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#931007 - 06/01/08 11:32 PM Re: Teacher problems
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Are you saying you are reading high-level lecturing here? Does lecturing mean lecturing or friendly advice?

And, about the tense scenario, and sharp focus, and holding their thoughts together....I doth think thou be a dissenter of the critical kind, but I can't tell for certain, it has me puzzled to the maximum.

I feel the red pen - I believe you to be saying "less is more" - and "none is better than some". Maybe!

I may be missing your point, but I think it was much more than the spelling of competence.

I'm willing to listen.

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#931008 - 06/02/08 12:14 AM Re: Teacher problems
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5462
Loc: Orange County, CA
Honestly, I don't feel there's any "lecturing" going on here. The language isn't harsh or demeaning. Some people are more sympathetic than others, but I certainly don't see any finger-pointing here.

Let's keep things in perspective, shall we??
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#931009 - 06/02/08 01:43 AM Re: Teacher problems
g#maj Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 126
Loc: No. Va
My point is that Elise -- or anyone, really, who's got a few longstanding points to make -- needs to be ready to calmly and succinctly state them. That will get people listening and wanting to hear more.

The problem is that emotions too easily will garble a message, especially a festering one. If an adult gets tongue tied, people will think he had too much coffee (or not enough), or maybe he just had a bad day. If a minor does that, adults will think he's exaggerating and should just grow up a bit.

That's not fair. It pained me to read Elise's posts, and I cringed at the belittling and condescending responses. Just as bad, people weren't listening. Again and again, people inferred things not said or implied, and attributed to her things they wanted to believe. I was shocked that this came from teachers. If that kind of response is normal, will her own teacher do the same? I don't know. So for her sake, I want her to be ready to deliver her message in a way that is taken seriously.

And what gets taken seriously? A cool, almost detached, descriptive and supported message. I find it ironic (and I'm not one to believe in much irony) that, culturally here, it is far more acceptable to talk about emotions and the reasons for them than to actually allow their expression.

So my message was to keep a sharp focus. Reduce all thinking and feeling to a handful of words that will compel a request for more.

I suspect now that I made more sense with my earlier post that used fewer words.

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#931010 - 06/02/08 02:16 AM Re: Teacher problems
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Have we got some sort of Chinese whisper going on here? I searched through and can't find any reference Elise has made to shouting. Technically it would be classed as child abuse. With such a litigious culture over there, does it still happen?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#931011 - 06/02/08 02:22 AM Re: Teacher problems
faucon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 285
Loc: Missouri USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica K.:
faucon, [/b]
Monica, thank you. \:\) I hope we can all give Elise the moral support she needs.

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#931012 - 06/02/08 02:28 AM Re: Teacher problems
faucon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 285
Loc: Missouri USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Have we got some sort of Chinese whisper going on here? I searched through and can't find any reference Elise has made to shouting. Technically it would be classed as child abuse. With such a litigious culture over there, does it still happen? [/b]
Hi kbk. Don't know about litigation, but in one of Elise's earlier posts she writes: "And he gets all mad and he yells at you about every second measure.. I already walk in with a big gulp and sometimes I kind of freeze at the bench especially if he is in a bad mood already."
AFAIK, yelling and shouting are generally felt to be pretty much the same thing.

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#931013 - 06/02/08 02:31 AM Re: Teacher problems
Coolkid70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
G# Maj:

Thank you for your opinion.

First, to respond to your objection that we are making undue assumptions, I have to say that by this token, we should suggest to the original poster that she talk to the teacher herself and handle it her own way. We cannot get involved because do not know the entire situation. This reasoning can lead to hypocrisy on your end, since making any suggestion at all relies on an assumption about the poster.

But maybe you claim that only certain assumptions made by other posters are undue. Where do you propose we draw the line for assumption-making? Can you do this in a consistent manner?


On another issue: a few of us have come out of high school very recently, and we have first-hand experience of high school culture. Our claim is that public high school is only as bad as you want it to be. It very well could be that the original poster is not exaggerating the workload - I will iterate again that we have no way of knowing. However, it would not necessarily be unjustified for one of us to make that claim, given our experience.

So, with this in mind, I will suggest explicitly to the original poster what I have been trying to imply with a previous post: you need to choose what you want to focus on. If you want to go with school, then do so. If you want to make piano work, you need to take it into your own hands to do so. YOU are responsible for YOU - there is no one else to blame.


