a new piece for me. She puts it in front of me. And that is it... She doesn't play it for me, doesn't comment on the time signature...

I don't think this is a problem at all. I do that to my students, too.


Thanks... But I think a brief analisys of the piece would be good.
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1868691 - 03/26/12 11:29 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: Exalted Wombat]
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Originally Posted By: fe2008
- I play it (no dynamics, a few tempo mistakes, note mistakes due to cold hands).

- After I'm done she congratulates me: Yay! Great job! That's My student!! (I feel like a child LOL because I'm not satisfied with my own playing and I know I could improve A LOT!!)


Automatic praise is what a lot of people WANT! If you look through this forum you'll find many posts where people are over-sensitive to the slightest criticism.

Have you brought up the subject with your teacher? Made it clear you can "take it"?

The teacher obviously believes in getting through lots of material. This is a legitimate approach. She feels you should be able to complete these pieces in one week. Are you putting in sufficient practice to achieve this? Is your attitude "this is the goal I must achieve" or "this is all the time I can spend on practice"?

Why are your hands cold at the beginning of the lesson? Do something about it.

Cold hands don't cause wrong notes.

See what I'm doing? You blamed everything on the teacher. I'm blaming everything on you. Is the truth somewhere in the middle? HAVE YOU DISCUSSED YOUR WORRIES WITH THE TEACHER?


Complete a piece in one week???

Well... Here are a few pieces I should had 'completed' in one week:
Small Prelude in C (BACH)
The Happy Farmer (SCHUMMAN)

I'm sorry if I can't play them perfect after one week.

Quote:
Why do you play without dynamics, and with poor timing? Practice more! When a piece is properly prepared, it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to make mistakes!


Maybe because she never taught me how to properly execute and interpret a piece? Neither she taught how to 'properly prepare' a piece?
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1868692 - 03/26/12 11:29 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 226
Loc: North Carolina
I agree with Morodiene. After re-reading your post, she is teaching you how to practice. Why should she play the piece for you? If you know you need to observe the dynamics in a piece, why aren't you? She is there to help you fix problem areas and polish up a piece and then for you to go home and work to fix the issues you worked on at your lesson.

IMHO, you need to find a new teacher. You are obviously not happy with this teacher, but I don't think your expectations match your teacher. Not all the fault lies with the teacher. Again, IMHO.
_________________________
Bachelor of Music (church music)
Master of Church Music (organ, music education)
Piano Teacher since 1992
Church Musician since 1983

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#1868695 - 03/26/12 11:33 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
fe2008,

What exactly do you want out of the contributors here? When people try to assist you, you often respond with announcements, pronouncements, and sarcasm. You should not be surprised if people here stop paying much attention to what you say.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1868696 - 03/26/12 11:33 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: Morodiene]
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
The biggest problem I see is not the way your teacher is teaching you, but how you are approaching lessons. Have you ever discussed your concerns with your teacher? If not, then she's probably under the impression that you're perfectly happy with how she's doing things. It's possible she's not changing anything because she thinks you are pleased with your progress. Of course it is also possible that she's not capable of doing more, but only by talking with her and seeing if she actually makes the changes that you want will you know for sure.


Thanks for the advice. I will talk to her next lesson and express how I feel and what I expect from her smile

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I also agree with Exalted Wombat about some of your complaints. You are making excuses for your poor playing, and then saying that your teacher then corrects you on things that you already know are wrong. Why are you going to lessons with wrong notes and no dynamics? Cold hands happen when one is not warmed up for their lesson, but they don't cause you to make the kinds of mistakes that you are talking about. Why aren't you asking her when she points out you're not doing a crescendo in measure 15 how you can accomplish that if it's something you're struggling with executing properly? I would always go to lessons with a list of questions or concerns about the pieces I was working on if I got stuck. And of course, you can easily say, "I want to work on this another week and see if I can do better next time."


So it seems that the iniciative to play better should be taken from me? Well, I'm a beginner and I really think that she is the one who should help me and coach me how to play better. How can I do better next time if she assigns a new piece and consider the last as done?

