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#1970152 - 10/08/12 03:24 AM Teacher wanting to transfer student?
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Hi everyone,

My 5 year old recently started piano (4 lessons), and thus far, he is in love. He runs to the piano when he wakes up, when he gets home from school, when Dad comes home from work or when anyone comes to visit (so he can show off what new things he's learned that day), basically any chance he gets. I'm not sure how long this honeymoon period will last, but I figure I'll enjoy it while it does!

The kiddo recently had his very first recital, which he thoroughly enjoyed. I was nervous for him, but I guess that one of the benefits of being 5 is lack of stage fright. smile. So, everything is going great, and you're probably wondering what my question is...

His teacher, whom my son and I both adore, has told me that he is progressing very quickly and that she thinks he would be better served transferring to another "higher level" teacher in the near future. In the meantime, she would focus on preparing him to make that jump. Of course, any parent would be proud that his/her child is doing well, but I can't help thinking it's awfully premature to consider transferring to another teacher when the current one is already quite experienced and capable? The kid has been playing for less than a month! He's barely scratched the surface of learning piano.

Could it be that my son's teacher is mistaking enthusiasm (which I have no idea will even last) for something more? Or is it actually possible to tell that a student is "special" (her word, not mine!) after only a few lessons? We love our teacher, and don't want to transfer!

I would appreciate any insights, thanks so much!

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#1970244 - 10/08/12 10:07 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Cardinal201, what were other kids playing at recital? Are they all 5 year old kids in pre-reading material? Were there any intermediate level performances?

The idea of transferring after 4 lessons makes no sense to me. I would want more information. But if a teacher does not want to teach my kid (for whatever reason), I would go to someone who does want to.

What did your kid play for the recital?

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#1970258 - 10/08/12 10:51 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1349
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Clearly you need to talk further with this teacher, and figure out what the heck she is getting at. I think it would be terrible for this new relationship to suddenly be
severed. In fact, it sounds bizarre. Even if your son is the next Oscar Peterson, my advice is that he should stick with this teacher at least through the present school year.

But if she is feeling in over her head with his musicality, it's tricky. I'm sure she is capable, but she doesn't sound very experienced.

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#1970298 - 10/08/12 12:44 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Ann in Kentucky, the kids at the recital ranged in age from 5 (mine) to 17 (a few high school seniors), with the performances sounding to my admittedly inexperienced ears as beginner to intermediate. The teacher specially recognized a few students as 5 Year National Piano Guild Members or 2012 International Piano Guild Members, but I really don't know what these designations mean.

My kid played a song from Faber PreTime Piano Rock 'n Roll, which his teacher assigned after his 2nd lesson. The song was "too easy" for him by the time of the recital 2 weeks later and he would constantly try to riff on it at home, but we wanted him to have a successful first outing at the recital and he did play the piece as written.

Peter K. Mose, I think the situation sounds bizarre as well! My kid is obviously still a beginner (he's currently playing from Faber Piano Adventures Level 1 - Technique & Artistry), and he seems to have a great rapport with his current teacher. She has taught children for many, many years, and has a wonderful reputation for instilling a love and appreciation for music in her students (which is all I ever wanted for my kid).

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#1970307 - 10/08/12 01:03 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1349
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
She may indeed have some instinct that your son is especially gifted, and she doesn't want to hold him back. But she sounds like a teacher to treasure, despite her insecurity.

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#1970323 - 10/08/12 01:42 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Hmm. I wonder what the teacher means by transferring in "the near future". I would ask her that. It's possible that "near future" means in next 3 years (instead of next 3 months) to her.

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#1970415 - 10/08/12 05:31 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Overexposed]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5483
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Hmm. I wonder what the teacher means by transferring in "the near future". I would ask her that. It's possible that "near future" means in next 3 years (instead of next 3 months) to her.

I would agree with that speculation.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1970429 - 10/08/12 05:53 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
I agree, she is a treasure! She did not mention a timeline for transferring, only that she has someone specific in mind and that she would like to give my son extra time/lessons (for free!) when her schedule allows to help prepare him for the transition. She's on vacation currently (taking a well-deserved break after the recital this past weekend), but I will speak with her more at our next lesson on the 21st. In the meantime, I'll be watching this thread for any additional insights, thank you again!

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#1970441 - 10/08/12 06:38 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3160
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
She may indeed have some instinct that your son is especially gifted, and she doesn't want to hold him back. But she sounds like a teacher to treasure, despite her insecurity.


How do you arrive at that conclusion, Peter?

My read on the situation is that the teacher clearly knows her abilities and limits, what her studio is capable of, wants the best for the student, and thus can see that a different teacher will better serve the student. And cares enough to sacrifice losing a student and the $$$.

