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#2242440 - 03/06/14 11:13 PM Comparison between western and asian music education
jiaenwong Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 8
Hi all!

I need to gather some information for my degree dissertation which about identifying essential piano playing techniques and effective practice methods for young ASIAN piano students.

Now my questions are:

1) What are the differences between Western and Asian music education? (maybe you as western piano teacher who are not clear about how is Asian music education, can just briefly talk about your experiences as piano teacher?)

2) What are the common weaknesses (playing techniques; learning attitude, process and etc.) in young Western piano students?

Hope the experienced piano teachers can participate in my investigation. And ya! I'm Asian grin will be very grateful for your answer. Thank you.

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#2242459 - 03/07/14 12:09 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Hi JJaen,

My studio gets a lot of students from various Asian countries with differing amounts of education before coming here. Not too many years ago, I had a really nice young lady, very hard working, from China. She wanted to prepare her level 9 exam, but when I read the syllabus, I realized that she really wasn't solidly prepared at level 7. We have the same problem in the USA, so what surprised me was the similarity, not the difference!

I find that most Asian students are better grounded in the classical period literature, with very little Romantic and almost no exposure to Twentieth Century or Impressionistic composers. I think that most American teachers attempt to expose students to a very broad range of styles, countries, etc., because of the richness which is available.

Our many S. California teachers probably get the most variety of Asian students, so perhaps they will chime in with impressions which are probably more accurate.

Regards and good luck,

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2242462 - 03/07/14 12:18 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Are you going to quote this forum in your dissertation?
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#2242497 - 03/07/14 03:23 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
That's a very broad topic for a dissertation. You should narrow it way, way down. Maybe how different cultures approach etudes?
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#2242540 - 03/07/14 07:59 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
I have participated in this type of information gathering for a dissertation a number of times.

The successful ones have used a more defined and precise survey form. Rather than the broad question (tell me all you know about education) the survey should focus on your hypothesis and ask what you really want to know, preferably in an easily scorable multiple choice format. For example, the question could read: In my experience, Asian students can be expected to maintain concentration for (pick one) <5 minutes> <15 minutes> <30 minutes> <45 minutes> <longer> Western students can be expected to maintain concentration for (pick one) etc.

That means you've done your homework, and you have an idea of what you're looking for, and you're asking questions designed to get the right information, and you have a basis for doing the statistical analysis.

Of course, you can't do it with just 2 questions. Each of your questions will become 10 questions when properly worded.

US graduate students don't usually start your dissertation with "I wonder if Asian and Western students differ?" We usually start with "I think Asian and Western students probably differ for the following reasons, and if so I should be able to measure this difference by asking these specific questions, and I will reject the null hypothesis only at a confidence level of p = .05."
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2242566 - 03/07/14 09:37 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11685
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Good advice, TimR. Not only will the OP get better more informed responses, but it will be more admissible information in your dissertation. It will make it seem less anecdotal.
_________________________
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#2242987 - 03/08/14 02:10 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
musicpassion Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 919
Loc: California, USA
I think we also need a more detailed definition of what a "western" student is. What about someone born in China but now studying in my studio here in US. What do we consider that student? Or how about a student whose parents moved to USA just before they were born? That student is US citizen but deeply rooted in Asian culture. For the purposes of this survey, what do I call my student family from Africa? Are they western students?

For those of us who teach in a melting pot community, these are all very real questions.
_________________________
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#2244029 - 03/10/14 03:15 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
jiaenwong Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 8
Let me make it clear, I'm sorry if I got everyone confusing. First of all, the above questions are NOT my research questions, my topic is to identify essential piano playing techniques and effective practice methods for young Asian piano students especially Malaysian (age range: 8-20 years old)in enhancement of performing skills. For your information, what I ask is just my intro and the topic will be further looked into and form the core of my study.

The incompatible qualities and standards of piano performance among today’s young Asian piano students comparing to the West have come to be a crucial issue today. From what I thought is because of the lacking of skills and knowledge in developing appropriate and effective piano playing techniques in Asian music education.

Lets narrow down into two countries (Malaysia and UK), from what I saw in Malaysia piano education, resistance to practice due to academic pressure is the attitude that most of the young piano students are currently habitually developing. Besides that, because of the different cultural background, West students always willing to share their thought in the learning process and participate in activities (for example, concert) to show what they can do. Way too shy to express themselves and stage fright are the main problems we can see in piano students in Malaysia.

I need reviews to support my thought. Arguments are also welcome.

@ezpiano.org : Yes! I will include this forum as online resources in my references list.

