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#2170078 - 10/22/13 01:36 PM Is a teacher needed ?
Firas Kordi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/13
Posts: 25
Hi everyone , So I started learning piano from 2 months ago.What I did mostly in this period is getting used to the keyboard and learning some fragments of pieces using synthesia which are above my level (I admit I went wrong with this), but honestly am having lots of trouble with hand independence and especially sheet music reading (mostly note values and rhythm). That's why I thought about looking for a piano teacher thinking it became necessary.What didn't motivate me to get a teacher at the beginning is that i learned guitar (from 2.5 years) by my self and having one wasn't needed.
Anyway what I want to ask is what do piano teachers usually teach in private lessons (1 hour) , and can there be an alternative to a teacher (method books for example)?

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#2170102 - 10/22/13 02:35 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17844
Loc: Victoria, BC
How did you determine that you did not need a teacher for your study of guitar? What criteria have you used to judge that you have "learned" to play the guitar? How well do you play, and how is that level determined?

Much depends on what your goal in studying piano might be. If you want to learn efficiently and well, there is no substitute for a good teacher. Method books might be fine, to a point, but there is no interaction with method books;
- how do you correct mis-readings if you don't know you have misread?
- how do you correct time values and rhythm problems if you don't know they are wrong?
- how do you learn to adopt correct technique or even recognize and account for poor technique?
- how do you know when you have learned sufficiently well to move on?

Private teachers often teach in either 30-minute, 45-minute, or 60-minute lessons; it depends on the teacher and the age and level of the student.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2170104 - 10/22/13 02:40 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Playing the piano is one of the single hardest skills to master on the face of the planet. Perhaps [the] hardest skill is hitting a pitched baseball, because even the pros only have to do this 1 in 3 times to be highly successful. If you can find me a pro ball player who never had a coach, I will say you don't need a teacher. wink
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2170133 - 10/22/13 03:24 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4850
Like almost anything else, it depends on what standard you aspire to.

Can you play this on your guitar? http://youtu.be/oEfFbuT3I6A

If you can, and got to that standard without a teacher, I'd say you can develop hand independence and sight-reading on the piano without a teacher.

I learnt guitar by myself too, and have no problems accompanying myself in pop songs, and even play some simple classical pieces. But not Asturias.

If you only want to play simple chords to do some gigging stuff, you don't need a teacher. But if you aspire to much more - especially classical music, hand and finger independence, and sight-reading etc, you'll need a teacher.

It's very easy to pick up bad habits learning piano by yourself - it's not a natural thing to do, playing on black & white keys with forearms pronated.....

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#2170143 - 10/22/13 03:46 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
Firas Kordi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/13
Posts: 25
Sorry i forgot to point out that i've been playing on an electric guitar (which is somehow easier than classical guitar).
Anyway , my main goal on piano is to reach a level where i can play my favorite composers' pieces (chopin,tchaikovsky,debussy) so they are a high level to look up for , but I am trying a develop at the same time my compositional and musical side which I neglected on guitar ,(all what I did is learning songs and riffs) so reaching a musical level of the composers i mentioned (seems impossible though) is my biggest goal and dream.

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#2170154 - 10/22/13 04:14 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4850
Originally Posted By: Firas Kordi
Sorry i forgot to point out that i've been playing on an electric guitar (which is somehow easier than classical guitar).
Anyway , my main goal on piano is to reach a level where i can play my favorite composers' pieces (chopin,tchaikovsky,debussy) so they are a high level to look up for


You're really starting from scratch on piano in that case, as you haven't learnt to read music when you played the guitar.

The popular pieces by the three composers that are no more than intermediate in difficulty are Chopin's Nocturne in E flat, Op.9/2, Tchaikovsky's Barcarolle (June from The Seasons) and Debussy's Clair de lune. They all require complete hand independence, chord voicing, fluent arpeggio technique.....all things that you'd struggle to master by yourself, because what you hear on Youtube is impossible to reproduce on the piano without long hours working away at specific technical stuff.

