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#2065564 - 04/16/13 01:20 PM Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive?
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1717
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I wonder about this because my course of study with my teacher -- who is great -- is neither very structured nor formally progressive.

At the outset, let me observe that I'm a 60-year old adult beginner on piano. I have no plans or goals of ever playing professionally, but I would like to learn as much as I can as fast as I can, and I work at the piano diligently. I find that the rewards of each two steps forward vastly outweigh the frustrations of the occasional step back. (It helps a little that I have previously mastered another instrument, though the technical skills aren't in the least transferable.)

When I first started on one-hour weekly lessons about a year and a half ago, we began in the Alfred's Adult method, but we got away from that within a couple of weeks and haven't looked back. Since then we have used no method book at all.

Instead, we have worked on a "course" consisting of a series of solo piano pieces (some suggested by my teacher, most by me) that began with relatively short and easy works and has gradually grown to include longer and more difficult compositions. Thrown in along the way were a few Czerny etudes cherry-picked from Opus 599, scale practice, and not enough theory to do any lasting harm.

My sense -- and my teacher's belief -- is that this gradual progression from easier pieces to harder pieces is taking me in the same direction that a course of study involving a formally structured and progressive method might lead.

I suspect that the pluses primarily involve more direct engagement with "real music" than I'd get if I worked more on, say, Hanon (which my teacher refuses to let me do: she's not a Hanon fan). I suspect that the minuses include bypassing pedagogical milestones that it would be helpful to study formally in some sort of logical order (rather than waiting until I encounter them in compositions).

Which way does your relationship with your teacher work?

Is your course of study structured, progressive, and heavily method-oriented?

Is it more informal and piece-driven?

Or something in between?
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2065577 - 04/16/13 01:44 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
Not really. There are a few more structured elements - such as we're gradually working through Czerny studies "in order" (though not each piece in a book.) And technique gradually progresses.

But for pieces, we are usually looking to "fill in holes" (my teacher) / wonderful pieces I've always wanted to play (me). And whatever problems we find, that's where we go. Some other things are again more structured with that. For instance, we're on the second of probably three or four Bach inventions before I tackle any of the suites. And I'll do one or more sonatinas (or simple sonatas that are probably better described as sonatinas) before we tackle any sonatas.
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#2065582 - 04/16/13 02:03 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
albynism Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 321
I think this is pretty normal. when you start out many teachers use a method book like Alfred which is probably what you are used to. I started out using Alfred and John Thompson too but once I finished book 2 my teacher told me not to get the next book and instead assigned me real pieces. It takes a while to get used to because I was used to the progressive page by page approach. What might help is a diary, my teacher gets all her students to carry a diary every lesson to write down what they need to work on for next week, that gives them a goal to work towards and make things a bit more structured.

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#2065651 - 04/16/13 05:38 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
Happy Birthday earlofmar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1408
Loc: Australia
It's a great question and one I have been thinking about since beginning lessons two months ago. I told my teacher I didn't want to do exams which meant I probably put her out of her comfort zone. In lieu of exam pieces she presents me with pieces she thinks I might like. I showed her the Alfred's book 2 which she then bought but we don't work on it in sequence, just cherry pick. She is very supportive of things when I talk about Hanon or Microkosmos, but I do those outside of the lesson structure, I think I am her only "driven" student. I don’t think she might be the best teacher in the world but we get on well and for now she is probably just right.

My opinion is our increasing ability sets the progression pace and as adults (you can tell I am a control freak) it is up to us to set the direction as much as the teacher. After all, the teacher is only a guide helping us find our musical spirit.

Add to this the thought; progression seems to imply a pre-defined forward progress to a known goal. As individuals our goals may still not be clear and most definitely cannot be reached by a “one fits all” pre-determined course. For now I accept the best and speediest method it to build on a good foundation of both theory and practical one day at a time.


