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#584983 - 08/10/01 10:16 PM a new teacher
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
Hi. Here is a little story of how I just got my first piano teacher:
A few months back, I went to a piano concert by George Fiore (Spelling?), who played the music of Frederic Chopin. George, who is also a conductor for the Seattle Symphony, played wonderfully. I met him the night of the preformance and I told him that I had been two years self taught but was looking for instruction. Wanting to hear me play, he invited me to his house, where I played only one piece for him: Fur Elise. This was last night. He became interested in my wanting to learn how to play. He is now my teacher at no charge.
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#584984 - 08/11/01 12:44 AM Re: a new teacher
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
congratulations jgoo!! u are so lucky...=]

i'm still worried as to whether anyone would actually take on someone as lousy as me as a student...=[

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#584985 - 08/11/01 02:22 AM Re: a new teacher
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
Don't ever put yourself down like that! If you really want some lessons, go for it! If my aunt and cousin can learn, beleive my, anyone can learn. I learned by myself for two years, and now am learning under instruction! I've only met up with him for a lesson once and I'm already doing better! I say, once again, GO FOR IT!

[ August 11, 2001: Message edited by: jgoo ]
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#584986 - 08/11/01 09:01 AM Re: a new teacher
ZeldaHanson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 276
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, USA
What's he like as a teacher?

I like the strict ones (but aren't jerks) who also know their theory good. I would love a teacher like Anton Rubenstein. I wonder if it's possible to find someone with those qualities.

[ August 11, 2001: Message edited by: ZeldaHanson ]
_________________________
Glenn Gould in regards to music:

The problem begins when one forgets the artificiality of it all, when one neglects to pay homage to those designations that to our minds-to our reflect senses, perhaps-make of music an analyzable commodity. The trouble begins when we start to become so impressed by the strategies of ours systematized thought that we forget that it does relate to an obverse, that it is hewn from negation, that it is but a very small security against the void of negation which surrounds it.

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#584987 - 08/11/01 09:06 AM Re: a new teacher
Beth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/01
Posts: 151
Loc: Atlanta Area
For some wonderful insight on adult piano students, check out the Musical Fossils page. Also the Adult Music Student Forum.

It can be a scary thing even after 3 years to play for my teacher (who I absolutely adore). Something about being vulnerable because I know my playing doesn't sound like I want it to. But I'm getting better.

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#584988 - 08/11/01 11:37 AM Re: a new teacher
netizen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 1926
Loc: New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by ZeldaHanson:
What's he like as a teacher?

I like the strict ones (but aren't jerks) who also know their theory good. I would love a teacher like Anton Rubenstein. I wonder if it's possibly to find someone with those qualities.[/b]


I've got it. Ooops, sorry. Madame Vengerova has gone to that big practice room in the sky. :p
_________________________
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."-- Theodore Roosevelt

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#584989 - 08/11/01 02:50 PM Re: a new teacher
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
He's good as a teacher. Yes, he is strict, but he is also patient. However, he did tell me in a very stern and mean voice: "I am your teacher, you will do as I say." He does have slight moments of jerkiness but for the most part he is a really nice guy. hope that answers your question.
_________________________
For off-topic discussion, please feel free to visit www.coffee-room.com

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#584990 - 08/15/01 09:31 AM Re: a new teacher
Rachelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/01
Posts: 38
Loc: singapore
hey, its hard to get such people to teach you at no charge,not to mention that he's a professional. I have not been lucky for quite some time, meeting teachers who are only concern about earning money. Recently,
I got very unhappy with her as she refuses to give me make-up lessons and expects me to pay the fees. The story begins when I was too busy preparing for my school exams that I found myself unable to attend piano lessons.
I told her in advance that I will not be attending lessons for a month. She took my money and refuses to give any make-up lessons, claiming that she has no time when she did not check her schedule against mine.
i could see that she is not interested in doing so and I stopped learning from her immediately.I began to see her true colours.
It is a blessing in disguise indeed as now, my new teacher is far more competent and knowledgable. Sometimes, looking for a professional teacher with moral values can be diffcult. What I can see that you are indeed very lucky. You should treasure your teacher even if he's very strict,least you can be sure that he's not "economic man", who only wants money.

