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#964312 - 11/10/07 03:26 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Musictuary Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 169
Loc: Aurora, Illinois, USA
I am not a teacher. I am an adult relearner who had six years of lessons from ages 7-13 with two teachers. I guess one could say I belong or formerly belonged to the universe of piano quitters. I quit piano lessons because 1) the piano (an acoustic upright possibly made in the late 1800's or early 1900's) was in very bad shape (I guess a clavinova would have helped). 2) I did not like the pieces I was learning (mainly from the baroque and classical periods) and 3) I just couldn't learn pieces note by note as that's not my learning style because I am very analytical person. As a result I thought piano lessons were a waste of time.

When I was 18 and at university I used to sing with a Christian group. There was a guy who would do composing and arrangement of songs for us. Apparently he had taken lessons to about the ABRSM grade 3 level but his compositions and playing were far beyond grade 3. I was always amazed how was he able to do that? I had a burning desire to know at the time. If that guy had offered me piano lessons I would have readily accepted.

A couple of years later when I was 25 I was attending a concert at the church which I attended as a teenager. There was a young lady playing an electronic keyboard. I really can't remember what her performance was like but it certainly rekindled within me a desire to study the piano again. I finally fulfilled that desire 15 years later (on a consistent basis) and have resumed lessons from a traditional teacher almost two months ago. This time around I'm enjoying lessons because 1) I have a better practice instrument 2)I understand the pieces a lot better and therefore I am not merely learning the pieces note by note. I do have a desire to improve improvisational skills and to play by ear. However I decided to go the traditional route for now since that is the route I'm more familiar with and let's face it music is music. Regardless of the genre there are basic things one needs to know.

Anyway to answer Pianitis' original question there is a demand for his approach in teaching. From time to time on the Adult Beginner Forum there are discussions as to the merits of the different play by ear methods. The only difference between his approach and the many different products typically discussed on the ABF is that one would be taking lessons over a period of time from an actual teacher rather than using a DVD course or an on-line course.

Even though I have decided to stick with the traditional method for the time being, I have no problems with Pianitis' approach. We have to be realistic here. Many people unfortunately have a very negative view of classical music and of piano-learning in general. Sadly there are many current and former piano-quitters. Maybe I grew up in a time when if you studied the piano you were taught as if you are going to be a concert pianist. We all know that the probability of becoming a concert pianist is very small. Many children and adults do have an interest in learning to make music rather than studying the traditional literature. Since Pianitis is meeting his customers' needs then I see no problem. What would really be good is if his students take the knowledge they get from him to the next level and begin exposing themselves to the traditional classical literature and/or non-classical forms such as jazz from a more experienced teacher.

I believe the keyboarding curriculum in the Musikgarten (music program for young children)syllabus may be similar to what Pianitis is already doing. In this syllabus children use an electronic keyboard to learn music by ear before they are introduced to written notation. I think Simply Music (created by an Australian musician) also employs a similar approach.

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#964313 - 11/10/07 03:45 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Sandy & Diane,
I don't think anyone is trying to discredit people who don't read music and teach. I, for one, am well aware of the value that gospel, jazz, and other more aurally oriented players bring to music. But they play. A lot. They know what they're doing in their own right. What Pianitis does is different than that, because he doesn't play except to sell an instrument or for his own enjoyment. Again, nothing wrong with that, either. But please, don't call them piano lessons, Pianitis! What you do sounds like it has value, because people are satisfied. But it very different from piano lessons from someone who either is out there playing or who has been trained to teach. You share with them your knowledge of using the technology, which is great, and I'm sure well worth the money. But what if a person is a guest at a home with an acoustic piano, and someone asks them to play a few bars? It won't sound as nice without that computer accompanying them. And some may actually think they are taking piano lessons, when in fact, it is nothing like piano lessons.