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#2244145 - 03/10/14 09:29 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: jiaenwong
Besides that, because of the different cultural background, West students always willing to share their thought in the learning process and participate in activities (for example, concert) to show what they can do.

How do you define "West"?

Does what I do in my piano studio count as "West"? If so, your idealistic vision of what happens in the "West" isn't happening.
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#2244153 - 03/10/14 09:46 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: jiaenwong
(I)dentify essential piano playing techniques and effective practice methods for young Asian piano students especially Malaysian (age range: 8-20 years old)in enhancement of performing skills.

This is a far different topic than the one originally presented. It seems to me that they are asking:

1) What techniques are required to be a successful performer (both playing and practicing)

2) What cultural barriers exist which prevent this

3) How to overcome these barriers
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2244161 - 03/10/14 09:54 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: AZNpiano]
jiaenwong Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 8
I already narrow it down into Malaysia and UK. UK and US are prominent in music education worldwide (refer to the exam board) so lets define the "West" as these 2 countries.

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#2244166 - 03/10/14 10:04 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: John v.d.Brook]
jiaenwong Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

This is a far different topic than the one originally presented. It seems to me that they are asking:

1) What techniques are required to be a successful performer (both playing and practicing)

2) What cultural barriers exist which prevent this

3) How to overcome these barriers


Yes you're right, these are some of my research questions that I need to further look into. Before that, I need to explain why I want to focus on young ASIAN (Malaysian) students but not just young students so I have to find out the problems in the Malaysian compared to West(UK and US, lets define like this). I asked for the differences so that I can compare and contrast the both side. Sorry if my questions were too broad.

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#2244174 - 03/10/14 10:21 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
The majority of music teaching in the United States is not based on exams. Most kids who take piano lessons are doing so for their own leisure, just like they take up dance, singing, tennis, and swimming. They don't progress very far, and they quit lessons before they get to Book 2A of the method books. The general attitude toward piano is that it's just another extracurricular activity.

Is this really what you want to be writing about?
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#2244185 - 03/10/14 10:43 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: AZNpiano]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Most kids who take piano lessons are doing so for their own leisure, just like they take up dance, singing, tennis, and swimming. They don't progress very far, and they quit lessons before they get to Book 2A of the method books.


Weirdly enough sometimes that's enough.

My daughter took one year of piano lessons before outthinking me and coming up with a schedule conflict that forced her to quit. I don't know what book she got to; she did practice but neither efficiently nor long.

And then years later I needed an extra ringer in my handbell choir, and it turns out she can read notes and count rhythms better than most of the experienced members.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2244186 - 03/10/14 10:44 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
jiaenwong Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 8
I believe that still having some students that can proceed to advance level right? From what I heard from my UK friends, yes! I knew that most kids taking piano lesson for leisure and it all come from their interest. They would like to learn piano by themselves. If they got motivation(for example, after watching a professional piano performance), they will discipline themselves in practice and move on to reach the goal. Which so much different with Malaysian, they learn because of their parents want them to learn. They are not interested in independent learning and tent to rely on teacher. They typically accepts the teacher's direction without asking question even if they are not sure what they are doing. Same thing comes to parents, they expect teachers to do everything for their children, all they want to see is the exam result that can satisfied them smirk

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#2244192 - 03/10/14 10:51 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: jiaenwong
I knew that most kids taking piano lesson for leisure and it all come from their interest. They would like to learn piano by themselves.

Which so much different with Malaysian, they learn because of their parents want them to learn.


I am not so sure this distinction is valid.

I'm in the US. I sent my kids to piano lessons because I thought it would be valuable for them, and most parents I know had the same reason. In many cases the kids were not convinced and dropped after the minimum time required.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2244200 - 03/10/14 11:03 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: TimR]
jiaenwong Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By: TimR

I am not so sure this distinction is valid.

I'm in the US. I sent my kids to piano lessons because I thought it would be valuable for them, and most parents I know had the same reason. In many cases the kids were not convinced and dropped after the minimum time required.


Okay maybe I'm too arbitrary, kids are too small to decide what they interested in except having fun around smirk Lets put kids aside, focus on the youngster, if they start learning piano between age range 8-20 years old.

Thoughts?

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#2244203 - 03/10/14 11:10 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5454
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: jiaenwong
If they got motivation(for example, after watching a professional piano performance), they will discipline themselves in practice and move on to reach the goal.

