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#1902096 - 05/23/12 10:51 PM Advancement too quickly?
PianoMan778 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/12
Posts: 3
Hi, this is my first post, but I have a couple of questions I was hoping some teachers could answer.

My 9 year old son has been taking piano lessons for almost 3 years (he just completed his 3rd Guild audition) and his piano teacher is constantly saying how talented he is. This is very nice, but I'm a little concerned she's pushing him to advance too quickly.

His most difficult pieces for the Guild audition were Bach Invention No. 1, Sonata in C by Clementi (mvt. 1), Fur Elise, and Sonata k545 by Mozart (mvt. 1). This group of pieces was reasonable for his ability, although he had to play Mozart's Sonata pretty slowly (around 72 bpm), so that one was borderline.

One concern I have is that he never really masters pieces before moving onto new ones. Is this normal for children of his age (to avoid them getting bored)? I see plenty of prodigies on the internet his age who play pieces perfectly.

My second concern is that our teacher is having him learn pieces that may be too advanced for his ability. I thought he probably should have waited on the Mozart Sonata and now she's having him learn Bach's Italian Concerto (3rd mvt.). I suppose if he plays the piece slowly he can handle it, but is that really appropriate? He practices an hour a day. I divide this time up having him polish his previous pieces (Fur Elise, Mozart's Sonata), some technique (scales, Cherny), sight reading, and Bach's Concerto.

I just don't want him to miss out on more intermediate pieces that may help him better build up his technique at the correct pace. Should he be learning pieces that take him 8 months to learn?

Thanks for you thoughts.

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#1902107 - 05/23/12 11:21 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
Brinestone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 345
Honestly, I'd think eight months is too long to learn songs for most kids. However, I have had students who bring songs to me that they are determined to learn, and I tend to let them if I can. One student just finished a song she has been working on for nine months. I kept thinking she'd accept that it was beyond her and give up, but she never did. She just kept plugging away at it, bit by bit, solving a problem here and another there, and she did it. She just played it at the recital.

That said, eight months and passed off before it's perfect would not impress me if I were the parent. I'd talk to the teacher. It sounds like she may be a bit overeager. Also, have you talked to your son? Maybe he's resistant to playing easier pieces.
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Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC

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#1902146 - 05/24/12 12:47 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1242
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Each teacher goes about her rhythm of events differently. I don't think there's a clear right and wrong, though your concerns make sense to me. Shouldn't he be playing some pop/jazz repertoire as well? The teacher sounds quite driven, if he's working on such advanced repertoire already.

You could put him in a more fun music camp over the summer, to give him some added flavor.

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#1902245 - 05/24/12 07:38 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 538
Have you talked to the teacher and has she given you an overview of her teaching approach? Has she given you a rationale about why she gives your son these pieces? I'm not a teacher but a parent with kids who are very serious about music. I personally would not tolerate learning pieces for 8 months only to stop after reaching a subpar standard. Grade inflation is a big issue these days and in the end it hurts the students, and it does not impress people who have any musical understanding and look for anything more than "wow a kid can play piece X at age Y". I'd say the first step is to talk to the teacher, though...

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#1902252 - 05/24/12 08:04 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: PianoMan778
Hi, this is my first post, but I have a couple of questions I was hoping some teachers could answer.

My 9 year old son has been taking piano lessons for almost 3 years (he just completed his 3rd Guild audition) and his piano teacher is constantly saying how talented he is. This is very nice, but I'm a little concerned she's pushing him to advance too quickly.

His most difficult pieces for the Guild audition were Bach Invention No. 1, Sonata in C by Clementi (mvt. 1), Fur Elise, and Sonata k545 by Mozart (mvt. 1). This group of pieces was reasonable for his ability, although he had to play Mozart's Sonata pretty slowly (around 72 bpm), so that one was borderline.

One concern I have is that he never really masters pieces before moving onto new ones. Is this normal for children of his age (to avoid them getting bored)? I see plenty of prodigies on the internet his age who play pieces perfectly.

My second concern is that our teacher is having him learn pieces that may be too advanced for his ability. I thought he probably should have waited on the Mozart Sonata and now she's having him learn Bach's Italian Concerto (3rd mvt.). I suppose if he plays the piece slowly he can handle it, but is that really appropriate? He practices an hour a day. I divide this time up having him polish his previous pieces (Fur Elise, Mozart's Sonata), some technique (scales, Cherny), sight reading, and Bach's Concerto.

