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#964282 - 11/09/07 10:12 PM Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Pianitis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 66
Loc: South Carolina
I work in sales in a music store that sells Yamaha, Pearl River, YC, a full library of Sheet music,methods,books,keyboards,guitars....Basically a full MI store. Once in a while I noodle on the CVPs and people will come up and say "I wish I could do that" Now I'm usually playing a loose melody over Cma7 Dm7 Em7 and back. Very simple. But sound complete when the Clav is playing a great arrangement behind my simple changes. I tell them "You can" Then I hear the stories of failed lessons with strict teachers who could only teach one way. The "right" way.

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)

In any case I understand the issue as I was such a child. I did not want to play the classics. I wanted to play for my own benefit, not to be an accomplished pianist but just a player. I ended up in a few bands and especially found my love in writing and recording my music. I finally found a teacher who taught me how to teach my self. I took lessons for 6 months and learned as much as I could to do what I wanted to do. If it were not for that teacher I would not have stayed with it for the past 4 decades. Im am still not acomplished by any stretch but I am a player.

I realized there is a huge "market" out there for a "teacher" who can teach someone to teach themselves and only PLAY what they want to play and not deal with endless finger excercises and proper form and reading ink dots of someone else's work.

So I decided to begin taking "students" at home and teach them what I have learned. No books, Just math at first Major Scale formulas/ Chord formulas/inversions/ I record every class and give them a CD and make them write everything down. No staffs, no FACE. just
w w w 1/2 w w w 1/2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

I have tried this out with great success. Kids and Adults have really sunk their teeth into it.

By the third lesson they are playing a blues scale over a CF G left. to watch a 15 year old boy enjoy playing a blues scale over a 1/4/5 Arrangement on a Clavinova makes me feel great.

I think there is a way to keep piano interesting to people who don't have the attention span of those years past, nor the parental discipline keeping the child interested. Using my methods they can learn one concept and apply as much or as little as they want over the 12 tone scale. The learn ONLY what they want to learn, They feel they are getting maximum value for their dollars and I am enjoying total satisfaction with their contentment. Some will go one to much more advanced training. Most won't.

Anyone else doing this?

What are your thoughts or questions.

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#964283 - 11/09/07 11:25 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: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Pianitis, if there's truly is a huge "market" out there for a "teacher" who can teach someone to teach themselves and only PLAY what they want to play, then it would seem ripe for you to start teaching full time. Out of curiostiy, what, in your estimation, would students pay for such instruction?
_________________________
"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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#964284 - 11/09/07 11:30 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
I am not a teacher but I am looking into instruction methods and teachers for my children. I find your observations very interesting. Do you have a good ear for tone as well? or do you consider yourself tone deaf - there was a discussion about whether tone deaf people can learn the piano. Can your students carry a tune? Does it matter much with your approach?

It sounds like there is some music theory in your approach.
I am not familar with an alternative method such as that you are carrying out. But the folks in non classical piano corner might. Here is an interesting thread from the summer, more about playing by ear versus learning to read notes.
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/37/966.html

my impression is that many of the teachers who post here teach classical music, reading music, etc.

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#964285 - 11/09/07 11:34 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
vanityx3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 269
_________________________
well I'm 20 years old, and I'm teaching myself piano.

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#964286 - 11/10/07 01:11 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:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Pianitis, if there's truly is a huge "market" out there for a "teacher" who can teach someone to teach themselves and only PLAY what they want to play, then it would seem ripe for you to start teaching full time. Out of curiostiy, what, in your estimation, would students pay for such instruction? [/b]
No I do not want to teach full time. I will only teach 10 1/2hr lessons per week Friday and Sunday evenings from 6-9PM. The reason I think there is a market for such is I have a few adults (friends of some I am working with) on a waiting list. I charge $25 per lesson with a 4 lesson block minimum.

I actually got this idea by watching people who buy guitars. They just want to learn chords. Some go on o play leads, Others learn barr chords. Many are happy just learning open chords and accompanying themselves. I thought piano is much easier to learn chords on than a guitar. Why not keep it simple for those who do not want anything more?