Due to the sensitive nature of this thread, I would like to attach a brief disclaimer to my post. I want to strongly iterate that I am not attacking anyone in any way, and I am not trying to put any kinds of words into anybody's mouths.

Thank you for the discussion.
_________________________
Kawai K-3 (2008)

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#931014 - 06/02/08 02:41 AM Re: Teacher problems
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Thanks for that Faucon. I searched for the wrong term. I sure don't want to put any cats among pigeons here but I suppose technically it is child abuse (psychological). As for the homework issue - it has to be done, but mostly it's a waste of children's time; plenty of studies have shown this. If central government allowed, teachers would dispense with it pretty quickly. Then there are those heavy school bags...
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#931015 - 06/02/08 02:47 AM Re: Teacher problems
Coolkid70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by faucon:
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Have we got some sort of Chinese whisper going on here? I searched through and can't find any reference Elise has made to shouting. Technically it would be classed as child abuse. With such a litigious culture over there, does it still happen? [/b]
Hi kbk. Don't know about litigation, but in one of Elise's earlier posts she writes: "And he gets all mad and he yells at you about every second measure.. I already walk in with a big gulp and sometimes I kind of freeze at the bench especially if he is in a bad mood already."
AFAIK, yelling and shouting are generally felt to be pretty much the same thing. [/b]
This raises the question of how we should interpret "mad", "yells", etc... I don't have a proposal for how we might do this. This ambivalence shows that we really don't have much ground to "intervene". We do not have enough information to give good advice, as I noted in my previous post.
_________________________
Kawai K-3 (2008)

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#931016 - 06/02/08 03:28 AM Re: Teacher problems
faucon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 285
Loc: Missouri USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Coolkid70:
This raises the question of how we should interpret "mad", "yells", etc... I don't have a proposal for how we might do this. This ambivalence shows that we really don't have much ground to "intervene". We do not have enough information to give good advice, as I noted in my previous post. [/b]
While language is never perfectly precise, I believe that Elise has clearly indicated that she is unhappy, anxious, and distressed at her lessons. Her discomfort comes across very well.

We do of necessity have limited information. We can only make the best suggestions we can based on the information we have: here is a young lady who is very intimidated by her piano teacher's manner. Regardless of the exact dynamics of the situation, the fact is that she won't learn optimally until her unhappiness is dealt with. She and her dad are planning to talk with her teacher. This might be all that's needed to get things back on track.

edit: currawong, amazing, isn't it! \:\)

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#931017 - 06/02/08 03:30 AM Re: Teacher problems
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5924
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Coolkid70:
This raises the question of how we should interpret "mad", "yells", etc... I don't have a proposal for how we might do this. This ambivalence shows that we really don't have much ground to "intervene". We do not have enough information to give good advice, as I noted in my previous post. [/b]
I tried not to interpret it at all. I took the words to mean their simple meaning. Of course I could be wrong, but I thought it was a fair place to start (fair to Elise, I mean).

The point is that Elise has expressed fear and unhappiness in the presence of her teacher. If I was her parent I can tell you I'd be concerned about this. Maybe it is all her fault, but it's a much bigger leap to assume this than it is to assume she's simply telling the truth.

edit: faucon, great minds ...
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#931018 - 06/02/08 11:28 AM Re: Teacher problems
Coolkid70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
Maybe I wasn't clear - since the word "interpret" seems to have been equivocated a little bit. By "interpret", I mean that the reader has assigned a meaning to a set of words or an event (this is obviously unavoidable). My point was that these things have been "interpreted" twice - once through the original poster and once through us. We don't exactly know what the teacher actually did to warrant this description.

I'm not sure whether I should provide an example - so maybe the definition and point are applied obviously.


My understanding was that the goal of giving advice is to give GOOD advice. Good advice means making a well-informed suggestion. We only have a one-sided story. Have we actually talked to the teacher or parents in question, to gain their perspective? The answer is clearly no. Therefore, we cannot give good advice - contradicting the efforts of other posters.

