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#2309859 - 08/01/14 04:02 PM Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why?
alans Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/12
Posts: 84
I decided this past week after six months with the same teacher that I need to fire him now. I'm just fed up with the lousy treatment I'm getting. Not only is my thirty minute lesson never longer then 25 minutes, but I keep getting passed on to this total loser because my teacher is too busy doing other things like squeezing in extra students to make more cash. It's just a miserable situation.
But while I feel good about this, it has been extremely difficult to find a new teacher. There are three well-known academies that I could approach, but one is insanely expensive
(all piano teachers are 100.00 an hour and you can't take a lesson for shorter then that!), and the other two don't start registering people until the fall. So I scoured Craig's list and another site and there are so many strange characters out there that I really started to despair.
I think I finally found someone who sounds decent.

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#2309861 - 08/01/14 04:05 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
alans Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/12
Posts: 84
My question is...did you decide at some point to sack your own teacher and why?
I kept getting placed with this replacement teacher who after each piece I played would comment, very good, or not bad..or coming along. And that was it!I just felt fed up with the soddy and unprofessional treatment. It was very clear that the studio I was studying in was only interested in making money.No body works for free, but there has to be some integrity and respect in music lessons.

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#2309888 - 08/01/14 05:09 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 416
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: alans
I keep getting passed on to this total loser because my teacher is too busy doing other things like squeezing in extra students to make more cash. It's just a miserable situation.


Sounds like you are learning in a factory. Have you ever considered private lessons with teachers who teach out of their own home or studio?

http://www.mtna.org/parent-and-student-resources/choosing-a-music-teacher/
_________________________
La musica non č mai finita, solo abbandonata.
RCM Level 6 | Concone: Etude in C major | Filtz: An Ancient Tale | Schumann: Waltz in A Minor |

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#2309897 - 08/01/14 05:37 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
alans Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/12
Posts: 84
You're right it was exactly like a factory. Most of the teachers I've contacted through online search sites teach out of their own homes, or come to your home.
A lot of people are out of town now or are going out of town. Then there are the
teachers who teach-piano, voice,flute, trombone,timpany. I really prefer to
avoid them.

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#2309901 - 08/01/14 05:46 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
You definitely are in your rights to fire your current teacher. Unacceptable.


With those teachers that charge $100/hour, can you see them every other week? What were you paying your current "teacher"? If they are teaching 30 minute lessons, that might be your first clue something's up. You really can't get a good amount of teaching in that time, and unless there is a particular reason for it, adult students need at least 45 minutes. I prefer an hour. While I don't charge $100/hour, I do have some students who can only afford every other week, or feel they can make enough progress on their own that this suits their schedule better. Check that out.

You don't say where you are, but you may also want to get in touch with your local MTNA chapter and ask for referrals. The MTNA website does a teacher search but only lists those who are certified which is only a fraction of the good quality teachers that belong to this organization.

Keep searching, and be patient. At this point having no teacher at all is better than a bad one.
_________________________
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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#2309904 - 08/01/14 05:51 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
alans Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/12
Posts: 84
Thank-you for your helpful comments.much appreciated. I'm always interested in
hearing about this ideas for 45 minutes because I'm an adult and I find it
really tiring to concentrate for that long a period of time after working a full day on the job. So I've been happy with thirty minutes. But many teachers suggest
forty-five, why do you think that is better?
the school that charges 100.00 is the Royal Conservatory of Music which is located a few short blocks from where I work in Toronto.I just discovered that
there is a small group of their teachers who will teach you biweekly and all
teachers teach for thirty minutes if that is requested,so if I can't find anyone
else I'm going to go for thirty minutes lessons every two weeks. I really need
weekly lessons but I just can't afford fifty dollars a week right now.Morodiene
can you please tell me which book you use for your absolute beginners? i spoke
with one teacher who is a Juliard and Eastman grad(I'm not going with him
because even though he only charges 40.00 an hour, he insists on hour lessons),and he said it is inadvisable to use Faber. I was very surprised by that.


Edited by alans (08/01/14 05:53 PM)

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#2309907 - 08/01/14 05:54 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
alans Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/12
Posts: 84
The other thing about the two teachers I've had in the past year, is that I find
*they* run out of things to teach by thirty minutes and it makes me really uncomfortable. I hope that is a reflection on their lack of skill rather then mine but it has happened to me twice.

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#2309921 - 08/01/14 06:20 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: alans
Thank-you for your helpful comments.much appreciated. I'm always interested in
hearing about this ideas for 45 minutes because I'm an adult and I find it
really tiring to concentrate for that long a period of time after working a full day on the job. So I've been happy with thirty minutes. But many teachers suggest
forty-five, why do you think that is better?

It's better because in 30 minutes, you lose about 5 minutes on either end of the lesson getting in and settled, perhaps a bit of "how are you" kind of thing before getting down to business. With the 25 minutes left, you have to cover scales or other technical exercises (5 min.) , sightreading (5 min.), theory (2-3 min. if the next assignment is self-explanatory and there were no questions on the previous assignment), and that leaves 17 min. to cover the 4-5 pieces you were working on if you are a beginner, plus introduce new concepts and new pieces for the upcoming week. That leaves 3 min. per piece assuming 4 pieces are worked on, and 5 min. to work on new material. During all of this there is no time to spend on actually walking through learning any of the new pieces, it's just in going through the new material. Any questions asked or issues in a piece means something in the above gets cut out. Usually this means technique, theory, or sightreading, and then it cuts into the repertoire.

Even with a 45-minute lesson this is tight, that is why hours are recommended for adults. Adults have more in-depth questions and want to spend the time on theory and sightreading that younger students may be happy to skip over. If you can manage 45 minutes to start every week and then switch to one hour every other week once your music becomes a bit longer then I'd try to make that work.

Quote:
the school that charges 100.00 is the Royal Conservatory of Music which is located a few short blocks from where I work in Toronto.I just discovered that
there is a small group of their teachers who will teach you biweekly and all
teachers teach for thirty minutes if that is requested,so if I can't find anyone
else I'm going to go for thirty minutes lessons every two weeks.
Not ideal, but if that is all you can do, that is all you can do. PErhaps take a bit more time to search for a teacher that is the right fit and not such a high fee. I don't know what the going rate for Toronto is, but 100/hr still seems high to me.

Quote:
Morodiene can you please tell me which book you use for your absolute beginners? i spoke with one teacher who is a Juliard and Eastman grad(I'm not going with him because even though he only charges 40.00 an hour, he insists on hour lessons),and he said it is inadvisable to use Faber. I was very surprised by that.
Well, considering the rate of the other teachers, $40/hr seems like a great deal, if not a little on the cheap side. Faber is OK, I use it with some adult students. The method doesn't make the teacher, it's just a tool and none of them are perfect. A good teacher finds a method that closely resembles what they believe should be taught and when, and then they supplement as needed. If all they do is teach everything as the book does, that's a big warning sign.
_________________________
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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#2309952 - 08/01/14 07:27 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 416
Loc: USA
$40/hour is a great deal as long as he/she is a good teacher. Obviously, a Julliard graduate would be an excellent pianist, but that doesn't guarantee being a good teacher. Personally I would take the hour long lesson just for a month to give him / her a chance.

The most important aspect of a good teacher is the teacher's investment in you as a student. Money aside, if you stick with a good teacher, your teacher will become much more than a casual bystander that observes and provide comments and suggestions. Over time your teacher will become a mentor and a friend. If you are lucky the two of you would develop an understanding and have wonderful exchanges in ideas as adults, a priceless experience. I cannot even imagine having a different teacher.

Keep looking. A good teacher is worth the effort of searching. The Royal Conservatory of Music is highly respected institution. You should not hesitate to interview some of their teachers for private lessons. Yes, good teachers are expensive but they are worth it.
_________________________
La musica non č mai finita, solo abbandonata.
RCM Level 6 | Concone: Etude in C major | Filtz: An Ancient Tale | Schumann: Waltz in A Minor |

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#2309967 - 08/01/14 07:47 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 416
Loc: USA
Also, as Morodiene has mentioned, the method book is not as important as the teacher. When I started, my teacher insist on teaching from her own method book. This is a bit odd to me, but I had no basis to object other than some professors I had in college that insisted on using their own textbooks wasn't the best experience. Usually, the hope is if the professor was awful in lecture, you'd hope the textbook could help you, but not if you're using the same professor's textbook, and he had the same incomprehensible logic as a writer, you're kinda sunk. Anyway, it turned out my teacher is very good, and she could teach out of any method book, her own or otherwise, so that's the most important part. Don't be concerned if a teacher have preferences in method or repertoire books. The most important part is to get minimal reading skills in place and start playing simple original classical music as soon as possible.
_________________________
La musica non č mai finita, solo abbandonata.
RCM Level 6 | Concone: Etude in C major | Filtz: An Ancient Tale | Schumann: Waltz in A Minor |

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#2309971 - 08/01/14 07:57 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1973
Loc: Philadelphia area
I think the best way to get a feel for teachers is to talk to other students.

Keep playing and the right teacher will show up. Music has that way about it.


Enjoy.

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#2309978 - 08/01/14 08:19 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1630
Loc: Australia
I have tried thirty minute lessons and although I found them fine, now that I take a weekly one hour lesson I could never go back. The thirty minutes was so whirl wind it was doubtful anything meaningful was imparted. The freedom just to take five or more minutes away from the piano to discuss an important issue is highly important, watching the clock during the lesson is counter productive as I was doing in the thirty minute lessons. Also in thirty minutes lessons something usually gets sacrificed and it is important to play everything on a weekly basis.

BTW in my one hour lesson there is no time spent on theory, sight reading, scales, exercises or chit chat and I still find we don't have any problem filling the hour. I take your point about concentration over an hour but I find that if I change onto another piece during the lesson it is fine. If I am struggling with a piece on the day I will leave it, perhaps coming back to it later in the lesson.

Can't believe you don't have a huge choice in Toronto but understand the difficulty in finding a good teacher.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2309986 - 08/01/14 08:38 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
alans Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/12
Posts: 84
I am very grateful to all of you for your excellent advice and support.
Morodiene you sound like a truly inspiring teacher and your breakdown of one lesson is very beneficial to me. I love studying the piano and I feel for the first time in my life,after many many false starts I am ready for it. The thought that there might possibly be someone out there with a true love and passion to teach is very exciting for me.and I never thought it wasn't all about the book used but the teacher.i so look forward to meeting someone one day who is like so many of the wonderful teachers you have here. I just must continue looking. Thank-you all very much.

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#2309989 - 08/01/14 08:44 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
briansaddleback Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/14
Posts: 220
Loc: Irvine CA
Wow. Some teachers are way bad. It is not all about the student or helping but just about themselves and money.

