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#2134290 - 08/17/13 10:14 AM Sitting location ?
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
I have read quiet a few time that you should sit with the navel roughly aligned with the D next to the central C but I recently noticed that it's a lot more comfortable for my right hand if I play with the navel aligned with the crack between B and central C and I was wondering, where do you sit ? smile (before someone ask "What do your teacher think ?", she didn't care where I sat, how high or low, how close or far..., I did an experiment once and sat with the belly roughly at ten centimeters from the keyboard, she said nothing (and no, I don't have a beer belly wink )
What I wonder in fact is if in more advanced pieces, the left hand venture a lot higher than middle C ? (on average, and when I say more advanced, I mean relative to beginner pieces, not really grade 8 where both hands are more or less all over the place I imagine).


Edited by Jean-Luc (08/17/13 10:19 AM)
_________________________
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Jean-Luc

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#2134328 - 08/17/13 11:58 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Jean-Luc Online, I have read your post, here:

I have read quiet a few time that you should sit with the navel roughly aligned with the D next to the central C but I recently noticed that it's a lot more comfortable for my right hand if I play with the navel aligned with the crack between B and central C and I was wondering, where do you sit ? smile (before someone ask "What do your teacher think ?", she didn't care where I sat, how high or low, how close or far..., I did an experiment once and sat with the belly roughly at ten centimeters from the keyboard, she said nothing (and no, I don't have a beer belly wink )
What I wonder in fact is if in more advanced pieces, the left hand venture a lot higher than middle C ? (on average, and when I say more advanced, I mean relative to beginner pieces, not really grade 8 where both hands are more or less all over the place

____________________________________________________

Like riding a bike, riding a motorcycle, it is all about balance. Playing the piano is no different.

Obviously if you have to play th elower keys for long, you lean or move to be balanced and strong and the same at the high end. Key, I think is that experience and comfort play a big role.

As a beginner, there are not many pieces with 6 or 7 sharps or flats, so there is no comfort zone or much experience but once you get that experience and that comfort zone, you will settle in where "position" has to be.

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#2134336 - 08/17/13 12:32 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Thank you Michael smile
I think I didn't expressed myself correctly, what I was more wondering is if there is a very good reason for recommending people to sit aligned to the "central" D and if I would later feel sorry not to follow this recommendation. I just find that it forces me to bend the wrist more than I would like too in a lot of the pieces I work with currently but on the other hand, it seems to me, based on scores I have seen that on more advanced pieces, the melody is less often around the central do and move a bit more toward C5 where obviously the wrist is a lot less bent.
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2134338 - 08/17/13 12:47 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11579
Loc: Canada
Jean-Luc, if you are bending the wrist you may also be sitting too close to the piano. This was pointed out to me a couple of years ago and caught me by surprise. Experiment by having your hands both near middle C position, lean in, and then lean away. Try this at various distances from middle C with either hand. Also see whether you are trying to align your knuckles to be parallel to the way the piano goes, or whether you are allowing your hand (fingers) to be at different angles. Think of how a windshield wiper changes angles as it moves out from the center.

Also realize that you can lean in, lean out, lean to one side or another, with your body. Meanwhile sitting too close apparently is the number one thing that students do, I'm told.

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#2134367 - 08/17/13 02:03 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Hey Heystring smile
I honestly do not believe that I am sitting to close (emphasis on "believe"). I based my sitting distance on the recommendations in Faber's Adult method (back straight but not overly so, shoulder relaxed, the knuckles barely reach the fall board). So basically, while I don't have to lean forward to play, my elbows "fit" between the keyboard and my belly.
On the other hand, you might have a point with the parallelism problem, I must admit that I tend to keep my knuckles aligned with the keyboard and that might indeed be a problem frown
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2134369 - 08/17/13 02:04 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3454
Loc: Northern England.
I think advise isn`t appropriate here. You gotta feel it, man! Go with the flow, move around a bit . . .some stuff will be so high up the keyboard, you`ll just have to, if you`re unlucky like me (it`s warm and wet here) you`ll also sweat. And your charming granddaughter enters the room . . ."Granddad! You smell!" "Nice, I hope?" "Oh NO!!!" A Gallic Shrug seems somehow unappropriate . .
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes — but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

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#2134379 - 08/17/13 02:27 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11579
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Jean-Luc
Hey Heystring smile
I honestly do not believe that I am sitting to close (emphasis on "believe"). I based my sitting distance on the recommendations in Faber's Adult method (back straight but not overly so, shoulder relaxed, the knuckles barely reach the fall board). So basically, while I don't have to lean forward to play, my elbows "fit" between the keyboard and my belly.
On the other hand, you might have a point with the parallelism problem, I must admit that I tend to keep my knuckles aligned with the keyboard and that might indeed be a problem frown