Musictuary makes a valid point about many people being former piano students. The truth is, a lot of adults today had bad experiences with teachers as children, whether they were nuns with rulers in hand to correct any mistake with a nice rap on the knuckles, or a strict Russian lady who would lose her temper, or what have you. But I had wonderful piano teachers growing up, and I know a good many of the teachers on this forum did as well. And, what if, those mean teachers in the past were held accountable for not only what they knew, but their pedagogical expertise as well? Perhaps they wouldn't have continued teaching and found something better suited to their temperment. What you are suggesting PIanitis, is that peopel come to you because of dissatisfaction in their piano teachers, and so you, not a teacher in piano at all, step in. And how is this a good thing? Please, if you are not a teacher of piano, then do not call yourself one. That's all I object to.
_________________________
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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#964314 - 11/10/07 04:51 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Where I object is that pianitis is charging the kind of fee one would expect to pay a qualified professional for this instruction.

It might not be teaching flying but that's not the point. Would you pay someone who is not a pilot to teach you how to taxi round the runway?

Apparently it has nothing to do with the money. It is of course possible that pianitis believes that. In my experience, students do not work harder if they are paying a higher fee. They pay this fee because they believe that the instruction they are receiving is professional and correct. Despite what they may be told, they will think that pianitis is a professional pianist and teacher because he charges a professional fee. Little do they know that they could buy a book for $6.99 which will tell them just as much as they will learn in 6 months of lessons.

Is this idea of 'give them what they want' really that great? Most beginners are not in a position to know exactly what is best for them at the start. Imagine if the teachers at your children’s school said they would only teach what the kids wanted to learn. This is along the same lines as feeding them what they think they want to eat. It just isn't good for them, even though they might not be able to appreciate that.

All of this just goes towards reinforcing the (false) view that piano teachers are either 'traditional' or 'non-traditional'. Pianitis had a bad experience with a teacher in the past. This happens. There are a lot of poor teachers out there who may call themselves traditional. I would not say that I am a 'traditional' teacher. Especially if the definition of a 'traditional' teacher is one who is mean and harsh and demands that their students play nothing but Classical music.

I teach piano. This involves an all round musical education and experience. I am fully aware that many students will not become concert pianists. That is fine. Some will play for fun, some will enjoy playing by ear, some will play jazz, and some will become Classical pianists. They all start in the same way. It takes time for them to realise where their strengths and interests lie. The point is that they all have the same opportunity.

Pianitis, I don't think that you are a bad person. You enjoy playing the piano and clearly want to share that with others. It may be that you have an aptitude for teaching and communicate well with your students. But you must be very careful. On one hand you say that you do not deny them anything and then you tell us that you have no understanding of something as basic as time values. You mentioned that the first thing you teach is how to work out Major scales.

w w w ½ w w w ½

This is not correct as the distance of ‘w’ (whole step) describes the measurement from one note to the next and does not include the note on which you start. It is possible that some of the ‘theory’ you are teaching is incorrect.

I just don’t see how you can justify charging ‘the going rate’. There would be nothing much wrong if you were not taking people’s money for this tuition. The only reason this 'market' exists is that many prospective students are not informed and will believe whatever you tell them.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#964315 - 11/10/07 06:18 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Many, actually most, of the teachers in our community no longer accept non-beginner students, especially "self-taught" or "piano store trained." It is heart breaking to have to spend time and energy over months or more trying to undue the damage and correct the misinformation students learned from these sources. The word charlatan leaps to mind, but this might be a bit harsh.
_________________________
"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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#964316 - 11/10/07 07:01 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Sockso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/07
Posts: 88
John v.d. Brook,

I started playing piano about 10 months ago. I'm pretty much self-taught. A few friends showed me a few things. I'm in college and poor, so lessons were out. I hang out in the music department during my lunch break. This year, I've developed a deep love for classical piano music. And I have a burning desire to play it well. I practice a few hours a day because of the love I've developed by playing.

Mr. Brook, with all due respect, as I'm sure you know a great deal more about piano than me, I'm a little offended that you could consider something like my self-taught love of classic piano "damage" Without me playing by myself, I would not have found my current passion and dedication.

For the record, I do highly value instruction.
Hopefully, this semester I can fit in a piano class. Although, the instructor said I have advanced way past the two piano courses offered at my college. She would be nice enough to set me up with an individual study program, if I took the class.

I just don't see how developing a love for music can be damage. Once you have the bug, it makes dealing with countless drills tolerable.