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#2170188 - 10/22/13 05:36 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
You need a teacher! Even if you do most of your "learning" on your own, the teacher will set goals and force you to keep reaching higher.
_________________________
Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.

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#2170202 - 10/22/13 05:55 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2626
Loc: Netherlands
Always.
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Couperin pièces, Ravel tombeau de C

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#2170305 - 10/22/13 09:46 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
All I had to read was the thread title (and it IS all I read) to say, quite positively, "yes!"
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#2170332 - 10/22/13 10:38 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
AnneJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/10
Posts: 48
Loc: Toronto, ON
You can probably learn to read the notes and note values on your own.

BUT, you need a teacher for the rest. A teacher will help you choose appropriate level pieces that will challenge you but aren't too difficult. Your teacher will also correct your reading of the music and your technique. Your teacher will give you goals to work towards and check your progress. Definitely get a teacher!

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#2170376 - 10/23/13 12:37 AM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Firas Kordi, I have read your post, here:

Is a teacher needed?

Hi everyone , So I started learning piano from 2 months ago.What I did mostly in this period is getting used to the keyboard and learning some fragments of pieces using synthesia which are above my level (I admit I went wrong with this), but honestly am having lots of trouble with hand independence and especially sheet music reading (mostly note values and rhythm). That's why I thought about looking for a piano teacher thinking it became necessary.What didn't motivate me to get a teacher at the beginning is that i learned guitar (from 2.5 years) by my self and having one wasn't needed.
Anyway what I want to ask is what do piano teachers usually teach in private lessons (1 hour) , and can there be an alternative to a teacher (method books for example)?

__________________________

Firas, interesting post. I have a strange way of writing so please do not be offended by my writing and understand that it is my way of writing and I don't mean anything impolite.


As a beginner piano player, I couldn't afford a teacher. I had an awesome sax teacher when I was 40. He taught me that I must know the names of the notes in the piece and where to find them to play them on the sax / - but me now - of course - on the piano - before I play it. Because if I can't do that, I can't play the piece. My teacher taught me to be sure that I know the values of every note in the piece before I begin to play the piece because if I don't know the values of the notes, I won't know how long to play the notes and I won't know how the piece sounds. My teacher taught me to only play the piece so slowly that I don't make any mistakes because if I make a mistake, my brain will remember the mistake until I die or until I teach the brain the correct way to play the piece. So my teacher reminded me how important it is be careful when learning or playing a piece.

When I began playing the piano, I had no problems because I remembered what my teacher told me. I am now 64. It took me 6 months to be able to play hands together but because of what my teacher taught me, I would only play the pieces I learned with hands together and never learned any other pieces until I could play hands together slowly and as I said that took me 6 months to learn.

When the person is learning without a teacher, the person has to be their own policeman and be extremely careful and have absolutely the highest standards of play every moment of their life without one single except - and if the person can't keep that standard then the person would have to definitely have a teacher - no exception.

When you have a teacher, the teacher will tell you to listen to yourself when you play the instrument/piano. When my sax teacher told me that I didn't know really what he meant.

Now, at 64, I know exactly what the teacher meant because everytime I play anything on the piano, I can tell immediately that it is not perfect. So I have to live with my imperfections as all musicians do - but I tell you that so that you understand how high you have to keep the standard to be able to play a piano without a teacher.

cheers,

3B22TEA



Edited by Michael_99 (10/23/13 12:38 AM)

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#2170405 - 10/23/13 01:47 AM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 529
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Firas Kordi
my main goal on piano is to reach a level where i can play my favorite composers' pieces (chopin,tchaikovsky,debussy)


In this case you definitely need a teacher. There are rare exceptions, but in general one can only learn to butcher their works self learning.

And in the worst case you'll end up with some nasty strain injuries.


Edited by outo (10/23/13 02:20 AM)

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#2170418 - 10/23/13 02:45 AM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
sydnal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/13
Posts: 126
Note that I don't have a teacher and the following opinion might be total garbage.

