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#2082192 - 05/14/13 12:13 AM Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners...
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
compared to false beginners? I have learned piano independently on my own using rocket and PFA and other resources and as a result have a moderately good understanding of basics. What I am looking right now is to learn specific pieces with a teacher, and not using precious lesson time on FACE and middle C. I believe those are important too but since I studied them independently, the logical choice would be to go beyond them.

For example, I want to learn to play bohemian rhapsody on the piano and have the teacher go measure by measure explaining this is the technique and this is the tie....sort of decoding the song....sort of song analysis..."standing on the shoulders of giants method"

But I am finding teachers that I have spoken to reluctant to lead such a session....I dont want the dots...I want someone to help me connect the dots to get the whole picture...


What are your experiences my friends given my sincere sharing...
Warm regards,
_________________________
Peace and love and play smile

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#2082200 - 05/14/13 12:34 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Two preliminary comments before I think more deeply about the thread's question:

1. Some teachers don't want a total beginner. But those that do want one because they don't have to get the student to first unlearn all of their bad habits.

2. It sounds like you want to teach the teacher how to teach the music. Why is that? Piano pedagogy has existed for hundreds of years. There's a pretty accurate science that develops good pianistic habits.

3a. (since I thought of it wink ) You don't want to waste lesson time, so you learned some basic theory first. But, in practice, your "preferred" method of learning Bohemian Rhapsody is a waste of your time, if I've understood how you want to learn it. I'm sure you've heard of the saying, "Give a man a fish..." Now, if I have misunderstood, I would happily be corrected. smile
_________________________
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#2082202 - 05/14/13 12:38 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: Derulux]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
I apologize for coming off as teaching the teacher how to teach. Maybe it is because I am myself a teacher and know the process of learning and how it works. I completely agree with you. Even being a teacher does not give me the right to tell them how to proceed, but as a private student I was just making a point about tailored curriculum, since I only play piano for my own stress release and amusement and have no professional endeavours...

And about the bohemian rhapsody point, I was just saying since I already know what a whole note, tie, and others are...lets apply those to a real masterpiece and go into the mind of the composer and analyze it...sort of an experiential learning...
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am sure you would also enjoy learning your favourite complex piece this way...

and about the fish comment...perhaps giving a fish to a beginner is a good thing...in the interest of keeping one motivated and seeing the big picture a little earlier...

I think I am thinking too much into this...since I am a teacher...

Hope this helps
Regards,


Edited by pianolover85 (05/14/13 12:45 AM)
_________________________
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#2082206 - 05/14/13 12:50 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 622
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
Perhaps I am an atypical student. But as someone who came to my current teacher with most of the basics already down (I learned for about a year with another teacher when I was fifteen, as well as having had lessons for a few months here and there when I was very young) ... I would say that the sort of 'analysis' your seem to be looking for is something that should mostly be reserved for the practice room.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

By the time I came to my current teacher, I had more or less moved beyond the scope of most method books out there. As such, she started assigning me repertoire (along with Burgmüller studies) from the very first lesson.

Unlike method book pieces, which are usually 'designed' to highlight a certain technique or common difficulty, most repertoire pieces (even the short and simple ones I am mostly confining myself to for right now) don't have a built-in 'program'. It can be hard to predict where any given student will have the greatest difficulty with them.

As such, I've found it to be useful to have been learning and, to use your term, 'analysing' a piece for at least one week *before* working on it with my teacher. In this way, we can focus on the specific spots that are trouble spots for me, and she can help me find solutions to concrete problems.

To go 'measure by measure', as you seem to expect, strikes me as a waste of both your and your teacher's time. Since you have the foundation built already (and I'm assuming here, for the purposes of this conversation, that your foundation is indeed there and sufficiently solid), many elements of most pieces will come to you easily enough that you don't *need* your teacher to explain in detail. But you won't know which parts need explaining, and which parts don't, until you've spent some significant time in the practice room with a piece, figuring that out.

Just my two cents.

