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#964432 - 11/13/07 12:58 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
kritta Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 109
Loc: Maryland
One more attempt to reason with Pianitis, and then I give up.

Pianitis,

I know that you will probably misread this post as you have done with most of the others in this thread, but I wanted to make sure (at least in the minds of everyone else) that this one point was clarified.

You said "Because thats the distinct impression I received after reading the posts of those vehemently opposed to the thought I should be paid to impart my knowledge."

I don't think that anyone ever said that you shouldn't get paid at all to impart your knowledge. Did you read my post correctly? I said "As for my opinion, to echo that of others, I think that it is fine that you are offering lessons (with full disclosure) to those that want them. I see that there is a market for these lessons. I realize that the rate you charge is based upon what the market will bear, and that this is just capitalism at work.............................

but I think that it really sucks that someone who is only partially qualified is charging as much (or in many cases, more) that those who are exceedingly qualified (IN ANY FIELD)."

I think it is perfectly fine for you to get paid to share what you know .. but I don't think that it is fair for anyone who is only partially qualified to charge as much as or more than someone who is exceedingly qualified (in playing as well as in teaching).


(there have been other examples of this type of situation, but here's mine : I groom a few dogs on the side, just because I like doing it and have a few friends who choose to bring their dogs to me. I am not a qualified professional, so I cannot offer quality that meets that of a qualified professional. For this reason, I charge less than the qualified professionals in my area. I think this is only fair.)
_________________________
private piano instructor

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#964433 - 11/13/07 01:09 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 Theowne:
Pianitis:
 Quote:
No I'm not the snob. However I call em like I sees em.
In fact, I disagree. Perhaps you should reread your own posts. "Snobiness" does not only go one-way...

Again, this post will probably be ignored but meh...

 Quote:
Improv is creating. Reading is imitating. You want to play other's work exclusively as written I'm not the guy.
If you really think that playing classical music is nothing but imitation than you don't know much about it....

We're all basing this discussion off Pianitis' inccorect premise that other than him, there exists only boring teachers with rulers, etc.... I still do not understand why....I started "traditional" piano lessons an year ago and I know how to improvise, I've composed my own music for contests and I also have a somewhat good ear. Chord progressions, melodies, these are all things I've learned as part of the curriculum, especially the theory...

I've said this a lot but still I get no response...

....by the way, I self-taught myself before I started taking lessons.... [/b]
You are right. I know very little and have even less interest in classical music. What I have understood is it has to played as written in order to reflect the original artist;s intent. I could be wrong about that. Perhaps interpretation is where it's at even there.

BTW I believe Stereo types are gleaned from truth somewhere along the way. They are difficult to break. No one INVENTS a stereo type out of thin air. It is not my premise that traditional methods are boring or painful. It is my premise that many people simply do not want all the structure and just want to learn to play THEIR way in their time. I don't see many students until AFTER they have tried traditional way at one point in their lives. These are just not serious piano students. They would not last a month in any of the classes taught by some here. I know that without doubt.

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#964434 - 11/13/07 01:24 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Monica said: "I think the 6 pages of this thread are due to a false dichotomy: Some people see it as a choice between "traditional" lessons (however we define that) vs. Pianitis, where I see it as in actuality a choice between Pianitis's lessons or nothing. I get the impression that some of the people on this thread would rather people do nothing musically related than have them take Pianitis's lessons. That just plain boggles my mind."

Yes, I would agree with that.

Coaches of sports work on game plans and techniques. It's about winning - whether it's gymnastics, tennis, golf, swimming, track. It's also about representing the coaches coaching. There are high standards to be upheld. It's about grooming the athlete. A pianist is very much an athlete and the game plan is music.

What boggles my mind is that someone who is looking for piano students to share his method with would say: "These are just not serious piano students. They would not last a month in any of the classes taught by some here. I know that without doubt."

The whole idea behind piano lessons and teaching is that you would help the student acquire the skills that he needs to add to his already present natural talents.

Betty

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#964435 - 11/13/07 01:27 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
LifeLongLearner [LLL] Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 9
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Pianitis - in an earlier posting you wrote, quote:
-------------------------------------------------
Here is one of many songs I wrote and recorded right here at home..I'm not much of a singer or player but Joe and Joan Sixpack likes this stuff.

http://www.4shared.com/dir/4544986/ec16ba06/sharing.html
-------------------------------------------------
... end of quote

Well, after reading most of this thread, I FOUND AND LISTENED to your recording. I have this to say -

The melody line of this song is much more complex than I would have expected, based principally on your statements about your limited musical and keyboard training and understanding of music theory. The poetry of this song is also sophisticated. Also the vocal delivery has a decidedly Barry Manilow or Neil Diamond kind of flavor and quality. This is definitely not an amateur performance.