I just don't want him to miss out on more intermediate pieces that may help him better build up his technique at the correct pace. Should he be learning pieces that take him 8 months to learn?

Thanks for you thoughts.

First, welcome to the forum.

Without actually hearing your son and getting to know him, mostly our posts are going to be conjecture and generalizations. For 99% of students, this curriculum would be much too aggressive, but for the 1%, it could be quit appropriate. I have a student who is now being held back by the parent, not by lack of the student's ability. It does happen. The parent is paying the freight and I have to tread lightly. So, either trust the teacher or solicit a second opinion, from another teacher who can evaluate your son in person.

I'm a little concerned about what you report on the Mozart. A 3rd year student ought to be able to play at a faster tempo than mm=72. If he's doing Guild, he's doing scales. Three or four octaves and at what tempo?
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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#1902424 - 05/24/12 02:55 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5284
Loc: Orange County, CA
I echo John's sentiments. It's very hard to tell without hearing your son play. Typically, only the genius students can play the Italian Concerto 3rd movement after three years of lessons. And it's a huge leap after K. 545 and Fur Elise. So, I surmise you do have the right to be concerned.
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1902472 - 05/24/12 04:33 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
pianolady14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/07
Posts: 131
For a student who is playing the K. 545 that slowly to suddenly jump to the Italian Concerto third movement is an incredible leap, no matter how many years he's been playing or how talented he is. I personally would expect total mastery of a piece after eight months. I rarely work on something that long with a nine-year-old, but there are always exceptions. I would definitely have a chat with his teacher.
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Piano teacher since 1995

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#1902535 - 05/24/12 06:17 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
"The proof is in the pudding."

If the student can play the piece, he is ready for it.

If he is not ready for it, no matter how much he wants to play it, he will probably end up hating it.

But worse: if he is not ready it, he will MURDER the music, and with advanced Bach works, that inevitably means murdering FINGERING.

Pushing a student ahead to very advanced music too soon, at the very BEST will tend to shut down reading, because the amount of time necessary to learn each measure and then SLOWLY accelerate the music up to tempo takes a HUGE amount of time. What usually happens is that during the preparation going on for MONTHS, no growth happens in other areas. And that's the BEST outcome.

The WORST is that after a huge amount of time and effort, you end up with something that is under tempo, full of wrong fingering, and as a result great damage is done to the technique.

So all I am saying is beware: you may have an excellent teacher, and your son may be close to a prodigy. But I can't help have suspicions...
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Piano Teacher

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#1902625 - 05/24/12 09:32 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: Gary D.]
PianoMan778 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/12
Posts: 3
Thanks for all the responses.

Even though my son is finding advanced pieces challenging, he still wants to play them. No one is twisting his arm to learn these pieces. However, he is only 9, so his judgment may not be the only thing to go by. I have raised some concerns to the teacher about my son learning such advanced pieces but she seems pretty confident he’s ready for them.

However, she seems more tolerant in playing errors than I am. There are very few pieces he plays flawlessly, but she seems fine with this. I assume it is because he’s so young, that having him play the same piece over and over again for 45 minutes every day would get him bored, and it’s better to keep him interested than in having him play the pieces perfectly. Is it better for someone at his age to play a piece “good enough” and not get bored, or to have him really strive to perfect each piece even if he doesn’t end up playing as many pieces in total?

One thing I will credit his teacher with is fingering. She’s a stickler with that. She insists he gets all the fingers correct when playing a piece.

I’m a little surprised that it’s considered normal for a 3rd year student to be playing the Mozart Sonata at all, even at mm=72. I thought the piece was too advanced for him even to learn in his 3rd year. The parts of the piece that are like scales are certainly not that difficult, but the trills and 32nd notes are very difficult. Maybe my son doesn’t practice enough. I’m curious what is considered a typical amount of practice time for a student at age 9 in their 3rd year?

I think it probably would be a good idea to have my son play for another teacher and get an evaluation.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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#1902743 - 05/25/12 03:44 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
You have posted twice. We do not really know anything about you or your son.

There are MANY variables here.

Important:

There are two kinds of mistakes; there are those that happen every time, in the same place, and there are those that just happen, more or less at random, in different places.

Beware: your teacher may not be the best, but that same teacher may be brilliant.

PLEASE talk to the TEACHER before you dump this person who MAY be good. You are talking to a bunch of strangers in a public forum.