Just like a primary care physician knows her limits, and sends a patient off to a specialist. Nothing "insecure" about that...just the right thing to do.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1970565 - 10/08/12 11:28 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1349
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I'm with Mom: "I can't help thinking it is awfully premature to consider transferring to another teacher."
Unless the present teacher is intending to retire soon, the scenario sounds goofy to me, and potentially sad.

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#1979781 - 10/28/12 06:37 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Update: The teacher actually returned from vacation last week, but I didn't really get a chance to speak with her at my kiddo's first lesson back due to the number of new pieces he wanted to play for her (apropos my other thread on going ahead). Even after our second lesson back today, he still didn't finish. Truthfully, I didn't want to bring up transferring if she wasn't going to do so again. I know, I know, I'm a chicken...

Anyway, at the end of today's lesson, the teacher did sort of bring it up again. She said
if she sent my child right now to this teacher she knows, this other teacher would probably have him start playing Chopin (Waltzes, I think she said--I didn't catch her exact words, nor would I know the difference anyway!). However, she wants to be very careful to nurture the kid and not have him burn out. So, she wants to continue assigning him "fun" music while strengthening his musical foundation through a variety of skills and exercises. Then she asked if we would like to lengthen our lesson times at no additional cost starting next week.

To me, this sounds as though the kid won't have to transfer anytime soon, but of course I was too chicken to come right out and ask. Do you all read the conversation the same way?

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#1979942 - 10/29/12 03:08 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1349
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201

To me, this sounds as though the kid won't have to transfer anytime soon, but of course I was too chicken to come right out and ask. Do you all read the conversation the same way?


I do. My advice is just to carry on with this teacher, and don't raise any transfer issues. Maybe they'll drift away from view for awhile, and your son and his teacher can get back to the business of bonding through music.

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#1990891 - 11/26/12 01:11 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Hello again, hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'm sorry to resurrect this thread, but my transfer question does not seem to have been altogether settled. At the end of my kiddo's lesson today, the teacher suggested we put together a recording of repertoire to send to a teacher she knows in NY (we live in CA). The next student had arrived so I was unable to ask her why. I'm rather confused as to what this may mean. Is the teacher still thinking of transferring my child to another teacher, and if so, she couldn't possibly be thinking of transferring a 5 year old to someone across the country, could she? Please reassure me by telling me there are lots of other reasons that make more sense.

Please also keep in mind that my kid has all of 10 lessons under his belt as of today. He is currently preparing for his second recital next week where he will be performing 4 pieces, but none that seem unusually advanced. How fast do kids typically progress when learning to play piano?

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#1990954 - 11/26/12 07:06 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
Am I the only one to find this whole thing strange?

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#1990981 - 11/26/12 09:03 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
You need to talk to the teacher and find out what they actually think. Is the tape just for interest, or with a view to transfer? It's not OK for a conversation like this to be curtailed - you need answers. Sometimes that means more than can happen between lessons.

Are you talking about California and New York? But they're opposite sides of the continent!

Surely if transfer is needed, there is a closer teacher?
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


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

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#1991037 - 11/26/12 11:16 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Cardinal201,
It sounds like your teacher is interested in consulting another teacher about your child and is therefore planning to send a recording.

Why don't you send your teacher an email and ask why she would like to send a recording to a teacher in NY.

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#1991038 - 11/26/12 11:19 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
The teacher specially recognized a few students as 5 Year National Piano Guild Members or 2012 International Piano Guild Members, but I really don't know what these designations mean.

Generally speaking, very few teachers have students who achieve the International level. That means they performed, at a level far above satisfactory, 15 pieces from memory. I personally work overtime to get one or two students per year into this category. It's difficult for both student and teacher. The same student, performing at the National level (10 pieces) will generally present a superior plus performance. About 60% of my Studio is National or higher; generally, as I say, 1 or 2 students make International.

It goes without saying that teachers who achieve this level with their students have a fairly good grasp of their students and their teaching. It doesn't mean that they are necessarily prepared to work with the super-gifted or very advanced student.

From what you've presented, we cannot make much more than some generalized guesses about the situation. I would let this teacher take the lead, but as you do need and should have, more understanding of what's happening and why, ask the teacher, at the end of this week's lesson, if next week, you could spend the first 10 - 15 minutes of the lesson discussing where your son is, his progress, what she foresees, advice, etc. This could clarify a lot of issues for you, it will give her time to prepare her thoughts, which is also important. Using lesson time will show her that you respect her time, which is a valuable commodity.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1991092 - 11/26/12 01:22 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5483
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Am I the only one to find this whole thing strange?

Same here.