According to the credits on the website which has the recording on the "Advanced" tab, the following information is displayed

*************************************************
Everybody But You.mp3

Type of file: MPEG Audio Stream
Location: My 4shared
Size: 7839872

Download link: Go
Date uploaded: 2007-11-11
Times downloaded: 22
Last downloaded: 2007-11-13

Title: Everybody But You
Artist: Tom Bongiorno
Album: Song For You
Year: 2000
Track Number: 1
Genre: King Frog

Bit Rate: 320kbps
Sample Rate: 44100

Comments: 00000816 0000066B 00001EC0 000013A8 0001ADDE 0001ADDE 00007DA8 00007DC3 0001ADC7 000138AE
*************************************************

All this leads me to question whether we are getting an true picture of who you really are?
_________________________
Harmoniously,
s/LLL

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#964436 - 11/13/07 01:41 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I hate to disagree - it seems quite amateur to my traditional ears. The percussion is quite clumsy. Good mike though.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#964437 - 11/13/07 01:55 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
The last two posts make my point beautifully.

Who's right? Who's wrong? Neither one universally.

I am an amateur to traditional ears, But perhaps not to less traditional ears. The point is I have been doing this kind of thing for many years. Will a student be able to write and record a song like that in 6 months. Of course not. Will he or she have the tools to be able to build upon to do that? Yes. The rest is up to them.

Besides I also teach midi sequencing, recording tips, and some tools of lyric writing. We have a home recording studio on a PC platform here as well. Choices they have. How many traditional teacher include those things privately?. A few will not even train a student who has a digital piano. Even though the graded action is more akin to a grand then a Spinet.

We do have a Baby Grand as well. They can play either, I give them the choice. Do you?

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#964438 - 11/13/07 02:10 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
I think it is you who have been making assumptions. I have a few questions that remain unanswered. First and foremost, are you as a teacher constantly bettering yourself? If you are not, can you really call yourself a teacher? I see teachers as people who are always striving to get better at what they do, because that's part of the art and part of the discipline.

Second, the majority of my students do not have a piano on which to practice. The only piano they get to play on is the upright on which I teach. Most of them have 55 key keyboards. One or two may have an old piano at home that may be better suited to being firewood. When parents and adult students ask me what they should be looking for in a piano, I give them the pros and cons of both digital and acoustic. I do not have a bias against digital pianos UNLESS the student in question is looking to play intermediate-advanced classical music. Then, the piano must be an upright or a grand. I tell my students about decent pianos I've seen on craigslist or specials I've seen at the local piano dealer (PianoWorks, England Piano).

The grossly inaccurate assumptions you make really anger me, Pianitis, and honestly it's not even worth being baited for. I'm done feeding the troll.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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#964439 - 11/13/07 02:49 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5455
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
Monica said: "I think the 6 pages of this thread are due to a false dichotomy: Some people see it as a choice between "traditional" lessons (however we define that) vs. Pianitis, where I see it as in actuality a choice between Pianitis's lessons or nothing. I get the impression that some of the people on this thread would rather people do nothing musically related than have them take Pianitis's lessons. That just plain boggles my mind."

Yes, I would agree with that.

Coaches of sports work on game plans and techniques. It's about winning - whether it's gymnastics, tennis, golf, swimming, track. It's also about representing the coaches coaching. There are high standards to be upheld. It's about grooming the athlete. A pianist is very much an athlete and the game plan is music.

What boggles my mind is that someone who is looking for piano students to share his method with would say: "These are just not serious piano students. They would not last a month in any of the classes taught by some here. I know that without doubt."

The whole idea behind piano lessons and teaching is that you would help the student acquire the skills that he needs to add to his already present natural talents.

Betty [/b]
But you see, that was precisely my analogy in my earlier post.

My niece pays for soccer coaches who work on game plans and techniques, at a very high level.

I play recreational soccer. Should I not play soccer at all because I don't aspire to play to the level my niece plays? Do you really think that recreational soccer players don't work on game plans and techniques? Do you really think that anyone who wants to play recreational soccer should only do so if they are willing to pay coaches with the qualifications my niece's coaches have?

I didn't happen to pay anyone for soccer workshops - my intramural team wasn't even *that* organized - but I did pay for ski racing workshops and training sessions. I was a *distinctly* recreational ski racer - I was already over 30, so no chance for the Olympics there \:\) . Do you really think I shouldn't have been ski racing, or paying for workshops? Or at least paying only professional prices for professional coaches, even tho I was having the time of my life racing recreationally every Monday evening (and Friday evening, and Sunday afternoons)?

One of my brothers races his sports car. Should he not race at all since he doesn't aspire to be Richard Petty? Should he not pay for workshops unless they're run by someone with Richard Petty's qualifications (and I have no idea how formal those might be - but he's won a lot of races)?

I just finished singing in the High Holy Days choir with some friends of mine. I have no formal voice training at all. Should I not have been allowed to do that? The choir director seemed extremely pleased to have me, and she has all the qualifications for being a vocal teacher that you have for piano.

Should we really just bar everyone from learning to make piano music unless they can take lessons from someone who is "qualified" in whatever way you think that means, which is what it means if no one can take lessons from Pianitis or others who do what he does, or even only learn by working it out entirely by themselves, or by being shown a few things for free by friends or others, which in fact in folk music people have been doing for eons.

Should we really allow no one to learn math except from people like me, who have degrees in math and education? I don't think so, do you?

You would really rather people do *nothing* musically unless they take lessons from someone "qualified" the way you define qualified?!? That's pretty mind-boggling to me. Music is probably pretty close to being something that is universally human, in every culture. I have zero problem with people who want to learn what you have to offer paying you whatever you charge to learn that from you. I have zero problem with people who want to learn what Pianitis has to offer learning it from him at whatever he charges. I have no problem sitting down with friends who want to learn how to play oom-pah piano for contra dances and showing them how to do it, for free.