I'm also thinking that either:

a) Your teacher might not be very experienced yet, and perhaps that is why (s)he prefers to start you off on the very basics, in which case you should maybe try to find a different teacher. Or

b) Perhaps your foundation is not as solid as you think it is.
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#2082207 - 05/14/13 12:51 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 765
My guess is that students who have self-studied and then move on to a teacher are more prone to "fight the teaching" instead of surrendering to it.

There's a huge temptation to want to "learn it all now," but in my experience, as a rather slow student, learning music doesn't work that way. The kind of person who wants to "take charge" of their learning may be more reluctant to accept that than a raw beginner.
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#2082228 - 05/14/13 01:55 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: Whizbang]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
Well Thanks Everyone.

@ Saranoya
Well that is great. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Perhaps I should use the word "repertoire" with the teachers to communicate that I like a practice room experience rather than a traditional method book presentation. and working every week or other week on a different piece of music. The measure by measure was rather an exaggeration on my side.
Well, I would not call myself an intermediate player before at least 10 years of being a beginner smile

@ Whizbang
Although I would not calling it "fighting", as adult learners (hopefully!) we already know where we want to take our playing. For most of us being the child prodigy stage (Rote learning) methods are not even possible. Most of us also do not aspire to be concert pianists as well. What I mean is we have an idea of the destination, which for most of us would be more coherently playing tunes we enjoy and adapt those skills to pieces that we will come across.

So my understanding was to ask teachers for a practice room "repertoire"-type experience...

Regards,
_________________________
Peace and love and play smile

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#2082243 - 05/14/13 02:11 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
pianolover85, I have read your post, here:


compared to false beginners? I have learned piano independently on my own using rocket and PFA and other resources and as a result have a moderately good understanding of basics. What I am looking right now is to learn specific pieces with a teacher, and not using precious lesson time on FACE and middle C. I believe those are important too but since I studied them independently, the logical choice would be to go beyond them.

For example, I want to learn to play bohemian rhapsody on the piano and have the teacher go measure by measure explaining this is the technique and this is the tie....sort of decoding the song....sort of song analysis..."standing on the shoulders of giants method"

But I am finding teachers that I have spoken to reluctant to lead such a session....I dont want the dots...I want someone to help me connect the dots to get the whole picture...


What are your experiences my friends given my sincere sharing...
Warm regards,

_________________________
Peace and love and play smile

___________________________________________________


Well, it is like you don't want to go to medical school, but you want to only do kidney operations and ear operations.

If you pay enough money, people will teacher you whatever you want to learn on your terms.

Rich people do it all the time. They hire hairdressers, cooks, bodyguards/drivers, gardeners, house cleaners, piano teachers, language teachers, and they do it whenever you want, before work, after work, on weekends.

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#2082277 - 05/14/13 05:29 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
As a teacher in other subjects, it is for a number of reasons:

Fossilised errors, which they've been making for years if not decades are extremely difficult to fix. A woman in a class of mine said constanants instead of consonant (she puts a st in the middle). She's been corrected 100s of times but still makes the error.

Second you can mould them into whatever you want them to be.

Thirdly total beginners are less likely to spot the areas where you as a teacher are weak. As a rookie I knew no better and one 'teacher' actually had awful sight reading ability but I knew no better! Myself I am weak in some areas but work on fixing them and have time to do so because my students don't question so deeply.

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#2082288 - 05/14/13 06:26 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11708
Loc: Canada
Here's why:
Teaching someone to play involves things you will not be aware of. They're not that easy to explain.
1. One is the creation of connections between the physical interacting with the instrument, the senses, and understanding, which get formed individually and together. These become a habit, a way of perceiving and doing, and it is best done when a person starts off. It's not just that you press D and then F along with a Dm chord. Intellectually you can do this on your own. It is how you go about this physically and how your senses are involved.

It starts with how you are sitting balanced at the piano, whether you are pressing the keys in a relaxed supple way. This will be imperfect because you're a beginner, but if you start with some stiff habit, your teacher can bring you on a better path right away. When you practice after that, this better habit will be part of you. Otoh, if you studied on your own, you will ingrain habits and your body and senses are no longer fresh and open.

