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#2317757 - 08/20/14 02:38 PM Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
I'm considering not going back for piano lessons, come September.

To anyone here who knows a thing or two about who I am and what piano lessons mean to me, that may seem like a radical statement. And I'm here to tell you: yes, for me, it *is* a radical statement.

A few of you already know that back in March, I thought for a while that I was not going to be *able* to continue piano lessons, even though back then, I really, really wanted to. My solfège teacher (ETA: not the same person as my piano teacher, but teaching a required course at the same public music school, which I could not quit without the school losing subsidy for me as a student) had asked me not to come to class anymore. I have epilepsy, and my seizures had scared the bejesus out of her one too many times. In the wake of that incident, I contacted the inspectorate, wrote an article about my situation for a website frequented by educators, and talked it over with the principals of various other music schools. In the end, I even wrote to the ministry of education. Halfway through July, one of the principals I'd called sent me an official document, which said there is new legislation in the making, to take effect as of September 2014. Under the new law, no school will be able to refuse to enrol a disabled person, unless there is proof that all reasonable accommodations have been made, and the needs of the student still aren't being met.

Under the circumstances, I feel almost like I "have to" go back. It would make no sense for me to have done all of the above, to possibly have been part of the catalyst for legislative change, and then to decide that I no longer want what I was after. I quote Harvey Milk: rights are only won by those who make their voices heard. I have not just a voice, but the ability to use it effectively when I set my mind to it. Maybe I also have a moral obligation to make myself heard, not just for myself, but for the thousands whose voices are at risk of never being heard. Not to mention, if I stopped going to piano lessons, I would miss it. Big time.

But then, I am also full of shame. I had high hopes that I would be able to play a *lot* of piano this summer. I had work, but I always have that, and I had a research project to work on for one of my instructors at uni. But beyond that, there was almost nothing. No school, no trips abroad, no hospital stays longer than 24 hours, and only five days of summer camp. Last year, too, I went back having made less progress than planned, but at least I had the excuse of having been away from home for most of the summer. This year: zilch. I just didn't work hard enough.

If I go back to my piano teacher now, it will be red-faced and cowering in fear -- not of her, but of wasting her time.

Has anyone faced anything like this before? How did you get yourself to snap out of it?


Edited by Saranoya (08/21/14 03:37 AM)
Edit Reason: Too many misunderstandings
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#2317767 - 08/20/14 03:00 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 426
Loc: USA
Have you considered the possibility of remote lessons? (via Skype or other video conferencing tools) Sure, you may still have a seizure during a remote lesson, but since you are at your own home, it would work out better for yourself and your teacher. While video lessons may not be exactly the same as in person lesson, it is far better than not having any lesson at all.
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#2317771 - 08/20/14 03:04 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3698
Loc: Northern England.
My thoughts would be that there are pioano teachers who may have experience of the health problems you have, which shouldn`t be unsurmountable to anyone who wants to learn. You do want to learn. That`s an advantage you have over some spotty faced football mad kid who doesn`t, but is forced to.

Teachers get paid to teach, they`re not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts; they`re also well aware that it`s not (by and large) future concert pianists who turn up at their doorsteps, but folk who do this for enjoyment. There will be any number of other teachers who`ll take you on, so you don`t have to go back to that one.

By the way, I was one of those spotty kids . . .minus the football interest. Can`t stand the bloody game . . . .that's for the wife to watch . . !

Have fun, lass. You deserve it.
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#2317772 - 08/20/14 03:04 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Tom Christian Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/03/14
Posts: 15
Loc: Fort Collins, Colorado
Implicitly, I believe the choice that lies before you is whether you wish to use piano lessons as a way to make a social statement for the greater good of society, or as a way to further your knowledge of music and playing the piano for your own enjoyment. Either is an understandable and laudable course of action.

Speaking for myself, work and family precluded taking piano lessons until the age of 67; I'm painfully aware of the time conflicts that you face. I discovered that most piano teachers love adult students for all the obvious reasons. I'm now happily headed down a lengthy path to piano proficiency. I know I'll get there.