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#964317 - 11/10/07 07:08 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Pianitis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 66
Loc: South Carolina
 Quote:


You don't have to cause death and destruction, and probably no one will fall off the piano bench and be injured, but you are still assuming a lot about what piano teaching is and isn't.

I'm not from Missouri, but you are going to have to "show me" the results that you get by posting a recital of what you accomplish with your students. And, knowing how long it took your to be able to do this would be interesting.
The results are not in a "recital" The results are people who feel like they can play. Whether or not you or I believe it's good is not relevant. Only those who are enjoying what little they CAN do.

 Quote:
Just how minimally can we teach and still get good results musically without "reading" the music? Is the Clavinova-type playing accompaniment required to round out the sound and rhythm? It's the machine doing all the work!
The machine os creating the rest of the band. Which will follow the player. They can "perform" scales with a full band. Its very theory oriented. They need to learn scales and how to form chords and inversions. If I know a scale and have the chart I can play any song by ear using the scale. I teach them how to do this.
 Quote:
I'm sorry, but this is a difficult thing to digest when I hear students will be happier with minimalism - and the teacher is just a few steps ahead of the student - again with a minimalistic lead. [/QB]
My "Students" are people that just want to learn a few songs and be able to feel like they are making music. Not perform at Canegie or back a major Artist. Those who want more know where to get it.

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#964318 - 11/10/07 07:50 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Sockso, perhaps you remember Mde Currie. She killed herself through ignorance, even as she added to the body of human knowledge. Of course, you won't kill yourself at the piano (hopefully), but someone is eventually going to have to teach you to undo the bad habits you've taught yourself. So, you're going to spend money unlearning what you learned wrong, then spend money to relearn it properly, and you may well become frustrated, disappointed, and eventually quit. Of course, I'm not discounting the fact that you are that one person in ten million with such high IQ that you can figure out the hundreds of subtle hand motions, music notation, styles, etc., etc., etc., which constitution pianism today.

By the way, if you take offense at something as mild as what I wrote above, you're going to find classical criticism an unpleasant mistress.
_________________________
"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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#964319 - 11/10/07 07:52 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Zom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 73
Loc: United States
That's really neat that you based your lessons on what guitar students were learning. I was in a piano shop a while ago, and the manager struck up a conversation with me about pianos and piano lessons and mentioned that the guitar students always wanted to continue lessons through the holidays but the piano students couldn't WAIT to get home and take a break from them. There's something WRONG with that, isn't there? Shouldn't learning music be fun?


And I know from experience, guitar lessons are very much focused on what the student wants, as you are teaching your students piano. I took guitar lessons when I was 17, he even gave me scale charts JUST AS you are giving your students scale charts.

Being a rather curious and adventurous person, I applied these charts to the piano because I knew a few things from some failed lessons with the "traditional" sort of teacher years ago. I started improvising on the piano.


LATER ON, and this is the most important part of my message for EVERYONE IN THIS THREAD TO READ.... I began learning how to read music, and got traditional piano lessons, WHILST CONTINUING TO IMPROVISE AND DO WHAT I WANTED.

I am now a competent, albeit amateur, classical pianist, but I can also improvise boogie and improvise in several classical styles (including my own mix of everything). It all started with me getting lessons from someone teaching me what I wanted to learn.

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#964320 - 11/10/07 08:00 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Pianitis, my hat's off to you... you have come to the Piano Teacher's forum and thrown down the gauntlet or stirred the hornet's nest or any other metaphor of your choice. \:D And when the hornets started buzzing madly, you have kept your calm, despite considerable provocation.

I personally think that what you are doing fills an important need, especially for adult beginners. There are many of us on the AB forum who have been frustrated in finding a teacher who will even accept adult students (many do not, and many of those who do don't have a lot of experience teaching adults), and even more frustrated in trying to find a teacher who will teach the kind of curriculum they are interested in learning.