Working in a music store there is no shortage of "prospects" . 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. They never thought they could do either. They can.

Im not a pianist yet people want to learn to do what I do. I can teach them. If they only want to play on the white keys I can teach them to play any song they want in C LOL. Then show them how transposition works on the digital so they can play in any "key" for a singer or themselves,

We have a small Yamaha Grand and a Clavinova CVP 305. I teach and recommend they use the digital because they can make more music with it.

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#964287 - 11/10/07 01:22 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:
Originally posted by guest1013:
I am not a teacher but I am looking into instruction methods and teachers for my children. I find your observations very interesting. Do you have a good ear for tone as well? or do you consider yourself tone deaf - there was a discussion about whether tone deaf people can learn the piano. Can your students carry a tune? Does it matter much with your approach?

It sounds like there is some music theory in your approach.
I am not familar with an alternative method such as that you are carrying out. But the folks in non classical piano corner might. Here is an interesting thread from the summer, more about playing by ear versus learning to read notes.
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/37/966.html

my impression is that many of the teachers who post here teach classical music, reading music, etc. [/b]
I have relative pitch. Which means I can pick out note intervals if I have the first one. I can sit down and improvise before the fact. I know what I want to hear and how many intervals I need to get there. I have no technique to speak of. I play songs I have learned from reading the chords and listening to the original, I can read the staff but cannot read timing marks....meaning I can't sight read something I have never heard. I am honest with them, I tell them I am not a pianist and cannot play what I don't already know. People will give you a lot of expanded credit for a little bit of playing. When they realize THEY can get the same credit without going through years of method training they are curious.

Tone deaf people would need to rely on theory I suppose. I do teach some basic theory. Circle of fifths, I teach how to play a scale. I do not teach how to play all the scales. Once I give the student the scale formula it's up to them to figure out the rest of the scales if they want to, Otherwise we just stay on the white. Many are happy with that until they begin reading chord charts. Then they realize the need to know chords in other keys and have to learn the scales and chord formulas which I will help with IF they want to learn. You have to understand people that come my way are very motivated and have already tried in many case the method teachers. Some recently Some years ago. They WANT to play. So did I and thats what I did.

Its all about what they want to do, not what I think they SHOULD do. Keeps them motivated and coming back. Because I do not want this to become my living I am under no pressure to keep them when they are done.I think after 6 months they will have enough to either find another teacher or build upon what I have taught them as I did over the years with the lessons I took for 6 months,

Stevie Wonder Erroll Garner and a whole host of blind people learned by ear, never learned to sight read yet still enjoyed making music. In the end thats the key.

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#964288 - 11/10/07 01:23 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...
This 'classical vs 'popular' discourse crops up often at PW. It's a matter of either transmitting 19th century middleclass culture - how to sit, how to carry oneself, to be graceful and elegant, how to organise one's thoughts and sometimes feelings OR getting a recreational kick.

There's no reason why either should be excluded from a good curriculum.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#964289 - 11/10/07 05:16 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Heh, if Jermaine Griggs can make a million bucks a year from HearAndPlay.com then I'm sure there are lots of people wanting to learn the non-traditional way. ;\)
_________________________
No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

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#964290 - 11/10/07 06:44 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: 2893
Loc: UK.
Am I the only one here who thinks this situation is not good?

I don't want to judge you unfairly because I do not know you. However, there are a few comments in your posts that I have a problem with.

Firstly you say that you are not really a pianist, can not read music and have no technique to speak of. Yet you are willing to take $50 an hour to teach others to play the piano. What is it that you are really teaching them? You said yourself that after many years you can't really play and are only able to pick out a few tunes by ear. The only thing making your playing sound good is the digital backing from the Clavinova. How exactly are you teaching your students to teach themselves? Are you not just showing them a few tunes and chords? Won't this leave them in the same position as you, not being able to learn anything independently and relying on someone showing them how it goes?