I love to help. I'll teach any beginner/intermediate for cheap and Im sure I will be miles better than some of those academy teachers.
_________________________

Cloches a travers les feuilles
Minstrels

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#2309994 - 08/01/14 08:48 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Daffodil123 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/13/14
Posts: 15
If you found the $40/hour Julliard/Eastman grad was a good teacher for you, I wonder if you could pay for the hour, but only take a 45 min. actual lesson? He wouldn't be losing any of his fee, but in fact gaining some free time. And maybe you would like the entire hour down the road at some point.

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#2310018 - 08/01/14 10:23 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 995
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Amazing to me that anyone could run put of things to teach you in half an hour! They obviously aren't trying. I'm sure you'll find a better teacher!
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2310023 - 08/01/14 11:10 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
MALDI_ToF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/25/14
Posts: 63
Loc: Vancouver
You might try your local university if they have a music department. When I took up piano again I found a great teacher at my local university who was working on his PhD in piano. This might be a bit stereotypical, but most university students are needing cash, and many of the music students teach music/theory. Check out the department's webpage and see if they have a list of students who teach. If not e-mail some of the piano professors and they might be able to refer you to one of their students. They tend to be cheaper too :-)

Another resource might be music festivals. Some will have local teaches adjudicate. Perhaps one of them could teach.

I have found the best teachers seem not to advertise anywhere. They might have a webpage, but you kind of have to know they exist in order to find it! They seem to rely on word of mouth.

A teacher is very important. Don't be afraid to leave to find a new one if it isn't working out.

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#2310057 - 08/02/14 01:51 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1365
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Alans, so far as I know, I am one of the only studio teachers in Toronto who genuinely specializes in the adult learner at the piano. It's my life, and I've been doing it for a long time. A few mouse clicks and you can learn plenty about me. Regrettably, I am out of your price range.

You need to see someone every week, not every other week, for at least 45 minutes and preferably an hour. Don't avoid Craig's List, and don't avoid the teacher who teaches two instruments. But piano performance degrees from famous music schools is most likely what you *don't* want in an early-level teacher. Better to work with a local church organist, or a public school music teacher.

Send me an email if you want more thoughts.

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#2310061 - 08/02/14 02:13 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7643
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: alans
I decided this past week after six months with the same teacher that I need to fire him now. I'm just fed up with the lousy treatment I'm getting. Not only is my thirty minute lesson never longer then 25 minutes....

Why is this? Is it because he is late, or because he ends early?

By the way, your budget is too small. If $40 an hour is too much for you (that is a very cheap price), you are probably going to end up with a teacher who has no clue what they're doing.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2310076 - 08/02/14 03:38 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
noobpianist90 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 383
Loc: India
Is the term "fire" appropriate? Isn't a student - teacher relationship different from employer - employee?

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#2310080 - 08/02/14 03:48 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: noobpianist90]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1630
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: noobpianist90
Is the term "fire" appropriate? Isn't a student - teacher relationship different from employer - employee?


the term "fire" is sometimes used outside of the general workplace. When done so it immediately exaggerates the situation for heightened effect but also as in this case high lights the OP's frustration. But then again I am no specialist in language, but old enough to have seen quite a bit of change in the way we use English.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2310088 - 08/02/14 04:26 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Starr Keys Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 1010
Loc: california
Quote:
Have you had to fire your piano teacher?


Yes, and it was me. Now I have a much better one. I recommend you visit local colleges and talk to adjunct staff. You can usually audit their class on the first day and can tell a lot from their syllabus, and you might even find their resume on line (I did). Most of them have PH.D'S or doctorates of piano performance. Mine is very reasonable--you'd be surprised. smile

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#2310092 - 08/02/14 04:44 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: earlofmar]
noobpianist90 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/13
Posts: 383
Loc: India
Originally Posted By: earlofmar
Originally Posted By: noobpianist90
Is the term "fire" appropriate? Isn't a student - teacher relationship different from employer - employee?
the term "fire" is sometimes used outside of the general workplace. When done so it immediately exaggerates the situation for heightened effect but also as in this case high lights the OP's frustration. But then again I am no specialist in language, but old enough to have seen quite a bit of change in the way we use English.
Ah I see

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#2310100 - 08/02/14 05:30 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: earlofmar]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5509
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: earlofmar
the term "fire" is sometimes used outside of the general workplace. When done so it immediately exaggerates the situation for heightened effect but also as in this case high lights the OP's frustration. But then again I am no specialist in language, but old enough to have seen quite a bit of change in the way we use English.

Actually, I've fired students before, and I don't use the term "fire" for any effect. The students were awful, and I didn't want to put up with awfulness, so I fired them. Actually, the exact wording in my studio contract is "terminate."

Synonyms: dismiss, let go, refer out, etc.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2310121 - 08/02/14 07:32 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
wimpiano Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 1381
Loc: The Netherlands
I am just hoping that it takes many years before my teacher resigns.. He's well in his sixties so I am afraid that sometime in the coming years he will quit and I would really really really regret that.
_________________________
Schimmel 116 S ..

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#2310131 - 08/02/14 08:04 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Bamburg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/13
Posts: 82
I had to "fire" my first piano teacher. He just seemed to want me to learn by rote and didn't really have answers to any of my questions. On top of that he actually fell asleep in the middle of one of my lessons, so I suppose that was the final straw for me.

Don't be discouraged though, I think my current teacher is pretty great, and I found her on my second try.

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#2310132 - 08/02/14 08:06 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: AZNpiano]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5258
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

Actually, I've fired students before, and I don't use the term "fire" for any effect. The students were awful, and I didn't want to put up with awfulness, so I fired them. Actually, the exact wording in my studio contract is "terminate."

Synonyms: dismiss, let go, refer out, etc.

Do you fire students who just aren't up to your high standards?

I had this experience in my childhood, when my first teacher left (after one year) to further her studies abroad, and my mother decided to find the best teacher (by reputation) in town for my brother and me. The new teacher asked to look at our Grade 1 ABRSM results: I had a distinction; my older brother had a pass. She told my mother that she didn't think my brother was good enough to continue much further, and sure enough, she 'fired' him within a few weeks.

Later, I wondered whether the reason why she had such a big reputation in the neighborhood was because she fired any student that didn't have sufficient musical talent to come up to her standard.......

_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2310139 - 08/02/14 08:34 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 995
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I agree that "fire" is probably not the best term for this context. Whether as student or teacher, you're not really in the position of an employer. But that's good, because you don't need to feel responsible for the other person's livelihood/ musical career. If the professional relationship isn't working out, either party can move on. It doesn't have to be hostile.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2310146 - 08/02/14 09:01 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
fizikisto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 548
Loc: Hernando, MS
I think that fire is an entirely appropriate descriptor of what was done. If you hired a plumber to install a new shower and they behaved inappropriately, I don't think anyone would blink if you said, "Unfortunately, I had to fire my plumber; he was incompetent!" A piano teacher might be an independent contractor, but you're still hiring them to provide a service to you. If for whatever reason they are unable to meet your needs, you fire them and (one hopes) find/hire a different teacher better able to meet your needs.
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2310147 - 08/02/14 09:02 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: AZNpiano]
BrianDX Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 740
Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
[Actually, I've fired students before, and I don't use the term "fire" for any effect. The students were awful, and I didn't want to put up with awfulness, so I fired them. Actually, the exact wording in my studio contract is "terminate."

OK, maybe I need to understand something here. If you mean by their "awfulness" that they had poor work ethics, didn't show up on time, or were slow to pay, I can understand that.

If however you mean they were not very talented and struggled with their studies, then that is a different thing altogether.
_________________________
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"
2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F .
Current: Schein - Allemande | Faber - Vivace, Lunar Eclipse

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#2310148 - 08/02/14 09:04 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: wimpiano]
BrianDX Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 740
Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: wimpiano
I am just hoping that it takes many years before my teacher resigns.. He's well in his sixties so I am afraid that sometime in the coming years he will quit and I would really really really regret that.

I worry about the exact same thing...
_________________________
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"
2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F .
Current: Schein - Allemande | Faber - Vivace, Lunar Eclipse

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#2310157 - 08/02/14 09:22 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: fizikisto]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 995
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted By: fizikisto
I think that fire is an entirely appropriate descriptor of what was done. If you hired a plumber to install a new shower and they behaved inappropriately, I don't think anyone would blink if you said, "Unfortunately, I had to fire my plumber; he was incompetent!" A piano teacher might be an independent contractor, but you're still hiring them to provide a service to you. If for whatever reason they are unable to meet your needs, you fire them and (one hopes) find/hire a different teacher better able to meet your needs.


Would you say you had "fired" your doctor if you decided to go to a different one? I don't see the value of using a term that tends to imply subordination here.
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#2310161 - 08/02/14 09:30 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
DancerJ Offline
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We, ballroom dancers, use the word, "fire," when we terminate our relationship with our coaches/teachers all the time. I think the relationship between a piano teacher and a student is similar to the one between a dance teacher and a student.


Edited by DancerJ (08/02/14 09:31 AM)

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#2310165 - 08/02/14 09:49 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: DancerJ]
BrianDX Offline
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IMHO I couldn't care less if the word "fire", "terminate", whatever is used to describe when a teacher and student part ways.

What DOES concern me are some of the reasons WHY (both on the student and teacher side of things) this separation occurs.

I'm especially troubled by the implications described above where a teacher parts ways with a student because they, for the use of a better word, "stunk".
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#2310166 - 08/02/14 09:55 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
DancerJ Offline
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I am with you, Brian. We need a teacher because we stink.

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#2310167 - 08/02/14 09:59 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
fizikisto Offline
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BrianDX
Why is that different? Some teachers have different strengths than other teachers. Some teachers simply don't enjoy teaching students who struggle greatly with basic things. But when they teach students with more talent they get energized by those students and are able inspire those students to make the best use of their talent. I see absolutely nothing wrong with such a teacher simply telling a student, "I don't think we're a good match, I think it would be better if you found a different teacher."

By the way there are also teachers who relish the challenge of working with students who struggle more. The successes of those students mean more to them. I know some teachers actually prefer working with those students because they feel like they are making more of a difference in those students lives. I don't see anything wrong with that either.

If you were such a student, which kind of teacher would you want? A teacher who didn't enjoy teaching you, who was constantly frustrated by your lack of progress, and maybe even one who inadvertently put so much pressure on you to meet their standards that you felt dumb? Or would you want a teacher that was more nurturing and supportive and who relished your every victory at the piano?