2. There are associations that are not as intellectual as you probably imagine. Reading music is one of them. The ideal way to read music means that the note on the page and the key on the piano (and possibly its sound) form one single unit, and the name of the note (or intervals, depending on where you are in the music) attaches itself to this unit. Again this is a body, senses, mind thing that gets trained if you have a rather good teacher. Self-taught you are more likely to get at this from an intellectual base. You study the note names on the clefs, study the names of the notes on the keys, say D and play D so that you are going through the intellect. Or similar.

3. The way you approach the music you learn to play. Again I'm assuming a good teacher. If you are well-read, then you probably would not make the mistake of starting at the beginning every day. You would know about chunking and layering. But teachers do get self-taught students who still do the beginning-to-end thing, memorizing to get by.

I think, though, that the main thing is that the most profound thing in music, which is the stuff that advanced playing is built on, are the foundations. And those foundations are probably not what you think. What I have described in my first paragraphs are those foundations.

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#2082295 - 05/14/13 07:18 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2392
Loc: Virginia, USA
I'm pretty sure that most teachers are perfectly willing to take non beginners who are open to learn. But it doesn't quite sound like you are open.

My teacher took me after years of noodling. She genuinely likes teaching me (I can tell) and we do discuss all those things you mention. But certainly not measure for measure - yikes! (And definitely not Bohemian Rhapsody - I don't think my teacher would know Freddy Mercury if he jumped up from the grave and came into the room wailing "Mama!")

Try again to find a teacher who will help you grow musically so you can analyze it measure by measure (if you want); they might find technical issues that are holding you back more or other things you aren't aware of.
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#2082302 - 05/14/13 07:40 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11968
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: pianolover85
compared to false beginners? I have learned piano independently on my own using rocket and PFA and other resources and as a result have a moderately good understanding of basics. What I am looking right now is to learn specific pieces with a teacher, and not using precious lesson time on FACE and middle C. I believe those are important too but since I studied them independently, the logical choice would be to go beyond them.

For example, I want to learn to play bohemian rhapsody on the piano and have the teacher go measure by measure explaining this is the technique and this is the tie....sort of decoding the song....sort of song analysis..."standing on the shoulders of giants method"

But I am finding teachers that I have spoken to reluctant to lead such a session....I dont want the dots...I want someone to help me connect the dots to get the whole picture...


What are your experiences my friends given my sincere sharing...
Warm regards,

I'm curious as to what experiences you have had with piano teachers that you assume they would spend most of the lesson time telling you FACE and things of that nature when you already (presumably) know it. You mention speaking to teachers, but what does that mean? Not every teacher is the right fit for every student, and with adult learners it does take a special teacher.

As far as your expectations of a teacher, being an educator doesn't mean you know how to teach music. Teaching a class in geography is very different from teaching one-on-one piano lessons, and I would never presume to tell a geography teacher how I should be taught. Here's some food for thought: How do you know how you should be taught so that you can accomplish your goal? If you knew these things already, you'd just have taught yourself.

When I have a lesson with my students, children or adults, I may ask them to play through a piece to see where the major issues are and we then go after those areas. If we are short on time, I may just ask them what the problem areas are and go straight to them finding a solution. So this means they will have done work during the week to prepare themselves so that they know which passages are the most challenging for them. This is the best use of lesson time.

For adults, especially, I will tailor the repertoire we do to accommodate their personal goals in piano. This may mean, however, that the piece they want to learn is beyond their grasp and so I pick pieces that will give them the skills they need to be able to play the pieces they want.
_________________________
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#2082309 - 05/14/13 08:05 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11708
Loc: Canada
More to the actual details

Originally Posted By: pianolover85
... What I am looking right now is to learn specific pieces with a teacher, and not using precious lesson time on FACE and middle C. ....

For example, I want to learn to play bohemian rhapsody on the piano and have the teacher go measure by measure explaining this is the technique and this is the tie....sort of decoding the song....sort of song analysis..."standing on the shoulders of giants method" ......