So, I think that G# Major brought up a partially fair point in his previous posts. We need to at least be objective - so we should not step outside the realm of suggesting that the original poster "talk to her parents and teacher", for reasons in my discussion above.
_________________________
Kawai K-3 (2008)

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#931019 - 06/02/08 12:33 PM Re: Teacher problems
g#maj Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 126
Loc: No. Va
CK70 wrote: "Where do you propose we draw the line for assumption-making? Can you do this in a consistent manner?"

What has served me well is to make assumptions only when I must and never only when I want to. The trick is knowing where the musts and wants meet. It gets rather philosophical. With practice, consistency improves. Better objectivity follows from that.

But in distressed human conditions, kindness should rule.

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#931020 - 06/02/08 01:17 PM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11663
Loc: Canada
When on the Internet the bottom line is to always assume that it is likely you didn't get it right.

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#931021 - 06/02/08 01:55 PM Re: Teacher problems
Coolkid70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by g#maj:
CK70 wrote: "Where do you propose we draw the line for assumption-making? Can you do this in a consistent manner?"

What has served me well is to make assumptions only when I must and never only when I want to. The trick is knowing where the musts and wants meet. It gets rather philosophical. With practice, consistency improves. Better objectivity follows from that.

But in distressed human conditions, kindness should rule. [/b]
I think your explanation of consistency is a little hard-pressed, and I am a little disappointed, since you took my meaning of "consistent" and substituted your own, and talked about that instead. In my context, a method is "consistent" if I can give the method to any person to apply and he receives the same result as any other person.

In essence, you're saying that "only I know, and you don't", with respect to assumption-making. This is not "consistent". Unless you can give me an explicit method on how we should consider assumptions, I cannot agree with your claim.


In general, I am very confused as to what your actual position is. Are you saying that we should objectively consider the original poster's situation or are you saying that we should sympathize with her?
_________________________
Kawai K-3 (2008)

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#931022 - 06/02/08 03:17 PM Re: Teacher problems
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
Hmmm. Interesting that nobody picked up on the "how to optimize practice time" point. Elise, I hope you did. Even if you get a different teacher, you will still have just as much homework interfering with your practice time - getting the teacher (whichever teacher ) to help you find the most effective way to use the practice time you DO have will help you, no matter what falls out of the next few weeks.


Oh, BTW - it doesn't surprise me that your teacher spent a great deal of time correcting things that you had learned wrong. If you did in fact learn them incorrectly, it takes three times as much to UNLEARN an incorrect skill and then re-learn it correctly, than it does to learn it right in the first place. So if there were mistakes in your earlier training, yes, it could take what seems like an absurdly long time to un-do them and get you on the right track. This is never fun (either for the student, or for the teacher!), but unfortunately sometimes it is necessary. It pays off big-time in the end, though, so hopefully you have seen, in retrospect, why it was necessary.


FWIW if you do continue with piano to the extent that someday you end up teaching it to others, whatever you have had to struggle the most with is almost certainly something you will make real sure your own students get correctly from the outset, so they will benefit from your early struggles and what you learned as a result.
_________________________
SantaFe_Player

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#931023 - 06/02/08 04:42 PM Re: Teacher problems
miaeih Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 267
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by SantaFe_Player:
Hmmm. Interesting that nobody picked up on the "how to optimize practice time" point. [/b]
Actually, I suggested on the first page that the OP ask for a lesson to mimic a real practice session to help with this if the teacher is not over assigning the number of pieces. Three advanced pieces plus warm-up can easily be practiced efficiently during one hour practice sessions IMO.

If one looks, there are lots of advice given in this thread. However, if you only look for negatives, you will also see much of that. If you want a pity party, there's some of that too.

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#931024 - 06/02/08 04:58 PM Re: Teacher problems
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
I don't think anyone ever said they were only looking for negatives.
_________________________
SantaFe_Player

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#931025 - 06/02/08 04:59 PM Re: Teacher problems
g#maj Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 126
Loc: No. Va
CK70,

In answer to your last question, I am saying both.

Also, I am NOT saying only I know, and you don't. Read carefully: "What has served me well..." I have lived a few decades or so without serious misshap, so I must be doing something right. I offered that up for consideration.

I'm not sure how else to express myself here, but I will try one last time.

- If you understand nothing else I have written, know that a formal logic approach will fail you in responding to the kind of very human problem described in this thread.

- Take what's written at face value, absent any other knowledge.