The guidelines Faber is a good place to start, and I started with something similar, but later I learned more once I had a chance to work with a teacher. There are things you don't think about. One thing is the very idea of a "position" as though we are posed rather than constantly moving. So see what happens when you angle your hand differently rather than "parallel" to the keyboard. Place your hand on various locations of the keyboard and see what leaning in and out or side to side or all of that does. You have joints in your wrists, elbows and shoulders, and you can rock on your sit bones, and feel the gravity in your feet. These are all things I'm still working with and I'm far from hatched out of my old cement case (metaphorically I had one).

or to quote a wise and poetic man
Originally Posted By: peterws
I think advise isn`t appropriate here. You gotta feel it, man! Go with the flow, move around a bit . . .some stuff will be so high up the keyboard, you`ll just have to, ...

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#2134401 - 08/17/13 03:31 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 1986
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Being hopelessly dyslexic. I sit behind the keyboard. Works out pretty good.
Sitting to one side doesn't work too good.
Sitting in front of the keyboard results in pieces being played backward. Have you ever heard a Beethoven Sonata played backward? HHHHhhhhhhuuuuuuuuummmmmmm? smile
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2134404 - 08/17/13 03:36 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
stumbler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/10
Posts: 280
Loc: Toronto

(I am not a piano teacher.) The centre of the piano is actually close to the F above middle C. But I think the ideal place to sit depends on the particular piece.

It wasn't clear from your post if you actually asked your teacher, or if you only varied your position to see if she would comment.

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#2134407 - 08/17/13 03:39 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: rnaple]
stumbler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/10
Posts: 280
Loc: Toronto

rnaple, some people recommend memorizing a piece backwards and forwards. wink
_________________________
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#2134418 - 08/17/13 04:03 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4784
Loc: Seattle area, WA
I was taught to sit roughly in the center of the keyboard and to move my position as needed whether that means shifting my bottom to the right or left or just leaning. I wouldn't pay too much attention to position. Just sit where it works.
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Best regards,

Deborah

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#2134424 - 08/17/13 04:13 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4219
Loc: Arizona.

When I play piano, I crank my adjustable bench up fairly high. This way my thighs fit very snugly between the bench and the bottom of the piano. It also places my arms/hands at a very comfortable height above the keyboard.

Because my thighs are wedged in pretty tight, I can place my left toe pad on the ground while lifting my left heel up a bit and literally 'lock' myself into the bench/piano combo. We now all become one.

Because of this, I can literally lean WAYYY to the left or right (bass/treble) of middle C and feel very comfortable and secure while doing it.

Is this correct or frowned upon? who knows but I firmly believe that the best way to do something is the way that suits you (as an individual) best. Since the proof IS in the pudding, if I can play with better results this way as opposed to the 'proper' or 'correct' way, then I will. And I do. Peterws is right in that you have to feel it.

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#2134446 - 08/17/13 05:11 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
I always sit right opposite middle D but as I have become more comfortable, and reduced tension, I will shift my upper body was necessary ("lead with the head") and use that as a balance point.

Bottom line, there's no magic single position for everyone.
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  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

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#2134475 - 08/17/13 06:16 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Daniel Corban Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/13
Posts: 214
Loc: Canada
From what I read, it doesn't matter much where you sit in relation to they keyboard. What matters is that you sit in the same position each time to help muscle memory when reaching for keys.
_________________________
Playing: Yamaha CLP-440

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#2134511 - 08/17/13 07:52 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Ahmediy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/13
Posts: 43
I go with how gooddog sits.
I start to sit around middle C and I move around and can end up more to one side depending what piece I play.
I would go with a wide seat so you can easily move to one side if you must.

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#2134686 - 08/18/13 06:17 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Okay, thank you all smile
I obviously knew that you can move during the playing, I was just wondering if there were a real reason behind the "middle D" smile
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2134728 - 08/18/13 08:54 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Middle "D" is central to the symmetrical pattern on the keyboard. The actual centre is between E and F on an 88 key instrument.

I never thought much about it until I got my Kawai CA95. Because the cheekblock control panel is on the left the maker's name is central to the cabinet not the keyboard so I was thrown a little until I realised what was wrong.

I rest my foot on the damper pedal and adjust my position until my nose ends up over E and F in the centre of the keyboard.