Edited by earlofmar (04/16/13 05:39 PM)
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#2065655 - 04/16/13 05:45 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: earlofmar]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1717
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: earlofmar
It's a great question and one I have been thinking about since beginning lessons two months ago. I told my teacher I didn't want to do exams which meant I probably put her out of her comfort zone. In lieu of exam pieces she presents me with pieces she thinks I might like. I showed her the Alfred's book 2 which she then bought but we don't work on it in sequence, just cherry pick. She is very supportive of things when I talk about Hanon or Microkosmos, but I do those outside of the lesson structure, I think I am her only "driven" student. I don’t think she might be the best teacher in the world but we get on well and for now she is probably just right.

My opinion is our increasing ability sets the progression pace and as adults (you can tell I am a control freak) it is up to us to set the direction as much as the teacher. After all, the teacher is only a guide helping us find our musical spirit.

Add to this the thought; progression seems to imply a pre-defined forward progress to a known goal. As individuals our goals may still not be clear and most definitely cannot be reached by a “one fits all” pre-determined course. For now I accept the best and speediest method it to build on a good foundation of both theory and practical one day at a time.


Great thoughts, Earl, thanks.

A former string teacher of mine -- the section principal with a major US orchestra -- once told me that no one *teaches* you to play a musical instrument. You teach yourself, with some guidance and tips from others who have already climbed the mountain you're trying to climb.

I think that's exactly right.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2065656 - 04/16/13 05:46 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 529
Loc: Finland
Mine is just like yours, not much structure, but that's best for me anyway, because I don't do well with sequental learning. But I did have a method book on my first lesson and it was her idea to ditch it and give me individual studies instead...

My teacher also picks pieces to "fill the holes" while I pick pieces I want to learn to play. MY picks tend to get the preference, and I seldom really complete the ones from her smile

Every now and then the teacher picks an easy study to work on my physical issues. But too much of those gets me both physically and mentally exhausted, so we don't work on them all the time.

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#2065666 - 04/16/13 06:14 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: outo]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1717
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: outo
Mine is just like yours, not much structure, but that's best for me anyway, because I don't do well with sequental learning. But I did have a method book on my first lesson and it was her idea to ditch it and give me individual studies instead...

My teacher also picks pieces to "fill the holes" while I pick pieces I want to learn to play. MY picks tend to get the preference, and I seldom really complete the ones from her smile

Every now and then the teacher picks an easy study to work on my physical issues. But too much of those gets me both physically and mentally exhausted, so we don't work on them all the time.


The way I'd put it regarding my studies -- and not just in music -- is that I work really hard on the things that interest me. Not so much on things I don't find interesting.

It shows, of course...
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2065755 - 04/16/13 10:47 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
zillybug Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/11
Posts: 125
Loc: USA
I restarted again at 65 a little over 2 years ago after more than 35 years of not playing at all. I guess my lessons are a combination. We do scales, arpeggios and Czerny in the beginning. I am working on my 3rd Bach Invention at my request. I have also worked on some sonatinas hoping to get to sonatas in the future. My teacher will sometimes suggest a piece but mostly I choose pieces that I like, usually from the romantic period. I have done a couple of Chopin waltzes, a Chopin Polonaise, some Brahms waltzes, a couple of the Mendelssohn Songs without Words and Berceuse by Illinsky. Last summer we went through a college Freshman theory book, again at my request.
Zillybug

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#2065774 - 04/16/13 11:38 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 529
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib

The way I'd put it regarding my studies -- and not just in music -- is that I work really hard on the things that interest me. Not so much on things I don't find interesting.

It shows, of course...


Maybe it's a personality trait, I have been like that as long as I can remember, even as a young child...

But at least I have managed to achieve some discipline in my piano learning...or maybe I simply have learned strategies to fool myself into doing things that don't interest me. But only in small doses, otherwise I loose my motivation to practice.

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#2065779 - 04/17/13 12:01 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 740
Public school warps our view as to what teaching is about.

In public school, you get many hours of instruction with a formal lesson plan. There's a curriculum that teachers teach in a group environment. The excellent students are bored; the weaker students struggle to keep up. Everyone gets tested.