/flame shield on

A 21st century individual who knows scraping useful data off the internet would be as safe on his own as in the hands of a bad or mediocre teacher. I think that applies to most topics e.g. I had better data on an ailment I had by examining health related forums and gathering statistics on what medicines/methods people use successfully in comparison to visiting physicians who would tell me to "use this drug for a few months and see if it works". So thanks internet, for the statistically significant data that you provide us.

/flame shield off
_________________________
Casio Privia PX-350
Alfred's Adult All-in-One Book 1 Graduate

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#2170447 - 10/23/13 04:55 AM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
drumour Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 848
Loc: Scotland
If you are "self-taught" then your teacher is, by definition, incompetent. That there are innumerable incompetent teachers out there is irrelevant - you are simply one of that number. For most people who want to achieve competence efficiently and without physical risk, a proper teacher is a sine qua non.


John
_________________________
Vasa inania multum strepunt.

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#2170460 - 10/23/13 05:51 AM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
Firas Kordi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/26/13
Posts: 25
How do I determine if a teacher is good? my only obstacle now to getting a teacher is that the conservatory here requires 100 AED (almost 30-35$) to sign in , then 50$ each lesson. So I should be aware about the teacher and his competence. I didn't meet him yet so I don't know what to do so I get an idea about his efficiency. (hmm the teacher's nationality is Russian ,I don't know if this piece of info is useful by any means).

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#2170514 - 10/23/13 08:39 AM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Firas Kordi]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11445
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Firas Kordi
How do I determine if a teacher is good? my only obstacle now to getting a teacher is that the conservatory here requires 100 AED (almost 30-35$) to sign in , then 50$ each lesson. So I should be aware about the teacher and his competence. I didn't meet him yet so I don't know what to do so I get an idea about his efficiency. (hmm the teacher's nationality is Russian ,I don't know if this piece of info is useful by any means).
Nationality doesn't play any part in how good they are. I've known bad Russian teachers and good ones - like other nationalities.

First, talk with your teacher before you schedule your first lesson. Some will do an interview in person - that is best for both parties. Ask if they teach adults, as some do not. Right now, you need someone who will work with a beginner, and give you a good foundation. There are some teachers who only like to work with/only work well with advanced students. You aren't ready for that kind of teacher yet, so ask them if they teach beginner adults. Let them know your aspirations and ask them how they can help you get there.

Ask them how long they've taught, if they have any degrees, if they belong to any guilds, etc. These things don't matter as much as the answers to the above questions, but they can help to add to the overall picture. You can ask if they have an upcoming recital you can attend. Get a feel for the ability of the students overall - do they seem prepared (in general) for the recital? Do they play with relative ease? Do the pieces sound like they should? Things like that. There will always be exceptions - both exceptionally good and bad - but getting an overall sense of what the studio is like is good. Just be prepared, you will probably see lots of children playing. Don't let that get to you.
_________________________
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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#2170526 - 10/23/13 09:17 AM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: sydnal]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 529
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: sydnal
Note that I don't have a teacher and the following opinion might be total garbage.

/flame shield on

A 21st century individual who knows scraping useful data off the internet would be as safe on his own as in the hands of a bad or mediocre teacher. I think that applies to most topics e.g. I had better data on an ailment I had by examining health related forums and gathering statistics on what medicines/methods people use successfully in comparison to visiting physicians who would tell me to "use this drug for a few months and see if it works". So thanks internet, for the statistically significant data that you provide us.

/flame shield off


Not into flaming really wink

But I would like to add that even a not so good teacher can SEE what you are doing with your hands, how you are sitting and how you are moving, which you cannot do yourself. They can also HEAR your playing much better than what you do when you play yourself. It can make a huge difference. I am not a teacher, but often when I see someone playing even I can spot things that should be corrected.

It is not the same to record yourself, because you cannot spot and correct the problems immediately, which is the efficient way in learning.

The only kind of teacher that is quite useless is the kind that will give you assignments, listen to you play them and only comment when you play a wrong note...


Edited by outo (10/23/13 09:18 AM)

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#2170809 - 10/23/13 06:52 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: outo]
Tararex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 408
Loc: Middle Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: outo
Originally Posted By: sydnal
Note that I don't have a teacher and the following opinion might be total garbage.