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
This has come up every now and again and it may seem like an unimportant point, but the concept that you can fire your teacher may bely a negative attitude toward your teacher who may very well be a highly educated and competent small business owner. Unless you give your teacher a W-2 form each year and pay payroll taxes for her, you technically aren't her "employer" and can't "fire" her.


Sorry english is not my first language. Maybe I picked the wrong word.


Edited by fe2008 (03/26/12 11:34 AM)
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1868698 - 03/26/12 11:36 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: Morodiene]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11730
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Have you ever discussed your concerns with your teacher?

This is the best advice that I have seen, and it was also repeated by two teachers in another thread. You may want to sacrifice an entire lesson and just talk about your goals, your teacher's goals for you, her expectations and how she thinks you can carry them out, your expectations which may lead to what she thinks your role is. You may also run into what she thinks you already know and can do, which you might not - or things that you don't know that she can point out that you do.

It does not sound as if you have ever approached your teacher about your concerns. That should be your first step.

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#1868699 - 03/26/12 11:37 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: Piano*Dad]
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
fe2008,

What exactly do you want out of the contributors here? When people try to assist you, you respond with announcements, pronouncements, and sarcasm. You should not be surprised if people here stop paying much attention to what you say.


I'm trying to answer those who think that it's my fault. Forgive me if I gave the impression of being sarcastic. I cannot express myself 100% right in english.

I'm getting what I want: Which is great advice on what do to... The bests were in the line of "Talk to her and express your concerns" smile


Edited by fe2008 (03/26/12 11:38 AM)
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1868724 - 03/26/12 12:16 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
They grow an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.

How's your Portuguese chaps?
Give the bloke a break.

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#1868733 - 03/26/12 12:45 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
There is some responsibility on the part of the student. Do you see a dynamic mark? Do you know what it means? If you do, then it is your responsibility to do it. The teacher should not have to spoon-feed you things you already know.

It seems like you also need to reclassify yourself. Happy Farmer and Prelude in C are not beginner pieces, they are early intermediate. If I have students playing these pieces, I am not talking to them about forte and piano. I am talking about character, practice methods (well, not talking, but showing and experiencing), etc.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1868742 - 03/26/12 01:09 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: Minniemay]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
There is some responsibility on the part of the student. Do you see a dynamic mark? Do you know what it means? If you do, then it is your responsibility to do it. The teacher should not have to spoon-feed you things you already know.

It seems like you also need to reclassify yourself. Happy Farmer and Prelude in C are not beginner pieces, they are early intermediate. If I have students playing these pieces, I am not talking to them about forte and piano. I am talking about character, practice methods (well, not talking, but showing and experiencing), etc.



But will you talk to the student if he doesn't play forte and piano? Or do you think that, since you've covered such material in lessons before, it's not your responsibility anymore to remind the student? From the OP's post it's also not clear whether the teacher has given him all these concepts and he doesn't know how to use them, or whether the teacher has not. I think it's too soon to blame the student.

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#1868746 - 03/26/12 01:11 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
I also find it important to talk about practice method, not just showing and experiencing. For children especially. I've seen my children's teachers showing/letting the kids experiment with practice methods, but at the end would recap. the experience by saying "see how you got better here with this way of practice, now you know if you encounter problem X you have a way to deal with it"...

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#1868753 - 03/26/12 01:22 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I have the student summarize what was effective and what wasn't. The goal is for the student to do the learning. Telling is not teaching. Guiding, leading, but not telling.

By the time I am at intermediate literature, I really don't need to talk about those simple things like piano and forte. They do those because they have been trained to do so. They highlight those things when we first look at a piece so they build them into the sound, but again, it's not me highlighting it, it's the student.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1868759 - 03/26/12 01:27 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: Minniemay]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I have the student summarize what was effective and what wasn't. The goal is for the student to do the learning. Telling is not teaching. Guiding, leading, but not telling.

