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#964522 - 11/14/07 05:02 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
Posted by Pete the Bean:

"I belong to the local teachers group. It seems that most of them do stick to a rigid method. I am trying to change that from inside but I do not see much acceptance to broadening their perspective by the members of the group. Student numbers are going down, by the hundreds at 1 local retailer. I am assuming it is because the teachers are not meeting the demands of their pupils."

This is not the case at all in my area. There are some underqulaified and subprofessional teachers, true enough. But the teachers (99% of them at least) that are in the local MTA are very openminded and are full of fun ideas. We actually have too many students who want lessons in our area, and too few teachers. We are all filled to capacity and our events are always successful. we are now dealing with the problem of having too few teachers to meet the demand for lessons.
_________________________
private piano instructor

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#964523 - 11/14/07 05:25 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Well where do I start after wading through the best of 10 pages.

First thing I see is that teaching an art form that at it's best is a gift one is born with and secondly quoting unique pianists like Erroll Garner's style can be easy to copy is never been anything I've ever heard anyone do. Close yes, but that man Erroll was unique and I stand by that definition of the word unique.

I see nothing wrong with the work Pianitis is doing and I'm sure his pupils are happy.

I play by ear and by 'seeing'the sounds presented in black and white on the piano / acoustic or digital with the latter much easier to play.

As I have said before on other topics, it's like singing you use your musical sub-conscious brain by recalling your memory of the piece and knowing the pure sound of the octave and all the individual notes and chord formations, your hands or your vocal chords in singing, produce the sounds to make music. Its all in the memory and connections to the instrument by fingers or simply voice.

In the case of piano. The keyboard is the key. I'm sure there are better ways, as proper teaching gives. But having started from a child that had a mother that also played by ear,is it not perhaps a gene you are born with ?

Alan (swingal)

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#964524 - 11/14/07 08:27 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Musictuary Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 169
Loc: Aurora, Illinois, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by kritta:
Whew! What a large body of work this thread is! I just wanted to comment on something that was said a couple of pages ago:


Originally posted by Musictuary:

 Quote:
So hopefully my children will not suffer the way I did when I did lessons as a child. (It was not uncommon for some of the children who took lessons from this teacher to come to the lessons in tears and leave the lessons in tears as well. While I don't recall crying at lessons for many years even as an adult I felt like a complete moronic idiot around the piano thanks to this teacher's constant putdowns.)
[/b]

Here's a good question ... If lessons were so painful for you with this teacher WHY DID YOU STAY WITH HER? I think that it is horrible for a teacher to treat her students in the way that you describe, but I'd have to say that part of the blame for such an unpleasant experience lies with the student and student's parents for staying with her. I would hope that if lessons with me were causing a student to "suffer", that the student would find another teacher! (and I'd like to think that I could tell if a student thought their lessons were absolute torture, and recommend that they try another teacher or another instrument before any permanent damage was done). Why would a teacher keep a student that was obviously miserable, and why would a student/student's parents stay with such a teacher? [/b]
Just some clarification.

I did not grow up in the US but in the West Indies. When I was a child over 30 years ago in the WI the word of an adult especially that of a teacher was highly respected. I did tell my parents that I was not happy with the teacher but was nevertheless encouraged to continue because it would come in handy when I became an adult, etc, etc. My take on my parents reaction was that it was a good idea if you were a middle class professional WI family to have your child take piano lessons. Therefore I continued piano lessons. In a nutshell the choice really wasn't mine to decide whether I was going to stop. I was going to take lessons to its natural conclusion. I finally got out of lessons when this teacher suffered a stroke and could no longer teach and I finally told my parents I had enough with lessons. There were things that all three parties - the teacher, my parents, and I could have done differently. Thirty years later I don't hold any ill-feelings towards this music teacher because I strongly believe that the rapid changes that occurred during the early 70s in that particular country's economy (hint: reggae island) may have have had a serious financial impact on her personal situation and thus on her personality. I don't blame my parents because they grew up in a time when the teacher knew best. I don't blame myself because I was just a child. What did I know?

