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#2185484 - 11/20/13 03:31 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Nikolas]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
However with this system, if Kreisler's piece hadn't arrived that student wouldn't have wanted to do scales. and that would be a huge loss and I a bad teacher???

AZ: She's the one I sent you the Chopin Prelude video in a PM...

I don't get how that would make you a bad teacher. Just for not teaching scales? Your student sounded fine.
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#2185487 - 11/20/13 03:54 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
mabraman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/12
Posts: 365
Loc: Valencia, Spain
I live with a whole family of teachers (wife and her relatives, they all teach) and it's always the same discussion.
Teaching well is very difficult, and you have to put your soul on it, but too many times that job is not a first choice in life, but a compromise instead.
I donĀ“t know how it works all around, but here there's no teaching degree in the Conservatory, anymore. There was a time when you had to be specially qualified if you wanted to teach at a pro level. Nothing ideal but something, at least.
Nowadays, you just have a glance at it (a couple of subjects, perhaps), complete your degree and start looking for pupils to earn some money (to pay the rent while you are in the university, or whatever).
I'm just a year old as piano student, and so far what I've seen is: "old school" teachers, poor methods (if any), hand-writers (no tablet or laptops in the room, scribbled sheets), not a clever use of e-mail, no clear short/medium/long therm goals, Hanon and Czerny everywhere...
A few days ago I met a music teacher from a public high school and we were talking about this much, and how I'm always searching for webs to build up my own practice method, and so on.
I asked him for a good book in spanish, that taught how to practice. There aren't! Yikes,teaching music is like a secret sect! smile
Luckily, us motivated adults can surf the net and fill the gaps, and some of us can even read in other languages but, what about the kids?


Edited by mabraman (11/20/13 03:56 AM)
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#2185488 - 11/20/13 04:02 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
However with this system, if Kreisler's piece hadn't arrived that student wouldn't have wanted to do scales. and that would be a huge loss and I a bad teacher???

AZ: She's the one I sent you the Chopin Prelude video in a PM...

I don't get how that would make you a bad teacher. Just for not teaching scales? Your student sounded fine.
Thanks...

It's just that she's missing the scales part of the practice and study all together (until recently at least).

Same with Mozart. she's played that Chopin prelude, yet just got her very first Mozart! So obviously my teaching is unbalanced to a point (though I AM aware of that... So at least I'm not ignorant).
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#2185493 - 11/20/13 04:14 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Nikolas]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
It's just that she's missing the scales part of the practice and study all together (until recently at least).

Same with Mozart. she's played that Chopin prelude, yet just got her very first Mozart! So obviously my teaching is unbalanced to a point (though I AM aware of that... So at least I'm not ignorant).

There is a difference between being an unbalanced teacher and a completely inept one.
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#2185496 - 11/20/13 04:31 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
It's just that she's missing the scales part of the practice and study all together (until recently at least).

Same with Mozart. she's played that Chopin prelude, yet just got her very first Mozart! So obviously my teaching is unbalanced to a point (though I AM aware of that... So at least I'm not ignorant).

There is a difference between being an unbalanced teacher and a completely inept one.

But who is balanced? And it is your definition or mine? Or someone else's?

Who gets to make the judgment?

That's what makes it all so difficult.
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#2185501 - 11/20/13 04:46 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
In my opinion, experience and life experience (being taught I mean) the far most important thing is for my students to LOVE piano. Scratch that: TO ADORE IT! This is why I've turned to a much more flexible teacher for the past couple of years.

I was taught Czerny, Bach, Haydn, etc... All of which are fine and dandy, only did not impress me at all. I would even argue that I ended up a composer, because of the lack of anything interesting to play.

I want my students to love piano, to love music and to sit on the piano bench when one is found in public! (which has happened in more than one occasion).

If the above works correctly, then the students on their own will visualize their limitations and attempt to fix them eventually.

This is far from a balanced plan, but it's the best I can think that works in the long run.

______________________________

Further explanation:

My wife and her sister, both got soloist diplomas in Greece (same that I did). Especially my wife's sister performed Rach 2 in her exams. Since then (about 15 years ago) she's not touched the piano ever again. My wife was lucky to find me, but her sister doesn't have me! laugh

This has made a big impact on me: How do you spend 15 years of your life, ending up playing Rach 2 and then ditching everything...