Teachers don't necessarily go by FACE etc., but the good ones who aren't just after your money do build underlying skills in stages. They may do that through a method book, via pieces that help you get that underlying groundwork. Since you have self-taught, a prospective teacher would probably observe you to get a feel for what you do and don't have (rightly and wrongly) and if there are holes or wrong things, would need to address them.

Now supposing that you want to learn a given piece, and in measures x to y there is a missing skill. It may be that to get at that skill you need to do a series of things, and trying to do them while learning the piece wouldn't work well. It may even be that there is a set of sub-skills needed to bring you there.

At this moment you have a map of how you want to proceed. If a teacher knows how best to get there, how can the teacher do so if the student wants to draw the map? And what professional in any field would want to do so? It means working inefficiently when you know better.

The way you propose - going measure-to-measure, is not the way music is prepared or studied. There is no reason why you should know that, since you are not trained in music. But it shows why a teacher would be reluctant to take you, if you are proposing this kind of map.

If you approached a teacher and said "I have studied x, y, z in this manner, and would like to learn pieces such as Bohemian Rhapsody - Could I come for a trial lesson where you assess where I'm at - and then you tell me how you'd like to proceed." - you may still get hesitancy, by the teacher may be more open to giving it a try.

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#2082315 - 05/14/13 08:21 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2563
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: pianolover85
...And about the bohemian rhapsody point, I was just saying since I already know what a whole note, tie, and others are...lets apply those to a real masterpiece...


I'm not sure I've ever heard Bohemian Rhapsody called a "real masterpiece."
laugh

Originally Posted By: pianolover85
...and go into the mind of the composer and analyze it.


For that, you might be better off with a psychologist than a piano teacher.

You're talking about the song by Queen, right? Or is there some other Bohemian Rapsody?
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2082336 - 05/14/13 09:08 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
earlofmar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1605
Loc: Australia
pianolover85 I get where you are coming from and was more curious you could not find a teacher that suits your wishes.

From the very first lesson my teacher understood I had already done quite a bit of preparation for my piano adventure and would continue only needing a little aid. Sure she had a look at what I was like at scales but she never has had me drill during our weekly sessions nor did she feel the need to teach me anything I could demonstrate I already knew. I don't think she is a money grabber or lazy I just think she understands that it is quite possible for a driven adult to learn basic stuff without having to stand over them. Isn't that what good teachers can do, relinquish a certain amount of learning responsibility to the student?

Sound like the teachers you have approached are either misunderstanding your intent or they are too caught up in their fixed curriculum's. If you want to drive the lesson structure I can see no reason why you can't find a teacher willing to help you and at the same time still be able to impart knowledge to you that you are unable to teach yourself.

Perhaps you should talk to people at music stores who can point you in the right direction. Or some bright student/teacher from the local conservatoire.
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#2082406 - 05/14/13 11:39 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: pianolover85
I apologize for coming off as teaching the teacher how to teach. Maybe it is because I am myself a teacher and know the process of learning and how it works. I completely agree with you. Even being a teacher does not give me the right to tell them how to proceed, but as a private student I was just making a point about tailored curriculum, since I only play piano for my own stress release and amusement and have no professional endeavours...

And about the bohemian rhapsody point, I was just saying since I already know what a whole note, tie, and others are...lets apply those to a real masterpiece and go into the mind of the composer and analyze it...sort of an experiential learning...
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am sure you would also enjoy learning your favourite complex piece this way...

and about the fish comment...perhaps giving a fish to a beginner is a good thing...in the interest of keeping one motivated and seeing the big picture a little earlier...

I think I am thinking too much into this...since I am a teacher...

Hope this helps
Regards,

Perfect! Then I can use teaching terms to explain to you some of what I mean (and some of what others in the thread have said while I was away). smile

The ideas it seems you are on the broach of discussing involves differentiated instruction. You're looking for someone who will provide you with a tailored methodology to reach your goals based on the way you think you know you learn. To communicate this effort, you've discussed the different ways adults and children process information, and why rote learning isn't always the most effective for adults. (It's still the fastest, even for adults; the problem is, most adults simply won't do it.) The vast differences in motivation create differences in learning that are significant enough to warrant different approaches.