There are a lot of people who want only to play in the fashion that you are describing and teaching. Many of the teachers here disapprove of learning piano that way. They are of course entitled to their opinion, and they certainly have the right to teach piano in the manner they choose. But I don't think they should begrudge you or your students for your approach. Assuming you tell your students exactly what you've told us, there's nothing deceptive or misleading about what you're doing and you're not forcing anybody to take lessons with you. ;\)

As for the amount you charge, I am a firm believer in the marketplace. If people did not feel they were getting their money's worth, they'd stop taking lessons from you. ;\)

I could understand the negative reaction of the teachers here if students were taking your lessons INSTEAD OF the more standard curriculum. But the impression I'm getting from you is that your students have absolutely no interest in taking traditional lessons. So why not encourage exploring music in this other way?
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#964321 - 11/10/07 08:04 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
And Zom, there are teachers out there who also teach their student sto improvise, learn songs by ear, and other practical things that they *want* to learn, while also teaching them good technique, reading/theory, and classical rep. I give my students what they want, and also what they need. That way they are happy, and their money is well-spent on skills that will last them a lifetime. There are many other teachers I know personally who do this as well. So how is what Pianitis doing good, when a traditonal piano teacher gives that and much more for the same price (or less)?
_________________________
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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#964322 - 11/10/07 08:11 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Let me ask a question of the teachers out there: Is it the fact that Pianitis is offering such a limited curriculum that bothers you the most? Or is it that he/she is not sufficiently trained in technique to be teaching piano, no matter how limited the context?

Relatedly, if a student came to you and said "I want to take lessons, but all I am interested in learning is how to play by ear and be able to put a melody line together with some chords/arpeggios in the left hand." Would you take on that student, on those terms?

If not, then why is it bad for Pianitis to help those students by giving them what they want?
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#964323 - 11/10/07 08:14 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Pianitis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 66
Loc: South Carolina
 Quote:
Originally posted by Chris H.:
Where I object is that pianitis is charging the kind of fee one would expect to pay a qualified professional for this instruction.
So its all about the money? If I were doing this for free would you still refuse those students. I suppose yes.

 Quote:
It might not be teaching flying but that's not the point. Would you pay someone who is not a pilot to teach you how to taxi round the runway?
If thats all I wanted to do....... yes. Some people just want to "taxi around the runway"


 Quote:
Apparently it has nothing to do with the money. It is of course possible that pianitis believes that. In my experience, students do not work harder if they are paying a higher fee. They pay this fee because they believe that the instruction they are receiving is professional and correct. Despite what they may be told, they will think that pianitis is a professional pianist and teacher because he charges a professional fee. Little do they know that they could buy a book for $6.99 which will tell them just as much as they will learn in 6 months of lessons.
They KNOW without doubt I am not a pro. They know I have only had 6 lessons? Which impresses them even more. They SEE how simple fingering can create music to their ears. I sell those books. Some do not want to learn out of a book. Many have been there. I charge what they will pay. Thats the market. There is nothing dishonest going on. They see me play. They hear me play. They want to do what I do. Simple. The first lesson is free so they really understand I am NOT going to teach them to play anywhere but for their own enjoyment.

 Quote:
Is this idea of 'give them what they want' really that great? Most beginners are not in a position to know exactly what is best for them at the start.
Says who. Its a piano. Its a passtime. Not a career for most people.

 Quote:
Imagine if the teachers at your children’s school said they would only teach what the kids wanted to learn. This is along the same lines as feeding them what they think they want to eat. It just isn't good for them, even though they might not be able to appreciate that.
Terrible analogy. You are putting piano playing on a tall pedestal. Again this is not the same as a school education. Its a hobby. A way to sing some Carols at Christmas.

 Quote:
All of this just goes towards reinforcing the (false) view that piano teachers are either 'traditional' or 'non-traditional'. Pianitis had a bad experience with a teacher in the past. This happens. There are a lot of poor teachers out there who may call themselves traditional. I would not say that I am a 'traditional' teacher. Especially if the definition of a 'traditional' teacher is one who is mean and harsh and demands that their students play nothing but Classical music.
I never had a "bad" experience. The guy who taught me was a piano bar player I saw reading chords. THATS what I wanted to do. Thats it. Thats what he taught me. I never felt the urge to play anything else.

