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#2117580 - 07/14/13 04:15 PM Perfect Student
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
Hi teachers. I'm a student just looking for some advice from the teachers perspective. What qualities do you guys and girls make the perfect student? If you could make your perfect student, what would they do/be?
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"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2117612 - 07/14/13 05:34 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 620
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
I'm not a piano teacher, but I believe one of the frequent fliers here has a quote in their signature that says "the perfect student is the one who makes the teacher feel like a competent teacher".

Something to that effect, anyway.

I think that's as close to a perfect answer to that question as you're going to get. It acknowledges the fact that every one-on-one teaching situation is a matter of interaction between two individuals. They each have their own personalities, goals and desires, interaction styles, strengths and weaknesses. As such, one teacher's perfect student might be another teacher's ultimate nightmare.

But speaking from my experience as a scout leader (which is, in many ways, an informal way of teaching), I would say that in general, the best students are probably those who are eager to learn. They come prepared, listen and observe closely, remember what you tell them, and try to independently apply things they've previously learned in slightly different but related situations whenever such situations come up.
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#2117672 - 07/14/13 07:50 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Saranoya]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2554
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Hey Sara!

Snakk om sola, så skinner den!
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A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2117687 - 07/14/13 08:16 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
The perfect student would be one where I could find absolutely nothing to criticize.
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Polyphonist

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#2117707 - 07/14/13 08:38 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
Joyce_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 192
Loc: Chicago
I think the perfect student has to be one who creates excitement. That is, the student who comes in plays their assignment far better than you expected. Or the student who adds something to the lesson by asking questions or bringing an element into the discussion that causes both teacher and student to be engaged and excited. That, in my mind, makes all the difference.

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#2117711 - 07/14/13 08:40 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Saranoya]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3160
Originally Posted By: Saranoya
I would say that in general, the best students are probably those who are eager to learn. They come prepared, listen and observe closely, remember what you tell them, and try to independently apply things they've previously learned in slightly different but related situations whenever such situations come up.


This.
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#2117717 - 07/14/13 08:50 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
I think we have different definitions of the word "perfect" here. My definition of perfection is something that is so good that it cannot improve any further. Therefore, it is impossible to achieve in the realm of piano playing, as one can always improve. But the closest you can come to it is what I described above.
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Polyphonist

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#2117718 - 07/14/13 08:50 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Polyphonist]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10363
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The perfect student would be one where I could find absolutely nothing to criticize.


Hmmm. Wouldn't that mean that the value added from lessons would be zero?

That would not be my notion of perfection.
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#2117722 - 07/14/13 08:51 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Piano*Dad]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The perfect student would be one where I could find absolutely nothing to criticize.


Hmmm. Wouldn't that mean that the value added from lessons would be zero?

Yes. So, at least in the eyes of the teacher, they would have achieved perfection, right?
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Polyphonist

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#2117754 - 07/14/13 09:52 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Polyphonist]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The perfect student would be one where I could find absolutely nothing to criticize.


Hmmm. Wouldn't that mean that the value added from lessons would be zero?

Yes. So, at least in the eyes of the teacher, they would have achieved perfection, right?

So there won't be any need for lessons, then!
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#2117758 - 07/14/13 10:00 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
i meant more like the actual being a student to the teacher. making no mistakes is not possible. so my definition of perfect is doing the best you can with whats presented to you in this world. if i was "perfect" in the literal sense, i wouldn't need to pay a teacher. the feedback joyce provided was exactly the type of feedback i was looking for!

let me rephrase since we seem to be stuck on verbiage. lifes short, everything i do i strive to make it fun, as i believe you should enjoy life and have fun with it and do what makes you happy. How can i make my piano lessons the lessons that the instructor looks forward too? personally i already love my lessons, if i had the time and money i'd go 3/4 times a week for an hour instead of just once.
_________________________
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"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2117760 - 07/14/13 10:06 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: AZNpiano]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The perfect student would be one where I could find absolutely nothing to criticize.


Hmmm. Wouldn't that mean that the value added from lessons would be zero?

Yes. So, at least in the eyes of the teacher, they would have achieved perfection, right?

So there won't be any need for lessons, then!

Exactly. Which is why the phrase "perfect student" is an oxymoron.
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Polyphonist

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#2117765 - 07/14/13 10:16 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
i defined my interpretation as well. i could have worded it more clear.
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"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2117774 - 07/14/13 10:27 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Polyphonist]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The perfect student would be one where I could find absolutely nothing to criticize.


