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#940132 - 10/03/08 12:13 PM "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Kemerrit Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/08/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Florida
A month or so ago, I was having a hard time finding a way to approach teaching piano to my 4 year old student. All of you had very helpful advice! I printed out some musical symbols for my younger students to color, and they absolutely loved it. I even taught one Chopstix as a way of teaching intervals...haha \:\) As a new teacher, I think I am getting the hang of it!

But I do have one 4 year old (Anna)that refuses to cooperate. She will play maybe one or two short songs before she starts running wild around my studio. When I can get her to actually sit on the piano bench (for about 1 minute..) She just bangs on the keys as obnoxiously as possible. Then she will go limp like a ragdoll and expects me to hold her up like a little baby. As much as I say "Stop" and "No!", she refuses to listen to me.

I dont think there is an exact age where one is able to learn music, specifically piano. I know that everyone's style of learning is unique. Meaning one child may be able to sit and retain information, while another may run around like a wild animal...

Anna's mother believes she is too young, and could probably try again in a year or so. It's really her father that is convinced that she is the next Mozart. When her father confronted Anna about her behavior after her lesson, she flat out said "I dont want to do it anymore!"

I'm not sure how to explain to Anna'a father that she just doesnt have the attention span. I told him just to think about it and maybe talk it over with her mother. I want to be as honest as possible without insulting Anna's potential...

Butif she doesnt want to do it anymore, then why should she have to keep taking lessons?

Any advice?

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#940133 - 10/03/08 12:19 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
eromlignod Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 379
Loc: Kansas City
4 is too young.

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#940134 - 10/03/08 12:20 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10761
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
The best thing to do is to drop her as a student. Explain to her father that she is just not mature enough to handle lessons at this point, but advise him to encourage her to sing along with music, listen to lots of music (especially piano), and not to push her. She might sense how serious her father is and may not like that music isn't "fun" anymore. Don't necessarily put the blame on the father, but simply state that she's not quite ready for serious study and to revisit the idea of lessons in a year once she's been in school a bit and gotten used to sitting for periods of time. Not every 4 year old is in the same place developmentally, and so you need to meet each student where they are at. In this case, a year off may do wonders and will prevent her from hating piano. Just because the father thinks it is best doesn't mean it is. He may end up going to another teacher, but you can't prevent that. Present your case to him as best you can, and insist on not teacher her until a year has passed. Then and only then, re-evaluate her yourself at that time before signing her up for lessons. Trust your instincts on this one!
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#940135 - 10/03/08 12:24 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
You're dealing with problems here which are above your pay grade, so to speak. The parents are not in agreement about their child's education, the child has figured it out, and is using this knowledge to get her way (which of course, is self-destructive, but that's another issue).

For your own protection, you need to discuss this with both parents at the same time. I would approach it somewhat as follows:

- Anna seems very bright, and she has figured out that you two do not fully agree on her education.

- This is a problem that teachers cannot solve for parents. You two need to discuss her music education further and how you're going to implement the discipline at home that is required for musical success.

- When you reach that point, I will be happy to meet with you again. If I have an opening, we can discuss lessons. Otherwise, I will be happy to refer you to another highly competent teacher.

But if she doesnt want to do it anymore, then why should she have to keep taking lessons? [/b]

Answer: It is not her decision to make; parents are responsible for children's education.
_________________________
"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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#940136 - 10/03/08 12:37 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Hey, teachers, I'm going to remind us all.....that we are responsible for everyone's physical safety when they are in our homes or in our separate studios. This is an insurance issue for us, as well as one of well-being concerns for our clients.

We have to have control over kids running around, climbing and sitting on the top of the piano (fortunately that hasn't been mentioned yet!), doing cartwheels, etc. We must be able to stop them.

I'd advise not allowing the student to set the pace. Once acting out, the student should be back to self control or dismissed for the day, spending "Time Out" or in general made aware of what is appropriate/not appropriate allowed/not allowed.

Some things are NOT allowed. If a child is physically acting out, you, as the piano teacher have absolutely no way to "get a word in edgewise". So don't talk too much, act now. It won't get better by itself unless you intervene.

Besides, I think early music participatory classes are great for those under 6, but, it's just not reasonable to put a small child on a piano bench and expect results in applied piano - Little Mozart - or not.

Child development will demonstrate that we are exceeding the box by having expectations for young ones that they are not yet wired for, have no attention span for.

This is my opinion, gained in 38 years of music teaching. It is better to wait for an opportune time of readiness as per an interview and an assessment profile.

The first teacher, and the first learning experiences at the piano must be quality lessons that set the pathway for continued learning.

During first lessons, the student is either being "groomed" or "doomed". Take your pick.

Things to think about!

Betty

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#940137 - 10/04/08 03:12 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
My answer is simple.