So forget balance, forget exams, forget scales until the students want them!
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#2185514 - 11/20/13 06:29 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
Nikolas, one thing that jumps out at me is that you are writing about different approaches from the angle of choice of pieces: Czerny, Haydn, scales etc. vs. a different choice of pieces or the fact of having a choice of pieces. Taking off from there:

A while back I talked with a (retired?) teacher who is not on PW and who had also been asked to observe lessons of different teachers as a kind of consultant, during his career. We were talking about teaching approaches, and also the history of it. He described a "traditional" approach he had seen, and it matches what I think you got.

In the old "traditional" that he described, it was almost as though the pieces did the teaching. You did Czerny, Hanon, etc. in a particular order, and then you "had" the skills you needed. Merely by doing those pieces, you had them. I suppose if the teacher was intuitive enough and could guide the student toward skills along the way, then this worked. But as he described it, often the teachers just said "Correct your rhythm", "improve measures 30 - 45" week after week - without the student having a clue how to do those corrections. The goal was all about making the piece sound right. It was focused on the piece.

An alternate focus is to consider what skills go into piano playing, what kind of mindset (how to approach the music, how to practice) that you want to foster, and what knowledge the student needs to have. How does one build on top of the other, and what can come in more randomly? Pieces are still in there, because you can't learn to read music unless you have music to read; you can't learn legato touch unless you play music that requires it. But it shifts. And I think at that point you also get that flexibility of repertoire because you are not locked into the old fashioned mindset that says a given chain of pieces in a given order will "teach".

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#2185579 - 11/20/13 09:41 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Nikolas]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1382
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
In my opinion, experience and life experience (being taught I mean) the far most important thing is for my students to LOVE piano. Scratch that: TO ADORE IT! This is why I've turned to a much more flexible teacher for the past couple of years.

I was taught Czerny, Bach, Haydn, etc... All of which are fine and dandy, only did not impress me at all. I would even argue that I ended up a composer, because of the lack of anything interesting to play.

I want my students to love piano, to love music and to sit on the piano bench when one is found in public! (which has happened in more than one occasion).

If the above works correctly, then the students on their own will visualize their limitations and attempt to fix them eventually.

This is far from a balanced plan, but it's the best I can think that works in the long run.



Nikolas, we are on a similar wavelength. It's a successful pedagogy for real life, beyond the conservatory.

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#2185580 - 11/20/13 09:44 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Nikolas]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1382
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
How do you spend 15 years of your life, ending up playing Rach 2 and then ditching everything...


Interesting question, but the situation is not unusual. Seldom explored, though, because there is a suggestion of failure behind the closing of the piano lid.

There are similar stories in all fields of endeavor. I suppose a more positive view is to say: life changes, and people change.

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#2185645 - 11/20/13 11:19 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Peter K. Mose]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
It seems to me that very few bad teachers probably know that they're bad.

This article may have some relevance. Or not, I've seen it work both ways:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1/?_r=0
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#2185656 - 11/20/13 11:37 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: TimR]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: TimR
It seems to me that very few bad teachers probably know that they're bad.


Yep. This is why it's so important to involve one's students in auditions, exams, or festivals where they're evaluated by a third party.

It's also important to remember this bit of advice I got from one of my professors in college:

Do not measure yourself by your worst students. They will find a way to fail despite a teacher's best efforts. Do not measure yourself by your best students. They will find a way to succeed despite a teacher's worst efforts. Measure yourself by the middle, because those are the ones for whom a teacher makes the most difference.

The trick is that transfer students can fall into any of those categories, and it's often difficult to tell which of those categories a student is in until you've worked with them a bit. Interviewing can help. Knowing something about the previous teacher can help. But there are no guarantees.
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#2185660 - 11/20/13 11:42 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
Troy 125 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/13
Posts: 161
It boils down to that saying - everyone's crazy except you and me, and I'm not so sure about you.


Edited by Troy 125 (11/20/13 11:44 AM)

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#2185666 - 11/20/13 11:48 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
There must be many subcategories of bad teachers.

One might not result in the student learning much of anything.

But another may be very good at imparting skills to the student, only the skills are incorrect or injurious. These hardworking and well-intentioned teachers learned the wrong or obsolete methods from their teachers, and do an unfortunately good job in passing them on.
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#2185667 - 11/20/13 11:49 AM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Kreisler]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Do not measure yourself by your best students. They will find a way to succeed despite a teacher's worst efforts.