 Quote:
Pianitis, I don't think that you are a bad person. You enjoy playing the piano and clearly want to share that with others. It may be that you have an aptitude for teaching and communicate well with your students. But you must be very careful. On one hand you say that you do not deny them anything and then you tell us that you have no understanding of something as basic as time values. You mentioned that the first thing you teach is how to work out Major scales.
I am not a bad person. I can read music. I cannot sight read. I am a terrible reader when it comes to reading rests. However my timing is great. Reading is only one aspect. An ASpect many people do not want to spend time and money on. They don't HAVE to. I deny them a lot. I deny them the ability to play "Fur Elise"
and read music. The difference is I TELL them what I will not and canot do up front.
 Quote:
w w w ½ w w w ½

This is not correct as the distance of ‘w’ (whole step) describes the measurement from one note to the next and does not include the note on which you start. It is possible that some of the ‘theory’ you are teaching is incorrect.
YEah you are right the 1st note is not an interval. I can assure you we know what is ment using the a variation of the Nashville method of using numbers I IV V. 1 4 5 for example.

 Quote:
I just don’t see how you can justify charging ‘the going rate’. There would be nothing much wrong if you were not taking people’s money for this tuition. The only reason this 'market' exists is that many prospective students are not informed and will believe whatever you tell them. [/qb]
My rate is not for me to justify. It's for the Student to justify. Before I get them most have tried "formal" teacher. They just want to play, not learn out of a book with stars. I can sell them books all day long that do that.. I teach them how to play...not become a pianist

so again we come full circle and for you it seems to be about the money.......It's not for me. The money keeps the "riff raff" out of my home. Im more then sure you understand that!!

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#964324 - 11/10/07 08:16 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Sockso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/07
Posts: 88
John, I guess "offended" was the wrong word. I more meant "confused". Thanks for clarifying.

And yeah, I know I probably am making all sorts of mistakes with my technique. But that's not my point. My point is that after learning a few songs, I love playing the piano. I know it's no where near perfect, but I still love it.

I think that enjoyment has value. Value enough to help me see the value of spending the time to learn everything right.

Also, what do you mean by classical criticism? I really only play for my own enjoyment. (And sometimes my loving girlfriend's :-) As I'm just a beginner, I'm sure I know very little about pianism. But right now, enjoying playing is good enough for me.

As for ignorance, if there is some big secret as to why I shouldn't enjoy playing my piano, then I'll gladly stay ignorant for the time being. \:\)

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#964325 - 11/10/07 08:19 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Zom, what breath taking leaps you take.

I don't play guitar, so tell me, what is a scale chart? I, and most piano teachers, either teach scales by rote or using printed music, which is akin to reading Piano World posts in English. Not picture graphics. Personally, I prefer rote, because I want my students watching their hands and wrists, as I am teaching them horizontal motions, wrist motions and forearm rotations, simultaneously with finger motions. Probably your scale chart tells you all that.

If I read your post correctly, you've had two teachers. You didn't tell us what age you were. If I had to guess, I'd say your parents probably found you the cheapest, least experienced or knowledgeable piano teacher in town, and you are now comparing that experience to the other 150,000 of us, assuming we all teach from the same book.

Most students of the tender years are not physically nor mentally ready for improv, but teens are a different matter.

In my years of teaching, I've never had a preteen student come to me and ask to learn improv. I have offered it, and taught it to many, once they've learned enough that they can start exploring on their own. Teens and older are a whole different group, and teaching them improv right from the beginning is part and parcel of my adult course - if the student indicates they want to learn recreational (social) piano as differentiated from classical piano.
_________________________
"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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#964326 - 11/10/07 08:23 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Sockso, you should enjoy playing the piano. Of course. Why would you think otherwise? My guess would be that you enjoy playing one or two styles of music, and if learning other styles is not to your taste, you'd rather not learn it, even if it would help your playing in the long run.
_________________________
"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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#964327 - 11/10/07 08:34 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Pianitis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 66
Loc: South Carolina
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica K.:
Let me ask a question of the teachers out there: Is it the fact that Pianitis is offering such a limited curriculum that bothers you the most? Or is it that he/she is not sufficiently trained in technique to be teaching piano, no matter how limited the context?

Relatedly, if a student came to you and said "I want to take lessons, but all I am interested in learning is how to play by ear and be able to put a melody line together with some chords/arpeggios in the left hand." Would you take on that student, on those terms?