In private music instruction, assuming you don't have a live-in tutor, you get an hour or so a week with a teacher. This means *you* are in charge of your learning. Your teacher is a guide.

Some teachers will prescribe a regimen; others won't. But ultimately you have to decide whether your teacher is contributing to your personal growth.

I'm an experienced (but far FAR from expert) pianist. This leads to very strange experiences on this forum. "How do I learn to sight read?" "Um. I dunno. You just keep trying?" "How do I deal with performance jitters?" "Well, they're terrible for me and I still struggle, but here's what I try..." The problem is that some of this stuff that my teachers showed me as a kid, I internalized as a kid... without much reflection. So I don't have the perspective to say, "Here's what this is about," because who knows what crept into my brain when I wasn't paying attention. (And who knows, if I'd had different teachers or been a better student, whether I'd be much more accomplished than I am now.)

So with all that above as context, my lessons are not very structured. I've worked with my teacher for the past couple years, on a very narrow musical style. A stochastic process seems to decide what piece I end up working on. I work on it for a week or so and then go perform it. My teacher listens carefully. I generally botch it. My teacher, out of my performance and the printed sheet, identifies interpretive elements that I completely miss and asks me to bring out certain aspects of the play. I try to reproduce what he's asking for during the lessons. He'll show me some stuff some times. I'll work on it for a few weeks until he's communicated the points that he wants to make. He'll occasionally assume I've got more musical background than I do and lay some jargon on me. (My teachers as a kid were usually the church pianist; my teacher, in addition to being a church pianist, is a professional musician, has a degree in pedagogy, and a performance masters from a very respected music school.)

So, in my case, it's not a curriculum. It's having a guide. As an adult, I'm finally taking responsibility for my own learning in a way that I never understood that I should as a child. I dunno if my childhood teachers were dishing something I wasn't ready to consume or if I wasn't well-served by them. But at least I'm progressing now, because I'm finally listening and because I found the right teacher for me.
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Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2065842 - 04/17/13 03:18 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
A former string teacher of mine -- the section principal with a major US orchestra -- once told me that no one *teaches* you to play a musical instrument. You teach yourself, with some guidance and tips from others who have already climbed the mountain you're trying to climb.

I think that's exactly right.


You may benefit from a book my teacher also just recommended I read as an adult that's very curious on the learning process as well as the teaching process from the teacher's perspective as teaching is a goal of mine down the road. He quoted a favorite line in describing the book that the teacher in it said unto his student (I'm paraphrasing): "I cannot teach you. You may be wondering why, then, you're my music student, I'm your teacher, and we're both here today. The reason I cannot teach you is because it is you who must ultimately teach yourself. What I can do is help to guide you and provide you with advice and my experience, but were I able to teach you, then you and all the rest of my students would all come out one and the same."

The book is The Music Lesson: Spiritual Search For Growth Through Music by what many say is the world's best living bass virtuoso, Victor Wooten. I'll be happy to share more after I've received and read the book myself!

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#2065874 - 04/17/13 06:53 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: Bobpickle]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1717
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
A former string teacher of mine -- the section principal with a major US orchestra -- once told me that no one *teaches* you to play a musical instrument. You teach yourself, with some guidance and tips from others who have already climbed the mountain you're trying to climb.

I think that's exactly right.


You may benefit from a book my teacher also just recommended I read as an adult that's very curious on the learning process as well as the teaching process from the teacher's perspective as teaching is a goal of mine down the road. He quoted a favorite line in describing the book that the teacher in it said unto his student (I'm paraphrasing): "I cannot teach you. You may be wondering why, then, you're my music student, I'm your teacher, and we're both here today. The reason I cannot teach you is because it is you who must ultimately teach yourself. What I can do is help to guide you and provide you with advice and my experience, but were I able to teach you, then you and all the rest of my students would all come out one and the same."

The book is The Music Lesson: Spiritual Search For Growth Through Music by what many say is the world's best living bass virtuoso, Victor Wooten. I'll be happy to share more after I've received and read the book myself!


