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#929864 - 04/27/08 04:16 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11662
Loc: Canada
Hi Chris,
Yes, I understood what you were saying. What I was after is the phenomenon that I discovered. I think in essence it is a profound and major misperception of our role and reason as students, because we come into it so late and as a foreign world, and if that perception is corrected, then we can do as you say, and to the right end. It's a psychological thing at our end, but an important one.

Now when you talk about a student not practicing enough: how about knowing how to practice? Many of us will come to music thinking of it as a "whole". So we might play the piece over and over, doing the same thing. But with experience, hopefully we learn to address "aspects" and work with these, rather than the whole in the manner that a listening audience hears the whole.

One can practise 40 hours over a 2 week period, and hardly make a dent, and even entrench error. Or one can focus on an aspect, achieve more in 1/3 of the time, and affect the quality of one's playing as a whole everywhere. But you have to know how, and change mindsets.

Because I understand more, I am even less flumoxed by a bad performance in a lesson. I will know that my teacher will here, for example, evidence of practice with tempo even while everything is in apparent shambles. In fact, I can hear it in my own playing.

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#929865 - 04/27/08 04:23 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:


Now when you talk about a student not practicing enough: how about knowing how to practice? Many of us will come to music thinking of it as a "whole". So we might play the piece over and over, doing the same thing. But with experience, hopefully we learn to address "aspects" and work with these, rather than the whole in the manner that a listening audience hears the whole.
[/b]
Keystring,

This is the teachers job.

We are somewhat derailing this thread by bringing up a "How to Practice" topic.

A good teacher should be very specific on what and how to practice at your lesson, especially if you are not advanced enough to know how.
_________________________
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#929866 - 04/27/08 04:38 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
I think the whole "I play it better at home" thing isn't as straightforward as it might first appear.

First of all, I disagree with Pianobuff who reckons it's an illusion or a poor excuse. Certainly in my case, I would never use that as an excuse. I often play pieces better "at home" than I do in a lesson, although in my case it's more like with no teacher present as my lessons are at home.

What you need to do is to examine what the difference is between playing at home and playing in a lesson.

During the week, you have endless attempts to get it right, and in my experience I still make mistakes on most attempts, but every now and again I absolutely nail it.

That is what I think confuses people. Yes, they played it better at home but in your lesson it's the first attempt that counts, not your 7th attempt on your 3rd day of practice.

I believe in most cases when people state that they have played it better at home that they are being honest. They have played it better, in some cases maybe just once or twice and in other cases perhaps most of the time.

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#929867 - 04/27/08 05:31 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11662
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
This is the teachers job.

We are somewhat derailing this thread by bringing up a "How to Practice" topic.

A good teacher should be very specific on what and how to practice at your lesson, especially if you are not advanced enough to know how.
Yes, I am aware of that and I have brought the matter up not in an attempt to derail the topic, but to enrich and complete it. This topic deserves to be looked at thoroughly.

On the surface you have a student playing badly but saying he played better at home, and a teacher believing he didn't practice, or that the student harbours an illusion. You also have students not realizing that it doesn't matter if you played it better at home. These are relatively unimportant matters.

On the next level you have adult students who become paralyzed week after week because of a fundamental misperception regarding the role of students and teachers and the role of lessons. I've written about this in detail. I have communicated with fellow students on and off for about four years. Some go through emotional anguish after every lesson that can last for days. For these, "I played better at home." is a cry for help. The solution seems to lie, not in being able to play better in lessons, nor in aiming to be less tense in front of a teacher, but in changing the perception of roles. That change in perception works backward toward everything else. Additionally, playing better at home doesn't matter anymore. And Chris has just stressed that playing better at home doesn't matter. However, a student must also know what does matter, and when the focus shifts toward that, the problem disappears and there is more harmonious work between teacher and student.

This thread is not only about a student thinking his at-home playing was better, but also the assumption that a student is lying about having practising, which is a perfectly plausible possibility.

