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#2151853 - 09/17/13 04:04 AM Re: How to help student who only has (cheap) 61-key keyboard? [Re: Gary D.]
musicpassion Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1040
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: musicpassion
If I had to choose between the two I'd pick the piano... maybe lightning would strike the house and zap some life back into it smile

The main idea is that you would hope each student has the best instrument the family could afford, right? And you would help educate each family to understand what a better instrument means, but you would not push them to get a better instrument until they had the money to do so, I think...


Correct.
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#2153122 - 09/18/13 04:06 PM Re: How to help student who only has (cheap) 61-key keyboard? [Re: musicpassion]
hippido Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/08
Posts: 114
Loc: SoCal
Hello red_rose,

Have you asked the parents if their goal for their daughter to learn how to play piano or to learn music?

Several years ago, when my son started on his "musical" adventure, our goal was for him to learn "music" using the piano as an instrument, and not necessarily for him to be a piano player.

He is becoming a decent piano player, but we would have just as happy if he plays chords on one hand, and melodies on the other hand, and enjoys doing it....

So, as a parent, I suggest that you teach her how make beautiful music using the available tool, in this case, a "cheap" 61-key keyboard. More importantly, teach her how to appreciate and enjoy music. And if she does, you would have given her a lifetime worth of joy.

Don't get too hung up about what tools one must have to make "music".

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#2153222 - 09/18/13 06:20 PM Re: How to help student who only has (cheap) 61-key keyboard? [Re: red-rose]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 428
Loc: Vancouver BC
Pianists tend to look down at keyboards.

Keyboard and Piano are 2 different instruments, a high end keyboard is no cheaper than many of the pianos. Under capable hands, a keyboard makes beautiful musics.

Compare with the 300 years of history of piano, keyboard is still in it's infancy. Many piano teachers cannot play/teach keyboard to a high level, and unfortunately some of them just dismiss it as a valid instrument.

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#2155533 - 09/22/13 01:07 PM Re: How to help student who only has (cheap) 61-key keyboard? [Re: Gary D.]
SueKZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/09
Posts: 97
Loc: Colorado
One thing I have noticed is that some students I have that use keyboards....have issues using the pedal. So we just work on pedal during the lesson on my acoustic piano more. Also, they tend to get confused about hand positions and finding the correct note...e.g. Middle C vs C an octave below. It's not optimal, but they get it figured out after awhile. I have helped a few parents find pianos, after it becomes apparent the student is going to stick with playing piano.
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#2158270 - 09/26/13 09:10 PM Re: How to help student who only has (cheap) 61-key keyboard? [Re: AZNpiano]
bravoteddy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 5
Loc: midwest
I'm actually not teaching anymore right now, but I remember listing, on my studio policy sheet, the features and capabilities a digital piano would need to have to be 'allowable' for lessons with me (note: it never came to a test, though). I remember one 15-year old student who insisted he wanted to learn 'keyboard,' despite having a grand piano at home. No amount of explanations and questioning on my part would get him to accept that he was learning 'piano, which included keyboard.' [I think now he probably was just being funny/obstinate, although he really did want to learn 'keyboard.' He took lessons for a year, by the way.] Anyhow, I wonder how it would have worked out if I HAD taught 'keyboard,' as it were - I would have the student use their portable digital keyboard or the studio digital keyboard at lessons (practicing optional!). I imagine I would have illustrated all the cool features of the instrument and would teach various riffs and little songs. [Hindsight and dreaming is great, n'est-ce pas smile ?!]

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#2158476 - 09/27/13 08:35 AM Re: How to help student who only has (cheap) 61-key keyboard? [Re: bravoteddy]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: bravoteddy
I'm actually not teaching anymore right now, but I remember listing, on my studio policy sheet, the features and capabilities a digital piano would need to have to be 'allowable' for lessons with me (note: it never came to a test, though). I remember one 15-year old student who insisted he wanted to learn 'keyboard,' despite having a grand piano at home. No amount of explanations and questioning on my part would get him to accept that he was learning 'piano, which included keyboard.' [I think now he probably was just being funny/obstinate, although he really did want to learn 'keyboard.' He took lessons for a year, by the way.] Anyhow, I wonder how it would have worked out if I HAD taught 'keyboard,' as it were - I would have the student use their portable digital keyboard or the studio digital keyboard at lessons (practicing optional!). I imagine I would have illustrated all the cool features of the instrument and would teach various riffs and little songs. [Hindsight and dreaming is great, n'est-ce pas smile ?!]
Except that learning the different sounds and functions of the keyboard involves simply reading the manual and fiddling around on it to understand how it works. Every keyboard is different, so unless you happen to own or have worked extensively on that particular model, you can't really instruct them on the "features". All you can do is say something like "most keyboards have this function, read and manual and figure out how to do that."