I'm a piano teacher, not a warden or family counselor. It's my room, and I get to say when I will and will not teach anyone, of any age.

In such a situation I simply state that it is not working out for *me*, though frankly I usually see such a problem in the making when I do a trial lesson, which also gives me a way out, since a trial lesson gives either the parents or me the right to say that something does not appear to be working. \:\)
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#940138 - 10/04/08 05:04 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
If her dad insists on her taking lessons then he should teach her himself.

You could explain that the current situation is more likely to put her off for life. She is simply not ready for formal instruction. Pretty soon she will get bored with it and start to associate piano study as a mess around. It's very difficult to turn this round later on. The best thing the parents can do for her is to encourage and nurture a love of music. Listen to music with her, play musical games, sing with her, enrol her in group sessions where kids sing/dance/respond to and enjoy music. In a couple of years she will be begging for lessons and is more likely to take it seriously.
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Pianist and piano teacher.

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#940139 - 10/05/08 09:32 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
Don't continue to teach this child. If Daddy wants to force her into piano when she is clearly not developmentally ready for it, let him inflict her on someone else. Your time is more valuable than to waste it on this kind of nonsense, and could be better spent with a REAL student or on literally anything else you choose.
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SantaFe_Player

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#940140 - 10/05/08 01:51 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA

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#940141 - 10/05/08 04:15 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
JeffBC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Haverhill, MA
4, as a rule, isn't too young. 4 might be too young for this child or her interests are elsewhere. My daughter has been attending the Yamaha owned and operated, Yamaha Music School in Lexington, MA ( http://www.ymsboston.com/ ) since she was 3. I cannot recommend the program highly enough.
_________________________
Kawai MP5 / Ivory Italian Grand
C.C. Harvey 52" Upright Grand
Yamaha M202 Console

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#940142 - 10/06/08 04:34 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1248
Loc:
i really doubt that first kid on akira s link is 4 yrs old.

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#940143 - 10/06/08 05:13 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
The funny (or should that be sad?) thing is is that people watch these youtube videos and think that these are normal everyday 4 year olds.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#940144 - 10/06/08 02:06 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
 Quote:
The funny (or should that be sad?) thing is is that people watch these youtube videos and think that these are normal everyday 4 year olds.
Had all the teachers in the world all agreed 4 is too young, there'd be no videos to watch. \:\)

Should one make sweeping generalizations about what age is suitable to start, or does it really depend on the individual?

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#940145 - 10/06/08 04:28 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Kemerrit Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/08/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Florida
Everyone is different. Some just "have it." For others it takes a little longer.

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#940146 - 10/07/08 04:18 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Akira:
 Quote:
4 is too young.
Really? I think these people might disagree . \:\) [/b]
:D

The problem is...most of these kids can't play anything worth listening to.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#940147 - 10/07/08 06:34 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Akira, most of these kids are educated by their parents. They have to be. More than likely they are chained to the piano for hours every day from the moment they can toddle. It's pretty clear that the girl in question is not one of these kids.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#940148 - 10/07/08 11:04 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Jedi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/14/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Western Australia
I hate to break it to you, but you're grammar is terrible.

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#940149 - 10/07/08 06:09 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Kemerrit Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/08/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Florida
who, me?

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#940150 - 10/08/08 08:09 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jedi:
I hate to break it to you, but you're grammar is terrible. [/b]
And so is your[/b] spelling \:D
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#940151 - 10/08/08 11:34 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Getting back to the original topic, a 4 year old who is acting out, and has parent(s) who want lessons, should start out with drums.

Drums are perfect for this child...the child gets rid of energy, learns rhythm, and you can truthfully tell the parent that drums and piano are both percussion instruments, which they are.

But really, how can you possibly teach anyone who chooses not learn, and instead runs around wildly?
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#940152 - 10/09/08 11:05 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jedi:
I hate to break it to you, but you're grammar is terrible. [/b]
I don't know to whom that was directed, but unintentional irony is funny in a sad sort of way.

\:\) \:\(

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940153 - 10/12/08 03:57 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 824
Yes, there are a very few students who start at four and accomplish something. The question is, could they not wait until they are seven and accomplish the same thing, sometimes in far less time?

There is no reason to suggest they end up farther than the rest of us for all their early starting. I can't stand when I go to a concert of a fully grown adult who finds it necessary to state in their program that they began piano at such and such early age. Do they really think that head start kept them ahead all those years? Get over yourself and get on with interpreting the works of the great composers.

As for the original poster, perhaps you should consider if the stress of teaching a four year old is worth the money you're earning. Also, is it really worth the energy for the parents, teacher, and child when they have so many years ahead of them? Why all this impatience? Is the child diagnosed with some rare disease that necessitates such an early start?

