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#931097 - 06/09/08 12:30 PM Re: Teacher problems
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
Do you ask me?

I did not focus on your shortcomings. Just pointed out that a higher level of commitment is probably highly beneficial here and certainly what he requires.

And no, the shortcomings of your teacher pale - in my opinion - in comparison to his obvious qualities as far as I could read.

You will meet many people with such "difficult" nature and will have to deal with them in your job, in your extended family, in your circle of friends.

From what I can see, it seems to me that his obvious deficits in communications skills are, by far, not such that they would justify the separation from such a teacher, unpleasant as he might be at times.

And apart from character question, his methods (I mean, his commitment, attention, love for what he does) seem to me absolutely outstanding. I think that you would lose much by losing him as a teacher.

If you asked me, of course.
_________________________
"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

Kemble Conservatoire 335025 Walnut Satin

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#931098 - 06/09/08 03:34 PM Re: Teacher problems
Mechanical Doll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/07
Posts: 199
Loc: Garden State, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Innominato:

You will meet many people with such "difficult" nature and will have to deal with them in your job, in your extended family, in your circle of friends. [/b]
When you have a job, you're paid to deal with difficulty. When it's family, you grin and bear it for peace sake. When it's the piano, there is no reason to have to deal with a difficult personality, especially one that leeches the joy out of the process and makes you feel inferior.

So far Elise has shown a maturity that I haven't seen in some people twice or three times her age. If she is firm in her belief that this is not the right teacher for her at this time, trust her.
_________________________
Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. ~Confucius

Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life. ~Jean Paul Richter

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#931099 - 06/09/08 04:17 PM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11555
Loc: Canada
I feel uncomfortable about any of us stepping into this situation and advising. It is too delicate and we are too far away.

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#931100 - 06/09/08 04:46 PM Re: Teacher problems
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I feel very sympathetic to Elise's point of view and the fact that it is so hard for her to be heard and understood by her support group is baffling to me.

She has the answers for herself, and is working on the ones not yet clear to her. Her parents should be responding to her needs in music. Instead the teacher (esteemed by older brother and Dad) receives more consideration than ever. Elise can expect more of the same.

I have a friend who was married to a man loved by the family and when they divorced, the family continued to welcome him to all family events (no children involved). My friend, who was the only one having a problem with this, had to stop going to family events for a while. Then her mother married his father. My friends 2nd marriage resulted in divorce with a young teen age son. Again, whenever family events gathered, there was husband number 2 right in the midst, getting along with everyone except the ex-wife who again had to stop coming to family events because it was so painful.

This story reminds me of families good intentions that produced a horrible outcome. My friend felt very uncomfortable with this family manuever to keep everyone (except one) happy.

It took more than a decade for the family to understand what the problem with that was. They had ostracized their daughter and made for a painful unsolvable situation.

Sometimes we don't see the forest for the trees.

I think Elise can make progress and help the family communication process improve greatly. She certainly doesn't want to be a victim and that is a critical stand she must take.

Unless I have misstepped or misunderstood the importance here, I think she is doing well in a very difficult situation.

Betty

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#931101 - 06/09/08 10:31 PM Re: Teacher problems
wildpaws Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/07
Posts: 154
Loc: Richmond, VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoobsession:
Just two thoughts from someone that has been there and back again...

That kind of teacher can either:
a. Make someone want to quit and then regret it the rest of their life....or
b. Make them a terrific pianist and be grateful for it the rest of their life.