- Learn to read the emotion behind words. This does not require interpretation so much as familiarity with how language is used. (That is why, for example, genuine fluency in a foreign language is very difficult unless one is raised speaking both.)

- Don't talk about yourself (how your school experience was not time consuming, how you finished 2 years early, how you have junior standing in your math major as a freshman) -- UNLESS you know how the reader can actually use that information to improve their lot. But to be even relevant, the situations must first match.

- Don't condescend about how young people are, while you yourself are perhaps just 4 years older.


That's all the more I can say. Currawong said it simplest and best in her last post. Read it until it feels right and makes sense to you. You would do no less for a difficult piano passage, right? I mean no sarcasm here.

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#931026 - 06/02/08 06:22 PM Re: Teacher problems
Coolkid70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
G# Maj:

Thank you again for your opinion.

I believe that you completely ignored any of my major points and just went on again about what I was objecting to. I don't think there is anything more to say on those topics if you won't answer my objections and are generally contradictory about the things you are asserting.

You did mention something else, though: "If you understand nothing else I have written, know that a formal logic approach will fail you in responding to the kind of very human problem described in this thread". I came into this thread under the very assumption you say I am not using. The human thing to do (possibly in this situation) is to go out and seek emotional satisfaction. But I think even you will agree that emotional satisfaction is not sufficient to solve social problems, and can even make them worse. The thing to do is to give minimal but reasonable advice in this situation; the original poster needs to speak to the relevant parties and work things out. No amount of sympathy is going to make that happen. And, of course, if you feel that there is an abusive situation, there is always the option of reporting it to the proper authorities so that they can investigate the matter in person.

Maybe in response to this: "Read it until it feels right and makes sense to you." Should the passage also be consistent of the intentions of the composer? Two separate but very important issues.

This is all I have to say.

EDIT:

You said this: "- Don't talk about yourself (how your school experience was not time consuming, how you finished 2 years early, how you have junior standing in your math major as a freshman) -- UNLESS you know how the reader can actually use that information to improve their lot. But to be even relevant, the situations must first match."

You took that particular post out of context. Please read that section again.
_________________________
Kawai K-3 (2008)

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#931027 - 06/03/08 10:18 AM Re: Teacher problems
Elise_B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 81
Loc: nyc
UMMM.. This is getting way over my head now.. Back to scolding please.. I can handle that..
well,more seriously: talking to the T this evening. I really liked what someone said about having one or two clear things to say. It also helped me think about things from well different perspectives, especially that the reactions here were so different..sometimes a little upsetting but for me at least, it is good to know how people from outside my immediate circle think..
I am very nervous though and I am not too sure anymore if this is such a great idea, to show up with my dad .. feels like a trip to the principal's office..student rearely comes out right under those circumstances.. But I guess I will have to make the best out of it.
I admit I am already thinking NEW TEACHER and it feels good..
I wish things could be as simple as saying "I don't like the way you do things". and then you are done..
On the other hand this discussion here made it clear to me taht one of the main problems is not knowing what I want to do in the future.. whether dedicate my education to music and piano completely or not. It is of course very attractive to just immerse myself in the art I love, but then it seems that almost everyone in music ends up teaching and I do not want to do that!! and I am also interested in science, and my mom wants me to go to medical school... go figure..
Ok, back to revision week.

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#931028 - 06/03/08 10:44 AM Re: Teacher problems
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
 Quote:
UMMM.. This is getting way over my head now.. Back to scolding please.. I can handle that..
I think its great that you still have your sense of humor. \:\)

As you can plainly see, adults have disagreements and differences in opinions too, so you should not view your situation as being unusual. Even though you are feeling nervous right now, just relax and speak your mind tonight. I think you'll feel much better tomorrow, as if a burden has been lifted off your chest. Getting things out in the open seems to often have this effect. Good luck and my best wishes to you.

Please check in tomorrow and let us know how it went.

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#931029 - 06/03/08 10:50 AM Re: Teacher problems
Really a trumpet player Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 16
Loc: California
Hi,
You have gotten so much advise and I commend you for all the contemplation and consideration you have been doing. As a teacher I encourage my students to tell me if something is not working for them. There are so many different ways to teach. I love teaching, especially beginners, to show them the possibilities of music and just give them something enjoyable.
I hope things go well with you.

