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#2113801 - 07/06/13 02:52 PM Blickenstaff Teaching Maxims - Your Thoughts
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1342
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I'm in Halifax, Nova Scotia with a couple hundred piano teaching colleagues for a national conference of the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Associations (CFMTA). Today prominent American pedagogue Marvin Blickenstaff delivered a keynote address. He is not known as a teacher of adult pianists, but he is well known as a teacher of piano teachers, and as an author of beginning teaching materials for children.

Three of his maxims:

1. Play for your students, since they need models to imitate.
2. Play duets with your students: this is a great way to foster musicality.
3. Devise ways through which your students can "take the lesson home with them" - either by recording the lesson, or by verbally summarizing the lesson in the last few minutes.

I'm curious about your thoughts or experiences, as adult learners, with each.

Cheers,
Peter

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#2113815 - 07/06/13 03:20 PM Re: Blickenstaff Teaching Maxims - Your Thoughts [Re: Peter K. Mose]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2521
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Those sound good to me!

I think it's great when my teacher plays for me! Sometimes he does it to provide a model for me on a trouble spot. "Watch my hand" says he. Usually I see little correspondence between his hand and mine, but I think it is useful to watch him play. I really quite like the scouting out a new piece procedure where he'll play some or most of several pieces to help me choose what I might like.

I do like duets too. Even informal ones like 'you play the bass, I'll play the treble" when I am still working hands separately on a piece. Playing duets with my husband was one of the first hooks to pull me in to piano.

As for number 3, I know I need lots of notes. My teacher writes some, and I write some more. His handwriting can be rather illegible, and if I don't look through what he's written until the next day, I have sometimes forgotten what it says. If I had a video of the lesson, I'd probably be too distracted looking at my hair or a shirt tag sticking up or some other irrelevant detail.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2113824 - 07/06/13 03:33 PM Re: Blickenstaff Teaching Maxims - Your Thoughts [Re: Peter K. Mose]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
I'm thinking I'm lucky my teacher does all three! wink

She plays pieces of my songs for me every lesson, so I can hear it and see it. I find it really helps me with trouble spots and helps me get that "sound" just right. I find it really helps me with learning how to roll notes into each other and going from 16th notes to quarters etc... If she didn't show me I'd be at this for months lol.When I bring her a new song I want to work on she'll sight read the first few pages. Makes me wanna do that! We also discuss what she personally plays a lot and helps me find inspiration for the next song I choose.

We've been working on a duet for a long time now. I usually end up in hopeless giggles but I love it. Since I want to be able to play with my musician friends, the duets are a way for me to learn how to do that and so much fun! It also requires a completely different set of skills which I'm finding tough. Once we finally get through this one, another one is on the horizon!

My lessons are written down step by step, with detailed instructions and encouragement. The date of that lesson, the date and time of next lesson are included. If I didn't have that I'd be lost completely! I honestly can't imagine any other way. (thought it was normal actually lol) Each lesson can takes two to three pages of notes.

Peter, do you use any of these in your lessons?
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#2113844 - 07/06/13 04:23 PM Re: Blickenstaff Teaching Maxims - Your Thoughts [Re: Peter K. Mose]
JosephAC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Melbourne Australia
From time to time, I do record my lessons on iPad and this becomes handy at times. I need to do it more regularly. Some of the accomplished music students that I met, record every lesson.

When I am not clear, I do ask my teacher to play so that I watch him in action - his calmness, his fingering.... I rely on listening to the songs in the CD that come with the method book and other recording of the same song on YouTube. It is part of the preparation for analysing the piece. It becomes an internal reference point. How it should sound like.

We tend to play duets sometime. I feel under pressure and I need to relax about it.

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#2113922 - 07/06/13 07:37 PM Re: Blickenstaff Teaching Maxims - Your Thoughts [Re: Peter K. Mose]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1535
Loc: Australia
I use multiple sources eg youtube and this forums recitals for models to imitate. I don't feel I want to imitate my teacher but what I do appreciate is being able to talk over the process.

I have read that playing duets is important and I feel I am missing out on this.

My lessons are a very quick half hour once a week. I can't say I have ever had too much information in one session that needed additional notes.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2113992 - 07/06/13 10:24 PM Re: Blickenstaff Teaching Maxims - Your Thoughts [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1342
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Becca, I'll try to answer your queries. In reverse order.

3. No, I don't record lessons, and I have never had a student do so. Verbal summary at the close of a lesson sounds too didactic for my teaching style. I figure an adult student will remember what is worth remembering from a lesson, and pursue his or her own path for a week of home practice. Some of them do jot down a few notes during the course of a lesson.

2. Yes, now and again I do play duets with most of my students, though more often as sight-reading, and only occasionally as works for us to polish or perform.

1. I try not to play much for my adult students, because I don't want to intimidate them. I want them to make their own music, not copy mine. If they ask me to play something for them that they are working on, often I will, but I seldom suggest this. OTH, I usually play through various pieces when we are making a selection of something new to work on.

****
The moral, I guess, is that different teachers conduct themselves differently. I have no doubt that Marvin Blickenstaff is a more organization-minded teacher than I am.

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#2114074 - 07/07/13 05:06 AM Re: Blickenstaff Teaching Maxims - Your Thoughts [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
1. Play for your students, since they need models to imitate.


I could care less if my teacher could play (I probably wouldn't have said this when I started learning, though); what's important is if and how he can teach me. Renowned jazz pianist Fred Hersch says more or less the same thing here


Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
2. Play duets with your students: this is a great way to foster musicality.


I agree completely; duets are also great for teaching and reinforcing sight-reading. I also believe that musicality is learned through osmosis, especially now more than ever with the internet and youtube.


Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
3. Devise ways through which your students can "take the lesson home with them" - either by recording the lesson, or by verbally summarizing the lesson in the last few minutes.


If a student doesn't take immediate notes following the lesson (ideally a transcript or video could be provided), something like 50% of what was said is shown to be forgotten by the following day - that's like paying for expensive lessons and only receiving half of what was paid for


given Minniemay's high regard for the man, I would enjoy hearing or reading more about him sometime

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#2114920 - 07/08/13 10:53 PM Re: Blickenstaff Teaching Maxims - Your Thoughts [Re: Peter K. Mose]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Thanks Peter! I was just curious. smile
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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