Hmmm. Wouldn't that mean that the value added from lessons would be zero?

Yes. So, at least in the eyes of the teacher, they would have achieved perfection, right?

So there won't be any need for lessons, then!

Exactly. Which is why the phrase "perfect student" is an oxymoron.

No. It is YOUR definition of a "perfect student" that is oxymoronic.

Here's my definition of a "perfect student."

1) loves music
2) loves piano
3) practices regularly
4) remembers what I say
5) shows up to lessons and pays tuition on time
6) enjoys playing in front of an audience
7) is creative, imaginative, and artistic/musical
8) respects people
9) keeps an open mind for new ideas
10) thinks for him/herself instead of just imitating, copying, and/or emulating a model
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2117778 - 07/14/13 10:31 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: AZNpiano]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The perfect student would be one where I could find absolutely nothing to criticize.


Hmmm. Wouldn't that mean that the value added from lessons would be zero?

Yes. So, at least in the eyes of the teacher, they would have achieved perfection, right?

So there won't be any need for lessons, then!

Exactly. Which is why the phrase "perfect student" is an oxymoron.

No. It is YOUR definition of a "perfect student" that is oxymoronic.

Here's my definition of a "perfect student."

1) loves music
2) loves piano
3) practices regularly
4) remembers what I say
5) shows up to lessons and pays tuition on time
6) enjoys playing in front of an audience
7) is creative, imaginative, and artistic/musical
8) respects people
9) keeps an open mind for new ideas
10) thinks for him/herself instead of just imitating, copying, and/or emulating a model


But let's just take one of your premises for now, say number 7. However creative or musical they are, wouldn't it be possible for them to be more so? This sounds like a good definition of an excellent student, but not a perfect one.
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Polyphonist

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#2117785 - 07/14/13 10:37 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
i do enjoy debating things, i truly do which is why i go to
http://forums.philosophyforums.com/debates/
all the time. however, i redefined what i meant, its not about the words, its about the meaning. I can change the words to excellent on the title if that will help. I just want to kind of push this thread past being stuck on everyones different interpretations of perfect and move on to the actual subject at hand.
_________________________
"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2117788 - 07/14/13 10:40 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
So we are talking about an excellent student, and not a perfect one? (In other words, the best student you could reasonably expect to have?)
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Polyphonist

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#2117799 - 07/14/13 10:50 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Sweet06
.... and move on to the actual subject at hand.

A couple of people have done that. Those are the "perfect" things to notice and respond to. smile

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#2117842 - 07/15/13 01:10 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Polyphonist]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
So we are talking about an excellent student, and not a perfect one? (In other words, the best student you could reasonably expect to have?)

Do you enjoy splitting hair? What do you gain by hounding the semantics of a word?
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#2117898 - 07/15/13 06:33 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2911
Loc: UK.
The students I enjoy teaching most and really look forward to their lessons are the ones who always try their best. It doesn't matter about the level of playing or even their ability. If they have tried and are willing to learn then there is always plenty to do. It also helps if they communicate with you, particularly if there is something they don't understand.

So as a student, if you want to keep your teacher happy it's pretty simple. Try your best, communicate with them, be polite and courteous, show respect by turning up for lessons on time and paying fees promptly.

On the flip side the only lessons I don't enjoy are the ones where the student shows up unprepared and gives the impression they would rather not be there.
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Pianist and piano teacher.

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#2117960 - 07/15/13 10:47 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Polyphonist]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The perfect student would be one where I could find absolutely nothing to criticize.


In that case I think you will have a very long wait. Even the most experied of pianists get criticized, from their mannerisms, to the way they play.

There is not a single pianist alive today that anybody does not criticize.

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#2117961 - 07/15/13 10:50 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Chris H.]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
The students I enjoy teaching most and really look forward to their lessons are the ones who always try their best. It doesn't matter about the level of playing or even their ability. If they have tried and are willing to learn then there is always plenty to do. It also helps if they communicate with you, particularly if there is something they don't understand.

So as a student, if you want to keep your teacher happy it's pretty simple. Try your best, communicate with them, be polite and courteous, show respect by turning up for lessons on time and paying fees promptly.

On the flip side the only lessons I don't enjoy are the ones where the student shows up unprepared and gives the impression they would rather not be there.


I try my best as a student, I am enthusiastic, take a keen interest in the pieces I play and realize that even though a piece does not grab me and I do not like it, I play it for experience because each piece gives you learning in different skills.