This is a bit of a leap of faith, but you asked for an opinion so here's mine: forget the social statement, and forget your old piano teacher. There's way too much baggage there and it will always be in the background. Find a new piano teacher that you like and respect, and go for it. Be up front about your condition, and what actions he/she may need to take should you experience a seizure. I believe that you will find a capable teacher who would have accepted you with or without a law mandating it.

Finally, you may indeed feel some embarrassment about your lack of progress, but be assured that it's groundless. Just pick up where you left off and make the best progress that your other commitments will allow.
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#2317777 - 08/20/14 03:11 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
OK, the story about epilepsy may be confusing the issue a little, here.

To be clear: yes, back in March, for a while it looked like I wouldn't be going back to piano lessons. But although I never set foot in the solfège class again (except once, for the exam), I did go back to piano relatively quickly. My piano teacher (who is a different person from the one teaching solfège) insisted, and she got the principal to go along with it (for one school year only).

The thing is, she went to bat for me, and then I sort of went to bat for myself, and it looks like we won. But now I feel like I need to make it "worth her while". I feel like I need to be an exceptional student, just to justify my continued presence at that school. And after this summer in which, for various reasons (none of them noble), I practiced far too little, I feel that I am not just profoundly unexceptional, but flat-out disappointing.

I have many reasons to want to go back for piano lessons, and only one (shame) to stay away. My problem is that right now, I'm having a hard time getting over myself, and over the fact that I have had six uninterrupted weeks filled with larger-than-usual amounts of leisure time, and very little (in terms of piano progress) to show for it.

My (rather philosophical) question is: what do I do to get over it?

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#2317779 - 08/20/14 03:12 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Saranoya

Under the circumstances, I feel almost like I "have to" go back. It would make no sense for me to have done all of the above, to possibly have been part of the catalyst for legislative change, and then to decide that I no longer want what I was after.

This is not a reason to take lessons. Maybe to do other things, but out of guilt because you raised a stink about it is beside the point, isn't it? That was so that you had a choice. You still have a choice.
Quote:
Not to mention, if I stopped going to piano lessons, I would miss it. Big time.
This is the real reason to go back.

Quote:
But then, I am also full of shame. I had high hopes that I would be able to play a *lot* of piano this summer...I just didn't work hard enough.

If I go back to my piano teacher now, it will be red-faced and cowering in fear -- not of her, but of wasting her time.


I get what you're saying and why you're saying it, but as a teacher, I only feel a student is wasting my time if they never practice for months on end. And even then, I may not reject them for that, depending on the circumstances.

So here's my piano bench analysis: you are feeling guilty because you promised yourself you'd have a productive summer. You didn't, so you feel like YOU wasted time. You are projecting that on to your teacher, who perhaps expects that you didn't progress much since you didn't take lessons over the summer. It is rare that a student would take the summer off and come back in good shape to move forward.

So for starters, recognize that your teacher probably doesn't feel this way and they understand the first few weeks will be rough. Assess what happened with your free time and see if you can set up a new schedule for yourself now to get back in the swing of things. Then forgive yourself for losing this time. Use this to motivate yourself to stick with your new routine.


Edited by Morodiene (08/20/14 03:13 PM)
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#2317783 - 08/20/14 03:17 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11727
Loc: Canada
Addressing the part where you feel embarrassed for not having worked on piano as you think you should have or "could" have, and that your teacher will see that. I think that almost every student who takes music seriously and has been at it long enough goes through this - and more than once. The people who don't care and who truly goof off, it doesn't bother them one whit. It's the good students who are bothered. If this is true the way I think it is, then your teacher will have gone through it too. It's normal to have low points where you "ought to have been able to do things" but didn't - IF that's even true. It's also likely that you have achieved more than you think you did.


