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#2259446 - 04/10/14 12:54 AM Time to Switch Teachers?
PianoGamer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/10/13
Posts: 34
Hi all,

I apologize for the double post. I posted a question about switching teachers that may be more appripro for this audience so here it goes...

I'm a 35 yr old adult with a little musical knowledge as a kid, but no real technical training on the piano. I took up lessons with a wonderfully gifted teacher about a year and a half ago. She has a doctorate from USC and in her day was quite the pianist. The issue is that she is in her mid 70's and is a bit stubborn shall we say in the teaching methods she uses. I love hearing her stories and our conversation, but I'm wondering if there is a more efficient way of teaching out there. She uses the Thompson and Schaum method books, books that date back to the 40's. She tells me that when she was a kid she hated these books, but they teach fundamentals that I need to know and that once I get through these books, many classical pieces will be a piece of cake. I also have a technique book with scales, arpeggios, chord progressions, cadences, etc that we use to supplement the method books. I'm stuck on "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" from Book 2 (which I find a bit offensive lol) because it's such a big leap in difficulty for me from previous selections.

We also work on "fun" pieces, but I don't feel like I'm even at a level where I can make a success out of them. So far I've tried Chopin's Prelude in E minor (can get through most of it, but a few tough measures), Prelude in C minor (just started, but this seems like a big undertaking although I love it) and finally Waltz in A minor. I'm making progress on the waltz, but it is so slow and doesn't sound anything like a waltz at this point. =(

I guess I'd like to try someone that may offer a more modern technique. I don't know if I can hang in there with these Thompson method books, that are childish and jump in difficulty.

Does anyone have any advice? I just want to have small wins and it seems like the first year I was doing that consistently, but I've hit a wall of sorts and feel unorganized in my practice now.

Thanks in advance!

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#2259499 - 04/10/14 03:48 AM Re: Time to Switch Teachers? [Re: PianoGamer]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1317
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
It's possible that you have hit a wall in your progress that has little or nothing to do with your teacher - although she certainly does sound of the old school.

OTH a new teacher, preferably one experienced with adult beginners, might give you a lift.

You might finish out the academic teaching season with your present teacher, and then try someone else over the summer. If it clicks with teacher #2, stick with this person next year. If not, you might want to return to #1 in the fall.

Or you might want to have lessons with both of them, if everybody is cool with this.

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#2260010 - 04/10/14 10:25 PM Re: Time to Switch Teachers? [Re: PianoGamer]
hreichgott Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 897
Loc: western MA, USA
How long have you been working on those Chopin pieces? If it's been less than 4 months and you have them somewhat playable but slow and/or with problems, then I think you don't need method books any more and should just be on classical repertoire. If I were you I'd ask your teacher if you could please just play classical repertoire. She may suggest easier pieces than the Chopin -- there's plenty out there (Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, Beethoven Anh. 5, Clementi Op. 36 etc.)
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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