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#940154 - 10/12/08 04:22 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Candyman:
Yes, there are a very few students who start at four and accomplish something. The question is, could they not wait until they are seven and accomplish the same thing, sometimes in far less time?

There is no reason to suggest they end up farther than the rest of us for all their early starting. I can't stand when I go to a concert of a fully grown adult who finds it necessary to state in their program that they began piano at such and such early age. Do they really think that head start kept them ahead all those years? Get over yourself and get on with interpreting the works of the great composers.

As for the original poster, perhaps you should consider if the stress of teaching a four year old is worth the money you're earning. Also, is it really worth the energy for the parents, teacher, and child when they have so many years ahead of them? Why all this impatience? Is the child diagnosed with some rare disease that necessitates such an early start? [/b]
Dang, "get over yourself" is pretty harsh!

To me, the whole point is that it does not take energy for a child at that age who is ready, willing and able—no more so than language acquisition. Waiting a few years makes all the difference in the world to the process.

I wrote this in another thread very recently ( "How young is too young????" )
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
[A] toddler who has an interest is unquestionably ready to learn.

I believe there's a window of opportunity at this age during which musical knowledge can be acquired along with language in a way that's automatic and painless.

If a very young child is receptive, take advantage of it! The learning process is a lot easier when it's spontaneous than when it requires a conscious effort.[/b]
candyman, I'm curious what your personal experience is with this subject (as both a teacher and in your own early childhood).

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940155 - 10/13/08 02:55 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by Candyman:
Yes, there are a very few students who start at four and accomplish something. The question is, could they not wait until they are seven and accomplish the same thing, sometimes in far less time?
It seems to me that you are grouping two different kinds of kids together.

One group of kids is pushed to learn piano before they are ready.

The second group shows a precocious interest in music, and the exact time at which members of the second group are ready to start has to be considered on an individual basis.

While it is true that a four year-old will not make the same progress in three years (4-7) as a seven year-old (7-10), if the four year-old is ready to begin, s/he will still be "ahead of the game". I don't like to start before age six or seven unless I feel a child is ready and eager to begin, but I have one five year-old now who doing some of the things her eight year-old brother is doing, and that's a rather remarkable things to see.

As for adults bragging about when they started, that seems utterly ridiculous to me, if that is what is bothering you.

By the way, I was a very late starter, at age eight. I think I was hurt by not starting sooner. My grandmother was my first teacher, and she did not like starting kids who had not yet had fractions. The moments she started me, she said she realized she had made a mistake, that I would have been ready a year or two earlier, at least.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#940156 - 10/13/08 07:46 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
candyman, I knew another PW had spoken recently to the "window of opportunity" idea. The following was posted by Rich Galassini in this very recent thread :
 Quote:
♪ The “Window of Opportunity”: As a child’s brain develops, connections are being made between trillions of neurons. If the brain does not use some of these neurons, it begins to eliminate them. The richer the environment of the child, the more developed the pathways of the neurons. The most powerful period of this development for both verbal and musical abilities occurs from birth to about age nine. Although this does not mean that a child cannot learn music after that age, the child will probably not develop as great an ability as they would have been able to had they been exposed to music earlier.
As Gary said, not all children will benefit equally; those who are unwilling shouldn't be predicted to benefit at all. But in the right combination of circumstances, the benefit can be incalculably important.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940157 - 10/13/08 08:22 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11181
Loc: Canada
That, and numerous other things, is indeed a theory.

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#940158 - 10/13/08 08:27 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
keystring, as a linguist you are surely familiar with the phenomenon of early childhood language acquisition as a singular process in our development that absolutely cannot be duplicated at any later point in life. That's not theoretical at all. For some people, music acquisition is analogous and happens in parallel.

Neither were my own experiences theoretical. In contradistinction to Gary, who was a "late" starter at eight, I was an early starter. I lived the theory, so my belief in it has personal resonance for me. \:\)

I continue to refer to it as "theory" only because I haven't researched it, and therefore don't have any empirical data from academicians to cite as a source authority.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940159 - 10/13/08 08:44 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11181
Loc: Canada
I am familiar with the theory, but I don't think I agree with it totally for language acquisition - there are other factors - but am not an expert in music acquisition. There is also a problem with taking any theory and applying it too narrowly with insufficient imagination, and not allowing natural things to develop that we are not yet sufficiently aware of. My gut feeling in "early childhood education" as a whole, including "educational toys", is that we may be over-directing and narrowing something that would have developed had we left it alone or proceeded differently. It is a broad subject, and too large for a forum - probably best developed in a book. As far as academicians is concerned, the environment and process itself are limiting in thought and scope.