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#584991 - 08/15/01 11:27 AM Re: a new teacher
ZeldaHanson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 276
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, USA
I only have beginner piano teachers in my area. It's horrible, I've surpassed them all within a year. They can't teach me anymore. I only continue going to a beginner teacher now because there is no one else and she has awesome music books to borrow. =0) But I'll have my own private professional tutor when I major in music at college this year, so I can wait another month.
_________________________
Glenn Gould in regards to music:

The problem begins when one forgets the artificiality of it all, when one neglects to pay homage to those designations that to our minds-to our reflect senses, perhaps-make of music an analyzable commodity. The trouble begins when we start to become so impressed by the strategies of ours systematized thought that we forget that it does relate to an obverse, that it is hewn from negation, that it is but a very small security against the void of negation which surrounds it.

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#584992 - 08/15/01 05:01 PM Re: a new teacher
Beth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/01
Posts: 151
Loc: Atlanta Area
Rachelle:

While it would be unfair to assume that protocol in Singapore is the same as in the US, I feel compelled to come to the defense of teachers here. Many, if not most teachers refuse to give make up lessons (except for teacher illness). Most all of the others limit make-ups to one or two a year. This has incredibly common sense, logical and practical reasons.
1. Piano teachers have bills to pay too. they must develop a budget based on an expected income, which is based on a certain # of students. If all of their students wanted a month off every year (for whatever reason, even good reasons like exams), then that would be the equivalent of loosing one whole months income a year. What if their student's wanted 2 months off a year? If needing a paycheck to pay her bills is being money hungry, well, I guess we all are. I for one will pay for my lessons to be sure that she doesn't feel the need to give my spot to someone else who will come to lessons at the assigned time.
2. While your teacher may not have "checked her schedule against yours", she may not have needed to. She looks at that schedule every day. In addition to the time she spends actually with a student, there is preparation, forms for contests, festivals, music teacher association responsibilities, bookkeeping, etc. Not to mention any family responsibilities she may have with children, cooking, shopping, laundry (you get the idea). None of us should be expected to continuously sacrifice our family time for work. If she did so for you, she'd have to do so for her other students. Again, you didn't mention her student load, but many local teachers here have 50 + students, and more than a few have part time work with churches or somewhere else in order to make ends meet.
3. A month's break in lessons can be a very long time. Coming back after that much time usually requires some amount of backtracking to review. In addition, depending on the level of student, continued practice without teacher guidance for a month can allow some bad habits to get firmly enough established that they'll take more than a month to fix. While this may not apply to you, it is important for teachers to be fair and consistant with all of their students.


Work hard with your new teacher: and try giving a little of the understanding that we as adult music students so desperately need from our teachers.

Beth

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#584993 - 08/15/01 07:15 PM Re: a new teacher
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
Beth,

I don't entirely agree with your arguments for a teacher not trying to make up for paid lessons. In fact I think the arguments in your item 1 are all irrelevant. Certain jobs carry less financial security than others--this does not give a teacher the right to demand payment for services unrendered. If a student lets a teacher know in advance, say a month ahead of time, that he/she will be away and is going to miss some lessons, I do not think it is ethical to ask that student to pay for those lessons. There is no other situation in life where we are expected to pay for services we do not receive.

On the other hand, if a student calls a day before his/her lesson and says they cannot make it, then I feel the student must accept that the teacher may or may not be able to make it up and I feel the teacher has the right to expect payment for that lesson.

My situation is about right, I think. I pay for my lessons a month at a time at the first lesson of the month. If I then miss any of those lessons, my teacher, being a nice person, tries her best to make it up--although it has become harder now because she moved to NJ and comes in on lesson days only. But if I let her know in advance (a week or two before the beginning of the month), then I only pay for the lessons that I can attend.
_________________________
"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

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#584994 - 08/15/01 09:58 PM Re: a new teacher
Beth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/01
Posts: 151
Loc: Atlanta Area
I should not have ommitted that the teachers who I know have studio policies outlining their make-up/no make-up procedures which students accept before beginning lessons. Furthermore, I did not mean to imply that all teachers were that way, only most with whom I am directly or indirectly familiar. I would not mind saving a few dollars from time to time, but I would not change teachers for that reason. I value my teacher far too much to go looking somewhere else because of her studio policy, especially since her policy is typical of the area.

I guess I got on a "soapbox" because I would hate for the great teachers who don't make provisions for make-ups to get a bad rap as being only out for the money.