It's all in where the heart is and whether it can handle the process.....I have lived to regret not choosing b. [/b]
But why, WHY does teaching effectively need to be achieved by threats, punishment, scolding - bullying, even?? Why do these teachers need this kind of method? I think you would be grateful for what you'd learnt in spite of the method, not because of it. It's just a case of excusing these people because the results (in terms of pianistic achievement) are impressive. What about all the damaged people (who didn't make it) that these teachers leave behind? [/b]
Perhaps because some students with poor attitudes and a lack of willingness to practice need to be taught with such methods? I'm not a teacher (though my wife is a classically trained pianist and teacher), but I have been an organist/keyboardist for over 45 years, I had a teacher that could be very strict when I chose to not practice enough, etc. I started lessons at around 10 years old and I am thankful to this day for my organ teacher doing his best to make me a good organist. I ended up playing in a variety of bands starting in my teens, all those years of practice and theory paid off handsomely. Like the regular education system, piano/organ students today are too often "coddled" and allowed to do less than their best, it can be be a real detriment to the student if a teacher allows them to get less than the best lessons they can have. Yes, there need to be compliments on progress and basic civility, but it is after all an educational process, not a social event and not a time to be wasted. Just my two cents worth, I'm extremely thankful I had a strict teacher when it benefitted me the most.
Clyde
_________________________
DX7IIFD, SY77, SY99, Hammond C3, Steinway L, CP300, etc.

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#931102 - 06/09/08 11:06 PM Re: Teacher problems
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5899
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by wildpaws:
Perhaps because some students with poor attitudes and a lack of willingness to practice need to be taught with such methods? [/b]
I cannot accept that anyone "needs" to be taught with threats, punishment and shouting. As a trained teacher I say this is simply poor teaching.

Wildpaws, I really do hear what you are saying about your gratitude for your teacher, who was "strict". I don't have a problem with "strict", if you mean insisting on certain standards. It's how the insisting is done which I take issue with.

So, Elise - best wishes! Take what you can from what people have said in this thread and try to understand that none of us can really know the situation but we're all trying to help in our own ways \:\) . Keep the music going!
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#931103 - 06/10/08 12:38 PM Re: Teacher problems
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
"When you have a job, you're paid to deal with difficulty. When it's family, you grin and bear it for peace sake. When it's the piano, there is no reason to have to deal with a difficult personality, especially one that leeches the joy out of the process and makes you feel inferior."

Very fair points.

My personal view on that is, though, that if one takes the habit of going for the fire escape in a young age, this might become a pattern and the ability to put a "stiff upper lip" has never been developed as one was, before going to work, never "paid to do it". So that in the future one might, say, let a good job go because has not acquired the capacity to deal with a difficult situation, instead heading for the exit; I can think of many other situations where the reaction might be the same.

This is the reason why I have stated repeatedly that this situation, unpleasant as it might be, does have a good "teaching value". To take your example, a person who "tries to make me feel inferior" (I very much doubt that he does so, BTW) would force me to, well, *NOT feel inferior*, greatly increasing my self esteem in the process.

It is, though, obvious that we are here trying to give the best advice we can, because elise has come here explaining the situation and, more or less explicitly, asking for it.

If she had said "hey people, I did not come here to read things I did not want to read; I came hear to get solidarity and have people tell me that I am right" the thread would have long ceased to exist; again it is a credit to Elise that she did not take the situation this way.

It is understood that everyone of us can only give, provided he feels inclined so to do, his best advice based on the information he has received from Elise herself.
_________________________
"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

Kemble Conservatoire 335025 Walnut Satin

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#931104 - 06/10/08 12:54 PM Re: Teacher problems
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
"Perhaps because some students with poor attitudes and a lack of willingness to practice need to be taught with such methods"

I see a certain difference between how Elise describes the situation herself (particularly in the first posts) and how this gets reflected in following posts.

I never had the impression that a problem of human rights, or of lack of basic civility, was involved.
This man is obviously highly esteemed by a lot of people, and has the unconditional esteem of Elise's brother and parents, so he is not a psycho with a disorderly behavior that one has to deal with.

Note please that Elise says she gets "scolding" from him; but she defines some of our advice to her as "more scolding" and I would not say that anyone here has shouted abuse at her. So I take it in the context of the unpleasant situation, which certainly is there, but not of openly aggressive behavior.