But I am going to submit that, based on how you've described wanting to learn, this is a house of cards. Here's why:

Even in differentiated instruction, we don't hand the students a test, and then teach them the material as they try to answer each question. (Yes, okay, NCLB is getting much closer to this approach, but I never said it was a good approach. wink ) We don't hand a kindergartner the SATs, and then teach them question-by-question over the next 12 years.

So, why would you want a piano teacher to hand you music, and then teach you to play one measure at a time? wink

Another analogy: in golf, the first place you teach someone how to play is at a driving range. Golf pros don't take a brand new golfer to the course, tee up a ball, and hand the person a driver. You start at the driving range, learning fundamentals, mechanics of the swing, grip, position, alignment, etc. Then, you're in a place where you can practice all of these things by hitting hundreds and thousands of balls. Once you've learned all of this, you go to the course...

Same for piano. There are a lot of fundamentals, mechanics of motion, hand position, posture, alignment, etc that goes into playing before you even play a note. Then, the difficulty, like a golf swing, compounds the second you prep for that first note or take the club back. So, since you're a teacher, you should know you'd learn golf much faster and better at a driving range than on a course. Why, then, are you trying to tee up on the first hole?

I hope this was a better explanation than the one I provided last night.. smile
_________________________
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#2082665 - 05/14/13 08:39 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Stubbie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 390
Loc: Midwest USA
I don't think you lose that much if you start from scratch with a teacher. If your teacher sees your fundamentals are solid, you'll whiz through the "beginner" stuff in no time and move on to meatier repertoire.

As for having a teacher more or less guide your hands through a piece measure by measure--man, that does not sound like fun for either the student or the teacher.
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#2082895 - 05/15/13 03:35 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I really didn't intend for this to be a long post, but apparently there's a theme going on here (or perhaps it's impossible to explain the subject without going on in length) so bear with me.


The purpose of piano lessons are so that the teachers teach students not how to learn individual pieces, as it outwardly looks, but so that students are made capable of tackling the virtually infinite number of challenges any possible piece they could encounter may present. "Teaching" in the style that you describe/desire is not teaching at all, but simply learning by rote (and with a piece that is technically out of your range) and there simply just isn't enough benefit (versus a great deal of difficulty) to teaching by rote for teachers to it in respect to learning repertoire at the piano.

For clarity, my definition of technique in regards to learning repertoire is as follows:

1. You possess the technique to overcome the various challenges (except for perhaps a select few, which is likely why a teacher may have chosen the piece to learn in the first place) presented by a specific piece without the need for rote learning (except for perhaps explanation or demonstration of a technical demand). This is the level of relative difficulty at which teachers provide individual students with material to learn to get the most benefit.

2. Your brain (and thus fingers, being controlled by the brain) must acquire familiarity with, and the ability to ultimately play, the overwhelming technical demands throughout the piece. Either the sheer number of such demands is so great and/or each individual demand so unfamiliar or momentous that trying to even start learning the piece will quickly prove very difficult - and this is assuming you can first understand the notation of what's on the page. Especially without mastering a foundational routine for learning approachable new repertoire, a piece of music in this category could take as long as a year, if not longer, to come close to mastering as opposed to a few days, weeks, or months once nearer to the above category. Practicing something technically unfamiliar such as this can also be harmful in large spurts and/or if not careful.

http://musiciansway.com/blog/2009/12/the-benefits-of-accessible-music/



I'm not suggesting you're trying as a beginner to learn an arrangement as difficult as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rptV6K7nqu0

but that being said, if accomplishing something even remotely similar were all that easy, then far more people would learn - and more importantly not quit playing - this instrument.


There are far more to the "dots" than what there appears to be. I myself still only understand a small sliver of what there is to know, but hopefully I could at least share some of that with you.

