"I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!"

Posted by: Spacetone

"I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 02:27 AM

What is something that the average piano student is still being taught, or not being taught, that irks you?
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 02:30 AM

I think it's a difficult question, given there is so much variety amongst piano instruction - to pick one "average" thing. If I had to pick one thing that irks me most, it's students never having been made to read notes and just playing by finger numbers or position.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 03:07 AM

It is a pity that most students being given classical piano lessons are no longer taught in an integral fashion to improvise and in fact may be strongly discouraged from exercising any kind of creative license. Piano lessons too often risk turning musical children away from music rather than allowing them to blossom as spontaneous, creative musicians rather than Clementi and Czerny typing automatons.
Posted by: ten left thumbs

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 03:48 AM

It irritates me that primers still insist on both thumbs sharing middle C, at least for a time. Students find it hard! And it is of absolutely no benefit. For all real beginner and intermediate music, there is no need to two fingers to hover over the same note.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 05:41 AM

"...
What is something that the average piano student is still being taught, or not being taught, that irks you?
..."

What is funny is that students think that they must play fast, practice fast - and how long takes students to learn that they have play and practice slowly without errors.

Also, it takes students a very long time, before they learn to listen to their playing.

Teacher all have different things that they teach in a certain way and that will always be the case, but so, too, students can vary from some insruction over time and with experience.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 06:02 AM

^ ^
What TLT said.
Posted by: Exalted Wombat

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 07:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Michael_99
What is funny is that students think that they must play fast, practice fast - and how long takes students to learn that they have play and practice slowly without errors.


Well, they're told often enough!

I'm more worried by the adult learners who decide they CAN'T play to a metronome, so stop trying. But the self-erected barriers of an adult learner are a huge subject!
Posted by: jampff

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 01:52 PM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
It is a pity that most students being given classical piano lessons are no longer taught in an integral fashion to improvise and in fact may be strongly discouraged from exercising any kind of creative license. Piano lessons too often risk turning musical children away from music rather than allowing them to blossom as spontaneous, creative musicians rather than Clementi and Czerny typing automatons.


I one hundred percent agree with this! I think a major issue is the false impression that "either you're born with it, or you're not..."

By the way, I'm new to the Piano World forums, and I'm really excited to learn as much as I can here, and especially to grow as a teacher.
Posted by: adultpianist

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 02:38 PM

Sometimes I still write the letter above the note as a guide. My teacher does not say anything. Isn't that cheating and isn't that not forcig me to recognise the note as a note and not a letter.
Posted by: woodog

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 03:41 PM

Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Sometimes I still write the letter above the note as a guide. My teacher does not say anything. Isn't that cheating and isn't that not forcig me to recognise the note as a note and not a letter.


It's certainly not cheating anymore than looking up a word in the dictionary is cheating when you don't know the definition.

Not only that, but the very act of writing the note name above the notation is learning.

Forrest
Posted by: Exalted Wombat

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 03:51 PM

Originally Posted By: adultpianist
Sometimes I still write the letter above the note as a guide. My teacher does not say anything. Isn't that cheating and isn't that not forcig me to recognise the note as a note and not a letter.


Even an advanced player might write the letter over a note on lots of ledger lines which was not easy to read. If what you're doing helps enable a fluent performance, who's arguing? If you're slightly embarrassed about doing it - well you know what the answer is :-)
Posted by: Candywoman

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 05:09 PM

I still can't believe the number of transfer students who let go the pedal before the new note or chord. One of the first things I teach transfer students is syncopated pedaling.

Also, many students do not hold long notes for the correct length of time. Their teachers teach them ta-a-a-a, or 1-2-3-4 but it would be much better for them to sing ta-ya-ya-ya.
Posted by: Ragdoll

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 05:59 PM

Quote:
It irritates me that primers still insist on both thumbs sharing middle C, at least for a time. Students find it hard! And it is of absolutely no benefit.


All due respect tlt but I think there is a place for this technique. When two are playing duet on the same instrument the melody is usually played 8va. I usually just play the note with one or the other and don't really "hover" over it.

What do your students find difficult? And BTW I'm not a teacher, just curious. grin
Posted by: ten left thumbs

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 06:27 PM

Most lesson books have, at some early point, both thumbs playing middle C in turn, while finger 5 of each hand is over treble G and bass F.