The second scenario is where a student appears not to have practised because he is still making the same mistakes. But even when his teacher has told him specifically to focus on a particular element, and even when he thinks he has, he doesn't. I have been helped by an advanced student and by a professional musician friend to learn how to approach practicing, and how to translate instructions into something effective. I run into people who don't know how to do that. What they are told to do seems obvious to me, and I would know how to practice it, but they don't get it. So they come to lessons week after week, struggling in practicing, with no sign that they have done anything. When I pass on what I know and work through some things with these friends, they break through in practicing, and then they break through with their teachers and are able to turn the instructions into action. I have seen this repeatedly now. There is this tiny chasm between teacher and student, like a language barrier, which can be crossed with a sneeze and it has to do with "how to practice" in more detail, stating more obvious things, than you might imagine necessary.

This thread is about students performing in lessons, what a student has done at home, how a teacher perceives both of these things. It is about a student being prepared for a lesson by having done what is assigned, how it was assigned. The thread situates us smack dab in the middle of studio and home, practicing and lesson - and thus it is spread evenly between student and teacher.

One can assume that a student knows what to do, isn't doing it, makes up excuses and teachers need to have a chance to vent once in a while. But there is also the possibility that a student does not know how to prepare, either because a teacher has not fulfilled that responsibility, or because the nature of that lack of knowledge is not apparent. Surely if there is a problem involving students not preparing for lessons, or not being able to show signs of such preparation, one should be looking for causes and solutions. Such causes and solutions would logically be found both with the student and with the teacher in terms of roles and input. And as such, what I wrote is not off topic but an integral part of the topic.

If I have offended anyone, such was not my intent.

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#929868 - 04/27/08 05:38 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Glaswegian:
I think the whole "I play it better at home" thing isn't as straightforward as it might first appear.

First of all, I disagree with Pianobuff who reckons it's an illusion or a poor excuse. Certainly in my case, I would never use that as an excuse. I often play pieces better "at home" than I do in a lesson, although in my case it's more like with no teacher present as my lessons are at home.

What you need to do is to examine what the difference is between playing at home and playing in a lesson.

During the week, you have endless attempts to get it right, and in my experience I still make mistakes on most attempts, but every now and again I absolutely nail it.

That is what I think confuses people. Yes, they played it better at home but in your lesson it's the first attempt that counts, not your 7th attempt on your 3rd day of practice.

I believe in most cases when people state that they have played it better at home that they are being honest. They have played it better, in some cases maybe just once or twice and in other cases perhaps most of the time. [/b]
By what you just said confirms the fact that it is an illusion.

You're right you do have all week to play the piece in the comfort of your home and maybe on the seventh time you may nail it. So students really are not being honest when they say "they can play it better at home." Because they are having to play seven times to "nail it"! Which by the way is not what learning to play the piano is all about.

When a student of mine makes mistakes when playing a piece that is at perfomance level (or close to it), I usually ask them to play it again. If the same mistakes occur, I ask if this happens at home. Most often it is, yes. A lot of times they even tell me that they are having a problem with such and such section, before playing. These students are being honest with themselves and with me. I have had some students say "no" to that question. I then say well we all have good and bad days. I just tell them to do their best and if that mistake does happen at home then practice it like this...

I also didn't mean it that the student is purposely using this "I can play it better at home" as an excuse. But, it ends up being that way, if he/she keeps saying it. Also, I think that the student is thinking they are being honest when in reality they're not.

Glasweigian confirmed this with his post.
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#929869 - 04/27/08 05:44 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
What I just said does not confirm it's an illusion. What I've said confimrs that people can often play pieces better than they can than on a 1st take in a lesson.

They are being honest. They have played it better on previous ocassions than they just have in a lesson. What makes this an illusion or a lie?

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#929870 - 04/27/08 05:52 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
keystring,

We must have posted at the same time.

As a teacher when a student says "I played it better at home" I do not even think about how the student practiced or if he or she did practice! Does not even enter my mind.

By saying "IPBAH" doesn't mean anything to me. This is the student's problem that they need to work through. I try to help them by addressing the issue with what I posted earlier. And most often that remedies it and they never say it again.