Edited by keystring (08/20/14 03:20 PM)
Edit Reason: shorter

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#2317786 - 08/20/14 03:22 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 719
Loc: Finland
Just stop ovethinking smile

Guess what? When I go back to my lessons after the summer my teacher always seems surprised how much I've practiced during the summer, because most of her students don't, some hardly touch the piano.

I find it hard to believe that all your teacher's students practice either (unless they are all studying to be professional musicians). Summer break can be useful in many ways, for you it might have been a well needed break from the stress you had in the spring. The only thing you need to worry about is whether you still want to tickle those keys or not and whether you still enjoy piano music. Everything else will work out. It all gets back soon and sometimes one actually learns better after a break.

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#2317794 - 08/20/14 03:44 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1993
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Sara,

As people before me mentioned, please don't think too much. If u haven't practiced, just ask her to work with you on sight reading, theory or technical exercises that does not require prep. Then it's not waste. Actually learning sight reading this way with a teacher give you long term benefit.

Also don't be frustrated at the seemingly slow pace of progress. Piano is very deceptive. People who practice reach intermediate stage fairly quickly. But then there is a long road to advanced. It's really long time for most of people. So buckle up and enjoy the ride. Everyone seem to get there eventually but having down period here and there do not make a heck of difference. The only way to get there is not quitting. Ok Sista!
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#2317800 - 08/20/14 03:57 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
8 Octaves Offline

Gold Supporter until July 22 2015


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 426
Loc: USA
It's a tendency of mine as well to think that because of time off from work that I will experience a growth spurt in piano, but life happens. My progress doesn't seem to be more during more leisure periods. I think it is far better to just go for steady progress over long period than to hope for any significant accomplishments from being on break.

So I would say to get over it, simply realize that your premise of having weeks therefore significant progress is incorrect and you shouldn't expect such results. You should extend your short term goals to what could be accomplished for months to years.
_________________________
La musica non è 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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#2317807 - 08/20/14 04:05 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
dagdvm Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 13
Loc: Virginia
Stop beating yourself up. Sometimes life gets in the way of all our good intentions. And it can be therapeutic for your brain to take a break and think about other things.

So go back to your lessons with renewed enthusiasm, and ENJOY! smile

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#2317830 - 08/20/14 05:11 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 690
Loc: NH
You love your lessons!!! The absolute "shame" would be to stop them. Listen to Morodiene. She understands the teacher perspective.

I did take lessons all summer. But my chronic fatigue has been horrid. So, I don't have a lot to show for my efforts. You know what? That's life. Things and situations can get in the way of productive practice. Be a friend to yourself and say the things a good friend would say to you. That negative inner voice is not your friend.

Besides, I think with a disability it's very important to have something in your life you still can do and enjoy. That's piano for me. But, I do it when I can. I trust my teacher will find something to teach me even if I go into a lesson unprepared. Your job as a student is to show up and do your best. Sometimes, "your best" isn't great. That's OK.
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#2317835 - 08/20/14 05:29 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1635
Loc: Australia
Quote:
I feel that I am not just profoundly unexceptional, but flat-out disappointing.


You have been fighting to be treated as normal (probably all of your life) and now you have won there is no shame in being normal. Give yourself permission to be normal. To not progress as fast as you thought you would well that is just normal.

As for so called slacking off over Summer, it just sounds like you sub-consciously (or consciously) made decisions of what your priorities were, assuming you had choice, then piano wasn't one of them. Again that just says you are normal but it also says your desire to be great at piano is stronger than your desire to work at it, again perfectly normal as well.

Let us not forget why we are here as well. We are beginners in the early years of an apprenticeship with the piano. It is to early to say if you will ever be great at piano but would it be so bad if you turned out to be normal, yet were still a relatively small part of the population who could play a Chopin Nocturne or a Beethoven Sonata.
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#2317848 - 08/20/14 05:52 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1092
Loc: western MA, USA
Saranoya! Everyone, every every everyone, has trouble progressing as much as they'd like during a break in lessons.