/flame shield on

A 21st century individual who knows scraping useful data off the internet would be as safe on his own as in the hands of a bad or mediocre teacher. I think that applies to most topics e.g. I had better data on an ailment I had by examining health related forums and gathering statistics on what medicines/methods people use successfully in comparison to visiting physicians who would tell me to "use this drug for a few months and see if it works". So thanks internet, for the statistically significant data that you provide us.

/flame shield off


Not into flaming really wink

But I would like to add that even a not so good teacher can SEE what you are doing with your hands, how you are sitting and how you are moving, which you cannot do yourself. They can also HEAR your playing much better than what you do when you play yourself. It can make a huge difference. I am not a teacher, but often when I see someone playing even I can spot things that should be corrected.

It is not the same to record yourself, because you cannot spot and correct the problems immediately, which is the efficient way in learning.

The only kind of teacher that is quite useless is the kind that will give you assignments, listen to you play them and only comment when you play a wrong note...


I agree with both of the above. After 2.5 years of self-teaching - by which I mean digging through the interwebs for advice, videos and whatever provides answers, my training has advanced satisfactorily. I have no tension problems, sight reading is reasonably good, no hand-independence issues - and I can tear through a standard sonatina or easier bagatelle from unknown to polished in about two weeks. All's good - thus far anyway.

But lately I'm encountering pieces that require a more advanced technique. I can see that further advancement requires oversight and feedback which is impossible without a teacher. There's a limit to how far you can advance by yourself when the trail is as complex and obscure as learning piano.
_________________________

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#2170912 - 10/23/13 11:17 PM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Tararex]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
A lawyer or a teacher are only as good as the client/student.

The best lawyer can't win a case if the client doesn't follow his instructions. The best piano teacher on the planet cannot help a student who doesn't follow the piano teacher's instructions.

And if you have ever taught a class of students of any age, only a small number of students will follow the teacher's instructions. Usually the brighter students will follow the teacher because they know of what the teacher speaks but people who are less bright often look for shortcuts because they are having trouble and can't believe they have to know the stuff they are being asked to learn or they think there is a better way that is cheaper and easier - and, of course, it is a long way home to a destination never reached - sadly!


And conversely, if a client is honest, the judge and jury will see that the lawyer is not very good but know the client is honest and the client will win the case in spite of the lawyer he has.

So, too, if a student has a teacher or no teacher but is anxious to learn how to play the piano, the student knows just enough to realize the shortcoming of his teacher and or has no teacher and seeks other good resources to keep them on track of their journey.

And that is why life is so awesome because ones limitations are only limited by the person's determination to reach their goal allowing nothing to block their way - except their premature death!

cheers,

3B23END


Edited by Michael_99 (10/23/13 11:20 PM)

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#2171623 - 10/25/13 02:27 AM Re: Is a teacher needed ? [Re: Michael_99]
Tararex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 408
Loc: Middle Georgia, USA
I'm not quite certain what point you are attempting to make.

Twelve years of my professional career were involved in education development, instructor management and classroom instruction. I am well aware of both student and teacher limitations. These include considerably more than level of determination.

If only a small number of students are following directions then the correct answer is that something is seriously wrong with the training. The problem(s) needs to be sorted out through objective review and deficiency correction. In simplest terms it is usually a bottleneck or stoppage in one or more resource that affects training success. Time (I work and can't practice!), money (No or poor equipment!) or access (No decent teachers in local area!) are the big three speed bumps to progress. Look through the "problems learning" posts on these threads and you will usually see a relationship to one or more.

As task activities increase in complexity it follows that granularity and specificity of teaching objectives must also advance. Yes, it's great that some (including myself) with an understanding of basic education principles or who are goal oriented may often tough out self-training for a limited time. My point is that when personal limits are reached a specialist must be consulted for further advancement. I will agree that a percentage of piano educators fall short, but that's a feedback loop on the access chain. In real life, we try to find a better teacher.

So, yeah, after all this blathering - it's tough but still cool when we manage to progress with resource failures speedbumping the road.
_________________________

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