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#2120585 - 07/20/13 03:41 PM How to motivate?
bzpiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1090
Loc: Irvine, CA
I have a student who is super motivated to learn harder song. He is currently Piano Adventure Level 1 and he wants to learn Fur Elise. I asked if he wants to original works (which is in Level 5) or simplified (Level 2B) he said simplified is okay for now. He said that after he learn the simplified, then he like to learn the original.

How do you keep the student motivated?
1. Give him simplified Level 2B version now and take about 3 months to complete it
2. Not give him anything, just tell him he has to complete his current Level 1, 2A then when he learn method book 2B, he will also learn Fur Elise in that book. (another way of motivation, this means more practice to pass the songs and moving on to reach Level 2B faster because he wants Fur Elise so badly)

What would you do? Give him now or wait until he reach the level?
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
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#2120597 - 07/20/13 04:04 PM Re: How to motivate? [Re: bzpiano]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1646
Loc: California, USA
This scenerio happens so often it's almost like a recurring nightmare.
So it's not a hypothetical, "what would you do if" but a "here's what I do when"

And here's what I do: the answer is no. You are not ready for that piece yet. Here (and this the important part) is the series of music you need to learn before you are ready. When you have completed that work I will enjoy coaching you on that piece.

I am honest with the student about the amount of time it will take - and in your specific example it sounds like years. I don't like the "simplified" garbage. Our culture is too focused on easy, instant gratification. Mastering the piano is not easy, and it is not without cost. Don't lessen it - don't degrade it, don't try to make it a smaller thing than it is.

If we can teach the student the value of hard work and patience, then we've helped them as a whole person.
Pianist and Piano Teacher

#2120600 - 07/20/13 04:07 PM Re: How to motivate? [Re: bzpiano]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014

Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Unless you play for him the full version, why not provide for the student a structurally-reduced copy (or make one)? He's most likely just after the popular, A, section and this is obviously simple enough to learn. Come later when he's more capable and/or you're up to teaching it, if he still wants to, he could learn the full thing.
"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."

#2120602 - 07/20/13 04:20 PM Re: How to motivate? [Re: bzpiano]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 14915
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I'd teach him how to play the main melody (very simple) with an easy LH arpeggio by rote. That should tide him over, seeing as how even 2B is far away from Level 1. I've done this and they *love* to play it.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2120604 - 07/20/13 04:21 PM Re: How to motivate? [Re: bzpiano]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 14915
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
double-post: you can also play for him the entire piece so he can hear how it really goes as inspiration for the future. I love exposing them to great masterpieces in person because live music is so much more exciting, and you can tell them they can do it too, but it takes many years of the hard work they're doing and there's lots of great music along the way.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2120644 - 07/20/13 06:05 PM Re: How to motivate? [Re: bzpiano]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
If instant gratification is what may propel them to continue with the piano [ hopefully for a lifetime] I will take that chance. I will teach them by ear as well. No one taught me that way and I figure anytime I am willing to work with what they have, what they want, I will also learn from the lesson.

Obviously I am not a fan of one method works for all. I teach to the individual and they can decide if my time and experience is worth the expense.


#2120713 - 07/20/13 09:13 PM Re: How to motivate? [Re: musicpassion]
AZNpiano Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 6917
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: musicpassion
I don't like the "simplified" garbage. Our culture is too focused on easy, instant gratification. Mastering the piano is not easy, and it is not without cost. Don't lessen it - don't degrade it, don't try to make it a smaller thing than it is.


The number of transfer students who came to me with Fur Elise already learned (simplified version or original version) is staggering, and NONE of them plays it well. NONE. It's one of the most frequently butchered pieces, so that I've stopped teaching it completely.

If that question ever comes up, I just tell them I don't teach it, and here are 36 pieces to learn that are much, much more exciting and interesting than Fur Elise.
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member


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