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#964703 - 06/08/05 11:04 AM Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
hiracer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 293
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
My oldest son turned 13 last week. He started piano at age four. He is a good player. He is looking to branch out from classical, maybe to jazz. I think his favorite composer right now is Grieg.

We feel that he has outgrown his current teacher. His current teacher has primarily young children ages 4 through 11 as students. My son has been with her for 3 years.

He had a gifted teacher when we lived in Alaska, and, boy, did that make a difference.

We also have another son who turned 9 yesterday. He has been taking lessons for 4 years. We would like have him take lessons from the same new teacher. This boy also plays the cello.

Can anybody recommend a teacher for us? We live north of Seattle, by Everett.

We have been looking but have not found anybody. I need help. Thanks in advance.
_________________________
John, and my two sons play an Estonia 190 and a Samick upright.

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#964704 - 06/08/05 11:25 AM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
[QUOTE]Originally posted by hiracer:
[QB] We feel that he has outgrown his current teacher. His current teacher has primarily young children ages 4 through 11 as students. My son has been with her for 3 years.

What make you or your son feel that he has out grown his teacher? Becuase all of his teacher's student are younger than 13?

He had a gifted teacher when we lived in Alaska, and, boy, did that make a difference.

What did the previous do that's different from the current one? what is the difference?

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#964705 - 06/09/05 12:58 PM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
pianocliff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/05
Posts: 398
Loc: Washington, DC Metro
You may want to check out the Washington State Music Teacher\'s Assocition ...By e-mailing or contacting a local representative in your area I am sure you can get a list of certified teachers...

~pianocliff

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#964706 - 06/13/05 10:32 AM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
hiracer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 293
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
 Quote:
Originally posted by princessclara2005:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by hiracer:
[QB] We feel that he has outgrown his current teacher. His current teacher has primarily young children ages 4 through 11 as students. My son has been with her for 3 years.

What make you or your son feel that he has out grown his teacher? Becuase all of his teacher's student are younger than 13?

He had a gifted teacher when we lived in Alaska, and, boy, did that make a difference.

What did the previous do that's different from the current one? what is the difference? [/b]
His current teacher does not expect enough out of him. He never polishes recital pieces, or other pieces, to the level we know he is capable of. From prior experience, we know he is capable of being a better player. His music is much more complex and difficult, but the level of musicality has gone down. The expectations have been lowered.

One of the best measures of a teacher, IMO, is to attend their recitals. If the bulk of the students play beautiful music, regardless of their skill level, you have found a good teacher. Good teachers go beyond the notes and teach how to make music. Sounds obvious, but is infrequently done, in my experience.
_________________________
John, and my two sons play an Estonia 190 and a Samick upright.

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#964707 - 06/13/05 11:51 AM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
ah...this is just a thought....

are you sure it's his teacher that has lowered expectations, or if it's your son that not so crazy about doing the best in piano?

I understand that some childen has great talents, and is capable of doing great, but they don't see piano is the No. 1 on the list, though a lot of parents do.

Attending recitals are great, but if he is not invited, have you thought about maybe the teacher has better players there is not enough room to host everyone but only the better ones?

I totally agree with you that good teachers go beyond the notes and teach how to make music, that is the best line I have ever heard from a parent.

I don't know all the details, this is just my thought from few lines of the post. Please don't feel offended if I have said negativally about your son.

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#964708 - 06/13/05 05:05 PM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
hiracer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 293
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
Thanks for your thoughts. My son is his teacher's second best student, by far. The best is her son, who is 1.5 years older. My son plays all the recitals, as he has become her calling card.

My son loves the attention and positve reinforcemen that comes from being "somebody." Piano has made him a big man on campus in many venues: Boy Scout talent shows, church functions, school (he is the pianist for his middle school choir), charity shows, etc. He very much likes that.

My son is starting to get professional gigs. He is 13. He has been known to be the only child performer in some venues. (The rest being Julliard graduates, etc.)

Just last weekend he played at a Greig recital that was by invitation only, with the competition to play open to all students in the state under the age of 18. Only 21 students in the entire state were choosen to play.

But he is not the player we know he can be. He can play well, but from prior experience we know he can do better.
_________________________
John, and my two sons play an Estonia 190 and a Samick upright.

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#964709 - 06/13/05 05:10 PM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
hiracer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 293
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
OK, I was bragging, but I couldn't help it. I'm a proud father. Actually, I left out the time he placed third in state competition when he was 8, against the up-to-14 year old crowd. But now I'm really bragging.