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#2082900 - 05/15/13 04:14 AM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
chopin_r_us Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 953
Loc: UK
Bob - 100% agree! Those were exactly my thoughts as I read the OP yesterday (apart from why would a teacher spell Bohemian Rhapsody without capitals?)

Derulux - differentiation - you said a mouthful there. It's the class teacher's nightmare - if only students would obligingly fit in the same little boxes.

The reason why absolute beginners are best is that they bring no unnecessary tension (or at least it's quickly eradicated).

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#2083084 - 05/15/13 12:51 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: chopin_r_us]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: chopin_r_us
Derulux - differentiation - you said a mouthful there. It's the class teacher's nightmare - if only students would obligingly fit in the same little boxes.

Yeah, I tried to hold back, but once I know I'm talking to a teacher, I fail. (Ironic, isn't it? grin )
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#2083689 - 05/16/13 01:46 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: Derulux]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
Wow! I am so happy that I found some like-minded people who seriously answered my questions. It was so great that our discussion took an intellectual route. When I first posed this question to some of my music major friends, they invariably became defensive and said things along the lines of "Who are you to...", "It is not even your field", and "Keep these things to yourself man...". But I am happy I got some serious and answers that made me re examine my own positions and become more open to learn music in a standard way as opposed to try to meddle in the way of pros...Your contributions all made sense to me: Perhaps I try to intellectualize the learning process, perhaps I also look for tailored instruction but first I have to go through some rudiments to get to that level of differentiated instruction.

Thank you all! I would like to make an analogy in my own field that can better illustrate where I come from:

I teach English language to second language speakers. There has been a lot of debate since the 60's as to how we should teach languages...At first during the 50-60's language instruction was more grammar oriented: What is a verb, Subject, Object, Translation...and students were the ones who had to connect the dots....Although this method did marvels for students in reading books...none of them developed conversational abilities...Then sometime in e 80's people realized that and changed the emphasis to communicative and task-based methods...Although some critics called these methods watered down, it could accomplish these very purpose: students could order tickets for a train, order at a restaurant, greet, and ask someone on a date with only a basic knowledge of grammar...no one actively thinks what they write or speak is an object or subject anyway?! Am I right?

So that's what motivated my question! I think such shift has not happened in music instruction to that extent and teachers still like to go through structured rudiments without giving a more functional teaching....

I respect that and fields are different...but as one of you said I have a tendency to intellectualize things which is not compatible with the art of music...

God bless and thank you all for making me aware of my preconceptions and gave me some realistic advice without being judgemental...

P.S. Bohemian Rhapsody was a masterpiece in its time...it was a rock opera... something never done before that date...It was queens stairway to heaven if one could make an analogy. Any way...sorry I forgot to capitalize...teachers are human too smile
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#2083709 - 05/16/13 03:02 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Quote:
Wow! I am so happy that I found some like-minded people who seriously answered my questions. It was so great that our discussion took an intellectual route.

Most of us give nothing less than our best effort in this department, even when we disagree with each other. Thank you, in turn, for not getting defensive by the responses. From our end, at least for me, it was an equally wonderful result. smile


Quote:
So that's what motivated my question! I think such shift has not happened in music instruction to that extent and teachers still like to go through structured rudiments without giving a more functional teaching....

I've never seen this question posed quite this way, but I think you may have answered it already. When you look at music, what is the purpose? Typically, when you look at music, you're trying to read it. So, in the case of learning, perhaps that old 50's and 60's method that teaches excellent reading is best.

What facilitates excellent playing is simply being able to read what's written on the page, and then to interpret it through your fingers. You must identify each note, translate it into a spatial position on the keyboard, and then determine how to strike the key in order to return the kind of sound you wish to produce. To do this, there are certain motions involved. Some are good; some are bad. Learning which, and then identifying which you are actually using, usually requires the intervention of another person who is capable of such a task. Once you know the basics, it becomes less important.