Conversely, if you were an exceptional student who could reach a very high level (and wanted to), would you want a nurturing and supportive teacher who would let you slide and didn't really push you? or would you want someone who saw your talent and was going to push you and help you strive to make the most of it?

I'm not saying that some teachers can't be both, but I am saying that not all teachers can be both. And as a teacher, if you think you're not the best person to help someone reach their goals, you have an obligation not to waste their time. Of course, opinions vary, but that's mine. smile
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#2310169 - 08/02/14 10:07 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
fizikisto Offline
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jdw,
Absolutely I would say that, but it depends on the context. If I moved and chose to go to a more conveniently located doctor then I wouldn't say that I fired the old one. But if my doctor gave me bad service, I would definitely say fire. In fact I did. My dad had kidney stones last year and he had an absolutely incompetent doctor, what the doctor did didn't quite reach the level of malpractice, but it was close in my view. And absolutely I told my parents they needed to fire him and find another doctor. I don't think fire necessarily implies subordination (though it can, obviously). We see in this very thread talk of students firing teachers and teachers firing students. In this context, I think fire simply means a termination of service when one party isn't meeting the obligations to the other.
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#2310181 - 08/02/14 10:51 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
MandyD Offline
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Wow I'd be in trouble if my teacher decided to sack students that were awful. blush I can understand what your saying fizikisto but in my humble opinion they are being paid for a service and if their student is awful (and I'm not talking about slack payment, rudeness, and that kind of thing) then maybe the teacher needs to re-evaluate themselves and their chosen profession. Part of teaching is actually learning from the students too. I'd be devastated if my teacher turned around and said "I just don't think you have the talent I'm looking for and you should find someone else". I would probably quit even playing at all.

As for the use of the word fire, that's just arguing about semantics, and everyone will have their own personal interpretation depending on their language and culture. smile
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#2310184 - 08/02/14 10:55 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
FarmGirl Offline

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I have never "fired" a teacher. I have left a teacher because I needed to move on. It's different from firing an employee. It's more like changing from one school to another if I try to find a close example. The reasons for switch can be very simple or complex, again very similar to changing school. It works sometimes and it doesn't sometimes. In some other cases my teachers left me since they moved to different state.
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#2310186 - 08/02/14 10:58 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: MandyD]
bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted By: MandyD
I'd be devastated if my teacher turned around and said "I just don't think you have the talent I'm looking for and you should find someone else". I would probably quit even playing at all.

That's what my brother did, after our teacher fired him. He was eleven then.
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#2310201 - 08/02/14 11:34 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
fizikisto Offline
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MandyD
I don't think anybody is very good at piano when they begin. It's incredibly hard and it takes years of dedicated practice to get good. It's so worth it if you stick with it though. It is so much fun to play! In fact, they really chose that word well, play! It's like recess from when you were a little kid!

I'm a college professor (Physics not Music), and I'm a really good at it. But I do know that some students just don't mesh well with my teaching style. When I encounter that, I don't have any problem recommending to the student that they try a different teacher. Because I want the student to have the best possible experience with physics, and more importantly I want them to learn. If they have an easier time with a teacher that has a different style, my feelings aren't hurt one bit. And similarly, sometimes that other professor might have struggling students that would do much better in my class.

With regards to piano, I don't think the teacher has to say, "You're unworthy of me as a student." THAT would be really mean, unnecessary, and horrible. But I think they can explain that a different teacher might help them progress better and with less stress. Instead of "you suck!" it could be, "I think a different teacher might help you learn better."

And yes, some people might quit because of that I suppose. But I also think that continuing in a situation that is frustrating for both parties might also lead to that student quitting, whereas getting them a teacher better suited to their temperament and skill level might make it so much more fun for them that they do stick with it.

Let me put it another way. Imagine that you had a friend who just started teaching piano, and they told you, "I have this new student who just is not very good. Or maybe I'm just not very good at teaching them. I've tried everything I know to do to help them and nothing seems to be working. I feel like I'm just taking their money and not really helping them. I really think they might be better able to learn with a different teacher, but I'm afraid if I tell them that it might hurt their feelings." What would you advise them to do?

Ive seen a lot of people here on piano world talk about their struggles with finding the right teacher, but that when they did it made such a difference for them. And if you did have a teacher that suggested you find someone else, and you did find that right teacher for you, wouldn't you be grateful to them for their honesty?

I won't be surprised if my opinion is a minority opinion on this issue, but that's o.k. too. As I said, Opinions vary (otherwise it would be a really boring world!)

All that I'm really trying to say is that sometimes a teacher continuing to teach a student could actually be a disservice to that student. I don't think that means the teacher is objectively bad (they may be a great teacher for other students that match better with them), and I don't think the teacher is guilty of some sort of moral failing if they are honest about that.

In any case, that's my 2 cents worth. smile
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#2310203 - 08/02/14 11:48 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: fizikisto]
bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted By: fizikisto

Let me put it another way. Imagine that you had a friend who just started teaching piano, and they told you, "I have this new student who just is not very good. Or maybe I'm just not very good at teaching them. I've tried everything I know to do to help them and nothing seems to be working. I feel like I'm just taking their money and not really helping them. I really think they might be better able to learn with a different teacher, but I'm afraid if I tell them that it might hurt their feelings."

Neatly dodging the question I posed originally.

Does a teacher sack a student who doesn't have sufficient talent, just so that he/she can maintain his/her reputation of all his/her students becoming very good?
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#2310207 - 08/02/14 11:52 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: fizikisto]
BrianDX Offline
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Originally Posted By: fizikisto
BrianDX
Why is that different? Some teachers have different strengths than other teachers. Some teachers simply don't enjoy teaching students who struggle greatly with basic things. But when they teach students with more talent they get energized by those students and are able inspire those students to make the best use of their talent. I see absolutely nothing wrong with such a teacher simply telling a student, "I don't think we're a good match, I think it would be better if you found a different teacher."

By the way there are also teachers who relish the challenge of working with students who struggle more. The successes of those students mean more to them. I know some teachers actually prefer working with those students because they feel like they are making more of a difference in those students lives. I don't see anything wrong with that either.

If you were such a student, which kind of teacher would you want? A teacher who didn't enjoy teaching you, who was constantly frustrated by your lack of progress, and maybe even one who inadvertently put so much pressure on you to meet their standards that you felt dumb? Or would you want a teacher that was more nurturing and supportive and who relished your every victory at the piano?

Conversely, if you were an exceptional student who could reach a very high level (and wanted to), would you want a nurturing and supportive teacher who would let you slide and didn't really push you? or would you want someone who saw your talent and was going to push you and help you strive to make the most of it?

I'm not saying that some teachers can't be both, but I am saying that not all teachers can be both. And as a teacher, if you think you're not the best person to help someone reach their goals, you have an obligation not to waste their time. Of course, opinions vary, but that's mine. smile

You know I'm not really sure. I would like to think that most of the piano teachers out there are equipped to deal with both the struggling and exceptional student. It would also be nice to know what the teacher expectations are of their prospective students BEFORE they sign up.

I know for a fact that my teacher has both (I hope I'm in the middle somewhere smile )

I think that there are teachers and students out there that are more exceptional talents, and that I think is not the norm, especially in this forum.

My only issue is this: If you are an adult starting out on this journey, and if it turns out you have little natural ability in this regard, there HAS to be a teacher out there that can help move you along on your journey.

I would like to think that a majority of teachers out there are equipped to handle all kinds of talent levels, and that it would be a rare occurrence where a teacher lets a student go simply because they aren't "good enough".
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#2310214 - 08/02/14 12:05 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
fizikisto Offline
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Bennevis,
Sorry, I wasn't trying to dodge your question, I just got off on a tangent. I would say that a teacher that was motivated by his or her own reputation rather than the best interests of the student is not a very professional teacher and I certainly wouldn't want them as a teacher. I've seen that sort of thing a lot in martial arts, where some dojos only want students that are going to win trophies in tournaments and (therefore) enhance the reputation of the school. I find such schools, and attitudes, to be an anathema. Does that answer the question?

The broader point that I was trying, and perhaps failing, to make was that Just because a teacher lets a student go because of some mismatch, doesn't make that teacher a bad teacher or a bad person. Sure, there are some really terrible people who are also teachers. But I think that most people who enter that profession do so with a real desire to help their students learn.
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#2310217 - 08/02/14 12:12 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
fizikisto Offline
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Loc: Hernando, MS
BrianDx,
I think you're probably right, for most teachers and students there is probably enough of an overlap that these sorts of issues would never come up. The thing is, as I said EVERYONE struggles when they begin. And any teacher that teaches beginners is going to have to have a lot of patience. I'm not suggesting that some teacher should be like, "o.k., you flubbed ode to joy for the third time, I can't take this anymore!" But I do think that sometimes students and teachers just don't mesh for whatever reasons. I think that teachers should always try to be motivated by what is in the best interests of their students.
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#2310221 - 08/02/14 12:27 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: fizikisto]
BrianDX Offline
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Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: fizikisto
BrianDx,
I think you're probably right, for most teachers and students there is probably enough of an overlap that these sorts of issues would never come up. The thing is, as I said EVERYONE struggles when they begin. And any teacher that teaches beginners is going to have to have a lot of patience. I'm not suggesting that some teacher should be like, "o.k., you flubbed ode to joy for the third time, I can't take this anymore!" But I do think that sometimes students and teachers just don't mesh for whatever reasons. I think that teachers should always try to be motivated by what is in the best interests of their students.

And on that thought we can agree smile
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#2310223 - 08/02/14 12:37 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Starr Keys Offline
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Originally Posted By: fizikisto
Originally Posted By: bennevis

Do you fire students who just aren't up to your high standards? I had this experience in my childhood, when my first teacher left (after one year) to further her studies abroad, and my mother decided to find the best teacher (by reputation) in town for my brother and me. The new teacher asked to look at our Grade 1 ABRSM results: I had a distinction; my older brother had a pass. She told my mother that she didn't think my brother was good enough to continue much further, and sure enough, she 'fired' him within a few weeks.
...Later, I wondered whether the reason why she had such a big reputation in the neighborhood was because she fired any student that didn't have sufficient musical talent to come up to her standard
Ive seen a lot of people here on piano world talk about their struggles with finding the right teacher, but that when they did it made such a difference for them.


Hmmn, this all really got me thinking, since my teacher also teaches at the college where I take piano performance classes and since I searched long and hard for him. I have noticed that he will spend extra time above what I'm paying for my lesson to make sure I'm getting everything I need and he wants me to get. But I'm not sure he's doing it because he cares about his reputation. It seems like these extra long lessons often coincide with my playing my own ideas for an arrangement or improv that please or intrigue him. Also he has mentioned several times that he sees a lot of improvement since I started with him, so I think he's pretty happy with me as a student, and I think we have a mutual respect for each other's capabilities.