There also seems to be a lack of understanding about 'traditional' methods. Go and look at some of the method books in your store. How many books for beginners focus solely on 'Classical' repertoire? It is a myth that taking piano lessons must involve an unfriendly, harsh teacher who insists on nothing but Bach. You are fuelling this myth. Customers will come to your store to look at pianos. You will sell them a Clavinova and tell them not to bother with boring old traditional teachers. Much better to pay you to teach them to busk a few chords which sound great with the auto accompaniment. I agree that many people will buy into the idea that they can learn to play with little time and effort. The best bit is that you will never get found out as you send them on their way after 6 months. This way they will not have time to get fed up with the tuition they are receiving.

Last week I started a transfer student who had lessons for 3 years with a 'self taught' busker. She can play a few elementary tunes by ear. His approach was to sit next to her at the keyboard and show her 'it goes like this'. She can't read a note. Her technique is awful. The only way for her to improve further is to go back and put in some basic fundamental skills which are lacking. This will not be popular and I doubt she will like having to work at it. Her musical education is ruined.

Unfortunately there is no regulation in the piano teaching business so this kind of thing happens all to often. Many parents are clueless about what makes a good teacher. Of course they will be impressed by your 'noodling'. That's because they are not able to play anything themselves. They will believe whatever you tell them. Congratulations, you have found an easy way to make a bit of money on the side.

Some of the things you try to 'teach' are probably quite valid. All good teachers should include improvisation, playing by ear and from memory in their teaching. The repertoire should be appropriate and enjoyable for the student which means drawing from a wide variety of styles. But teaching this way alone is extremely limiting as you have found out yourself. Why should your students be denied the opportunity to learn to read, write and understand music? How would you feel if your English teachers neglected to get you reading and writing? Don't they have the right to learn correct posture and technique just in case they want to progress beyond a few chords and simple tunes? Do you not feel in the least bit guilty about selling them lessons which do not deliver an all round package?

I don't like to be the one to flame you but everyone else seems to be saying ‘it's great, go for it’. I’m sorry, but I think it is appalling that you charge top rates to teach something which you openly admit you are not very good at yourself.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#964291 - 11/10/07 07:30 AM 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
I think I have to agree with Chris here...

Also with the fact that you're encouraging parents to buy Clavinova on the basis of better piano action compared to 'cheaper uprights' is downright criminal. In what way are they better? I don't believe that any Clavinova has successfully replicated the piano action provided by ANY piano.

And besides, like Chris has mentioned, any DECENT teacher should be able to teach their students what YOU are teaching. Except the difference will be that they are able to teach them everything else PROPERLY such as timing

THIS is my opinion
_________________________
nUtChAi

Kawai K-5

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

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#964292 - 11/10/07 09:13 AM 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 agree with Chris. Classical training shouldn't be harsh and uncompromising. Classical training gives you the basics of music, which you are not doing. Help yourself help others - learn to read music, learn to look at a score and understand what's going on. Train your ear to hear and understand better.

What if they don't have their keyboard for transposition? What if they don't have any high-tech gadgets and all they have is a piano? Teaching transposition should take more than 30 seconds to show someone "here, push this button". Transposition takes work and an understanding of intervals, relationships, and chord structure. Only after you learn it the hard way can you do it the easy way.

The school I work at charges 22 per half hour lesson, with me seeing about 17 of that. What was the point of me spending my entire life learning music, playing this instrument, loving it, going to school for this career, when someone who doesn't know how to do any of what I can do can earn more than I?
_________________________
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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#964293 - 11/10/07 09:35 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11676
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Thank you, Chris, I couldn't have said it better myself! I am a 'traditional' piano teacher, but my kids lvoe me, and I do teach them how to play by ear, improvisation, composition, as well as good technique, musicality, and learning the classics. I let the kids choose thier pieces usually (except for the young beginners, they can pick some pieces but mostly I pick for them). Today we're having a group lesson and I've thought of some creative ways for us to improvise together using my piano, keyboard, and a xylophone. In todya's society, where everything is immediate gratification, it's very hard for kids to understand that good things are worth working at. Not only that, but if you're not willing to work at it, the results will be less fulfilling. Pianitis, it sounds to me as though you are teaching them how to use the Clavinova and accompaniment features, not piano. Why not call it something like instruction on how to use the Clavinova and leave the piano lessons to those who actually play and love to teach?
_________________________
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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#964294 - 11/10/07 09:43 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:
Originally posted by Chris H.:
[QB] Am I the only one here who thinks this situation is not good?