Let's use reading as a good example. No child was ever left behind (see what I did there? grin ) to pick up a book on their own and try to learn to read. They are taught. If their parents are worth their weight, then the child is taught to read before they get to school. If not, then the teachers have to pick up the parents' slack. But regardless, the child is led through the maze of letters, word combinations, and punctuation. Once the child learns those basics, they can more or less read on their own. We continue to teach interpretation of works through graduation, but the child is basically capable of reading the words.

The same goes for piano teachers -- you learn the basics of motion, music theory, etc, and then once you can read the music, the teachers usually will switch and focus more on interpretation unless you have a specific technical difficulty that needs addressing. Actually, I think you'll find that, in a good piano teacher, the methodology is very similar to the core teaching curriculum for English (combine with Reading if your district separates the two).
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2083719 - 05/16/13 03:37 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Originally Posted By: pianolover85

I teach English language to second language speakers. There has been a lot of debate since the 60's as to how we should teach languages...At first during the 50-60's language instruction was more grammar oriented: What is a verb, Subject, Object, Translation...and students were the ones who had to connect the dots....Although this method did marvels for students in reading books...none of them developed conversational abilities...Then sometime in e 80's people realized that and changed the emphasis to communicative and task-based methods...Although some critics called these methods watered down, it could accomplish these very purpose: students could order tickets for a train, order at a restaurant, greet, and ask someone on a date with only a basic knowledge of grammar...no one actively thinks what they write or speak is an object or subject anyway?! Am I right?
)



I actually quite like using total physical response and the Krashen theory of comprehensible input. Lessons on body parts and directions for ESOL are incredibly easy. As are prepositions.

But I do make lessons topical purely because it is useful for them students and therefore they pay attention in class because they find what I teach them useful in the real world.

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#2083758 - 05/16/13 05:02 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11968
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: pianolover85

I teach English language to second language speakers. There has been a lot of debate since the 60's as to how we should teach languages...At first during the 50-60's language instruction was more grammar oriented: What is a verb, Subject, Object, Translation...and students were the ones who had to connect the dots....Although this method did marvels for students in reading books...none of them developed conversational abilities...Then sometime in e 80's people realized that and changed the emphasis to communicative and task-based methods...Although some critics called these methods watered down, it could accomplish these very purpose: students could order tickets for a train, order at a restaurant, greet, and ask someone on a date with only a basic knowledge of grammar...no one actively thinks what they write or speak is an object or subject anyway?! Am I right?

So that's what motivated my question! I think such shift has not happened in music instruction to that extent and teachers still like to go through structured rudiments without giving a more functional teaching....
What do you mean by the above italicized statement as it applies to music teaching?
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#2083771 - 05/16/13 05:29 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11708
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: pianolover85

I teach English language to second language speakers. There has been a lot of debate since the 60's as to how we should teach languages...At first during the 50-60's language instruction was more grammar oriented: What is a verb, Subject, Object, Translation...and students were the ones who had to connect the dots....

That method was referred to as the "dead language approach" by my professors.
Originally Posted By: pianolover85


Although this method did marvels for students in reading books...none of them developed conversational abilities...Then sometime in e 80's people realized that and changed the emphasis to communicative and task-based methods...Although some critics called these methods watered down, it could accomplish these very purpose: students could order tickets for a train, order at a restaurant, greet, and ask someone on a date with only a basic knowledge of grammar...no one actively thinks what they write or speak is an object or subject anyway?!

This sounds like the second-language learning I had as a student in the early 1970's.

Originally Posted By: pianolover85

So that's what motivated my question! I think such shift has not happened in music instruction to that extent and teachers still like to go through structured rudiments without giving a more functional teaching....

You have a wrong picture. There is no uniform way in which music is taught. For one thing, it's not a classroom or group activity, which has to be organized by a central organization (school board etc.). There are individual teachers working with individual students, with freedom in how they will work.

Btw, in teaching language in a classroom environment, the best model I ran into was immersion. My internship was in a grade 1 classroom, where the children had begun immersion in junior and senior kindergarten.