Just take the one example which is very simple - "perfect pitch testing" which is supposed to test whether you can recognize a given pitch as a pitch in and of itself. I received training last year, aimed in particular toward producing and recognizing so there would not be a drift. I have ended up with a strange side effect which I've been told is normal. If I hear any pitch from an object, instrument, or voice, I can go to an instrument I play and allow my fingers to go the place where that pitch will be found on the instrument. Somehow somewhere in body and unconscious mind I do have the knowledge of that pitch stored. Consistently for over a year the result has been 100% accurate. But if I try to name the pitch ahead of time, or if I try to consciously tell myself "This is Bb" and play it, I am invariably wrong. I can definitely recognize pitch as pitch. But any test that asks me to name a pitch would show that I cannot name pitches, and will then conclude that I cannot recognize pitches.

The academic system and other systems are useful tools, but like any system they are limited. My first insight into this was Pierce's "Crack in the Cosmic Egg". The next was the upbringing of my children.

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#940160 - 10/13/08 08:55 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Though its extrapolation to music may be theoretical, the unique nature of early childhood language acquisition isn't a theory. It's well settled that there are no cases in which someone deprived of language during that window of opportunity for its development ever achieved anything resembling the proficiency of a native speaker raised in a natural environment.

Likewise, are you aware of anyone who acquired a foreign language anytime after early childhood without the need for conscious learning, as opposed to the entirely natural and organic process that takes place during infancy?

And FWIW it's not a function of "early childhood education." What we're talking about here has nothing to do with pedagogy, but rather something that we are hard-wired for and simply happens automatically.

BTW, Rich didn't even qualify his statements as theoretical. Even though they mimic my own precise thoughts on the matter, he didn't get them from me! (And FWIW I'm not aware that anyone in that thread was dismissive or even skeptical of the idea, either.)

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940161 - 10/13/08 09:46 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Less Rubato Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 266
Loc: Washington state via OH-IO
Kemerrit-

Do you have a parent stay for the duration of lesson? Sometimes that helps with the acting out, etc..

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#940162 - 10/13/08 09:50 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11181
Loc: Canada
I've written a long treatise which is copied onto my computer. It is not fair to the forum members to go this far OT, but it's available in a PM if you are interested Steven. It's simply too vast a topic.

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#940163 - 10/13/08 10:04 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
I've written a long treatise which is copied onto my computer. It is not fair to the forum members to go this far OT, but it's available in a PM if you are interested Steven. It's simply too vast a topic. [/b]
Awww dang! I was just going to reply to what you initially posted. \:\(

My only real point was that the specific hard-wiring involved in early childhood language acquisition is completely inaccessible—gone forever!—once we're past that stage of early childhood.

I shouldn't wish to stray off-topic in this thread either, but this whole postulation of the "window of opportunity" as regards music is certainly of intrinsic interest to teachers and parents alike (and anyone who did acquire music that way, too). I'd like to see it explored further, and may send a PM to Rich Galassini to ask what his own sources are.

I think it's worth mentioning again that anything that can be learned without having to be taught—absorbed automatically and effortlessly—has intrinsic benefits. When I read first-hand accounts of the struggles that adult beginners have in learning to read musical notation, I realize just how fortunate I am.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940164 - 10/13/08 10:18 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
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Still wishing not to stray - I've spent several decades on this in a number of ways. The theories can also be misused, even when "educating" - If I ever have the time maybe it will be a book. Things are interrelated.

As mentioned before - language # 6 is going fine. I am deliberately approaching it a certain way, and have managed, as far as the student was willing, to also teach it that way. The ideas about language learning and music learning are parallel, and one discipline often refers to the other sporting the same theory.

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#940165 - 10/13/08 10:40 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
childofparadise2002 Offline
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Steven,

Note that the critical period of language acquisition that you mentioned does not refer to reading and writing, it refers to speaking and comprehension of spoken language. In other words, if someone is not exposed to language during this critical period, his innate ability to using and understanding the language structure will not be developed. But this doesn't mean that kids need to learn how to read and write during this period. Reading and writing can wait.

As to music, starting lessons can be compared to learning reading and writing. In this sense it can wait. Being exposed to music is more comparable to the critical period of language that you referred to--this includes listening and singing and moving with rhythm, and doesn't need to happen in any formal setting.

In other words, even if there is a critical period for music just as there is one for language, it probably requires exposure to music, not learning an instrument.

That said, I do agree with you that there is no harm to start formal instruction at an early age if the kid wants it and parents are willing. I don't think we need to be so goal-oriented in everything that we do. If the child enjoys lessons, if the parents think it's money and time well spent, why not? It's perfectly reasonable to use money to "buy" a good experience. And, even though most children will learn a lot more efficiently, say from 7 to 9 years old than from 4 to 6 years old, lessons in early years are not wasted as they build the foundation for the child so that (s)he will progress even faster during 7 to 9 years old.