More often than not, after watching a professional piano performance, kids will just give up trying. That is the prevailing attitude out here in the "West." The concept of "effort" and "hard work" eludes most kids.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2244281 - 03/10/14 01:52 PM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
Joyce_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 191
Loc: Chicago
I think part of what you're saying is that Asian families tend to consider musical education as a requirement of overall education, and therefore, their children are signe up for piano lessons from Kindergarten through senior year of high school. I have had many of these students. There is no question of taking lessons. They come prepared. But most often there is no passion, no further interest other than the requirements stated in their current assignment, and therefore many of them never touch the piano once lessons stop upon graduation from high school. (I am not speaking of the future piano majors who excell, win competitions, and become passionate pianists.) I believe that if you consider the lessons as a requirement to get done each week and to wait out until they have run their course, compared to Western students who are more actively engaged in whether they take lessons or not, you would see a marked difference. This does not consider the separate issue of over-scheduled Western students and the myriad of issues there. But, rather just addressing the difference in how Asian families view music education.


Edited by Joyce_dup1 (03/10/14 01:53 PM)

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#2244524 - 03/10/14 11:46 PM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
jiaenwong Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/22/12
Posts: 8
Yes! Here came a clear point. Asian families always competitive, if their didn't send their child to music lesson, they will be left out(in other word, lose) because their friends are all in. When you talk to the parents about the value of music education, most of them will be - oh I don't care what is your teaching method, my child interested to learn it or not, I just want to get the certificate and show it to everyone. They just having one question all the time - when can my child go for exam? I want he/she reaching GD 8 faster.

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#2244532 - 03/11/14 12:26 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: jiaenwong
Yes! Here came a clear point. Asian families always competitive, if their didn't send their child to music lesson, they will be left out(in other word, lose) because their friends are all in. When you talk to the parents about the value of music education, most of them will be - oh I don't care what is your teaching method, my child interested to learn it or not, I just want to get the certificate and show it to everyone. They just having one question all the time - when can my child go for exam? I want he/she reaching GD 8 faster.


If this is all that they want, I see no problem of giving to my clients what they want.
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#2244691 - 03/11/14 11:36 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11646
Loc: Canada
Here is something that has always bothered me in terms of giving clients what they want, when the client is the parent. The person you teach, however, is the student. Does the parent know what is good for the student, and is what motivates the student of any importance? What if what the parent wants is harmful to the student and will get him to never play piano again once he is no longer forced? Does the student play no role in this?
-----------------
Expanding on this, perhaps another thing to check is continuance beyond lessons. What proportion of students are still playing the piano 10 years later?

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#2244712 - 03/11/14 12:26 PM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
It's hard to say how representative this stereotype is. For example, it is said that China has 30 million piano students. I wonder what percentage of them take exams. My impression is that it is a pretty small percentage. My impression is also that a large percentage of the students quit within a few years of study, a small percentage of parents will insist that the students keep going to lessons until the end of elementary school. It's hard to find students who still take lessons in high school. (All these information can be found in online Chinese news sites and parent discussion forums.)

So it won't be helpful to overly simplify or generalize any phenomenon.


Edited by childofparadise2002 (03/11/14 12:27 PM)

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#2244815 - 03/11/14 04:04 PM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: keystring]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1002
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Here is something that has always bothered me in terms of giving clients what they want, when the client is the parent. The person you teach, however, is the student. Does the parent know what is good for the student, and is what motivates the student of any importance? What if what the parent wants is harmful to the student and will get him to never play piano again once he is no longer forced? Does the student play no role in this?


KS, these are very good questions!!

What if what the parent wants is harmful to the student?
A: Parents are being warned by me and they think they know better than me. So far only one client did this. The son being force to go up to Level 8 in three years of studies. I warned the mom and she insisted. I gave her what she wants then later she told me she regretted. Younger son is now taking a slower pace.
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#2244817 - 03/11/14 04:06 PM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11646
Loc: Canada
Thank you for the answer, ezpiano. And I'm glad that the parent eventually saw the results of going against your advice, and is now accepting it.

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#2257076 - 04/05/14 08:32 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
Rebecca Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/13
Posts: 51
Loc: Sydney, Australia
I've been following this post with interest. It is probably little bit problematic to juxtapose Asian music education to Western music education because it imposes a number of generalizations, which can come across as offensive, implying stereotypes and too simplistic to be true. Yes, there are strict Asian tiger parents who demand strict, Asian tiger teachers, but tiger parents can be Western... then there are Asian students who want to study piano and are not forced, etc - you get the drift.

Jiaenwong, I live in Australia, I was born in Australia and I have lived there for all my life however my ethnicity is South-East Asian. Culturally, I am more Australian than Chinese, I struggle at even speaking basic Cantonese, and find German to be easier to learn.

