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#956128 - 02/29/08 02:31 AM Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I really got the message this week when I was working with the metronome with a beginning student who is in her 2nd month of piano lessons.

We were talking about tempos some being slow and some being fast and some being like walking or jogging in her music. I brought down my metronome (wood box) and showed her how to operate it and we explored the settings listening to them be steady clicks.

Then when she was ready to play the next song, I put the metronome on so she could check her beats against the metronome as being steady and accurately counted.

She finished and I said "That was very good listening and matching on your part, and you played very carefully and very steadily. Good for you!"

She looked very relieved to hear that, and then, she jumped up, reached for the metronome, and the cover and inserted the pins into the base to close it up, and put it back on the piano top in efficient motions. A very decisive and important message was being sent as she looked me in the eye as though saying emphatically "I've had enough of that. Let's do something else."

Effective communication from an 8 year old that a little bit of metronome work goes a long way.

I think that students should be encouraged to "tell" their teacher what they are experiencing as they have a voice in the piano lesson too.

Betty

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#956129 - 02/29/08 08:36 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
This is sage advice, Betty, but also difficult. How will a student know whether she is being impertinent, and when it is acceptable. "I don't like working with the metronome" when a teacher believes it important to work with the metronome would not seem an accepted response. Do studnets always know how they are feeling, or is the body language a give away that is apparent to the teacher before it is so for the student herself? What an astute observation, by the way.

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#956130 - 02/29/08 12:28 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thanks keystring,

During piano lessons I really want their comments about relevant things either about the music or about themselves. Not all students want to disclose and can be pretty passive and withholding as to "owning" their thoughts and emotions.

If a student were to go overboard with their actions or verbal responses it would be a big surprize to me, as one of the things I try to give them opportunities to tell me things into place for them. They get invited to participate through casual questions I ask.

Some are too chattery and can be consumed or lose focus in their thoughts. This is an opportunity to help them to keep their responses simple and to the point.

I enjoyed her response. If there had been any response of anger or frustration I would have participated differently to end the metronome introduction because I want to keep an open door for it's use and effectiveness, and I would not want to leave her fuming. But, that was not really the picture. We were finished with that activity.

I am keen on observation - and when a student is having an internal problem - it can be heard and seen in their playing as well in their posture, facial expression, energy level.

I'm not afraid to go there - although I have read some responses before from posters who think this is invasive and falls within the category of psychotherapy. I think of it as supplying awareness and information and I very much hope that it helps them by experiencing it, but my focus on doing these things is to understand the student better and to make considerations about his or her individuality.

Working with things like this takes time. A reminder about what you see in lessons, is just because it happens once, does not mean it is a habit.

I think teaching at this level is a new dimension, but I would certainly understand if teachers and clients did not recognize the value or importance of the interactions and what they mean.

Betty

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#956131 - 02/29/08 01:06 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7315
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Remember a previous discussion on metronomes, I posted a picture of a "Cat" metronome, which sits on my piano. Most of my younger students are quite intrigue and anxious to experiment with it.

By the bye, I frequently use my pencil clicking on the piano arm as I verbally count or have them verbally count. They are used to the sound of clicking long before we actually start use of the metronome.

Your young lady is rather assertive. I predict an interesting future for her. Perhaps in politics. \:D
_________________________
"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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#956132 - 02/29/08 01:22 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
John,

1) How does one get a "cat" metronome - or a picture of one? Does it come in orange? My cat is loved by my students and he gets lots of attention from them. Think how influential a "cat" metronome might be! You are so on to something!

2) I can hear your pencil clicking in Olympia from here in Puyallup, John! Or, is that your computer keyboard?

3) \:D I love your comment: "Your young lady is rather assertive. I predict an interesting future for her. Perhaps in politics."
Mind you, not a word was spoken.

In pursuit of the steady beat....

Betty

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#956133 - 02/29/08 02:01 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7315
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA

Meow
_________________________
"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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#956134 - 02/29/08 03:17 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
That's adorable! Since I own two cats who love to listen to my students' lessons, this would be quite fitting to have!
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#956135 - 02/29/08 04:21 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11474
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
John,
I know you posted information about that before, but is there a website that one could buy such a metronome?