As far as praciting, what I do as a teacher, is I look at my notes from last weeks lesson and I see if they have improved. If not, I ask them if they practiced like how I said in my notes and how we went over it the week before. Most often it is, "No, I was really busy this week, etc..."
_________________________
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#929871 - 04/27/08 05:56 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Glaswegian:
What I just said does not confirm it's an illusion. What I've said confimrs that people can often play pieces better than they can than on a 1st take in a lesson.

They are being honest. They have played it better on previous ocassions than they just have in a lesson. What makes this an illusion or a lie? [/b]
Glaswegian it is an illusion because you are playing it several times at home.

Level the playing field with yourself and play it one time at home. Bet you will play it the same way at the lesson.
_________________________
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#929872 - 04/27/08 06:07 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
First of all, I was talking about a hypothetical student, not myself.

A couple of other points.

If you have played a piece better than your current attempt, that is quite simply a fact, not an illusion, not a lie, a fact. Whether that attempt is in a lesson, is your first attempt that day or your 10th, it's still a fact.

It is of course not a measure of whether you're getting better or not. A measure of that would be what your "average" attempt would be. Do you normally play it through at tempo free of mistakes? Or an you only do that 1 in every 10. Or can you only play with few/no mistakes if you play at a slower tempo?

And as a teacher, I find it somewhat disturbing that you appear completely disinterested in finding out a bit more about why the student feels that they have done it better in the past but are not doing it now.

As for myself, as a performing musician who made his debut aged 10, I know all about getting it "right" first time. But getting it right still doesn't mean I play my best each and every time.

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#929873 - 04/27/08 06:33 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
I know why a student feels this way and as discussed in my earlier posts, I do discuss this syndrome with my students. And by the way, we all have had this sense of disillusion, including me. So I very well understand.

By reading your last post, I'll be honest with you, it does not make much sense, except that it still verifies, to me, the fact by saying IPBAH is a very vague statement and really does not help the student (or teacher) by saying it thinking that it is true when I feel it isn't.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#929874 - 04/27/08 06:39 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
It would be nice if the orginal poster would chime in!

To the OP,

This is what I believe regarding this topic and this is how I handle the situation when I have students like these, and it works very well for them to get over this "I can play it better at home" statement, which if facilitated or placated to, imo, only inhibits their learning process and feeling of calmness at the lesson.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#929875 - 04/27/08 06:43 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
I'm quite happy that I'm neither deluded nor lying to myslef or anyone else.

To me, playing my best is nothing short of perfection. I very rarely achieve it, and over the years I have managed to make my peace with that, which is hard as I'm a perfectionist at heart.

And when I do play something perfectly, those are the moments I live for. Whether it's at home, in a lesson or during a public performace makes no difference to me. In that moment, lost in the music I only ever play for me.

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#929876 - 04/27/08 06:53 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
I agree 100% Glaswegian.

I go through the same thing.

We play our pieces the best we can for what they are worth at the time we play them and at the venue we are at.

That is all we can ask for and all we can do.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#929877 - 04/27/08 07:21 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
The piano teacher is dealing with things that happen at the lesson - reality in the present moment.

The student is saying "I played it better at home."

In reading the similar topics about this, I'm hearing the other things that the adult student doesn't express to us.

That would be how the playing differs - is it basic comfort level?

Is it the piece?

Is it the teacher?

The teacher's piano?

The lighting?

Since they bring the information to attention saying I played it better at home. There must be lost of of things they could share with us as to why they are saying that.

If I try to pinpoint it from the students viewpoint and prod for more information, and ask "Why do you say that?" I am going to be seen as:
1) Assertive
2) Demanding
3) Arrogant
4) Thoughtless

How would adult beginners respond to a teacher asking, "Why do you say that?"

I can only teach to what I see and hear, and the experiences I've had with the student to date. If there is more I need to know about the student, I need to hear it from their willingness to tell me.

Perhaps the illusion is that we shouldn't talk about this subject at all, because we are really talking about criticizing the student.

Does anyone say, "I would like to play it here at my lesson as well as I think I play it at home."

Let's prevent the frustration, anger, misunderstandings. How do we do that?