If not, then why is it bad for Pianitis to help those students by giving them what they want? [/b]
You NAILED it Monica. Mr Brook would send them away, He said as much with a SELF TAUGHT or STORE TAUGHT student, He has no desire to teach them.

It's fantasticly snobbish and elitist but no one said there is not an element of THAT in the piano world. I deal with teachers daily. We sell all the Method books. I know a few Mr and Mrs Brooks firsthand. NO I would not take lessons from them. Wrist movement is not my style. Find your own way of doing what you want to do. I have seen three fingered pianists out play many more trained players. I have heard those who can only read and read anything well play without heart (even though the dynamics are clearly written in the music.LOL)and heard those who cannot read a note make me cry.

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#964328 - 11/10/07 08:42 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Pianitis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 66
Loc: South Carolina
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica K.:
Pianitis, my hat's off to you... you have come to the Piano Teacher's forum and thrown down the gauntlet or stirred the hornet's nest or any other metaphor of your choice. \:D And when the hornets started buzzing madly, you have kept your calm, despite considerable provocation.

I personally think that what you are doing fills an important need, especially for adult beginners. There are many of us on the AB forum who have been frustrated in finding a teacher who will even accept adult students (many do not, and many of those who do don't have a lot of experience teaching adults), and even more frustrated in trying to find a teacher who will teach the kind of curriculum they are interested in learning.

There are a lot of people who want only to play in the fashion that you are describing and teaching. Many of the teachers here disapprove of learning piano that way. They are of course entitled to their opinion, and they certainly have the right to teach piano in the manner they choose. But I don't think they should begrudge you or your students for your approach. Assuming you tell your students exactly what you've told us, there's nothing deceptive or misleading about what you're doing and you're not forcing anybody to take lessons with you. ;\)

As for the amount you charge, I am a firm believer in the marketplace. If people did not feel they were getting their money's worth, they'd stop taking lessons from you. ;\)

I could understand the negative reaction of the teachers here if students were taking your lessons INSTEAD OF the more standard curriculum. But the impression I'm getting from you is that your students have absolutely no interest in taking traditional lessons. So why not encourage exploring music in this other way? [/b]
I am going to go out on a limb here and guess you are not a teacher. But I will bet you can play. You understand from a perspective many cannot. Their paradiam will not allow thought "out of the "my way or highway" box. If they want REAL lessons I know where to send them. They don't. Hopefully I will get some to the point where they WILL. Hopefully they will not seek out someone like Mr Brook who will turn them away,

Another thing is my students do not "represent" me at recitals. So I have nothing to prove to other teachers either, I do not want any part of that world. Word of mouth is the only way I get them..as well as some discussion in the store ONLY when they ask about my playing.

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#964329 - 11/10/07 08:51 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Theowne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/06
Posts: 1099
Loc: Toronto, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Many, actually most, of the teachers in our community no longer accept non-beginner students, especially "self-taught" or "piano store trained." It is heart breaking to have to spend time and energy over months or more trying to undue the damage and correct the misinformation students learned from these sources. The word charlatan leaps to mind, but this might be a bit harsh. [/b]
Just wondering, so if, say, there was a situation where, say, a child really loved the piano but couldn't attend conservatory lessons, perhaps for cost reasons, or time reasons, or combinations of both, would you rather he simply not play at all, and maybe when he grows older and can afford it start to take lessons...and that he should be turned away if perhaps an year after he "succumbs" to self-teaching, if he applies for lessons? Just asking....
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/Theowne- Piano Videos (Ravel, Debussy, etc) & Original Compositions
音楽は楽しいですね。。。

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#964330 - 11/10/07 09:06 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Sockso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/07
Posts: 88
Ok, John, Glad we're on the same page now. (About enjoyment) So often it seems when two people disagree, they're really not discussing the same thing at all.

And I see your point about learning things that will help in the long run.

I've only learned a few songs, but I'd love to learn more, and from other styles too!