While I agree with most of what your professor said, this part just doesn't ring true. When things aren't being taught (correctly, or at all), the student is not going magically know how to do things.

By "succeed," I want students to realize their full musical potential. A bad teacher won't be able to do that.
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#2185670 - 11/20/13 12:04 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
So who determines what is correct?
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#2185743 - 11/20/13 01:52 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
RG55 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 4
To AZN Piano:

What qualities do you pocess that makes you a superior teacher?

Do you think that maybe these transfer students have bad habits because they just don't want to do piano and are forced by thier parents? It's not always bad teaching. There are poor students as well.

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#2185755 - 11/20/13 02:17 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: RG55]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: RG55
To AZN Piano:

What qualities do you pocess that makes you a superior teacher?

Do you think that maybe these transfer students have bad habits because they just don't want to do piano and are forced by thier parents? It's not always bad teaching. There are poor students as well.
AZNPiano isn't online at the moment but I'll take a stab at answering...

First of all I do not understand what you mean with the word "pocess". Process perhaps? but it doesn't make much sense either.

In any case I don't think AZN is saying that he's a superior teacher (and knowing him personally I know that he doesn't brag), but that he can see so many missing things and knowledge to the transfer students that it's something that seems to be attributed to bad teaching.

Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss. If you mention sight reading and offer a level 1 work, that the student has no clue what to do with then there's obviously a problem that isn't a lack of studying, but a lack of offering the chance to the student to simply know about it...

If this makes any sense...
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#2185763 - 11/20/13 02:25 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Nikolas]
RG55 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/10
Posts: 4
possess not pocess, pretty easy to figure out....just a spelling error.


Edited by RG55 (11/20/13 02:28 PM)

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#2185764 - 11/20/13 02:30 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: RG55]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: RG55
possess not pocess, pretty easy to figure out....just a spelling error.
Sorry... I'm the last to talk about tpyos... smile Didn't think of that!
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#2185785 - 11/20/13 03:17 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: RG55]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: RG55
Do you think that maybe these transfer students have bad habits because they just don't want to do piano and are forced by thier parents? It's not always bad teaching. There are poor students as well.

I know that already. Don't forget about bad parents, too!
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2185786 - 11/20/13 03:19 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Nikolas]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss.

Ha! Remember the last time somebody brought that up? Apparently some teachers don't teach intervals.
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#2185788 - 11/20/13 03:25 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss.

Ha! Remember the last time somebody brought that up? Apparently some teachers don't teach intervals.

What DO they teach then??
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Polyphonist

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#2185804 - 11/20/13 03:56 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: RG55]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: RG55

Do you think that maybe these transfer students have bad habits because they just don't want to do piano and are forced by thier parents? It's not always bad teaching. There are poor students as well.

I addressed this, but it might have gotten lost in a too long post
Originally Posted By: KS
First item is the question when a transfer student comes in with difficulties: Is it due to the previous teacher? .... I think that AZNpiano is talking about the times when you can tell.

We've had stories of third year transfer students where every note has a finger number penciled in by the teacher, and the student can't read. Or what if a transfer student comes in clueless and lost, and is soon wowed by "how much she is learning"* and makes tremendous progress and continues to do so. Things of that nature.


* (referring to one story told in this thread)

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#2185814 - 11/20/13 04:13 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Polyphonist]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss.

Ha! Remember the last time somebody brought that up? Apparently some teachers don't teach intervals.

What DO they teach then??

Finger numbers?

Actually, students can get quite far without learning intervals. They can just learn the letter names and press down the correct keys. Obviously, the concept of M3 vs. m3 eludes them, and they won't gain an appreciation for why the melody sounds good, or why certain passages sound "ugly" on purpose.
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#2185821 - 11/20/13 04:24 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss.

Ha! Remember the last time somebody brought that up? Apparently some teachers don't teach intervals.

What DO they teach then??

Finger numbers?

Actually, students can get quite far without learning intervals. They can just learn the letter names and press down the correct keys.