I tried to take piano lessons 20 years ago, and changed teachers four times (one after only a day) in less than two years and really never got anywhere with any of them. Now I feel I make progress after ever lesson. On the other hand, I stayed with my first teacher 20 years ago for over a year without feeling I was making much progress at all. So call it "firing" or "moving on", Piano lessons are expensive and there is no worse feeling than discovering that you've paid out all this money to fail and lose all the confidence and enthusiasm you had for the piano. Better to teach yourself. I can honestly say that even though I fell short as a teacher, I was at least the second best one I ever had. smile

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#2310233 - 08/02/14 01:21 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Morodiene Offline
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I usually call it "dismissing myself as their teacher," or "referred them to another teacher that was a better fit." I agree the term "fire" implies subordination but also a lack of respect. An employee gets laid off if they are let go for reasons other than the employee's conduct, and fired if it's due to their conduct in some way. So "fired" really holds more than an unequal relationship, but also attaches a stigma to the person being "fired". In this case from what the OP describes, the term does seem appropriate for the latter case, but not the former as there was never a employer/employee relationship.
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#2310236 - 08/02/14 01:31 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
malkin Offline
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I see two issues in this thread. I'll weigh in on both of them.

1. Teachers can and should manage their teaching load and their reputation however they want.

2. Informal terms like 'fire' may be used casually but sometimes lack precision and create misunderstanding.
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#2310258 - 08/02/14 02:12 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: malkin]
BrianDX Offline
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Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: malkin
Teachers can and should manage their teaching load and their reputation however they want.

I agree with the teaching load entirely, however it is the teacher's sole responsibility to figure out what load they can handle.

The reputation part I have a REAL problem with. If a teacher is worrying about their reputation because one or more of their students are not progressing, sorry but that seems wrong to me.

I would even say, that a teacher's real "reputation" should be based on how the least of their students progress (even by very small amounts), not their finest.
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#2310275 - 08/02/14 03:06 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: BrianDX]
malkin Offline
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Originally Posted By: BrianDX
...I would even say, that a teacher's real "reputation" should be based on how the least of their students progress (even by very small amounts), not their finest.


This sounds like you are talking about reputation from a sort of 'great is their reward in heaven' perspective.
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#2310285 - 08/02/14 03:45 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: malkin]
bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: BrianDX
...I would even say, that a teacher's real "reputation" should be based on how the least of their students progress (even by very small amounts), not their finest.


This sounds like you are talking about reputation from a sort of 'great is their reward in heaven' perspective.


It seems to me like you are fine with teachers who, once they acquire enough students, jettison their worst ones to avoid tarnishing their reputations with 'no-hopers'.

In which case, people who have very little musical talent will only be able to get teachers who are so desperate for students that they'll take on anyone. In other words, the teachers just starting out, and the very inept ones whose students have mostly abandoned them....
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#2310293 - 08/02/14 04:13 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
BrianDX Offline
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My concerns exactly.

I think the good news is that most competent and dedicated teachers (many of whom post right here) feel that their profession is to teach all talent levels, young and small, beginners and experts alike. They derive satisfaction from all signs of improvement, and would never do anything unethical.
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#2310371 - 08/02/14 08:32 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: BrianDX]
malkin Offline
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I agree that it is an unfortunate practice, but it isn't like torturing animals or arson or murder or drunk driving. It isn't even like holding extreme political views that differ from mine. To me it isn't even in the same league as driving a gas guzzling car, because being choosy about student's doesn't affect me at all and only affects the world a tiny bit.

I don't really see the difference between choosing to select "promising students" and a health care practitioner choosing a specialty, say a speech therapist who wanted a practice specializing in kids with autism who picked up some stutterers while trying to grow a caseload.
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#2310375 - 08/02/14 08:54 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: malkin]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5258
Originally Posted By: malkin


I don't really see the difference between choosing to select "promising students" and a health care practitioner choosing a specialty, say a speech therapist who wanted a practice specializing in kids with autism who picked up some stutterers while trying to grow a caseload.

You really don't??

How about your doctor telling you that you're too old/fat/whatever and doesn't want to have you as a patient, because you'll be too much trouble?
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#2310380 - 08/02/14 09:12 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: malkin


I don't really see the difference between choosing to select "promising students" and a health care practitioner choosing a specialty, say a speech therapist who wanted a practice specializing in kids with autism who picked up some stutterers while trying to grow a caseload.

You really don't??

How about your doctor telling you that you're too old/fat/whatever and doesn't want to have you as a patient, because you'll be too much trouble?

That would be the doctor's prerogative.
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#2310382 - 08/02/14 09:20 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Polyphonist]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5258
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: malkin


I don't really see the difference between choosing to select "promising students" and a health care practitioner choosing a specialty, say a speech therapist who wanted a practice specializing in kids with autism who picked up some stutterers while trying to grow a caseload.

You really don't??

How about your doctor telling you that you're too old/fat/whatever and doesn't want to have you as a patient, because you'll be too much trouble?

That would be the doctor's prerogative.

Not where I come from.

Actually, smokers, heavy drinkers, hypertensives, diabetics...(the list goes on ad infinitum) could also be on the hit list......
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#2310383 - 08/02/14 09:22 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
rnaple Offline

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Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
You people are talking results. That, indirectly, is what caused me to leave my last teacher. The teacher herself was great. She wasn't immune to society. Where I took the lessons. A person kept coming up to the door of the room. I won't say who I think it was. And I don't care. There was pressure to hear results.
This also distracted me and made things worse. It was so obvious. One time when I had practiced and played for her only 6 bars, only right hand, of a well known piece I thought much of. This attitude was so obvious in the place that she stood up when I was done and yelled at the door: You got it! You got it all! All the dynamics! The hesitations were perfect! You got it!
She wanted to make sure everyone there heard her.
It wasn't her that caused me to leave.
The society here is a very in your face, results oriented society. They are experts at general knowledge and expertise in nothing. They strain at a knat while swallowing camels. There is nothing truly creative about them.
I now study a System that is great. A great truly accessible teacher who wrote it. I would never again consider taking any lessons around here unless they were very private.
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#2310385 - 08/02/14 09:27 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
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I'm thinking that the question of teachers firing students should be in a different thread. It is a different topic and it stirs up emotions.

Otoh, in the present context there is some pertinence as follows:

If a student is being "taught" in the haphazard way that is being described here, then that student will end up having weaknesses and problems. He will come to the next teacher with those problems. It is not, like was mentioned, a matter of "talent" but a matter of missing skills. The next teacher needs to know how teach those skills, and patch the holes. If he doesn't know how to do that, then he should not be teaching that student. It is not a matter of the student not being "good enough" for the teacher, but the teacher not having the expertise for that particular thing.

Sort of on the same subject, I've seen a lot of references to things like PhD's. If you're at the beginning, you need someone who knows how to teach and give you the fundamentals - not a great performer or someone with tons of head knowledge.

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#2310396 - 08/02/14 09:59 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: malkin]
BrianDX Offline
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Originally Posted By: malkin
I don't really see the difference between choosing to select "promising students" and a health care practitioner choosing a specialty, say a speech therapist who wanted a practice specializing in kids with autism who picked up some stutterers while trying to grow a caseload.

If a teacher is only interested in "promising students" then that should be made clear at the beginning. Before starting lessons my wife and I were interviewed by our teacher in her home. Lots of question were asked on both sides. When it was done, both parties agreed to the lessons.

Almost a year later she has exceeded our wildest expectations. Hopefully we have a little bit ourselves.

Imagine for a minute you are an older adult and have made the decision to take lessons. You buy a piano, work hard (with 1,000 other things to do as well I reckon) and look for encouragement for your teacher. After six months she say to you "sorry but I'm dropping you because you are not good enough for my instruction". I'm thinking that could be very devastating to the adult student. It may affect his/her world a LOT perhaps.

If you still don't understand why that could be a potentially negative thing for a teacher to do, well, time to move to another thread,,,
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#2310424 - 08/02/14 11:07 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
How about your doctor telling you that you're too old/fat/whatever and doesn't want to have you as a patient, because you'll be too much trouble?

Then you take your business elsewhere.

Any working professional has the right to draw the line for him/herself.
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#2310438 - 08/02/14 11:30 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: malkin


I don't really see the difference between choosing to select "promising students" and a health care practitioner choosing a specialty, say a speech therapist who wanted a practice specializing in kids with autism who picked up some stutterers while trying to grow a caseload.

You really don't??

How about your doctor telling you that you're too old/fat/whatever and doesn't want to have you as a patient, because you'll be too much trouble?

That would be the doctor's prerogative.

Not where I come from.

Actually, smokers, heavy drinkers, hypertensives, diabetics...(the list goes on ad infinitum) could also be on the hit list......
You have it backwards...these are exactly the kinds of patients a doctor wants!

As for teachers choosing which students they teach, I think that is completely OK. Doctors choosing not to treat a patient in need is unethical because a person's well-being or even life is on the line. Not so with piano. In fact, if a teacher takes on a student whom they don't really want to teach, you end up with the OP's scenario, I think, or something very similar. Best to have a teacher be upfront in the beginning as to which kind of student they work best with, and free up the student (and their money) to go elsewhere.


Edited by Morodiene (08/02/14 11:30 PM)
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#2310451 - 08/02/14 11:59 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: keystring]
Starr Keys Offline
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Loc: california
Originally Posted By: keystring
I've seen a lot of references to things like PhD's. If you're at the beginning, you need someone who knows how to teach and give you the fundamentals - not a great performer or someone with tons of head knowledge...Otoh, in the present context there is some pertinence as follows:

If a student is being "taught" in the haphazard way that is being described here, then that student will end up having weaknesses and problems. He will come to the next teacher with those problems.


It all depends on whether the so called "head knowledge" is not confined to a practical ability to play and convey it to someone else or not. There are schools that put an emphasis on theory and academic knowledge like Berkeley (not Berklee) which was recently rated the top school in the country and schools like San Francisco State (not even close to a top school) that put an emphasis on performance. I know a teacher who got their Masters from the former who can't play piano worth a damn and another with a Masters from the latter who is fantastically accomplished in both classical and jazz. Then there are schools that are good at both and also emphasize piano pedagogy like Juliard. Similarly, there are Music Ph.D's and there are Doctor's of Piano Performance.

Succeeding, even to Advanced Beginner requires a certain amount of organized and conceptional thinking, the lack of which my friend who teaches at the Yamaha Schools has seen the evidence of in many of the students that come to her in their having "[been] 'taught' in the haphazard way .....[and resulting] in their having weaknesses and problems."