Anyway this isn't about me so fast-forward 30 years later... What Pianitis is doing is no different from the numerous play piano by ear courses discussed from time to time on the ABF. Adult learners tend to be drawn to these courses so there is a demand for these courses. Since the "traditional" teachers have indicated that piano pedagogy has come a long way from thirty years ago in that beginning students learn what Pianitis is teaching plus the more traditional instruction, it would certainly be more beneficial for beginning students particulaly children to seek instruction from a more "traditional" teacher. This approach is the better approach. I recognize that there will be a demand for what Pianitis is doing. I also do not have a problem with that. Even with my musical baggage, I prefer a more traditional approach for myself and for my children when they are old enough to take lessons.

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#964525 - 11/14/07 11:33 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 550
Loc: U.S.A.
Musictuary - You said something very important when you mentioned the Adult Beginners Forum, which is another forum on this website. I think Pianitis would have a nicer time if he posted with the Adult Beginners Forum. Afterall, he does consider himself a beginner, in a certain sense; he knows of his inadequacies.

Come to think of it, he would probably enjoy the Non-Classical forums as well as the Digital Pianos and Keyboards forums as well. He might find like-minded people there who would love to talk about recording equipment and non-traditional topics.

What I am saying here is the BIG problem with Pianitis is that he chose the TEACHERS FORUM. He decided that a piano salesman that decides there's a market for him to teach QUALIFIES him to call himself a teacher.

You see, basically there is a moral question here as well. He is an opportunist who has decided to teach just because he can get away with it. Since people don't know enough to make an intelligent decision he can just step right in and take advantage of the situation and make a little easy money out of the whole thing.

The only good news here is that we live in a free country and you can't get thrown in jail for an immoral act.

Just look at Bill Clinton, for an example.

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#964526 - 11/14/07 11:34 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
DeepElem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/06
Posts: 366
Loc: USA
Fascinating thread. May I compliment everyone on being civil thoughout the discussion of this obviously passionate issue (with the exception of maybe a couple of borderline comments).

There's a lot of talk from the teachers in this thread about how they have all types of techniques, and how they adapt to the needs of the students, and how they are fine with any style the student is interested in.

So I'm curious, would you take on an adult student who came to you and said:

- I only want to play songs from leadsheets
- I only want to play pop and jazz standards
- I don't want to do "exercises", I only want to learn techniques in the context of a song
_________________________
-Buck
------
If you knew what you were doing, you'd probably be bored.
- Fresco's Law

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#964527 - 11/15/07 01:02 AM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Pete the bean Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 450
Loc: Canada
Deep Elem: My specialty. And I am currently finishing a book on the topic.
You might be surprised how much you would learn about how music gets put together and could probably do a harmonic analysis of a mozart sonata on the fly if you put a little effort into the lead sheets I gave you. Then you might decide you like mozart and want to learn some "real music". Then if you advanced enough that I thought I was over my head, I would recommend you to a teacher who made Mozart their specialty. Sort of what Pianitis says he does....

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#964528 - 11/15/07 08:04 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
DeepElem:

I *have* had students who came to me saying that, and I've been happy to teach them. I love the standards of old and am delighted to delve into the sounds and how they're made. I don't force them into something they don't want to do. When they want more advanced jazz theory, then I'll help them find a jazz pianist who can teach them.

I currently have students playing mostly classical music to whom I've also assigned arrangements of jazz standards. I have plenty of kids who don't know these old songs and I think it's a crime not to be familiar with them. I see it as a duty to know the musical heritage of our country, and well, it's also sad that they won't know and love songs like "A Nightingale in Berkeley Square" or "A-Train". So out comes the jazz history, chord-building, lead sheet reading, etc.
_________________________
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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#964529 - 11/15/07 08:46 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
Posted my Musictuary:

 Quote:

Just some clarification.