I don't want to judge you unfairly because I do not know you. However, there are a few comments in your posts that I have a problem with.
I am sure a few will.

 Quote:
Firstly you say that you are not really a pianist, can not read music and have no technique to speak of. Yet you are willing to take $50 an hour to teach others to play the piano. What is it that you are really teaching them? You said yourself that after many years you can't really play and are only able to pick out a few tunes by ear. The only thing making your playing sound good is the digital backing from the Clavinova. How exactly are you teaching your students to teach themselves? Are you not just showing them a few tunes and chords? Won't this leave them in the same position as you, not being able to learn anything independently and relying on someone showing them how it goes?
I am not a pianist in the sense of tradition. I am a "player." When I play, people think i know a lot more then I do. I tell them THEY can do what I do as I am not what THEY think I am. I can do this on the Yamaha or the Clavinova. For most people the Clavinova is far more fun. The "fun factor" is what I sell when I sell a Clav. I found there is a need to "complete the sale with some lessons"

My playing is what it is. Good to some terrible to others, Those who think it's good are the ones who want to learn as i have. They are not interested in traditional methods. Some actually fear those teachers. These are everyday folks who want to make music.

I teach students to teach themselves as I did. I learned formulas from a teacher and applied them in scales I was interested. No one showed me how to make a dm7 chord. I learned how to make them myself using what I learned in the 6 months i took lessons.. I give them a concept . They run with it asking questions along the way. I will teach them to read the staff if they want to know that. I teach what THEY want as opposed to what I want. After the basics.


 Quote:
There also seems to be a lack of understanding about 'traditional' methods. Go and look at some of the method books in your store. How many books for beginners focus solely on 'Classical' repertoire? It is a myth that taking piano lessons must involve an unfriendly, harsh teacher who insists on nothing but Bach. You are fuelling this myth. Customers will come to your store to look at pianos. You will sell them a Clavinova and tell them not to bother with boring old traditional teachers. Much better to pay you to teach them to busk a few chords which sound great with the auto accompaniment. I agree that many people will buy into the idea that they can learn to play with little time and effort. The best bit is that you will never get found out as you send them on their way after 6 months. This way they will not have time to get fed up with the tuition they are receiving.
That is the FIRST question I ask. I implore them to get "proper training" first. Many simply don't want it. People like easy.
The money adds value as well you need to understand after a few months they can move on if they chose. I don't "send them anywhere" I am not going to string them out longer then needed for what they want to do. Like any teacher once they have exceeded what I can help them they can go to another. Some have taken 4 lessons took off a month and come back for more.These people for the most part have already TRIED traditional teachers.

 Quote:
Last week I started a transfer student who had lessons for 3 years with a 'self taught' busker. She can play a few elementary tunes by ear. His approach was to sit next to her at the keyboard and show her 'it goes like this'. She can't read a note. Her technique is awful. The only way for her to improve further is to go back and put in some basic fundamental skills which are lacking. This will not be popular and I doubt she will like having to work at it. Her musical education is ruined.
Thats why I tell them they should try traditional methods FIRST. Most have. the other do not want to.

 Quote:
Unfortunately there is no regulation in the piano teaching business so this kind of thing happens all to often. Many parents are clueless about what makes a good teacher. Of course they will be impressed by your 'noodling'. That's because they are not able to play anything themselves. They will believe whatever you tell them. Congratulations, you have found an easy way to make a bit of money on the side.
"This kind of thing" is allowing more people to do something they NEVER thought they could do."This kind of thing apparently is needed. I could care less about the money. I'm fine in that regard. I ENJOY this. Why not do it free? Because when people pay they will work harder to get it. They ALREADY know what they are paying for. To play like me. Thats all they ask for.