Betty,
I think you did the right thing, but perhaps you'll have to also rethink your approach with it next time with this student. Perhaps she might like a drum sound better than the metronome clicking? Just a thought.
_________________________
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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#956136 - 02/29/08 05:22 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thanks Morodiene,

We did do some drumming after that and she really had a good time imitating me, and then she led, and I imitated her drumming. We were having fun. There has to be some fun at times and it always helps to have another trick up your sleeve. That by the way, was her introduction to the metronome. I will give her the privilege of opening it, setting it and closing it next time. I plan to use it only when vital. As John, says, we can do the same by pencil thumping or hands clapping.

Betty

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#956137 - 02/29/08 05:40 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
Betty,
you had finished with the metronome, so she probably thought it would not be considered "too" open from her to close it herself.

Or perhaps she is a tactile person, she shows that she cares for an object by closing it and putting it at its place.

But if you had th eimpression that she did not like the metronome (and who does? \:\) ) probably an element of "I hope the bally thing does not come out too soon" was there.

Did you ask her directly why she put the metronome back into place and if it she did not like it?
Methinks, this would have sent the signal that with you she can communicate openly instead of sending "messages".... if she is a bright girl and has acted that way, I'd say this is a form of non verbal communication which probably works by her at home, but I bet she would be glad to change if given the possibility... ;\)
_________________________
"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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#956138 - 02/29/08 06:12 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7315
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Try a google search for Wittner Piccolo Cat and you'll get a bunch of sites.

Here's one: http://www.metronomes.net/WitAnimals.htm

I happened to purchase mine at Shar Music many years ago. I don't see it in their current catalog.
_________________________
"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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#956139 - 02/29/08 08:34 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thank you for your concern Innominato!

She is tidy and likes to look around the livingroom to see musical art and books around. She looks at them like an experiences art gallery visitor with her hands behind her back, and leaning leaning forward to get a better look.
We've only had 6 lessons together, starting in January and 2 other young girls 7-8 years old started at the same time. They are keeping me busy noticing how they do things, then there are 2 other girls the same age one a transfer student with a year of lessons, and a student who started in August. Then a parent, and her son and daughter starting last May. It's very interesting to notice individual difference and cooperating within a family. I respect these families for wanting music lessons for their children.

I am not concerned about her because her Mom is attending lessons for the first 10 weeks or so until the daughter gets established with me. It seemed ok with the mother too, because she gave a big grin with her eyes rolled to the ceiling, when I gave her a wink.

I want my clients to feel comfortable with the environment and the things that we do in lesson - the parent is able to be more in tune with the child while guiding the practicing at home with interest and positive support.

Thanks for sharing your views I am always learning things here at PWF because people participate in a helpful way.

And, John, thanks so much for the elaboration on the cat metronome. I can see why he gets used - he poses no threat and he doesn't look "mechanical". It would be a "Can I use the metronome?" Not "I don't want to!" at least with the younger first timers.

Betty

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#956140 - 03/01/08 02:18 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Isn’t it amazing how adults gang up in concert around a subject like the metronome ... with lots of gushing whimsy about cat prototypes and don’t for a moment register the full import of the affront to the the young pupil’s sense of joie de vivre.

The metronome represents a time-prison to shackle a slavish tempo ... and quite out of keeping with the dreamy imaginings of youth .

IMHO the metronome should only be used to explain differences in musical tempo.

Beethoven is probably still turning over in his grave at the very thought of having sponsored Maelzel’s ghastly invention ... but then Beethoven was deaf and wouldn’t have heard the monotonous click-clack.

Thanks for the shining example which you so fondly presented Betty ... let’s hope others registered as you did ... "what was not said".

From Scholes

"To practise to a metronome (unless for some quite special purpose)is unnecessary and harmful. The instrument should normally be used only in order to realize the speed at which a composition in intended to be taken. Beyond that one’s mental metronome should suffice".

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#956141 - 03/01/08 11:29 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7315
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
The metronome represents a time-prison to shackle a slavish tempo ... and quite out of keeping with the dreamy imaginings of youth.