I place the bench far enough back and sit far enough forward on it that I can reach both ends of the keyboard with the opposite hand while holding down the middle keys with the other. I like to sit symmetrically with the pedals, not to either side.
_________________________
Richard

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#2134752 - 08/18/13 10:05 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11579
Loc: Canada
Dunno, it seems to me that the three pedals span roughly from A below middle C to G above middle C, which puts me at D4. If so, doesn't that place you at D4, so that when you stick your feet out for the pedals you are physically balanced?

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#2134770 - 08/18/13 10:41 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I only have one foot on the pedals. smile I don't know or care whether it's symmetrical. It's right of centre. As is my playing position compared to the cabinet, but bang on compared to the keys, my reach and my peripheral vision.

On the Kawai the pedals are under G (ish), midway between D and Eb, and G again, which is central to the cabinet.
_________________________
Richard

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#2134771 - 08/18/13 10:43 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7514
Loc: New York City
Why is it necessary to be so exact about these fractions of inches? Sit down roughly in the middle of the piano, depending on the piece you're playing, and adjust as necessary during the performance.
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Polyphonist

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#2134775 - 08/18/13 10:46 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7514
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I only have one foot on the pedals. smile

What if you need to use more than one at a time? wink
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2134779 - 08/18/13 10:54 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Polyphonist]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I only have one foot on the pedals. smile

What if you need to use more than one at a time? wink
I use my other foot!

It isn't necessary to be so exact about these fractions of inches, you know. I just down roughly in the middle of the bench and play!
_________________________
Richard

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#2134848 - 08/18/13 01:43 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: zrtf90]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11579
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I only have one foot on the pedals. smile I don't know or care whether it's symmetrical. It's right of centre. As is my playing position compared to the cabinet, but bang on compared to the keys, my reach and my peripheral vision.

I care about symmetry because I want to be well balanced, because I am working my way out of a cement case (metaphorically speaking) and being well grounded is part of that. This is something I experimented with for exactly that reason, and concluded that being in the center of the three pedals is the best place to be. And don't you sometimes use both the soft pedal and the sustain?

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#2134891 - 08/18/13 03:29 PM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: keystring]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I like to sit symmetrically with the pedals, not to either side.
This was bad editing on my part and not my intent at all.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I only have one foot on the pedals. smile I don't know or care whether it's symmetrical.
This is my view.

Originally Posted By: keystring
... and concluded that being in the center of the three pedals is the best place to be. And don't you sometimes use both the soft pedal and the sustain?
Being in the centre is the best place to be. I'm more concerned about being in the centre of the keyboard than for the pedals. I use the damper often enough that I want it under my foot. But my weight is on the bench not my feet. My upper body is symmetrical around E and F.

I use the soft pedal periodically and would be not overly concerned if it was the leftmost part of the piano. Chronic injuries occur not from doing something wrong now and then but from repeatedly spending time in a state of stress or strain.
_________________________
Richard

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#2135169 - 08/19/13 02:58 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Jean-Luc
(before someone ask "What do your teacher think ?", she didn't care where I sat, how high or low, how close or far...


That's an indication that neither should you wink . Good teachers, in teaching piano lessons, focus on the proverbial forest and, only as necessary, on the trees themselves. If up until now you've been comfortable with wherever you've been seated, why fix what's not broken? Make adjustments to accommodate yourself and maintain comfortable and control when and as necessary (just watch how much this pianist moves wink : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z_LNgzc-e0). Just like piano technique, where and how one sits is highly personal and shouldn't be worried about unless there's immediate or delayed risk of injury.

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#2135199 - 08/19/13 06:07 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Bobpickle]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
Originally Posted By: Jean-Luc
(before someone ask "What do your teacher think ?", she didn't care where I sat, how high or low, how close or far...


That's an indication that neither should you wink . Good teachers, in teaching piano lessons, focus on the proverbial forest and, only as necessary, on the trees themselves.