As for the comment that people "don't know any better" than to take from Pianitis - well, my experience with adults who can't do 6th grade math is that the great majority of them are not stupid, and do a pretty good job of figuring out who can help them do what they need to do, and aren't scammed, at least not for very long. There may be a sucker born every minute, but as far as I can tell the great majority of adults aren't suckers the great majority of the time, and Pianitis has been pretty up front about what he offers.

Cathy
_________________________

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#964440 - 11/13/07 03:46 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
tickler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 371
Loc: Chicagoland
I'm really amazed at how long this thread is going on. Who is Pianitis hurting??

Not the piano teachers:
-- He's not undercutting their prices. He's taking (only or mostly) students who've given up on traditional lessons, or who refuse to traditional lessons because of stereotyping or lack of self-discipline.

Not his customers:
-- They're getting what they want. He's showing them how to make "cool sounding" music on their digital keyboards. Pianitis isn't mis-representing himself. Sure, his customers may pick up a few "bad habits", but any more than if they just noodled around on their keyboards by themselves? This training might even inspire them to learn more about playing on their own, or to pursue traditional piano education.

The only aspect of this that I question is that Pianitis is calling himself a "teacher," when in reality he's more a coach or trainer -- showing his customers how to do what he does on a keyboard. And that's a minor detail IMO.

So, who's getting hurt here?


FYI: I've taken traditional piano lessons for many years and play primarily classical music.

Mary
_________________________
Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman. -- Beethoven
1911 Steinway A-II (2007 Rebuild)

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#964441 - 11/13/07 06:56 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
Pianitis..just some replies to your post:

 Quote:
You are right. I know very little and have even less interest in classical music.
....then it isn't quite appropriate to write those kinds of statements about it, is it?

 Quote:
What I have understood is it has to played as written in order to reflect the original artist;s intent.
Who decides exactly what an artist's intent was? Why are there so many recordings of the same pieces for sale? They should all sound the same, right?

 Quote:
BTW I believe Stereo types are gleaned from truth somewhere along the way.
Perhaps you do, but as someone who has been affected by stereotyping in the past, I find that a ridiculous statement.

Anyways, I don't think anyone here has a problem with the "vision" of teaching itself, it's rather the other parts of this story that they do not agree with. It seems that this fabricated "traditional vs. non traditional" line keeps being brought up but I don't recall a single person here arguing that scales, excercises, classical music, and formal study are the only way to learn piano.

On a side note, I really wish you would stop the condescending tone and realize that for some people, what you dismissively call "reading ink dots" is actually an emotional, substantial and deeply fulfilling thing, even if it is difficult to understand for others.....And there are actually many non-classical players (some who have posted in this thread defending you, in fact), who play newer music, also "reading ink dots", and I imagine they'd be upset by that kind of talk as well...
_________________________
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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#964442 - 11/13/07 08:54 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
tickler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 371
Loc: Chicagoland
Theowne -- Thanks for raising those points. They made me go back and re-read much of this thread.

After thinking about it, what Pianitis is doing now disturbs me. I have to agree with one of the earlier posters who stated that Pianitis is ruining these kids' musical education.

FWIW, what bothers me are the following:

Pianitis is comparing himself to professional, educated music professionals. That's a slap in the face to a professional who's proud of what she's doing.

Pianitis isn't hiding his contempt for those of us who "read ink dots", who strive to do more than just play a melody and flip the switch to turn on an electronic accompaniment. He implies that doing anything else is a waste of time and effort.

I think there is a large danger to the student. What seems likely is that the student will take a few lessons from Pianitis and then conclude "that's all there is," and never take more lessons or pursue music any further. Since Pianitis can only provide very limited coaching, they can't continue with him to learn more.

Even worse, Pianitis' attitude that what he's doing is so much better than the traditional piano teachers and players will likely rub off on the kids. Along with this, the kids will probably also learn Pianitis' contempt for reading music or any form of true music study. Pretty sad.


Mary
_________________________
Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman. -- Beethoven
1911 Steinway A-II (2007 Rebuild)

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#964443 - 11/13/07 10:30 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: 17749
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by tickler:
After thinking about it, what Pianitis is doing now disturbs me. I have to agree with one of the earlier posters who stated that Pianitis is ruining these kids' musical education.
[/b]
Except that Pianitis isn't teaching kids so he/she isn't ruining anybody's musical educations. IIRC, he/she has one 15 year old student and the rest are adults. I agree that a child starting out on what one hopes will be a life-long musical education is better served with a "traditional" teacher who can offer a solid grounding in technique and theory. Pianitis is catering instead to the adult beginner who wants to learn how to noodle around and play by ear. It's as simple as that.