Someone should have told Chopin, who not only kept a metronome on his piano, but practiced with a metronome, and who insisted his students practice with a metronome. What an ignoramus he.
_________________________
"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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#956142 - 03/01/08 11:43 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Next we’ll be hearing that Chopin’s music follows a strict tempo ... no sir ... the genius pioneered the subtleties of "rubato".

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#956143 - 03/01/08 01:20 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7315
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
While the Romantic composers/performers used rubato, some sparingly, some overdosing on it, the practice didn't originate with them. JC Bach mentions it in his writings. I suspect it goes back for as long as human history. Remember that strictly speaking rubato occurs within a measure, not a tempo change over several measures. For example, a measure with a half-note followed by a quarter note might be played as if the half note was really 9/16th long and the quarter note 3/16th but the whole measure continues the overall pulse.

We owe our knowledge of Chopin's use and belief in the metronome to his students, especially Mukuli. Unless you have a CD/DVD of Chopin at the piano proving otherwise, I guess we'll have to depend on these sources for his performance, practice and teaching habits.
_________________________
"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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#956144 - 03/02/08 05:42 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
You are trying to pull the wool John,

Betty picked up on the unspoken repugnance of a child shackled by the monotonous clack of a metronome ... the reactionary quickness to help pack the debilitating torture away, spoke volumes .

A salutary warning to all to use the metronome only to demonstrate differences in musical tempo.

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#956145 - 03/02/08 08:19 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11474
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:


From Scholes

"To practise to a metronome ( unless for some quite special purpose[/b] )is unnecessary and harmful. The instrument should normally be used only in order to realize the speed at which a composition in intended to be taken. Beyond that one’s mental metronome should suffice".
I think that is the point. The metronome is not music in itself. It is not an instrument. No one would sit there and want to listen to it. It is a tool used for the purpose of fixing rhythmic issues in a given piece or section (after which can be played without the metronome and with rubato), increasing tempo, and getting an idea of the composer's intended speed of a piece. These are good things, but I do not think anyone here thinks it is musical to play like a metronome. You are making an assumption that is not warranted, btb. To quote CPE Bach, "Play from the soul, not like a caged bird."
_________________________
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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#956146 - 03/02/08 09:16 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
If you agree with the quote from Scholes, then we're on the same page Morodiene... thank you for
the CPE Bach ... strangely, whenever I hear his music (somehow lacking the bold counterpoint and imaginative harmonies of Dad) ... my gut feel wishes he could have come out of the shadows and respectfully amounted to more than a hill of beans ... always reminds me of a "caged bird".

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#956147 - 03/02/08 10:00 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7315
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
No wool, btb; perhaps, as a non-teacher, you do not realize how utterly unrhythmic most students are, and how few of us can internalize a pulse and maintain it with any precision.

Most young students cannot maintain a steady pulse over 8 or 12 measures. When the notes are easy, tempo increases, as they become difficult, they decrease.

My favorite little quip to students is that p doesn't mean pokey and f doesn't mean faster. Which is what most students do as dynamics change. It's human nature. Excitement, as expressed in changing dynamics generally elicits a change in tempo.

Even students with years of lessons under their belts have problems. One example that leaps out is the Mozart K545 Sonate Facile. I have yet to hear a student play the recapitulation at the same tempo they played the exposition. Why, because their scale technique is weak and the runs slow them down. They are stunned when I put the metronome on and they check themselves.

Even very advanced students have problems. I was reviewing some masterclasses on video this week, and in one, the graduate student was performing the Chopin 4th Ballade. Subtly, but surely, the tempo increased from beginning to end, as the musical excitement mounted. The master teacher had the student play a few measures towards then end, then asked her to play the beginning at that tempo. Naturally, the student was stunned, having no idea that she had increased the tempo by perhaps 20% or more as the piece unfolded.

Bottom line, the metronome is our friend, not enemy (properly used, of course).