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#2310458 - 08/03/14 12:10 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: AZNpiano]
outo Offline
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

Any working professional has the right to draw the line for him/herself.


Not where I come from actually. MOST working professionals do not have the pleasure of choosing their patients/clients/students...

When it comes to private piano teaching, surely the teachers are allowed to choose who they teach. But if they do a heavy selection, I don't think their quality as a teacher can be very well assessed by the results. If they can only make those students progress/excel that are easy to teach, I wouldnt say they are necessarily very good teachers.

Also, even though I am convinced that there are many natural aptitudes and traits that will be important in becoming a really good pianist, I also think these may be complete unnoticeable in the student due to inability to make use of them. This could be because of problems in other life areas, bad teaching, mental stress... Even after some time teaching the student, the teacher may not be able to reliably assess which problems are directly caused by lack of talents. The student may not respond to the teacher's teaching style at all and still not be able to bring out whatever talents he actually has. Same if the student is not able to come up with a working style that is suitable for his personal make up and the teacher cannot help.

I am not a teacher but am a member in a small theory study group. All of the members take piano lessons. While in the group some have been able to understand and learn things that they thought were just too difficult because their teachers couldn't make them understand. They were given exercises that were supposed to help and told to do them in a specific way. But in the end it was a matter of HOW to approach those problems intellectually in one's own natural learning style, not how difficult they were. The group helped because someone had gone through this already and could give suggestions different to the teacher's. This said I wouldn't even expect a teacher to be completely comfortable with any student who does not learn in the conventional style or the way they themselves did. But it would be good to realize this, instead of just assuming the student has no talent.


Edited by outo (08/03/14 06:18 AM)

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#2310460 - 08/03/14 12:19 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
keystring Online   content
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When I referred to (exclusive) head knowledge, I was talking about a teacher's ability to teach fundamental skills to a beginner - not a student's need to also learn the knowledge side of music. If your performance major or brilliant performer does not know how to build a groundwork, then his brilliance will not help the student. That's what I meant.

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#2310484 - 08/03/14 01:53 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Starr Keys Offline
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Loc: california
I didn't misinterpret you, Keystring, but a person needs head knowledge to organize the information regarding how he acquired his piano performance skills. We are in agreement about a "performance major or brilliant's performers" need to know how to build the ground work." But there are many great players(especially in jazz) who can't explain how the learned to do what they do and can't teach it -- I know because I tried taking lessons from them. My current teacher is both a performance major (Doctor of Piano Performance) and a brilliant performer. He is also a person who knows how to build the ground work and communicate this knowledge to me in a way I can understand.

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#2310486 - 08/03/14 01:58 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
Jeremy SA Offline
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Registered: 05/22/14
Posts: 23
Loc: Durban, South Africa
Why don't you consider asking staff at your local music store who a good teacher is? Most of them play piano themselves. I then checked their suggestions by checking the teacher's qualifications on the national music registration's website, That is how I found my teacher.

My lessons with her often go over an hour as we both have a passion. She has never taught from the Alfred's adult series before as she mainly taught kids but after a few lessons she saw the benefit of the books and we are continuing with that now. She often gives me many technical critiques not mentioned in the books. So that means she can apply her knowledge to another method.

I mention this in the hope you can find someone similar as my teacher has been a great asset in the short time I have been learning. And she isn't even expensive.
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#2310507 - 08/03/14 05:21 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Morodiene]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5258
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: malkin


I don't really see the difference between choosing to select "promising students" and a health care practitioner choosing a specialty, say a speech therapist who wanted a practice specializing in kids with autism who picked up some stutterers while trying to grow a caseload.

You really don't??

How about your doctor telling you that you're too old/fat/whatever and doesn't want to have you as a patient, because you'll be too much trouble?

That would be the doctor's prerogative.

Not where I come from.

Actually, smokers, heavy drinkers, hypertensives, diabetics...(the list goes on ad infinitum) could also be on the hit list......
You have it backwards...these are exactly the kinds of patients a doctor wants!

Yes, if the doctor is paid for each consultation, each test he orders, each prescription he gives, which is the case in USA. There, he'll want the patients with the greatest number of chronic diseases....

Not so in the UK, with the National Health Service, where all consultations, tests and treatments are free at source. The 'best' patients are those who register with you and never see you for any ailments thumb.

Incidentally, I have no issue with teachers not taking on specific students because they deem them to be too untalented, or whatever.

What I do have an issue with are those teachers who sack their students when they discover, after many lessons, that their students are untalented. If those students persistently don't 'do their homework', that's another matter. But that is not the same as dropping a student - especially an adult student - simply because he's not 'good enough'.

If any teacher can't understand why such an act could have consequences for the rest of the student's life, that teacher, IMO, has no business being a teacher. Reading through posts here and in the Piano Teacher's forum, I know there is one teacher for whom I'd discourage any potential student from going to.
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#2310519 - 08/03/14 06:59 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
MandyD Offline
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Registered: 07/12/14
Posts: 110
Loc: Australia
Thank you for the explanation fizikisto, that does make perfect sense. I think it was the original use of the word "awful" that jolted me into commenting. Bennevis, I agree with your last comment too, I really agree that if a teacher can't see the consequences of their decisions then they shouldn't teach at all.
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#2310534 - 08/03/14 08:23 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis

What I do have an issue with are those teachers who sack their students when they discover, after many lessons, that their students are untalented. If those students persistently don't 'do their homework', that's another matter. But that is not the same as dropping a student - especially an adult student - simply because he's not 'good enough'.

If any teacher can't understand why such an act could have consequences for the rest of the student's life, that teacher, IMO, has no business being a teacher. Reading through posts here and in the Piano Teacher's forum, I know there is one teacher for whom I'd discourage any potential student from going to.
This is why the initial interview is so important. It is for me as well as the new student to hopefully determine if it's worth trying. I also have a trial period for most students so that after 8 weeks we both can decide to continue or part ways. After that, I tend to let the student decide when they should stop. I have only dismissed myself as a teacher a few times as it was necessary.Being "dumped" by a teacher can be an awful experience for a student, even if they aren't practicing or trying to improve.
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#2310535 - 08/03/14 08:24 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: outo]
Ataru074 Offline
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Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 337
Loc: Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: outo
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

Any working professional has the right to draw the line for him/herself.


Not where I come from actually. MOST working professionals do not have the pleasure of choosing their patients/clients/students...

When it comes to private piano teaching, surely the teachers are allowed to choose who they teach. But if they do a heavy selection, I don't think their quality as a teacher can be very well assessed by the results. If they can only make those students progress/excel that are easy to teach, I wouldnt say they are necessarily very good teachers.


In college my "calculus" professor was used to say that the measure of his skills was to get as many students to pass at the first exam, and his biggest challenge was to involve everybody to study consistently, while keeping the level of the class pretty high. We did have a lot of professor that tried to demotivate students, flunk them for any silly reason just to keep the name of being the "hard" one...
Teaching only to prodigy and geniuses is just proof of being a very poor teacher... exceptionally skilled persons will find their way with minimal instruction and a whole lot of instinct no matter what. Getting the challenging one to acceptable results is the real deal in teaching.
Unless your name is Haydn and you are trying to teach Beethoven... but I haven't seen any Haydn on this board yet ;-)
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#2310540 - 08/03/14 08:45 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
rnaple Offline

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Originally Posted By: bennevis

If any teacher can't understand why such an act could have consequences for the rest of the student's life, that teacher, IMO, has no business being a teacher.


I have seen this same thing in so many endeavors. Physical training, Golf, Running. I myself, am finding the best are those who teach teachers. The greatest understanding is there. They are also the ones who come up with a way to teach everyone, regardless. The "untalented" need the best information as much as the most talented. Many are headed in a dead end without that input.

Just an example: A guy named Jack Daniels (no joke). He's a famous running trainer. Has written books. He talked about bad training out there for runners. He called it: "egg on the wall training". You take a bunch of eggs in your hand (the eggs are your runners) and you throw them up against a wall. The one you find on the ground that hasn't broken. That's your good one.

Does anyone think that egg on the wall training hasn't been practiced elsewhere? That it doesn't effect the student's life?

There is another guy who trains dogs. Brittany's. He has won several national titles with his dogs. He always trains "leftover" dogs. The last of the litter that all the "wise" people have passed over. And again.... he wins national titles with these dogs. His training is quite the opposite of 'egg on the wall' training.

I could keep giving examples.
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#2310543 - 08/03/14 09:01 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Morodiene]
bennevis Offline
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Posts: 5258
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Being "dumped" by a teacher can be an awful experience for a student, even if they aren't practicing or trying to improve.

I have a friend who started learning the piano about 10 years ago, after he retired.

He'd been interested in classical music and the piano all his life - he attends more piano recitals than I can manage - but never had the time to learn, until he retired. He started off with a cheap digital, and hired a teacher who specializes in teaching adults. Within a few weeks, he'd upgraded to a much better digital. Another couple of months, and he'd gone the whole hog - buying a Steinway upright (there was no space for a grand).

He started off with high hopes, intending to go through the ABRSM exams grade by grade. After six months, he and his teacher realized that his progress was very slow - his coordination was pretty poor, as was his sense of rhythm and pitch, and playing anything using two hands was a stop-start affair. They agreed that he'd just set his sights on eventually being able to play Chopin's Op.9/2 in a few years' time, and forget about exams.

He lives for his piano-playing: I'd guess that he spends most of his waking hours at his piano. I can just imagine how devastated he'd be if his teacher, who he now regards as his friend, dumped him......
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#2310545 - 08/03/14 09:13 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Being "dumped" by a teacher can be an awful experience for a student, even if they aren't practicing or trying to improve.

He lives for his piano-playing: I'd guess that he spends most of his waking hours at his piano. I can just imagine how devastated he'd be if his teacher, who he now regards as his friend, dumped him......


The same goes for teachers who get "dumped" by their students. We invest far more into students than just showing up prepared to teach. I think of my student throughout the week, trying to think of a way to explain something in a manner they'll understand, or thinking of that perfect piece for them to work on next to further their progress, or what that next issue to tackle might be. Not every teacher is like this, but I think the good ones are. So it does hurt when a student decides to leave us. Still, I'd much rather it be that way than me doing the dismissing.
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#2310556 - 08/03/14 09:39 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: rnaple]
bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted By: rnaple

A guy named Jack Daniels (no joke). He's a famous running trainer. Has written books. He talked about bad training out there for runners.


Jack Daniels's running books were my bible when I started running some 15 years ago - I learnt everything from fartlek to interval training to lactate threshold from him.