Is the current teacher so out of touch with other piano teachers in the area? There are many, many excellent piano teachers in California. Why New York? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Are they going to Skype their lessons?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1991094 - 11/26/12 01:24 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
Am I the only one to find this whole thing strange?

Same here.

Is the current teacher so out of touch with other piano teachers in the area? There are many, many excellent piano teachers in California. Why New York? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Are they going to Skype their lessons?

The child is 5 years old, and the first time this query came, he had had only 4 lessons and the teacher was already talking about a transfer.

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#1991105 - 11/26/12 02:00 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Thank you so much for the quick replies! ten left thumbs, yes, I'm talking about California and New York. Ann in Kentucky, you may have hit on the most likely purpose for the recording--to facilitate consultation with another teacher. That makes a lot more sense than for transfer purposes, although it's still a bit confusing to me how my kiddo could be worthy even of consultation.

Unfortunately, the teacher does not utilize email so I cannot contact her that way, and I'm always hesitant to call because I know she has an extremely full teaching schedule. John v.d. Brook, I think you're right that the best course of action may be to request to set aside time during the actual lesson. I've been reluctant to do so in the past for two reasons: 1) the kid would complain :P, and 2), more importantly, I feel rather presumptuous assuming there is in fact anything to discuss. As I wrote previously, the kid doesn't seem to be particularly advanced. He's definitely not doing anything like you see in those YouTube videos of child piano prodigies. Perhaps the teacher's kind words have merely been for encouragement and inspiration, and are not to be taken so seriously?

My confusion and reluctance to make boastful and erroneous assumptions (doesn't every parent annoyingly want to think his or her child is "gifted"?) is why I continue to pepper this board with questions. Here, anonymity is definitely a good thing!

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#1991113 - 11/26/12 02:09 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
But you do have something to discuss:
  • "We are very happy with Junior's progress and your teaching."
  • "You mentioned transferring Junior to another teacher. What kind of timeframe are you thinking of, and what would the other teacher provide that you feel you can't provide?"
  • "What is the purpose for this video? What is the purpose for showing it to another teacher?"
  • "What is the best way to contact you and have conversations when we have questions?"

None of that involves any supposition on your part about Junior's talent.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1991404 - 11/27/12 09:48 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
A teacher gets out her telescope. "I think I can see Carnegie Hall in this kid's future!" Gives the telescope to a fellow teacher in New York to get a better view. "Can YOU see Carnegie Hall too?"

This spotting of Carnegie Hall is exciting, but not useful. The bottom line is that this 5 year old needs to paddle his boat through elementary music at this point. We can hope that he still has enthusiasm for music at age 10.

It is like trying to locate future NBA players by looking at 5 year old kids play basketball. There are unknowns that will matter a great deal. Which kid will grow 7 inches in one year remains to be seen.

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#1991455 - 11/27/12 11:50 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1349
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Ann, splendid post!

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#1991472 - 11/27/12 12:27 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Ann, splendid post!


Thanks Peter! My hope was that someone would appreciate it.
smile

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#1991520 - 11/27/12 02:09 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
PianoStudent88, I may just use your words verbatim, thank you!

Ann in Kentucky, thanks also for your wonderful analogy. A large part of my concern in the highly improbable, miniscule potential "spotting of Carnegie Hall" is that it might create undue pressure to the point my son no longer possesses the enthusiasm for playing that he currently has. His teacher had expressed the same desire to prevent burnout, which is why I was surprised to hear of her recent suggestion. But sending a recording for consultation purposes seems innocuous enough, I think.

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#1991632 - 11/27/12 06:09 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Overexposed]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
A teacher gets out her telescope. "I think I can see Carnegie Hall in this kid's future!" Gives the telescope to a fellow teacher in New York to get a better view. "Can YOU see Carnegie Hall too?"

This spotting of Carnegie Hall is exciting, but not useful. The bottom line is that this 5 year old needs to paddle his boat through elementary music at this point. We can hope that he still has enthusiasm for music at age 10.

Actually, having 3 such students at the moment, I find that it is most helpful. It is something to discuss with parents concerning goals for the student, how they feel about it, etc. We all encounter highly talented students, but not all are musically motivated.

Secondly, I enrich the student's curriculum considerably, broadening their musical experiences. Obviously, the student is going to cover the basics, but far more quickly than your more normal student.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1991844 - 11/28/12 07:52 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
A teacher gets out her telescope. "I think I can see Carnegie Hall in this kid's future!" Gives the telescope to a fellow teacher in New York to get a better view. "Can YOU see Carnegie Hall too?"

This spotting of Carnegie Hall is exciting, but not useful. The bottom line is that this 5 year old needs to paddle his boat through elementary music at this point. We can hope that he still has enthusiasm for music at age 10.