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#584995 - 08/16/01 01:44 AM Re: a new teacher
Rachelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/01
Posts: 38
Loc: singapore
beth:
I apologised for not telling the full details. I got an agreement from her many months before the exams that its fine with her for stopping lessons temporarily.She claimed that her other students also have requested fcor that before and she did not collect the fees from that student. What angered me is that she imposed the rules only on certain students, which is unfair for me, indeed it reflects badly on her. I did not want to end up arguing to defend myself, as its obvious she's not worth keepin
Anyway, she's not competent and her playing is not impressive at all. My curent teacher is a pianist and he had demonstrated his competence and knowledge.His lesson is well-structured and organised, and did not have phone-rings interrupting the lesson as he switches off his handphone, unlike the lessons I attended before, frequently being interrupted by phone rings and door-bells.
He has fewer rules and even if he has, I will not mind as long as he's fair to everyone, least he's realiable and trusthworthy.

[ August 16, 2001: Message edited by: Rachelle ]

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#584996 - 08/16/01 01:54 AM Re: a new teacher
Rachelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/01
Posts: 38
Loc: singapore
Bernard:

I agree with you. moreover under singapore laws and regulation, if the studio is not registered as a form of business, teacher has no right to create any form of written agreement, unlike music schools. under the law, any signed document will be considered void for private studios. I understand that all these is to protect themselves, and I'm not against it, but should not use it as instruments to want things followed in their favour. Perhaps it helps students not to do anything it pleases.

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#584997 - 08/16/01 02:42 AM Re: a new teacher
Jemima Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/01
Posts: 140
Loc: Adelaide, South Australia
Hi all! i have just recently joined up on pianoworld.com and so far, its been great! its great all you guys are talking about your "music" lives and everything. Let me tell about me and my music "life" as such!
.....im 14 years old (female...if the name doesn't tell you much!) and i have been a piano "FREAK" since i was just 5 years old.Im currently doing Grade 7 (level 7, or whateva you call it..?) and i have passed every previus exam (preliminary through to grade 6) with an "honours" ('A') Piano to me, is my life! i can't go a day without playing at least one note, it would kill me if i didn't! Chopin is my idol, i listen to his music alllll the time! and i own almost every work/s he has composed in sheet music.
In the past, i won many first place/s in competitions etc. and recently won first place in a competition and at the end of the day, awarded piano champion of the piano category over the whole competition. So i suppose you can say i am one of billions of typical "piano talent". Nice to read about you all, and i soon hope for some reply!
take care everyone,
Jemima.
_________________________
Jemima Martin

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#584998 - 08/16/01 09:55 AM Re: a new teacher
ZeldaHanson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/01
Posts: 276
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, USA
Jemima,

I know exactly what you're saying. Piano is my life also. Before I go to work at 8:30, I practice from when I get up until that time- as soon as I come home from work I'm back on for 3 more hours. I eat dinner, than I study music theory until bed time. This is my average day unless I have some special occasion to attend. And classical music is also the main thing I listen to.

What kind of works are you playing on level 7 out of curiousity? I think it's really great that you started so young. I wish I had piano in the house so I could've also. I'm 17 and only started seriously a couple years ago.

Do you take place in the guild auditions every year? What kind of competitions have you won?

It's awesome to hear you so excited about it. I think it's the most wonderful and successful part of my life. Ever see the movie "the piano?" Ha! Look at the main character and you'll know how I feel about the instrument...

Zeldah
_________________________
Glenn Gould in regards to music:

The problem begins when one forgets the artificiality of it all, when one neglects to pay homage to those designations that to our minds-to our reflect senses, perhaps-make of music an analyzable commodity. The trouble begins when we start to become so impressed by the strategies of ours systematized thought that we forget that it does relate to an obverse, that it is hewn from negation, that it is but a very small security against the void of negation which surrounds it.

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#584999 - 08/16/01 10:00 AM Re: a new teacher
Beth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/01
Posts: 151
Loc: Atlanta Area
Rachelle:

I'm so glad you added the extra info. Her inconsistency and the fact that you really weren't happy with her before the exam problem came up are very good reasons to change teachers. I would encourage you strongly, however, to not take a month off for exams in the future if at all possible. I had to take time off right before and after my last child was born, and I lost so much, even though I practiced at home when I could. Now when I hit those "I'm so busy I can't find the time..." spots, I just ask my teacher to scale back on the assignments a little- 1 line here instead of 3, drop one of the "extra" books,and only speed up a piece 2 or 3 notches a week instead of 6 or 8. The little bites mean I can get something accomplished, lose nothing, and not end up feeling like I have to treat my music as dessert only to be enjoyed after I finish the broccoli (I hate broccoli!)