I can tell you as a teacher that when students have more than 2 weeks between lessons, the one who even gets to the piano and practices at ALL is the exception, not the rule.

Get back to the piano, even just on some easier or already-learned pieces, knock off the dust, and then you'll be back on the right track.

If you feel nervous about lessons then maybe call or email the teacher ahead of time, explain where you are, and ask for suggestions on what to do between now and lesson day.

You love playing, and what's happened here is utterly normal. Don't let it stop you.
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Sometimes a bagatelle is just a bagatelle. Beethoven Op. 33
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#2317872 - 08/20/14 06:59 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Purkoy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/14
Posts: 53
Loc: United Kingdom
I can't add anything to the advice already given, all of which is sound, and from experienced people too. All I can say, as a beginner who's struggled with the difficulties of piano playing, is that the most enabling thing my teacher made me understand, was that it is often genuinely hard to do this, and that progress is not constant and may often seem barely perceptible. Once I realised that, that other people have the same kind of hurdles and brick walls that I have, I was able to relax more, recognise and appreciate the small improvements when they came, and stop beating myself over the head.

I suspect that in your heart, you know that within a week of giving up lessons, you'd regret it. Any teacher worth his or her salt will recognise your concerns, and help you work around them.
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#2317878 - 08/20/14 07:30 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
MandyD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/14
Posts: 110
Loc: Australia
What great advice you have been given. You are putting way too much pressure on yourself, the only way you will get over yourself is to get out there and do it. I bet when you do you will be wondering what you were so worried about. You will be fine, and your teacher will be happy with you - not because you are exceptional but because you obviously have a love of the piano and you want to learn.

On a side note I have worked with a lot of people who suffer from epilepsy and many of them are too scared to do anything out of the ordinary (which is basically not leaving the house) in case they have a seizure. Most say the fear is not so much for themselves but that they might frighten other people. I think this is so sad, and I also think that this is why you are already exceptional. You are already getting out there and living your life despite this obstacle. Hopefully in doing so you are not only educating people about epilepsy, but you are also inspiring others to get out of the house and do something they love. Don't look at how disappointed your teacher will be in you because you haven't practiced as much as you would have liked, look how disappointed they will be not to have the opportunity to learn and take inspiration from you if you quit.
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#2317904 - 08/20/14 09:20 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Stubbie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest USA
Do I understand this correctly: you won't be going back to your solfege class (which you completed away from campus and about which possible legislation is in the works), but you are questioning whether you want to go back to your (private?)piano teacher?

Morodiene and hreichgott said it: teachers are used to dealing with progression stalling when there's a gap in lessons. You feel mortified that you haven't made progress, but you'll be back on track soon. Maybe you needed that time off this summer to recharge your batteries. Start up lessons again. You know you've got a cheering section here at PW.
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Wherever you go, there you are.


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#2317921 - 08/20/14 10:04 PM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
You've gotten a lot of great advice already. I'd like to point out my biggest concern: lessons are a place to which you bring problems, not solutions. If you've already solved something, what do you need the teacher for? wink
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#2317952 - 08/21/14 12:16 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
Originally Posted By: peterws
Teachers get paid to teach, they're not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.


Probably not. But *good* teachers teach despite the fact that they could almost certainly make more money doing something else. My teacher is a good one, for more than that reason alone. I respect her immensely, and that makes this more difficult, not less. I'm scared of disappointing her only because her opinion matters to me -- a lot.

Originally Posted By: Tom Christian
This is a bit of a leap of faith, but you asked for an opinion so here's mine: forget the social statement.


If I choose to continue going to lessons, I *will* be making a social statement, no matter what else I do. In meetings with lawmakers and politicians, people will be holding me up as an example of someone whose situation the new legislation was meant to address. If this works out, the principal will use me as a feather in his cap when it serves him. If it doesn't, he will use me as an excuse not to do anything special for the next disabled person who comes along. They'll be watching me. Not closely, but still. More people to (potentially) disappoint.