Actually, having 3 such students at the moment, I find that it is most helpful. It is something to discuss with parents concerning goals for the student, how they feel about it, etc. We all encounter highly talented students, but not all are musically motivated.

Secondly, I enrich the student's curriculum considerably, broadening their musical experiences. Obviously, the student is going to cover the basics, but far more quickly than your more normal student.


Point taken. However, this parent is talking about a 5 year old. From your posts I gather that you begin teaching kids at age 8. There is a lot more to analyze at age 8. All this analysis and enthusiasm over a 5 year old would be better spent in teaching kiddo to read music IMO.

OTOH, John, the right kind of analysis leads to a plan of action and a discussion with the parent. So far this teacher has only hinted at the child's talent, hinted that another teacher will soon be recommended, hinted that she is consulting another teacher. It has only served to generate excitement. No plan. All it really means is "Dang! I never seen a kid learn so quickly."


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (11/28/12 08:58 AM)

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#1991890 - 11/28/12 10:17 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Overexposed]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Point taken. However, this parent is talking about a 5 year old. From your posts I gather that you begin teaching kids at age 8. There is a lot more to analyze at age 8. All this analysis and enthusiasm over a 5 year old would be better spent in teaching kiddo to read music IMO.

OTOH, John, the right kind of analysis leads to a plan of action and a discussion with the parent. So far this teacher has only hinted at the child's talent, hinted that another teacher will soon be recommended, hinted that she is consulting another teacher. It has only served to generate excitement. No plan. All it really means is "Dang! I never seen a kid learn so quickly."

Actually, I do take, and have several students younger than 8. Currently I have both a 6 yr old and a 7 yr old. I have taken quite a few as young as 4.

What I see in the sketchy information provided by the OP is obviously different from what many others see. Short of being there in person, passing judgement on the teacher seems a stretch to me.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1991905 - 11/28/12 11:10 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1349
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I think the parent should direct the teacher to our thread.

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#1991906 - 11/28/12 11:17 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Short of being there in person, passing judgement on the teacher seems a stretch to me.


OK. Fair enough. It was a bit of a stretch on my part. A lot of unknowns.

But sending a video to New York was what seemed like overkill to me. As though there is no one locally who has experience teaching kids with this degree of talent. (Barf.)

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#1991915 - 11/28/12 11:42 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Overexposed]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Short of being there in person, passing judgement on the teacher seems a stretch to me.


OK. Fair enough. It was a bit of a stretch on my part. A lot of unknowns.

But sending a video to New York was what seemed like overkill to me. As though there is no one locally who has experience teaching kids with this degree of talent. (Barf.)

But we don't know who that friend is. Could be a teacher at Juilliard. That would be something, don't you think? We had a situation similar to that when I grew up. A slightly older student (no recordings in those days) was sent to Juilliard for evaluation. You may have heard of him. Thomas Schippers. BTW, the wiki article is fraught with factual errors. His dad worked in a meat market. There was no Westinghouse branch in Kalamazoo.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1991927 - 11/28/12 12:06 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

But we don't know who that friend is. Could be a teacher at Juilliard. That would be something, don't you think?


Yes, I think it would be very interesting to see what advice a piano professor at Juilliard would have.

I did read that Yo Yo Ma started learning Bach cello suites one measure at a time starting at age 5. Maybe the professor would have kiddo leap to intermediate literature. But I doubt that would happen until kiddo has mastered elementary literature.

I showed a local professor a recent studio recital photo. He said he wouldn't know what to do with beginners. "I don't keep up with that." In other words, a college professor may not spend any time getting familiar with current elementary teaching materials.

I would like to observe the kind of teacher who gets a 6 year old to perform Knight Rupert though. I'm curious as to how they accomplish it. I'm guessing that they are teaching the basics and adding in learning intermediate pieces by imitation, focused on one measure at a time. Or skipping reading and just focusing on the one measure at a time memorization.

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#1991929 - 11/28/12 12:10 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
I think the parent should direct the teacher to our thread.


That would be interesting! And it could answer questions that may arise. Yet hasn't it been enjoyable to savor the mystery of what is going on? smile


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (11/28/12 01:20 PM)

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#1992122 - 11/28/12 08:06 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Thank you all so much for your replies. As Ann writes, this whole situation is indeed a bit of a mystery, which is why I am grateful for the benefit of your various professional experiences and corresponding perspectives. Following John's advice to schedule a conference at the next lesson for the following one, that leaves another week and a half of speculation!