So it really depends on each child. In the OP's case, I suspect that it's difficult to change the parent's mind, but he can always try to look for a teacher who is a better fit for his child. And if enough teachers tell him that this is not working, he might be willing to think about group lessons or just wait.

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#940166 - 10/13/08 11:08 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
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A specific language, or language period? And what is learning. Somebody posted a video of his 18 month child playing away on the piano just like Daddy. Somebody pointed out rhythm, half jokingly. Did anyone notice that the little tyke was holding down a key with his left hand, and that he tended to gravitate on the octave of that note? How many things on how many levels in a manner that includes an intermeshing of body, mind and sensations, do children explore on their own. How much do we draw on these earliest childhood things as we reach adolescence and adulthood? And what if we are directed and narrowed too early?

Sure, give a child early exposure and even lessons if he is so inclined. But be careful. Secondly, be careful not to crush the potential of older people wishing to learn either music or language. I suspect very strongly that our manner of learning is malleable if we can understand what's behind it. At least some of that may be a case of unlearning how we learned to learn. :rolleyes: If we allow a general theory that holds much truth to be the total reality then we may prevent good things from happening that could happen.

I am in danger of bringing this way past the scope of this thread. Years ago I rode home with a kindergarten teacher close to retirement age. Her little kids could not paint a giant capital letter A on the big easel because they didn't know when to stop the brush stroke. Almost all of them had memorized the alphabet thanks to Sesame Street like parrots with no real association. But they did not know how to copy shapes because they had no sense of space, and that, in turn, was because they had not used their bodies. She said "I used to teach my kids how to paint. Now I get them to crawl on the floor in and out, over and through things."

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#940167 - 10/13/08 11:21 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by childofparadise2002:
Steven,

Note that the critical period of language acquisition that you mentioned does not refer to reading and writing, it refers to speaking and comprehension of spoken language. In other words, if someone is not exposed to language during this critical period, his innate ability to using and understanding the language structure will not be developed. But this doesn't mean that kids need to learn how to read and write during this period. Reading and writing can wait.[/b]
You are right. But reading and writing don't have to wait.

For instance, consider keystring's anecdote about the teacher whose children knew the alphabet but couldn't copy shapes. Why would that be—unless no one ever put a pencil in their hands?

BTW, I've posted in Rich's thread, where the discussion is on-topic and where specific academic research has been mentioned:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/24134/2.html#000036

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940168 - 10/13/08 11:30 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
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 Quote:
For instance, consider keystring's anecdote about the teacher whose children knew the alphabet but couldn't copy shapes. Why would that be—unless no one ever put a pencil in their hands
Because the concept of space and shape perception is not as straightfoward as we think. It gets developed first through our physical interaction with our environment. The pencil in the hand would do nothing. You must be able to perceive the shape. You perceive through the body. That's what some learning disabilities are about.

We are such an intellectual, linear-concept oriented world that we have divorced ourselves from the senses and our own bodies. This can and does create problems. Music learning is wonderful in that respect since we use our ears, touch, our whole bodies, and our eyes too.

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#940169 - 10/13/08 11:42 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
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I think children deserve more credit than that. You say the pencil in the hand would do nothing, but it certainly did something for me.

I was in touch with my senses in the way you describe at a very early age, and I can't be alone in that experience.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940170 - 10/13/08 11:47 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
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Steven, we're missing each other here. My children had pencils and paint brushes and whatnot in their hands as soon as they could be trusted not to eat them. ;\) Which was quite early, btw. There's also a photo of my 3 year old with a big knife cutting up mushrooms and other things beside his brother for the pizza that the two of them made. The BODY must ALSO be used. The students of this kindergarten teacher had been pushed to learn things only with their minds and in a directed way, so that their concept of space and not developed. She had been an educator for 40 years, she knew what the problem was so she had the kids experience their bodies. We must not overly restrict our children's learning toward those things that we think are immediately important for ultimate jobs and status - we must be more open minded and flexible.

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#940171 - 10/13/08 11:57 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
There's also a photo of my 3 year old with a big knife cutting up mushrooms and other things beside his brother for the pizza that the two of them made.[/b]
I was writing at that age—maybe not three, but certainly four. As I just said over in the other thread, I may have been precocious but I cannot have been unique.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940172 - 10/13/08 12:20 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
childofparadise2002 Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
A specific language, or language period? And what is learning. ... And what if we are directed and narrowed too early?

[/b]
There seems to be a language period, according to the popular linguistics and neuroscience books that I read. But this is not a problem for most kids growing up in a "normal" environment. The harm is really for those who are somewhat deprived during this period, such as living in isolation or not having access to any language use beyond everyday conversation. That's partly why parents are encouraged to read to babies and toddlers, it's an enrichment that helps develop the "language instinct". For music, I suspect similar things are listening to music, singing to babies and toddlers, moving about with music, etc.