By the time I am at intermediate literature, I really don't need to talk about those simple things like piano and forte. They do those because they have been trained to do so. They highlight those things when we first look at a piece so they build them into the sound, but again, it's not me highlighting it, it's the student.


Letting the students summarize is good, too, as long as the students actually get the idea. The OP's description shows that he did not get what the teacher was trying to show him.

And yes, when students themselves can highlight the important dynamics in a piece, the teacher has no need to remind them. In the OP's case, he doesn't play dynamics and the teacher says nothing. I think that's the weird part.

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#1868762 - 03/26/12 01:28 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
I've been self taught and I'm with this teacher for two months now...
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1868763 - 03/26/12 01:29 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
I've not learned the 'basics' with her... I doubt I've ever learned the 'basics' by myself
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1868764 - 03/26/12 01:30 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
Originally Posted By: fe2008
I've been self taught and I'm with this teacher for two months now...


Originally Posted By: fe2008
I've not learned the 'basics' with her... I doubt I've ever learned the 'basics' by myself


This is a textbook example of the major hurdle facing self-taught piano students and the teachers who take them on as students...Teachers erroneously assume that the self-taught foundation is at least somewhat workable, and can be built upon, hence the assignment of intermediate repertoire here.

And the students assume the same. But they do not realize that in reality they typically (not always, but very often) have a weak and very incomplete foundation, including the essential skill of how to practice, (very evident here).

Therefore, for true progress to ensue, the existing "foundation" must be disassembled and re-built correctly. Lots of learning and re-learning must take place, which, to the student, does not look very much like progress.

Most students do not want to go thru that agony; They don't want to spend months unraveling and starting almost at the beginning; Instead, they want to build upon their existing foundation, which has never worked very well for me with those I have tried it with.

(The same is true for students who transfer from teachers who are ineffective.)

The solution is for students and teachers to be as clear and upfront as possible in their communication.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1868768 - 03/26/12 01:31 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
rocket88, that's why I WANT her to correct me and teach me the correct way to play... What she is not doing frown
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1868771 - 03/26/12 01:38 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
Then tell her. Very clearly. Or as some have suggested, find a teacher more suited to you.

Either way, from the beginning be very clear about all of this.

I wish you the very best.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1868781 - 03/26/12 01:52 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
A comment that some adult students might find useful:

It is important that you communicate with your teacher about your goal of piano study. The goal may change as you progress, but it still helps the teacher to have some ideas on how to teach. As your goal evolves, the lessons may also evolve.

I remember when I moved to my second teacher, the first thing he asked me was whether my goal is to play some pieces that I like, or whether I wanted to systematically study as if I were going to apply for a piano major. I said the latter. And he said OK, he knew how to teach me then. We worked well together.

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#1868788 - 03/26/12 02:06 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11730
Loc: Canada
I don't think that people are always aware of the scenario that can happen with adult students so here goes:

As adults we come in with some sophistication, because we have listened to good music and read books. If we are self-taught, then we come in an apparently know how to take home a piece of music, and come back playing it the following week. There is reason for teachers to think we know things which they can base themselves on, and which they don't need to teach. That's aspect 1.

Meanwhile there are various beliefs about adult students, in part because of experiences teachers have had with them, in part because that's what is said. Among them: that we don't want the steady skill-building work of young students, that we want superficial results, or even that we are not to be taken seriously. That's aspect 2. I was also told that those who teach seriously often don't want to work with adult students - so who is left?

Meanwhile also, an adult student who has never had lessons or studied music seriously literally doesn't know what is needed - he may have nothing more than a vague feeling which he can't articulate. We don't have the vocabulary or concepts because we have not experienced that kind of teaching or learning. Among other things, that makes it hard to go to discussion boards without seeming to talk beside the point or in circles.