A follow-up question for any and all: Am I correct in thinking there are 3 main ways to play piano--by sight reading, by ear, and by imitation? Or does playing by ear go hand in hand with playing by imitation? My kid's sight reading is improving, but definitely lags behind his playing. At this point, I would say he primarily learns through imitation measure by measure as Ann guessed. As I assume most children do, he memorizes pieces very quickly, so we have to be sure to emphasize sight reading exercises or he just wouldn't do it at all.

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#1992144 - 11/28/12 08:53 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Nah, there are only two ways to play the piano - correctly or incorrectly.



Why did the teacher bang his head against the piano?

He was playing by ear!
_________________________
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#1992208 - 11/28/12 11:41 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Opus_Maximus Offline
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Something here is not adding up.

It's perfectly legitimate, (and even commendable), for a teacher to have an admission that the student is progressing (or will progress) past what his/her teaching skills will offer. But in this case, we know that it has only been four lessons, and we know that student has not shown particularly prodigious talents as of yet.
Even more strange - as John pointed out - is that any teacher who teaches at a level where she is able to produce and attract guild-level students simultaneously saying that a four year old will soon outgrow her...

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#1992222 - 11/29/12 12:12 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
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Posts: 100
Hi Opus_Maximus, I just wanted to clarify that my son, who is 5 years old, has now had 10 lessons (still not a lot, I know, but more than the 4 at the time of my original posting). Your point is still well-taken. However, I should probably also add that I may have underestimated his ability level somewhat, which I did not realize until another teacher on this forum gave me some helpful information via PM. Apparently, the kiddo is currently playing pieces that would typically be performed by the average student in his/her 3rd to 5th year. I know very little about piano grades or levels, so did not know this beforehand. I'm still not sure if him playing these pieces now really means anything, but thought I should mention it in the interest of providing as accurate information as possible.

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#1992239 - 11/29/12 01:24 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5483
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Nah, there are only two ways to play the piano - correctly or incorrectly.



Why did the teacher bang his head against the piano?

He was playing by ear!





Bravo!!! f
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#1992251 - 11/29/12 03:25 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
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Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201


A follow-up question for any and all: Am I correct in thinking there are 3 main ways to play piano--by sight reading, by ear, and by imitation? Or does playing by ear go hand in hand with playing by imitation? My kid's sight reading is improving, but definitely lags behind his playing. At this point, I would say he primarily learns through imitation measure by measure as Ann guessed. As I assume most children do, he memorizes pieces very quickly, so we have to be sure to emphasize sight reading exercises or he just wouldn't do it at all.


There are basically two things to learn: (1) how to play the piano and (2) how to read music. For most beginners, the process would be much easier if we just taught by imitation. It wouldn't be doing them any favours, however, because then they wouldn't be able to read.

As an aside, for the general public, any kind of playing without sheet music counts as 'playing by ear'. So playing from memory, playing from imitation, will be called 'playing by ear'. That drives me nuts!
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#1992392 - 11/29/12 12:01 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Overexposed Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
Apparently, the kiddo is currently playing pieces that would typically be performed by the average student in his/her 3rd to 5th year.


Now the picture is coming into focus!

In this situation it helps when a teacher is a member of a local professional teacher organization. You learn who is particularly successful with kids with special abilities. In my case, I know exactly who I would consult. She no longer accepts new students, but would likely agree to teach a lesson with a special kid and let me observe. And I'd take her advice from there as to whether to transfer the child to another teacher.

I have no experience in getting a young child to late intermediate literature. But I can take pride in knowing my own limits and knowing WHO to consult in special circumstances like this.

I recant! (Those who know me are aware that I use any opportunity for parody--no harm intended though.) I take back my criticism about Carnegie Hall spotting. But it is a bit of a hindrance not to have local contacts who are experienced in teaching special kids.

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#1992396 - 11/29/12 12:13 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
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What is the purpose of having a special teacher for these kids? Is it a purpose of grooming them toward a career as piano soloists starting at that young age? If so, are there down sides to this? Can there be different purposes?

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#1992423 - 11/29/12 01:30 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
What is the purpose of having a special teacher for these kids?

Just as we have specially trained teachers to teach students with learning disabilities, we need specially trained teachers to work with students gifted with uncommon learning abilities. Just as if you desire to teach athletics/sports to uncoordinated youth, you need a different approach than working with athletically gifted & coordinated students.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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#1992430 - 11/29/12 01:46 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5483
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Is it a purpose of grooming them toward a career as piano soloists starting at that young age?

In some countries, they spot talent when the kids are still 4 or 5. Then they pour in the training resources. It's tracking on steroids.

Think about the Olympic divers and gymnasts from certain countries. Kids there could spend 10-15 hours per day training.