Vic Wooten is certainly the best electric bass player I've ever encountered. He's amazing.

If that's what you mean by "best living bass virtuoso," you'll get no argument from me.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2065877 - 04/17/13 07:08 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: Bobpickle]
heathermphotog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/12
Posts: 90
Loc: Georgia
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle


You may benefit from a book my teacher also just recommended I read as an adult that's very curious on the learning process as well as the teaching process from the teacher's perspective as teaching is a goal of mine down the road. He quoted a favorite line in describing the book that the teacher in it said unto his student (I'm paraphrasing): "I cannot teach you. You may be wondering why, then, you're my music student, I'm your teacher, and we're both here today. The reason I cannot teach you is because it is you who must ultimately teach yourself. What I can do is help to guide you and provide you with advice and my experience, but were I able to teach you, then you and all the rest of my students would all come out one and the same."

The book is The Music Lesson: Spiritual Search For Growth Through Music by what many say is the world's best living bass virtuoso, Victor Wooten. I'll be happy to share more after I've received and read the book myself!


I love this quote. Sounds like good book smile
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“When you play, never mind who listens to you.” ― Robert Schumann
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#2067630 - 04/20/13 02:22 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
KBS1607 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 60
Loc: Illinois
I love this topic and reading all the responses. I have been thinking about my 'journey' through piano maybe because of hanging out here.

I started piano years ago but wasn't willing to put anything into it outside of my lessons. I didn't practice much and when I did practice I did it wrong. (Intending to play it correctly in my lesson) I think you all can figure out how much I progressed. It took me years to finish Alfred 1 and we started Alfred 2 in 2010. We are not structured but I can tell I am making progress.

I sound like a spoiled brat but gradually came to the realization that it is a privilege to take lessons with a teacher I like and a privilege to have a piano and the time to learn. I was a little dismayed to find out how much work it is. But like the saying says, if it were easy, everyone would play piano.
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Alfred Adult Level One graduated 2010
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#2067648 - 04/20/13 02:56 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: KBS1607]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 646
Loc: NH
As a kid, my piano teacher tried to guide me through a somewhat structured program. I remember we used the John Thompson books. I also remember lots of "half-hearted" practice sessions. Sessions more concerned with climbing the basement stairs to advance the timer on the oven and shorten my practice than anything else!! I honestly believe that I had talent that wasn't directed properly. Same for my sister too. We've both come the conclusion we had lousy instruction. At least it didn't seem to be what each of us needed to motivate and push us forward.

As an adult, I am better at practicing. At least in spending time at the piano. I probably could practice better. I only started last year with the teacher I have now. I played for her some of what I had been playing on my own at first. We polished those pieces and then moved on to more in the same books. We tend to stick with a composer and learn three pieces by that composer in a particular genre before moving on. Recently, I discovered the Hanon exercises through PW and brought them up to my teacher. She was thrilled that I was interested. I don't know how much technical method we will go over in my lessons. Haven't had a lesson since starting this basic technique and theory. Bottom line is that I want to learn the music I hear the great performers playing. I have a long way to go. But that's my goal. I wouldn't say we have a structured program underway. But it's definitely progressive because I am making progress. It's not about trying to minimize my practice time anymore but trying to find more time to practce. It's hard as an adult with more outside responsibilities. It's always a challenge to balance all I want to do with ongoing fatigue.
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#2067739 - 04/20/13 06:36 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: dynamobt]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I have a wonderful teacher. I started piano 5 years ago and I can honestly say I have had very structured lessons. It has got me to where I am today which is doing Grade 4. I am not a natural pianist so I have to work really hard to achieve things but the fact that I am on Grade 4 shows that not only do I have a good teacher, but I am a determined pupil. I started at the age of 44 knowing absolutely nothing about piano or music so by the time I retire, I will hopefully be a pretty good pianist as I will have had 20 years experience of playing. Someone asked me the other day why I never took up the piano years ago when I was in my 20s or even 30s and I could not answer. I honestly have no idea why. I have always liked listening to pianists and trying to tinker about with two fingers making tunes, but it wasn't until 5 years ago that I decided it was now or never so I enrolled in a music school, bought myself a piano and well, the rest is history.