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#2118032 - 07/15/13 01:19 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
ezpiano.org Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1011
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: AZN
1) loves music
2) loves piano
3) practices regularly
4) remembers what I say
5) shows up to lessons and pays tuition on time
6) enjoys playing in front of an audience
7) is creative, imaginative, and artistic/musical
8) respects people
9) keeps an open mind for new ideas
10) thinks for him/herself instead of just imitating, copying, and/or emulating a model


thumb thumb

I like this list a lot!!
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#2118049 - 07/15/13 01:57 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: adultpianist]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The perfect student would be one where I could find absolutely nothing to criticize.


In that case I think you will have a very long wait. Even the most experied of pianists get criticized, from their mannerisms, to the way they play.

There is not a single pianist alive today that anybody does not criticize.


And here we are again - I agree with you, and this is exactly why the "perfect student" doesn't exist.
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2118068 - 07/15/13 03:00 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Polyphonist]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3200
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The perfect student would be one where I could find absolutely nothing to criticize.


In that case I think you will have a very long wait. Even the most experied of pianists get criticized, from their mannerisms, to the way they play.

There is not a single pianist alive today that anybody does not criticize.



Then again, perfect teachers might be almost as rare.
And here we are again - I agree with you, and this is exactly why the "perfect student" doesn't exist.
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gotta go practice

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#2118071 - 07/15/13 03:10 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
I would think that a question like this has a pragmatic purpose, rather than being an invitation to philosophical debate. A student asking this question wants to know what kinds of things to do and not to do. Rather than getting hung up on a particular word, it makes more sense to address the purpose. If you are teaching, and a student needs your help, are you going to respond literally to a poorly phrased question, or are you going to surmise where the help is needed, and respond accordingly?

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#2118076 - 07/15/13 03:27 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
Different teachers will give somewhat different responses, especially in this department:

1) thinking for oneself vs.
2) copying the teacher

There are teachers who are obviously very gifted performers, who would love to make carbon copies of themselves as artists. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

On the other hand, there are teachers who want to develop artists who are capable of making artistic decisions on their own.

Of course, there is a lot of common ground between the two.
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#2118084 - 07/15/13 03:40 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
thank you all so much! polyphonist IS correct tho, nobody is perfect, so it was a poorly worded question. everyone has room for improvement thus making it a poor question. yes! these are all great tips and im glad to see opinions from multiple teachers.

to expand on what aznpiano said. at the very start there isn't a whole lot of room for me to really use the knowledge i have to make those decisions correct? I've been avoiding trying to steer my teacher and just letting him do his thing and everything he asks. I'm starting to the get to the point where i'm able to draw my own conclusions and didn't know the etiquette or if it is considered rude to ask "were you planning on teaching me xyz".
as i haven't learned any scales at all, just chords it seems from a method book. I LOVED dinking around and having fun "improvising" but learning the science behind what im doing would be great. I explore and find sounds i love and come to find out i just discovered keys and playing things in the same key and how scales are the notes that make up a certain key.
_________________________
"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2118146 - 07/15/13 06:26 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: keystring]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: keystring
I would think that a question like this has a pragmatic purpose, rather than being an invitation to philosophical debate. A student asking this question wants to know what kinds of things to do and not to do. Rather than getting hung up on a particular word, it makes more sense to address the purpose. If you are teaching, and a student needs your help, are you going to respond literally to a poorly phrased question, or are you going to surmise where the help is needed, and respond accordingly?

I will answer (almost) any question a student asks me to the best of my ability. And yes, I will take their question at face value - I will answer what they asked, not what they might have meant to ask.


Edited by Polyphonist (07/15/13 06:27 PM)
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Polyphonist

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#2118222 - 07/15/13 08:55 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: AZNpiano]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 974
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano


Here's my definition of a "perfect student."

1) loves music
2) loves piano
3) practices regularly
4) remembers what I say
5) shows up to lessons and pays tuition on time
6) enjoys playing in front of an audience
7) is creative, imaginative, and artistic/musical
8) respects people
9) keeps an open mind for new ideas
10) thinks for him/herself instead of just imitating, copying, and/or emulating a model


As a student, I can appreciate all of these except maybe #4. I certainly try to remember what my teacher says, but I sure can't remember to apply it in all situations. He often has to tell me things about my technique that I know he has told me before. (But wait, this means I remember them, at least enough to feel that I ought to know them. So maybe it's not so bad... smile )
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