I repeat: PLEASE talk to the teacher. The idea that parents of MY students would come here and decide to dump me based on half-baked responses from strangers chills me. If you asked me the same questions, I would have answers. Maybe the teacher you have has answers too. COMMUNICATE.
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Piano Teacher

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#1902829 - 05/25/12 09:15 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10793
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I agree with Gary and others here. We don't know anything about how your son is really sounding, and that is what counts in the end. He may want to play this stuff, but that doesn't mean he's ready. We cannot say what anyone should be playing after 3 years of study at any age, because the answers vary widely. There is talent to consider as well as work ethic. We can assess neither of these.

I recommend you take your son to another teacher for evaluation since you have already discussed your concerns with the teacher. What kinds of comments did he get for his playing for Guild auditions?
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#1902847 - 05/25/12 09:44 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11201
Loc: Canada
I tend to stress one central idea repeatedly: goals. It's a factor we often don't think about yet it can underlie everything else. My goal as student is to get the skills and knowledge that I need to play music well on an instrument. Another kind of goal that a teacher may aim toward is getting an amateur student set up to be able to play simple arrangements of his favorite music plausibly in a short time without much effort. Another goal can be to get a student to win lots of competitions. Another goal can be to have a student play advanced music for the sake of playing advanced music (because it impresses the parent; because it makes the student feel he's fantastic; because it makes the teacher appear amazing; because it stretches the student as a cornerstone to something else - each of these being goals under the goals).

If the student's goal is to get skills, and the teacher's goal is to go through the grades as fast as possible, then they are not working toward the same goals. It won't be obvious in lessons because you are focusing on what to do with this piece this week. It's the factor nobody seems to be aware of, or that we take for granted. I was caught out in my first lessons on another instrument and looked at everything except this when things went strange.

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#1902880 - 05/25/12 10:44 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 538
A child CAN and SHOULD be able to play a piece "good enough" and not get bored, but this can happen only when the piece is actually at the child's level. If the child needs 45 minutes a day for a few months on a piece and still can't reach the desired speed let along other elements, the piece is too hard.

It is indeed hard to say what pieces a 9yo should play, because it is so different for different kids. Some 9yos do play K545, some 5yos play it, too. But the vast majority of students are not ready for it after 3 years of study...

Guild and other forms of exams are a way to check whether a kid is on the right track. But it only provides a "snapshot" of a child's piano study and it may not reflect the whole picture. Getting another teacher to evaluate the child is a great idea.

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#1902912 - 05/25/12 11:31 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3885
Loc: New York
My 2 cents, to be taken for what an internet consultation is worth, ie not much:

This situation does not make great sense. No matter how prodigious the kid is, he will not advance to play K545 and the Italian concerto well at the rate of an hour of (mixed not only repertoire) practice a day. And I mean well enough, ie musically with reasonable command of the text even if it is not perfect. Thus it takes 8 months to get there..
I suspect this teacher "teaches to the grade" or the test. Your gut feeling about building up foundation which means broader repertoire of intermediate pieces and establishing a comfort level with that vast repertoire is crucial to a solid piano education. Being able to learn a plethora of pieces every couple of weeks is an important step in his evolution to a more advanced level.
By the way, those internet children who play advanced pieces "perfectly" practice much more than an hour a day.

Also I am not a teacher, so I can afford to pontificate without worrying as much about teacher-specific concerns.. The teachers here are shy about critiquing their colleagues too openly. smile


Edited by Andromaque (05/25/12 03:02 PM)

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#1903096 - 05/25/12 05:54 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
I tend to stress one central idea repeatedly: goals. It's a factor we often don't think about yet it can underlie everything else. My goal as student is to get the skills and knowledge that I need to play music well on an instrument.

As a teacher I have two main goals:

1) To do exactly what you just talked about.
2) To get students to understand WHY getting skills and knowledge will ultimately be the fastest way for them to successfully play the music they want to play.
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Piano Teacher

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#1903292 - 05/26/12 02:11 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: Andromaque]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5284
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
I suspect this teacher "teaches to the grade" or the test.

That thought did cross my mind. I've recently discovered how many of such teachers exist!! But it's not the teacher's fault all the time--the pushy parents are to blame. I interviewed one RCM transfer who is "Level 4" even though she can't read bass clef. She bombed the sight reading on the test, but apparently it's not bad enough to fail a level. I was really blunt in pointing out the kid should go back to Level 1 and start over, so Mom took the kid to someone who would teach to the test.
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1903371 - 05/26/12 08:54 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11201
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
I suspect this teacher "teaches to the grade" or the test.

That thought did cross my mind. I've recently discovered how many of such teachers exist!! But it's not the teacher's fault all the time--the pushy parents are to blame.