 Quote:
Some of the things you try to 'teach' are probably quite valid. All good teachers should include improvisation, playing by ear and from memory in their teaching. The repertoire should be appropriate and enjoyable for the student which means drawing from a wide variety of styles. But teaching this way alone is extremely limiting as you have found out yourself. Why should your students be denied the opportunity to learn to read, write and understand music? How would you feel if your English teachers neglected to get you reading and writing? Don't they have the right to learn correct posture and technique just in case they want to progress beyond a few chords and simple tunes? Do you not feel in the least bit guilty about selling them lessons which do not deliver an all round package?
They are not denied anything. They know what they want and more importantly do not want. They do not want Mooonlight Sonata. There are many bliind piano players. Reading is not important. Reading is a skill in and of itself. IF they want to read I will send them to a teacher who will teach them to read. Again its all about them.IF they want to progress they are free to move to traditional methods. I do not "feel guilty" they come to me. I do not solicit. I give them what they want. You need to understand they do not want to become "pianints" They want to enjoy music their way, not mine.

 Quote:
I don't like to be the one to flame you but everyone else seems to be saying ‘it's great, go for it’. I’m sorry, but I think it is appalling that you charge top rates to teach something which you openly admit you are not very good at yourself.
I ask for all comments. Not just those who support me. Your's are relevant.Thank You. I take no offense. I am not giving flying lessons here. I'm teaching what I know. No more no less.

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#964295 - 11/10/07 09:56 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
 Quote:
Originally posted by Minaku:
What was the point of me spending my entire life learning music, playing this instrument, loving it, going to school for this career, when someone who doesn't know how to do any of what I can do can earn more than I? [/b]
You can hardly blame Pianitis for your career choices...
_________________________
No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

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#964296 - 11/10/07 10:46 AM 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
Chris said: "I don't like to be the one to flame you but everyone else seems to be saying ‘it's great, go for it’. I’m sorry, but I think it is appalling that you charge top rates to teach something which you openly admit you are not very good at yourself."

nUtChAi said: "besides, like Chris has mentioned, any DECENT teacher should be able to teach their students what YOU are teaching. Except the difference will be that they are able to teach them everything else PROPERLY such as timing"

Minaku said: "The school I work at charges 22 per half hour lesson, with me seeing about 17 of that. What was the point of me spending my entire life learning music, playing this instrument, loving it, going to school for this career, when someone who doesn't know how to do any of what I can do can earn more than I?"

Morodiene said: Why not call it something like instruction on how to use the Clavinova and leave the piano lessons to those who actually play and love to teach?

Betty says:
That's a possibility for it to be orientation of how to use the keyboard and a little noodling exploration of the keyboard, but teaching? Lessons? You call what you are proposing teaching? And, you charge what it took me 37 years to earn as a piano teacher? My goodness! How could we not be critical of this situation?

With 6 months of lessons under your belt, let me tell you, you are not ready to teach - you are confident, friendly, unfinished in piano study.

mahlzeit said to Minaku: "You can hardly blame Pianitis for your career choices..."

Betty says: No, there is no blame with our career choices, it is a calling and a passion, and we bring our natural talents and acquired skills with us as teachers and pianists after many, many years of investing in our education.

But we can be astonished at Pianitis career choice. The most outrageous thing to me is that Pianitis said, "I am not giving flying lessons here".

"Caveat Emptor".

Ka-ching!

Betty

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#964297 - 11/10/07 11:57 AM 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 are most of your students on digital pianos? I could see why there is an interest in lessons how to use one and all the features.

I do think it is interesting to hear about this market segment for music lessons that you describe as undisciplined or lacking attention span, or time. I could see why it might be mostly older people who have not had success in their youth.

But I also see the other side why some of the trained professional teachers are appalled to be placed in the same category as someone like yourself. I've had wonderful teachers of classical music who thought music reading, tempo notation, etc. should be accessible to all.