In terms of whether children can be limited too early, it's always a possibility that parents should be aware of. But it's impossible to actually let a child experience everything: parents always have preferences as to what's important for their children and what's not, each community has its own limitations as to what it offers to its children and what it can't offer, and children have their own predispositions that observant parents are aware of from early on. I agree that it's unhealthy to let a 4yo practise piano, say, for 3 hours a day, but if it's 15 minutes and the child enjoys it, I would assume that it comes to no harm.

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#940173 - 10/13/08 12:22 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
childofparadise2002 Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
 Quote:
Originally posted by childofparadise2002:
Steven,

Note that the critical period of language acquisition that you mentioned does not refer to reading and writing, it refers to speaking and comprehension of spoken language. In other words, if someone is not exposed to language during this critical period, his innate ability to using and understanding the language structure will not be developed. But this doesn't mean that kids need to learn how to read and write during this period. Reading and writing can wait.[/b]
You are right. But reading and writing don't have to wait.

[/b]
Yes, I agree. It can wait, but doesn't have to.

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#940174 - 10/13/08 12:39 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
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Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by childofparadise2002:
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
You are right. But reading and writing don't have to wait.

[/b]
Yes, I agree. It can wait, but doesn't have to. [/b]
Thank you. \:\)

And I would agree, BTW, that whether pursued super-early or at the "normal" stage of development, there shouldn't necessarily be any predictable difference in the level of achievement ultimately reached.

I think it's the same with the early music exposure thing, too. I have no basis at all for suggesting that an unusually early head start confers any lasting advantage or results in a superior skill level than would otherwise be the case.

For this reason, I, too, think it's silly for a pianist to brag about having played since the age three! I've always felt odd regarding my own admittedly odd background and circumspect about sharing it, especially with adult learners who might be discouraged to feel they're at such a relative disadvantage.

Rather, I always insist that it's never too late to start with music or a foreign language. It just means that the road is tougher.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940175 - 10/13/08 12:51 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
childofparadise2002 Offline
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Posts: 538
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
Thank you. \:\)

And I would agree, BTW, that whether pursued super-early or at the "normal" stage of development, there shouldn't necessarily be any predictable difference in the level of achievement ultimately reached.

I think it's the same with the early music exposure thing, too. I have no basis at all for suggesting that an unusually early head start confers any lasting advantage or results in a superior skill level than would otherwise be the case.

For this reason, I, too, think it's silly for a pianist to brag about having played since the age three! I've always felt odd regarding my own admittedly odd background and circumspect about sharing it, especially with adult learners who might be discouraged to feel they're at such a relative disadvantage.

Rather, I always insist that it's never too late to start with music or a foreign language. It just means that the road is tougher.

Steven [/b]
People brag whatever they want to brag about. Whereas some people think it's worth telling everyone that they started playing at the age of 3, others might think it's really worth bragging if they started at the age of 15 and made it to the top. Yet others state these things as simple facts and don't mean to brag...

I also agree with you that it's never too late to learn anything. I'm an adult student who has never had experience with piano until these past few years, though I always loved music. I'm learning well and enjoying every minute of it. Sure enough I won't become a concert pianist, but the vast majority of people who start learning piano as children also don't become concert pianists... What I missed, though, is hundreds or perhaps thousands of hours that I could have enjoyed making music. In this sense I think the experience is more important than the outcome, and I think a child who wants to start early should be allowed to try.

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#940176 - 10/13/08 12:52 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
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The waiting part is silly, agreed. We are inwardly directed and know when something is the right time. To be stopped at that time means a golden opportunity is lost.

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#940177 - 10/13/08 02:08 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
koiloco Offline
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I will say that discipline and respect need to be taught to a child at home by both parents. In the OP's student case, this student might or might not be too young to start, but she's definitely in need of some proper parenting and her parents are not doing a good job at that. I can almost be certain that Anna's not afraid of her mom very much and by gender association, Anna is not afraid of her piano teacher either. Anyway, as others have already said, there's no point dragging it out; just drop her as a student.

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#940178 - 10/13/08 02:18 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
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I would sincerely hope that Anna is not *afraid* of her parents or her teacher. Did you mean to use another word?

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#940179 - 10/13/08 02:21 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
koiloco Offline
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Maybe, listen / respect might sound nicer but afraid is exactly what it is until they fully understand and comprehend what 'respect' and 'obedient' mean.

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#940180 - 10/13/08 02:27 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
I would sincerely hope that Anna is not *afraid* of her parents or her teacher. Did you mean to use another word? [/b]
Dang, ks ... I'm literal-minded and pride myself on an eye for detail, but I missed that!