Also please note that whilst this man certainly has a less than celestial temper, this was NOT what was first brought as main argument against him, the initial focus being mainly on matters pertaining with the teaching (no chewing gum; no shorts; more homework if not prepared; correction even when playing from a different room; accent on her needing to do more).

Mind, she has skipped a recital and he has not even kicked her out, so I would say that this is not an ogre at all.

Whilst I do not doubt that all this matter together do make for an unpleasant lesson in her eyes, when I read Elise's comments about her teacher it seems to me to be much better than how Currywong describes him ;\) , I think that here different people have a different "picture" in mind of what is happening and the currywong fraction sees a pretty rude and abusive bastard, whilst other people understand the man more as a very strict "drill instructor", hard for sure, but without crossing the line of acceptable civility (and the fact that he seems to be highly regarded by the very same victim's brother and parents is in my eyes a very good argument for this).

Then again, I am not there, Thank Goodness.. \:\)
_________________________
"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

Kemble Conservatoire 335025 Walnut Satin

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#931105 - 06/10/08 01:10 PM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11555
Loc: Canada
Folks, we are not there, we do not know all the dynamics, we are not there.

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#931106 - 06/10/08 02:39 PM Re: Teacher problems
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
Yes, Keystring, but this did not stop Elise from posting.. ;\) , if one always "had to be there", there would never be a discussion or an honest advice about anything.... ;\)
_________________________
"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

Kemble Conservatoire 335025 Walnut Satin

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#931107 - 06/10/08 07:25 PM Re: Teacher problems
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Sometimes there is just a *bad match* between student and teacher and it gets in the way of any potential for learning to occur.

Just because Elise's dad and brother get along with this guy does not mean that Elise will. I am not the only female poster to wonder how he treats other female students.

I went to graduate school in my 40's. As a motivated, good student (obviously I was a successful, non-traditional student or they wouldn't have admitted me) I was used to having a very good relationship with my professors. However, there was one prof I could just not please no matter what I did. She misinterpreted every comment I ever made in the worst possible way. It was devastating and had a very negative impact on my entire graduate career. And I was not the only one...although there were a very few 'golden' students who she just loved and who got along with her wonderfully.

It is not always the student's fault for being a screwup. I interpret some of Elise's behavior which is being picked out by some posters as evidence of her having a bad attitude...specifically her skipping a recital, and quitting lessons while her dad was away...as the response of someone who cannot face anymore and is being given no options but the most extreme.

And to those of you who point out that she's a kid and so assume she's a lazy whiner because of it. Yes, she's a kid, so the *adults* in this situation have a certain responsibility to make sure not to abuse their authority. Especially "old School German" adult males.

Edited to add: Before I get accused of being a bleeding heart...I'm one of the least permissive adults I know where children are concerned. I expect them to behave properly and I expect parents to enforce this (I am often disappointed). When I was a substitute teacher my students referred to me as "The Dragon Lady"...but they behaved.
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#931108 - 06/11/08 12:18 AM Re: Teacher problems
faucon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 285
Loc: Missouri USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by ProdigalPianist:
Sometimes there is just a *bad match* between student and teacher and it gets in the way of any potential for learning to occur.

Just because Elise's dad and brother get along with this guy does not mean that Elise will. I am not the only female poster to wonder how he treats other female students.


[/b]
I had wondered about this myself. It's possible that he doesn't like girls or women as students (perhaps even as people), or feels entitled to browbeat them as a power trip. It might be informative to know how his other female students feel about him. In any case, a young student who is continually made anxious, and is even intimidated, by her teacher will simply not learn up to her potential. I do agree that it's a case of a bad match. Edit: I hope that Elise can now find a teacher that reignites her love of music, and I hope she makes peace with her dad!

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#931109 - 06/11/08 12:59 AM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11555
Loc: Canada
I have tried to stay out of the discussion. I do see, as Innominato has stated, that a teacher of great value may be lost and their might be regrets later. All kinds of theories are bandying about now and I notice that Elise is prudently absent. A couple of pages back she wrote that she preferred to hear from teachers, which is about when I stepped back. Or tried to.