I did not grow up in the US but in the West Indies. When I was a child over 30 years ago in the WI the word of an adult especially that of a teacher was highly respected. I did tell my parents that I was not happy with the teacher but was nevertheless encouraged to continue because it would come in handy when I became an adult, etc, etc. My take on my parents reaction was that it was a good idea if you were a middle class professional WI family to have your child take piano lessons. Therefore I continued piano lessons. In a nutshell the choice really wasn't mine to decide whether I was going to stop. I was going to take lessons to its natural conclusion. I finally got out of lessons when this teacher suffered a stroke and could no longer teach and I finally told my parents I had enough with lessons. There were things that all three parties - the teacher, my parents, and I could have done differently. Thirty years later I don't hold any ill-feelings towards this music teacher because I strongly believe that the rapid changes that occurred during the early 70s in that particular country's economy (hint: reggae island) may have have had a serious financial impact on her personal situation and thus on her personality. I don't blame my parents because they grew up in a time when the teacher knew best. I don't blame myself because I was just a child. What did I know?
[/b]

Thanks for the clarification, Musictuary. I guess its hard for me to understand how different the state of music lessons was in a different time and place.

I guess we've come a "long way" \:\)
_________________________
private piano instructor

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#964530 - 11/15/07 08:57 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
Posted by DeepElem:

 Quote:

So I'm curious, would you take on an adult student who came to you and said:

- I only want to play songs from leadsheets
- I only want to play pop and jazz standards
- I don't want to do "exercises", I only want to learn techniques in the context of a song
[/b]

Yes, I certainly would. In fact, I do teach my adult students how to do this (and many other things as well). I had an 80-year-old student (who, sadly, passed away last year) that I taught for 3 years. She only wanted to learn music that she recognized, and this was mostly old standards, jazz, blues, and showtunes from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. I was certainly happy to teach her only this music -- but she learned how to play it to the best of her ability (she also learned the scales and chords that went along with her pieces). -- and (you won't believe this one!) she played Hanon to improve her coordination!!!
It was a joy to me to be able to help her (or any adult) enjoy music and make it a part of their life again (for her, after more than 60 years of not playing).

However, I would definitely not teach a child this way. They need a well-rounded education that will provide them with a foundation to achieve whatever they will ever want in their life (we do not know all of what that will be, and neither do they -- so they should be prepared to do anything).

The 80-year-old was never going to decide to major in music, or to take up a position as a church musician, or decide to teach music in school -- she just wanted something else to enjoy.
_________________________
private piano instructor

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#964531 - 11/15/07 01:35 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
DeepElem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/06
Posts: 366
Loc: USA
It's very encouraging to hear "traditional" teachers willing to take on a student like me \:\)

I was under the impression that most teachers would not want a student that didn't want to read full blown arrangements. That kind of student was left to the "jazz teacher", which seem to be few and far between.

I think there are a lot of adults out there that want to do just as your 80 year old student wanted kritta, to play music they know.

So many people I "talk" to (internet) about this don't want any part of a teacher that gives them stuff to learn that is not music they know. This includes things for building technique, coordination, whatever. They all understand that what the teacher is trying to do is probably the best path to becoming the best pianist they can be, but they would rather not play the piano than to do all of those drills and exercises.

Contrary to some opinions expressed in this thread, I think there are a LARGE number of these adults (not children) out there. To say to those adults if you don't want to learn the right way then I won't teach you is horrible. Fortunately it looks like there are teachers out there that are willing to work within the limitations of what an adult student wants to do, even if it is clearly not the best way to learn the piano.

To me Pianitis is offering something that only fits the people I describe. Some teachers here not withstanding, there just doesn't seem to be many piano teachers out there willing to teach to people like that, so I think what Pianitis is doing is great because it helps those people out.
_________________________
-Buck
------
If you knew what you were doing, you'd probably be bored.
- Fresco's Law

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#964532 - 11/15/07 01:45 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1520
DeepElem

I agree, nothing wrong with non-traditional teachers. Most people now days are from "the coddled generation", meaning that they require constant or instant rewards and gratification. They are also pretty adverse to serious work without quick success. Music is a casual hobby for 99.9 % of the people. Playing an instrument is ranked among the lowest of priorities.

