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#956742 - 05/24/08 10:08 AM Re: Urgent : Bringing the interest out of the bored...
Boxer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 210
Loc: Chicago
Wake up people! This poor girl has been playing the SAME THREE pieces for TWO YEARS! Are you guys robots that you see nothing wrong with this???

I would have given up on piano long ago, I assure you, if I were in the same situation. Or anything, for that matter, given a similar circumstance.

Here's an idea--she has the pieces memorized. STOP PLAYING THEM! The exam is a writeoff. She'll play how she plays. Done.

Start NOW with some new pieces. As though the exam were over already. Because it is. Taking it is just a formality. Maybe the week before the exam revisit the old pieces--once--to make sure the muscle memory hasn't slipped, but that's it. No dynamics, nothing. Just make sure she hits the notes. And then immediately go back to the new stuff, never to return to these again.

This poor girl obviously has been tortured with a horrible regimen. Once she realizes that you understand that--rather than just perpetuate it--she might start responding a little better. Given something NEW, she might actually start practicing. The last thing she needs is bar by bar instructions, or a lecture about 'only cheating herself' blah blah blah. Try a little empathy and move on. I'm guessing you'll get much better results.

EDIT: I misspelled a word! \:\)

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#956743 - 05/24/08 10:35 AM Re: Urgent : Bringing the interest out of the bored...
Toddo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/08
Posts: 67
Loc: Sydney, Australia.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Boxer:
Wake up people! This poor girl has been playing the SAME THREE pieces for TWO YEARS! Are you guys robots that you see nothing wrong with this???

I would have given up on piano long ago, I assure you, if I were in the same situation. Or anything, for that matter, given a similar circumstance.

Here's an idea--she has the pieces memorized. STOP PLAYING THEM! The exam is a writeoff. She'll play how she pays. Done.

Start NOW with some new pieces. As though the exam were over already. Because it is. Taking it is just a formality. Maybe the week before the exam revisit the old pieces--once--to make sure the muscle memory hasn't slipped, but that's it. No dynamics, nothing. Just make sure she hits the notes. And then immediately go back to the new stuff, never to return to these again.

This poor girl obviously has been tortured with a horrible regimen. Once she realizes that you understand that--rather than just perpetuate it--she might start responding a little better. Given something NEW, she might actually start practicing. The last thing she needs is bar by bar instructions, or a lecture about 'only cheating herself' blah blah blah. Try a little empathy and move on. I'm guessing you'll get much better results. [/b]
What Boxer said!!! I totally concur.
_________________________
"Persevere,
do not only practice your art,
but endeavor also to fathom it's inner meaning;
it deserves this effort."

Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827

Piano: Yamaha U3E

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#956744 - 05/24/08 12:17 PM Re: Urgent : Bringing the interest out of the bored...
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
Student viewpoint here:

I just finished reading a book called "Note By Note." It's a great story by a piano teacher about her life and students.

If I can add on to Boxer's comments, take a tip from this book. When the author's students are bogged down and need motivation, the teacher asks the student what they have on their iPod. They then pick a piece and work on learning to play it together.

Personally, I think that if she is starting to pick up for technique and scales, she would shine working on some music she already loves.

Good luck with this student. I think the only way to turn things around is with a good healthy dose of love and care.

Rich
_________________________

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#956745 - 05/24/08 12:56 PM Re: Urgent : Bringing the interest out of the bored...
Lessajinomoto Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 95
Loc: Malaysia
*sigh*...well, I guess letting the exam go, and re-focusing on something new, seems to be the best choice...

though I must say I feel heavy hearted...and guilty too...and helpless...and sorry, that I'm not able to help her in the exam as I would hope to...

Man, I wish I had her a year earlier or something...we could have started something new...and she could have done well in her exam...

Now, I'm just crossing my fingers that she will pass the border line...

*depressed*
_________________________
http://mislaidthoughts.blogspot.com

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#956746 - 05/24/08 04:54 PM Re: Urgent : Bringing the interest out of the bored...
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2893
Loc: UK.
Lessajinomoto, please remember that none of this is your fault. This girl has been taught by someone who has let her struggle on with the same pieces for over two years. The damage has been done. You must make it clear to the parents that had you took her on before the closing date you would not have entered her for the exam. You are not responsible for the outcome.

You would like to teach her to play the piano and to have some love and enthusiasm for it. We should not teach students to pass exams and collect certificates. However the exam goes she will be no better or worse a pianist as a result. You have an opportunity now to pull her out of this rut. If she enjoys playing and practices regularly then the rewards will come. Her parents should want her to enjoy playing the piano. That is far more important than passing exams.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#956747 - 05/24/08 05:17 PM Re: Urgent : Bringing the interest out of the bored...
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
Lessajinomoto, as a student I have the impression that this girl is lucky to have stumbled on to you. From your very first post you have shown sensitivity to how things stood for her, how she is affected, what she needs. You have not blamed a student who shows little interest, but have sought to understand the situation and help her. She could easily have fallen upon a teacher who would give her more of the same, or not delve into the matter.

You demonstrate compassion, sympathy, dedication, and non-judgment. These attitudes transmit themselves to a student, even if the student does not initially dare respond. Have you ever been to the site of musicalfossils.com? Although it talks about adult learners, he also talks about emotional responses of students, the importance that a teacher has. I am thinking in particular of an adult learner who had been physically punished by his childhood teacher, and tried to resume the piano as a successful adult. He could not understand, when his teacher sat far away on a medicine ball, how he could reach him for blows and wondered whether the ball would be hurled at him. Non-abusive lessons were beyond his comprehension. There had been years of these nasty childhood lessons, and it took that particular adult student 1 1/2 years before he could trust his teacher and concentrate on learning to play the piano. All your student had were 2 1/2 years of the same boring piece (er, boring because they were always the same). I have a feeling that she will do well under your instruction.

KS

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#956748 - 05/24/08 06:29 PM Re: Urgent : Bringing the interest out of the bored...
Danny Niklas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 905
Loc: Switzerland
Just want to quote what keystring said.
You are dealing with this person acknowledging and respecting her as an individual, not treating her like a student or like an idiot or resorting to silly teenagers stereotypes to avoid responsabilities. You showed a wonderful sensitivity, sympathy and humanity and thanks to these premise you and her will find a solution. She is lucky indeed to have found you.

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#956749 - 05/24/08 06:32 PM Re: Urgent : Bringing the interest out of the bored...
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
.

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