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#585000 - 08/16/01 08:57 PM Re: a new teacher
Rachelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/01
Posts: 38
Loc: singapore
Bernard:

Thanks for your support and your advice.
but i find it diffcult to concentrate during my examination period as I will be very stressed during that time. This will be my last year before graduating and so I will not be having such problem in the future.
But when i start working, i may find no time for pratising, and I may not concentrate after a long day's work. If anyone can give me any advice to solve such problem?

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#585001 - 08/16/01 10:16 PM Re: a new teacher
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
Rachelle,

I know this is not feasible or possible for everyone, but what works well for me is this: I work an evening shift. Since I've been with the company for many years and because of the type of work I do, I have some flexibility such that I don't have to be here exactly at 3pm and I don't have to wait till exactly 11pm to leave. When we're less busy, I'll skimp here and there, when we're really busy, I'll stretch my hours.

But anyway, working in the evening allows me to practice in the morning and early afternoon. There are many advantages to this 1) I'm fresh and doing what I really want first in the day, 2) my building is mostly empty during the day (especially in winter when children are in school, 3) I avoid the rush hours, 4) it's quieter at work in the evening so I do better work. It's really ideal for me (well, ideally I wish I was independently wealthy so I didn't have to work out, but ...).

If I couldn't work in the evenings, I would ask if I could start work very early in the morning, maybe 7 am, so as to be able to leave around 3 in the afternoon. This would mean practising after work, but at any rate it wouldn't be too late in the day yet.

If I had no choice but working 9-5 (yuck), 1) I'd try to get up very early and practice an hour or two before work, 2) I'd try to see if I could hide an electric keyboard in the conference room so I could practice during lunch! 3) I'd try to get an hour or so in the evening.

Good luck, I hope it works out for you.
_________________________
"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

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#585002 - 08/17/01 12:12 AM Re: a new teacher
Jemima Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/01
Posts: 140
Loc: Adelaide, South Australia
ZeldaHanson,
wow, what a quick reply!!
you sound as though you "live" to be a pianist! so where exactly are you from? I moved away from home (a town called Mildura, in Victoria) at the start of 2001 and moved to Adelaide, South Australia and attended my first day at "Westminster School" as a boarder. I really only came because i was awarded "Music Scholarship". This was a hell of an oppurtunity, and so, i took it of course!! Im very happy here, its a little hard being away from family/home since i am only 14 years of age, but im scraping through. Westminster has a very strong music program and oppurtunities appear in front of my face almost each day!!
In answer to your question, yes, i have seen the movie "the piano" i thoroughly enjoyed this film, it had so0o0o much feeling in it. Mind you, towards the end 'out came the tissues'!!!!!
I mostly compete in "Eisteddfods", have you heard of these???? let me know, because i shall explain it to you.
do take care, and i look forward to a reply soon!

Jemima.
P.S if you'd like, you may write to me at
martijem@westminster.sa.edu.au
_________________________
Jemima Martin

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#585003 - 08/17/01 08:17 AM Re: a new teacher
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
just curious, Rachelle, who's your new teacher?

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#585004 - 08/17/01 01:23 PM Re: a new teacher
ChemicalGrl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 643
Loc: Durham, North Carolina
I work full time, sometimes work longer than 8 hr/day, but I still manage to make time to practice at least 1 hr/day and at least 2-3 hr/day on the weekends. For me, playing piano is like a break from my job (and I work as a chemist in the lab) so I treat it as play time. I'm working on a couple of pieces, trying to get back to the level where I was at before. I had played heaps when I was in high school, was even the accompanist for my school choir but stopped when I got to college because I didn't have access to a piano, and didn't like how mechanical I sounded whenever I got back home to my piano. I only have a little (66-key) Yamaha keyboard now, hopefully one of these days I'll be able to afford a good piano so I could go back to practicing the music I used to play (was working on Csardas and Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu before I stopped playing so many years ago).

But before having gone into that tangent ... I feel like I have no energy myself when I get home, but after a good meal and a good rest, I feel like I have the energy to get at the keyboard and work on my pieces, and sometimes if I'm not interrupted by phone calls or friends dropping by, I lose track of time and before I know it, it's bedtime already. So I guess it depends on you, how much energy you have at the end of the working day if you feel you're able to put your attention to your practice.
_________________________
Regards,
Lyn F.

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