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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: 3158
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: 540
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
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 Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11558
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: 4414
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: 11421
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?
_________________________
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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#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: 10349
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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