I really like Cathy's analogy of professional and recreational sports. You don't need a professional coach if all you want to do is go out and play an intramural game for fun.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#964444 - 11/13/07 11:28 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 Minaku:
[QUOTE] I think it is you who have been making assumptions. I have a few questions that remain unanswered. First and foremost, are you as a teacher constantly bettering yourself? If you are not, can you really call yourself a teacher? I see teachers as people who are always striving to get better at what they do, because that's part of the art and part of the discipline.
NO I am not studying with anyone. Semantics aside I guess what I am doing is "okay" if I don't call myself a "teacher" even though I am teaching something I know to another. Hmmmmm By your definition on how YOU see teachers I cannot call myself a teacher. I'll leave the final word to those who decide what I have to sell has value.
 Quote:
Second, the majority of my students do not have a piano on which to practice. The only piano they get to play on is the upright on which I teach. Most of them have 55 key keyboards. One or two may have an old piano at home that may be better suited to being firewood. When parents and adult students ask me what they should be looking for in a piano, I give them the pros and cons of both digital and acoustic. I do not have a bias against digital pianos UNLESS the student in question is looking to play intermediate-advanced classical music. Then, the piano must be an upright or a grand. I tell my students about decent pianos I've seen on craigslist or specials I've seen at the local piano dealer (PianoWorks, England Piano).
My only requirement is a student HAS a piano of some kind to play. But because of the type of person they are they usually have a piano or keyboard to play. Makes no sense to learn without having something to implement those ideas. I do believe a good digital with graded weighted action has far better action then a cheap upright.
.
 Quote:

The grossly inaccurate assumptions you make really anger me, Pianitis, and honestly it's not even worth being baited for. I'm done feeding the troll.
I understand there are some who do not care for this more than others. You must remember I came her looking for those who have ideas to share regarding non traditional methods. To say I did not expect some discontent would be disingenuous but I certainly did not believe there would be the anger and vitriol I find in some posts.

I think some take themselves far too seriously for making their life's blood the Arts.

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#964445 - 11/13/07 11:53 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 tickler:
Theowne -- Thanks for raising those points. They made me go back and re-read much of this thread.

After thinking about it, what Pianitis is doing now disturbs me. I have to agree with one of the earlier posters who stated that Pianitis is ruining these kids' musical education.
You had better re read the thread. I do not teach kids. I only am interested in teaching those who are not serious about being a "pianist." Mostly older people and a couple teenagers who are more interested in the song writing process then the piano as an instrument. I teach them to use the piano as a toll. not a performance instrument. It's not as dire as you suggest.

 Quote:
FWIW, what bothers me are the following:

Pianitis is comparing himself to professional, educated music professionals. That's a slap in the face to a professional who's proud of what she's doing.
How am I comparing myself to a professional? I clearly state to all those who are interested I am NOT professional, I ONLY had 6 months of lessons and they were not traditional. They want to play for fun. They do not want to "STUDY" Some don't even want to practice they just want to learn a few songs. I could care less if I am considered "professional" by anyone. I never even stated that I am. I'm not a professional. Whatever that is. Iam not accomplished whatever that means. Happy?
 Quote:
Pianitis isn't hiding his contempt for those of us who "read ink dots", who strive to do more than just play a melody and flip the switch to turn on an electronic accompaniment. He implies that doing anything else is a waste of time and effort.
If there is any contempt displayed it is in defense to the personal attacks I feel from a few here. In fact those very people are the very types many adult 9and maybe even kids) students would rather not deal with. Those who put themselves on such a pedestal to think there is only one way to ENJOY the piano. The "right" way. I hold that thinking in contempt. You bet.
 Quote:

I think there is a large danger to the student. What seems likely is that the student will take a few lessons from Pianitis and then conclude "that's all there is," and never take more lessons or pursue music any further. Since Pianitis can only provide very limited coaching, they can't continue with him to learn more.
So what? Thats what I did exactly! It did not ruin me. I spend many happy hours playing writing and recording my songs and a few others. If people want to continue they can easily find a traditional teacher. I can direct them to quite a few who would be glad to take the "damaged goods"." and all their "irreversible bad habits"

 Quote:
Even worse, Pianitis' attitude that what he's doing is so much better than the traditional piano teachers and players will likely rub off on the kids. Along with this, the kids will probably also learn Pianitis' contempt for reading music or any form of true music study. Pretty sad.
What a reversal in a few posts LOL, WHAT KIDS?
I have no contempt for the reading of music. I just view it as unnecessary to the creation of music. There are many who make a living that cannot read music. I don't think it's important. I have been enjoying music for decades and never felt the need to read music. I can play what I want by ear. If I really want to learn something I can read well enough to figure it outs Its not like I do not know the staff or theory.

I do believe and teach the ear is the final arbiter of whats right and good though. Then again I believe although I do not like it all, Rap is music as well. There are many who would say its anything but.

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#964446 - 11/14/07 01:01 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica K.:
 Quote:
Originally posted by tickler:
After thinking about it, what Pianitis is doing now disturbs me. I have to agree with one of the earlier posters who stated that Pianitis is ruining these kids' musical education.
[/b]
Except that Pianitis isn't teaching kids so he/she isn't ruining anybody's musical educations. IIRC, he/she has one 15 year old student and the rest are adults. I agree that a child starting out on what one hopes will be a life-long musical education is better served with a "traditional" teacher who can offer a solid grounding in technique and theory. Pianitis is catering instead to the adult beginner who wants to learn how to noodle around and play by ear. It's as simple as that.