Betty

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#929878 - 04/27/08 07:49 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11662
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
....Do you normally play it through at tempo free of mistakes? Or an you only do that 1 in every 10. Or can you only play with few/no mistakes if you play at a slower tempo?
Ok, I freely admit to derailing this thread for a moment. ;\)
Elementary question: In practising during the week, should your practising consist of playing it through? What does practising entail?

I have a reason for asking this. It does tie in with the "ippebaw syndrom", but I don't know how far I want to go with this.

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#929879 - 04/27/08 08:31 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
saerra Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 842
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Hi - I'm an adult student (and generally super-stressed perfectionist) who very often says "I played this better at home!" -- often followed by, "really, I swear!" :p

For me - I think it's about frustration. It feels like - how I play in my lesson is completely unpredictable. It feels like even if I practice for 40 hours in a week, I just don't know what's going to happen when I sit down in front of my teacher. I can have it memorized, and feel really good (not perfect - but at a point where I feel good about it and can hear it coming together) and it can still totally fall apart within the first couple measures.

This feeling of unpredictability causes me great stress, because honestly, it feels like no matter what I do in practice - no matter how much time I spend or how together the piece feels, I have no idea what's going to happen. So it feels like, even if things seem to be going well, I am on edge because disaster is just a breath away! It's VERY unnerving!

And this stress is felt most strongly at the beginning of my lesson when I sit to play my first piece for my teacher, and I'm sure the stress makes me even more prone to screw up!

I logically understand that if I could be more relaxed, I'd probably make less mistakes - but I can't figure out how to make myself relax. By definition, it's not something you can force yourself to do, and this seems to be part of my personality beyond just piano...

I *do* think what others have mentioned - about realizing that you're not "performing" for your teacher - is true. But - for me - I know it "logically", but not "emotionally". If I've memorized a piece and practiced it for a week or two, and sit down and expect that I can get through it relatively error-free (because I was able to do so comfortably at home, and 10 minutes ago warming up!) - then regardless it feels like a performance.

The times I've felt like we're working together on something have been MUCH LESS STRESSFUL. So - for example - when we actually *work* on a piece, when I get suggestions for things to try, or he demonstrates something and has me imitate it, or we talk about how it's constructed or fingerings or whatever. When I'm trying out the suggestions, I feel more relaxed I think, because it's clear that it's in the "working" stage, and it's not expected to be perfect ;\)

Another thing I've noticed that may relate. When I took singing lessons (short period of time with 2 teachers, awhile ago) - my teachers were both *very* positive, they went out of their way to find things I was doing well, and to tell me. It was encouraging. Maybe some adults wouldn't like this, but it made me feel good - and helped establish their studios as a safe place to "try" - singing in front of people (especially when you know you're not good!!!) is HARD and can make you feel very self-conscious, and they both did a wonderful job of getting me QUICKLY past that.

My piano teacher is not like that at all. He's a great guy, but doesn't have the same personality. He does notice good things, but tends to point them out in a side-ways manner. (The upside is, he has the same way usually of pointing out mistakes, and tends to be pretty gentle with the criticism.) But it's hard. I think some of the nervousness (and I still feel pretty nauseous before my lessons, and I really do otherwise think the world of my teacher and love piano!) - could come from this. I *think* that if you feel like your teacher is also noticing good things, and is telling you - "you did a really good job with this" or "you must have worked hard on this, even though you were nervous, you did improved this part alot" - or whatever - I don't know, it changes the dynamic a bit. I think that it can possibly help alleviate some of the feeling of "performing" and "being judged" that adds to the stress, which adds to more mistakes.

I don't know. Just my two cents.

And, my current teacher has been very supportive of my crazy nervousness and self-consciousness. He's told me that most great pianists feel that they're best performances are in the practice room alone, and that even he gets nervous, especially if he's playing in front of just one person and that person knows the music. We've also talked a bit about focus, and me trying to keep my mental focus on the music and not to let myself get distracted.

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#929880 - 04/27/08 08:46 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
I'm not sure if you're referring to all students or just kids or adults.