This is pretty much what I'm doing with an adult student of mine who is very into recording his own music. I don't know his particular digital piano, but I read the spec sheet and know it's capable of recording onto 16 tracks as MIDI, things like that. But beyond that, I can't really help him.

Otherwise, teaching someone piano is teaching them how to play keyboard. The only difference would be use of pitch bend/modulation wheel, foot controllers (pedals used for volume, wah effects, etc.). However, these again are more of a "read the manual and fiddle with it" type of thing.

edited to add: Let's face it: most of these "keyboards" are not sophisticated ones. They're usually little more than toys, even by the keyboard world's standards.


Edited by Morodiene (09/27/13 08:36 AM)
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#2158494 - 09/27/13 09:17 AM Re: How to help student who only has (cheap) 61-key keyboard? [Re: Morodiene]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3214
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Except that learning the different sounds and functions of the keyboard involves simply reading the manual and fiddling around on it to understand how it works.



I think there is considerably more to it than that.

While implementation of keyboard features will vary from model to model, that's not what I would mean by learning keyboard.

Keyboards have built in chords, built in bass lines, huge assortments of rhythms and instrument voices (usually more than 100 of each).

Those can be effectively used to execute a musical performance, and it's far more involved than just playing the same Scarlatti piece you learned on piano but with the harpsichord button pressed.

To really use these tools effectively and musically takes as much skill as playing the piano well.

There are very few teachers who address this and most people are self taught, and the results are similar to those who self teach piano. On the rare occasion I've heard a keyboard player do this well I've been very impressed.

I would not expect the average piano teacher to know how to address these. Their task is primarily to teach piano skill, and this is more like teaching orchestration.

I would think there is a niche market for a keyboard specialist teacher.
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#2158502 - 09/27/13 09:42 AM Re: How to help student who only has (cheap) 61-key keyboard? [Re: TimR]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Except that learning the different sounds and functions of the keyboard involves simply reading the manual and fiddling around on it to understand how it works.



I think there is considerably more to it than that.

While implementation of keyboard features will vary from model to model, that's not what I would mean by learning keyboard.

Keyboards have built in chords, built in bass lines, huge assortments of rhythms and instrument voices (usually more than 100 of each).

Those can be effectively used to execute a musical performance, and it's far more involved than just playing the same Scarlatti piece you learned on piano but with the harpsichord button pressed.

To really use these tools effectively and musically takes as much skill as playing the piano well.

There are very few teachers who address this and most people are self taught, and the results are similar to those who self teach piano. On the rare occasion I've heard a keyboard player do this well I've been very impressed.

I would not expect the average piano teacher to know how to address these. Their task is primarily to teach piano skill, and this is more like teaching orchestration.

I would think there is a niche market for a keyboard specialist teacher.

And how do you teach using those built-in accompaniment functions if you don't know how to use that particular model? The student would HAVE to read the manual and bring their keyboard to the lesson, already knowing how to do this function. THEN you can teach them how to play better with the accompaniment. That is my point. While keyboards often have the same kinds of functions, knowing how to access them is a learning curve in itself.

I, too, would not expect the average piano teacher to know how to do this. One has to have worked on keyboards to know what is even possible. And again, the "keyboards" we're talking about here are certainly not the high-end or even mid-level instruments capable of this, but cheap instruments that are purchased or borrowed in an attempt to substitute for a real piano. My guess is the student in the OP is not really interested in "keyboarding".
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#2158516 - 09/27/13 10:10 AM Re: How to help student who only has (cheap) 61-key keyboard? [Re: Morodiene]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
My guess is the student in the OP is not really interested in "keyboarding".

Correct. smile
In fact, a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel - the dad was giving the daughter at hard time at the end of the last lesson about how much she practices (she practices more than 90% of my students! but of course everyone can always practice "more...") and he said something like, "We won't buy you a new piano until you show you are more committed to practicing more!" grin (Now we just have to get through the busy-ness of fall sports! sigh...)

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#2158566 - 09/27/13 11:49 AM Re: How to help student who only has (cheap) 61-key keyboard? [Re: Morodiene]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3214
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
And how do you teach using those built-in accompaniment functions if you don't know how to use that particular model?


It's not that big a deal. They don't vary that much, and are set up to be intuitive (other than the real high end models with performance chaining, etc.) Students don't have any trouble with this.

What IS a big deal is how to use the functions effectively to produce a musical performance. THAT'S what requires a knowledgable teacher. That's what turns the extra buttons from toys into artistic tools.

But it's not the goal of traditional piano lessons. Just like some of you teach jazz and others don't, teaching keyboarding is its own niche.
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