Originally Posted By: keystring
The people who don't care and who truly goof off, it doesn't bother them one whit. It's the good students who are bothered. If this is true the way I think it is, then your teacher will have gone through it too.


Funny. Now that I read this, I remember that my teacher told me at the end of the school year how sometimes during summer, she doesn't even touch the piano for a month. I don't know if this is actually true (although it may very well be true). I think it was her way of telling me to take it easy on myself. But all my life, I've had to work hard at quite a few things that other people take for granted. There are some (like walking unassisted) that I have lost despite this. I didn't get where I am by slacking off just like everyone else. Which is not to say that I've never slacked off, of course. Just that the cost of slacking off, at least in certain areas, may be higher for me than most. And because playing the piano is at least in part a physical skill, that's probably true in this case, too.

Originally Posted By: outo
I find it hard to believe that all your teacher's students practice.


I'm pretty sure that many of them don't. But isn't this what makes me a good student? The fact that, unlike most, I *do* practice regularly, even during breaks? And is the fact that I am a good student not the reason that my teacher was willing to keep teaching me, even when a different teacher at the same school (the solfège teacher) no longer was? What happens if/when I become truly mediocre? Am I going to loose all that good will on my teacher's part, then?

Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
The only way to get there is not quitting.


Well, yeah. That, I can't argue with. Thanks, FarmGirl! smile

Originally Posted By: dynamobt
Besides, I think with a disability it's very important to have something in your life you still can do and enjoy. That's piano for me. But, I do it when I can. I trust my teacher will find something to teach me even if I go into a lesson unprepared. Your job as a student is to show up and do your best. Sometimes, "your best" isn't great. That's OK.


Thank you, dynamobt. It's piano for me, too -- and I think my teacher understood that before I did. During my first year of piano lessons, I tried to quit once because I was having many seizures, and it bothered me that sometimes, my teacher was put in a difficult position because of this. But she said: there are enough other things already that you can't do because of your physical limitations. Don't sabotage yourself by taking this away, too. Weirdly, in my twisted logic, that became another reason to respect her; another reason to want to do *better*, and feel ashamed when I don't ...

Originally Posted By: earlofmar
It is too early to say if you will ever be great at piano but would it be so bad if you turned out to be normal, yet were still a relatively small part of the population who could play a Chopin Nocturne or a Beethoven Sonata.


I'm here to tell you that I already know what you seem to be questioning: I will never be great at piano. I'm OK with that. The thing is, even if I'm never going to be great at piano, I can still be a great student. But I'm not. That's what bugs me.

Originally Posted By: Purkoy
I suspect that in your heart, you know that within a week of giving up lessons, you'd regret it.


Oh, I'm sure of that! I am not thinking about quitting because *I* don't want to go to lessons anymore. I'm thinking about quitting because, as it turns out, I'm just like other people in the "little practice during breaks" department. But I'm not like other people in some ways. In some ways, I'm a burden on the people around me -- including but not limited to my piano teacher. My feeling is that I *have* to be exceptional to make up for that, and when I'm not (or I no longer am), then I loose my right to be there at all.

Originally Posted By: MandyD
You are already getting out there and living your life despite this obstacle. Hopefully in doing so you are not only educating people about epilepsy, but you are also inspiring others to get out of the house and do something they love.


That is exactly what I'm doing and (part of) why I'm doing it. But I am doing this at the expense of other people. I'm doing it at the expense of the solfège teacher who would really rather not have to deal with me. I'm doing it at the expense of my colleaugues at work, one of whom recently told me that if this goes on for another six months ("this" being me having seizures at work), *she* will be the one who needs sick leave, because it is so stressful to her. That, coming from someone who also once told me that she'd have been proud do have a daughter like me. Imagine what the rest of them are feeling and thinking ...