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#931110 - 06/11/08 05:22 AM Re: Teacher problems
Elise_B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 81
Loc: nyc
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
and I notice that Elise is prudently absent. [/b]
rather exceedingly grounded for mutiny

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#931111 - 06/11/08 01:59 PM Re: Teacher problems
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
Hi, Elise

Welcome to the dog house \:\)


If you're grounded, it could mean you have plenty of time with nothing much to do other than practice. Sorry this all had to even occur, and sorry your father could not bring himself to consider your emotional well-being of at least equal importance to his need to dictate with whom you would study piano. The way I see it, you stated your case pretty clearly and if you indicated that you just couldn't tolerate further exposure to someone who made you feel so bad, but would like to keep studying if you could try a new teacher, then punishing you for acting upon what you determined to be your own best interest is not very productive. In the adult world, if you came to such a decision and acted on it, nobody would ever question your absolute right (and probably your wisdom in terms of survival) to do so, although many might question whether you had adequate perspective and could ever recover the loss of a dedicated teacher who was so determined to bring out in you what he saw as vast potential - in fact there have been many posts to this effect and they are probably absolutely right. But this in no way would diminsh your right to make the decision, which might even be the correct decision. Who can tell?

FWIW some of us go most of our lives STILL under the parental thumb. My father still feels entitled to comment on my every move and decision, and to get irate if I don't follow his advice to a "T." This despite the fact that I've done quite well on my own and by this advanced stage I know a good deal more about most of the things I need to make decisions about than he does.....he just cannot accept this. I think this is true of many parents, though not all - but lots of adults, especially female ones, continue to have to put up with this. To their credit our parents (mostly fathers) think they know what is best for us and they think of it in those terms - trying to make sure the best happens for us. They do it because they love us, (and, yes, sometimes out of a misdirected control freak attitude) but it's still a bit annoying even at an advanced age.
_________________________
SantaFe_Player

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#931112 - 06/11/08 03:40 PM Re: Teacher problems
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
What has dad said about the possibility of studying with a different teacher? Or is it the teacher he picks or nothing?
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#931113 - 06/11/08 07:52 PM Re: Teacher problems
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
Prodigal, I'm guessing Elise has figured she should wait a little bit before rattling his cage just now on the subject. Hopefully once he calms down he might consider the possibility...right now you poke the tiger and he might bite. Not knowing her or her family I can't guess what capacity he has for stewing but it sounds like he was a wee bit displeased and maybe Elise figures that at this point, for awhile, discretion is the better part of valor? In my own case, in the household I grew up in, I definitely would have tried to fly below his radar for awhile.
_________________________
SantaFe_Player

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#931114 - 06/11/08 08:03 PM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11555
Loc: Canada
I doubt very much that a father who believes he has access to an excellent teacher will back down to his still young daughter. Let's allow Elise to gather her bearings.

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#931115 - 06/11/08 08:23 PM Re: Teacher problems
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
I'm sure we have no control over Elise's bearings . I merely said "I'm guessing" that she is trying not to upset the applecart any further at present. She is the best judge of when (or if) it might be time to broach the subject of a new teacher.
_________________________
SantaFe_Player

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#931116 - 06/11/08 08:47 PM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11555
Loc: Canada
I guess, maybe I was trying to say something similar, but did not word it quite right, SataFe.

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#931117 - 06/11/08 09:38 PM Re: Teacher problems
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
I was certainly not expecting Elise to "rattle her dad's cage" just because I asked her the question. She seems much smarter than to do that.

I just wondered if any parental pronouncements had been made on the subject. I hope she knows that we are interested and sympathetic.
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#931118 - 06/11/08 10:05 PM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11555
Loc: Canada
Parental pronouncement? The grounding is the parental pronouncement. Dad wants daughter to study with this teacher. There has never been any doubt to the contrary, nor that this would change.