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#931030 - 06/03/08 11:19 AM Re: Teacher problems
miaeih Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 267
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
Think of your dad as going for moral support and you COULD simply say: "I don't like the way you do things to the point I NEED my dad here for support. Although I've learned a lot from you, I feel crushed after every lesson due to XYZ." Then say how you want to try to work it out (before quiting), or if you've made up your mind to quit, this is why you are quiting.

FYI, a high percentage of scientists, engineers, and doctors are also very advanced in an instrument. Many even form their own little orchestra, band, or perform duets.

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#931031 - 06/03/08 02:30 PM Re: Teacher problems
g#maj Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 126
Loc: No. Va
That is good advice. Also be ready for the snappy rejoinder: Teacher: "How would you have me respond when you [fill in the blank -- basically, 'don't play correctly']?

As the teacher, he gets to set the standard. But it's not asking too much that a teacher know more than one way to reach that standard.

After all, you are the student of piano, and piano pedagogy is his bailiwick.

The risk here is that if things don't change, your playing won't progress, and that clearly matters to you. The cost is too great in terms of money, time, and anxiety for things to remain as they are.

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#931032 - 06/03/08 02:38 PM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11663
Loc: Canada
Miaeih, as much as your proposed message is tempting, it does not work toward a solution. The first sentence is an accusation, and it will not make the teacher want to help the situation. The first sentence also does not contribute toward anything. It is a venting of emotion which could bring about a defensive as well as aggressive stance by the teacher, as pointed out by the gentleman with the improbable key signature.

It's not the place to discuss effectiveness-training methods of dealing with emotional issues, and emotion probably should not be addressed. "I-messages" are usually used, such as "It is difficult for me to concentrate when you raise your voice." but such a message is not appropriate in these circumstances.

As was suggested before, the young lady should know ahead of time what the most important things are and how to state them succinctly. Then hopefully everyone will do a lot of listening to each other, and also define what the goals are as well as the solutions.

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#931033 - 06/03/08 03:07 PM Re: Teacher problems
g#maj Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 126
Loc: No. Va
keystring wrote: "I-messages" are usually used, such as "It is difficult for me to concentrate when you raise your voice." but such a message is not appropriate in these circumstances.

_____________________

I don't understand how that is inappropriate. It's a great sentence, very specific, and not at all confrontational. It compels a thoughtful response.

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#931034 - 06/03/08 03:22 PM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11663
Loc: Canada
Um?

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#931035 - 06/03/08 03:43 PM Re: Teacher problems
miaeih Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 267
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
The point of that sentence is so that it does not become
- a dad and teacher conversation and end up without the student perspective and specific examples
- I can't handle things so here's my dad to fix it
Also, to let the teacher know the severity of the situation. The XYZ part obviously is where the OP would dive into the specifics. Yes, it is also to let out the emotion first so the XYZ part is not muddled with venting. IMO, I think it's important to let the teacher know how much it is affecting the OP.

(and stop the teacher from butting in till the end)

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#931036 - 06/03/08 04:02 PM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11663
Loc: Canada
I understand your point, miaeih, but it may not be received that way.

" I don't like the way you do things...""
Authoritarian teacher: student has just had the temerity to judge his actions.

....to the point I NEED my dad here for support. "

Teacher: she's obviously not strong enough to withstand the rigours of high level piano playing.

Also, it's not clear. The teacher believes it's his job to get his student to play the piano well. That is how he "does things" - for that purpose. Father's presence doesn't make sense (unles you realize we're talking about emotional impact).

His teacher was probably harsh with him, maybe he was crushed at the time, and now he's glad he went through with it. The fact that she feels bad may be something that he thinks is necessary.

So this message does not bring anything positive.

Although I've learned a lot from you, I feel crushed after every lesson due to XYZ."

Has more potential. But he may be believe that "feeling crushed" is part and parcel of the process.

Imho, it's better to put yourself more into your teacher's shoes and approach things from his angle. He wants this student to do well, she is probably not playing up to her potential, and he wants to see that happen (by crushing her so that it will happen). ;\)

"It is difficult for me to follow your instructions, as hard as I try, because I feel intimidated by your manner." - addresses what he wants to see happening, as well as her problem.

Part of the problem is also that she is not performing up to what he thinks she is capable of. This is, in fact, the cause of the yelling etc. It's almost chicken and egg.

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European Piano Party 2015 in Switzerland!
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