Originally Posted By: Stubbie
Do I understand this correctly: you won't be going back to your solfege class (which you completed away from campus and about which possible legislation is in the works), but you are questioning whether you want to go back to your (private?)piano teacher?


No. I take lessons at a public school, where every student must do both instrument lessons and solfège lessons (or later on, music history and "listening practice" and ensemble playing lessons) in order to get subsidised. Which is why, when my solfège teacher decided she could no longer cope with me, my piano lessons were also at risk.

Originally Posted By: Derulux
Lessons are a place to which you bring problems, not solutions.


I know this. I have even said it many times myself, to other people smile. The thing is, when I come to a lesson under-prepared, what problems will there be to solve, beyond "I need to work on my scheduling/priorities/motivation/fatigue/you name it".

Special thanks to the teachers here (Morodiene, Heather Reichgott) for bringing *that* perspective. I'm pretty sure that if *my* teacher were here, she'd say something very similar. Which only makes me respect and like her more, which ... well, you catch my drift! I guess I'm just going to have to go in there with whatever I can do between now and lesson day, and see how it goes.

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#2317957 - 08/21/14 12:27 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 719
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Saranoya



Originally Posted By: outo
I find it hard to believe that all your teacher's students practice.


I'm pretty sure that many of them don't. But isn't this what makes me a good student? The fact that, unlike most, I *do* practice regularly, even during breaks? And is the fact that I am a good student not the reason that my teacher was willing to keep teaching me, even when a different teacher at the same school (the solfège teacher) no longer was? What happens if/when I become truly mediocre? Am I going to loose all that good will on my teacher's part, then?



If you expect yourself to be "a good student" and progressing all the time, you'll put too much pressure on yourself. I know exactly how it is to feel that your teacher is doing you a great favor by agreeing to teach you and with such devotion even when it seems like a hopeless job smile

But I think most people have times when they don't progress as expected. For me they are regular, and then I notice a big leap forward later. Once I had a really difficult period when I was unable to present much progress to my teacher even if I did practice just as much as usual. Just too many demands for my brain and body from my other life. So I talked to my teacher and asked if she ever feels like dropping students like me who just struggle and are unable to focus on lessons. What she said was that she enjoys teaching people who actually WANT to play the piano. I felt a little better since this has never been an issue with me smile


Edited by outo (08/21/14 12:27 AM)

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#2317971 - 08/21/14 01:10 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
fizikisto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 550
Loc: Hernando, MS
Saranoya,
You've gotten some great advice and encouragement here. I'll just add my 2 cents and say that I think it would be a great idea to talk to your teacher about how you're feeling. Let them know that you feel embarrassed and disappointed in yourself. If you talk to them about it you can sort of clear the air and restart your lessons with a clean slate. If you don't talk about it, those negative emotions might impact you in bad ways that you're not even aware of. And by having that conversation you can approach your new lessons from the frame that you've made some mistakes, but now you're recommitted to achieving your goals. Everybody has setbacks. Everybody makes mistakes. That's not the measure of a person. The measure of a person is in how they deal with those setbacks and mistakes. Acknowledge them. Own them. But don't ever let them stop you. Instead learn from them, so you can keep them from happening again.

Warm Regards
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2318012 - 08/21/14 03:14 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 788
Originally Posted By: Saranoya
I'm considering not going back for piano lessons, come September.


No.

Well, look, if your heart isn't in it, then you don't have to go back. That doesn't sound like the case at all.

But if it's because you don't have a supportive teacher, you don't have the right teacher.

No one, but no one, has no guarantees in this crazy stupid difficult thing to do. Do it because you have to or don't do it because you don't. But don't give it up because of some stupid other person.

It sounds like you got the right change. Now find the right teacher. You've got no obligation to her.

My teacher puts up with my anxieties. And he puts up with my inadequacies and inabilities. And he appreciates my efforts. And he suffers my ego-based protestations, though I try my best not to inflict them on him.