Of course there's a downside to this. Kids grow up without friends, have poor social skills, and--in many cases--poor education because all their time is devoted to the sport in lieu of education.
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#1992431 - 11/29/12 01:48 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Overexposed Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: keystring
What is the purpose of having a special teacher for these kids?

Just as we have specially trained teachers to teach students with learning disabilities, we need specially trained teachers to work with students gifted with uncommon learning abilities. Just as if you desire to teach athletics/sports to uncoordinated youth, you need a different approach than working with athletically gifted & coordinated students.


+l

I have a reading based approach to music, but it is likely not the best approach for this 5 year old who seems ready for guidance in playing well beyond his reading ability. So I would feel better consulting someone who has experience with this type of gifted child.

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#1992914 - 11/30/12 04:56 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: AZNpiano]
The Monkeys Offline
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Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 426
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
Is it a purpose of grooming them toward a career as piano soloists starting at that young age?

In some countries, they spot talent when the kids are still 4 or 5. Then they pour in the training resources. It's tracking on steroids.

Think about the Olympic divers and gymnasts from certain countries. Kids there could spend 10-15 hours per day training.

Of course there's a downside to this. Kids grow up without friends, have poor social skills, and--in many cases--poor education because all their time is devoted to the sport in lieu of education.


That is the extreme, don't need to go that far.

However, we all only have so many hours in our day, if one is going to be excel at one thing, most likely it would be at the sacrifice of many other things. Yes, that may includes social life and friendships. Albert Einstein was not known by having a good social life.

We have enough well rounded people that not particularly good at anything. If a kids shown talent and interest on something, like music, I would say it is not a bad idea to develop the talent at (the reasonable) expense of other aspect of the development.

Yes, the piano kid may not be good at literature, or may never learn chemistry 101. So what, we are not lack of people good at those things anyways.

What I am saying is that while we don't want to go to the extreme, we don't need to stuck at "well balanced" either, for the kids already shown particular talent.

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#1993365 - 12/01/12 07:16 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
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Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
So, the kiddo had his second recital today, and I must be starting to drink the Kool-Aid because he did seem to stick out a little among the other students. In the past 2 months, of course I noticed my son's repertoire was increasing in difficulty, but in my defense, isn't that what's supposed to happen when you take lessons in anything? I didn't know the pace was atypical. At the post-recital reception, however, I fielded a litany of questions along the lines of "How old is he? He's not really 5, is he? When is his birthday exactly?" and "How long has he been playing? No, I mean altogether, not just with this teacher? He hasn't really been playing for 2 months, has he?", so I'm starting to get it (also with a lot of help from this forum, thank you again!).

This thread has recently taken a turn into topics for which I am definitely not ready. I now am able to concede that my son may possess some natural talent at piano and at the very least is progressing faster than the norm, but I don't know what, if anything, to do with that information at this point. The kid had a great time playing at the recital (I'm also starting to realize he quite enjoys performing for an audience), so we'll just go from there and make sure to set that conference time with the teacher. Next lesson is tomorrow!

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#1993525 - 12/02/12 05:29 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
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Loc: Scotland
You just got to take it as it comes. There are worse things to cope with as a parent. wink
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I am a competent teacher.


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#1994832 - 12/05/12 01:34 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
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Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Update: I spoke with my son's teacher at his lesson two days ago. I had planned to request a conference for next week, but the teacher serendipitously initiated the conversation so I just went with it. Bottom-line, she believes the kiddo truly has potential, and feels strongly that he needs to transfer in order to maximize his continuing development. She wants him to play at a festival next month, where she would like us to meet the teacher she has in mind, someone she regards as the area's best in working with talented children. The previously mentioned recording would only be for consultation purposes at this stage, although she does envision the kid one day studying with this other teacher in New York should he continue on the path.

Even though this thread had prepared me for the possibility of what the teacher was going to say, it was still weird hearing it confirmed. I didn't really know how to respond, other than "Ok, you've given us a lot to think about". Help, please? What exactly should I be thinking about? What questions should I be asking, whether of the teacher(s), my husband and myself, and/or our child?

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#1994839 - 12/05/12 01:59 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
MaggieGirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 481
Why not relax and let him play in the festival and see what happens?

From a parent point of view - when a child excels in something I would consider: cost (teaching, supplies, comps, festivals, camps, equipment), time (investment of the child and parent including travel), other children in the household, the relationship with your spouse, and other activities your child enjoys.

But really - until the next step happens there isn't anything to worry about aside whether your child is happy, healthy, and enjoying himself.

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#1994849 - 12/05/12 03:22 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
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Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201


Even though this thread had prepared me for the possibility of what the teacher was going to say, it was still weird hearing it confirmed. I didn't really know how to respond, other than "Ok, you've given us a lot to think about". Help, please? What exactly should I be thinking about? What questions should I be asking, whether of the teacher(s), my husband and myself, and/or our child?