I guess, having pets rather than children, that I'm accustomed to thinking or saying how they're not afraid of me—especially those intransigent cats!—as though that were a bad thing rather than a good thing. They rule this house and don't respect me, and the cats' attitude has rubbed off on the dog.

I automatically inferred koiloco's meaning rather than the literal one. \:o

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940181 - 10/13/08 02:41 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
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I love your cats. Little kids are a bit like a cross between cat and dog. They go off and do their own thing, and suddenly they are there wanting to show you everything! If only we could have more time, and listen and watch more. They want so much to please - fear is unnecessary at any age. I am the parent of two wonderful fine young men. Their personal ethics and concern for others is heartening in these times. Would instilling fear have done the same? I would rather think that I have been fortunate.

I'm getting maudling. Time to get a cat.

KS

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#940182 - 10/13/08 02:51 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
koiloco Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
I automatically inferred koiloco's meaning rather than the literal one. \:o
Steven [/QB]
you inferred 100% correctly.

We have a lot of friends and family gatherings at my house almost every weekend. Of course, all their children (all under 10) are allowed and welcomed to enjoy and experiment with all my instruments (Piano, drums, flute, guitar, violin...) Some are not always behaving and often banging on piano and other instruments. Their parents ask them to stop, other adults ask them to stop and they would for 5 minutes and they would do it again but it would take me 1 look into their eyes and a firm 'No' to stop them for the whole gathering. Was it 'respect' for me as an adult that they listened ? I don't think so! cuz if they understood 'respect' they would listen already to their parents and other adults.
Kids are very complicated to raise and understand as I am finding out myself raising my son, but in this context of the OP, I believe 'afraid' is the exactly suitable term.

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#940183 - 10/13/08 02:56 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
koiloco Offline
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and Keystring, you are very lucky with your boys.

I am also very lucky with mine too but fear is a very useful tool to discipline and teach kids if used properly and not abused. Unless, you are telling me you never grounded your boys for some bad behaviors. \:\)

where's Sotto ??? Please infer from my last sentence \:\)

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#940184 - 10/13/08 04:34 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
keystring Offline
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I never grounded my boys for bad behaviour. Seriously. ;\) Anyway, this subject is drifting. Apologies to the OP and anyone interested in the topic. I'm opting out for that reason.

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#940185 - 10/13/08 05:01 PM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Gary D. Offline
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I think we can bring this topic back around by agreeing that fear, obedience and respect are words that have strong emotional "baggage". They are often used loosely.

Regardless, the word that I prefer is "respect". I think we have to teach some children what the word means, both by demanding it and giving it back.

To me that is what this thread might be all about. In some situations parents make it impossible for us to establish an environment in which respect is possible.
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Piano Teacher

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#940186 - 10/25/08 04:21 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
lotuscrystal Offline
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Kemeritt, I completely empathise with you...I've had my fair share of four year olds over the years, and they have been hard work..if they are not acting up, getting a word out of them has been impossible, so I've had to become a mind reader. I would not normally allow this, but for the students who act up, it's quite beneficial for the piano teacher, to have the parent sit in on lessons and moderate behavior.

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#940187 - 10/25/08 10:52 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Danny Niklas Offline
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Since the child is so young I would suggest that actually banging on the piano is a usefull activity for her. She needs to explore the sounds on her own, to explore the act of making music oll by herself. What are noises to you are actually a stimulating discovery for her. I let a child stomp and bang as much as he wanted on the piano and eventually he said "enough of this, can you really teach me music now?"

Of course shouting "stop" or "no" doesn't work.
It doesn't work with older people and doesn't work with younger people as well. "Nos" actually can trigger really violent anger crisis. Screaming or scolding doesn't produce any effect. What works is acting calm and resolute, wait for the end of the tantrum and then discuss it with calm.

The concept of respect doesn't work unless you give it in return. Teaching a young child to respect an adult (and for what reason?) but not stressing that the adult must respect the child (in other words reciprocal respect among individuals) just teaches authoritarian submission, well in other words dictatorship. But respecting another person means accepting that you must be wrong. I know parents who get mad at their young children for not doing something. Then the same child gets mad at the parent for having forgotten something important (like bringing her to a birthday party)
The problem is that the parent doesn't accept the scolding from the child and react negatively. So must for respect, the child can only get negative confused conclusions from such behavior. Respect indeed would imply the parent accepting to be scolded by the child and even apologizing. Adults generally do a lot thing that are not respectful of someone else free will and rights. So it must mean that they didn't learn their lesson on respect as young children. Maybe it's because it was just a lesson on supremacy in disguise.

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#940188 - 10/25/08 11:01 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
sotto voce Offline
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Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Danny Niklas:
Since the child is so young I would suggest that actually banging on the piano is a usefull activity for her. She needs to explore the sounds on her own, to explore the act of making music oll by herself. What are noises to you are actually a stimulating discovery for her. I let a child stomp and bang as much as he wanted on the piano and eventually he said "enough of this, can you really teach me music now?"