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#964298 - 11/10/07 12:04 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
This chappie is unashamedly selling Clavinovas ... the manufacturers have increased their sales potential by building in a punchy beat (variable rhythmic LH orchestral combos ... look ma ... no hands!) over which the novice can float a RH single-note melody ... in next to no time the gullible client is conned into thinking they are on to a good thing ... and will soon impress their friends with their keyboard talent ... and the salesman sensibly takes advantage of the situation ... and adds a charge of $50.00 per one-off lesson to sell his "play like me" gimmick ... and why not ... "there’s a sucker born every minute."

But, dear piano teachers ... in our bid to make our role more user-friendly ... I allowed myself to do a bit of thinking "outside of the box" ... it could have been the influence of today nostalgically playing "Singin’ In The Rain" by Nacio Herb Brown ... and picking up a decided similarity to the Chopin structural format ... a single-note melody over a rhythmic chord bass ... and found myself writing the following for your comment.

"I grew up on Tin Pan Alley hits ... and later graduated via Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and the rest of the amazing mix of master composers ... 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.

This elitist approach has sadly failed to take account of the overall march of development and ever-emerging musical genres ...

1830 Mendelssohn wrote Songs Without Words
1930 George and Ira Gershwin wrote Songs WITH Words

A lifetime's close analysis of the structures of all types of keyboard music suggests that the long-lived Tin Pan Alley hits are as deserving of honoured acclaim and study (in keeping with their popularity) as any under the "classical" heading."

Any thoughts on us playing down the rabid infection of "Fur Elise" and offering our students familiar music heard over the airwaves?

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#964299 - 11/10/07 12:09 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 nUtChAi:
I think I have to agree with Chris here...

Also with the fact that you're encouraging parents to buy Clavinova on the basis of better piano action compared to 'cheaper uprights' is downright criminal. In what way are they better? I don't believe that any Clavinova has successfully replicated the piano action provided by ANY piano.

And besides, like Chris has mentioned, any DECENT teacher should be able to teach their students what YOU are teaching. Except the difference will be that they are able to teach them everything else PROPERLY such as timing

THIS is my opinion [/b]
If you could see what some people are playing on you would know modern digital action is far better then upright. Any "DECENT" teacher should teach what i am teaching. But apparently for a few they are not teaching it it a manner people want. Timing is important I use the accompaniment as timing. Its far more interesting to them then the click of a metronome. There are many methods of teaching. All are valid if the student is happy and using the knowledge for their enjoyment. Again this is not Rocket Science or Sky Diving.

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#964300 - 11/10/07 12:22 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
You don't understand, Pianitis. What we are teaching - the "classical" school so to speak - is the ability to acquire and learn music through all forms, visual, aural, tactile. You teach aural and tactile and lack visual. There is a huge tradition of written music and your students would be sorely lacking in that tradition without the ability to read music.

It's like saying you can teach someone to read classic novels without actually reading, only through listening and mouthing the words as the audiobook runs over the iPod.

My students enjoy their lessons. I incorporate a lot of styles of music, build on their music theory, play games, do eurhythmics, all because these are a part of music learning. Don't get defensive now because this is what you asked for, coming to the piano teacher forum and asking if it's okay by us, those who have put their lives and their time to this intense and difficult study, for a novice to go ahead and teach people how to plink away at the keyboard.
_________________________
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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#964301 - 11/10/07 12:27 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 guest1013:
Pianitis are most of your students on digital pianos? I could see why there is an interest in lessons how to use one and all the features.

I do think it is interesting to hear about this market segment for music lessons that you describe as undisciplined or lacking attention span, or time. I could see why it might be mostly older people who have not had success in their youth.

But I also see the other side why some of the trained professional teachers are appalled to be placed in the same category as someone like yourself. I've had wonderful teachers of classical music who thought music reading, tempo notation, etc. should be accessible to all. [/b]
I have both in my home. Most of them are playing digital piano's. Some are just playing 61 key keyboards. The just want to make music. They do not want to be classical pianists, nor do they want to read music. I understand that. I was there. I did not have the discipline to "study" with an accomplished pianist. I paid someone who played in a lounge off fake books for a living.