I'm an adult student and I practice everday about 2 hours a day. Adults have so many inhibitions and yes we do get nervous and yes we do tend to play better at home.

I took lessons when I was a child not much just enough to go through one of JT little kiddy books, we didn't even have a piano but I remember going to lessons every week and getting through the book. I remember playing with other little girls waiting on a bench right behind me but what I remember best was "There was not an ounce of nervousness in me"

As an adult however it's different. My teacher is awesome and we have fun and we're very comfortable with each other but our initial first half hour is always a bit jittery for me, I get even more jittery when I do really well at home. Why? "Anticipation", I want to show her how well I'm doing, I set myself up for failure by thinking 'I hope I don't mess up I really want to show off" and guess what I usually bomb but somewhere along the line I do redeem myself.

I would give folks the benefit of the doubt. It's not an illusion.

You might want to access yourself as a teacher as well. It might be something you're doing (posture, attitude etc) that might be making your students so nervous that they collapse in your class. You say you have quite a few students you do that which is why I'm questioning you.

My teacher has 5 students, I'm the only adult and I'm up there with the ones who are prepared and she can always tell how much I practice and is really happy with me but I'm the only one who gets nervous as well.
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#929881 - 04/27/08 09:54 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
As an adult learner who keeps mulling over the faint possibility of picking up teaching sometime in the distant future, I have been thinking about the questions presented in this thread.

It's not that "illusion" is the wrong word to be using in this context, it is that it has a negative connotation that is not assisting with identifying and resolving the causes behind "I played it better at home."

I would like to suggest that a better and more constuctive viewpoint is to approach this as a "perception" instead of an "illusion."

- It is the adult learner's "perception" that they need to "perform" (as in perform well) for their teacher that (psychologically at least) turns the lesson into a "performance" for many.

- It is the "perception" of the teacher (with all his or her senses) that leads to the conclusion that a particular student is not "playing it better at home."

- It is the lack of "perception" by the student (that is listening to the music they are making) that is making them think they "played it better at home."

- Finally add on lack of practice or poor practice habits along with the lack of listening and you have the typical "I played it better at home" student.

Quite frankly, I think that these are the most important things any teacher can teach their students once they have progressed past basic mechanics of learning to play. This is the core of:
- How to practice.
- How to listen to yourself playing.
- How to be critical of your playing and practicing.
- How to apply those concepts in the "Inner Game of Music" to relax and improve your playing. (especially for the adults learners)
- How to analyze and fix the problems revealed in those juicy mistakes that come up during practice and lessons.

Rich
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#929882 - 04/27/08 10:59 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
I have a student that always says I played it better here than at home!

Do I say, "well that's good?"

I still think it a vacuous statement.

After all, it would be very easy for all of us to say, I played it better at home. With the exception of a few like the student mentioned above.


To Saerra,

I feel you are absolutely correct in saying that a good teacher always brings out the positive things first. You should have a teacher that makes you feel comfortable and are in a non-threatening environment, which is what I've always strived for.

Now it is up to you and others with this same issue, to let it go, it is not a performance, try not to feel you have to prove that you can play it just as well as you did ten-minutes ago. Try not to play this game with yourself. You won't win this way. The piece is what it is at the time that you play it. If you are well prepared (practiced correctly) and are not trying to prove something to your teacher (or yourself) and do not have unreal expectations of yourself this is when you will do your best at your lesson.

It takes work and time to be able to change your inner dialogue so that you can do this. But by all means saying, "I played it better at home" won't make it happen!
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Private Piano Teacher,
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#929883 - 04/27/08 11:04 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
Mistaya Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 182
Loc: Alberta
Listening skills, practice skills - let's assume these are are adequate to the level the student is at. I would like someone to address why many professionals use beta blockers for what I'm assuming is a similar reason. They can play to their capabilities and find it necessary to their careers. These professionals are presumably not harbouring illusions about their capabilities.
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#929884 - 04/27/08 11:19 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Fist of all, I don't think every performer takes beta-blockers in order to perform.

And the few that do, it is for a performance, not for a lesson.