I teach the traditional classical method but with an emphasis on reading and repertoire and less on exercises and drills. I actually prefer to teach jazz piano to classical players and beginners ... AND I also will teach non-traditional for those types that don't want to read and are just in it for quick and low effort results. I even tutor or "coach" hip hip wanna-be "producers" (producer means a guy with a Yamaha synth with no music skills who dream of some studio success) , those wanna-be "producers" are really lazy about keyboard skill developement.
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#964533 - 11/15/07 02:29 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
DeepElem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/06
Posts: 366
Loc: USA
rintincop, I think there is some amount of "the coddled generation" factoring in certainly, but I think far more often it is adult people making choices about something that is as you describe a "casual hobby".

This has come up before in this thread (jeez, what hasn't ;\) ) and I know keyboardklutz can't imagine anyone taking up even a "casual hobby" without the intent or desire to become as good as they can be (time being the limiting factor), but I think most people are making a choice here. They are saying:

"I want to do this hobby, but I only want to do what I perceive as the fun part. It is not important enough to me among all my priorities to put in the hard work that needs to be done to truly become the best I can be"

I don't think there's anything wrong with that approach. The more people getting enjoyment from the piano the better, even if they never get past hack amateur (like me \:\) )
_________________________
-Buck
------
If you knew what you were doing, you'd probably be bored.
- Fresco's Law

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#964534 - 11/15/07 03:02 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11427
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I don't think the criticism is over the students, but over the "piano teacher," and what constitutes a piano teacher vs. a person who can show you how to use your digital piano.

Most piano teachers I know will teach a variety of styles and accomodate all sorts of different goals that thier students have. Many of them do not expect their students to pursue music seriously.
_________________________
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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#964535 - 11/15/07 04:31 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 Morodiene:
I don't think the criticism is over the students, but over the "piano teacher," and what constitutes a piano teacher vs. a person who can show you how to use your digital piano.

Most piano teachers I know will teach a variety of styles and accomodate all sorts of different goals that thier students have. Many of them do not expect their students to pursue music seriously. [/b]
I can assure you as an (apparently highly)paid teacher of any keyboarded instrument, I teach far more than how to operate a Clavinova. I have students that only have acoustic pianos. Only 3 have a CVP Clavinova. Clavinova lessons are free and I do them in the store for our customers. Playing them is another thing.

The real issue as I see it is I should not be paid "the going rate" for what I don't know and did not study and others should be paid more because they can play Polichinelle by "Rocky" perfectly the first time. Those in agreement with that expect to be paid for knowledge and skills they will never impart to 99% of their students. I do not get paid for that. I only get paid for what I know at the moment it's transferred, After that's exhausted, the serious student as most serious players will, go find a specialized teacher for the next level they want to achieve.

Of course if I have not ruined or injured them.....

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#964536 - 01/24/08 07:55 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
keithmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/07
Posts: 129
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Ear training can be good as part of an overall piano program for a student. The trick comes in being able to structure the student each week, both in the lesson and for the six days they aren't there. Some students, not many, will really just want an ear approach, as in a gospel student or a beginning senior who wants to learn to play the blues. But most students need the structure of a method series and the gradual improvement from this. Just my opinion. \:\)
_________________________
Keith Phillips

www.keithphillips.net
Piano technique for all levels
www.keithphillips.net/AdvancedPianoSecrets.htm

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#964537 - 01/24/08 07:58 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
keithmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/07
Posts: 129
Loc: Atlanta, GA
In my experience it's much more of a challenge to teach the ear approach for an extended period of time. Bad habits come into play due to the lack of overall organization of instruction and playing. It's harder to track progress by the teacher since much of the progress is occurring at the subconcious level of the student. And when bad habits occur at this subconcious level it's a challenge for the teacher to track those and improve them.
_________________________
Keith Phillips

www.keithphillips.net
Piano technique for all levels
www.keithphillips.net/AdvancedPianoSecrets.htm

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#964538 - 01/24/08 09:33 PM Re: Self taught piano player teaching non traditional methods due to need...
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11427
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I thought we finally got rid of this thread!
_________________________
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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