And who is it that tells parents that this is what music is about? What kind of advertisements do you see? it is chicken and egg, and everyone gets caught in it. Hence being a broken record about goals. I agree that it is a problem, including that when parents push for things it puts teachers into a bad spot.

Actually this is how we started homeschooling. The parents in our district did I don't know what, and the year my older son was to start kindergarten there was a new principal, most of the teachers had been replaced. I didn't like what I was seeing in that school and it didn't work for my child. I pulled him out, and the following year we drive 10 miles round trip for an alternate school. Then that school was changed and we homeschooled. The principal of the local school told me that if more parents felt like I did, then they could teach kids they way they were supposed to be taught. They had to compromise because of parental pressure and ambition. As a teacher I knew they were short sighted, and so did the professionals at that school who had no choice.

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#1903431 - 05/26/12 11:27 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5284
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
They had to compromise because of parental pressure and ambition.

But without parental pressure and ambition (to a certain degree), no kids would take piano lessons, and many of us would be jobless.

There has to be a balance somewhere.
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1903448 - 05/26/12 11:58 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: AZNpiano]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 538

The parental ambition could be to let kids get to know and appreciate music; or the ambition could be to show that "my kid passed grade level X at age Y". For parents who lack any musical education, the latter is also more concrete. The former is a goal that is hard for them to evaluate.

My kid's first piano teacher told us a story about a transfer student who left the previous teacher because the teacher would not let him take a certain level of testing but his mom insisted on that. After a few months with our teacher, the mom again wanted the kid to take test much above his actual level. Our teacher would not agree and after a few back-and-forth, told the mom to go ahead and look for yet another teacher.

But plenty of teachers give in. Some teachers encourage it as well, for a variety of reasons.

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#1903473 - 05/26/12 01:09 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
They had to compromise because of parental pressure and ambition.

But without parental pressure and ambition (to a certain degree), no kids would take piano lessons, and many of us would be jobless.

There has to be a balance somewhere.

Yes. But there is another factor: we are educating the parents.

Some parents are not teachable. If we are forced to work with such parents, they will simply make our life h*ll. They mess up EVERYTHING. They are like poison.

1) They tell their kids NOT to do the things we tell them to do.
2) They tell them to DO things we tell them NOT to do.
3) They argue with us about EVERYTHING: payments, missing lessons, making up lessons, taking time off at bizarre times.
4) They make excuses when their kids do NOT practice.
5) They say their kids are not practicing ENOUGH when we say they ARE.
6) They pick out music for their kids that we specifically tell them is WRONG for their level.

And that is just the beginning of the madness...

My solution: when parents argue with me, or try to tell me how to teach, I make a couple attempts to stop that. If they persist in trying to tell me how to do my job, I tell them: "I'm the wrong teacher. Find another one."

And I am dead serious. They are GONE, out of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Piano Teacher

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#1903475 - 05/26/12 01:12 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
PianoMan778,

Do you have any videos that you would be willing to post? A video is worth a thousand words here.

Mozart K545 after three years isn't crazy, if the kid has the coordination and the work ethic. Sudden large leaps beyond that piece could be.

I have known kids who really intensely wanted to work on piece X, no matter the level of difficulty. With the active assistance of the parent, the kid then succeeds in pressuring the teacher into allowing it. Sometimes this outcome sets the student back substantially, because the child winds up butchering the work. It's worse if the parent then profusely praises the bad work and allows the child to further ratchet up the difficulty of the next piece.
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#1903480 - 05/26/12 01:26 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11201
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
They had to compromise because of parental pressure and ambition.

But without parental pressure and ambition (to a certain degree), no kids would take piano lessons, and many of us would be jobless.

There has to be a balance somewhere.

If the parents are being induced to chase things that don't have anything to do with musicianship then they are pressuring teachers to do things that go in the wrong direction. The same for education. Parents being persuaded toward things that are in the wrong direction, and then pressuring teachers to do things that are contrary to teaching, and pressuring their kids to the wrong direction - I don't see this as leading to much good. How many problems are being cited in these fora?

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#1903485 - 05/26/12 01:44 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
If the parents are being induced to chase things that don't have anything to do with musicianship then they are pressuring teachers to do things that go in the wrong direction. The same for education. Parents being persuaded toward things that are in the wrong direction, and then pressuring teachers to do things that are contrary to teaching, and pressuring their kids to the wrong direction - I don't see this as leading to much good. How many problems are being cited in these fora?

