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#931157 - 06/20/08 01:41 PM Re: Teacher problems
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 12121
Loc: Canada
Elise, if I read between the lines:

The last time your teacher saw you, you were trying to change how he teaches (his main impression).

Since then you have played the piano many hours, discovered that his input has been valuable and you would like to learn what he has to give you. You have discovered that you want to play the piano very well, you are motivated toward that, and you would appreciate his help in that.

Unfortunately he doesn't know that. His reality of you is what he knew one month ago, and that is who and what he is addressing. It is why I suggested a written note, because these things are impossible to articulate to a teacher in his presence. I am not as sure that words are where it's at.

His view of you has not changed, therefore his attitude and approach toward you has not changed. How you are being addressed is a bitter pill to swallow.

If you do go for it, perhaps a mental trick is that you will "show him", and then of course what you do is work as hard and focussed as you can: a win-win with a twist.

It has been suggested that you demonstrated you are hearing him by feeding his words back to him: not a bad idea at all. I also think that this teacher wants you to demonstrate your hearing him by what you produce on the piano. Your fingers have to do the talking. (sorry, bad cliche)

If you go for this, start with your practicing. Make a note of exactly what he wants you to pay attention to and achieve, and work on this especially. When you come to your lesson, remain centred on your music and your piano - move his instructions mentally toward your music and your piano, and keep your attention on your music while attending to his words. That's sort of "tuning out attentively". Tune away from the behaviour, tune in to the instructions. Stay centred on your music and your instrument.

That is of course IF you return.

The key and your point of control would be your practicing. If you practice then what you practice cannot help be noticed: teachers have psychic bat ears in that way. If he notices that you've been practicing diligently the negatives should begin to disappear.

I would also suspect, though, that he would not let up because it would be like "Strike while the fire is hot." - push you as far forward as possible meaning ... erm ... more pushing.

I will remain totally neutral on whether you should continue with this teacher or quit for certain. I'm going by instinct as a student and only with thoughts in the event that you do go back. These, um, are my thoughts. :rolleyes:

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#931158 - 06/20/08 01:51 PM Re: Teacher problems
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5749
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally posted by Elise_B:
piano teachers get away with EVERYTHING!!! [/b]
Uh, that's patently false. If I am anything like your teacher, I'd lose half of my students in a heartbeat.
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

#931159 - 06/20/08 01:56 PM Re: Teacher problems
Elise_B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 81
Loc: nyc
get more first gen asian and german students with high expecting parents and "culture" background!!
By the way Betty, I speak / read french pretty fluently as I used to go to afrench school. has nothing to do with it.. I think he has had me on a whirlwhind of Bach and romantics that I need some time to adapt. He is also a bit of a Debussy expert. which will make my life a looot more complicated.

#931160 - 06/20/08 02:16 PM Re: Teacher problems
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally posted by Elise_B:
I enjoy piano all right. I also enjoy what I end up learning from him and that is why I am back. I just need to develop more adaptive skills at coping with his temper and control my reactions.[/b]
Elise this is a fantastic attitude!!

Trust me, if you're like most of us, in your lifetime there will be more than one difficult person you'll have to deal with. I've experienced this in my family (in-laws) and at work both.

What works for me is to think of it as mentally deflecting the other person's attitude. I think of visual image of me being in a bubble while the other person's ranting nastiness just washes over. Remain calm. Let the other person see your calm attitude.

Sometimes, with my in-laws, if I want to make a point I will say "are you done??" but that's passive-aggressive. ;\)

The only thing that really works with difficult people is to know yourself to be a powerful person in your own right and their petty tantrums don't affect you =) If you were babysitting a 2 year old who threw a tantrum and yelled at you, you wouldn't get all upset and internalize what he said, would you? So just remain calm and centered (easier said than done but it works with practice) and ignore the behavior.

Just prepare to respond this way and practice remaining calm, and who knows what you will learn this summer.
Adult Amateur Pianist

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

#931161 - 06/20/08 07:21 PM Re: Teacher problems
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
Elise, my congratulations to you for your very responsible decision to come back to take the lessons: I do not think that it was a "swallowing your pride" in any way; I think that it was a mature decision and the very best for you in the present situation.

Unfortunately, your "pronunciamiento" did not leave your father any choice than to either assert his (yes) authority as a father or let the message get through that to force his hand is a winning strategy; though his logic might seem to you difficult to accept now, I think that he acted fatherly and wisely.

You have now the possibility to, literally, "give a lesson" to the old man, the grumpy teacher.
He will experience your progress and new level of commitment and even if he will not change his character, be assured he will not fail to notice.

But in the end, who cares: do it for you and the pleasure music gives you, not for him or anyone else.

Best wishes and congratulations again.
"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

#931162 - 06/21/08 02:46 AM Re: Teacher problems
1RC Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 502
Loc: Alberta
On 'Parroting':

I very recently began with a new teacher that I'm very excited about. She gave me so much information and feedback in the lesson that my brain was a little toasted at the edges!

Anyways, I realized that I used the 'parroting' quite a bit... But one thing I'd like to add, it was genuine (sometimes it's easy to use these ideas insincerely) - I was feeding back what I heard to her in order to double-check if I was understanding it right. If I understood the concept, her words tended to morph somewhat into my way of speaking.

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