Wow. I knew there were a lot of ignorant teachers, but are they really THIS ignorant? You've seen people that teach this way?
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Polyphonist

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#2185833 - 11/20/13 04:42 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: AZNpiano]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
What is the good for going to CM test and receive everything "Average" or less? So, we are going to focus for "Excellent" and "Good" in all areas. As far as theory test, anything less than 90% is considered "not good" in my standard. On the top of CM syllabus we also learn composition, reading sheet music, playing popular music etc as part of the curriculum.


That's all well and good, but what incentive do kids have for getting better than average? They still get the same certificate. Branch Honors is a complete joke. Even Convention Honors is a joke nowadays. By the time kids get to Panel, they're so busy with high school, they stop lessons altogether, or they stop doing Panel.

After some consideration, I pulled a couple of my more talented students out of CM this year because the program doesn't foster excellence; it promotes "passing." I try to tell my students' parents that CM is aimed at the average student, so if your kids are clearly above-average, then why would they do CM? Passing Level 10 doesn't mean the student is playing at level 10. It just means the student passed a test.


To answer your questions:
What incentive they get for being better than average? Answer is nothing but a "good job" from me, a well-rounded education in piano, a chance of not to hate piano in future (remember Nikolas sister in law who played Rach 2 and never touch piano again? I am trying to produce students who is opposite of that). I educate parents that CM is just a tool, it is "not everything" about piano education.

I am totally agree with you that the program doesn't foster excellence, but it promotes passing only. However, it is not my decision to pull any of my students out from the test just because I think so. I always educate the parents of what is my most honest opinions, and let them decide themselves.

So, no, they are not getting any tangible incentive to be better than average, mostly I educate them to value what is intangible because that is something that no one can grab away from them once they master a certain concepts.
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#2185841 - 11/20/13 04:52 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Minniemay]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
So who determines what is correct?


I really like your question. This is probably the best question asked in this thread.

I do not have the "correct" answer to your question, but I can offer my opinion:

What is the best meal plan?
--Paleo
--Clean eating
--Mediterranean
--Low fat
--Low carb
--Vegetarian
--Vegan
--Raw Food
--Gluten Free
etc......

Each of those meal plan sounds okay and standard to me. Problem is, would I be happy to be only vegetarian? Is my kitchen equip to cook only raw food? Can I get clean meat from my local grocery store if I opt for "clean eating"? All these has to come into factors. Sometimes I think a good teacher should have the recipe for all of these plans ready, present it to parents, have them choose from it and teach accordingly. A good teacher also should know the pros and cons of each plan and present it to parents without bias and have them decide themselves.
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#2185862 - 11/20/13 05:31 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Polyphonist]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

Wow. I knew there were a lot of ignorant teachers, but are they really THIS ignorant? You've seen people that teach this way?

Those are the realities, PP. This is why I was upset when you were suggesting that one should not bother teaching such students, because students taught this way will assume they have been learning properly, and won't understand why they are having problems with what the new teacher is giving them. It is not fair and it should not happen. That is why AZN started this thread.

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#2185871 - 11/20/13 05:51 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: ezpiano.org]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org

I do not have the "correct" answer to your question, but I can offer my opinion:

What is the best meal plan?
--Paleo
--Clean eating
--Mediterranean..................

I have an answer to your metaphorical question:

The counterpart to a teacher in your metaphor would be a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian. I would expect this person to understand how the human body works, how food works (nutrition), and I would expect this person to check my health and history and then apply that knowledge to my needs.

I can see a self-medicating individual grabbing a packaged diet at random, because he is an amateur taking stabs in the dark. But I would not expect a nutritionist to do so.

In the same way, a good teacher will have knowledge of what skills and knowledge are needed in order to play the piano, and will be observing her student while guiding and using that knowledge. Even if that teacher ascribes to a program, hopefully underneath it all, the teacher is using that knowledge as her actual guidelines for guiding the student.

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#2185912 - 11/20/13 07:21 PM Re: Bad Teachers [Re: Minniemay]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
So who determines what is correct?

I made the same point and was ignored...
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Need help picking a Beethoven Piano Sonata Slow movement
by oaklandraiders76
12/20/14 04:50 PM
What are some great ways to learn the blues?
by brucepiano
12/20/14 04:37 PM
Do you recommend an undercover on upright with Dampp-Chaser?
by thestar
12/20/14 03:56 PM
kawai model SA-8E upright
by EthanHawaii
12/20/14 02:28 PM
Piano Felt
by Modern Conner
12/20/14 01:37 PM
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