Back to aspect 1: the self-taught student who already seems to know things.
- There are things: I'll call them elements of musicianship because I don't have a name - which commonly get taught. Students get guided into how to approach pieces and practicing. They learn elements of technique in stages. Reading skills. Timing, counting, meter --- very very basic things that seem obvious to whoever has them. Now, as a self-taught musician I can circumvent these things so it may seem that I don't need them or already have them. This is where the teacher can get fooled thinking that I know what I don't know. But then I am condemned to always playing in an amateurish way, or being clumsy in certain things. These things are building blocks on which everything else rests. THIS is what we will be missing, and it is also the thing that we are likely not to be taught. So we go week after week churning through pieces in the way we have always done. Nor (see aspect 3) do we know what is missing, or how to ask for it.

Because it's as confusing as all that, I always suggest that my fellow adults get some idea of what their goals are and look into it --- for me it's something like: get the basic skills needed to be able to play music well on the instrument. THEN talk to the existing teacher about goals etc., and also be open to feedback (which may contain misunderstandings on both sides). If you lack skills and your teacher assumes you have them, then you won't be getting them. If you want basics, and your teacher thinks you want to float along, you won't be getting them. If your teacher expects you to do certain things and hasn't managed to come across, you won't be doing them.

Even if you change teachers, you still need to be able to communicate with the next teacher or you risk going full circle.

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#1868840 - 03/26/12 03:59 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: Minniemay]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11730
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Minniemay

It seems like you also need to reclassify yourself. Happy Farmer and Prelude in C are not beginner pieces, they are early intermediate. If I have students playing these pieces, I am not talking to them about forte and piano. I am talking about character, practice methods (well, not talking, but showing and experiencing), etc.

Minniemay, it may not be the student who is doing the classifying. I wrote my rather lengthy synopsis because once upon a time I was the student looking for information and ran into a lot of confusion and it would be nice if one or two people were spared the same.

It is very possible for a teacher to give a student more advanced pieces based on what the student can do in a self-taught way, and not realize that very basic skills are missing. It is also possible that if the teacher thinks simpler material and/or basic things are necessary, she won't suggest them for fear of alienating/discouraging the student. Unless a student broaches the subject this won't change.

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#1869051 - 03/27/12 01:33 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11730
Loc: Canada
Addendum: just noticed Rocket88's post. It says many of the things I did, just worded a bit better.

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#1869166 - 03/27/12 10:00 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
I understand the OP's concern. There is a very physical aspect to playing the piano. When I re-started as an adult focusing on movement is what my teacher did and continues to do. Anybody can assign pieces, monitor progress, and point out mistakes.

At my lessons, the teaching is more along these lines:

"Here you drop on the first note and lift on the next three.
Let the pedal hold that low note.
Spring off of this note so you can make the leap.
The melody moves to the bass clef, make sure you bring this out.
This trill requires more rotation and less fingers.
Try this fingering..."

etc.
_________________________
Estonia L190 #7004
Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30

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#1869359 - 03/27/12 05:33 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
One thing about that expression, 'firing,' Fe: it tends to connote the termination of employment "For Cause." That would indicate bad behaviors such as cheating, fondling, goldbricking, incompetence, theft, insulting customers, etc., and none of those are really what you're talking about. You seem to be mad at the teacher for something more subtle (yet real to you), and frankly, I don't see your being able to salvage the relationship with this much resentment built up.

The world of piano is not such a big one, and you may be seeing this teacher around for quite some time to come. It could pay you to part amicably and while you can still keep your temper; once you lose it you could find yourself losing more than you had in mind. Firing can backfire, burning up your own reputation in the process--- and that will not help your own feeling of injury to cool down.

Part civilly, with proper notice and with the bill paid in full. Address your frustrations to a punching bag, running, swimming, weightlifting, or rollerblading. Tennis, line dancing, baseball, polo, football, soccer, beach volleyball, golf, hockey, backpacking, hang gliding, boxing, wrestling, ice skating, gymnastics, track and field; take your pick, avoiding only sports involving edged weapons or firearms. Resolve to learn from this experience, and to use what you've learned to shop more carefully--- and more successfully--- for your next teacher. Only very lucky (or very uncaring) students avoid this process, so you're in good company.