I really like Cathy's analogy of professional and recreational sports. You don't need a professional coach if all you want to do is go out and play an intramural game for fun. [/b]
I didn't quite understand Cathy's analogy first time round. Why wouldn't you want the best teacher money could buy? When I left Canada and moved to London as a youth, my oboe teacher said - find this teacher (at the time the most recorded oboist in the world). I did, and can say most of what I know now about using the body started with her. If the best teacher in town will teach you , why would you turn them down? Why would you not want to excel in amateur sport? Don't you deserve to see how far your potential will take you?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#964447 - 11/14/07 01:05 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
A rather long post which I wasn't going to make but here I am anyway \:\)

[1] The Price Thing.
This is not regulated where I live. Anyone can set themselves up to teach music in any form for whatever cost. Until this IS regulated, we all have to deal with it. Or campaign for some sort of registration system.
I charge $X p.h. I know teachers who charge X+20. Are they better than me? Some are. Some aren't. If you're annoyed that Pianitis is charging your fee (or higher) for minimal instruction, you also should be annoyed about all the other anomalies BUT it shouldn't make a difference to *your* feelings about *your* work as a teacher.
(ever read the biblical parable about the labourers in the vineyard??)

[2] It concerned me that it was asked "would you rather that these people learn NO music or learn from Pianitis?" and that some implied answers were "yes, better nothing than Pianitis, lest they pick up bad habits". The suspicion that some people felt like that finally made me respond to the thread.
If the choice was qualified teaching or none at all, then I wouldn't be where I am today (a professional pianist). For I was taught for the first 7 years by my father. He had very little formal training. He played by ear, purely for his own enjoyment and that of his friends and family. There were enormous gaps in my knowledge and technique when I finally took myself off to a "proper" teacher at 14. (I had never played a scale, for example \:\) ). But my father had given me an invaluable gift. He had taught me to love playing music. He knew he couldn't teach me any more, and was happy for me to move on to a more disciplined approach if that was what I *really* wanted. I did. I worked hard, had a wonderful teacher, and had gained a performer's diploma within 3 years. Sure I had some bad habits, but they weren't incurable, and what I DID have was a good ear. Sure I had to work on my reading, but I did, and my sightreading is now such that virtually nothing plonked in front of me terrifies me.

[3] I think Pianitis's manner of posting got people's backs up. Sort of "hey, this is what I'm doing - what do you stick-in-the-muds think of this!" The implication was that none of us are teaching playing by ear, chords, improvisation. That none of us are encouraging creativity or using technology. Wrong, Pianitis. Lots of us are, as you've heard. And not a feather duster in sight! If you're going to criticise "traditional" teachers, get your facts right.

[4] I have to confess that in my long teaching career I've taught beginners flute, clarinet, cello, recorder, guitar (though I've never had a lesson on any of them), violin and voice (I've had some lessons here but I'm no expert!), mainly to children in disadvantaged schools, where the choice was stark - either I ran the instrumental program, or all these children didn't play, and the instruments remained locked in the cupboards. Because time was limited, I used some shortcuts. I tried to make sure they were playing correctly, but the main aim was to make music. And they did, and they loved it. Of course, I wasn't charging these individual children - I was employed by the school - but I do think this is a separate issue. If they'd waited for a specifically qualified teacher, there would have been no orchestra. I know this is a different situation to that of Pianitis, but it shows I think it no sin to teach something without high-level qualifications.

[5] Music is very broad. It's not just the great sweep of western art music from Bach to Britten, though that's where my heart is. Music belongs to everybody. You don't have to pass a test in order to be allowed to play music. I really do understand where most of the teachers who feel strongly here are coming from. And in many ways I agree with you. But I have to say that if Pianitis wants to give introductory lessons in "playing around on the clavinova", then he's welcome to, in my books.
As long as he:
[a] isn't denigrating "traditional" teachers
is upfront about his limitations
[c] is honest about the fact that they could learn all this from a qualified teacher for the same price.

And here's the rub, for of course we have no way of making sure he's doing this.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#964448 - 11/14/07 01:17 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
jazzyprof Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/04
Posts: 2621
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Well said, currawong. The lady from down under is wise indeed.
_________________________
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP

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#964449 - 11/14/07 01:35 AM 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:


[3] I think Pianitis's manner of posting got people's backs up. Sort of "hey, this is what I'm doing - what do you stick-in-the-muds think of this!" The implication was that none of us are teaching playing by ear, chords, improvisation. That none of us are encouraging creativity or using technology. Wrong, Pianitis. Lots of us are, as you've heard. And not a feather duster in sight! If you're going to criticise "traditional" teachers, get your facts right.
I re read my original post a number of times and did not see the "hey, this is what I'm doing - what do you stick-in-the-muds think of this!"tone at all. After having to defend myself perhaps. The making it personal came from outside in. I only responded to what I think could be the issue with why I even get people asking me to teach them or their kids (meaning teens).
 Quote:
But I have to say that if Pianitis wants to give introductory lessons in "playing around on the clavinova", then he's welcome to, in my books.
As long as he:
[a] isn't denigrating "traditional" teachers
is upfront about his limitations
[c] is honest about the fact that they could learn all this from a qualified teacher for the same price.