And furthermore, I doubt they say, "I played it better at home" before going on stage ;\)
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#929885 - 04/27/08 11:39 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
Mistaya Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 182
Loc: Alberta
We've already discussed that the IPIBAH is a way of letting the teacher know that practice/preparation has occurred - not so much an excuse as an expression of frustration. I did not say every performer used beta blockers - I said many and I don't know the exact percentage but it is a significant number. My point is that they would like to play to their capabilities which is what many learners would also like to do so that they can progress and get the most out of a lesson.
_________________________

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#929886 - 04/27/08 11:42 PM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
Late Beginner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 588
Loc: West Australia
Hi all,

 Quote:
They come to the lesson unprepared, play with stops and mistakes, but claim they can play perfect at their home. So in their view the problem is that they just cannot do it well for me.

I believe it might be true sometimes but in most cases it is just an illusion..[/b]
Maybe the original poster teaches a lot of school-kids who really didn’t want to be there, and is just feeling frustrated about it? I don’t believe that any teacher could really be so dumb, or so inexperienced that they don’t understand that students are frequently quite correct in saying that they “played it better at home”. Errors due to nervous tension are so common, and so widely known about that it’s inconceivable that anybody could have traveled the road to becoming a teacher without observing it, and in all likelihood having experienced a version of it first hand in their own playing.

Surely, we all know it, and its close cousins “Dammit, I played that better yesterday!” and “Heck, I just nailed it two minutes ago – why did I stuff it up NOW!” They happen all the time, whether there’s a teacher or an audience there or not. “I played it better at home” does not mean “I’m now an expert”, it simply means “I CAN do better than this”. Most students are not under the “illusion” that they’re better than they are. They’re just trying to preserve a bit of dignity, and make the point that they have been doing some work and have made some progress. Only an insensitive teacher would fail to acknowledge that and make some tactful allowances. In my experience, most teachers do.


Regardless of the fact that we might tell ourselves that we’re not there to ‘perform’ for the teacher, there’s a perfectly normal wish to show them that we are improving. It’s also natural to feel frustrated that you just blew something that you felt you can usually do on demand. We’d all prefer to spend our lessons money on learning something new, not just going over the same old ground.

But that’s life… \:D I know that one or two good renditions are not enough to prove to myself that I now have something fully nailed down. All I ask is that a teacher is diplomatic, sympathetic and not overly judgmental when they hand out the advice to keep working on a certain aspect. It really depends on how good a relationship you build with your teacher. I’ve been both teacher and student, many times, and the minimum standard that I hope for – on both sides – is being politely considerate of each other’s position. If that builds up to mutual respect (as it should) then there’s rarely a problem.

Cheers,

Chris
_________________________
Who needs feet of clay? I can get into enough trouble with feet made of regular foot stuff...

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#929887 - 04/28/08 12:20 AM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11662
Loc: Canada
x

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#929888 - 04/28/08 12:46 AM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pevawi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 232
Loc: The Netherlands
I agree if someone says: IPIBAH that doesn't mean: I played it _perfect_ at home. Most the times I'm perfectly aware if I can play a piece up to its standards or not. But no matter what state it is in and I perform below the level I _can_ play it for whatever reason I will inform my teacher I can play it better (at home). That doesn’t mean I want the piece of the practice list I just like her to know. Most of the times she already knows because you can tell from the way I start/play a piece (a bit slow and cautious or on tempo and with steady rhythm/dynamics).

And to the remark (that somebody did post) that teachers / pianist do have the same problems (bad days) isn't complete fair: when I started lessons and I had a bad day well the only right notes I did hit where by accident. Now on bad days I do much better (even though the pieces are more complicated!!). It's like learning to walk, when you are starting you fall a lot.. An adult on a bad day can trip as well, but due to experience you can recover and don't fall. You don't feel like an idiot because you trip (as you well know everybody does sometimes) but you feel good because you avoided a near ground collision by experience. An adult that relearns to walk (after an car-accident i.e.) has to overcome a lot of dignity. That is the difference between a bad day from a pianist and a bad day from a beginner adult learning student.