Don't panic. All is well, your child is learning and happy. If your current teacher does recommend transfer, you can interview both the recommended teacher, and your current one. Get a feel for how they teach.

Right now you need to ask yourself, as a parent (and your partner if you have one) - how far do you want to go with this? Are you prepared for supporting an hour a day (or more) practice? Will other opportunities for your child be missed? And do you need to decide right now, or can you wait a couple of years?
_________________________
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#1994858 - 12/05/12 03:41 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
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The child is 5 years old. The child is a child.

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#1994939 - 12/05/12 09:28 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Minniemay Offline
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You won't know anything until you interview with the other teacher. It's entirely possible their personalities won't be a good match. I would want to know if this teacher has experience working with children this young. A 5 yr old can easily be overwhelmed by a demanding teacher or too much rigor, even if they are gifted. It's a fine balance.

You don't want to undercut his potential, but you don't want to kill the fire, either.
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#1994991 - 12/05/12 11:20 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Minniemay]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Lest we forget, Mozart was an accomplished player and had six compositions to his credit - before his 6th birthday. Some folks are made of sterner stuff, and it shows early on. The OP shouldn't jump to any conclusions, but should ask lots of questions and seek clarification.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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#1994998 - 12/05/12 11:36 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
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What I find heartening and healthy is that the OP is seeing her child as a child, and concerned about his well being - not being carried off by ambition. At this age a child must be well-rounded, exposed to many things, growing in many directions. A parent's support and connection with the whole child are a very important thing.

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#1996332 - 12/08/12 09:56 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: keystring]
personne Offline
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Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 123
Loc: Toronto, Canada
If the child is so interested in piano and progresses well, let his potential unwind. IMHO. If he wants to play, give him a better teacher. I do not see harm in following what he really likes, even if he is so young.
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#1998951 - 12/13/12 01:04 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
kaismom Offline
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Registered: 08/19/11
Posts: 31
Loc: Seattle, WA
I have read this post with interest as a mother, not as a piano teacher. I am an intermediate adult player returning to piano. I have two kids that dropped out of piano and have moved onto other instruments. So we do not have prodigious talent in my family.

I think you need to have an open and frank conversation with the music teacher and let your teacher know what your hopes, dreams, fears and difficulties are for your child are. Let your teacher tell you what his/her hopes, dreams and fears are for your child is. They should be aligned.

In addition, try to find adults who were extremely talented piano players at a young age. Talk to them. Ask them to share with you about their own experiences. Learn from their experiences. What did they (their parents) do right? What would they have done differently? What worked for them. What did not? Other places to visit are local piano competitions for young kids. Go there without your child. Talk to the teachers, parents and children at these venues. Get a feel for what your child's life will be like as a 12 yo, 15 yo. There is a culture of piano performance. As a mother, you need to investigate that world a little before you throw your child into it.

Piano is one aspect of music, namely performance. The world of music is much more than that. Your child probably has gift for music (or aural gift/talent). Music is special because being able to play exceptionally well at this age gives them a tremendous kudos for children and can be a huge motivator or positive reinforcement. As we know as parents, carrots better than sticks. (A kid that can read adult books at age 5 does not get the same kind of kudos... I know because that was my child.) The kudos only goes so far; the kids are expected to continually improve. The world of performance piano is competitive (especially for a child) and one will be competing with others with as much talent but with perhaps more drive, ambition, perseverance, grit, right access etc. Unless your child has all of the above, he will not make a career as a soloist. One of my work partner (I am a doctor) played at the Carnegie Hall as a teenager. He is a doctor now. I have another colleague that went to a conservatory to study piano performance as an undergrad then went onto med school. They are the drop outs from piano performance world. Medical school is dotted with musical drop outs FWIW. I know a CEO of a company that study piano performance in college. I am sure you know of many in your life. Music is a great foundation to teach someone how to set goals and work hard for them. That is a wonderful skill that translates to everything else in life.

There is a receptionist at work who is a composer. She went to a music school. She often has short commissioned pieces. Clearly, she loves music and is trying to make a living with music but is not able to do it full time. She is still very much in the world of music even though she is not making much money. She is quite happy with her music. She would not have it any other way. Where as my doctor friends that dropped out of music are very happy to have dropped out... Either way, they do not 'regret' the gift of music.

What I am trying to say is that musical talent alone is not enough to determine one's future. There is so much more than that. You probably know that.