I admire your ability to motivate yourself and to learn on your own. These are skills that can take you a long way.
_________________________
Clef


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#1897551 - 05/15/12 08:00 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
The Tickler Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 7
Originally Posted By: fe2008
She never helps me to count..



Do you really need help counting to four? Good grief!

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#1897632 - 05/15/12 10:26 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
fe2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 380
Loc: Brazil
wow.. so you registered just to post this AWESOME reply??????????????

I wish every rhythm was easy as counting to four...
_________________________
Roland FP7F

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#1897649 - 05/15/12 11:13 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
The Tickler Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 7
To answer your question: No.

What exactly did you have in mind when you said your teacher doesn't help you count?

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#1897849 - 05/16/12 09:06 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12044
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: fe2008
wow.. so you registered just to post this AWESOME reply??????????????

I wish every rhythm was easy as counting to four...


So what have you done? You were given a lot of sound advice here. Did you talk to your teacher, or find a new one, or work it out with her?
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1897885 - 05/16/12 09:56 AM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
PianoPraise Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/11
Posts: 83
Originally Posted By: fe2008

- Then she points my mistakes (that I already know) and we go like half of the lesson practising over and over until I get it right. Which I could easily do by myself at home. (She assigns a new piece every week, so I can't polish any of them lol)

- It's very important to say that she doesn't help me AT ALL with dynamics!!

- The only help she provides me with tempo is to turn on the metronome... She never helps me to count..



I am a student not a teacher, but if you know your mistakes and can "easily fix them at home" I don't understand why you don't fix them before your lesson. That is what practicing is for. If you want to work on a piece for more than a week without getting a new piece let your teacher know.

If you can read the dynamics start out practicing with them I have found that this helps rather than adding them after practing it over and over without them, it is harder for me to add them in. If you want your teacher to point out when you are not playing the dynamics at all or correctly let her know.

The metronome is the most accurate form of counting.
_________________________
Started lessons 03/22/11
Kawai CN34 (Purchased 05/24/14)

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#1897954 - 05/16/12 12:02 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Balls of Fire Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 8
Lemme splain what ya gotta do. The next time ya show up for class say these words:

"I dont like you, you suck"

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#1898095 - 05/16/12 04:15 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
With posts like that, you won't be here long.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1898098 - 05/16/12 04:18 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: Piano*Dad]
Fingered Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 19
removed comment


Edited by Piano World (05/16/12 04:37 PM)
Edit Reason: uncalled for comment

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#1902072 - 05/23/12 09:38 PM Re: should I fire my teacher... Important!! [Re: fe2008]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: fe2008
lately I've been wondering if I should fire my teacher...

Every week (after my lessons) I come home thinking that she is not necessary and I could well go on my own.

I'll try to 'breakdown' my lessons:

- First thing she tells me to play the current (last week assigned) piece

- I play it (no dynamics, a few tempo mistakes, note mistakes due to cold hands).

- After I'm done she congratulates me: Yay! Great job! That's My student!! (I feel like a child LOL because I'm not satisfied with my own playing and I know I could improve A LOT!!)

- Then she points my mistakes (that I already know) and we go like half of the lesson practising over and over until I get it right. Which I could easily do by myself at home. (She assigns a new piece every week, so I can't polish any of them lol)

- It's very important to say that she doesn't help me AT ALL with dynamics!!

- The only help she provides me with tempo is to turn on the metronome... She never helps me to count..

- As the end of lesson (one hour) approaches she gets a new piece for me. She puts it in front of me. And that is it... She doesn't play it for me, doesn't comment on the time signature...

- She tells me to play slowly HS... My tempo is totally off and I know but she doesn't say nothing...

- After I play a few bars the time is done and the whole cycle restarts...



It sounds like you're not satisfied with her style of teaching. Talk to her and maybe get her to stop firing new pieces at you to focus on details like dynamics, tone, and quality.

If you know your mistakes, then why don't you fix them before coming to class? Then you don't have to waste classtime.

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