I should be taking a piano course next semester to help me.
___________


Also, you have me curious now. I just recorded two videos. Maybe you (or somebody else) can look at them and tell me if there's any real obvious bad habits I have. I know there's a ton of wrong-note and timing errors. I don't make most of them while playing solo. I never play worth a damn in front of a camera or another person. Annoys me greatly.

Please keep in mind that I've only been playing for about 10 months...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67VkAM-cG9E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELd9Ha5jt_k

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#964331 - 11/10/07 09:07 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
guest1013 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 1239
pianitis, if you haven't already seen it, you might like this thread because I wonder if these pianists have taught others in a similar way as you do. (perhaps just not on digital)
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/37/966/5.html

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#964332 - 11/10/07 09:19 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Sockso Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/07
Posts: 88
Right on, Theowne.

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#964333 - 11/10/07 09:20 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
lalakeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/06
Posts: 286
Loc: Chicago 'burbs
A few years ago I played a dance gig with a big band I occasionally play with. Part of the evening consisted of country line-dancing demonstrations, with the instructor passing out her business card afterwards and telling everyone that she's a "professional dance instructor".

I thought that line-dancing looked fun and fairly easy, so I called the number on the card and spoke with the instructor. I told her that I have absolutely no dance experience, but I would like to learn to do the type of dancing I saw her demonstrate. She was honest with me, saying that she has been teaching country dancing successfully for years although she had no formal classical dance training. I signed up for classes, and learned exactly what I was hoping to learn: how to do the dances I saw her perform at the band gig.

My point? Teaching is sometimes just a business, with the student being the customer. If the customer is satisfied (gets what he/she paid for), then the transaction was successful.

And like any business transaction, buyer beware!
_________________________
Private piano & voice teacher for over 20 years; currently also working as a pipe organist for 3 area churches; sing in a Chicago-area acappella chamber choir

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#964334 - 11/10/07 09:45 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
nutchai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 227
Loc: Australia, Western Australia
Apologies if this has already been brought up (but there's alot of reading there \:\( )

I'm not a teacher. I'm only 18. I've learned piano the traditional way. But I still remember that as boy (talking about 11 or 12 years old) I would've chosen the digital piano over the acoustic piano. After all, there were so many interesting things on them. And I could play something funky and still look like a pro! And it was a real bonus that the keys aren't as heavy as some pianos.

But right now, I would think otherwise. I find that the acoustic piano is something that I strongly desire. It has the touch and the sound. And after stopping lessons for 2 years, I want to get back to it. I want to improve myself. The traditional way again.

My point of this whole post? What happens to the kids that you teach when they discover what I discover? They mature and find out that the acoustic piano is more to their taste? What if they find that they want to learn the traditional methods and want to take tuition under a teacher? I think that some of them will find that they have wasted their potential. Younger children, after all, have the ability to absorb everything up like a sponge. What they absorb is important.

But I get your point that this is what the customer chooses. It would be such a shame if they found out that they made the wrong choice.
_________________________
nUtChAi

Kawai K-5

"You are the music while the music lasts" - T.S. Eliot (1888 - 1965)

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#964335 - 11/10/07 09:47 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Theowne, you are offering what is called a strawman argument. Hypotheticals are not realities. It appears to many of us that Pianitis is offering "piano" lessons when in fact, he is offering something very different.

From what I understand, he's noodled off a tune of one sort or another, pleasant to listen to, at least to some, and is using an electronic device to provide accompaniment and background. There's nothing wrong with that per se, but postering as a piano teacher is a bit of a stretch.

Pianitis - very, very carefully reread my post 2 above yours. Please do not put words in my mouth or jump to conclusions. If you wish to play with clenched muscles and stiff wrists, no one is going to stop you.
_________________________
"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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#964336 - 11/10/07 09:50 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5943
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
... but what had always gnawed at my innards was
why the so-called posh mob (classical fops) tended to look down on the 1920s-50s popular songwriters and their brand of music ... and willfully shielded students from the influence of what they perhaps considered a diabolical sub-human genre of music.
[/b]
And who says we're doing this?

btb, you are nothing if not good at building straw men and knocking them down. It's good exercise for you, I dare say \:\) .
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#964337 - 11/10/07 09:50 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Theowne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/06
Posts: 1099
Loc: Toronto, Canada
John v.d.Brook :

My question was about your point on "self teachers" and barring them from learning, not about Pianitis. I don't agree with what he's doing.