I currently teach and have been teaching for about five years. I've come across a number of different students in my life, but strangely enough, very few of them are Asian. I don't know if it's because I am not fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin or Vietnamese, or if it's because I work in an area that contains people of a great variety of different backgrounds.

I have a few friends who are much more fluent in Chinese than I am, who live and teach in an area that is dominant in Chinese residents. They express a number of issues that I have very rarely come across in my teaching life. All of the children they teach are Chinese, and the studio that they work in seems to be rampant with tiger parents who are dissatisfied with the teacher's lack of 'toughness.'

One hot topic that is constantly spoken about over coffee is on children who start at the age of three of four, and their unsuitability to taking private piano lessons at that age. Besides this, another issue that is commonly spoken about is the idea of being tough - so tough that the student is a perfectionist. Excelling in grades, skipping grades, and getting good exam marks is another concern that I have heard about with teachers who mostly teach Asian parents. The aforementioned issue of students being forced into playing the piano is another hot topic that constantly gets reiterated too. One of my friends is very, very tough on the children she teaches, so tough that she talks about the many occasions she has made them cry.

I'm not trying to generalise, I'm just stating what I have heard from these two particular people who perhaps epitomise what it means to have an 'Asian music education' but I will acknowledge these two opinions are biased and anecdotal, not scientific.

I think the other thing that hasn't been discussed is the attitudes of music amongst Asian demographics. You see, my father never encouraged me to pursue music, and my grandmother on the same side has said the same thing, simply because of the fact that there is not a great demand for musicians to be in the workforce. I don't think this issue is exclusive to Asian populations, but I think it is not uncommon.
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#2258093 - 04/07/14 10:56 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: John v.d.Brook]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1951
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Hi JJaen,

My studio gets a lot of students from various Asian countries with differing amounts of education before coming here. Not too many years ago, I had a really nice young lady, very hard working, from China. She wanted to prepare her level 9 exam, but when I read the syllabus, I realized that she really wasn't solidly prepared at level 7. We have the same problem in the USA, so what surprised me was the similarity, not the difference!

I find that most Asian students are better grounded in the classical period literature, with very little Romantic and almost no exposure to Twentieth Century or Impressionistic composers. I think that most American teachers attempt to expose students to a very broad range of styles, countries, etc., because of the richness which is available.

Our many S. California teachers probably get the most variety of Asian students, so perhaps they will chime in with impressions which are probably more accurate.

Regards and good luck,

John


This seems to be most in line with my personal experience for a person born & raised in Japan. Cannot speak for other Asian countries and current situation in Japan too much though. There are differences among countries and I notice many things have changed at least in Japan. In my 7 years of piano study, we used Byer books (red yellow and blue), Czerny 30 & 100 collection of studies, book of sonatine (lots of clementi) and little bit of book of sonata. Students were not taught romantic pieces until after 6 or 7th years of study. I was just starting to get into romantic literature (Chopin preludes) when quit. So it is interesting to compare myself with others in the studio class (community college that had 18/19 yrs old and adults). People at my level (early advsnced / late intermediate) are amazed to see how quickly I read and put together Baroque and classical pieces. But I struggle with rubato and pedaling through intricate pieces. Because of my background, Schubert / Brahms are easier than Chopin of romantic composers. Romantic, impressionist and modern pieces seem to come much easier for them.
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#2258095 - 04/07/14 11:02 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1951
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
I also want to add. They don't use Byers any more in Japan. Now they put more emphasis on how to have fun with piano. Not so much tiger moms - it may be peculiar symptoms of Japan which seem to be lacking energies in these days. I don't see likes of tiger moms any more.
It's probably a good thing.
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#2258648 - 04/08/14 11:58 AM Re: Comparison between western and asian music education [Re: jiaenwong]
prenex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 189
Loc: Minnesota
I think the difference is cultural. Over here in the US students are given much more leeway in making choices. Asian methods are a little more restrictive.

I have a friend who went to music school in China. She says she had an instructor by her a couple hours a day teaching her how to practice. Over here in the USA it feels like the instructors lecture the kids, tell them what to do, and send them on the way. It is the parents' job to make the kids practice.

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Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
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Piano Tuning Database
by Sean Montgomery
30 minutes 35 seconds ago
POSTING PICTURES
by bluebilly
Today at 03:19 AM
Goedkope Nike Free Run 2
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Today at 01:01 AM
Portable Power Supply for Digital Piano?
by piccione
Yesterday at 11:45 PM
on revisiting Chopin Etudes
by Lingyis
Yesterday at 11:45 PM
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