Also, I know this is going to sound like a really pushy parent. Not true. But I've been a piano Dad long enough to know when a young man has outgrown his teacher. The biggest problem is that I've seen (heard) the "before" and the "after."

Teachers matter. A lot.
_________________________
John, and my two sons play an Estonia 190 and a Samick upright.

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#964710 - 06/13/05 06:41 PM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
Anna G Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Norman, OK
O, I understand you completely! I am teaching the piano and my oldest son, whom I am teaching as well, got an invitation to participate in the Bartok-Kabalevsky International Piano Competition, when he was just 3! I am so sorry you live so far... :-) May be you should talk to some professors from university or music college in your area. I think your son needs someone who is REALLY professional. If you would find someone who studied in Moscow, Russia (where I came from by the way) with Heinrich Neuhaus, or even who is a student of some of his students, it would be the best. Heinrich Neuhaus was a professor in Moscow Conservatory. His students were always showing a great musicality. I think it would be enough just to name 2 of many - Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels. I myself was fortunate to study with professor Yury Piterin, a student of this great teacher. And everywhere I played juges or critics were talking about my musicality. Now I hear the same thing about my students!

Good luck to you!

PS Do not feel bad about bragging. :-) I really would not call it like that. It is more like sharing your joy with others! :-) I am also very proud of my children and students. So, why not to tell about them to people? It could be an inspiration for some. :-) Once again - good luck!

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#964711 - 06/14/05 10:23 AM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Sounds like you need to get him into the prepatory programs in the conservatories in the nation, I guess you will have to audition for that, like Julliard, Peabody....if you think that's future for him as a musician, or I guess you can ask if any conservatories professiors will take private students, but none of these schools are in the Seattle area, maybe you can consider moving? or to fly there to have monthly lessons.

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#964712 - 06/14/05 03:02 PM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
kimdoan2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 41
My son is 10 and gave his debut (solo) recital last month, after 6 long years of working hard on the piano. The program is very much standard for a formal recital, lasting 90 minutes included intermission. IMHO, neither his teacher nor he is gifted -- just dedication to and concentration on the tasks at hand. In fact, she has the lowest tuition rate in town and virtually unknown. I know some "gifted" teachers who charge $90/hour (I live in an average standard cost of living area in the country). So, instead of wondering about the giftedness part, go out there and interview some teachers. I'm sure you know when you find one.

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#964713 - 06/14/05 03:06 PM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
Anna G Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Norman, OK
kimdoan2, may you, please, write the program of your son's recital? It is just very interesting!

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#964714 - 06/15/05 09:30 AM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
hiracer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 293
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
 Quote:
Originally posted by princessclara2005:
Sounds like you need to get him into the prepatory programs in the conservatories in the nation, I guess you will have to audition for that, like Julliard, Peabody....if you think that's future for him as a musician, or I guess you can ask if any conservatories professiors will take private students, but none of these schools are in the Seattle area, maybe you can consider moving? or to fly there to have monthly lessons. [/b]
Thank you. There are decent performing art schools in Seattle, e.g., Cornish and U of WA, but we don't really see his future in music, and at this point he does not either. Science or math, maybe. (His mother is an aerospace engineer.) Piano is just part of who he is and what he does.

Of course, his career is his decision.

I'm just a typical father who wants the best for his sons.
_________________________
John, and my two sons play an Estonia 190 and a Samick upright.

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#964715 - 06/15/05 10:00 AM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
hiracer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 293
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
 Quote:
Originally posted by kimdoan2:
My son is 10 and gave his debut (solo) recital last month, after 6 long years of working hard on the piano. The program is very much standard for a formal recital, lasting 90 minutes included intermission. IMHO, neither his teacher nor he is gifted -- just dedication to and concentration on the tasks at hand. In fact, she has the lowest tuition rate in town and virtually unknown. I know some "gifted" teachers who charge $90/hour (I live in an average standard cost of living area in the country). So, instead of wondering about the giftedness part, go out there and interview some teachers. I'm sure you know when you find one. [/b]
My two sons have had three piano teachers, one violin teacher, and one cello teacher. My wife has had two cellos teachers. Growing up I had maybe three piano teachers and one classical guitar teacher. Right now I'm with a classical guitar teacher.

This exposure has taught me that the correlation between reputation and actual teaching skill is not as strong as one might initially think. Some teachers have a great reputation, and it's deserved. Sometimes, however, the teacher looks good on paper, and is a wonderful performer, but actual teaching skills are only average.

My son's prior piano teacher who I called gifted was not even a "real" piano player. Her axe was the flute!! But she knew a lot about teaching, and enough about piano that we miss her every day.