I was (and still am) a mediocre runner who'd never been sporty, until I decided I wanted to run the marathon in my late thirties. I bought many books, read up all about how to train, how to find the right kind of shoes, nutrition, the lot.

And I even had a coach, Frank Horwill, who trained elite athletes for national teams. Giving free advice to rank amateurs like myself was a sideline for him, but one he took seriously. We never met because he lived several hundred miles away, but we wrote to each other (or rather, I'd write to him with a query, and he'd reply by return post - but he refused to accept any payment, not even for expenses: this was before the advent of the internet).

In effect, he was my teacher, taking me through one race after another, one PR (=PB) after another in 5K, 10K, half-marathon, marathon, and shared in my joy when I achieved another PR. A PR that, by the standards of the athletes he normally coached, is simply laughably poor.

This is what comes to my mind when I read about piano teachers who discard students who have no musical talent, and/or don't reach the ideals of said teachers.......

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#2310558 - 08/03/14 09:55 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Morodiene]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5258
Originally Posted By: Morodiene


The same goes for teachers who get "dumped" by their students. We invest far more into students than just showing up prepared to teach.

I certainly agree that the teacher-student relationship is a two-way affair, especially when it comes to adult students.

Unless there's a really good reason, I believe that a student should stay with the same teacher.

Evgeny Kissin, one of today's foremost virtuosi, has had the same teacher since he was six....... thumb
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#2310567 - 08/03/14 10:21 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
BrianDX Offline
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Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 740
Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: benevis

If any teacher can't understand why such an act could have consequences for the rest of the student's life, that teacher, IMO, has no business being a teacher. Reading through posts here and in the Piano Teacher's forum, I know there is one teacher for whom I'd discourage any potential student from going to.

Wow, what a great summary of my thoughts! smile
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#2310570 - 08/03/14 10:27 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
BrianDX Offline
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Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 740
Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Being "dumped" by a teacher can be an awful experience for a student, even if they aren't practicing or trying to improve.

I have a friend who started learning the piano about 10 years ago, after he retired.

He'd been interested in classical music and the piano all his life - he attends more piano recitals than I can manage - but never had the time to learn, until he retired. He started off with a cheap digital, and hired a teacher who specialises in teaching adults. Within a few weeks, he'd upgraded to a much better digital. Another couple of months, and he'd gone the whole hog - buying a Steinway upright (there was no space for a grand).

He started off with high hopes, intending to go through the ABRSM exams grade by grade. After six months, he and his teacher realized that his progress was very slow - his coordination was pretty poor, as was his sense of rhythm and pitch, and playing anything using two hands was a stop-start affair. They agreed that he'd just set his sights on eventually being able to play Chopin's Op.9/2 in a few years' time, and forget about exams.

He lives for his piano-playing: I'd guess that he spends most of his waking hours at his piano. I can just imagine how devastated he'd be if his teacher, who he now regards as his friend, dumped him......

My definition of a truly great teacher!
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#2310628 - 08/03/14 01:46 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4804
Loc: Seattle area, WA
In the past 10 years, I've left 2 teachers. Both situations were awkward.

I left the first after 4 wonderful years because I outgrew him. My questions were either deflected or were left unanswered. I respected him a great deal so I was very anxious to part in a sensitive way. I set up an appointment out of lesson time, spoke to him and brought a gift. I gently told him I wanted a new perspective. I was extremely fond of him so I was very disappointed when he refused to maintain contact.

For the second teacher, the word "fired" applies. She was awful. I stuck it out for 10 months by telling myself she had a lot to teach me. She was regimental, inflexible and dictated exactly how everything must be played. Her entire focus was on how her competing youngsters reflected on her reputation. As an adult, I was given last choice on pieces to play and was reluctantly included in master classes. Firing her was a pleasure and a relief. I was too polite to tell her to her face that I couldn't stand her so I told her our goals were too different.

I've been with my current teacher for 4 years and am only mining the surface of what he has to offer. He's the best teacher I've ever had and I see no end in sight.

So, leaving a teacher for the right reasons is usually the best decision once you get past the awkwardness.
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#2310630 - 08/03/14 01:49 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: gooddog]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Originally Posted By: gooddog
In the past 10 years, I've left 2 teachers. Both situations were awkward.

I left the first after 4 wonderful years because I outgrew him. My questions were either deflected or were left unanswered. I respected him a great deal so I was very anxious to part in a sensitive way. I set up an appointment out of lesson time, spoke to him and brought a gift. I gently told him I wanted a new perspective. I was extremely fond of him so I was very disappointed when he refused to maintain contact.

For the second teacher, the word "fired" applies. She was awful. I stuck it out for 10 months telling myself she had a lot to teach me. She was regimental, inflexible and dictated exactly how everything must be played. Her entire focus was on how her competing youngsters reflected on her reputation. As an adult, I was given last choice on pieces to play and was reluctantly included in master classes. Firing her was a pleasure and a relief.

I've been with my current teacher for 4 years and am only mining the surface of what he has to offer. He's the best teacher I've ever had and I see no end in sight.

So, leaving a teacher for the right reasons is usually the best decision once you get past the awkwardness.
It's a shame that first teacher took it so badly. I can relate, but I always try to be understanding and keep the door open, even if I don't agree with the reasons for leaving.
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#2310632 - 08/03/14 01:59 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Morodiene]
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
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Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
It's a shame that first teacher took it so badly. I can relate, but I always try to be understanding and keep the door open, even if I don't agree with the reasons for leaving.
It still hurts me and I miss him. I learned a tremendous amount from him and I liked him very much. Leaving him was definitely the right decision but I didn't want to hurt him. I think he had a very fragile ego and he took it as a personal rejection. I would have loved to share my progress with him and check in once or twice a year to see how he and his very nice wife are doing. Sigh.

Edit: this brings to mind a limitation of some piano teachers. When they have a talented student who is outgrowing them, they do not want to let them go because it is fun to teach an eager pupil. In my mind, this is quite selfish. It's important to know one's own limits and recognize when it's time to encourage a student to move to a higher level. I've had this happen to me with 2 important teachers and it greatly slowed my progress. I'm considering becoming a piano teacher when I retire, and I will always keep in mind that I shouldn't hold anyone back because I'm having fun.


Edited by gooddog (08/03/14 02:04 PM)
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#2310637 - 08/03/14 02:27 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: gooddog]
griffin2417 Offline

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I bet you'd be a wonderful piano teacher, Deborah!! Especially given your background as an educator. However, you may find retirement will lead you to some surprising new directions you hadn't expected. For me returning to the piano was a totally unexpected and delightful surprise. smile



Edited by griffin2417 (08/03/14 02:32 PM)
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#2310645 - 08/03/14 02:47 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: griffin2417]
gooddog Offline
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Originally Posted By: griffin2417
I bet you'd be a wonderful piano teacher, Deborah!! Especially given your background as an educator. However, you may find retirement will lead you to some surprising new directions you hadn't expected. For me returning to the piano was a totally unexpected and delightful surprise. smile

Hi Carl! It's nice to hear from you. I'm hoping to retire in about 4 years and the piano is going to be my main focus. (I never have enough time to practice while I'm working). I thought it would be fun to share my love of the instrument with others and earn a few extra dollars along the way but, per what you have said, I will keep my options open! Be well!
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#2310646 - 08/03/14 02:47 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: gooddog]
bennevis Offline
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I think I'd find it very difficult to 'fire' a teacher, unless he was truly so awful that I couldn't wait to be rid of him (in which case, I'd probably enjoy the process wink )....

Fortunately, I never had to do that, as I had no choice in the matter when I was learning. My first teacher (for whom I was her very first student) - who I'll always regard fondly for having introduced me to the joys of piano playing and classical music by the great composers, and weaning me off Love Story - left to continue her piano studies abroad after taking me to Grade 1 ABRSM. I hoped - actually, I know grin - that she enjoyed teaching me, a 10-year-old who initially knew as much about classical music as a gnat, but after a year, became totally hooked on it, thanks to her.

My second teacher was a lot more experienced and firmer (and I was more in awe of her), but she basically continued on where my first left off. Then I left home in my mid-teens to go to a boarding school abroad, where I lost no time in getting myself one of the peripatetic teachers who taught there. She, like my previous teachers, only taught students to Grade 8 ABRSM, but that was fine, because by the time I outgrew her, we had to part company because I'd finished with secondary school.

The university I went to found me a new teacher who took advanced students, and he was also a concert pianist himself. For the first time, I played a grand piano - he had two that he used for teaching.

Since leaving university, I haven't thought of having another teacher, but as I don't have any burning ambitions (other than to play Rach 3 with an orchestra wink ), I just continue learning new, more challenging pieces by myself, and presenting them in my monthly recitals for (non-musical) colleagues.

But if I was ever to lose motivation, or mad enough to think about entering myself for an amateur piano competition, I'd certainly find myself a teacher......
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#2310683 - 08/03/14 04:27 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
malkin Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis

... if I was ever ...mad enough to think about entering myself for an amateur piano competition, I'd certainly find myself a teacher......


If I were ever mad enough to think about entering a competition, I'd find a psychiatrist.
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#2310711 - 08/03/14 05:58 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: gooddog]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: gooddog


Edit: this brings to mind a limitation of some piano teachers. When they have a talented student who is outgrowing them, they do not want to let them go because it is fun to teach an eager pupil. In my mind, this is quite selfish. It's important to know one's own limits and recognize when it's time to encourage a student to move to a higher level. I've had this happen to me with 2 important teachers and it greatly slowed my progress. I'm considering becoming a piano teacher when I retire, and I will always keep in mind that I shouldn't hold anyone back because I'm having fun.


It's not easy to do, but I've always been of the mindset that if I can't help the student any longer, then I need to refer them elsewhere. Most of the time when I do this students will go with the person I select, because I know their personality and needs and I know what the teacher is like. Then I'm usually able to stay in touch with them and once in a while ask them to play me something they're working on. It's great to hear them progress and to know I was a part of that, and in a way, I still am. smile
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#2310734 - 08/03/14 07:25 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: AZNpiano]
malkin Offline
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: bennevis
How about your doctor telling you that you're too old/fat/whatever and doesn't want to have you as a patient, because you'll be too much trouble?

Then you take your business elsewhere.

Any working professional has the right to draw the line for him/herself.