It forces the beginning student to confront two things, that could well wait: (1) having a finger/thumb hover near a note while at rest, then move into position to play and (2) reading middle C on the two clefs, which are illogically placed at different levels.

Every single one of my students has struggled with the thumbs fighting over the note. If you are an experienced player, you won't have difficulty. But beginners do. I don't mind them encountering challenges, I just want the challenges to be beneficial and not stupid.

In no music written by Beethoven, or Mozart, or Bach, or Hook, or Turk, or Chopin, will you ever sit with your thumbs straddling middle C.

Sorry to rant - why do they teach it?

I also agree that improv should be a normal or lessons, as I'm sure it was for Clementi and Czerny.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Most lesson books have, at some early point, both thumbs playing middle C in turn, while finger 5 of each hand is over treble G and bass F.

It forces the beginning student to confront two things, that could well wait: (1) having a finger/thumb hover near a note while at rest, then move into position to play and (2) reading middle C on the two clefs, which are illogically placed at different levels.

Every single one of my students has struggled with the thumbs fighting over the note. If you are an experienced player, you won't have difficulty. But beginners do. I don't mind them encountering challenges, I just want the challenges to be beneficial and not stupid.

In no music written by Beethoven, or Mozart, or Bach, or Hook, or Turk, or Chopin, will you ever sit with your thumbs straddling middle C.

Sorry to rant - why do they teach it?

I also agree that improv should be a normal or lessons, as I'm sure it was for Clementi and Czerny.

I agree. It is also highly confusing for anyone who has the slightest tendency to flip things. I never teach this position. It is unnecessary and confusing.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 09:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Spacetone
What is something that the average piano student is still being taught, or not being taught, that irks you?


Transfer students who come to me and have no idea what notes they are playing, just that "thumbs are on C". Fingerings are crossed out/changed in the method books, and pieces are omitted if "thumbs on C" doesn't work.
Posted by: Spacetone

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/18/13 11:56 PM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
It is a pity that most students being given classical piano lessons are no longer taught in an integral fashion to improvise and in fact may be strongly discouraged from exercising any kind of creative license. Piano lessons too often risk turning musical children away from music rather than allowing them to blossom as spontaneous, creative musicians rather than Clementi and Czerny typing automatons.


I wholeheartedly agree! It's a bit dumbfounding because when you think about it, some of the greats were exceptional improvisers!
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 12:44 AM

I find it irksome when transfer students tell me the treble clef is for the RH and the bass clef is for the LH. Not so!
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 02:58 AM

Being taught:

1) treble clef = right hand; bass clef = left hand

2) sharps and flats mean black keys

3) teach by the "copy me" method

4) Beyer and Czerny

5) slamming each finger down as hard as you can on every single note
Posted by: Spacetone

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 04:33 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Being taught:

1) treble clef = right hand; bass clef = left hand

2) sharps and flats mean black keys

3) teach by the "copy me" method

4) Beyer and Czerny

5) slamming each finger down as hard as you can on every single note


Hey can you elaborate on this?
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 04:43 AM

Originally Posted By: Spacetone
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Being taught:

1) treble clef = right hand; bass clef = left hand

2) sharps and flats mean black keys

3) teach by the "copy me" method

4) Beyer and Czerny

5) slamming each finger down as hard as you can on every single note


Hey can you elaborate on this?


Some teachers still use Czerny as a method book!

A little bit of Czerny here and there is fine; he did write a couple of decent pieces. But to use entire volumes of Czerny and play dozens and dozens of his inferior etudes?? I don't know how these students survive their piano lessons.
Posted by: Spacetone

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 04:53 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Spacetone
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Being taught:

1) treble clef = right hand; bass clef = left hand

2) sharps and flats mean black keys

3) teach by the "copy me" method

4) Beyer and Czerny

5) slamming each finger down as hard as you can on every single note


Hey can you elaborate on this?


Some teachers still use Czerny as a method book!

A little bit of Czerny here and there is fine; he did write a couple of decent pieces. But to use entire volumes of Czerny and play dozens and dozens of his inferior etudes?? I don't know how these students survive their piano lessons.