I don't concern myself anymore with this issue (it was quite frustrating in the beginning). I know I'm getting better because the songs I learn are getting better \:D lets compare today with what I can do after 5 years from now!
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Kawai K6

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#929889 - 04/28/08 01:26 AM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5924
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by pevawi:

And to the remark (that somebody did post) that teachers / pianist do have the same problems (bad days) isn't completely fair: when I started lessons and I had a bad day well the only right notes I did hit were by accident. Now on bad days I do much better (even though the pieces are more complicated!!). It's like learning to walk, when you are starting you fall a lot.. An adult on a bad day can trip as well, but due to experience you can recover and don't fall. You don't feel like an idiot because you trip (as you well know everybody does sometimes) but you feel good because you avoided a near ground collision by experience. An adult that relearns to walk (after an car-accident i.e.) has to overcome a lot of dignity. That is the difference between a bad day from a pianist and a bad day from a beginner adult learning student. [/b]
It was probably me. I didn't mean to downplay your pain \:\) . I still think it is[/b] much the same thing, but there's a difference of degree, obviously. That is, what happens is much the same (you play something less well than you did when practising alone, and it's a bit disappointing), but maybe we've learned to not worry about it so much - as in fact you have, too. Admittedly, I haven't come totally unstuck recently in a performance, but I have had a few hairy moments \:\) . And recovering from mistakes is something that not only advanced pianists can do - I have a student who has only been learning for a short time and can play through mistakes when performing quite brilliantly! She just makes it up until she finds where she should be \:\) .

And the best performances are always the ones where I don't think of what *could* happen, but just try and play the *music*. I'd far rather hear an exciting performance with a few fluffs than a correct, but tame and cautious one. Any day.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#929890 - 04/28/08 03:49 AM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Sorry, I still think it is an illusion.

For those of you that say it is not, record yourself playing a day before your lesson or the day of, before your lesson. Only one take mind you, just like at your lesson, and I will bet it will be the same level of performance.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#929891 - 04/28/08 04:05 AM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mistaya:
We've already discussed that the IPIBAH is a way of letting the teacher know that practice/preparation has occurred - not so much an excuse as an expression of frustration. I did not say every performer used beta blockers - I said many and I don't know the exact percentage but it is a significant number. My point is that they would like to play to their capabilities which is what many learners would also like to do so that they can progress and get the most out of a lesson. [/b]
Mistaya,

I know it isn't an excuse, I've already said this. I do know it is used as an expression of frustration. But why should you be frustrated?
When I don't think you played it any better at home. This is what I'm driving at. I would hope you would want to be in a position of being able to take a lesson and play a piece for what it is worth in front of your teacher and to take his/her comments and suggestions and learn by them.

Otherwise, why not just use a video or take piano lessons on-line.

Please, I do not mean to sound insensitive. I am well known among my students and parents for being gentle and nurturing. I'm just trying to convince you that you can change your way of thinking that will help you with your lessons and your playing.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#929892 - 04/28/08 04:30 AM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
Chris H. Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2896
Loc: UK.
Almost all the adult students who have chipped in tell us:

1) It's not an illusion. They often underperform in the lesson due to nervous tension.

2) Their teacher does not understand or doesn't believe them.

3) This is something abnormal and doesn't seem to happen to anyone else.

I know it is frustrating but I can assure you that nearly everyone feels nervous when playing in front of people. It is completely normal. When I say it doesn't matter to me as a teacher I don't mean that I don't care. I mean that I do understand but in all honesty it does not have any effect on what we will do in that lesson. I know which students feel more nervous, which are prone to mistakes as a result. I know who practices properly and who doesn't. I can tell if a poor performance is down to nerves or lack of effective practice. In either case the point of the lesson is to find ways to rectify the situation.

I must also say that I teach very few adults. I enjoy teaching adults but my schedule is full of children between the ages of 6-18. The ones who say IPIBAH are often teenagers who are making excuses. Teaching adults is very different.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#929893 - 04/28/08 07:04 AM Re: "Playing at home better" illusion
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11662
Loc: Canada
sorry - changed my mind)

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