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#2067764 - 04/20/13 07:30 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
ElleC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 248
Loc: NJ, USA
my piano teacher started me out in a structured lesson which lasted about 2 weeks being that I was able to play for her minuet 116 from Anna Magdalena's Notebook that I was working on on my own and decided to play for her when she asked me if I have songs I want to learn how to play. So she bought back my John Thompson's adult beginner book and told me we are just picking songs and learning techniques as we go. So now she picks songs from different classical pianists (and I also pick ones I like) and I honestly find it more enjoyable learning this way.
_________________________
Adult beginner since January 2013. My only regret is that I didn't learn sooner.

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#2072456 - 04/27/13 10:02 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 80
My piano teacher started me with Alfred's. I say this as if I've been playing for years instead of practicing for only 26 days. However, I specifically asked her about goals about two lessons ago, and she commented that I was doing well so far, but it would be a bit more time for her to assess where I will go based on when the "floodgates open"...she said something similar to that phrase. She also mentioned that after Alfred's, we wouldn't continue with Book 2 or 3, but just move on.

She spends about 60 seconds teaching me a new theory, gives me a few items to learn that's not in the book, and then pages to practice in the book. Sometimes it's a few pages, other times it's 10. Depending on the day I get maybe a few new theories, or elements. Right now I'm practicing "Jingle Bells, but she wants me to have up to "Largo" practiced by the next time we see each other.

I feel both the structure and progressiveness.

I'm almost mid-30s, and I'm very glad I didn't waste another day starting piano. I've wanted to play since I was a kid. I want all the great equipment. I want to play excellent classical music and contemporary greats, and cute melodies from childhood...all that.

I also want to add that I realized I'm not so intent on getting these practices in due to the money I'm paying my teacher, but rather the motivation of not wanting to waste her time when I arrive every week. I want to do exactly what she says, maybe more if I can, so I can get to where I'm supposed to be on time (whenever that may be).

Hope I make sense. I'm still new to all of this. That all said, is "Largo" after one month okay? I know, I know...everyone is different, but once again, I'm very new to all of this.
_________________________
Hobby 1: Photography. Bucket List 1: Learning Piano

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#2072474 - 04/27/13 10:27 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: JazzyMac]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 740
Jazzymac,

I'm glad you didn't wait a day past thirty either!

Your questions to your teacher are very standard for adults (and your teacher sounds seasoned in fielding them smile

There's this fantasy that if we just do everything right that it is just a matter of a short time to dazzle folks with pianistic witty brilliance.

But what you've gotten yourself into is an exercise akin to swimming in molasses. Sweet, sweet molasses. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the sounds you're making, and don't stress too much. Your hands will feel really clumsy and your head will hurt and you'll have great days and not so great days. That never changes. So enjoy the ride!
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2072644 - 04/28/13 06:00 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: JazzyMac]
Happy Birthday earlofmar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1408
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: JazzyMac



Hope I make sense. I'm still new to all of this. That all said, is "Largo" after one month okay? I know, I know...everyone is different, but once again, I'm very new to all of this.




Whizbang is correct but it your up to Largo already your doing quite well. From other threads Alfred's book 1 take some people up to a year or longer to complete (some less so of course).
Now I am still much of a beginner, so anything I write is useless but I often equate piano to sport, you have to put in a solid foundation (theory and technique) in the early days before you can see results when you take it to the next level.

I think a good teacher will push quite hard and I don't think that is a bad thing, (back to sport) ultimately the greatest reward is seeing how far you can push yourself. We humans are capable of the most extraordinary things if we just put our minds to it.