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#931119 - 06/12/08 10:08 AM Re: Teacher problems
Mechanical Doll Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/07
Posts: 199
Loc: Garden State, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Parental pronouncement? The grounding is the parental pronouncement. Dad wants daughter to study with this teacher. There has never been any doubt to the contrary, nor that this would change. [/b]
Parents are not always right. In charge, yes. But right? No.

I don't doubt for one minute that Elise's father loves her and has her utmost best intentions at heart. In the end, he will decide her piano-fate. However, it's not a forgone conclusion that she'll look back a decade from now and say, "Thanks dad! I may have been miserable, but I'm glad I stuck with that teacher. You were right."
_________________________
Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. ~Confucius

Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life. ~Jean Paul Richter

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#931120 - 06/12/08 02:02 PM Re: Teacher problems
Oxfords Gal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/06
Posts: 1553
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
 Quote:
So I quit. I could not get myself to start the twice a week ordeal. It fels kind of lousy.. But then I have been playing 4 hours or more a day since school pretty much wrapped up. and it feels free and wonderful.
Good for you girl!!! I can't see anything good coming from a situation like hers. When I had issues with my teachers I grew to hate my lessons and was starting to hate the piano. I'm glad I got out when I did.

Hope all turns out well for you young lady.
_________________________
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster

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#931121 - 06/12/08 02:27 PM Re: Teacher problems
Coolkid70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
I feel uncomfortable about any of us stepping into this situation and advising. It is too delicate and we are too far away. [/b]
This is what I was trying to say many pages ago.

I wholeheartedly second this statement and would like to add that the situation is now over. There is nothing more to be said concerning this "problem".


I saw a few teachers still battling it out, so to speak. Though I can understand the position, I'm wondering why no one has invoked professional detachment, especially since the teacher in question is one of your colleagues. Though the student is dissatisfied in one way or another, we need to all just step back and let the situation be settled only among the relevant parties.

It's already over.
_________________________
Kawai K-3 (2008)

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#931122 - 06/12/08 03:13 PM Re: Teacher problems
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7300
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Coolkid70 - your comment about seeing a few teachers still battling it out baffles me. The last teacher comment was June 9th, and previous to that, June 4th. Doesn't sound much like a battle to me. The vast majority of comments are by students.

Incidentally, in a separate post, I asked teachers to please follow Frank's request and identify themselves in the signature block. Most of the regular posters have updated their ID.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#931123 - 06/12/08 03:45 PM Re: Teacher problems
Coolkid70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 378
Loc: Irvine, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Coolkid70 - your comment about seeing a few teachers still battling it out baffles me. The last teacher comment was June 9th, and previous to that, June 4th. Doesn't sound much like a battle to me. The vast majority of comments are by students.

Incidentally, in a separate post, I asked teachers to please follow Frank's request and identify themselves in the signature block. Most of the regular posters have updated their ID. [/b]
My apologies. I didn't check the date.

At any rate, my comment still applies to everyone. I think we should all just exercise detachment for now.
_________________________
Kawai K-3 (2008)

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#931124 - 06/13/08 08:26 AM Re: Teacher problems
Elise_B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 81
Loc: nyc
Hi again
My parents had to go out of town and take me along since there is no other place to park me. This hotel has internet access and computers everywhere.. Thanks for all the supportive words. I have been bored to death. I played teh piano for hours and hours. I learnt two new pieces which was great except taht they are not perfect. I keep repeating, breaking them up into segments etc. but I am still not too happy.I felt some pain in my left hand for the first time ever but I could not figure out why. Anyway I am supposed to decide by monday if I want to go back to piano with teh same teacher ("if he agrees to take me back and if I apologize"--ouch!) or give up piano. Dad will not allow another teacher. I am tempted to hold out and see if I can soften him up over time. I ususally manage to get him to give in on some things.. but he seems really p... this time. On one hand I don't want to give it up and I know I can't teach myself forward. On the other hand, freedom to do stuff like stay at teh beach for the weekend without having to worry about performing at the monday lesson sounds totally cool..
I have to say that the fact taht some people here did not agree with me (?mostly teachers ? I never know who is who) made me aware that my parent's opinion may not be "out there" as much as I think.. but then again older people "team up"..
gotta go.
Thanks
E