The key word here is "induced". If parents are getting wrong information but they are not arrogant or just dimwitted - or both - they can be guided towards correct information.
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Piano Teacher

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#1903487 - 05/26/12 01:58 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11201
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Gary D.

The key word here is "induced". If parents are getting wrong information but they are not arrogant or just dimwitted - or both - they can be guided towards correct information.

If they get guided, yes. For my part I have been pushing communication and putting out the idea of "goals" for several years, and there is a reason why I ended up going this direction. It is not an easy situation for our societies.

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#1903579 - 05/26/12 05:36 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Stubbie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 338
Loc: Midwest USA
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
PianoMan778,

Do you have any videos that you would be willing to post? A video is worth a thousand words here.

Mozart K545 after three years isn't crazy, if the kid has the coordination and the work ethic. Sudden large leaps beyond that piece could be.

I have known kids who really intensely wanted to work on piece X, no matter the level of difficulty. With the active assistance of the parent, the kid then succeeds in pressuring the teacher into allowing it. Sometimes this outcome sets the student back substantially, because the child winds up butchering the work. It's worse if the parent then profusely praises the bad work and allows the child to further ratchet up the difficulty of the next piece.

If 'teacher' is substituted for 'parent' in the last paragraph, the above quote is reasonably close to the OP's concern as to how his nine-year-old is being taught. (Not saying there is profuse praise or butchering going on.)

Andromaque said:
Quote:
...No matter how prodigious the kid is, he will not advance to play K545 and the Italian concerto well at the rate of an hour of (mixed not only repertoire) practice a day....


I think this is key--his teacher thinks the student can play those pieces, and maybe he can, but to do it the student needs to devote a lot more of his life to practice than he is currently. The parent probably knows best whether or not that can or should happen.

Regardless, best of luck (and practice, practice, practice) to your child, PianoMan778!
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Wherever you go, there you are.


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#1903651 - 05/26/12 08:55 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: Stubbie]
PianoMan778 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/12
Posts: 3
I did speak to my son's teacher today, and my main concern with her was having him learn the Italian Concerto at the expense of everything else. She said he shouldn't practice it more than 15 or 20 mins of his hour of daily practice. I mentioned that this will mean it will probably take him a year or two to learn it, and she said that was OK.

She feels it's important to get children at a young age (whom she feels can handle it) to take on pieces that they will play for the rest of their life, because "there's something special about their young minds that makes it get absorbed better". That's not her quote, just my interpretation of what she was trying to say.

So I guess the question is, is it beneficial to work on a piece slowly that may currently be beyond your ability to play (at full speed), as long as you take your time and make it only one part of your daily practice schedule?

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#1903655 - 05/26/12 09:11 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
My guess is that it will kill any joy he would ever have with that piece, and maybe even with the piano in general. That would be very sad.
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#1903668 - 05/26/12 09:49 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: Minniemay]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
My guess is that it will kill any joy he would ever have with that piece, and maybe even with the piano in general. That would be very sad.

I agree. I think this is a TERRIBLE idea. New teacher time.
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#1903744 - 05/27/12 02:26 AM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: PianoMan778]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 824
Keystring raises an important issue: goals. I wonder if we teachers could list those goals and validate the authentic ones. For me, there are definitely good and bad goals.

To the OP: Playing the Italian Concerto for this boy is unwise. Sorry, I don't have to hear him to know this. In the Royal Conservatory, this piece is listed for the final Performer's Exam.

If your boy was at reading class, you would never expect him to take Hamlet now, which is taught in Grade 12 in my neck of the woods. That's because there has to be a natural/logical progression in the order in which you read literature. Sure, he might appreciate Hamlet more in twenty years time if it's part of the air he breathes now. But he also might appreciate Willy Wonka and his Chocolate Factory more in twenty years if it's introduced now.

There are literally hundreds of pieces which present interesting challenges and which can and should be incorporated into an interesting curriculum for your son. I wouldn't necessarily drop your teacher, but rather ask her to teach him all sorts of pieces which can be learned in under eight weeks.

I think an hour is a good length of practice time per day. But you may need a second lesson each week if your son absorbs these shorter pieces so quickly.

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#1903980 - 05/27/12 03:35 PM Re: Advancement too quickly? [Re: Candywoman]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11201
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
Keystring raises an important issue: goals. I wonder if we teachers could list those goals and validate the authentic ones. For me, there are definitely good and bad goals.

Thanks smile I wonder - would that be a good starter for a new thread?

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