PS Love to hear more of your journey so keep posting.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXIV-5-XXX

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#2072655 - 04/28/13 07:02 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: earlofmar]
JazzyMac Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 80
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
Jazzymac,

I'm glad you didn't wait a day past thirty either!

Your questions to your teacher are very standard for adults (and your teacher sounds seasoned in fielding them smile

There's this fantasy that if we just do everything right that it is just a matter of a short time to dazzle folks with pianistic witty brilliance.

But what you've gotten yourself into is an exercise akin to swimming in molasses. Sweet, sweet molasses. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the sounds you're making, and don't stress too much. Your hands will feel really clumsy and your head will hurt and you'll have great days and not so great days. That never changes. So enjoy the ride!


Originally Posted By: earlofmar


PS Love to hear more of your journey so keep posting.


Oh, I'm 34...I said "almost mid-30s", as in, not quite "mid" yet. smile

Thanks from the both of you. I'm loving all of this so far.
_________________________
Hobby 1: Photography. Bucket List 1: Learning Piano

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#2072692 - 04/28/13 08:54 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: Bobpickle]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 400
Loc: Montreal Canada
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle

The book is The Music Lesson: Spiritual Search For Growth Through Music by what many say is the world's best living bass virtuoso, Victor Wooten. I'll be happy to share more after I've received and read the book myself!


That was one of the first books I read when I started on my musical journey smile And I found it "by accident" while looking for something else. From an energy and a spiritual point of view, the "accident" was probably meant to happen. I think after 3 years I should read it again!

John
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#2076417 - 05/03/13 03:58 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: John_In_Montreal]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: John_In_Montreal
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle

The book is The Music Lesson: Spiritual Search For Growth Through Music by what many say is the world's best living bass virtuoso, Victor Wooten. I'll be happy to share more after I've received and read the book myself!


That was one of the first books I read when I started on my musical journey smile And I found it "by accident" while looking for something else. From an energy and a spiritual point of view, the "accident" was probably meant to happen. I think after 3 years I should read it again!

John


Yeah it truly is a fantastic read. While it could certainly be interesting to the classical student, I think it really best hits home with non-classical musicians (probably why my piano teacher loves it so much) and students struggling to learn - or improve at - non-classical improvisation. I'm taking it slow because I don't want to miss a word he has to say it's all so great; and it's scary how dead-on everything is he discusses. I highly recommend it.

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#2076604 - 05/03/13 11:28 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1906
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Bob, I recently found out Mr. Fitch (in your sig space) and my teacher went to School together (Peabody). I showed my teacher Mr. Fitch's article from the Pianist magazine. She screamed. I know this guy, he was in the same studo, here's his picture (30+years ago) in our dorm lounge, etc. He was there on a prestigeous scholarship (Fullbright?). Small world, isn't it?

My teacher uses very un-orsodox methodology I have ever seen but it works. I had 4 teachers.
Teacher #1 - My childhood lessons were very structured. Hannon, Czerney, Beyers method books l ll & lll. Scales and later Arpeggio after my fingers were grown. I did not enjoy it. Mostly classical pieces. Lots of Clemmenti and so on. I was so happy to finally see Fur Elise and Rain Drop. But I had to wait 6 years to touch those pieces. I don't recommend this type of study to kids or adults. I'm gratefull for the basuc trsining and training me but it was not fun.
Teacher #2 - I came back to piano after 10+ years of hietus. She made the lesson fun and remains to be my friend to this day. Retrospectively, she was a teacher who belong to structured school. She spent lots of time on scales, arpeggio and technique book (pishuna?). I had to do 8 Bach inventions and 1 symphonia. Was a good experience. But did not learn how to up the performance very well.
Teacher #3 - after marriage, school, career, professional qualification exams, I quit piano for a while - turned into more than 10 years - I got a new teacher in my neighborhood. She was an excellent teacher who I would recommend to any child around here. She helped me fix my marred technique and taught me how to listen to the sound I produce.
Teacher #4 - is my current teacher. She is the most unstructured ones I have ever seen. No more scales or arpeggio. She assumes I know them and I do. She just assigns exercises from the pieces I'm working on. And it is effective.
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#2076624 - 05/03/13 12:12 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1051
We're still working it out, my teacher and I, since I just started. She quickly added a structured scale/arpeggio system book, but the pieces are just things she thinks will best complement what I need to be working on that are both a) enjoyable to play given that I used to play at a higher level and b) things I didn't play before so as to prevent me from having certain expectations.