I saw him and asked him if he could teach me to read chord charts like that. He said yes and it is the only reason I am still playing today. I realized there may be others like me after hearing from a Mom who told me her 15 year old has gone through 4 teachers. But still wants to play. I told her I would try to teach him in a way that he can play what he wants and assured her I was not a great player nor traditionally trained, but I would teach him what I knew. As far as the cost I came up with $25 a 1/2 hour because thats what the going rate for guitar lessons.

I see both sides. If there were no "students" who wanted to learn that way I would be watching 60 minutes on Sunday nights. Its not like these people are going to take lessons from a traditional teacher. Many have been there done that.

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#964302 - 11/10/07 12:39 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:
You don't understand, Pianitis. What we are teaching - the "classical" school so to speak - is the ability to acquire and learn music through all forms, visual, aural, tactile. You teach aural and tactile and lack visual. There is a huge tradition of written music and your students would be sorely lacking in that tradition without the ability to read music.

It's like saying you can teach someone to read classic novels without actually reading, only through listening and mouthing the words as the audiobook runs over the iPod.

My students enjoy their lessons. I incorporate a lot of styles of music, build on their music theory, play games, do eurhythmics, all because these are a part of music learning. Don't get defensive now because this is what you asked for, coming to the piano teacher forum and asking if it's okay by us, those who have put their lives and their time to this intense and difficult study, for a novice to go ahead and teach people how to plink away at the keyboard. [/b]
So we are supposed to let them go without the joy of music because they do not want to learn all forms of playing music? This is exactly what they don't want. They are the "customer.". I understand how some people may feel. My only defense is there are people who want this and are willing to pay for it. They have no interest in playing the written note. Nor did I. Maybe they will develop an interest, They will have to then find someone who is qualified to do that.

I am not asking for permission or an endorsement with this thread. I was asking for insight and especially to swap ideas with others who may be like minded. I already know and understand the arguments against. I have received a couple of positive PMs from those who apparently do not want to publicly come out and share.

BTW I also teach them how to use an electric keyboard and Clavinova. I also teach them how to record their music on computer using free multi track software. I do not tell them what they cannot do. I tell them what they can.

IF they want to learn Billy Joel's NY State of Mine. I will teach them how to hear it and how to play it using what they hear and the chords written.

I would like to share ideas with anyone who teaches this way. If there isn't anyone here so be it. The book How to Play the Piano Despite years of Lessons was a huge inspiration.

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#964303 - 11/10/07 12:55 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I thought the 'there's a sucker born every minute' comment was a bit on the harsh side.

This opinion may be unpopular, but if you can bring joy to your customers and that you communicate to them that will be certain limitations to your methods, I see nothing wrong.

The time you spend with them entitles you to compensation. If your customers don't think they're getting value from what you have to offer, I'd imagine they'd let you know pretty quickly.

I don't think different necessarily equals wrong.

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#964304 - 11/10/07 01:01 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:
This chappie is unashamedly selling Clavinovas ... the manufacturers have increased their sales potential by building in a punchy beat (variable rhythmic LH orchestral combos ... look ma ... no hands!) over which the novice can float a RH single-note melody ... in next to no time the gullible client is conned into thinking they are on to a good thing ... and will soon impress their friends with their keyboard talent ... and the salesman sensibly takes advantage of the situation ... and adds a charge of $50.00 per one-off lesson to sell his "play like me" gimmick ... and why not ... "there’s a sucker born every minute."
:D \:D I guess that about explains it. Thanks. \:D

The assumption is the "gullible" client is satisfying themselves not their teacher. Thats whats more important to me anyway. I charge $100 min for 4 1/2hr lesson block. First one is free,

Some "suckers" actually come back week after week.

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#964305 - 11/10/07 01:10 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 Akira:
I thought the 'there's a sucker born every minute' comment was a bit on the harsh side.

This opinion may be unpopular, but if you can bring joy to your customers and that you communicate to them that will be certain limitations to your methods, I see nothing wrong.