This happened to me once, sort of. I was sick and and uninsured. I made some phone calls and one place told me "We are a well-woman clinic." So I hung up and found a place that treated sick people and I went there.
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#2310777 - 08/03/14 09:52 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Morodiene]
BrianDX Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
It's not easy to do, but I've always been of the mindset that if I can't help the student any longer, then I need to refer them elsewhere. Most of the time when I do this students will go with the person I select, because I know their personality and needs and I know what the teacher is like. Then I'm usually able to stay in touch with them and once in a while ask them to play me something they're working on. It's great to hear them progress and to know I was a part of that, and in a way, I still am. smile

I was curious; how often does something like this happen, where the student outgrows the teacher? I would think that for the (I'm guessing) rare occasions where this happens, this would be a source of great pride for the teacher.
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#2310798 - 08/03/14 11:01 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
hreichgott Offline
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Happens all the time. I've outgrown teachers and I've had students outgrow me. Other than university/conservatory professors and concert artists, most of us are not really qualified to teach all levels. We must all know our limits and be happy to see highly skilled students move on to someone with more knowledge and experience.
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#2310916 - 08/04/14 08:51 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: BrianDX]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: BrianDX
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
It's not easy to do, but I've always been of the mindset that if I can't help the student any longer, then I need to refer them elsewhere. Most of the time when I do this students will go with the person I select, because I know their personality and needs and I know what the teacher is like. Then I'm usually able to stay in touch with them and once in a while ask them to play me something they're working on. It's great to hear them progress and to know I was a part of that, and in a way, I still am. smile

I was curious; how often does something like this happen, where the student outgrows the teacher? I would think that for the (I'm guessing) rare occasions where this happens, this would be a source of great pride for the teacher.
Every once in a while I get a student who is serious enough about their progress, but my piano students are largely not motivated to play such difficult repertoire. Usually those students end up going off to college and by that point we have reached the limits or close to it, so it works out pretty well.
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#2310933 - 08/04/14 10:01 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
musicalinfinity Offline
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Registered: 05/20/14
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I have changed a teacher once, but it wasn't quite a "firing". It was more of me feeling that I wasn't really gaining much from the lessons as it seemed like she wasn't really giving me the guidance I wanted? I was just beginning then but I felt like she wasn't focusing on the fundamentals, such as how the hands should be when playing the piano. Consequently I stopped lessons for a while before looking for a new teacher.

I am delighted with my current teacher, who is also my second teacher. One of the first things she corrected was my method of playing and she also introduces me to different forms of music. She doesn't push me for the graded exams, but gives me plenty of pieces which gradually teach me different techniques. Most importantly, she throws in a mixture of "famous" pieces to keep me excited.

To all the piano teachers out there, you guys are really special and can make a huge difference. Thank you for spreading the joys of making music to the rest of us. smile

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#2311356 - 08/05/14 08:00 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Yes, if the doctor is paid for each consultation, each test he orders, each prescription he gives, which is the case in USA. There, he'll want the patients with the greatest number of chronic diseases....

Not so in the UK, with the National Health Service, where all consultations, tests and treatments are free at source. The 'best' patients are those who register with you and never see you for any ailments. thumb

Which is why the US system makes a lot more sense.
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#2311422 - 08/05/14 10:43 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Polyphonist]
bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Yes, if the doctor is paid for each consultation, each test he orders, each prescription he gives, which is the case in USA. There, he'll want the patients with the greatest number of chronic diseases....

Not so in the UK, with the National Health Service, where all consultations, tests and treatments are free at source. The 'best' patients are those who register with you and never see you for any ailments. thumb

Which is why the US system makes a lot more sense.

Yes, doctors see a lot of 'worried well' in USA, and make a fortune out of........
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#2311843 - 08/06/14 06:40 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Polyphonist]
MandyD Offline
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Registered: 07/12/14
Posts: 110
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Yes, if the doctor is paid for each consultation, each test he orders, each prescription he gives, which is the case in USA. There, he'll want the patients with the greatest number of chronic diseases....

Not so in the UK, with the National Health Service, where all consultations, tests and treatments are free at source. The 'best' patients are those who register with you and never see you for any ailments. thumb

Which is why the US system makes a lot more sense.


As a nurse I have to totally disagree with you on this. Within the Australian health care system there are great fears that due to the current Government we are heading towards an American type system and I couldn't think of anything worse (sorry).
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#2311849 - 08/06/14 07:07 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
wimpiano Online   content
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Registered: 09/16/13
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I agree, couldn't think of a worse medical system then the American..
A girl from Colorado I know was saving for 3 years for a knee surgery when I last spoke to her. Over here that would cost you effectively 0.0 EUR.
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#2311861 - 08/06/14 08:07 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: wimpiano]
BrianDX Offline
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Originally Posted By: wimpiano
I agree, couldn't think of a worse medical system then the American.

Sorry but this is a silly and borderline ignorant comment. We have some the best medical minds and technology in the world. I work with a half dozen European-born folks who have since come to American and have become citizens. They may disagree on many things, but they do agree on one thing: Our system is far superior to anything they had overseas in EVERY way.

The problem with health care in American is not the quality of it. It is that some folks can't afford the basic care they need. Right now that debate is raging here, and I hope the end result is that basic care will be available to ALL folks at little or no cost.

Note to moderator: Can we get this thread back on target? If we want to have a raging discussion with our overseas members about the quality of our health care systems there are plenty of places to go.

PPS: It is probably good that a certain member who resides in Rochester MN (Home of the Mayo Clinic which provides some of the best heath care in the WORLD) is currently on "vacation" right. That comment would probably send him over the edge.


Edited by BrianDX (08/06/14 08:17 AM)
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#2311863 - 08/06/14 08:16 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
wimpiano Online   content
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Sorry didn't know it was such a sensitive subject. I hope to be not borderline ignorant. My point was that although there are very good doctors in the US, for the common man they're just hard to afford.
Example: I pay 100-120 EUR per month for insurance and it will get me ANY doctor on the world. If a doctor in the US can treat me to safe my life (however expensive it is), it will be done.
So in that aspect US healthcare is more accessible to me as a European (there is no such thing as a European btw. The level of Healthcare across Europe is very diverse) than for the average American citizen.
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#2311865 - 08/06/14 08:22 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: wimpiano]
BrianDX Offline
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About 80% of the folks here have access to good to very good medical care that they can afford (mostly through their employers). The problem is the 20% who don't (Still about 50 million people).

For those folks right now who don't live in the United States, this is a raging debate that is dividing us in a terrible way.

Sorry I did not mean to be strident here wimpiano, but this is a debate best left to other forums.

At least in this forum we can agree we love talking about pianos! I come here to get relief from the other raging debates in this country. frown
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#2311866 - 08/06/14 08:22 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: wimpiano]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: wimpiano
Sorry didn't know it was such a sensitive subject. I hope to be not borderline ignorant. My point was that although there are very good doctors in the US, for the common man they're just hard to afford.
Example: I pay 100-120 EUR per month for insurance and it will get me ANY doctor on the world. If a doctor in the US can treat me to safe my life (however expensive it is), it will be done.
So in that aspect US healthcare is more accessible to me as a European (there is no such thing as a European btw. The level of Healthcare across Europe is very diverse) than for the average American citizen.
Health insurance for me being self-employed used to be about 3 times that for my husband and I. This is for a catastrophic plan with a $5k deductible. This is no longer allowed by Obamacare, and the insurance that we have to pay for through Obamacare is far more than that. Thanks, Obama, but your definition of "affordable" doesn't match mine. /rant
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#2311869 - 08/06/14 08:26 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Morodiene]
BrianDX Offline
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This is a good example of the debate. The new health plan, designed to give affordable heath to "everyone" has, at least IMHO hurt as many people as it is helped.
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#2311873 - 08/06/14 08:36 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: BrianDX]
BrianDX Offline
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One other tidbit about the new health care plan and I'm going on hiatus on this thread as it is not a fun subject.

The entire bill was crafted, voted on, and passed by only one of our political parties. Given that the political preferences of Americans roughly fall as 1/3 Democrats, 1/3 Republicans, and 1/3 Independents, imagine that this bill which affects ALL 320 million of us was designed by a party that only represents 1/3 of us.
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#2311875 - 08/06/14 08:56 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: BrianDX]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: BrianDX
One other tidbit about the new health care plan and I'm going on hiatus on this thread as it is not a fun subject.

The entire bill was crafted, voted on, and passed by only one of our political parties. Given that the political preferences of Americans roughly fall as 1/3 Democrats, 1/3 Republicans, and 1/3 Independents, imagine that this bill which affects ALL 320 million of us was designed by a party that only represents 1/3 of us.

And that is with the assumption that this particular bill was supported by the constituents of this party. But, we have digressed quite a bit from the main topic here LOL.
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#2311893 - 08/06/14 10:28 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Morodiene]
BrianDX Offline
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+1! smile
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#2311896 - 08/06/14 10:33 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Morodiene]
Michael Sayers Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Health insurance for me being self-employed used to be about 3 times that for my husband and I. This is for a catastrophic plan with a $5k deductible. This is no longer allowed by Obamacare, and the insurance that we have to pay for through Obamacare is far more than that. Thanks, Obama, but your definition of "affordable" doesn't match mine. /rant

At least in the U.S. you can get an ambulance when one is needed. Here in Sweden a person needs to convince the emergency operator to send one, and if a person passes out before then or becomes unavailable it can go either way.

http://www.thelocal.se/20110413/33172

It might explain why police here recently pursued a German ambulance that was here to pick someone up and not following the traffic rules!

http://www.thelocal.se/20140802/swedish-police-chase-german-ambulance

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#2311897 - 08/06/14 10:35 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: alans]
dmd Offline
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The cost of healthcare is not associated with any political party. It is independent of politics. It costs what it costs.

The only reason it may cost more NOW for some is because the insurance companies can no longer refuse coverage to those that are SICK !

So, you have a choice ... pay the TRUE COST of healthcare and include everyone or exclude those that are SICK and pay much less. Then, let the sickies pay for it on their own and go broke in the process.

You can argue and lay blame all you want ... but that is basically what it comes down to.
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#2311898 - 08/06/14 10:38 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: BrianDX]
Plowboy Offline
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Registered: 06/26/08
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Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: BrianDX
One other tidbit about the new health care plan and I'm going on hiatus on this thread as it is not a fun subject.

The entire bill was crafted, voted on, and passed by only one of our political parties. Given that the political preferences of Americans roughly fall as 1/3 Democrats, 1/3 Republicans, and 1/3 Independents, imagine that this bill which affects ALL 320 million of us was designed by a party that only represents 1/3 of us.



All true, except this was the plan advocated by the Heritage Foundation and the Republican Party, even implemented in one state by a Republican governor. They only opposed it once a Democratic president accepted it.