And here's the rub, for of course we have no way of making sure he's doing this.
I'm glad I meet with your approval with terms and conditions. You know whats really interesting? the responses I get when some students reading this thread. The very thing they do not want is the attitudes presented here about how they are missing a "full music education" The list of 30 no no bad habits was particularly interesting to a few of them. Some of you are your own worst examples of why they are paying me and have said as much.

The assumptions are wild.

1. I am not accomplished enough to teach or (gasp) call myself a teacher.
2. I am not takiing lessons myself therefore I should not teach what I know
3. I dislike traditional methods (true) and discourage others before the fact to go that route. (not true)
3.Classical players are boring. No. I don't know anything about the players but the music is to me.
4. I am not reporting the "income" on my taxes.

Not only do they know they can take formal lessons from a "real" teacher. They know it can be for less money and he or she may travel to their home!!! I won't travel. I have all the tools here.

I do not require a minimum lesson obligation. If they want 1 or 100, it's pay as you go.This is not about the money. It's about filling a need I observed and have first hand experience with in my own life and was fortunate enough to happen upon a non traditional teacher. The time I would have spent doing Hanon excersizes,drills and reading I used listening to and creating music. I learned skills as I needed them to do what I wanted to do. Nothing more/nothing less. It was the only way I could learn. I'm not good at repetition and the drone of finger excersizes.

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#964450 - 11/14/07 03:49 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5455
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:

I didn't quite understand Cathy's analogy first time round. Why wouldn't you want the best teacher money could buy? . . . Why would you not want to excel in amateur sport? Don't you deserve to see how far your potential will take you? [/b]
Because sometimes it really isn't primarily about excelling. It's about getting some exercise, or laughing with your friends, or just being outside instead of inside. That's what intramural soccer was primarily to me. My teammates knew that I wasn't a slacker, but excelling wasn't part of the equation. We had one team meeting before the season started, and no practices. We had three or four quite skilled players who had played growing up in Europe and South America, and they played really good soccer. What they expected of me (and me of myself) was that I wouldn't screw off - they did not expect that I wouldn't screw up, because I had no soccer specific skills whatsoever, and none of us had the time or the interest to put into that. So we all did what we could do within our time and interests, and the devil took the hindmost. It was one of the most fun things I've ever done.

I *did* put more time and effort into ski racing. And I was as competitive as I had the time and interest to be. As I said, I went to national finals. Was that "as far as my potential would take me"? Given what? If I'd put in more time? If I'd been more willing to do things that would have bored me stiff in order to get the payoff of being faster? If I'd raced more pro races? Or taken more workshops with better coaches? What parameters define my "potential"? Surely as an adult I get to make those choices and set my priorities. If my life is enhanced because I can be 3rd place in the "B" bracket of Monday ski racing and also have time to read many books I'm interested in, and sew my own clothes (which I don't do any more), then what difference does it make, and who defines, whether or not I've gone as far my potential will take me in amateur ski racing? One analogy is from linear algebra - often if one's goal is to optimize a system of variables and their relationships there will be *no* variables which are maximized. It seems to me the real world often works that way also.

It's not different to me with music. Music is really important to me, but it is not nor can it be the only thing I do. I love discovering new things and experimenting with new sounds and skills in music. I have no interest in taking formal lessons. My friends and I have taken part in occasional workshops given by really good dance musicians. But all in all I've learned more from being a dancer, other musicians, dance callers, listening, experimenting, mistakes, than I've learned from workshops, and I love learning that way. I've taken one day play-be-ear workshops, I've bought cds and videos, I've read theory and history books. I can't imagine why anyone would care that that's the way I enjoy learning, and why it would make a difference to them whether or not in their view I was reaching my full potential as they might define it. And the corollary is that I can't imagine why anyone is upset that someone is writing those books or making those videos or giving those play-by-ear workshops or sharing with me what they do on a mandolin that I learn from when they don't play piano. I am in no way being short-changed or scammed. I'm an adult with all my faculties intact (except for a little high frequency hearing loss) and those are my choices. I'm not ignorant of other choices, I just don't choose them. I love the way I make music. Other people love other ways.

Hope that helps. Other folks are different from me. That's fine with me.

Cathy
_________________________

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#964451 - 11/14/07 04:22 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
tickler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 371
Loc: Chicagoland
I admit that I changed my mind, flipped from one side of the argument to the other after re-reading the thread. I'm being up-front about the change in opinion.

I think the heart of the issue -- this dichotomy -- that's making this thread longer and longer has to do with the following.

Pianitis wrote;
People want to make music. They want to sing for an audience. Hence the popularity of Karaoke. But they are not disciplined nor do they have the time to practice anything but music they want to make.[/b]

That's true for a lot of people. They want instant gratification. They don't want to put in any effort on the piano to be able to do it well. So they rely on the gadgetry of a digital piano and that suffices for them.

This is the group that Pianitis is catering to.

The flip-side are the group of people that DO want to spend time and effort playing the piano, so they can do it well, so they can accomplish something. I'm very glad that I belong to this group.


Mary
_________________________
Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman. -- Beethoven
1911 Steinway A-II (2007 Rebuild)

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#964452 - 11/14/07 06:14 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Wow, you turn your back for a minute and another 2 pages appear!