The time you spend with them entitles you to compensation. If your customers don't think they're getting value from what you have to offer, I'd imagine they'd let you know pretty quickly.

I don't think different necessarily equals wrong. [/b]
Somebody understands! Thank You.

I do tell them I cannot sight read. I cannot play the classics, I cannot teach them to play like anyone but me. They seem to want to do just that.

The way I started this is demoing Clavinovas. I played very very simple chord progressions in the left and let the arranger do all the work and then played an improvised melody over the top usually a soprano sax or another acoustic instruments as well as piano. They would come over and hear a lot. I turn the accompaniment of and show them I am playing simple chords in C and anything i do on the right will fit. Then they sit down and and THEY DO IT! They never thought they could play anything. They would ask if I could teach them more.

If they just have a piano. I could show them the same. The sane methods apply. And yes my time is worth what I charge even if my knowledge is not according to some. I do not solicit "business" People naturally look for the easy way. I provide it. Win Win.

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#964306 - 11/10/07 01:31 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
You might also consider posting in the adult beginner forum if you're looking for people who understand because there are a lot of people teaching themselves, seeking alternative approaches, software, etc, due to a variety of reasons.

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#964307 - 11/10/07 01:39 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 guest1013:
You might also consider posting in the adult beginner forum if you're looking for people who understand because there are a lot of people teaching themselves, seeking alternative approaches, software, etc, due to a variety of reasons. [/b]
I actually read a lot of that forum. Seems many there want to play the classics and learn the traditional way. They have made their choices. I have nothing to offer nor gain.

I do not know anyone who wants to play Chopin. I applaud anyone who has the fortitude and discipline to take lessons using established methods. I did not and enjoy playing as much as anyone.

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#964308 - 11/10/07 01:59 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...
 Quote:
1830 Mendelssohn wrote Songs Without Words
1930 George and Ira Gershwin wrote Songs WITH Words
Hey down there in the veldt, I can't let you sneak THAT one in. Mendelssohn was one of the most gifted musical geniuses to have ever walked the earth. Gershwin wrote nice songs. Stick that on your assagi!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#964309 - 11/10/07 02:02 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
We are talking apples and oranges here? People, or their parents, are aware they are not taking traditioal lessons on the keyboard? I have had very qualified classical piano teacher's. I also taught as an understudy to my classical piano teacher with her Master' Degree in Music Education. So my thinking is we are in two different worlds here. Each are of merit just different. I studied styles of piano playing all my life off and on, two instructors of piano did not read music, one played gospel and the other country, I wanted to learn all styles possible, chuckles...I could not learn from them as I was an academic reader of music, they were in another world of music to me. Nor did they know how to teach in my world. They did not understand me and I did not understand them. I had to hire a very educated and talented piano teacher to teach me improv finally and gave up on both of the instructors who could not read music. To discredit tradional piano teachers for other styles would just be silly and unworthy of discussion as you are our future in cultured music. We have many styles of piano and instruction but you have my vote... traditional. We need you always. Cheers... Sandy B
_________________________
Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#964310 - 11/10/07 02:49 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
Pianitis:

It's interesting to me that you said, "I am not giving flying lessons here". Then you said, "Again this is not Rocket Science or Sky Diving."

What about "this is not the practice of medicine, psychotherapy, income tax preparation, engineering, large equipment operators, mechanics, nuclear physics.

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.

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!

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.

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#964311 - 11/10/07 02:57 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3443
Loc: Western Canada
There are lots of good piano players out there who never took classical lessons.

My understanding is that good classically trained teachers hand pick only those who look like they have huge potentional, so a lot of kids who don't make the cut are left out!

My jazz/blues teacher, who is very successful, was kicked out of piano lessons, as a child, by his classical trained teacher because he was playing by ear, and not reading the music. His parents took him to a player much like yourself, and he became hugely successful playing at piano bars, gigs, and entertainment venues. Amazing player!

If you are honest with the parents and let them know what you will be teaching them, then be bold, and teach them everything you know! Who knows, they may want to continue and take classical later for some reason. But if they don't, and they are having fun! Go for it!
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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