She also didn't care when my hand started hurting rather badly and I told her. Her answer, keep playing, it will get better... And it didn't, and I ended up having to stop playing for a couple of months until it get better.
There is a rather big difference between letting the little things go because they are unimportant and just sit and wait for the the lesson time to be over and cash the money.
Do not get me wrong, they are most certainly very good teachers around, people who care for their students and do their best to help them reach their goal, playing the piano.
But they are bad teachers too, and I think my teacher belonged to this category (I speak in the past because she moved 400 kilometers from here and isn't my teacher anymore).
I have noticed that for a lot of people on the forum your teacher is a half-god you must blindly follow, never ever questioning him/her but it's not something I can easily do, I am not very good at worshiping.
I am of course aware that you move while playing (not so much when you are a beginner though since you mostly play around the central octave) so I was more interested in knowing if there were any good reason to use central D as home base since, when you play mostly around central C it's not the most comfortable place to be. Yes, I might be overly cautious, but with the problems I have already had, I have to smile


Edited by Jean-Luc (08/19/13 06:15 AM)
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2135249 - 08/19/13 09:13 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11440
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Jean-Luc

I have noticed that for a lot of people on the forum your teacher is a half-god you must blindly follow, never ever questioning him/her but it's not something I can easily do, I am not very good at worshiping.
This is a problem. As a teacher, I have encountered students who have been burned previously by a bad teacher. They are gun-shy and very reluctant to trust me even though I have done nothing to earn the distrust. At least with a student who has never had a teacher they start out with that healthy level of trust to be able to learn. I try to live up to that trust. However, I love it when students ask questions - not out of doubt, but out of curiosity. Also, I cannot always tell when a student is feeling something like pain or fatigue. There are telling signs for tension, but unless things are communicated to me, I may have no way of knowing. So I (and most good teachers I know) encourage interaction and communication, and even questioning. And with matters of injury, this is *not* something that just goes away. A teacher who refuses to address this does not know how to.
_________________________
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#2135259 - 08/19/13 09:38 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Morodiene]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Hello Morodiene smile
First of all, I really have to emphasis that I don't have anything against piano teacher in general and I am absolutely convinced there are very good ones (and possibly the majority of them).
But you are right to assume that if I ever get another teacher (something I hope to do in the future, when my hands are healed enough to be worth it), it will take a few lessons before I trust him/her.
I actually asked a lot of question, simply because playing the piano has been a dream of mine for a long time before I could actually afford it and I wanted to do things as well as possible right from the beginning, even if it meant going progressing more slowly. But I got only very evasive answers (all was okay, my technique was good, my posture was good, the pain would fade away...) so obviously I started to doubt, I even started to do things I knew to be wrong on purpose to see if she would correct me and she didn't, so yes, trust went away too.
I believe your last sentence is a good description of the problem: my teacher is a very good pianist but she never actually learned to transfer her knowledge and more importantly not to adult student who have a much harder time to simply mimic what they see the way a young kid would but also want to know "why".
I think the sentence you quoted was really motivated by the fact that it often sounds as if there would be no bad teachers, only bad students. The reality is you can find both, and if you start to think "my teacher can't be wrong so I am necessarily bad", you do nothing in life smile
_________________________
- Please, forgive my bad English smile

Jean-Luc

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#2135275 - 08/19/13 10:16 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Jean-Luc]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11440
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Jean-Luc

I think the sentence you quoted was really motivated by the fact that it often sounds as if there would be no bad teachers, only bad students. The reality is you can find both, and if you start to think "my teacher can't be wrong so I am necessarily bad", you do nothing in life smile
Well, I do think self-reflection is always good before blaming others for problems you're having. But of course, if you are doing what your teacher tells you and it's not getting better or going away or whatever it is they said should happen, then the blame falls on them. All too often, students (and teachers!!) are quick the blame the student for a lack of progress, and this is what I feel goes nowhere fast. A good teacher will try to find a way to make the progress, a way to reach the student, a way to help them solve their problems. When all is exhausted, then you can blame the student and suggest they move on. smile
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2135288 - 08/19/13 10:37 AM Re: Sitting location ? [Re: Morodiene]
Jean-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 322
Loc: France
Morodiene, belive me, I did question myself a LOT first, that's also why I asked so many question, to try and find what I was doing wrong. What make me consider my teacher to be a bad teacher is the fact that she never ever offered any kind of answers (btw, if you except the injuries, I was progressing very well according to my teacher I was ahead of most of her third year student after only 3 months, so my judgement isn't based on a lack of progress, but only a lack of assistance on her side).
If you can't answer one question, it's okay, two it can still be okay, if you can't answer any and always remain evasive, then something is wrong, at least that's how I see things smile (I am talking about technical questions of course, not "how long will it take before I can play that" or things like that but basic questions smile
(not related to the teaching skills, but when a teacher always arrive 5 to 10 minutes late to a 30 minutes lesson and never offer to compensate by adding a few minutes at the end, then at least for me, it tells a lot about this teacher ethical standard smile )


Edited by Jean-Luc (08/19/13 10:47 AM)
_________________________
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Jean-Luc

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