 Quote:
Hypotheticals are not realities.
Actually, I just described my (real) situation 2 years ago, replacing my name with "a child".

So...
_________________________
http://www.youtube.com/user/Theowne- Piano Videos (Ravel, Debussy, etc) & Original Compositions
音楽は楽しいですね。。。

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#964338 - 11/10/07 10:25 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Pianitis:
You NAILED it Monica. Mr Brook would send them away, He said as much with a SELF TAUGHT or STORE TAUGHT student, He has no desire to teach them.
[/b] Actually, John said he *knew* of many teachers in his area who wouldn't teach them. I don't think he claimed to be one of them.
_________________________
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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#964339 - 11/10/07 10:32 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
for the benefit of Pianitis

John v.d.Brook wrote (that would be me):

 Quote:
In my years of teaching, I've never had a preteen student come to me and ask to learn improv. I have offered it, and taught it to many, once they've learned enough that they can start exploring on their own. Teens and older are a whole different group, and teaching them improv right from the beginning is part and parcel of my adult course - if the student indicates they want to learn recreational (social) piano as differentiated from classical piano.[/b]
So, exactly which part of "part and parcel" didn't you grasp? And, yes, I find it extremely sad and nonproductive that transfer students must spend so much time relearning basic skills so they can then advance to the level they want to get to.
_________________________
"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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#964340 - 11/10/07 10:50 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Zom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 73
Loc: United States
I think the bottom line of this entire thread is "to each his own." There are some people who like traditional discipline, some teachers who can offer it. There are some people who want to learn a couple of songs, there are teachers who will teach them a couple of songs. There are people who do combinations of things. Students, and teachers are an incredibly diverse bunch of people just like any group of people. Some students don't like discipline, some do. Some like a mix. The same goes for what teachers have to offer.

There's nothing wrong with this guy offering his knowledge as lessons for a price. It is the responsibility of whomever is paying him for lessons to decide whether his time and knowledge are really worth their money.

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#964341 - 11/10/07 10:53 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Pianitis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 66
Loc: South Carolina
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
for the benefit of Pianitis

John v.d.Brook wrote (that would be me):

 Quote:
In my years of teaching, I've never had a preteen student come to me and ask to learn improv. I have offered it, and taught it to many, once they've learned enough that they can start exploring on their own. Teens and older are a whole different group, and teaching them improv right from the beginning is part and parcel of my adult course - if the student indicates they want to learn recreational (social) piano as differentiated from classical piano.[/b]
So, exactly which part of "part and parcel" didn't you grasp? And, yes, I find it extremely sad and nonproductive that transfer students must spend so much time relearning basic skills so they can then advance to the level they want to get to. [/b]
 Quote:
Many, actually most, of the teachers in our community no longer accept non-beginner students, especially "self-taught" or "piano store trained." It is heart breaking to have to spend time and energy over months or more trying to undue the damage and correct the misinformation students learned from these sources. The word charlatan leaps to mind, but this might be a bit harsh.
I was responding to the quote above where you insinuate I and those like me are "charlatans".

Perhaps. If people did not get anything out of it and saw me as a fraud. I tell them upfront I will won't teach them how to hold their hands or sit properly, I will not ask them to play repetitious scales to the drone of a metronome, I will teach them how to construct those those scales and show them how to use those scales when constructing chords. I will teach them how to embellish a chord if they are aware of the scale. I will even teach them modes if they want to go there. IF they want to play an acoustic only I have one.If they do not want to read they don't have to. Reading and playing by ear can be mutually exclusive. I have heard many great players who cannot read a note.But great to me may not be great to a Classically trained pianist. Erroll Garner's chunky style is great to me. John Davis , another great player by many standards. Reading is not the end all to play the piano.


ITS ALL ABOUT THEM. They are not used to that AND getting results they are seeking. Immediate satisfaction. I will show them this thread so they understand the difference between what I do and what is thought about it. That should be eye opening. How do you think they will react? The adults?, the teens? Most will say they already know some of you. THAT"S why they are taking lessons alternatively.

.

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