Of course shouting "stop" or "no" doesn't work.
It doesn't work with older people and doesn't work with younger people as well. "Nos" actually can trigger really violent anger crisis. Screaming or scolding doesn't produce any effect. What works is acting calm and resolute, wait for the end of the tantrum and then discuss it with calm. [/b]
I'm not a parent, so I have no experience here at all.

Nevertheless, I would imagine that setting boundaries from the start might be a better idea, and it's certainly clear to me that banging on the piano has nothing at all to do with exploring "the act of making music." Noise is noise, and it ain't music. How are you helping the child if you don't teach him or her the difference?

I was certainly never permitted such an infantile indulgence, but learned instead all about the act of making music (and reading music, too) by being seated next to my mother on the bench as soon as I could sit up on my own.

A piano isn't a toy, and banging on it just shouldn't be acceptable. Stomping? Unthinkable.

Danny, your ideas give new meaning to the concept of "permissive parenting."

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#940189 - 10/25/08 11:47 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
Danny Niklas Offline
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Loc: Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:


A piano isn't a toy, and banging on it just shouldn't be acceptable. Stomping? Unthinkable.
[/b]
Well as long as you don't do anything that will break the piano. A child understands perfectly the difference between music and noise even without being taught it, but just pressing the keys down with the fingers or the fist is an important self-exploratory experience no matter what sounds come out. Certainly a child ability to discriminate music from noise won't be harmed by exploring the magic of producing sounds through the depression of a key. That's also what adults do when they're exploring something new. They just don't immediately look for someone who can explain to them how to use it, they don't believe in touching something only as long as you know how to use it professionally; they have fun touching and experimenting. I have seen it done with xilophones, synthetizers, amplifiers, virtual-games. It's just our nature. The only reason why adults explore less in awe and through touch than little children, is that they have already explored most of the world when they were that young; so they don't need to repeat that phase except for new things they had never seen or known before.

I'm not condoning the breaking of expensive objects, but experimenting with the unknown is wired into us. Letting them explore sounds means also that soon they will soon run out of sounds they can produce on their own. At this point they will ask for new ideas and will be ready to follow a more formal guidance. But curtailing such natural and much needed self-exploratory phase can indeed triggers frustration, rebellion and turn lessons into a series of tantrums.

I myself started piano lessons after having spent at the age of 3 an year experimenting with my old grandma piano. I even figured out the concept of a "bass line" on my own. I loved clusters expecially and was rather bored by melody at the beginning.

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#940190 - 10/26/08 09:53 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
pianocruisers Offline
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Posts: 52
Loc: Northern Virginia
It sounds like a 4 year old to me. She doesn't have the ability to sit there for that long due to attention span.

I also teach a 4 year old and what is going for me is that she is well behaved enough to sit there.

It sounds like she is an active child and I would use it to your advantage to teach the lessons. I would explain to the parents that she is not of the maturity level to learn the instrument, but you would like to teach her some general things like rhythm and so forth.

get your rhythm sticks out, tamborine, and play songs for her that she knows. She will love making the beats. Teach her high and low sounds, and on her GOOD days, teach her simple things on the piano. Faber has a great book out for the very young beginner that might work for her if you are using a different book I would look into it. Even my four year old gets impatient with the music for little mozarts. This is what I would do if the parents insist that they want her to continue...

but I say if you have the amount of students to drop her, I would just explain that she needs to mature a little more and that they should wait until she is in 1st grade.

However, I would say that 4 is an age to expect them to not pay attention. You do a good job keeping their attention by not focusing so much on the same thing for too long. I mix up my lesson for my 4 year old and it works better for me.
_________________________
I teach not for business, but for opportunity to give another child the love for music.

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#940191 - 10/26/08 09:56 AM Re: "Hate to break it to ya, But you're kid isnt Mozart!"
pianocruisers Offline
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Registered: 05/20/08
Posts: 52
Loc: Northern Virginia
OMG I forgot to add, the music for little mozarts series has a stuffed bear and mouse that I use in my lessons as puppets. Whatever she is doing, she stops...it's like an automatic music lesson saver. It was the best 10$ I ever spent!!!
_________________________
I teach not for business, but for opportunity to give another child the love for music.

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New Topics - Multiple Forums
Tuning stability problems...
by Grotriman
04/19/14 09:20 AM
What does this sign mean
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04/19/14 08:46 AM
Worth upgrading from Studiologic SL990 for a beginner?
by moonchild77
04/19/14 08:04 AM
Improving upright repetition
by pinkfloydhomer
04/19/14 07:44 AM
On Temperament strip muting, and other things
by Mark Davis
04/19/14 05:08 AM
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