Tying healthcare to employment is almost as stupid as making healthcare a profit center.

edit: What we really need is universal piano care. :-)


Edited by Plowboy (08/06/14 10:39 AM)
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#2311927 - 08/06/14 12:38 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Plowboy]
BrianDX Offline
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Originally Posted By: Plowboy
All true, except this was the plan advocated by the Heritage Foundation and the Republican Party, even implemented in one state by a Republican governor. They only opposed it once a Democratic president accepted it.

Goodness gratious. This statement above was probably taken almost word-for-word from the DNC talking points.

If you laid the Heritage plan and the ACA side-by-side they probably are 10% similar. I think the real reason no GOP legislator signed onto this is that ZERO (I repeat ZERO) GOP amendments were added to the bill.

The sad thing is, if you and I sat in a room and hammered out the basics of a heath plan that would really move the ball forward we could do it I reckon, because we probably agree for the most part what is broken with the current system. The problem is our political system is severely broken here (both parties share equal blame). A heath care system that truly works for all Americans is just one sad victim of this disfunction.
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#2311929 - 08/06/14 12:40 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: dmd]
BrianDX Offline
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Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: dmd
The cost of healthcare is not associated with any political party. It is independent of politics. It costs what it costs.

Totally correct on all three fronts. I never stated otherwise...
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#2311936 - 08/06/14 01:08 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: BrianDX]
dmd Offline
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Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1888
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: BrianDX
The new health plan, designed to give affordable heath to "everyone" has, at least IMHO hurt as many people as it is helped.


Well, some think that "affordable" means cheaper. It does not. It means within their means to pay for it.

Just because someone's healthcare insurance premiums have risen does not mean that was a failure on the part of the "affordable" care act. It still may be affordable, just not "cheaper".

In order to give "affordable" healthcare to EVERYONE there probably is a need to charge some more than they had been paying in order to make it affordable to those earning poverty wages. The "help your neighbor" concept ?
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#2311949 - 08/06/14 02:06 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: dmd]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: dmd

Well, some think that "affordable" means cheaper. It does not. It means within their means to pay for it.

Just because someone's healthcare insurance premiums have risen does not mean that was a failure on the part of the "affordable" care act. It still may be affordable, just not "cheaper".

In order to give "affordable" healthcare to EVERYONE there probably is a need to charge some more than they had been paying in order to make it affordable to those earning poverty wages. The "help your neighbor" concept ?



1) Last time I checked this was not a socialist republic. If I choose to help out someone in need, I do so on an individual basis. I should not be forced to foot the bill for those that make less money simply because I make more.

2) I should also be allowed to determine what kind of financial hardship/burden I can afford to bear. I shouldn't be told I HAVE to have coverage, or have coverage at a certain level, when I know I have enough liquid assets saved up to cover a certain amount of major medical expenses.
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2311983 - 08/06/14 03:35 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Morodiene]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1888
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
1) Last time I checked this was not a socialist republic. If I choose to help out someone in need, I do so on an individual basis. I should not be forced to foot the bill for those that make less money simply because I make more.

2) I should also be allowed to determine what kind of financial hardship/burden I can afford to bear. I shouldn't be told I HAVE to have coverage, or have coverage at a certain level, when I know I have enough liquid assets saved up to cover a certain amount of major medical expenses.


You have made your position crystal clear. Good Luck to you.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES7, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, Ravenscroft275, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq 5

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#2312007 - 08/06/14 04:24 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: BrianDX]
casinitaly Online   blank


Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 5120
Loc: Italy
Quote:
Note to moderator: Can we get this thread back on target? If we want to have a raging discussion with our overseas members about the quality of our health care systems there are plenty of places to go.



Ask and ye shall receive.


Whoa nelly ---- this thread has been more than slightly derailled!

How about we call it a wrap on the subject of medicare and move back to the subject of terminating one's working relationship with a teacher?

Thank you kindly for your cooperation.
_________________________
XVIII-XXXIV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#2312059 - 08/06/14 06:29 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: musicalinfinity]
Purkoy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/14
Posts: 53
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: musicalinfinity
She doesn't push me for the graded exams, but gives me plenty of pieces which gradually teach me different techniques. Most importantly, she throws in a mixture of "famous" pieces to keep me excited.


That's interesting, because it is close to my experience. I made a choice not to progress through an exam system, since I'm not sure of its value to me. I took up piano at a very late age, relatively speaking (62 takes me just out of the child prodigy category), and have had enough of a lifetime of exams, and I do this for the sheer joy it brings. She does, however, steer me through the topics and areas that I'd expect an exam-oriented syllabus to cover. Interesting too that she throws in a few pieces, or rather genres, I'd not expected, such as jazz flavours and the like. Comparing my practical musical experience as a novice pianist, to my listening experience of music over many decades, as a concert-goer or record collector, it has made me realise, with something of a gulp, that I have been what I'd have called in others a musical snob. Almost imperceptibly, she has been opening doors to new rooms in the mansion of music, that I'd never before thought of stepping through. She's introduced me to layers of musicality far beyond the mere mechanics of it ; and the ability to inspire is the mark of a great teacher.
_________________________


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#2312104 - 08/06/14 08:16 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Purkoy]
BrianDX Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 740
Loc: Lewes DE
Quite frankly your teacher sounds fabulous!

I also started a year ago in my mid-fifties and I am in no frame of mind to start studying for exams at this point. shocked
_________________________
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"
2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F .
Current: Schein - Allemande | Faber - Vivace, Lunar Eclipse

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#2312113 - 08/06/14 08:57 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: BrianDX]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5258
I think that if I started learning piano fairly late (as in over 40 yrs old), I probably wouldn't bother to do exams - by then I'd know my own mind and know what I want to achieve, and what I'm interested in. And I'd be looking for a teacher who would teach me exactly what I want to learn (and that means no pop, easy-listening or jazz grin ).

But for a child learner, there's a lot to be said for doing exams, after reading so many posts in ABF and elsewhere in PW about the slapdash approach of some teachers, who leave gaping holes in their students' piano and musical education. The big advantage of exams is that the entire syllabus for each grade has to be covered - which means that sight-reading skills along with ear training and scales & arpeggios have to be mastered alongside the pieces for that level.

It's all too easy, for instance, for a beginner who is good at memorizing to learn pieces by rote and never manage to sight-read properly (there are some recent posts by adult learners on this) - fine, if the adult learner can't be bothered to master this essential skill, because he only wants to play certain pieces he likes, or just wants to play by ear. A child isn't likely to know what he'll be wanting to learn in five years' time, nor how far he will progress. Without good sight-reading and/or aural skills (recognizing intervals etc), it's almost impossible to progress beyond intermediate standard.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2312116 - 08/06/14 09:08 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: bennevis
I think that if I started learning piano fairly late (as in over 40 yrs old), I probably wouldn't bother to do exams - by then I'd know my own mind and know what I want to achieve, and what I'm interested in. And I'd be looking for a teacher who would teach me exactly what I want to learn (and that means no pop, easy-listening or jazz grin ).

But for a child learner, there's a lot to be said for doing exams, after reading so many posts in ABF and elsewhere in PW about the slapdash approach of some teachers, who leave gaping holes in their students' piano and musical education. The big advantage of exams is that the entire syllabus for each grade has to be covered - which means that sight-reading skills along with ear training and scales & arpeggios have to be mastered alongside the pieces for that level.

It's all too easy, for instance, for a beginner who is good at memorizing to learn pieces by rote and never manage to sight-read properly (there are some recent posts by adult learners on this) - fine, if the adult learner can't be bothered to master this essential skill, because he only wants to play certain pieces he likes, or just wants to play by ear. A child isn't likely to know what he'll be wanting to learn in five years' time, nor how far he will progress. Without good sight-reading and/or aural skills (recognizing intervals etc), it's almost impossible to progress beyond intermediate standard.
Excellent post! I totally agree. smile
_________________________
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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#2312122 - 08/06/14 09:31 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: bennevis]
MandyD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/14
Posts: 110
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: bennevis
I think that if I started learning piano fairly late (as in over 40 yrs old), I probably wouldn't bother to do exams - by then I'd know my own mind and know what I want to achieve, and what I'm interested in. And I'd be looking for a teacher who would teach me exactly what I want to learn (and that means no pop, easy-listening or jazz grin ).

But for a child learner, there's a lot to be said for doing exams, after reading so many posts in ABF and elsewhere in PW about the slapdash approach of some teachers, who leave gaping holes in their students' piano and musical education. The big advantage of exams is that the entire syllabus for each grade has to be covered - which means that sight-reading skills along with ear training and scales & arpeggios have to be mastered alongside the pieces for that level.

It's all too easy, for instance, for a beginner who is good at memorizing to learn pieces by rote and never manage to sight-read properly (there are some recent posts by adult learners on this) - fine, if the adult learner can't be bothered to master this essential skill, because he only wants to play certain pieces he likes, or just wants to play by ear. A child isn't likely to know what he'll be wanting to learn in five years' time, nor how far he will progress. Without good sight-reading and/or aural skills (recognizing intervals etc), it's almost impossible to progress beyond intermediate standard.


This is how I feel too. I'm a late starter (42) so I couldn't think of anything worse than sitting exams. I'm never going to be a concert pianist or able to make a career of it, I just want to play whatever I want. However, my daughter who is 8 will do her exams (if she wishes to continue learning) as I think not only does it broaden her musical horizons & make sure that she has learnt theory/practice well, but it gives her more options down the track if she wants to take this further academically or eventually make a career of it.
_________________________

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#2312131 - 08/06/14 09:49 PM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: MandyD]
BrianDX Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 740
Loc: Lewes DE
The one thing I would add is that at 58 I would be delighted to eventually achieve intermediate status. Having said that, I try to pay special attention to the basic skills described above, as I don't want to limit any future achievement that might be possible.

That is where the true value of my teacher comes in. She will not let the little details go unnoticed; no passing of pieces until everything is as perfect as can be.
_________________________
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"
2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F .
Current: Schein - Allemande | Faber - Vivace, Lunar Eclipse

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#2312198 - 08/07/14 01:06 AM Re: Have you had to fire your piano teacher? Why? [Re: Bamburg]
TX-Bluebonnet Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/14
Posts: 242
Loc: Central Texas
Originally Posted By: Bamburg
I had to "fire" my first piano teacher. He just seemed to want me to learn by rote and didn't really have answers to any of my questions. On top of that he actually fell asleep in the middle of one of my lessons, so I suppose that was the final straw for me.


And I thought my ex-teacher getting up during a lesson to get herself a bowl of cereal to chomp on was bad enough.

I'm not sure what I'd have done in your situation. Unless I was playing a lullaby at the time in which case that might be considered a compliment. laugh
_________________________
Linda

Started my piano journey June 2014 at age 54.
My digital piano: Casio Privia PX-850.
Working on "Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course" Book 1
XXXV

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