What you need to do is to raise a child and continue to hone and nurture that innate talent. He may end up using that talent to be a composer, piano tuner, professor at a music school, piano teacher, band director, sound engineer, instrument designer (you think Stradivarius did not have wonderful gift of sound) etc etc. The world of music (sound) is big and varied. Don't limit him just to piano performance. Explore and engage with all aspects of music.

As he matures, he will let you know if he has the extras that he needs to be able to take that talent further to a career in music. When the stars are aligned, everything will point to one thing; his wanting to pursue music. There will be no way to turn him away from it. So be patient and listen and pay attention. It is too soon to close other doors to him whatever they maybe.

As my father in law (a world famous physicist) says, these are 'lucky problems' to have in life. A world famous physicist means that there are only about 1000 people in the world that knows what he is talking about....

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#1998973 - 12/13/12 01:48 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Teenagepiano Offline
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Registered: 11/04/12
Posts: 28
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
Hi Opus_Maximus, I just wanted to clarify that my son, who is 5 years old, has now had 10 lessons (still not a lot, I know, but more than the 4 at the time of my original posting). Your point is still well-taken. However, I should probably also add that I may have underestimated his ability level somewhat, which I did not realize until another teacher on this forum gave me some helpful information via PM. Apparently, the kiddo is currently playing pieces that would typically be performed by the average student in his/her 3rd to 5th year. I know very little about piano grades or levels, so did not know this beforehand. I'm still not sure if him playing these pieces now really means anything, but thought I should mention it in the interest of providing as accurate information as possible.


What pieces is he playing? Also, as others have said, if this teacher is capable of teaching students to international level, then grade 3-5 pieces shouldn't be a problem. In addition to this, is he sight-reading the music while playing, reading the music properly and then playing or simply playing by imitation? Because if I learnt everything by imitation I would've finished many pieces by now at a much higher standard that I actually am at.

Transferring a student after even 10 lessons seems very strange to me.

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#2001474 - 12/18/12 11:58 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
It's been a busy two weeks since my last post, but I wanted to make sure I thanked everyone for their input. As many of you suggested, my husband and I have been asking lots of questions, of our son's current teacher but even more of ourselves, while deferring any decision about transferring until the festival next month where we will meet the other teacher as well as other children and families in perhaps similar shoes.

In the meantime, the kiddo continues his love affair. He loves learning new pieces but is equally excited revisiting old ones, practicing scales and other exercises, even working on theory. Right now, he happily averages about an hour on the piano per day (anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes) playing what his teacher has assigned and then some more just noodling around. Since kindergarten is only half day in our district, he still has plenty of time for schoolwork and other extracurricular activities, at least for this year.

kaismom, I particularly appreciated your insight as a parent. My husband and I definitely want to open as many doors as possible for our little guy and then take a wait-and-see approach--I think you're right that ultimately he'll let us know which door he wants to go through...

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#2001483 - 12/19/12 12:23 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Thanks for letting us know. smile
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www.babysinging.co.uk

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#2023149 - 01/28/13 11:49 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
For anyone still following along, the festival went great (details in my other thread)! We were unable to meet the potential new teacher there as she could not attend my son's particular recital grouping and we could not stay for the others. As all of you already know, though, we're not in a hurry to transfer. The kiddo is so very happy with his current teacher, who has committed to at least take him through Guild Auditions in May/June. She does want him to take a couple master classes, including one over Skype with a woman named Edna Golandsky, who is the teacher in NY (or was it NJ?) she had mentioned previously and who I gather is of some renown. That, however, would likely mean I need to acquiesce to making a recording of the kid to send to her first, which I haven't yet (mostly because I'm still having a hard time believing that a child with only a few months of playing under his belt could possibly warrant such attention, and I'd feel foolish wasting anyone's time)...

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#2023352 - 01/29/13 09:41 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Personally, I don't think a video can tell someone much. There needs to be live interaction. And yes, Edna Golandsky is quite well-known. I saw her do a fabulous masterclass at our state convention last July. I'm not sure that she works with young children, however. I could be wrong.
_________________________
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#2024595 - 01/31/13 11:31 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
anamnesis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/11
Posts: 42
Loc: Alabama
One question that needs to be asked that should explain everything:
Is you child's teacher a Taubman teacher/trained by the Golandsky Institute?

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#2025435 - 02/01/13 04:35 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Hi anamnesis, my kiddo's teacher did study under Edna Golandsky, but I don't believe she is an official Taubman/Golandsky Institute certified instructor. I'm not sure what that would explain?

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#2025442 - 02/01/13 04:41 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Minniemay]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1349
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I'm not sure that she works with young children, however.


Maybe she "works over" young children. I heard her give a class once, and she seemed scary to me.


Edited by Peter K. Mose (02/01/13 04:42 PM)

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