There is no upside with putting up with a dysfunctional relationship. How does that help you? You want to enjoy your learning experience, right? That will help you get better, right? If she doesn't want to teach you, she's not going to want to teach you more because she's legally obligated to. You've won a great victory.

You're not wasting her time. You've paid her for her time. It doesn't sound like she thinks she's getting value and it doesn't sound like you think you're getting value.

Piano is hard enough. You HAVE to find a guide who you can trust is on your side. You HAVE to find a guide that you have a rapport with. You MUST.

Don't feel ashamed about fallow periods, either--but I've rambled enough.

EDIT: avoiding profanity filter, because I feel this scenario deserves profanity.

Edited by moderator: profanity doesn't belong in our posts. that's why we have a censor


Edited by casinitaly (08/26/14 03:35 AM)
Edit Reason: removed profanity
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2318028 - 08/21/14 04:58 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
What can we say to you? I know about you. You're a survivor. Everytime I think of you. I'm reminded of my cousin. The cards were stacked against him from the very beginning. I could write you a book about him. He had epilepsy. Society also labeled him a bad person. I know from my God, that he was the opposite. I knew him personally. He died at ~19 years old from a seizure. Was living in a flea bag hotel room. Barely getting along. You always remind me of him. You're surviving.

From what you have said in the past. Your teacher just got to where she couldn't handle the seizures. The terror of watching you possibly die. Perhaps another teacher could handle that better? Or help for her to handle it better?

I myself know what it's like to have a doctor tell me that I had something they couldn't treat. It was killing me. It either stops, or it doesn't. I gained freedom at that point. Freedom from worrying about the things of this world. I think of you in that context. You just keep going. A seizure could kill you within the next hour. You just keep going. Keep adapting.

Don't let being ashamed of lack of progress stop you. Those kind of thoughts/emotions are shallow and destructive. Common results in this world mean nothing. Take yourself deeper. Into the kind of love that asks for nothing in return. Just keeps surviving. Keeps giving. Then, you will play far better than you ever could have before.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2318050 - 08/21/14 07:28 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
Whizbang: thank you for your outrage on my behalf. It may not be very becoming of me to say this, but it actually warms my heart to know that there are people out there who get angry about this kind of stuff.

I want to be perfectly clear, though: the teacher who did not want me in her lessons anymore is *not* my piano teacher. My piano teacher has always been unbelievably encouraging and understanding of me, seizures and all. It's just that the system here is conceived in such a way that I am not allowed to go for piano lessons *only* – at least not at a public music school. So when that other teacher originally asked me to stay away, I thought that would be the end of my piano lessons, too. It wasn't, but only because my piano teacher went the extra mile for me and got the principal to agree that I could keep coming to piano lessons even without going to solfège. But all of that happened in March. By then, the school had already gotten its money from the government. The heads had been counted, so to speak. Long-term, pretending I should be counted as taking a course when I'm actually never there isn't really an option.

But now, with the new legislation, we've 'won' that battle, too. The school cannot refuse to let me participate in its lessons, unless it can prove that it's unable to meet my needs even with reasonable accommodations. And if no reasonable accommodations can be made, then under certain conditions I can still be allowed to take piano lessons, even without going to solfège.

I actually don't blame the other teacher, either. Epilepsy is scary for the people watching it happen, and as Ron says, she simply reached her limit. It's not the first time in my life that someone has told me they can't cope with having me around. That honor goes to my mother. I'm glad she told me that she just couldn't do it anymore. Now, it's my duty to respect that.

But respecting that, while also respecting my piano teacher for her continued willingness to put up with something many others couldn't bear, requires me to be an exceptional piano student. I am not. And that's the problem.