I don't know about the other method books, but I do have my John Thompson books from when I was a kid! That being said, I think I did the grade 5 book IN fifth grade, and I don't think it goes any higher. The majority of the time from there until I stopped at around age 16, I played was with regular pieces and I remember things like Pischna? and Czerny?

Are there method books that top out at higher skill levels? Should I be asking my teacher?
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2076647 - 05/03/13 01:02 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
Seems to me that being able to play pieces that you like is critical. You don't have the step by step process that method books have but on the other hand the music motivates you to play/practice. There is benefit to both ways of learning and add to that playing by ear/improvising. As a teacher I like to hear what it is the students' like and dislike. As a performer I hope to teach players to listen. As a composer I hope to help learners understand the structure of music.

rada

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#2076883 - 05/03/13 09:47 PM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
It's a kind of structured-unstructured structure. Probably a lot of people on the ABF start with some kind of a mixed background, even if they didn't play piano before. So the idea might be to get at what we don't know, which might be all over the place.


Edited by keystring (05/04/13 12:22 AM)
Edit Reason: shortened

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#2078056 - 05/06/13 02:03 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
hah, what an interesting coincidence, FarmGirl

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#2078200 - 05/06/13 09:23 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
I would call the studies with my teacher structured and progressive, although they do not follow any in advance defined route and we are together not using any method book. Besides training hard on what my tutor teaches me, I do use method books, for myself systematically freshing up basic knowledge and skills from my musical past.

My teacher makes me advance very well by working to meticulous detail for the first 10 to 15 minutes of each session on my posture: from the finger tips approaching the keys, over movements of hands, arms, shoulders to the spine and even the buttocks moving on the bench. The evaluation and exemplification is done on scales and arpegios playing any contrivable dynamic pattern, because they are nice, systematic, well defined, easy to evaluate instances.
For my teacher, posture is never getting out of topic, and I indeed discovered that it actually much(!) affects the audible musicality in my pieces. I learned that focusing only on fingers, hands and mind are just not enough to advance with piano playing, but that it is to be achieved a true soul and full body connection.

Afterwards we work for some 45 minutes on the three pieces under development. One of them is supposed to finish being taught. Final polishing is up to me. Another one is under progress and on a third one I am getting started to receive advice on. I before to some extend prepare the third one already to at least be somehow familiar with notes, rythm and possible fingerings of it. So, I am assisted for roughly three sessions (spanning 6 weeks) on a beginners to early intermediate level piece (the most advanced so far being Burgmüller Op. 100, No. 2 "Arabesque" and Beethoven´s "Für Elise" 1st movement) and from my point of view fully satisfactory advance in my skills while at the same time already building up some tiny pieces, very beautiful repertoire.

About study pieces and repertoire: usually I present my teacher the sheets which I like and guess to be around my level. My teacher then picks from my pre-selection the ones which in the teacher´s experience contain some important technical and musical details to seriously study, and skips the ones which I should just go for on myself because they don´t contain any new stuff to seriously advance with.
My teacher of course also suggests me pieces, and works on me to open my horizon for further stuff which I so far didn´t discover myself. Or to say it in different words: my teacher always motivates me to again leave the comfort zone and courageously face some new piano challenges.

Sounds like I am happy with my teacher? I am sooo glad to have found this teacher!
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#2078263 - 05/06/13 11:23 AM Re: Is Study with Your Teacher Structured & Progressive? [Re: ClsscLib]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1717
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Marco, that's one of the most elegant and useful posts I've ever seen on Piano World. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and share those thoughts and observations with us!
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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