Who’s winning anyway? ;\)

I wanted to butt out of this thread but I still feel there is a lot of misunderstanding. Thanks Akira for acting as ‘moderator’, you are right, it doesn’t need to be personal. My comments were directed at pianitis. It was nothing personal so I apologies for getting heated. It is what pianitis seems to represent to me. That is unskilled players acting as piano teachers. This may be unfair to pianitis as I do not know him personally. My assumptions were based on a few comments which seem to contradict themselves……

Pianitis, you claim that you are not an accomplished pianist. In the original thread you mentioned noodling about on 3 chords and in another you say you can play anything the great jazz pianists play. That’s a big difference. I would consider any of the musicians you mentioned to be accomplished. I would have no problem with them offering tuition.

You said you do not solicit or advertise for students. Then in another thread you said that when you sell a Clavinova there is a need to close the deal with lessons included.

You say you have nothing against the traditional teacher. But so many of your posts are insulting to any who have trained in the Classics. You called us ‘elitist snobs’ for example.

Monica mentioned that many of ‘us’ seem to think that it would be better for people to receive no tuition than go to an unskilled teacher. No, I would prefer that they come to me. That is why I can’t understand those who feel that it is a different ‘market’. I teach piano, I do not discriminate with regard to age, ability or stylistic preference. I will teach anybody to the best of my ability, regardless of what they wish to learn.

Here is the difference…..

Student says they do not wish to read music. Some would say, ‘that’s fine, you don’t need to’. I would say, ‘It’s not as difficult as you might think. Also, it opens up so many musical styles you may not have considered learning. By all means, learn to play what interests you but give reading a try before you discount it’.

Student says they only want to play for fun. Some would say, ‘No problem, it’s all fun, you do what you like for 6 months. No pressure, no commitment’. I would say, ‘Playing the piano is great fun and you will enjoy the lessons. Remember though, you get out what you put in. The more time you spend on it, the more fun you will have’.

Student says they want to do what I can. Some would say, ‘You can! After a few lessons you will play whatever you want. What’s more, you don’t need to do any of the boring stuff like practise or read music’. I would say, ‘It’s possible but it doesn’t happen overnight. If you are prepared to put the time and effort in then you will be surprised how quickly you make progress. I can’t make any promises, it depends on your level of commitment’.

Student says they are not serious, have no interest in playing well, have no time to practise etc. They want a short cut to playing popular styles with no effort required. They have $25 a week to spend on lessons for the hell of it. Some would say ‘ker-ching’. I would say I have never met anyone like this in my life.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#964453 - 11/14/07 06:49 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
I've always heard that piano salesmen are good at separating people from their money.

There's certainly nothing in this thread that refutes that notion.

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#964454 - 11/14/07 07:08 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Lula Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 8
Loc: Japan
I don't think I read all through because it's too long. I'm not a pianist or a teahcer so I don't talk about your method. But I have a question which I really want to know.

How did you get your students at first?

If you don't advertise anywhere, I must say you have told them that you could teach them how to play music with a Clavinova when you were selling Clavinovas at your store.

If not (like you talked with your neighbours and started teaching), I don't really mind because there are electronic piano (so-called "Electone" by Yamaha) courses here. They teach something like Pianitis teaches as a little part of their lessons.

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#964455 - 11/14/07 07:29 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Pianitis:
As well I spoke with quite a few parents who are frustrated with our teacher list. They have kids that want to learn to play the piano but are having a difficult time with "traditional methods" and especially teachers. One parent spoke of going through 4 teachers in a year ,One of whom refused to teach a student who was playing a Clavinova. (I assured her the Clavinova had better piano action then the cheap used uprights one sees in many homes)
[/b]
Then there is the issue of teaching adults/children. The above statement does not tie in with the notion that pianitis will only take on adult students.

I fully agree with those who have said that teaching adults is very different to teaching children. When I do get an adult student there is no way I would lay down the law about method, style, exams, recitals, major commitment etc. This would put people off right away. Most adult learners lack confidence. They need to approach things in their own time. Of course they don't think it's possible that they will ever be that good or ever learn to read and understand music. In time, they come to realise that this is not the case. Funny thing is, I never get many calls from adults. Perhaps they get knobbled at the music store or search the internet for easy option online programs. Maybe they feel that calling a 'traditional' teacher would be pointless because of the stereotypical image and beliefs held buy some posters here.

That is why I feel that there is direct competition. Every student who settles for this 'alternative' style of lesson is one who does not call me.

Am I jealous? Not exactly, a bit annoyed perhaps.

Just like Monica might be annoyed that alternative therapists set up shop taking business away from qualified professionals. Some of these people will believe that what they are doing is fine and I am sure they have many willing customers. That is the way the market works and there is no law against it. I accept it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#964456 - 11/14/07 07:50 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
And another thing.....

This is not about 'traditional' versus 'non-traditional' lessons.

There are a great many accomplaished pianists who focus on styles other than Classical. They might concentrate on improvisation, playing by ear and from memory although many will also teach notation as well. You can buy sheet music for ANY style, not just the Classics.

I feel just as strongly about those 'Classical' players who have passed grade 3 and yet offer 'traditional' lessons. In fact, I would say there are probably more of them than there are 'non-traditional' unskilled teachers. It's all the same.