Ah I see! Yeah I think too much of any one composer can feel very monotonous.
Posted by: Exalted Wombat

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 07:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I find it irksome when transfer students tell me the treble clef is for the RH and the bass clef is for the LH. Not so!


Students crave for rules. Rules make them feel secure. "Treble clef is for the right hand notes". "We don't use the thumb for black notes". "Quarter notes get one count". "Don't kill people".

Then comes the stage when they can appreciate that all rules have exceptions. "Except when the LH has to play high notes". "Except in cut time or 3/8". "Except when they're from other countries and politicians tell you it's OK".

We can cope with this, in piano playing and in real life. We have to.
Posted by: pianopaws

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 07:37 AM

I agree that "middle C position" is awkward to play. However, I have found it helpful for introducing note reading. The 5 finger of each hand is on an important line (treble clef G and bass clef F). It allows you to introduce the notes around middle C first, which I have found is easier for most students than starting lower on the bass clef staff. It also has the benefit of allowing a beginning student to play a wider range of tunes because you have a whole octave under your fingers as opposed to just five notes.

That being said, unless the student is really young or struggling with note reading, I move the hands to other places as soon as possible!
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 09:46 AM

The courses I use don't equate treble with RH or bass with LH. Students get experience playing with either hand in either clef.
Posted by: ten left thumbs

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 12:40 PM

Just a general irk of method books. As a teacher I am responsible for technique, making sure they don't get an injury, instilling good rhythm, child protection, etc, etc. Can I be trusted to play a simple duet part without being told my fingering? No way. I need to be give the fingering by the editor.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 12:50 PM

Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Just a general irk of method books. As a teacher I am responsible for technique, making sure they don't get an injury, instilling good rhythm, child protection, etc, etc. Can I be trusted to play a simple duet part without being told my fingering? No way. I need to be give the fingering by the editor.

Well, are you able to improvise a secondo part on the fly?
Posted by: AndyJ

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 03:33 PM

Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Most lesson books have, at some early point, both thumbs playing middle C in turn, while finger 5 of each hand is over treble G and bass F.

My first piano book's first song was exceedingly simple*:

RH: _C_C_C_C_C_C_C_C
LH: C C C C C C C C


That's middle C, of course, with all quarter notes in 4/4, fingered 1-1-1-1 etc. The stirring lyrics:

"Left, right, left, right, I am singing.
Left, right, left, right, while I'm playing."

Pretty exciting stuff for a four-year old!

-Andy

*(Sorry about the underscores, that was the only way I could find to make the forum respect my spacing.)
Posted by: ten left thumbs

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 05:05 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Just a general irk of method books. As a teacher I am responsible for technique, making sure they don't get an injury, instilling good rhythm, child protection, etc, etc. Can I be trusted to play a simple duet part without being told my fingering? No way. I need to be give the fingering by the editor.

Well, are you able to improvise a secondo part on the fly?


Yes, why not? I'm also able to ignore the fingering, it just annoys me it's there in the first place.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 06:29 PM

Irksome situation:

Transfer student plays through piece such as Fur Elise or a Bach minuet or whatever. I point to the first note in the piece and they can't for the life of them tell me what note it is. Infuriating.

In other words, students learning pieces entirely by picking out the notes and not using the music, and barely being able to read music. I have to basically train them to see a note on the staff and identify it. Argh.
Posted by: keystring

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/19/13 07:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Irksome situation:

Transfer student plays through piece such as Fur Elise or a Bach minuet or whatever. I point to the first note in the piece and they can't for the life of them tell me what note it is. Infuriating.

In other words, students learning pieces entirely by picking out the notes and not using the music, and barely being able to read music. I have to basically train them to see a note on the staff and identify it. Argh.

Or the student had it choreographed, modeled, or had finger numbers written in. A disserve for the student in any case.
Posted by: tdow

Re: "I can't believe that's still being/not being taught!" - 03/22/13 03:56 PM

Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
It irritates me that primers still insist on both thumbs sharing middle C, at least for a time. Students find it hard! And it is of absolutely no benefit. For all real beginner and intermediate music, there is no need to two fingers to hover over the same note.


I completely agree - and completely avoid method books that do this for any amount of time. Too frustrating to break this habit once you force them into feeling comfortable in this hand position.