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#931125 - 06/13/08 08:42 AM Re: Teacher problems
Debbie57 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/07
Posts: 258
Loc: Kansas
Elsie,

I've stayed totally out of this (old person ), but adult beginner. I have the luxuary you don't have, getting to do whatever I want to do. It's too bad your dad has drawn a line in the sand. This teacher or none at all. I think people hesitate to some degree because of family dynamics. I personally would have viewed this as a negotiable with my child. For whatever reason, your father has decided it's a non-negotiable. Very sad. I wish you well in whatever path you take. If you opt out of lessons, for heavens sake continue to play!! Keep that alive. You'll regret it forever if you don't. You aren't that far away from being able to get a part time job and afford your own lessons.
_________________________
A Hero is one who hangs on one minute longer. Author: Unknown

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#931126 - 06/13/08 09:01 AM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11555
Loc: Canada
Elise, I anticipated your father's stance from the beginning. The following has been my thought for some time. Please follow my train of thought:

1. You have had this window when you played the piano 4 hours - something made you play that long even though previously an hour was long. The experience and motivation were purely yours. You were a partner to your piano and your music, centred on them, right?

2. You discovered in what way your teacher's input helped you and was needed. You did not have a chance to explore this before. Now you are aware of something you were not before.

I suggest that since you seem to be given only two choices, that if you return to this teacher HOLD ON TO THESE TWO THINGS and make them yours. In a sense, make these lessons for you - the choice of this teacher for you - the experience for you. Make it work for you.

When you are in your lesson, focus on the instrument and the music that you are to play, as if you were at home trying to play as well as you can. Do not focus on your teacher's behaviour or his attempt to control you. Control yourself for your own sake. In fact, that is what he is trying to do, but is in the belief that control must come from the outside - ultimately he wants you to develop what is on the inside.

If you are concentrating on the instrument and music as you do at home, you are actualy doing what your teacher wishes for you. Automatically you will be slipping into harmony and away from discord. He will still be in the belief that you must be controlled through punishment and reward, and he may actually simply have a temperament that leads him to yelling if that is what he does. This should have nothing to do with you. Learn from him because YOU want to learn to play the piano well. The way to do this is to keep your focus on the music and the piano always. If you feel intimidated, move your attention away from his behaviour and toward the instrument and the task.

If he tells you to do something, remember your wish to play well, and do this thing with your own wish as your motivation. You have already discovered how he has helped you, that you cannot do these things on your own, and now you write of hand pain. That is the reason for taking piano lessons and studying with a teacher. Make it YOUR reason.

Be there because you "want" to learn from him. Not because of what your father wants, and not because he is pushing you for certain behaviours. He actually wants to make a good musician out of you. If the zen-student can get away with sloppy trills and you can't, he thinks you are capable of something the other student isn't. Teachers go crazy inside when they see potential and can't dig it out of their students. Some go about it in an awkward or old fashioned way. They care too much. Teaching is a passion just like music making is.

If you must apologize, formulate some simple words. I suggest you also write a letter. In that letter do not try to change his behaviour. Instead perhaps write your goals in music, your experiences when you were on your own and how you wish to benefit from his instruction - something along that line. This will also clarify you for you.

In the meantime, just in case you will end up back with this teacher (since the alternative is no teacher) - practice in the spirit that you did before. Practice well. Incorporate the things he has told you to do before, but do them for you, because you love the piano. If you return, you will be well prepared and in a position of strength and dignity. If you don't return, you will still benefit.

My thought is that if you bring the "for you" part that you have experienced into lessons, it will be a different thing, even though externally everything will appear the same.

What do you think?

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