By the way, I know who Chopin is, but who is Scholes? Is that Paul or Percy?
_________________________
"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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#956148 - 03/02/08 10:57 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Forgive the hijack Betty,

You clearly approach teaching quite differently John ... the variable speeds at which students zoom through the likes of the Chopin Preludes Opus 28 (so marvellously edited by Mary-Rose in the Beginners Forum) is directly related to the sight-reading drag ... while you ascribe the medicine of a metronome purge to stabilize the pace ... my students enjoy help in mastering the sight-reading of demanding passages ... once under control, the easier passages fall neatly into place with all the niceties of the overall requisite tempo.

Can’t imagine any of Mary-Rose’s Prelude group subjecting themselves to the crutch of a metronome.

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#956149 - 03/02/08 02:48 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Sal_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 355
Loc: Lacey, WA
I haven't been teaching very long, but I had one 8 year old come in with NO internal beat--second lesson and already I pulled out the metronome. I ended up giving him homework: When you're walking to/from school, between classes and the like, I want you to sing this song in time with your feet--aloud or in your head is fine. Your feet keep GREAT tempo.

And then of course I demonstrated. Retrospectively, I should have done at least once with him before sending him off, but alas, we were already out of time.

I throw this out there because he's been keeping a steady beat through his songs now without the help of a metronome. (Of course, there's still the "I don't know this next note pause," but that's only to be expected.... for now.)

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#956150 - 03/02/08 09:02 PM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7315
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I'm guessing that btb and I are describing different situations. That's the difficulty of this medium - it's difficult to fully communicate what we're thinking/imagining in brief sentences.

My students know their notes, but haven't matured to the point where they have an internal beat, and as I have pointed out, even advanced students have failings in this matter, and further, rather impressive teachers, such as Frederic Chopin, felt the use of the metronome to be invaluable.

My guess is that btb and the situation he is describing is quite different. Students don't know the notes, or are playing at a tempo too fast for their ability, so couldn't maintain a pulse if their lives depended on it. In which case, a metronome would be utterly useless.
_________________________
"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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#956151 - 03/03/08 03:25 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
With respect John,

You continue to bend our ears with the misleading
impression that Chopin kept his metronome going
while polishing up his latest Nocturne ... and
adding the rot that a student Mukuli (a female name of Mongol origin) followed the Master's lead.

"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn."

Thanks Sal for your reminder of the "special"
use of the metronome with your

"I throw this out there because he's been keeping a steady beat through his songs now without the help of a metronome."

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#956152 - 03/03/08 04:00 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
My experience:
my teacher never made me use a metronome, she said I was able to keep the tempo myself. With other pupils, who tended to be unstable in their tempo she insisted on it, but it is evident that it was ultima ratio and not something considered always indispensable (let alone pleasant).

One must say that probably every child will tend, as long as a piece is not completely mastered, to play the more difficult pieces slowly; the problem is whether he/she knows it.. ;\)

I personally certainly approve the use that John makes of the metronome with his students who can either not keep the tempo or are not aware of the shift in tempo with a progressing piece. This is what a metronome is about: check and in case correction.

I am, hoewever, more skeptical with the opportunity of invariably inflicting a child a cage for his playing, unless he or she shows a dangerous tendency to unmusical tempo shifting.

Always personally, I use the metronome every few days on "Le Onde" to see that I maintain a fairly constant tempo and besides to see whether I am making some improvement.

Just one hour ago I had an impressive demonstration of the utility of a metronome. I checked my speed at the metronome (I even have the bleeding bell if I wish, curse her.. ;\) ..) and not only was my tempo constant, but the tempo had increased much more than I subjectively had thought.... without a metronome I could not have had an objective measure to check both my regularity and my speed and not having a teacher noone would tell me anyway....

So I think a metronome is good in its own time, with moderation and having particular care for the sensibility of a child (the cat can really help I suppose...)

I have other questions about rubato, but I think it will become a separate thread...
_________________________
"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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#956153 - 03/03/08 10:32 AM Re: Getting Non-Verbal Messages from Students
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
I forgot to add: what my teacher also did sometimes was to make the tempo herself, either counting or with a pencil.

I found this far less intrusive and intimidating and more involving than a coldly ticking machine....
_________________________
"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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