I know exactly why Betty brought up the subject of declaring income. I didn't want to mention this as it may not apply to pianitis. There are a great deal of sub-standard 'piano teachers' who offer lessons for cash. They do not declare their earnings. They do not have consent to run a business from home. They do not have the relevant insurance cover to protect both themselves and their customers. All of these costs are figured into that 'going rate'. For those of us who are above board, the going rate is worth less than it is to others.

I am not complaining about money. I am fortunate to have a busy and succesful studio. I receive a fair wage from teaching. I would not charge more because I feel it is important that my customers get good value for money. If I increased my rates I dare say most would pay but I would not do this to them. In the long run it would certainly deter new customers. The going rate reflects the avarage price for the area. Most new customers are mainly concerned with the cost rather than the quality. If old mrs. X down the road charges less then that is where they will go. For this reason I would not want to see pianitis charge less. I would rather he didn't do it at all although I understand it is his choice and none of my business.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#964457 - 11/14/07 08:41 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
kritta Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 109
Loc: Maryland
Wow! This thread wins the largest thread of the year award!

I skipped a few posts so I apologize if I repeat anyone else, but I just wanted to comment on one thing.

Pianitis,

I just wanted to respond to your quote
 Quote:

Those who put themselves on such a pedestal to think there is only one way to ENJOY the piano. The "right" way. I hold that thinking in contempt. You bet.
[/b]

I would be very upset at this too, but I really don't think that this is what anyone here is saying. I think that everyone would agree that there are many, many, ways to enjoy the piano (that's one of the beautiful things about our instrument), but what people are saying is that there are correct and incorrect ways to actually, physically, do the playing on the instrument.
_________________________
private piano instructor

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#964458 - 11/14/07 09:06 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
kritta Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 109
Loc: Maryland
Originally posted by Chris H.

 Quote:

Student says they are not serious, have no interest in playing well, have no time to practise etc. They want a short cut to playing popular styles with no effort required. They have $25 a week to spend on lessons for the hell of it. Some would say ‘ker-ching’. I would say I have never met anyone like this in my life.
[/b]

Chris, this is very well-said. I very much agree with the premise of this statement, but I have one thing to add. I have, actually, met a few people like this (maybe it has to do with the area in which I live) -- not many (maybe only 2 or 3) but there have been some, so I know that they exist. My example a few pages ago about the student's parent who "only wants to drop their kid off to play the piano for 1/2 hour a week" with no other responsibilities at all (no practicing, no recitals, no tests, etc) is a good example.

I think it really sucks that people would feel this way, and I am with you and keyboardklutz (and many others) in feeling that if you are going to pay for instruction (not if you are just going to noodle around by yourself), why wouldn't you want to pay for a well-rounded and complete educational experience from a qualified professional?

I feel like anything worth doing (or worth paying someone to teach you) is worth doing well, but I do know (I've seen it with my own eyes) that there are those out there who only strive for mediocrity.
_________________________
private piano instructor

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#964459 - 11/14/07 09:32 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Ah yes, you are thinking of kids who don't really want to play but whose parents wish to spend $25 a week for the hell of it. That's a different matter. I have known plenty of these!

I was actually meaning adult students spending their own money. The only reason for their low expectations is lack of confidence. Most of them feel silly because they find something difficult which is often considered 'kids stuff'. That is why online learning is popular. You can do it with a bag on your head. I can also imagine how attractive the prospect of a few lessons which offer to teach you 'all you need to know' would be. When someone tells you that 'it's easy' and you can play 'like them' in no time then you will be sold right? Especially when they say you don't even need to practise. But how honest is this really? Pianitis tells us that he has played for decades and still would not consider himself accomplished. I would be willing to bet that 6 months after the lessons finish there are many $'s worth of Clavinovas sat unused in the corner of living rooms.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#964460 - 11/14/07 09:43 AM 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: 17749
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Why wouldn't you want the best teacher money could buy? ... If the best teacher in town will teach you , why would you turn them down? Why would you not want to excel in amateur sport? Don't you deserve to see how far your potential will take you? [/b]
Because as a brand new beginner in something, especially if it's something I'm not sure I'm going to want to stick with, I don't *need* the best teacher in town. In fact, I'd probably feel more comfortable with somebody who wasn't the best person in the world.

Here's another example that may make it clearer: If I want to learn how to play chess, there is no need for me to take lessons from Gary Kasparov or some other grandmaster. I'm not going to be playing at a level to need instruction from a grandmaster. All I need is somebody who has played a while and can show me the rules and the basic strategy, and that is going to serve me well for the first six months.

Chris, you're probably right that there are a lot of Clavinovas gathering dust after Pianitis's lessons. What we don't know, and would probably disagree about, is whether there'd be even MORE pianos gathering dust if they didn't take Pianitis's lessons or if they tried the "traditional" route first. I still think Pianitis's approach can be very effective as a low-cost, easy way of getting people interested in playing the piano, and I would bet that more people then go on to take traditional lessons simply because they've had this early exposure to music and confidence-builder.

But as we like to say in the social sciences, "it's an empirical question." ;\)
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#964461 - 11/14/07 10:03 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
kritta Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 109
Loc: Maryland
"I still think Pianitis's approach can be very effective as a low-cost, easy way of getting people interested in playing the piano"


But it is not "low cost" as he is charging more than most of us do!
_________________________
private piano instructor

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