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#2318059 - 08/21/14 08:04 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
fizikisto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 550
Loc: Hernando, MS
Saranoya,
I think it would be very easy for someone who faces the challenges you have to deal with to become bitter and angry about life. You have a really great attitude, and I truly respect you for that. I understand your feelings. And they are valid. I would also say that part of being an exceptional student is being someone who learns from their mistakes and most importantly who doesn't give up. You've suggested that it would be unfair to waste your teacher's time due to your lack of progress after she did so much to help you. Maybe instead it would be unfair to give up on her (and yourself), especially when she did so much for you. Clearly you're embarrassed, and going back to her is going to be a hard thing for you to do. So you're going to have to do something that's hard. Doesn't your piano teacher deserve that effort, shouldn't you at least try? It might be different if you didn't *want* to continue, but it seems that you do. So don't give up. And for what it's worth, I think any teacher would be lucky to have you as student. So do what you want. Go back, and be the exceptional student that you want to be. So let this setback be just that, a setback that you overcame because you didn't give up. THAT is the true mark of an exceptional student.



Edited by fizikisto (08/21/14 08:05 AM)
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2318061 - 08/21/14 08:11 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Saranoya

I guess I'm just going to have to go in there with whatever I can do between now and lesson day, and see how it goes.


Yes! I'm guessing you need to do what you do right after having a seizure: you pick yourself up and get right back to work. thumb
_________________________
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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#2318066 - 08/21/14 08:23 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2610
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: Saranoya

...requires me to be an exceptional piano student. I am not. And that's the problem.


You are exceptional because of who you are. You don't have to be any more exceptional than that.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2318067 - 08/21/14 08:27 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
wimpiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 1393
Loc: The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Saranoya
But respecting that, while also respecting my piano teacher for her continued willingness to put up with something many others couldn't bear, requires me to be an exceptional piano student. I am not. And that's the problem.

What happened to equal rights for everybody?
Would we want to deny elderly people who no longer progress but perhaps get worse all the time the right to get piano lessons? Who ever said that you need to progress a certain amount per time to have the right to get lessons?
Seems pretty cruel to me.

Just go to your piano lessons and enjoy every minute of it. Don't apply too much pressure on yourself.
_________________________
Schimmel 116 S ..

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#2318068 - 08/21/14 08:28 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Saranoya

But respecting that, while also respecting my piano teacher for her continued willingness to put up with something many others couldn't bear, requires me to be an exceptional piano student. I am not. And that's the problem.

Hmm...do you think your teacher wants to teach you because of the results you give her? Do you think she's the kind of teacher that needs successful students to make them look good, and if they don't meet her standards they're out on their ears?

From what you've said about her, this doesn't sound like the kind of teacher she is. Me too, and i can tell you that while I want my students to succeed at their goals, I know they will run into obstacles. My job is to help them overcome those obstacles. If they give up, I can't help them. My job is over.

Want to know what I expect from my students? I expect them to care. I expect them to be upset for falling off the wagon, but more than that I expect them to get back on it. I expect that their love of piano is enough to override setbacks like this. Enough to wash away the guilt.

The way I see it, you have two options. Let this setback be the reason you quit piano, or let it be the thing to motivate you even more. The thing that will come to mind the next time you take time off from lessons or think "I'm too tired to play." You may even have good reasons to not play for a day or a week, or not. It doesn't matter because the end result is the same: you didn't play. That is OK.. It's what you do after the setback that matters most.
_________________________
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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#2318071 - 08/21/14 08:32 AM Re: Too ashamed of lack of progress to go back for lessons [Re: Saranoya]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1635
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Saranoya

But respecting that, while also respecting my piano teacher for her continued willingness to put up with something many others couldn't bear, requires me to be an exceptional piano student. I am not. And that's the problem.


Sorry just don't agree with your thinking there. Your piano teacher has went the extra mile for you, either as an act of altruism or in their own battle to see an injustice undone. Either way their motives are good and don't require recompense. Those that champion the rights of the under privileged are only doing so for equity and a level playing field where everyone has the right to be thoroughly average.

The intrinsic argument is you deserve to be taught even if you were mediocre. You deserve to be taught even if you don't put your heart and soul into it. I know this isn't you but it may be the next kid that comes along, they deserve the same rights as you.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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