Moral: Teaching is a skill that is separate and apart from the skill of playing an instrument. To be sure, you can't teach if you can't play, but I'll take a virtuoso teacher over a virtuoso permfomer any day.

And I agree 100% with your implication: the proof is in the recital.

One of the things that the old teacher did that we liked so much was to require her students to perform a solo recital of the entire book each time the student finished a piano book. It's a wonderful thing for a student to play from memory so many pieces, and so well, so polished. Plus, it teaches the student what they are fully capable of. Not to mention amazes the audience. And the effect on self esteem cannot be underestimated, especially because these recitals are attended by friends of the student. Motiviting students to practice becomes MUCH easier.

It's this kind of high bar and insightful psychology that we miss.

Sounds like you have found a wonderful teacher, and I'm happy for you and your son. You don't fully appreciate something like that until it's gone. Trust me.
_________________________
John, and my two sons play an Estonia 190 and a Samick upright.

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#964716 - 06/15/05 10:21 AM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
LOL...where are the highly dedicated and motivated students and families? In the past 4 years of teaching, I have learned to lowered my standard, since most of the family or students are complaining about it became too hard to study music.....performing an entire book by memory is out of the question....90% of them don't even spend more than 1 hour in one week at piano, and 99% of them when they do manage to practice, don't know what do practice.

I work for a music school, where keeping the students in the program is far more important than raising the bars of learning an instrument....it's kind of sad.

Most of the parents are so eager to have their children participating in recitals, but majority of them don't know the real purpose of recital, recital is a moment to show the good result from hard work, not a moment for pictures.

Your post makes me think a lot about how little knowledge that people have about music, and music education.

However, I do have a question regarding the previous teacher, it is possible that someone can be amazing teachers, but not an amazing player, but her main instrument is flute, does that diminish a bit as a piano teacher? speaking from personal experience, I majored in piano, but I can play a bit organ, violin, and cello, I can say few things about those instruments, but I wouldn't attempt to teach the student in long term, since there are specific technics that need to be emphasised which I am no expert, and even I do consider myself a decent teacher.

just a thought....

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#964717 - 06/15/05 11:48 AM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
hiracer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 293
Loc: Puget Sound, WA
Our initial teacher would only teach piano up to a certain level of proficiency and then she would hand the student over to a teacher who specilized in "advanced" students. She knew and respected her limits--another sign of a really good teacher. My son at age 8, when we moved from Alaska, had already been introduced to the "advanced" teacher and we knew the hand-off was comming, but not sure when. But then we ruined everything and moved.

BTY, my oldest (now 13) practices only 45 minutes a day and the youngest (9) only 40 minutes a day. But we rarely ever miss a day of practice and force them to make it up if we do. We are very consistent.

I believe it was Tiger Woods' father who said, "Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." I agree. Quality is much more important than quantity.
_________________________
John, and my two sons play an Estonia 190 and a Samick upright.

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#964718 - 06/19/05 07:41 PM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
drcha Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 129
My teacher Robert Swan, in Sammamish, is excellent. He teaches classical, not jazz.

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#964719 - 07/06/05 05:03 PM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
opus119 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 314
Have you looked into the Seattle Conservatory? their website is seattleconservatory.org. Some of the best musicians come out of this program. It's on Saturdays during the school year. They do theory, chamber music and lessons. Plus, they are surrounded by other talented kids.
i know you live in Everett, but you will probably have to be hauling your son into the Seattle area if you hope to have him study with one of the top teachers in the area. I think you are probably correct that your son is ready to move on to a more demanding teacher. I have heard of Robert Swan, as mentioned above. He is supposed to be a great teacher. Don't allow your children to become lazy or complacent about music. If they are not being challenged and having demands placed on them, then they are probably not reaching their potentials. Kids need to be kicked in the butt and have high expectations placed upon them. An astute parent and teacher can tell when the line is being crossed - i.e. severe anxiety, loss of interest, feigning illness before a recital, etc. Most kids who have a calling require pressure and being moved along at a rapid pace and they thrive on the challenges. Good luck finding the best mentor for your son!

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#964720 - 07/06/05 07:49 PM Re: Looking for gifted teacher in Seattle area
pagnini Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/01/05
Posts: 67
[QUOTE]

I believe it was Tiger Woods' father who said, "Practice does not make perfect."


It was actually Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi (1913-70), American football coach that said this quote. Citation-
http://www.quoteworld.org/search.php?thetext=practice&page=2
_________________________
"I wish the government would put a tax on pianos for the incompetent."

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