I was once hired privately by an individual who wanted to learn to speak a new language fluently, without an accent, expressing his own ideas. Here you get into pronunciation which is linked to hearing without filtering, a feel for grammar as a child does. At this point we can draw on what is taught in music, but not in the stereotypical education that you have in mind. smile

You can get a very full and multi-sided picture of piano teaching here.
http://www.marthabeth.com/pedagogy_QA.html

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#2083809 - 05/16/13 07:16 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: Morodiene]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
I was merely highlighting two dominant perspectives in language instruction. Nothing special...just wanted them to stand out a bit...Yes there are differences in teaching between fields... and one cant not do justice in comparing language instruction to music learning Thank you smile
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#2083826 - 05/16/13 08:19 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11708
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: pianolover85
I was merely highlighting two dominant perspectives in language instruction. Nothing special...just wanted them to stand out a bit...Yes there are differences in teaching between fields... and one cant not do justice in comparing language instruction to music learning

Certainly, and I was expanding on it for both. I think that work on spoken language and fluency, is probably the more closely related to the teaching of music when it is done well. There is a back and forth between the two. In fact language and music are related in a lot of ways. Since you are getting interested in the different ways that music is taught, you will probably find the link that I provided gives a lot of information in that direction. smile

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#2083851 - 05/16/13 10:16 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2563
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: pianolover85
..P.S. Bohemian Rhapsody was a masterpiece in its time...it was a rock opera... something never done before that date...It was queens stairway to heaven if one could make an analogy...


Clearly you are among the many fans of the song. What strikes me about the whole discussion is that you are announcing boldly to prospective teachers that playing Bohemian Rhapsody is your piano goal. I'm not sure if this means that you want to play the piano part out of the song, or that you want to play an arrangement of the whole thing for piano. Freddie Mercury's piano playing is nice enough and maybe the piano part would stand alone. A piano arrangement of the whole song seems to me rather far fetched and probably particularly unsatisfying to a fan of the original.

Anyway, I wonder how you would respond to a prospective student of ESL who approached you (through an interpreter, of course) saying that she wanted to learn English for the exclusive purpose of reciting Howl by Allen Ginsberg?

Sorry. If I come across as grumpy tonight, it is possibly because I am grumpy tonight.
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#2083855 - 05/16/13 10:29 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: malkin]
pianolover85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 94
Thanks...
Listen to this and tell me you are not inspired!...Why play through gingle bells when with a bit of practice I can play this? Of course, At least going through Alfred book 1 should be a prerequisite.

P.S. i do not mean that I expect a teacher to get me to the level of fluency depicted in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rptV6K7nqu0

Thanks everyone for our lively discussion...I have certainly learned a lot.


Edited by pianolover85 (05/16/13 10:39 PM)
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#2083865 - 05/16/13 10:52 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11708
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: pianolover85
Thanks...
Listen to this and tell me you are not inspired!...Why play through gingle bells when with a bit of practice I can play this? Of course, At least going through Alfred book 1 should be a prerequisite.

P.S. i do not mean that I expect a teacher to get me to the level of fluency depicted in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rptV6K7nqu0

Thanks everyone for our lively discussion...I have certainly learned a lot.

1. Why would you play Jingle Bells at any time? You are still holding on to an image of lessons which are not necessarily how lessons are.
2. The person playing the piece has been playing piano for 22 years. She started as a little girl with formal lessons and got the skills she needed (probably not playing Jingle Bells or using method books). Observe her head - she is reading the music as she is playing - sometimes looks down for difficult fast passages - and then her eyes are right back on the music knowing exactly where to look.

The point is that you want to get on a path that will give you the skills you need, to play the type of music that you want to play. I don't know if it will be with "a bit of practice". A lot of us have been doing more than "a bit", and the reason that we're here is for similar reasons as your own.

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#2083884 - 05/16/13 11:32 PM Re: Why do most music teachers prefer total beginners... [Re: pianolover85]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2563
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I agree with keystring that the young woman in the video has done really, quite a lot of practice. I particularly like the clothesline with the pages of music clipped to it. It isn't my goal for piano, but whatever floats your boat...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVGoY9gom50
wink
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